It’s been just over a week since we first heard the news, a week full of seeing her picture online and knowing that she’s not here on this earth anymore; having perished in a terrible house fire last week, she and most of her family are now in Heaven.
I guess you could say that Mandy Kelly and I were friends, but not close friends. We worked together and encouraged one another in a small group of Christian bloggers, but I never spoke with her in person, never hugged her neck.
Nevertheless, her sudden death has impacted me in unexpected ways.
The day before Mandy’s passing, my church-planting husband and I attended the bi-annual Northeast Indiana Baptist Association meeting, where we heard testimonies of God’s work in our area and received encouragement to keep up the good work “while it is still day.”
“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5
In context, we see that Jesus is speaking to his disciples, encouraging them.
He knows His time is limited.
He makes the most of every opportunity and encourages His followers to do the same.
The next morning, I went to Ladies Bible Study and told them about an article I had read about John Piper’s now-famous sermon on how to not waste your life. As Piper stands before thousands and thousands of college-aged students, he pleads with them not to chase the American dream, but to live a life that counts!
And it weighed heavy on my heart. “Make your life count.”
Yes, I want my life to count, too.
It was only moments after I returned home that I received the news that our blogging friend Mandy perished in a house fire overnight along with most of her family – only two of their four children survived.
It was shocking.
It still is shocking.
But Piper wouldn’t have called her death a tragedy – no – because even in her death, Mandy’s witness for the Lord continues to live on.
In the days following, I was overjoyed to read message after message on social media about the impact Mandy had on the people around her. Countless women, young and old, influenced by her passion for the Lord and her compassion for others.
Not only that, but so many mentioned following her blog and listening to her videos.
What an example her life was, but not for her own glory!
Mandy wasn’t famous.
She wasn’t a big name blogger or Bible teacher that would be recognized worldwide.
She was an ordinary wife and a mom and a leader at church and a writer who was faithful in her everyday life.
Because she knew the key – the way to make your life count – lies in those everyday choices to put Christ first.
According to Piper, “You don’t have to know a lot of things in order to make a huge difference for the Lord in the world, but you do need to know a few things that are great and be willing to live for them and die for them. People who make a difference in the world are not people who have mastered a lot of things. They are people who have been mastered by a very few things that are very, very great.”
Mandy was a woman of God who recognized the value in being a fool for Christ, a woman who aimed to “finish well.”
Yes, Mandy understood the need to keep working “while it is still day.” She wasn’t a perfect woman, none of us are, but she was a woman who was willing to put one thing above all others – the kingdom of God.
She called this Worshipful Living.
I find her ordinary life both inspiring and convicting.
The truth is that we all have a choice when it comes down to how we spend this one life we have.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14
According to the Bible, we are not guaranteed one moment more on this Earth, friends. So along with Piper and Mandy, I beg you to make your life count!
Because whether we realize it or not, tomorrow could be too late.
Make that decision for Christ that you’ve been putting off for so long…
Forgive the person who wounded you so deeply…
Love others well even when it comes at great cost to you…
Be willing to be a fool for Christ…
Don’t wait another moment to tell others that Jesus came to set us all free from sin, to give us new life!
We must finish well. We must do the good work while it is still day. We must live for His glory.
According to Piper, the only alternative is akin to collecting seashells.
Don’t waste your one life.
Make your life count.
All for His glory,
If you’d like to help support the Kelly family and her two surviving children, you can donate here:
Trinity Baptist Church
2003 Charleston Hwy.
Cayce, SC 29033
You can also donate via their church’s website. In the top right corner, click on the green Give button. Then choose “Kelly Fund” from the drop-down menu.
A bunch of us are gathering today to share what we’ve learned from Mandy’s life and death – what better way to honor her memory than to lift high the name of Jesus?! 🙂