My dear friend Jill passed away early this morning.
She received a double-lung transplant one month ago at Mayo, and although the transplant surgery went well, there have been continual complications since then with her other organs. She is now in a place of total peace, and we know that she is safe in the care of her Creator.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I feel immensely blessed to have first gotten to know Jill during my internship year. She was the church council president at the time even though she was just in her early 30s! She was such a special woman and child of God.

I will journey to southern Illinois in the coming days to be present for the funeral where we will all come together, reminding one another that Christ is King in life and in death. We will celebrate the promise that Jesus has prepared a place for Jill and she is eternally safe in God's care. In these moments so filled with grief, I keep reminding myself of this verse:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Romans 8:38-39

I wish that Jill was alive, that all the procedures and medicines had worked.
I wish I understood why tragic things happen.
I wish I could wrap all of her family and friends in a huge protective bubble of love.
But even as a pastor, I'm at a loss. I don't understand a lot of things.
But I believe God is real. And I know that even if we don't understand a lot of things about this life - I trust that God is at work. We're never alone. Even with all the sadness and brokenness in this world, there is so much beauty. Jill was a beautiful messenger of God's love. She taught us all about perseverance, humor, love, and kindness.

My prayer today:

God, there are many unknowns but amidst it all,
I will praise you.
I praise you for Jill's years of life.
I praise you for the gift and light she was to the world -
I praise you for how that light will continue to shine in a multitude of ways.
I praise you for her beautiful daughter, Audrey,
and all the other members of her family and her loving friends.
I praise you for being our refuge and strength forever,
especially when we hurt the most.
Be near to all who grieve.
Give comfort in moments of indescribable sadness.
Remind us all to love and serve and forgive each day.
Thank you for your nearness to us,
thank you for your nearness to Jill,
thank you for the promises of Jesus that we cling to so tightly today.
In the midst of our sadness,
surround us all with the assurance of your never-failing love.

Here's the facebook update that Jill's mother, Jean, posted this morning...

Dec 3, Sat. Rochester,MN

Jill was called home to be with our Lord and Savior at about 4:30 this morning. She was surrounded by family and friends and with all your prayers. Arrangements are pending and will be posted as soon as we can get home and can talk with Pastor Otte about services. Pastor Otte was with us and gave us so much comfort. Pastor Emily has also been with us through the month.... We love everyone of you that has texted, posted, called and prayed for our family. I would tell Jill every day that the whole wide world is praying for you, friends, family, and people that we did not even know. It is wonderful to know that the Word of God is alive and well. We send all our love to you this beautiful Sat. morning. Love Jean and Family


  1. Hugs to you, Emily. What a beautiful post and prayer.

  2. Beautiful and powerful words, Emily. I'm so glad you were able to be with all the family in their trips leading up to this point and especially in the last month. Blessings to you.

  3. Beautiful words during a tough time. Contined prayers for you and Jill's family this week.

  4. I'm praying for you and all of Jill's family & friends. I know that you have been a blessing to them & Jill, too.

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss, Emily. I'll be praying for Jill's family -- and also for you. It's hard to lose a friend.