A Note From The Pastor


A Note From The Pastor

We had a touching Celebration of Life for Penny Huizinga’s homecoming on Saturday.  Here are Maureen’s words about her daughter.

“It seems reasonable to start at the beginning of Pen’s story.  Before she was our daughter, she was God’s gift to another couple in another country.  Her mom and I both waddled our ways into December of 2000, full of baby belly and dreams for our little girls.  Would she arrive before Christmas?  Who would she look like?  Would her name fit her?  Who would she grow to be?  A thousand dreams and prayers were probably had.  While I would continue to waddle along right through the holidays, Pen’s first mother brought her baby girl into the world on the 20th day of December and exited it herself the same day.  It was likely apparent that the tragedy that took her mother didn’t spare Pen, and her father placed her into the care of the state who promised to meet all of her needs.  Nearly 13 years went by.  Her orphanage provided less than even the absolute bare minimum, but defying the evil of this world, our girl survived.  Hidden away, nothing should have changed, ever, until her tiny body caved to the intolerable conditions.  But God.  In a series of events that only He could orchestrate, our hidden treasure and so many others were discovered and covered by prayers, found families who would cross an ocean to bring them home and shower them with love.  We knew, collectively and individually, that we’d never love that place away nor could we fully undo the harm that was done.  But we were resolved to love our girl without placing expectations on her.  Only the confidence that He who began a good work in her would faithfully continue it.  So, with prayer and arguably a certain amount of blissful ignorance on board, we brought a 20 lb. virtual twin daughter home, and began the hardest, most beautiful journey.  Our journey as a family was as inexplicable by earthly standard as those first 13 hidden years.  We watched a tiny girl bloom into a curious little girl, then a sassy teen, and into a tender young lady who loved her pets, her music, babies, and her family with a devotion I could only dream of having.  We watched her develop communication skills and charm every nurse, tech, physician, and therapist she ever met.  She fought back against multiple conditions that threatened her life and inspired others to support the care and hospital that helped her live WELL.  Most of all, she radiated the light of Christ, beautiful, grace-filled, and miraculous.  A good work completed indeed.  And then, God in His perfect way, called our baby girl home. Our beautiful girl’s life was never without challenges, and even with the miracles we saw manifested, her body bore the brunt of Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, and chronic lung damage.  Numbered days are the truth of all our lives, but no amount of knowledge, right doctrine, nor understanding keeps your heart from shattering when you must say goodbye.  Her greatest day, entering into glory, to praise the Lord whole and healed, was the hardest day of my life.  Praise God-the God who understands the pain of saying goodbye to His child, for His peace.  There isn’t a neat & pretty ending I have to offer.  The loss of a child is beyond comprehension.  Grief floods in and over you like a tidal wave.  Existing hurts.  Explaining hurts.  Beating back against the enemy’s whispers that if I had done more, done it better, prayed more, or tried harder this wouldn’t have happened exhausts you-body, mind, and soul.  God’s goodness doesn’t negate the pain of her absence, the soul crushing grief of seeing the empty space where her bed was, where her chair should be, where SHE should be.  The pain is real; the mercy of Christ is in the hope; the ability to withstand this knowing that I will see her again.  The hope is real, and it is what I cling to.  Trust.  Believe.  And what I pray for you.  Trust the Savior who will make all things new.  Then love–love with unfiltered joy.  Pet kittens.  Get puppy kisses and play the music louder than you should.  Cross oceans and take big risks that don’t make sense to the world.  It won’t be safe; it will probably break your heart.  But remember:”

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.   But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.. James 1:2-4

Please be in prayer for Paul Rodgers, son of Richard and Dimetra, as he is having hernia surgery Tuesday morning.

Cathy and I will be heading up to Canton this weekend for the Leadership Development Team meetings.  Thank you for your prayers & we’ll be praying for you.