Friday, November 26, 2010

There have been few times in my life when I am completely silenced and overcome by the reality of the fleetingness of this world. The first time was when I heard about David; all those countless moments when all I could do was be on my knees in prayer. And then when I knew he had gone to be with our Father, just feeling that overwhelming heaviness of knowing this Earth is not our home.

This same feeling was replicated yesterday, along with shock and an uncontrollable swell of emotion. As we were driving to my aunt's for Thanksgiving, I checked Facebook on my phone only to see several posts from close friends giving their condolences to our brother in Christ at Jessup, Justin Woodard. My heart started beating so fast as my mind tried to figure out what was going on. He was in a fatal car accident the night before Thanksgiving, and that is all I know. I couldn't stop the tears at the point.

I was not one of Justin's closest friends. I did not know Justin's life story in depth. But this is the thing about Justin---you didn't have to know his life story to know his life. Justin had a heart, literally, that radiated the love of Christ. He cared for every person that he was in contact with. I remember when he would come and do rounds in our wing, and each and every time he walked in our door, he would sit on the couch and talk with whomever happened to be in the wing. I had the absolute privilege of sharing a few conversations with him this year, and I am eternally grateful for those. His sincerity was beautiful, and I always left our conversations feeling like we had just talked about something really deep and meaningful, even if we had simply discussing trivial things like open dorm hours (haha!). He was so passionate about being a disciple for God. It is so hard, this life. We cannot understand why 20 and 25 year old people are taken so early to be Home. But we can rest easy knowing that they are indeed Home. David and Justin are together now, and with Jesus, and I really can't help but smile at that. I think they are friends up there, and they are so happy.

I don't think our campus has had a loss like this before. Going back to school is going to be met by a lot of heavy hearts and a huge piece of Jessup missing; Justin. He was actually involved in everything; security, the cafeteria, leadership...all of it. What is so cool, though, is that the Jessup community really is a family. Whether or not we all know each other very well, we just, we are all connected. And this will only bring us all closer. I have never seen so many young people talk about this hard concept of death and handle it with so much peace. We all know that Justin, as I saw one girl put it, "beat us home." We all know that he is where we too will be one day, and that place is where we belong. Justin is with our God! With our Father! Our Savior! That is beautiful. Justin has just reminded a lot of people to be so grateful in every circumstance, because we just don't know what the day brings. Our time here is too short to spend one second of it not being thankful. Justin did His Father proud, so, so proud. :)

To the Woodard family, to his closest friends, to the Jessup community, to all who are feeling this loss; may you find rest and comfort in the Lord, knowing that Justin is right beside Him.

We love you Justin.

I'm gonna miss that oranges Reeses shirt, by the way. Represent up there big man. <3


  1. Thanks for this, Alyssa - so much truth, but yes, so much peace. He is home with the King, smiling that great, big, contagious smile of his and laughing his fun laugh! His life and love impacted so many, and I know that God is so proud of him.

  2. I'm speechless. This is the first I've heard of anything. I kept reading for the "just kidding" to come.
    Justin. what a goof ball. Last week we just had a discussion about God's plan for our future. Not knowing what lies ahead. He was content in trusting God. with. a. passion! :) He truly lived with no worries. I'm honored to have known him, even if it was just for a short time. My heart aches for his family, and for the Jessup community that will be missing one big, goofy heart.
    Happy for you, sad for us, Justin. :)