Posts Tagged ‘love’


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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The Taste of Grace

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

One of my required reads for mission preparation is Philip Yancey’s ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’.

I am an avid reader.  The #2 definition of avid being: Marked by active interest and enthusiasm.  I love to read and taste new things with my mind.  I love to learn and feel so blessed when it is something that changes my heart to see Jesus just a little better.  I often feel like a I walk through life knowing full well that I only get a tiny speck of what the Lord is trying to convey to me, but I press on and thank Him for what he does allow me to “get”.

Back to the book.  I am loving it.  But in a bitter sweet way.  Like you take a bite of something sweet and delicious to only discover it has gone bad and taste horrible in your mouth.  You still love the dessert, but that particular piece was not the taste you expected.  I find this to be true of this subject and book because it speaks the truth that we often don’t want to recognize, but feel all the same.  We have been given the gift of grace, by God, and yet we are poor conduits of this in our own Christian walk.  We see a homeless person on the side of the road and we frown and think, ‘go get a job’.  We see a mom yell at her kids in the store and we think, ‘get a grip’.  We see our spouses or children make silly mistakes or forget things and we get angry and irritated, ‘Can’t you do anything right?’  Yet, God sees all our sins, hurts, and mistakes and he offers us grace.  Grace for us to give would be looking through God’s eyes at our world.  Looking at that homeless person and giving them a sincere smile and wave or hello and saying a prayer.  Helping if we can.  Looking at the mom in the store and realizing that we all have breaking points and do things we wish we would not have.  Praying for her and maybe offering a helping hand or a look of understanding.  Seeing our children’s silly mistakes or our spouse’s forgetfulness and applying the grace we received that made us realize God’s love when we did not deserve it.  “Oh honey, it’s ok.  We all make mistakes.” or maybe holding our temper at the forgetfulness and just repeating it for the 10th time out of love for them.  I don’t know.  But I know that I am not good at it and God is giving me a bitter bite of something good so that I can remember what it is suppose to taste like without taking it for granted.  Back to reading…

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I’ll be Home for Christmas?

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission


Missionaries get to ponder all kinds of things we don’t even think about until we realize that the reality of what we’re doing is going to effect every part of our lives.  Then little by little, like the skin of an onion (love Shrek) you start peeling at the meaning of life as a missionary.  Our oldest daughter is reading the book From “Jerusalem to Irian Jaya”, a biographical history of Christian missions.  We did not pick it, but it is part of her curriculum, and we believe God’s choice for her because of what he has in store.  She has not gotten to the story that is mentioned below yet, but I ran across it while looking for a graphic for the blog.  It touched me because there may be a time when Ron is up river, on a boat, and cannot make it home.  Looking at things from a Christ-eyed prospective changes a lot and keeps us from taking it personally.  At least in an offended way.  So I would like to share this story from one missionary’s Christmas. 

 It was only a few days before Christmas as Bernie May, a pilot for Wycliffe Bible Translators successfully delivered emergency medical supplies to the isolated Amazon village. Now he eagerly anticipated being back with his wife and children in their South American home-away-from-home. Yet as the evening grew dark, he knew he would not be able to fly out until the morning.

With his pontoon plane waiting on the river, Bernie arranged for temporary protection for the night. But then . . . it began to rain. The rain continued, even up until Christmas Eve, the missionary felt increasingly depressed by his misfortune. His wife, Nancy, and their boys were six hours away; and by this time, they would have received his radio message: he would not be home for Christmas.

As a family, they had prepared their hearts to be separated from their loved ones and friends, but it was Christmas Eve . . . and they were now separated even from each other.

Back in Pennsylvania, everyone would be coming home from church-to the sounds of caroling, the smell of roasting turkey, and the sight of falling snow. But where was God’s missionary? Here he was . . . stuck in a remote jungle . . . in a makeshift shelter . . . in the pouring rain . . . alone.

In Ruth Tucker’s book From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, Bernie May tells of his experience:

“Oh God,” I moaned, “I’m in the wrong place.” . . . But that night, under my mosquito net, I had a visitation from God-something like those shepherds must have had on the hills of Bethlehem.

There were no angels, and no bright lights. But as I lay there in my hammock, desperately homesick, I felt I heard God say, “My son, this is what Christmas is all about. Jesus left heaven and on Christmas morning He woke up in the ‘wrong place’-a stable in Bethlehem. Christmas means leaving home, not going home. My only begotten Son did not come home for Christmas-He left home to be with you.”

(Excerpted from The Mission-Minded Family – Releasing Your Family to God’s Destiny, by Ann Dunagan – Published by Biblica/Authentic – Click here for a FREE Sample)


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