Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pain and Joy

Almost One Year Since…

Drew’s death – life goes on but it’s never the same. The pain of loss continues, but the good news is there’s a part of Florida that’s changed for the better because our grandson Drew passed through.

We want to tell you who loved Drew about our visit this past Thursday with Stevie B. in Hollywood, FL.

Stevie B. is the man who spoke at Drew’s memorial service at Calvary Chapel almost a year ago. He sponsored the man who was Drew's sponsor and met often with Drew. We called Steve to meet for breakfast to thank him in person and share memories of our grandson. He suggested we come see Drew’s lasting legacy in the area. We had no idea what to expect...

Most amazing to us, Stevie B. said twenty-four year old Drew was the inspiration for the new and wonderful JC (Jesus Christ) Recovery House. Shortly after Drew’s death Stevie B’s grandpa passed away and left him $50,000. Stevie had long thought recovery needed to be totally Christ-centered and now he could make that happen. Drew’s death was the final impetus he needed.

One of the first things Stevie B. did when we met was open his phone to show us Drew’s picture. He said for new men he works with or whenever he speaks to recovery groups he opens his phone and shows this picture of Drew, then tells why he began JC Recovery house. (It’s the picture his dad Greg took at Epcot.)

Immediately one senses there’s something different about the JC Recovery House upon a first glimpse of the property. A decorative wall surrounds it short enough to see over, but high enough to mark the property. The stucco has several huge crosses made of ceramic embedded in the wall. The aura, the appearance leaves no doubt - this is holy ground. 

JC Recovery House opened in October - the website went up this month. The home already has about fifty amazing gentlemen living there. We met five of the men, all ages, and had delightful visits as they shared what Christ is doing in their lives.

Several of the men had been past residents at Cleveland House where Drew spent several months. Stevie pointed out that Cleveland House was okay but it didn’t have the total Christian emphasis which is essential for long term recovery.

The things that moved us most during our visit I write through tears:

We told Stevie B. that Drew often told us he wanted to be super successful in life. His Grandpa believed Drew had a war within him of two different worldviews. Drew desired to be a Christ-centered giving servant and also to be a super successful business man.

Stevie B. stared into our eyes and said without a blink, "Drew was and is super-successful." He explained “I’ve been in recovery work more than 20 years and I doubt I’d have as many people at my funeral as Drew did. He’s still impacting lives. I get calls all the time from his friends to help somebody into recovery.”

He went on to say, “Drew made a significant impact on everybody he met. Drew had this charisma about him, his Mom and Dad have it, too, and so does Jack. (I think our other precious grandchildren and Drew’s cousins do as well! It’s about having God within and not being afraid to show Him to people you meet.) Although Drew’s blue eyes did add a special sparkle.

I’m hoping any time someone in our family is tempted to not live a disciplined life, they’ll remember the great discipline Drew exerted to live as an overcomer all the days he did. And in the final year of his life Drew did truly commit to a recovery lifestyle. His Grandpa and I observed how firm Drew’s resolve was. Yes, Drew was tempted again at South Beach a week or two before he died but with God’s help he pulled himself right back up again and died victoriously fighting – FREE of illegal drugs. We must never forget to be proud of Drew for the thousand times he fought off temptation.

Stevie B. said, and these were his exact words, “I can only imagine the cohort of demons prowling around someone like Drew.”  Yes, God is stronger than demons but perhaps God chose to rescue Drew from his constant battle in God’s most perfect way. For sure, I think that God said to Drew upon their first face-to-face encounter “well-done good and faithful servant.”

As Stevie B. told us more than once, “Drew was on fire for God. There was never a doubt that he was sold out to Jesus Christ.”

So this is JC’s Recovery House and Drew’s wonderful legacy. Remember family and friends of Drew how important each of you living your best life is to Drew. The church teaches regarding the communion of Saints in heaven that Drew is rooting for you, cheering you, supporting you.

Knowing about JC Recovery House doesn’t help our pain over losing Drew, but I hope it’s continued inspiration for us. We’ve all got a lot of work and loving to do before we compare notes with Drew on the other side.