The Pain of Loving and Loosing

22 04 2015

This is not a post I want to write.  At all.  I want to rewind a few days and recreate what has happened.  I want to go back in time and say so many more things to someone who left their mark on my life.

But I can’t.  So I sit here, in tears, and remember a woman who was more than most strive to be.  I sit here and realize the pain that comes with loving and then loosing someone.

Let’s go back in time, about 16 to be exact.  My oldest sister entered high school and met a woman who would change our families lives.  You see my family isn’t the normal family and this teacher was not a normal teacher.  My family, my sisters and I, create relationships with our professors.  They aren’t just people who teach us knowledge but they are people who join us as we learn and grow and become more of who God created us to be.  To be honest, the teacher doesn’t get a choice, it just happens.  You learn the good, the bad and the ugly.  You hear about God, about boys, about family and about life.

Now couple that with a woman who sought to bring out the best in you.  She used experiences and opportunities to grow and teach not just knowledge.  One more than one occasion she challenged me to stand up and be more than I thought I could be.

Her name was Susan Jernegan. And this morning she passed away from a brave fight with breast cancer.

Even just typing those words brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart.  This loving woman who gave so much is no longer here.  I know where she is, she is with the One who loves her more than I.  She is without pain and being told, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Most people probably wouldn’t know this about her, and to be honest we never had that plain conversation of knowing she knew Jesus.  But I knew, in the way that I knew she loved me.  I knew, in the way she told me to be brave and follow Jesus.  I knew in the way she spoke wisdom and truth and life into my life.  I knew and I know where she is at.

There are so many more words and thoughts, there are thousands of stories that I could tell.  But all I can bring myself to say right now is that a woman, dear to my heart, now resides in the arms of Jesus.  She was faithful in all that she did, she went beyond and above, and now she is above and beyond the battle she fought so fearlessly.

Thank you Susan Jernegan for seeing more in me than I ever thought.  Thank you for encouraging me to fly when all I knew was to walk.  Thank you for selflessly giving of yourself but also showing me what it meant to fight.  Thank you for the thoughts, the prayers, the words and the challenge.  Thank you for being more than my teacher, more than a friend, more than a mentor but for truly being family.

You, my dear woman, will be missed more than you would have ever thought.  Your legacy goes on.  Now, rest in peace.





.:A Letter to my Parents:.

25 12 2013

This post is from a letter that I gave to my parents with their Christmas gift this year.  I with the help of Savannah from Dream Big Photography made a book with pictures from every season and then the blog posts from this past year.  Since my parents live in Washington State and I live in New Hampshire, literally one side of the country to the other, I wanted to give them a gift that brought me just a little closer.  Almost all of the gifts that I gave this Christmas had to do with photos.  Enjoy!

Dear Mom and Dad,

Merry Christmas!!

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I’ve been home.  A year since last Christmas.  I know, I know.  That’s usually what happens, a year passes between each reoccurring holiday.  But you know what I mean :)  A lot has happened in the past year for all of us.  Changes in jobs, new adventures, new hardships and new experiences.  The good, the bad, the ugly and you were “there” for it all.  I know that my deciding to listen to God and move to New Hampshire was, is and will continue to be hard.  I don’t understand and I won’t until I have kids just how hard it is for you.  I know that you wish that you were a part of my life in a more tangible way, trust me I wish that too… so maybe you’ll move to New Hampshire?  Okay… maybe not.

I think for me the thing that I feel like I’m missing out on with not having you here with me is the opportunity for people to see where I come from.  I don’t think you guys truly know just how special you are to me.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for you two, both of you, because without you as you are I wouldn’t be who I am.

You are the parents who allowed me to ask question after never ending question at the dinner table.  Who never told me to stop talking and asking questions but instead took the time to explain words and ideas to me.  You taught me that questions weren’t bad and I didn’t have to be okay with not understanding.

You are the parents who shared your past with me.  No mater how jaded.  You weren’t ashamed because you lived in the forgiveness of the Savior.  But you shared it with me in humility so that I would learn from your mistakes.  You gave me first hand knowledge that I didn’t have to suffer to gain.

You are the parents who taught me rules and structure.  Who taught me to think through the steps and think about the consequences before I acted.

You are the parents who never told me that I couldn’t do something.  Instead you told me that I could.  When God called me to be a pastor I never once heard a question of if I had heard God correctly.  But instead you saw what God was doing and who God had created me to be before God ever told me.

