I Am A Child of God, by Jim Veenstra

“How can I say thanks

For the things You have done for me?

Things so undeserved

Yet you gave to prove your love for me.

The voices of a million angels

Could not express my gratitude.

All that I am and ever hope to be

I owe it all to thee”  

            “My Tribute” by Andraé Crouch

Thus, I began my tribute by singing to my mother, Elaine Veenstra, at her Celebration of Life this summer.  Little did I know the journey of grief, emptiness, and joy that I would encounter. We owe so much to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  How do we express our gratitude? How do we express our gratitude for the Mother and Father that God has given us?

My Father went to be with the Lord, August 7, 2009.

My Mother joined him this summer, June 19, 2018.

What a summer.  My wife Jeri and I went on Lee University Medical Mission trip to Guatemala. God was blessing us with the opportunity to serve His kingdom with needed medical clinics. I received a text on my phone even though I had it on airplane mode that Mom had been rushed to the hospital.  When we got back to WIFI access, we were able to Face Time with her at the hospital room.  My brother and sister were there.  We were able to tell Mom how much we loved here and looked forward to seeing her when we returned to the USA. 

She passed about 20 minutes later.  We had been able to say goodbye.  She was surrounded by those she loved. She was not alone.  She is now with the Lord, Dad, and all those who have already entered His presence. She is free of pain in her new body; filled to overflowing with joy.

We were not alone.  We were surrounded by the ministry team who wept and prayed for us. God had provided us with the hands of other believers being laid upon us. Mom was an intercessor who covered the family with an umbrella of prayer.   It is greatly missed. With Mom’s leaving, we have missed her phone calls, her cards, her cooking, and special thoughtfulness. On my birthday, August 23, I missed her singing Happy Birthday.

At her Celebration, the congregation sangHappy Birthday” to her. This was her birthday celebration of her new life in Christ. What a celebration.  What a Joy.  What a legacy: two sons and a daughter who love the Lord . . . grand kids and great-grand kids, and etc. In conclusion, Mary Jane testified of her faith, by singing “Amazing Grace”.

The joy of celebrating her life has been contrasted by the journey of grief and an overriding sense of loss. The loss of both Mother and Father has left me with an emptiness.  An emptiness that leaves one feeling like an orphan.  But how can that be true?  Where is my faith, my foundation on solid rock, my security?  Why is there this heaviness . . . this weight?

This has required a reexamination of the Word and relationship.  How can I now walk in faith and truth and not just the experience of grief?   I must be reminded that I am surrounded by family by blood and by brothers and sisters by the blood of my Savior.

What does the Word say?  Galatians 4:4-7 says that I am no longer a slave to law or experience.   Since I am a son, then I am an heir of my Heavenly father through Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

My true home is with God, my Abba Father (Romans 8:14). As His son, the Holy Spirit is helping me in my weakness in the intercessory prayer of my groaning and weeping. I can stand on the firm foundation that I AM NOT AN ORPHAN but am waiting in anticipation for the passing into His glory and all those who are with him.  All will work together for good. (Rom 8:28) My prayer is that all those who I have the privilege of influencing will join me in GLORY,