A Huge Thank You!

Dear Family & Friends,

It has been nearly seven months since I last wrote on my blog…where does time go? It has certainly been a rollercoaster of a ride during those seven months.  We found out we were pregnant, traveled to Europe, continually dealt and still dealing with medical issues, sold our house, moved out of our house, bought a house, moved into our new house and now awaiting baby’s arrival! That’s the seven months in a very brief nutshell. Hopefully I can tell more stories about all these events at some time. : )

My main reason for wanting to write now though before any more time passes is to say a huge thank you to all our family and friends.  We would not be where we are today without your love, support, prayers and encouragement.

We want to especially thank Tim’s parents for opening their home to us as our temporary residence from the end of December until this past weekend.  God knew exactly what he was doing when we unexpectedly sold our house and subsequently moved in with them.  The past three months have been some of the worst for me with medical issues and they spent countless time driving me to appointments, making meals and caring for us in any way they could.  Now we are in our own house again, but we know they will be here for us whenever needed.  We cannot thank them enough for their love and generosity over these past few months!

We want to thank my parents and family as well for being here when they are able to. I know they would like to be here more, but distance and other family commitments make it more of a challenge. We’re so grateful though for their sacrifice of driving here when they can and helping out however they can. There is no doubt we have their love and support from a distance. 🙂

Another big thank you to friends and family that put on baby showers for us this past month.  They were awesome and lots of fun! We so appreciate your planning, preparations and gifts for Baby Kalee. He or she will benefit much from all the clothes, nursery supplies, books, etc. We’re very much looking forward to start using all of it. 🙂

Just one more thank you for now…thank you to all the family and friends who helped us move this past weekend and start unpacking and settling in. We couldn’t have done it without you! The move went as smoothly and quickly as we could have hoped for. Lots was done on the weekend as well to give us a start on settling in.  Lots to go, but all your help definitely made a huge difference.  Thank you!!

We have been blessed beyond our expectations and thank God for each one of you! Words really seem inadequate to express our gratefulness.

There is one request that I would like to pass along to you. We would so much appreciate your continued prayers for my health and especially Baby Kalee’s health. This past Thursday we had a growth ultrasound that showed he or she’s abdomen is not growing as much as would be expected which could be an indicator that the baby is not getting all that he or she needs. With my past and present medical problems, they are watching the baby very closely.  For the last several weeks, we have been at the doctor’s office at least twice a week if not more. We are thankful for all the precautions they are taking including doing regular ultrasounds so they can catch when there might be problems like this. Since I am so close to 37 weeks (what they consider term), they are going to continue to monitor things very closely and try to make it to that point. We are at 35 and a half weeks now. So in all likelihood, they will be inducing me a week and a half from now. This is a bit overwhelming for us to think about since we were hoping for a month in our new house before baby’s arrival, but we know that we are in God’s hands and His timing is best. We will do whatever we can to help Baby Kalee make a safe arrival into the world. Again, we would appreciate your prayers for the baby’s health, for us to make wise decisions with our time and on what needs to be done in the next week at our house and for us to feel mentally prepared for this new phase in our life. It’s exciting yet scary to think about!

Again we thank all of you for standing beside us with your love, prayers and encouragement!

Love,

Tim & Becca

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Barcelona, Bucharest, Bulgaria and Carcassonne….Wait the last one doesn’t fit! Oh well…

We did it!  We bought tickets finally to go somewhere international! It’s been over a year and a half since our last trip overseas to visit Beth in Hungary. That’s quite a long time for both of us. 🙂

Over this last year, we have been praying about opportunities to go on a missions trip. We talked to a lot of different people and explored quite a few options. As we continued to pray, one option seemed to be falling into place and then did fall into place. In September, we will be traveling to Nessebar, Bulgaria, to serve as conference staff for the ABWE* Central & Eastern European and Mediterranean Regional Conference from September 22-September 28. The conference is for all the ABWE missionaries serving in Central & Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to come together to be refreshed, encouraged and renew the vision for the region. One among the many exciting parts of going is that I will see my sister, Beth, and several of my former teammates from when I was in Hungary.

Our main responsibility will be photographing the conference including taking team, family and possibly senior pictures. All the editing will need to be done onsite and the pictures given out before the end of the conference. That will be a fun task to accomplish in a short amount of time. 🙂 Along with the photography, Tim will be offering his skills in IT (computer stuff) to help with any problems the missionaries are having with their computers, update software and programs and possibly bring hardware/software with us. I will also be helping out wherever else there may be a need. We are really excited about this opportunity to be servants to God’s servants overseas and be an encouragement to them in any way we can.

