Tomorrow, we’ll have the funeral of my precious nephew Scott
Shellenberger. He was a vivacious 41-year-old who loved God
deeply, cherished family loyally and lived life wholeheartedly.

He had a seizure and a heart attack one week ago today and never
regained consciousness.

A year-and-a-half ago I had the honor of officiating his wedding.
He and his wife, Sarah, own a 10-acre place with a horse, a mule, my
grand-pig, Emmitt, three dogs and a cat.

How do you say goodbye when it’s not time?
He had so much life to live!
So much love to give.

I had taken Scott to Alaska, Peru, Panama and Brazil.
I can’t imagine my life without him.
He was the one who passed out all the gifts every
Christmas—insisting we go in order—and making sure each one of
us always had another present to open.

He was the one who changed the light bulbs in my house that are too
high for me to reach. The one who landscaped the area by my porch.
The one who fixed my rain gutters when they fell off.
The one who told me to let my faucets drip during the night when
temperatures dropped below freezing. The one who loved my dogs
as though they were his own. The one who grilled our steaks, chicken
and corn-on-the-cob on my patio grill when we had family dinners.
He was 6’3” and an outdoorsman who could talk about cloud
formations and plants and identify insects and trees and weather
patterns as though it was as common as reciting the alphabet.
He was full of tenderness and always asked for a take-away plate of
food at our family dinners so he could deliver it to a senior citizen in
poor health. He wanted to make sure this man had enough to eat.

Scott wasn’t supposed to be gone only a year-and-a-half after finding
the love of his life and getting married.

How do you say goodbye when it’s not time?

Though I can’t imagine another family dinner or Christmas without
him . . . I know God will teach me how to navigate through this.

The hurt is heart-wrenching.
There is such a deep void inside me.
But I’m holding onto Jesus.
And oh, how very very very faithful He is!
His arms are wrapped tightly around me.

I can visualize Scott admiring a crystal sea and discovering colors he
hasn’t imagined, meeting the disciples, seeing his grandparents
again, and most of all thanking Jesus for grace and mercy and love
beyond words.

How do you say goodbye when it’s not time?
You don’t.
You simply lean into Jesus.

I don’t understand . . . but I know I can trust Him.

If you’d like to hear Scott Shellenberger speaking in chapel at
Southwestern Christian University (where he taught), you can go to
his Facebook page and scroll down to find a red-colored posting by
Aaron Farrow. You can click on that and hear it.

At the end of his message, Scott told students to grab the cloth of
Jesus’ garment. He then provided square pieces of cloth for each
student. Last week, students hung cloth all over campus in honor of