Friday, June 5, 2009

I HAVE A STORY....

the following is the speech that i gave in our church a few weeks ago. talk about NERVE RACKING!!! God is good....i made it through.....as a result several people want to be involved with Starlight Ministries, the Sunday school next year is going to be raising money towards seth bears (since most of them knew seth), and we received 2 donations!!! all in all....God was glorified and we were very encouraged to keep pressing on....

I HAVE A STORY
i have a story....not one i ever wanted.....but one i feel God wants me to tell. This part of my story begins 18 months ago....on a sunday afternoon....when we had to say good-bye to seth for the last time this side of Heaven. for those who don't know....on nov. 4, 2007 our 10 year old son died after he was hit by a car while crossing 44th street. he spent his last few hours with 2 of his brothers and our wonderful babysitter, keri. she had taken the 3 of them to her brother's soccer championship game. after the game they were going back to her car when the boys ran on ahead through the first road on 44th. keri called to him to stay in the median and wait for her. seth continued running through the first lane of the 2nd road and then paused in the middle of the road. after waiting for a split second he took off again....running faster than ever. it was at that point when the car hit him and he died the next day. everyone at the accident saw it that way....greg and i choose to believe it happened another. we believe with every ounce that seth didn't just decide to finish crossing that street. we KNOW that at that point is when he saw his Savior for the first time....face to face....calling him home. what parent could be more proud of a child....than to know that the last act on this earth was one of obedience....for when seth was called Home....he didn't walk......he ran......right into the arms of God.

since that day we have been comforted in so many different ways. many.....MANY..... of those ways were from all of you. the outpouring of love and support from our Ridgewood family was more than we could ever have dreamt. in so many ways we were comforted by you:
......the hundreds of cards,
.....the 6 months worth of meals brought to us,
.....the 2 months of school lunches made for our other kids so that i wouldn't be reminded every day i was making one less,
.....the friends that came alongside us during that week and kept the house going when we were living in a state of shock,
.....the hugs given - when there weren't any words to be said,
.....the pats on our backs or hankies given to us during a service when we were brought to tears once again.
each and every way we were comforted. for that we will be eternally grateful to you. we've said before that God has asked us to walk a very deep and dark valley.....but we were never asked to do it alone....for you all were right beside us comforting us along the way.

the week following seth's death is a blur to me, but there are some very vivid memories that God has gifted to me. one was on the day of seth's funeral, that night greg and i fell into bed and were finally able to talk over what had happened that day. at the end of that conversation i remember saying to greg that i felt as if God was working in my heart for some reaon...that He was stirring something. greg said that he felt the same way. we chucked it up to grief and just tried to press on. the following months we were still feeling that sense of working....a sense of calling. we knew that He was at work becuz it was the same feeling he gave to us just before asking us to adopt....we're NOT adopting again...at least not now! but we knew that He was preparing us for something else.

in the last 6 months, He has made His calling very clear. greg and i have begun the process of starting a non-profit ministry to comfort grieving children who have experienced a death of someone in their lives.
...we want to provide a safe, Christian place for children who are on their own grief road.
...we want to provide a place where they will feel comfortable expressing their grief.
...we want to provide a place where they will be with other children who are also grieving - to know that the feelings they are feeling are 'normal' for their situation.
...we want to provide a place to comfort these children in the same way we were comforted by all of you.

we are calling it starlight ministries....star in memory of our seth - for whenever i told him i love you to the moon he would always reply 'and to the stahs'. and light....for we tell our kids that we don't get why God had them lose their brother....but one day they will be lights to someone else.

part of this ministry includes a partnership with the area funeral homes. we will be supplying them with what we are calling 'seth bears'. our hope is that each child who is beginning their own grief road will be given one of these bears. it's a way to begin that healing by providing just a little comfort in form of a teddy bear. along with the seth bear will be a letter explaining what starlight ministries is about and inviting them to join. this if just one way that we feel God has called us to minister to these hurting and grieving children.

i wanted to tell you my story today for several reasons. the first was to publicly say thank you to all of you for being by our side and helping us to press on in the midst of our grief.

another reason is to let you know how God has been working in our lives in regards to starlight ministries and to invite you to become involved if you feel called. that may be helping jayne in the kitchen, maybe delivering our seth bears, or perhaps becoming a facilitator. we ask for your prayers....we are truly very much out of our comfort zone.....but right in the middle of His hands. the same hands that received our son 18 months ago is leading us still today.

finally i wanted to tell you my story so that i could say on this side of a loss that big.....to God ALONE be all the glory and honor and praise.