Saturday, July 28, 2018

Change

The Christmas after our son Eddie died was a difficult one for me.  I went to counsel with a dear friend and she made a statement about “change” that I didn’t like, but I decided to really study and pray about.  I do not have her direct quote, because I wrote it in my Bible and then left at church in the songbook rack.  It was never to be found again.  Someone else must have needed to learn about “change”! 

Her statement was basically saying that as we age instead of getting more “stable” our lives seem to change even more.  I realized that I had been waiting to get to the time in life when I could put down deep roots.  However, I discovered that God did not want my roots deep on this earth after all!  I would never have guessed that just 6 months after that counseling time, my family and I would be moved 15,000 miles across the globe to work with the American Military in Okinawa, Japan.  A ministry that is ever changing as our American military and their families are moved all around the world.  Every month we had to say “goodbye” to one of our members.  Our hearts would break a little each time.  And then God would bring a new family or individual to our church.  It was so exciting to see God “change” people’s hearts and lives! 

To say that at times I felt out of my league as a pastor’s wife is an understatement.  I often would tell the Lord that I thought He had made a mistake as I am way too human for this job!  Of course, He would remind me through His word, the preaching, my husband, and many other ways that this was exactly His will for my life.  One of the greatest blessings I received from our move to Okinawa was the wonderful pastor the Lord gave me in my husband.  Many times I had heard other pastor’s wives and missionary wives complain because they felt they lost the opportunity to have a pastor when their husbands became one.  I was honestly concerned about this when my husband was placed by the Lord in the pastorate.  What a joy it was for my faith to increase under my husband’s preaching and leadership as my pastor!  It was easy for me to see that he was the exact pastor that God wanted me to have at that time.  It was exciting to watch him grow in so many areas of his life during our time in Okinawa.  I know that Eddie’s death was hard on Randy in a special way.  They had had their difficulties, but there is a bond that only a father and son can have.  An unconditional love that a Dad has for his boy.  Although God cannot return our son to us here on earth, nor would we want Him to, He gave my husband many “sons” in Okinawa to help nurture and admonish!  This was one of my husband’s greatest blessings in the ministry. 

I really thought that Okinawa would be the end of transitioning for a while.  God revealed that He had other plans when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2009.  I had a mastectomy on December 11 and started an 18-month chemotherapy regiment in January 2010.  By March, it was clear that the church needed more than we could give.  We prayed and asked for direction.  One day in April when we went for a treatment, the doctor told us he felt it was time we return to the States.  We sought counsel, prayed more, and read our Bible.  Randy announced to the church and we prepared to move off the island in 3 months. 

Just when I thought I had it all figured out…one Sunday morning in the middle of July I woke up and Randy told me that my Dad had suffered a very serious stroke and they were not sure he would live.  We flew to Minnesota to be by his side and the Lord pulled him through.  This brought a big change in my father’s life and I did wonder, at the time, if God in His infinite wisdom had made a mistake. Even though he remained paralyzed on one side and would never walk again, the benefits I gained from having him in my life for almost 7 more years were priceless. I have missed him this last year more than I ever thought I would, but that story is for another day.

I could go on about our move back to the States, settling in Ohio, moving out to Connecticut, coming back to Ohio, and our travels to India, Armenia, Ireland, England, Portugal; but I do not want to be tedious.  There are many things I would not have seen if I had not been willing to accept the “change” that God has brought into our lives over the years.  I cannot say that I love “change” anymore today, but I do understand that it is necessary for God’s will to be accomplished.  I can say that I do love the benefits that change brings.  God always uses it for our good:

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Where is Your Faith?



I Love You, Dad.  I started this post back on July 22, but couldn't get anything written other than those four words.  It is what was in my heart.  Oh, there were more feelings and thoughts, but only those four words could be expressed out loud.  

On June 30 my father, Ronald David Wagner, stepped out of this earthly plain and into Heaven's.  In December, we will lay him to "rest."  I know he is in a better place and suffering no longer, but I'm not.  On that day I became an "orphan" of sorts.  He was 82.  My mother traveled her journey from this world back in 1985 when she was just 47.  I miss him.  I miss hearing him say, "Well, hello Kelly.  How are you doing?" 


In April, my dear mother-in-law also journeyed "Home."  One day we were planning our schedule and deciding our trip to see them and the next day....the phone rang.  "Dad called an ambulance for mom," Randy's sister said on the other end, "and you know he would never do that.  I'm headed over there now."  There was no time for one last hug from her.

I am sorry to admit that when I used to hear of people's aged loved ones passing, I thought it sad, but inevitable and didn't really think their grief would be as poignant or devastating.  I was w-r-o-n-g.  Losing a loved one is never easier.  It is never the right time.

Today our dear friends bury their 23-year-old son.  Since hearing of his death on Sunday, I have felt a deep sadness.  Sadness for this young man's family.  Sadness for myself.  Our own son was 24 when a car accident took his life 14 years ago.  

Death is hard....always.  It doesn't matter the person's age, status, or wealth.  If they were loved, it is hard.  We, the living, must go on.  There are those around us who would be grieved if we didn't keep going.  The only thing that really matters is what or rather WHO our faith is grounded in.  

On Sunday morning our pastor preached an excellent sermon.  I knew I needed it as soon as he started preaching, "Where Is Your Faith?"  Jesus asked his disciples this question in the middle of the storm.  The pastor's parting words that morning were, "The ship won't sink and the storm will pass."  The only requirement for them was to stay in the ship with The ONE who calms the seas.  

Let me ask you, where is your faith?


Friday, January 27, 2017

I'm a Cherished Lady

Let's start our own "march" where we don't have to leave home, scream like idiots, or trash America's streets!  In response to "I'm a Nasty Woman" and Ashley Judd : The "I'm a cherished lady!" virtual  march!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

At the foot of the Mountains of Ararat!



Oh the beauty that is Armenia! The country, the history, the heritage, but most importantly --the PEOPLE! Amidst the beauty of the mountains, lakes, trees, green hills, blue skies, it has been the Armenian people that captivate my heart and thoughts.





Gracious,  friendly, hospitable, kind, and giving, are just a few of the words I would use to describe them. Most have had a harder life than I could ever imagine and yet they open their hearts to us.

Thank you!




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to my Hubby!!

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