“Haiti 8” Missions Trip


This June will mark the fourth anniversary of my husband’s home-going. The past four years held many ups and downs. However, I am thankful my Lord has brought me through those deep waters without letting them overtake me.

At one point I thought, perhaps, I would always carry sadness within me. I learned since then that I have a choice. I could keep looking back and thinking of my loss and what could have been, or I could look up instead. I chose to make an effort to look up to God and to help myself move on.  I started to realize that God had plans for me. He planned for my husband to go home with Him, but what were His plans for me?

He promises to “makes our crooked paths straight” (Isaiah 45:2).  I feel content in the path He has chosen for me. God has opened up new exciting adventures in my life. He led me to start this blog, and recently He directed me to start a fellowship for widows in my area.

Today I want to share with you the recent blessing He has given me. I’ll be joining a team from a local church on their 8th missions trip to Haiti. Because it is their 8th trip they call it “Haiti 8” missions trip.

Step one was to send in my application and references. I praised the Lord when I received acceptance. There will be a few on the team that will be doing fluoride treatments on children, others will be giving eye exams, and some will be working with a doctor on the team.  Because I am an LPN, I’ll be helping  the medical team. Others in our group will work on construction.

I attended my first meeting a few weeks ago and was given a spiritual preparation work booklet and guidelines of what must be accomplished before we leave.

My second challenge was raising support for the trip. Writing a  letter of appeal and sending it  to friends and family was not something I was accustomed to doing, but I realized it would give each of them a chance to be a part of helping those in need in another country.

Next, I had to start the process to receive a passport.

“Did I have my birth certificate?” I was asked.

Hmm…. I found the birth certificate, but it appeared I was hatched, since it had no parents’ names on it. Now obtaining an acceptable birth certificate as soon as possible became a top priority on my list of things to do. After a trip to Harrisburg, Pa., I came home four hours later with the official document in my hand. (Thank you Lord!)  Not too long afterward, I opened the mailbox to find my passport had arrived!

The next very important task took me to the doctor’s office to receive my inoculations. Then the second week of March I received news that my total support was in. This was definitely another praise to the Lord. I started the process late, but God blessed the process in a short amount of time!

The trip will be from April 18th to April 25th. Due to the lack of electricity, and the need to use a generator for a couple hours each evening I will not be able to send regular updates in my blog. Once I am back home I will share the trip with you. I hope you’ll follow me with my preparation and eventual journey to serve the people of Haiti and share Christ’s love with those who need his gift of salvation.

God bless you,

Kathy

Proverbs 4:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct thy paths. “

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Passing Through the Storm


June 4th marked the third anniversary of my husband’s home going. As that day approached, I realized I had reached a milestone in my journey of grief. As I look back at the previous years, all I can picture is a violent storm, as though I have fought my way to the calm at the end of that storm. I visualize my emotions thrashing to and fro with the winds and waves, sometimes crashing violently. But then I can see my Lord in the midst of the chaos, picking me up and holding me close each time I fell. He would then gently send me on my way, always waiting for me when I would reach out to Him.

Isaiah 43:2 reads, “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee….” I’ m thankful that His Word is true, and I can testify that He didn’t let the river overflow me. There’ve been times when I felt the storm might have indeed, overtaken me, times that I thought I might never stop crying again.

I carried a sadness within my soul that I truly was not sure would ever leave. Still, even with that sadness, I had the joy that only comes from the Lord. I’m sure that’s what sustained me.

I’m not fooled into thinking that I’ll never feel sad again. I know sometimes I’ll still shed a few tears, but I see my pathway so much clearer now. I can see my life as Kathy, instead of as Kathy and Phil as I was for 32 years. Just as God had a plan and purpose for me as a wife, mother, and grandmother, I know He also has a plan for me as a widow, mother, and grandmother.

I’ll always love my husband dearly and miss him every day just as I do my son. However, I also know that I’ll keep on walking to the calmer shore, as God makes “the crooked places straight…” Isaiah 45:3.

I pray that each of you will be able to see the shore- line Him to guide you there. God bless you.

A Glimpse of Heaven


Two years ago, on June 4th, my husband entered heaven. Two pictures come to my mind when I think back to that day. They are contrasting pictures.

The first picture is one forever etched into my mind, a memory of how my husband looked as he was dying. Because of the chemo he had no hair. He had not been able to keep his food or drink down, so he was very skinny. He had lost his immunity with a previous bone marrow transplant, so he had developed a bad case of chicken pox which covered his entire head and body. All of these factors added together gave him a very ghastly appearance.

As I now envision that heart-breaking scene, I then shift to the other picture etched into my memory. This picture is actually more of a scene.

While my husband, Phil, was taking his last breaths, he opened his eyes and looked above his head and smiled! He did this three times! The last time he had a look of surprise mingled with his smile. Both my daughters and I were so blessed to have witnessed this. We knew that Phil had seen a glimpse of those who were waiting for him. Was one of them our son? Phil’s mom?  Jesus himself?

