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Last Friday morning no one would have dreamed the day would end the way it did. Everyone was excited about Michele’s high school graduation later that evening and the wedding the family was attending the next day. There was so much to do to get ready for both big events.

Following a busy day of hustle and bustle, Michele proudly walked the stage and received her high school diploma. After many hugs and congratulations, she, her mom and her dad rushed to the local airport and climbed aboard the private plane her dad was piloting. 

With wedding festivities beginning early the next morning, they needed to get down to central Texas as quickly as possible so they didn’t miss any of the wedding fun. 

Still elated about graduation, Michele climbed aboard the plane ready to talk with her parents about the ceremony. 

But as soon as they took off, the inconceivable happened. 

A wind gust blew through as they ascended, flipped the plane and sent it barreling toward the runway below. Abruptly the plane crashed to the ground and busted into flames.

Michele, her mother, and father were gone. Just like that.

And her 13-year-old brother was left behind without his parents or his sister. I cannot image what he is going through. 

I saw the news on Facebook Saturday morning, the day after the crash. My cousin posted a request asking for prayer for the family, but no names were mentioned. Since the accident occurred in my hometown, I scanned through the comments to see if I knew who it involved. As I read the names, I sat in shock.

You see, Michele was the niece of one of my best friends. Her uncle was like a big brother to me and her grandmother was like a second mom. I was around her mom and dad many times at family events. I knew them well and I could not fathom what their family was experiencing. My heart broke for them.

All day long I walked around in a fog, caught somewhere between anxiety and tears. I couldn’t shake the deep sadness I felt for the family.

Finally, as I was hanging curtains on Saturday evening, the fog lifted as several verses of a poem came to my mind. I told my husband I had to write them down and send them to the family.

I’m so thankful I did because both my friend and his mother have told me how it ministered to them. My prayer is that it ministers to the young teenage boy who was left behind as well.

Although I had not seen Michele since she was a young child, I knew that her untimely death would trigger much anger and confusion. When it seemed like life was just getting started for her, it was gone. So, the poem I wrote is called “A Tribute to Michele.”

Most of us know someone whom we feel was taken to heaven long before we believe their life should have expired. But, God knew how long the person would live before he or she was ever born. There is hope to be found when we know that God’s plan is still perfect even when we are grieving a loss. 

Our lives are about his glory, rather than our own. We will never know the “whys” this side of heaven, but knowing that our loved ones are with him and continuing his work with him in heaven, gives me solace in my sadness. 

Nothing is a surprise to him. His plan and purpose will always prevail and some day the mystery will be solved for us. Until then, all we can do is trust him and do as Michele’s grandmother told me a couple of days ago, “Be sure to love hard and deep and treasure every second.”

God, thank you for your plan for my life and the lives of those I love. Let me love them well and praise you for every second I have with them. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:13-17, NIV) 


Misty Shultz holds master’s degrees in marriage and family counseling and Christian education. She can be reached at mmshultz_7@hotmail.com.

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