10 Months


I’ve been sad lately.
I think it all started on Friday. Friday afternoons/evenings are special. While there are some variables, it always involves a movie, lots of pizza and soda! The boys look forward to it all week, and it’s usually a fun-filled night of family time.
This Friday, however, was the beginning of the sadness. While Aaron and the boys watched Star Wars, I sat in the dining room by myself eating pizza. Aaron was on call and Noah was feeling a little sick so we didn’t have company. We decided to do a quiet evening as a family, and the boys wanted a boy movie. I could have joined the ‘man party’ but I was overcome by my lack of a companion. The fact that I didn’t have a little girl to share the evening with was too much to bare.

Missing the chance to kiss her sweet face...

Missing the chance to kiss her sweet face…

Since that night, a new wave of grief has overwhelmed me. I find myself wondering how long her hair would be now. Would I know what to do with it? Besides ponytails and pigtails, I’m a rookie at girly hair dos. Would she like movie nights as much as her brothers? Would they delight in watching girly movies with her? How much would she rule the roost?? How many words would she have? I wonder what she looks like, how she walks and runs, what her voice sounds like, how she would fit into this Tenwek community.

Hannah made some friends in her short time at Tenwek.

Hannah made some friends in her short time at Tenwek.

At this point, 10 months since we said good-bye to Hannah, these really sad days aren’t quite as frequent. They only happen about once a month. BUT when they come, they are still so deep and painful. It’s like the door of grief breaks open like a flood and I’m left drowning in tears.
I don’t think I’m pretending or stuffing the grief down. Whether I like it or not, I’m moving on with life. I’m teaching the missionary kids, hosting visitors, planning trips, joining ministries, etc. I’m trying my best to obey God’s direction for my life, to submit to His timing in all areas, to bring Him honor and glory in it all. Even when I don’t understand, especially when I miss her so much that I can’t stop crying, I still trust God with my life. I trust Him so much that I yell at Him, I question Him, I tell Him I hate this part of the plan!

The 4 kiddos sucking on sugar cane.

The 4 kiddos sucking on sugar cane.

But here is the bottom line: No matter the circumstances, God does not change. If I can praise Him on the mountain top, I must praise Him in the valley. I was created to bring HIM glory. I was brought here to serve a God that is good and holy and righteous. If I fail to do my part in His plan for me, He doesn’t win. I give satan the victory. And that, friends, is not going to happen! If I must endure this season of grief, you better believe that I’m going to make it worthwhile. I will give God all the glory, praise and honor He deserves, even when I feel like He doesn’t deserve it. Because my emotions do not have the power to change who God is. I know my firm standing on my Solid Rock mades satan cringe. It makes his plan for this trial fail. In that, I greatly rejoice.

Playing in the rain!

Playing in the rain!

“…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1:6b-7

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for visitors! Aaron’s mother and stepdad will be arriving this week! Please pray for their travels. They leave PA on Tuesday and arrive at Tenwek on Thursday.

2. Praise God for great friends! God has blessed us with such a great support system here at Tenwek. When I am feeling especially sad, these friends rally around us and we are so grateful!

3. Praise God that my house helpers are back! They have cleaned the house from top to bottom in effort to prepare for our visitors. The walls are washed, the mosquito nets are clean and even the front porch is spotless!

4. Please pray for my dad. He completed this last treatment today! Pray that the cancer is gone and NEVER comes back!

5. Pray for Noah. He will turn 8 on the 18th. Pray that God will richly bless him and grow him as an 8 year old.

6. Pray for all of us as we anticipate Hannah’s 2nd birthday on January 22. We are planning a celebration, but it is not at all what I thought her 2nd birthday would be.

“10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 5:10-11

God always keeps His promises.

God always keeps His promises.


12 responses »

  1. I thank God for your honesty in sharing your life in Christ with us. You are a shining example of a committed Christian. We continue to lift you up in prayer.