Genesis 49:33 says that Jacob “yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”  I believe that all believer’s will be gathered unto their own. There was something very sacred about standing there and witnessing the tunnel of eternity opening to my dearest loved one.

May we all remain faithful until that day that we meet again.

 

A Anniversary Letter to my Husband


Good morning,  honey,

The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the birds are singing. There are lots of  flowers blooming outside. You know how I love spring! A morning like this warms my soul.  God gave us such a beautiful earth. What beauty you must be enjoying in Heaven! I praise the Lord for His wonderful love and goodness! While feeling this joy, I realize that I have a still, small sadness trying to creep inside my soul. May 10th keeps popping into my head. Yes, we would have been celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary this week! Even before I realized it, this sadness was creeping in. However, this year I can say that I have sadness, not sorrow. Last year I felt very sorrowful. There is a difference between the two feelings, and I am so thankful that God has brought me through the deepest of the waters and I am now on the shoreline.

I can’t help but think, “How nice it would have been to have if we could have been together and one day celebrated our 50th wedding Anniversary.” But then my thoughts turn around to realize that to be in God’s will is the only way to have real happiness. You are now in “fullness of all joy”  forever. Psalm 16:11 says, ” …in thy presence is fulness of joy….”  However, I know that this verse applies to me also. As I read this entire verse, ” Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of  joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,”  I take these words to heart. If I strive to live daily in His presence, I can always have that joy He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  I am very thankful that God allowed me to have you for my husband. Our marriage was not perfect,  as no one’s is. But we loved each other deeply. I know that God fulfilled His purpose for you down here on earth, and He now has a further purposefor me. He gave me those precious married years, but He has a plan for me now as a widow. I strive daily to walk in His will and to be sensitive to His plan for me now.

Thank you, honey,  for choosing me as your wife and for being by my side all  those years we had together. You are still my hubby.

We may not live together any more, but my heart is still tied to yours. I love you very much.

Yours forever, Kathy

One year already!


It is very  hard to believe that my beloved husband has been home with our Lord for one year already! He passed away on June 4th, 2011. Those last few days are very clear in my mind. I can remember the day that I realized that the end of his life here was closer than I thought.  I was sorry that I had declined a hospital bed from hospice and was anxious to have it brought out as soon as possible. Phil spent 3 nights and 2 days in that bed. I begged God all day every day to please take him quickly if he was not going to heal him. I praise the Lord that He honored my request and did not allow him to linger here in pain. He ushered Phil into His kingdom so quickly that it felt as though a storm had rushed through.

I would love to have another chance to give my husband a big hug, or to sit and hold his hand. I would even love to sit and rub pain medicine on his feet for him once again, anything to have his presence.  However, I know that those things are never to be experienced again. I also know that with God by my side I will continue to keep my hands to the plow  and keep going forward. God fulfilled His plan for Phil’s life. He has a plan for my life also and I must stay close to Him so I can be sensitive to which crooks and turns I am to take . My pathway of widowhood is still new to me, even though I have traveled it long enough that it is starting to become more and more familiar.My prayer is, “Show me the way Lord in which you want me to go, and I will follow it. Guide me in the right direction for my life.”

I feel that by reaching this one year anniversary I have completed a long and difficult journey. It  feels somewhat like I have jumped over a hurdle. I know that my grief will not be magically over, but I do know that with each passing day and year, it will become easier to bear. I have experienced God’s faithfulness in the worse of trials and I know He will continue to be by my side as the pathway straightens more each day. Praise God for His wonderful goodness! His mercies endureth forever!

Full circle


As I sit down to write this post, I am fully aware that I soon will have come “full circle” with my loss of my husband. By that I mean that on June 4th it will be one year since he passed away.  He passed away from this life into a wonderful, new eternal life. You may wonder how I can say that with such confidence. My confidence comes from my faith in the Word of God. In Romans 6:23 we are told that “…the wages 0f sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  John3:16 says,”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Phil did believe on Him and had accepted Him as his Savior. Because of this,  I know He is in Heaven with His Lord and Savior.

I feel a deep sadness when I think of my beloved husband. I miss him terribly. However, I do not grieve as one that has no hope. I do know that we will be reunited again someday. I know that he is in fullness of all joy and that I too will have that same joy one day.  I have slowly been walking down the pathway before me with all of its ups and downs, twists and turns.  I know that just as I healed from the grief of my son’s death I will also one day be healed from the grief of my husband’s death.

I would like to think that now since I will soon have experienced all of the “firsts” I will completely turn a corner in my grief and not have  sadness any more. However, I know that in reality there is no magical time when you suddenly are healed from your sorrow. God has held my by His right hand and will continue to do so. I can reassure you that as I look back at the past 12 months and compare them to how I feel now I can see that I have come a long way and that God has allowed me to do a lot of healing.

If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one be assured that it will not always hurt so badly. If you do not have an anchor in Jesus Christ to hold on to I can explain to you how you can have it. May God bless you in your journey.