As with any trip, there are costs involved. So here’s my low pressure sales pitch. Transportation and lodging costs will be around $3,000 total for both of us. If you have looked recently at airfare, you probably have noticed that the prices have been skyrocketing. It seems like everytime we looked, they had gone up, so the cost is mostly for transportation by air and bus. Nessebar is ridiculously expensive to fly to, so we will be flying to Bucharest and taking a bus with some of the missionaries in Romania down to Nessebar. If Beth ends up driving, we’re hoping to hitch a ride back to Bucharest on the way back. 🙂  If you would like to help with the expenses of our trip, your gift can be sent to the ABWE home office if you would like a tax deductible receipt.  When mailing in a gift, please follow these instructions:

~ Checks: make payable to ABWE, with the following on the Memo Line:  Acct # 0757073–Tim & Becca Kalee  and mail to P.O. Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105.

~ Online: go to http://www.abwe.org/give/ and insert Acct # 0757073 – Tim & Becca Kalee in the box for Missionary/Project Name and/or Account Number. (Please be aware that there is a 3% charge for using credit cards)

If you do not need a receipt, you can either still give through ABWE or send a check to us at 5298 Pinnacle Dr. SW, Wyoming, MI 49519. We sincerely would appreciate you helping out financially, but more importantly, we would greatly appreciate your prayers for –

~ Safe and smooth travel

~ Wise use of our time in taking pictures and working with IT

~ Managing my dietary restrictions while traveling

~ That we would be an encouragement to the missionaries

You may be wondering about the other two cities I listed in the title. Where do they fit in? We have not really taken any vacation time yet this year, so we thought since we are going to be in Europe, why not take an extra week to do some exploring. The week before the conference we will be in Barcelona, Spain and in southern France. For those of you who know us and our love of board games, you know that we love the game Carcassonne. The game is patterned after the real city of Carcassonne in France. We thought it would be cool to visit the real thing and play Carcassonne in Carcassonne. I know we are board game geeks. 🙂 Spain will be a new country for both of us and southern France will be a new area for us, so we’re looking forward to exploring new places together!

On a side note, you may be wondering if you’re helping pay for our vacation if you give towards the missions trip.  The answer is no. 🙂 The figure I listed above is the cost of what it would be to fly directly to Bucharest, attend the conference and fly back home from Bucharest. We are covering the cost of our vacation and the addditional airfare for making the side trip.

It is a blessing to have something to look forward to and we are very much looking forward to this trip! The adjustment to my new diet, taking lots of medication and still going to lots of doctor’s appointments has been quite challenging and downright discouraging at times. In this last week, we also found out that my grandma, who turned 91 this summer, was diagnosed with uterine cancer. At this stage in her life, they don’t feel that she could handle much treatment for it, so for the most part, it will just run it’s course. It’s hard to make decisions like that, but we have peace about it because she knows she will spend eternity in heaven. With all this going on, it is hard to see the bright side. But I have much to be thankful for and know that God is in control of all things. He has blessed us in so many ways including allowing us to go on this vacation and missions trip. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

*Association of Baptists for World Evangelism

Follow-up

After writing last week’s post, I had a follow-up appointment to receive quite a few test results.  And boy did I get results.  Although it is great to finally have some answers, it has been quite overwhelming to process what I need to do the next several months in order for my body to heal.  But we are excited to be in the healing phase rather than the figuring out what is even wrong phase!

For now my healing plan is to radically adjust my diet and start taking lots of supplements.  Radically changing my diet means cutting out several foods my body is sensitive to (i.e. cauliflower, garlic, avocado, strawberries, black pepper, etc) and go gluten, yeast, dairy and sugar free.  As you can imagine, that doesn’t leave much.  What I am left with is pretty much any kind of unprocessed meat, most vegetables, a handful of fruits, some spices and most herbs.

After finding out this news late last week, I had to splurge on one last Butterfinger flurry from my favorite ice cream place and then say goodbye for however long it takes to clear the problem up and get over the sensitivities.  That is the good news!  I’m thankful that these are not allergies, but sensitivities that I can get over and inflammation that will heal and then I can start reintroducing some of my favorite foods back into my diet. It will just take several months of time.  There is hope at the light of the tunnel and with God’s grace and strength I’ll survive.  I would appreciate your prayers though because sometimes I’m just very overwhelmed and don’t feel like eating because right now it’s hard to figure out what I can eat and sounds good.  If you know of any good websites with recipes for very restricted diets let me know! 🙂

A Season of Weakness

Lately I’ve been reading a book called “A Woman’s Walk in Grace” by Catherine Martin. I had never heard of her before, but happened to see the book on the bargain rack at Family Christian Store while we were in Arizona. For $3.97, why not give it a try! It has been a great book and I was sad to read the last chapter this morning. I might just have to re-read it. It was that good!

