Posts Tagged ‘family’

9
Jun

My Grammie and the Waltons

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

 

    

My maternal Grandmother, Charlotte, whom we called Grammie. This was taken of her in 1990.

 

 This is my Grammie.  It has taken me almost 6 months to write about this because God has had me on a  journey with it.  I have not grieved so hard since I lost my son 21 years ago.  She died the day after her birthday in January.  I was there with the family as she took her last breath.  I have been living ever since praying for God to remove that vision.  It was not what I would have wanted or would ever have pictured.  I have seen people die before.  But it was different to have someone who so deeply touched my life.  I often said I wanted to grow up and be a Grammie.  She deserves to be remembered and her memory will remain alive through the stories I pass on to my children and grandchildren.  She was there for me so often.  She had a heart that didn’t stop and a deep love for her family.  She had been in much pain for the last 10 years due to a nerve condition that they could never resolve.   

Anthony, my son, who was born September 1989, but died of SIDS at 2 months. Here he is with my sister the day he was born.

 

I have just buried it so I could just get stronger.  I do not know where she was in her walk, though I shared the love of Jesus with, and prayed for, her.  Somehow I kept thinking if I knew she was safe in Jesus’ presence it would make it so much easier.  And I believe it would have, but I think God wants me to feel this uncertainty so that I can cling to Him right now.  So that I feel an even stronger urgency to pray for those I love and have a burden to share the love of Jesus with others.    

 See, our close friends and neighbors had a death on Sunday.  Our friend Len lost his dad.  It was his mom and dad’s anniversary.  I could barely show feelings.  I realize that I have put a bandage on my heart to block the injury I have from losing my Grammie and in the process I have blocked a part of me that feels for others in their grief.  I realized that when I could not allow myself to cry for their loss.  I don’t want to do that again.  I did that for years with Anthony and ended up shunning death and those who mourned.  Time to take the bandage off and give the wound some air so that it can toughen up and heal.    

I think, if I could ask anything of anyone it would be the lesson that came with the Waltons.   

 Gabby, our youngest, has been on a mission to watch all the Walton’s shows first.  I started getting the seasons a few years ago for holidays and then Ron got all but   

#5 of the 8 seasons.  She found that she had really only watched half of them by the time she got to 8 because she did not know the DVDs were two sided.  What I watched was the learning experiences she gained from the show, and what it made me feel in nostalgia.  As the seasons rolled on they lost Grandpa.  Then many health tragedies struck them.  Momma got sick, depressed, and then had to go tend to John boy who was in the hospital after being injured in the war.  Grandma went away for a while after having had stroke herself.  They had a house fire.  All these tragedies, yet we watched their love and faith heal them as a family.  They were never the same after each event.  It changed them.  It changed us.  It made us reflect.  It made us wish we could go back.  Back to the sweet first days when everyone was alive and well.  When youth with all it’s energy and beauty was like the breath of Spring.    

How do you get beyond that in life?  Are you really ever meant to?  For the Walton’s we started watching side two at the beginning of the series today.  We want to go back and with a tv show we can.  Now everyone is alive and all are happy.(though still poor, lol)  But I reflected upon that as I came in to Gabby going, “Hurray!  Grandpa is alive!”  It created a thrill in me.  A joy of sorts.  May seem shallow about a show, but I think it went deeper.  It made me think of Jesus, his sacrifice, and his raising from the dead.  With Jesus we all will have that thrill someday.  I pray that everyone can be certain of that by wrestling with their doubts, their faith, with the realization of their mortality as humans.  Jesus has given us a gift that will allow us to have that thrill one day with our loved ones.  Gift those who love you with a profession of your faith so that they can have the comfort of knowing that they will see you again some day.  If you struggle with the belief in God, Jesus, and salvation I would ask that you write to me.  I would be happy to send you resources or talk to you about what it all means.  I won’t force it upon the unwilling, but will be more than happy to share with the seekers who are hearing Jesus knock on the door of their hearts.  My Grammie had that picture on her wall, but I don’t really know what she made of it.  The picture of Jesus knocking on the door.  I pray she let Him in.    

Blessings, Stephanie

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6
Sep

Blessed with a great day!

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

 

I tend to get excited about things and run into sleep issues.  I wake up in the middle of the night with the “Christmas Eve” syndrome and then I cannot get back to sleep.  It usually is just running through all the great things in my life.  The kids, my husband, all the things we are going to do, the stuff I need to get done for the day.  And before you know it morning is there and I only got a little sleep.  It was starting to catch up with me last week so I tried the Advil PM, but Advil and my stomach do not get along any more.  So I developed a tummy ache for two days.  No, I didn’t take any more.  I did get some natural walmart sleep stuff without the pain reliever.  And that seems to have helped last night some, but I am still recovering from the tummy ache.  Today was a great day and I am ending it tired, but feeling much better.

