Pastor Ed Young and wife are walking through pain of daughter's death 'only by God's grace'

LeeBeth Young(Photo: Facebook/Ed Young)

Fellowship Church pastor Ed Young says God has been "faithful" since the passing of his oldest daughter LeeBeth last month.

LeeBeth, who was on the staff at the Texas-based church, died on January 19 at the age of 34. 

Speaking about her death to the congregation over the weekend, Young revealed that she had passed away as a result of an alcohol-induced seizure. 

Young said she had battled depression and binge drinking for the last five or six years after confessing to his wife, Lisa, "Mom, I think I'm an alcoholic." 

"I would say in these 30-plus years of ministry and leading at Fellowship Church, we probably have never been as weak and as vulnerable as we are right now," Lisa said.

"We've experienced difficulty and we've walked through pain, but not like this, and only by God's grace are we doing it."

She said the fact that her daughter's passing was "an out of order death" made it all the harder to deal with.

"It wasn't supposed to happen, and dealing with that adds another messy layer," she said. 

Ed admitted that her daughter's battle with alcohol "rocked" them because she "had never been a drinker, or someone who partied - zero."

"That was something that definitely snapped our heads," he said. 

After a previous binge drinking episode, she had a seizure and ended up in the ICU where the doctor warned that if she didn't stop, she would die. 

After a second episode, she went to rehab and got counselling, but the Youngs said her struggle only got worse as she got older and that when Covid came along, forcing LeeBeth to work from home instead of the church office, they knew it would be a struggle for her. 

Ed Young and his wife Lisa fight back tears as they open up about their young daughter's death.

Around three weeks before she died, the couple noticed she was acting "a little bit different." 

After a worrying FaceTime with her, Lisa - who was visiting her mother in South Carolina - urged Ed to go and check up on her. 

He found her in a condition that "as a parent, you pray you never have to get involved in". After seeing a therapist, he brought his daughter to the room next to his office while he worked on a sermon. 

He described how she was "shaking" as a result of "coming off" the alcohol she had consumed. 

While in his office working on his sermon he heard a noise in the other room and found that she had had another seizure. 

She was rushed to hospital, with the family unable to be by her side because of Covid-19. Instead, they sang praise songs to her through FaceTime as she passed. 

Despite the enormity of their grief, Lisa said that "God has provided," while Ed said God had been "faithful." 

"We can't judge LeeBeth based on that last bout, that last thing that she did," Ed said.

"But it's really about the last thing that Jesus did on the cross. That's what her life is about. She should be judged by that."

He continued: "One moment, LeeBeth was alive the next moment, she's in eternity. And all of us have a tissue-like veil separating this life from the next, it doesn't matter who you are.

"Every single person dies and death is the great equalizer.

"You're not ready to live ... until you're ready to die."