Friday, January 20, 2006, was a leisurely morning for my husband Matt and me—just as so many we had enjoyed through the years. We sat in front of the bay window enjoying the blessings of companionship. He drank his morning coffee while I sipped my tea.
He read from the Word and I listened to the words our Maker had for us that morning. We discussed how those words pertained to our lives. Conversation moved easily into day-to-day business and errands we had to run. Matt listed necessary items and stops we needed to make. I asked Matt, without thinking, if he preferred that I run to the store alone, rather than get our four children ready to go. He gave me a look that said, "Why do you even ask?" I knew better.
Matt enjoyed doing everything with his family—as a family—even something as mundane as a trip to WalMart. We piled into our vehicle and trekked out to get groceries, diapers, and a few odds and ends. As always, we saw a number of people we knew.
Soon our purchases were loaded and we headed for home. Our babies were tired and needed naps. Matt helped settle them, and then the two of us snuggled on the couch to enjoy time alone. As we talked we heard a song on the radio that had been sung at my niece's wedding. We stopped talking long enough to listen and appreciate the singer's words about how God must have been thinking of her when He made her sweetheart. I looked at Matt and was reminded how blessed I was to be married to my best friend. We both felt that God had made us for each other, and were so grateful to be together.
After the kids awoke from their naps, Matt played games with them, chasing them through the house. Then he left for his night shift as a Texas state trooper. When he came home later for his supper break, we talked and laughed before he had to go back to work. After Matt returned to work I crawled into bed.
Sometime in the night the doorbell chimed. Opening the door I saw Matt's sergeant, his captain, my pastor, the sheriff and his wife. Why are they here? I wondered, noting their troubled faces. Sarge took my hand, "Christy, Matt was in an accident and he didn't make it." Then the story came out—the call to an emergency scene, the fiery wreck, the overturned car.
This couldn't be happening. Did I really hear him correctly? What should I do?
Then my years spent with this godly man put my mind in motion. "Okay, okay, we have to pray," I said. And pray I did.
The Lord completely took over at that point—and has lovingly carried me since. Through tears and heartache, He has given me the grace to face one more minute, one more day, and one more trial.
His funeral was a true testament of Matt's impact on others as more than 1,000 people attended. Each person, representing all walks of life, had a story of how Matt had touched them and how they respected him for living what he believed. The procession to the cemetery stretched for more than five miles. Along the route, we were overwhelmed by love as we passed through the small town of Friona, Texas, and saw students lining the road holding signs that read, "Well done thou good and faithful servant," to honor Matt.
After Matt's death, I began to understand just how well he'd done in his true work of spreading the love of Jesus Christ. In his humble service, he had shared Christ's love through Sunday School, music, family, and work. The Lord provided me with opportunities to tell others of Matt's enthusiasm, faith, and belief in his Savior, Jesus Christ. Only a few short days after we laid him to rest I witnessed Matt's ongoing legacy as another law enforcement officer, who had been impacted by Matt's life and was at the scene of the wreck, began to attend church.
Later, this man started taking his family to church. Eventually, he and his wife led all four of their children to the Lord. Another colleague who had tried to pull Matt from the fiery wreckage also asked Christ into his life as Savior.
Story after story has revealed how Matt's life—and death—encouraged others to examine their own lives, to listen, and to obey the Lord's voice. No matter how long we live on this earth, we can affect others by the lives we live.
Matt's life was proof of that.
Christy Myrick is a mother of four and lives in Hereford, Texas.
Holiness Today, November/December 2006