One of the chapters is named “Seasons of the Soul.” She describes how we go through different seasons in our lives that we need and experience God’s grace in different ways. A few seasons jumped out at me as I read – the season of waiting, the season of endurance and the season of weakness. Right now, I feel like I’m in these seasons. Recently I’ve been battling severe abdominal pain that I’ve had off and on since high school. As of yet no definite diagnosis has been found. Although trying some diet changes has seemed to make a difference the last couple of weeks giving me somewhat of a break. I’ve gone to so many doctor’s appointments, I can’t even count them any more and wouldn’t want to because it would be depressing. I don’t want to be like the older generation whose conversation is often dominated by talk about their aches, illnesses and pains. Sometimes I feel like that though and I’m rather tired of it. So when I read the description of the season of weakness, I thought I’m there! Here’s what she says…

“In the season of weakness, you may suffer from an illness, a disability, or overwhelming exhaustion. In this season, you become aware that you are not enough in your own strength. You can never carry out God’s assignments in your own strength. This may be obvious to some, but sometimes we feel as though we can do anything God asks of us. Great is the moment when you become aware of your own inability, failure or frailty. Why? You will turn away from yourself and run to God for His inexhaustible supply of strength.

The apostle Paul knew this season when he experienced a thorn in the flesh that left him depleted and devastated. He begged God to remove the thorn so he could successfully serve Him. In this season, we are misinformed, thinking we could run our race if only we could have what we want or get rid of what we don’t want in our lives. What God wants us to know is that we are in the race. We don’t need to have or get rid of anything to run our race. God is enough. In Paul’s case, God said, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul discovered the sufficiency of God, realizing that his weakness made him strong. God’s grace in the season of weakness enables you to draw on His strength and power, making you more than you could ever be on your own.”

In those moments of pain when it seems like I will never be well again, I realize my own inability, failure or fraility. My only hope is to turn away from myself and run to God for His inexhaustible supply of strength. His grace draws me to Himself and His strength helps me get up and face another day. I’ve sometimes wondered…is this my thorn in the flesh like Paul’s? I hope not! But if God does not chose to take it away than I will learn to know His strength and power in more deeper ways. It’s still hard to swallow that thought, but may I learn to delight in it and continue to run the race because it is the race God has set before me now. Tim also needs God’s grace to run this race with me. He often feels so helpless because most of the time there is nothing he can really do to help with the pain. His being beside me during those times helps more than I think he even knows. He is God’s hands and feet caring for me.

I’m doing more quoting in this post than writing, but sometimes other’s word just say exactly what I would like to say. This morning I was playing on the piano a song called “Enough” by Chris Tomlin. Very conveniently the words to the song are in the back of the piano arrangement book. I was reading through them and they are so appropriate, encouraging and comforting for me.

You are my supply, my breath of life; Still more awesome than I know. You are my reward worth living for; Still more awesome than I know.

And all of You is more than enough for all of me, For ev’ry thirst and ev’ry need. You satisfy me with Your love; And all I have in You is more than enough.

You’re my sacrifice of greatest price; Still more awesome than I know. You’re my coming King, You are ev’rything; Still more awesome than I know.

More than all I want, more than all I need, You are more than enough for me. More than all I know, more than all I can say; You are more than enough.

Whatever season you may be in – joy, wrestling, productivity, weakness, repentance, waiting, endurance, reflection, rest – know that God is there, His grace is enough and He wants to walk with you from one season to the next.

We regret to inform you…

Today is a bit of a sad day because we received by email the paperwork to take our house off of the market. 😦 Since last December when we put it up for sale, we’ve had very little interest and no offers. People don’t like the kitchen or they don’t think the backyard is private enough or that the laundry is in the basement. It’s a nice, very-well-maintained house, but apparently the right person just hasn’t walked through it yet.

