Nettie Kelsey experienced a mother’s heartache in losing one son in a car accident and another son to prison because he was the driver of that car. Hope came when he was also sentenced to drug rehab. He was turning his life around. And then she received another phone call. Here is the rest of her story. (To read the story in full form, click here)
We were on the road shortly after hanging up the phone. It was the longest trip we ever took. We arrived at the hospital and saw our son laying there still and helpless. While in Michigan the Lord placed family and friends from Central Indiana to Michigan to stand alongside us, helping us through another nightmare in our lives. Our youth pastor from Indiana was there along with many people from Josh’s church in Michigan. They prayed with us, comforted us, brought food, shared with us, and even furnished an apartment for us to stay while we were there. They brought CD’s of the Bible, healing scriptures, and worship music to play in Josh’s hospital room. They truly reached out to us in every way imaginable.
Josh lived for 5 days.
We never dreamed we would be in this situation again. Just like four years earlier at the courthouse, we were face with two choices – to trust in the Lord to get through this or to get through it on our own. We chose to continue to trust God.
Once again we needed to step back and look at our lives and the path we had walked. We were reminded of the Lord’s blessings and what we had learned through it. We saw we had become too comfortable in our faith walk and it was time for us go to deeper in our relationship with God. We learned if we surrendered everything to Him that He will turn around what the enemy meant for evil for the good for those who love Him (Genesis 50:20). The Lord had proved Himself faithful to us over and over. We knew that only through Him would we be able to grow stronger, that there were lives already impacted through our heartache. One example was that of the youth pastor who supported us those days after Josh overdosed. Through our painful circumstances, God opened doors that eventually led to a church plant started by this young man, Brian, his wife Tiffany and their family. God keeps multiplying over and over the blessings He has for us, for His honor and glory.
Our nightmare started in 2001. Often we couldn’t see how anything good could come from it. Now, just when I think it has come full circle, the Lord reveals to us another amazing part of the story. I realize the Lord will continue to use our pain to grow His kingdom. I am thankful God forgives our bad choices if we give them to Him because then He is able to turn them into something beautiful. God has shown us that our boys are in heaven with Him, and because we’ve allowed Him to use our heartache for the good for those who love him, many more lives are on their way to heaven.
In the meantime, we have been walking from the valley to the mountain top. As Christians, life brings us mountains top and valley experiences. If we didn’t have times in the valleys, we wouldn’t appreciate the times on the mountain tops. When going through the valleys we need to remember to keep our eyes on the Lord and lean on Him for comfort and direction. But we have to ask Him to help us. He won’t force Himself on us. I tend to ask God where He is during the tough times, just to be reminded that He hasn’t moved. He’s reminded me that I was the one that moved and He’s waiting for me to reach out to Him. Standing on the mountain top again, I can tell you God’s not only given me three great boys, He’s allowed Jason to bring a wonderful daughter-in-law into my life. The Lord has truly blessed us even though it’s hard not having Josh and Justin here to experience our mountain top with us. The Lord has also blessed us abundantly with two special grandsons, Tyson Owen Rondal and Easton Van.
I don’t share these things so you will feel sorry for me, but to give God the glory. I share our story to remind all of us that no matter what comes our way, and when we don’t think we are strong enough carry it, God is. Joshua 1:5 tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. He is always there with His loving arms wide open waiting for us to run into them. The Lord will never allow us to go through anything we can’t handle without Him helping us through it.
I’ve learned that whatever you are going through, you shouldn’t put God in a box or set boundaries on what He can do. He is so much bigger than that. We need to turn all things over to Him, keeping our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Then you need to be ready for the ride. He will continue to amaze you over and over. We need to always be willing to say yes to the Lord’s call, because sometimes the Lord uses us and we don’t even know it. Don’t miss out on your blessing by not listening to Him.
I tell this story from my perspective, not because I’m the only one that went through it, but because I can only share my journey. When we experience heartaches, we need to make sure to reach out to one another, but most importantly, we need to reach out to God to get through it. He will carry us every step. If we try to walk the journey on our own, we will fail because we aren’t strong enough. But through Him we can do all things because He is strong enough. At one time, all I could think of saying was, “Where are you Lord? We’re going this way.” But now, by God’s grace and strength, I can share with others the fullness of our journey for His honor and glory.
Nettie has allowed me to share this story for encouragement to others. How has this story impacted you? I would love to hear your thoughts so I can share them with her.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nettie Kelsey, P.O. Box 204, New Ross, IN, 47968. Kelsey is willing to share her story with your church, women’s group or youth group.