  2. God bless you, be with you and comfort you as you move through this wave of grief. I can not imagine the pain this has caused you and your family.
    Your faith and trust in our Lord is beautiful. You are able to praise Him in this storm! He will sustain you and as you already know, you will see your beautiful girl again.
    Your faith and testimony are amazing examples of the strength and courage we can only find through Christ. Praying for you and your beautiful family. Will especially pray next week on the 22nd. Blessings!

  3. My father in law sends us an email every morning and this was it on 1/14/2013. After reading your entry I wanted to share it with you. I am praying for you and your family.

    “I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

    The UNCHANGEABLENESS of God. What an anchor for a storm tossed sea! Change is our portion here on earth! Scenes are altering. Joys are fading. Some friends are removed by distance; others have gone to their ‘long home.’ Who, amid these checkered experiences, does not sigh for something permanent, stable, enduring? The vessel has again and again slipped its earthly moorings. We long for some secure and sheltered harbor.

    “I am the LORD, I do not change!” Heart and flesh may faint; yes, do faint and fail — but we have an unfainting, unfailing, unvarying God! All the changes in the world around us — cannot affect Him. Our own fitfulness cannot alter Him. When we are depressed, downcast, fluctuating, our treacherous hearts turning aside “like a broken bow,” He is without one “shadow of turning.” “God who cannot lie,” is the superscription on His eternal throne; and inscribed on all His dealings.

    “I am the LORD, I do not change!” Precious name! It forms a blessed guarantee that nothing can befall me but what is for my good. I cannot doubt His faithfulness. I dare not arraign the rectitude of His dispensations. It is covenant love which is now darkening my earthly horizon. In this hour of my affliction, He is the same — as when He “spared not His own Son!”

    Oh, instead of wondering at my trials, let me rather wonder that He has borne with me so long! It is of the Lord’s unchanging mercies that I am not consumed. Had He been man, changeful, vacillating, as myself — long before now would He have spurned me away, and consigned me to the doom of the cumberer! But, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” “I am the LORD, I do not change!”

  4. Steph 😦 love and miss you… continuing to pray for you… Tell Aaron’s mom I said hi–I’m sure she’ll bring a lot of smiles along with her 🙂

  5. This morning I too was praying about the holes left in my heart. I do not pretend to comprehend your grief most could not bear it as you are or use it to Glorify our all knowing God, so thank you for that. My prayer today is that God be enough to fill those holes to the point of satisfaction. And that he would use these tender moments to draw us even closer to His breast and rest our weary heads.

  6. Thank you for being honest…even the hard stuff. We lost our 12 year old son 3 years ago and I have wondered what my husband must be feeling when he sees me and out two daughters have girl time. I am so sorry for your loss! Sherri

  7. Dear Mrs Kelly,
    I am know stranger to the feeling of loss and Grief.. My life was demolished in 1983 and I prayed Psalm 40:1 for many years, feeling like perhaps God wasn’t listening. Three years ago God began to answer my prayers. Things are not what I dreamed of, nor can anything replace the loss, but The Lord continues to Love and sustain me. I just continue to try and walk in obedience, read the Word, and trust all His promises apply to me! I am so sorry you are sad, but I can testify that over the years the grief never diminishes, but the gratitude for what God does everyday far out weighs it. Trust Him! At night when I feel overwhelmed with sadness, I recite Psalms 23 and before I know it I fall into peaceful sleep. I have been praying and thinking of you and Aaron since before Hannah’s homecoming, I pray you will remain steadfast and determined. I pray you will overcome.
    You are amazing and a strong reminder that God is the giver of all strength and wisdom.
    Blessings, Teri Nichols
    Missionary to Jamaica

  8. This is Christina Francis. I’m a former post-resident and I work at Kapsowar with the Rhodes.
    I have been following you guys through SP and I just want you to know that we are praying for you in Kapsowar. May you be lifted up and strengthened today! We’d love to have you guys visit us here sometime. Know that we will continue to lift you up!

  9. Hugs, Stephanie……my heart cries with you as you walk through the waves of grief and rejoices as you continue to surrender. Praying for you’all as you face Hannah’s birthday, one day after Hadassah’s due date. May God be glorified through the tears.

  10. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You and your family are always in our thoughts and prayers. THINK Phil 4:8 we love you guys

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