So in spite of the fact that it was a hard decision, we are excited to make some changes to the house. Our long-term plan is still to sell at some point, but in the meantime we’ll work on updating and improving it in hopes that it will be more attractive to potential buyers down the road. First project will probably be to paint a couple of the rooms and then start tackling the kitchen. Kitchens are daunting tasks and on the expensive side so it will be a fun challenge to figure out what we can feasibly do. We’ll have to make sure to take before and after pictures. 🙂

We have been praying and waiting for a lot of answers including the sale of our house for quite awhile now. At times it’s been hard to wait for answers. But as we continue to seek God and His plan for us first, we have peace that He is guiding us each step of the way. So for right now, the next step is to work on the house and keep praying about the other things.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I Finally Did It…

It has been long overdue and needed for several months now, but I just wasn’t quite ready to part with it.  Any ideas what I am talking about? 🙂  It was long, blondish-brown, a bit of a wave to it…

Yes, you guessed it….my hair!  It has been on my mind to cut it for some time now, but I was having a hard time making the decision.  I’ve been growing it out since I think the summer of 2009 when I had my last real haircut more than a trimming and shaping cut.  As you’ll see from the pictures, it was getting quite long.  Not really sure what made me finally decide, but I told Tim that the next time I saw a good Groupon for a haircut, I was going to buy it.  Wouldn’t you know that the very next day, a great deal for a haircut showed up on Groupon!  So I bought it and scheduled the appointment for the following Friday.  For as long as it took to grow my hair out as long as it was, it sure didn’t take long to cut it off!  In less than 45 minutes, my hair was washed, measured, cut, blown dry and styled.  My head felt so much lighter and although it has taken some adjustment, I do really like it.

Since it was so long, I decided I would donate it to a Michigan-based organization, Children with Hairloss.  It’s a very simple thing to do and they can transform my hair into a wig for a child at no cost to the child’s family.  The funny part about donating hair is that you walk out of the salon with a ponytail.  It was just a tad odd carrying around my hair.  For lack of a better place to put it while I was out and about that evening, it was just sitting on my car seat.  Each time I got in and out of the car, I would see it and it was a bit unnerving.  But it was for a good cause!

The haircut was done just in time.  The end of next week Tim and I will be heading to Arizona for three weeks for him to work on a jobsite.  We checked the weather out there the other day and it was 106 degrees with a heat advisory!  I think I will be very thankful for less hair. 🙂  We are not too thrilled about being gone from Michigan for so long in the summer, but since we don’t really have a choice, we are going to make the best of it and do as much exploring as we can when he’s not working.  The first weekend will be the Grand Canyon!

 

Out of Retirement

Oh, how I enjoyed retirement!  I had “retirement” jobs here and there with NAEP (testing in schools) and with Women at Risk (WAR).  It was nice to have the flexibility to work some and have a lot of time off to do other things.  All has changed now though.  It is hard to explain why I made the change since I’m not really sure besides that I felt it was what God wanted me to do and it’s a great opportunity.  Several weeks ago, when I was at Women at Risk volunteering as usual, I was approached about coming on staff not just as seasonal help when they received approval to hire.  I said that I was interested and I’d be praying about it.  Well, about two weeks ago now, they received approval and offered me a part-time job.  Initially I thought it would be two days a week, but it ends up it is three days a week (Monday through Wednesday).  After discussing it with Tim and praying about, we felt lead for me to accept the job!  Bye-bye retirement!  You were great while you lasted.

I am excited though about actually working at Women at Risk.  My coworkers are a great group to work with and it makes a world of difference working for a non-profit that I believe is for a wonderful cause.  And their cause…quoted from their website…”Women At Risk, International (WAR, Int’l) is a nonprofit organization established to place circles of protection around women at risk. The purpose and passion of this organization is to wrap arms of love around women and children, whispering the message that they were created for purpose and dignity. Creating safe places for women and children rescued from many abuses including human trafficking/sexual slavery, WAR, Int’l desires to give voice to their silenced cries.”  I especially appreciate the “whispering the message that they were created for purpose and dignity.”  God created us, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, to have purpose and to live with dignity.  These women coming out from places full of indignity need this message that our unconditionally loving God can restore a life to dignity and give it a new purpose.  I personally know God’s restoration and healing from a life that was falling apart.  Praise God that no one is beyond His love!

My role is working in the product department.  Part of the way WAR funds and partners with organizations here and around the world is to sell jewelry, bags, aprons, pajama pants, cards, etc made by women either in preventive or rescue programs.  We have three stores – Rockford & Wyoming, Michigan and Naperville, Illinois – where these products are sold, but we also have in-home parties.  That is where my job comes in!  We are in a constant cycle of picking product for parties, shipping it out to the host, and processing unsold product back into inventory.  Thankfully God has been blessing abundantly and there are so many parties going on that is why they needed to hire me. 🙂  This week was the first week I worked all three days.  It’s definitely an adjustment and my lists are long for the remaining couple days in the week, but I think it will be ok and I enjoy the work.