I taught 3 yr. old Sunday school for the summer.  Between that, our training in South Carolina, and the vacation the kids and I took I got to go to service very little this summer.  I found I was feeling just how much I needed it last Sunday and was quite emotional.  Praising and singing to God does that to me.  It is one of the most special things I think I do in my life.  This Sunday the worship was just as powerful, but I had a better handle on my emotions and just felt joy.  The service was all about what Jesus did on the cross for us.  I never tire of hearing about it.  It is the most important thing anyone has ever done for anyone.  Anyone that has had a child or served their country understands to a certain degree what sacrifice is for someone else.  Two totally different angles, but I think you get where I am going.  But how many of us can say that we have chosen death to save someone that we didn’t even know.  Very few.  i don’t think most of us will know our choice unless we are ever asked to go there.  I do not know what I would chose.  That is a risky thing to say as a Christian.  Because that is what we are called to do.  To follow Jesus and if asked to, give our lives in the service of God.  But speaking frankly from a humanity point of view, most of us do not allow ourselves to go there.  When you make a choice to go into missions many things like this flood your mind.  You realize that God loved you enough to sacrifice the life of His son so that you might be restored to a place to have a relation ship with.  There is much I do not know how to explain about this, but I have read it over and over and I feel I know it.  I do not question the validity or truth of God and the bible because, quite frankly, after the experience I had when I met Christ in a dream I know it is truth.  And I cannot convince anyone, only God can…the way they need to know him, just like he revealed himself to me.  Some do not need as extreme a thing as a dream or vision or prophecy coming true.  But some of us are weaker and need that.  God shed his Grace on me by doing that.  Today we had communion, which is a memorial thing we do at church that is often associated with Catholicism, but it is very Christian in nature, Jesus himself told us to do it.  In the book of Luke, in the bible, in chapter 22 verses 14-20 this is what we read:

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is by body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. ” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Basically this was a Jewish celebration that they were having called passover, which would require way too much story telling for one night, so it was during this time that Jesus decided to foretell the apostles, his followers, to do something special to recognize what he did and bring them back to what was really important.  Some people get freaked out that it talks about his body and blood.  But it is a representative in simple language.  He says, “Listen I want you guys to remember what I did and that will lead you to remember what you are suppose to be doing.  Telling others about how much God loves them.  Tell them what I have been telling them.  And when you come together get refocused by doing this thing.”  This thing we call communion.  We pray before we do it because the apostles teach later in the book 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 26-28:

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

So when I pray things come to my mind like, I spoke harshly to my husband this week.  I got impatient with someone and hurt their feelings, I said a cuss word, etc.  Some of these would not effect some people.  Others may have different things that God is working on in their hearts, but those are mine.  I stop praying and ask my husband for firgiveness, because I can.  the rest I bring before God and ask forgiveness for.  Why?  Because it is important.  When you have a relationship with God he touches you in a special way and it makes you want to be better and do well in life.  Not well as in wealthy, but as in living right.

It was a good day.

Then we went to my great grandmother’ s house for her and my sister’s birthday.  I have a large extended family.  We live just far enough away from them that we only see each other a handful of times each year.  I made a scrapbook for my sister that has pictures from our growing up.  I think the thing that struck me the most was what I missed out on by being so self-absorbed as a teenager.  My sister cried and I think she saw what I saw.  Two sweet little girls that are lucky to be sisters, now.  My great grandmother had kisses and hugs and she was in her glory days by having the family all around her.  Going to the mission field my heart holds more precious the time we have before we go.  I have a special place in my prayers for them because I love them and because like most of the world there is hurting, and sadness, and illness.  We see babies born and those we have known forever are numbering their days.  My Nanna is constantly giving her stuff away.  All of this comes to mind and is somewhat a mystery to me to have  in the world, yet I know that the most growth I have had has been through trial and lifes experience.  I spend more time praying for the purpose to be revealed and strength for the journey than I do for the trial to be gone.  I know there is something to learn.  But sometimes I do not see a lesson in someones hurting.  This I would like to know the reason for.  But it will be revealed in God’s time and I will be patient.

The day was wet on and off and windy, but I looked around the tables at everyone and I see people that deeply love each other and wish they could make each others lives better and I pray for them, I laugh with them, I cry with them, I hug them and joke with them.  They are my blood, my family and I remember all the times in my life when I gathered together with them and I thank God for them.  Time runs out too quickly and we must go.  Life is encroaching and things need to be done.  But I can say, it was such a good day.  I will go to sleep tonight with visions of laughter and family.  People loving people.  Quirky family traits and babies growing too fast.  This life is good, even when it is bad because we are alive and we love and we are loved.  Thank you God for that.

Good night, sweet dreams!

 

 

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