Every night, just before going to bed, Chase looks at a large framed canvas portrait. It’s a beautiful picture of Chase in one of Chad’s arms as his other arm is around Courtney. Every night Chase points and says, “Daddy, Mommy, me - I’m here.” Then, without added words of explanation, he always says, “In heaven! I miss them.” Yes, we miss them very much. On the 9th of August, 2014, we especially miss Courtney. It’s her 25th birthday.
We miss Courtney’s joy. It was contagious. It was obvious. It was special. Courtney’s joy came from a heart of love and radiated through a smile that filled every room that she entered. Oh how we miss her joy.
We miss Courtney’s enthusiasm. Just a few weeks before Courtney entered heaven, she was enthusiastically participating in summer ministry at Colonial Hills Baptist Church. Courtney was the pianist for our Jamboree. The tent was up, the platform was set, the musicians would soon be singing. I turned to my left and saw Courtney sprinting into the tent to get in place for the music that was about to begin. The temperature was over 100 degrees. Courtney was over seven months along. Yet, there was a job that she was committed to do and she was determined to do it with enthusiasm because she was doing it for the Lord.
We miss the way Courtney made everything an event. When Chad and the guys came over for football, Courtney brought the football-shaped sunglasses and the banners so that a game became an event. When Courtney and Chad found out that a little girl was due in September, Courtney bought Chase a T-Shirt so that he could take off his jacket to reveal the words, “I’m the big brother!” When Chase turned one, Courtney put together a Red-Sox party complete with favors and decorations not forgetting to invite faithful friends or to make sure that time would be carved out to pray for God to bless her big boy.
We miss seeing Courtney loving on Chase. No son was ever more dearly loved by a mother. Her time was his time. Her focus was on his best. You could see it and you could feel it. Courtney’s love for Chase was sacrificial and real.
We miss Courtney’s common sense. Watching Chad and Courtney shop for their first home we discovered that Courtney was wise beyond her years. Chad was nervous about going too far into debt. After having toured a few very lovely homes that were just a little bit out of the price-range that they were targeting, Chad offered his reservations and Courtney immediately suggested that they could find something that would meet their budget. It was obvious that Courtney’s common sense was a great blessing to her husband.
We miss the way Courtney made our family whole. While she was surrounded by many from our family who knew her for but a short while, she embraced every one of them. She took time to get to know the senior members of our family and was the favorite of every child who came in contact with “Aunt Co-Co.” She offered sensible advice to Caleb about ministry and girls and no one could tease Daniel more lovingly than Courtney. She became sister to Rachel and Sharon and daughter to Linda and to me.
On the Thursday before Easter, 2014, I was carrying Chase to bed. As always, we paused in front of the canvas picture. Once again, little Chase said, “Mommy, Daddy, me – I’m here!” Once again he said, “In heaven! I miss them.” This time Chase did something that he’d never done before. He asked, “Coming back?” I must confess, it took me a moment before I could answer. Chase did not understand why I was crying. After I had composed myself, I said, “Yes Chase, they are coming back and we can’t wait!” Happy birthday, Courtney, we miss you.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Post Written by Charles R. Phelps Jr. Father of Chad and Father in Law of Courtney.