 

I am going to maintain one of my “retirement” jobs though.  What is this job you may ask.  Well…it’s a small scale cupcake & cake business. 🙂  It’s been super fun in the planning stages.  Over the last several months, I’ve been making several cupcake recipes and having lots of fun making them.  Tim is always a willing candidate to sample and give his opinion.  I think I’m ready now though to “go public” with my Kalee Kreations website and Facebook page. 🙂

So check out the Kalee Kreations website – http://kaleekreations.wordpress.com/

And don’t forget to go on Kalee Kreations Facebook page and like!  https://www.facebook.com/KaleeKreations#!/KaleeKreations

You will notice that it says cupcakes, cakes & more for a cause.  Read the about page for my cause.  You’ll never guess what it is. 🙂

 

Waiting…

The other morning, I was feeling very disappointed about something and fighting the urge to wallow in my “pit of despair.”  (Yes, I was thinking about Princess Bride when I chose my wording. 🙂 )  Ironically I just finished reading a book by Beth Moore entitled, “Get Out of That Pit.” (Great book by the way and I would highly recommend it!)  I really believe God has a sense of humor and must chuckle a little when He orchestrates what we need to hear or read when we need to hear or read it.

A little background for the story…

You see, Tim and I have been diligently praying for a number of things over the last several months and it doesn’t seem like God is answering our prayers.  So we continue to pray believing that God hears our prayers, knows the desires of our hearts and will answer when it is the best time and in the best way.  And in the meantime, we wait.  But waiting is really hard!  We’ve waited a long time for things in our lives like meeting each other, haven’t we learned the waiting and trusting lesson already?  Do we really need to learn it again?  I guess so. 🙂

Back to my disappointment from the other morning and my fight to stay out of the pit of despair and hopelessness…

I was feeling like I wanted to give in to the why keep hoping, trusting and waiting, these things aren’t going to happen way of thinking, but God had another plan.  I opened my daily devotional book for women and the verse at the top of the page was –

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

~ Isaiah 40:31 

A much-quoted verse, but oh so appropriate for how I was feeling.  Then I opened my “Get Out of That Pit” book and the chapter was all about choosing to stand on the solid rock – Jesus Christ.  The pit of despair has a slippery slope and very unstable ground at the bottom.  It’s dark and full of doubts and fears.  Any way you try to spruce it up, it’s going to be ugly, cold and unpleasant.  Why would I want to go there?  Maybe because it’s easier to slide down something than to hold on tightly to something?  It is harder to let go of control and cling to the Solid Rock, but it’s worth it!  There is no rest and peace from and through the difficulties, frustrations and disappointments of this life without Him.  I need something more stable than myself to stand on because it just doesn’t work out on my own two feet when they are slipping around in a pit.

After finishing my reading, it was decision time – pit of despair or a Solid Rock?  I chose Solid Rock.  I am waiting on the Lord.  He is renewing my strength.  He is enabling me to run and not be weary and walk and not faint.  Just like He had my reading all arranged that morning, He’s got the answers to our prayers all arranged and we are just waiting for Him to clue us in on them! 🙂

a new me and a new him

I’m really not big on making new year’s resolutions because it seems that they are often too hard and too easily broken.  If they work for you, please don’t take offense.  That’s great for you!

Tim and I did make a resolution though, but it wasn’t at new year’s.  It was actually at Halloween.  We were sitting by the front door with the bucket full of candy.  It was very tempting to gorge ourselves between trick-or-treaters.  We were pretty good and only had a few.  Somehow while sitting there, we got on the subject of weight.  Both of us had been feeling like we had put on too many pounds in the previous months.  It was time for a change!  That night, with the bowl of temptation in our hands, we resolved we were going to lose weight!

But how?  I didn’t really feel like I was eating that much, but still I was gaining weight.  We had started running in the fall months.  It was going fine although it was a struggle especially for me, the beginner runner.  I thought my lungs would explode those first few times around our mile and a half block.  Yet even with running a few times a week, no change in my weight.  Obviously there was something else we needed to do.  Of course, Weight Watchers came to mind, but we didn’t want to pay money, sign up or go to a meeting.  Next option…maybe there was an app that would help us. 🙂

Sure enough, we found an app called iTrackBites that is easy and efficient to use.  It follows the concept of Weight Watchers by using the formula to calculate how many points each food is worth.  We calculated our daily allowance of points and started tracking away our bites.  It quickly became apparent to us that our problem was indeed the things we were eating and how much we were eating of them.  I never knew that all those carbs like bread, potatoes, rice, etc that I so dearly love, even though not consumed in huge quantities, could be so many points.  And sugary things…don’t get me started!

