In April of 2012 I sat at a table with Larry Crabb and had a conversation which changed my life.

A lot of words were spoken, but the one word that is highlighted and underlined and circled is rest. Larry recognized something in me which, I believe, can only be recognized by someone who has walked the same path. I was trying so hard… to do it right, to get it right, to be upright, to be good. Larry’s word to me on that spring day was rest.

Something broke in me that day. Not “broken,” but broke-open. I began to open that day. I began to open to rest.

If Larry hadn’t taken a moment to truly look at me, he wouldn’t have recognized. If he hadn’t taken a moment to speak what he saw, I wouldn’t have received.

Larry’s courage to be with — with me, and with the part of himself which struggled to rest as I did — saved my life. But not only my life.

Rest is how I was able to navigate my dismissal from my official position as a leader in the Church.

Rest is how I was able to see, and hear, while our family’s money ran out.

Rest is how I was able to focus on discovering my own Voice when so much inside me wanted to panic — to jump on the treadmill, running fast for the sake of running. Instead, I sat in the chaos and listened. And in the middle of chaos, I heard a whisper. I began to follow that whisper. I’m still following it today.

Rest is how I was able to not entirely miss the 14-month life of my daughter, Olivia. More chaos surrounded me, but the whisper was still there. “Here is a gift. Isn’t she beautiful?”

Rest is how I was able to steer toward healing and away from only numbness after the death of our daughter.

Rest is how I was able to put pen to paper, and eventually to sing again… to dance again.

Rest is why I am still married, working to find my wife in the ashes and rubble of these past years.

Rest is how I am finding re-connection with myself, and grace and appreciation for myself, in spite of my many failings.

Rest is how I choose to move forward. It is, I believe, how I will best serve my world, my family, myself, and how I will best connect with God, the One who continues to whisper.

Rest is my connection to Life. It is my salvation.

Thank you Larry, for sitting in chaos with me. Thank you for showing me rest.

Thank you for what I know was a lifetime of HARD WORK. I know you chose the narrow path, and I know it wasn’t easy. But I’m confident that right now you have very little regret about that. You fought to be a conduit — to hold the door open between God and others, even though that meant being constantly confronted with your own failings. I commit to continuing that work.

Finally, if you do read blog posts from heaven and happen to see this, look for Olivia. In a way, her experience of life was because of you. She’ll want to meet you. I don’t know if she’ll be able to speak in heaven any more than she was able to on earth, but she’ll recognize your touch.

Larry Crabb