Last week we had visitors from Delaware. Not just visitors...but a very special family!
This is a picture of Erika, with my husband John...at the airport just after we met her. We felt like we knew her already, because we had been praying for her for two years...and we had been in touch through email, and facebook.
Erika is mourning the loss of her beautiful baby daughter Keira, who passed away at the end of August. Baby Keira was just about 5 months old. Keira was a very precious little girl with the sweetest smile. She won our hearts with the first picture we saw of her. She had heart issues, and yet she was such a good natured little one, and she always had a sweet smile on her face...even up until the end of her life here on earth.
Just two years ago Erika lost another baby girl who's name was Hannah Joy, and she went to be with Jesus when she was 4 months old.
This is a picture of Erika, and her husband Joe...and also their 4 year old son Micah. We had just come from the airport where we picked up the Rodgers family, and had taken them to our daughter Lynnette's house in Sedgwick, so that they could meet Lynnette and her husband Kyle and their six kids. Erika had stumbled upon Lynnette's blog about 4 years ago, and she had read her story, of the loss of their two infant sons, and a six year old daughter Anna. It was a story of much loss and sadness, but also a story of the victory that Jesus had brought to them...and the return of their joy that they had regained over the years.
At the time Erika was drawn to Lynnette's story, even though she wasn't in the same situation. Little did she know that she and her husband and son would have so much in common with the Kraft family in just a short time.
Lynnette has written two books, sharing her story, and offering hope to others. Erika has read both books, and is hoping that as they walk through this valley of sorrows, they will make it to the other side, as the Kraft family has done. She came to Kansas on a journey to find understanding, and hope, and encouragement to go on...and to be with people who can truly understand what they are going through.
Sweet Erika is a good listener, and she let me share some burdens that are on my heart. We stayed up late several times past midnight just talking and sharing. God is so good to bring people into our lives. We are amazed that our paths crossed...and we know it was all God!
These two spent hours talking and sharing their stories. I am so glad that God can work His will and bring things about that we sometimes can't even imagine! I am praising God and giving Him all of the glory. I am so excited to see how He brings Erika to a place of victory and of true joy, like he has done with Lynnette. I am certain that He will. She is seeking His will and His plan for her life. Jer. 29:11
My heart has been invested in this sweet family for a couple of years now too, and so it gave me much pleasure to greet them with hugs, and open arms. I just knew that God had arranged this visit, and I was so happy to have this sweet family in our home. Micah was a doll, and he made us smile and laugh...and we were amazed at how smart he was for barely being 4 years old. Each morning at breakfast he would bring smiles to my face with his stories, and his sweet disposition. The Rodgers family blessed us in so many ways. Joe is a wonderful daddy and a great husband. He loves his wife so much and he wants to love and encourage her in any way he can. She had said she wanted to come to Kansas...and he brought her! But in the meantime, he was blessed with the opportunity to visit with Kyle and get perspective from a dad who has lived through the loss of his children.
While they were here they went to our Zoo with Lynnette and the little boys. Micah, and Harrison our 5 yr. old grandson, became fast friends. And they had fun playing with 11 yr. old Silas and 9 yr. old Jonas.
Lynnette's oldest son Jared was once in his same position, and he was also an amazing little boy. Jared lost two brothers, when he was small, and then when he was about 14 he lost his 6 yr. old sister, Anna. Abigail who is 19 has suffered right along with Jared. It is tough...and we hate to see little ones, and teens suffer...but I can honestly say that Jared, who is now 22 is an amazing young man, and Abigail is strong in her faith too. Part of it stems from the strong faith of their family, and how they helped them through the sorrows with honesty, and truthfulness. And that goes for the Kraft's other four kids too. The help and the hope that God has given them has been a constant comfort and encouragement in their lives.
I love all of my girls so much...and I love it that God keeps giving me more girls in my life to love and pray for. God is so amazing! And He has helped all of my girls, and directed their lives in so many ways. John and I blanket them, and their families in prayer everyday. They each bless our lives so much!
The Kraft's story has helped others. They have been able to share comfort with others who are going through great trials. One man who was helped by their story was a 911 dispatcher named Courtney, who took the call the morning that 6 yr. old Anna died. You can read how their story, and Anna's death, changed his life forever, in a book he co-wrote with Lynnette. It is called..."He Heard Hannah". It is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobel.
We don't like to suffer loss, and the sorrows are so difficult to face alone. But God can make all things work together for our good. When we love God He never leaves us, or forsakes us. He is right there with us to walk us through the storms of life, and to shelter us under His wings. He is our strength and our comfort...and our hope!
This is our sweet little Anna. She is forever in our hearts...just as Hannah and Keira will be forever in Erika and Joe, and Micah's hearts. These sweet children were sent into our lives for a reason...many reasons. And God knows why!
Yes,...the Rodgers family are in that storm right now. Won't you pray for them, and ask God to bring them through this? God is so amazing...so faithful! I know they will be ok, because they love the Lord, and they place their trust in Him. It does take time, but God loves them too, and He will embrace them, and He will be their strength, as He was for our family. We wanted to encourage the Rodgers family and God knew that, so he placed them in our hearts, and eventually in our home. It was such a blessing to meet them...and to love on them. I stand in awe of our wonderful Lord!
My husband and I love to pray for others. We place needs before His throne, and ask Him to work on their behalf, as only He can. We all can have a ministry of prayer...and one of reaching out to others....even if we can't do much else. So, won't you please join us in prayer for this family today.
Thanks so much!