Tracing God’s fingers in my life is a ton of fun for me but it also provides comfort and confidence for me in the life ahead. Of course when I look back, I would not want to repeat some of the trails and steps I have made….but I would not trade the lessons I have learned nor the people I have met.
Some trails I would walk over and over again for the benefit I have received. One of the most incredible blessings from a trail we chose in the year 2000 has been the friends we have made. Usually these kinds of friends are made from living near each other and sharing life with each other on a daily basis–raising children together, attending church together, etc. But this trail provided a unique friend group from different states across America. The “law of attraction” applies here because we made friends with people who loved the Lord and had the same vision for themselves and their families. This past weekend we had a reunion with one of these families.
I love to share a portion of their story. Teri and Jeff Kerby are incredible friends, parents and lovers of Jesus who live in Alabama. In May, our daughter Collins and I were able to take a trip to Florida and reunite with some of the girls from this unique friend group. It was such a great time of catching up. I got to pick up Teri, who came a day later, by myself at the airport. I was looking forward to the time of briefly catching up.
I knew her 15 year old son had been diagnosed with a terminal illness but wasn’t sure of the details. So after she jumped into the car, I simply cut to the chase and said, “Let’s forget the small talk. Update me on Adam.” She proceeded to walk me through the details of Batten disease and what their life was like…and what the future would look like. She was very hopeful that they would have Adam for 5 to 6 more years.
She updated me on her other two precious children, Autumn and AJ, as well. That week was priceless with just being able to learn more about their lives. She shared of Adam’s spirit and love for Jesus and orphans (his love was developed over the decision Jeff and Teri made to open their home to house members of the African Children’s choir one year). Teri’s story was compelling to Collins and me and taught us many lessons. Little did we know that on July 23, 2014, we would receive the call that Adam had died in his sleep! I can now look back and see God’s hand in the girls’ trip in May and in this past weekend with the Kerby’s.
This past weekend Teri and Jeff traveled to Columbia for a 90% social visit and 10% business visit. They shared with us all that God was doing through the pain and loss of their “precious Adam!” Because of Adam’s heart for orphans, they have taken the steps to start a foundation–ARK (Adam Reid Kerby) to the Nations. They have partnered with an organization called, Children’s Cup, who feed orphans.
Jeff had just returned from Africa where he made a video to show us of their plans. They also informed us that there are 60 million orphans in Africa. The details are too much to share here. See the website link at the end of the post. I encourage you to visit the website, if for nothing more than to pray for their hearts and efforts.
As we sat for hours and talked…we traced back the steps that we took individually long ago (then strangers) that brought us to be together on this particular weekend. It was God. It was His hand. His plan. His will! I am excited to involve myself in God’s call on their lives to feed the widows and orphans. James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Now, I have to mention this side note that is an extremely important one that deals with our family personally. This past May, while having our girls week with Teri and others, we received a call that our friends and neighbors, Pat and Tobin Cassels, had lost their 21 year old son, Toby. We were devastated and pained. Little did we realize we would receive the same call from Teri just 8 weeks later. You see, Pat was my college roommate and we cheered together at Clemson. Currently, we are neighbors and go to church together. Two families that we love and adore were in the most devastating circumstances. I was surrounded by friends who were facing the unimaginable.
This past summer my heart was crushed and heavy for our friends. I couldn’t imagine, and still can’t, their loss and pain..but what God is teaching me through the Cassels, and now the Kerbys, is that He comforts in the storm. He has led both of these families to do amazing things…as a result of their pain. I laid awake most of Sunday night just marveling and praying for these grieving parents who love Jesus…and have a “new vision of Heaven”, a new normal, a new purpose…that is more kingdom-minded than ever.
I am humbled…by their hearts and actions. God has used their loss and pain to profoundly alter my life. It has awakened me to the “important”. It has detached me more from the world around me. It has caused me to ask myself not just daily, but hourly….”What are you going to do now?” I know for sure…I am going to participate…in their efforts through prayer, support, and physically going to Africa.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words….I have realized God wants me to be a “first-hand witness”. I recently spoke to a ladies group about becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable…if you want to truly grow in Christ. If you want an authentic life….I encourage you to ask God to show you the next step of growth in your walk with Him. He will not disappoint….but be ready to change. God wants to be magnified in our lives. He wants to be supreme above all things.
I can tell you this…when you decide to decide for a “new normal” in life…God shows up and shows out. Join me for this ride…share your story with me and others. “Become transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
www.arktothenations.com ….”We can do so much more together than we could ever do apart!”