We started officially on November 1, 2011 on our “diet.”  I don’t even like to use the term because we didn’t want a quick fix diet that is not sustainable over the long run.  We wanted a lifestyle change.  I must say it’s been hard to not grab this or that throughout the day.  Which that something was usually carb related like cheese pretzels, one of my favorites.  Before I grab now, I think about my point total for the day and decide whether I want to eat my points then or wait and save them for later.  We’ve worked hard at eating better but not sacrificing everything we love to eat.  We just have to watch the quantity of it and intersperse healthier meals with not so healthy ones so we can still enjoy food and keep within our point limit.

All that being said…Tim is only a couple of pounds away from reaching his 35 pound loss goal and I’ve passed my 10 pound goal and lost about 18 pounds!  We’re pretty happy with our progress!  I think I’m plataueing which is fine with me, but we are excited to see how low Tim can go!  One of the beautiful things of our new eating lifestyle is that we are losing weight and most nights we still have our snack of ice cream or cookies. 🙂  I know you’re probably saying, if you didn’t eat those things, you would probably be losing more weight.  True…but we don’t want to despise the change and risk quitting because it’s too hard.  We’re ok with our drawn out weight loss plan because hopefully it’s not just a phase we are going through but a way of life so we can maintain our weight goals.

I know there are a lot of people out there that want to lose weight.  I encourage you to not give up!  Don’t be in a rush.  Just figure out what will work for you and what you can reasonable maintain over the long haul.  Get an accountability partner.  Make healthier food.  Use products that have reduced or no fat.  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. 🙂  I’ve added a few links in the blogroll to sites that have great low calorie recipes.  Let me know if you would like to know the ones I’ve tried and recommend!  If you have others to recommend, please share in a comment.

So for all of you new year’s resolution makers and all those like us, who don’t make the resolutions but want to make a change…good luck!

 

A Time to Remember

During the first full week of the new year, I attended the funeral for the grandmother of long-time family friends.  January is already a month of remembering for me, but going to the funeral definitely brought the remembering to the forefront of my thoughts.  I only met my friend’s grandmother a few times and that was several years ago now.  She was a very nice lady as I recall.  Hearing her spoke of by her family confirmed how I remembered her.  She was a much-loved mother, grandmother, aunt and friend.  She had lived a long life (90+ years) with many ups and downs and throughout them all, her faith held her steady.  What a testimony.

I’m sure all of us can relate to the feeling of loss when a loved one leaves from this earth.  There are times that I hardly know what to do when the deep feelings of grief hit when remembering my loved ones.  Remembering ones that lived a long time, lived a little less than an expected lifetime and lived not long at all.  I am no expert on grief or how to deal with it so I will not try to give an expert answer.  I guess I just want to share what has been on my heart lately.

The last few weeks, we have started to study Genesis at church.  I was reminded again that God created us in His image and we are the crowning jewel of His creation.  He gave us a mind to think with the capability to remember and He gave us a heart with the capability to love.  These are gifts from Him.  I count them as blessings even though remembering and loving can sometimes bring heartache.  I was just reading again today a brief poem that I had clipped from a newsletter.

If I didn’t know you, I couldn’t like you.

If I didn’t like you, I couldn’t love you.

If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t miss you.

But I did, I do and I will.

~ Author Unknown

When I think about my loved ones, even though there is sadness because they are not here, I am so glad to have known them, liked them, loved them and now miss them.  Better to have known them for whatever amount of time than to never have know them at all.  Each one has touched my life in their own unique way.

Through times of grief, I have seen God work in amazing ways to show me the depth of His love, grace and hope.  Hope is so foundational.  God knew there would be pain and death in our lives, so He gave us the gift of hope through Jesus Christ.  It is this hope that brings comfort and peace to my heart as I think of my loved ones.  Many of them I know are in heaven today and one day I will be there with them.  They are free from the struggles of the earth and living perfectly and happily.  How could I wish them back here?

So today as I am remembering, I am sad, but I am at peace and thankful for my loved ones who have gone on to eternity before me.  Especially today, remembering Grandpa and Emma.  I love and miss you both so much!

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