You are the parents who taught me how to trust in God.  Over the past 5 years God has asked us all to trust Him, a lot.  And it’s scary, hard and seemingly impossible.  Because I see you seek Him and trust Him it was a natural response for me to do the same.  And just as I am learning and growing I have witnessed you both grow too.

Mom~

You were my first best friend.  The person that I could tell anything and everything to.  I remember those conversations in the car when I would break down in tears.  I was searching for wisdom and answers and you always knew what to say.  You have always been a woman of wisdom but I’m not sure that you see it.  You have wisdom because you have and always have sought after God.  God has asked you to trust Him in radical ways over the years but with every yes that you have said I have witnessed strength grow within you.

Dad ~

You are the person whose voice calms me.  I know that it’s hard when you answer the phone and your youngest daughter is hysterical on the other end.  I know that you want to be there and fix what is wrong.  But the truth is that I didn’t call you for you to fix it, I called you because I just needed to hear your voice.  There is something about the voice of a father be it you or God that calms a daughters whole being.  You are the man who sees what I don’t want to admit.  You are my sounding board, where my thoughts get ordered and I can see clearly what God is saying.  Watching you walk through life, face challenges and seek God constantly has given me courage to keep going because even when it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it isn’t right where we are supposed to be.

Thank you from the depth of who I am for being exactly who God has made you both to be.  Thank you for loving each other, for being committed and being more in love today than the day that you were married.  Thank you for allowing me to see you both journey through finding what marriage means with God as your center.  Thank you for allowing me to make my own mistakes but still being there when I was wallowing in the pain.  Thank you for your support even when your flesh wanted anything but what God was asking of me.  

I’ve heard you both express time and time again how much you wish you could be with me each step of the way.  How you feel as though you miss out on my life.  And so for the past year  I’ve been working on this gift because I wanted to be able to give to you my year and what you will find as you open this up is the closest that I could do.  I hope that 1) you cry and 2) you feel as though you are walking through my year with me.

I can not wait to see what God has in store for 2014 for all of us because, right now, I feel like we are all up for some rather large changes!  Here we go!

Love,

K





Papa Bear

18 11 2013

In my life I’ve had 3 grandfathers.  Some find that strange… I think I was blessed.

My grandpa Ron was my mom’s dad. He lived in San Diego, CA and died when I was in 2nd grade. I don’t remember much about him except that he liked his food extra peppery and that he could fix your shoes. I know that my mom, for all the dysfunction in their family, loved her dad very much. And I also know that he loved her very much. When he died I didn’t really understand what death meant but I knew that it meant pain.

Then there was my grandpa Cecil. He was my mom’s stepfather and he lived in Yakima, WA where I grew up. He passed away when I was in 7th grade but I remember a lot about my grandpa Cecil. He was a sweet old man, who loved the Lord and who slept a lot. Often when you came over to my grandparents house you would find him asleep in his arm chair. He had a lot of health problems but that didn’t make him cross but instead I think it pulled Him closer into relationship with the Lord. My grandma was Catholic and my grandpa was protestant. I still to this day don’t understand how they did it but you wouldn’t find two people more devoted to their own relationship with the Lord in different ways. I often wonder what my grandpa Cecil would say about me going to bible college and moving to New Hampshire to be a pastor. I like to think that he would smile, give me a hug and play cards with me.  I treasure the memories that I have and the things that he taught me. Whenever I shuffle I think of my grandpa Cecil because he spent HOURS one day teaching me to not just shuffle but to shuffle with a bridge.  It was his tangible expression of his love.  When my grandpa Cecil died I had JUST given my life to the Lord. And when I say just I mean literally the month before. I didn’t understand the concept of death. All I knew was that my grandpa, whom I loved, was no longer there. And that hurt. At his funeral I was a mess, first because well my grandpa was dead and secondly because his body in the casket wasn’t him.  The him that I knew had disappeared and I thought I was going to break from the grief.

And last but not least there was my Papa, Tom. He was my dad’s dad and he is the most dear to my heart. Now hear me out for a second because I don’t want anyone getting offended, I think that he is the most dear to my heart because I was able to get to know my papa not just as another grandpa but as a friend. I was 19 when my papa passed away and it’s interesting to look back and watch how grief played itself out.  Where as with my grandpa Cecil i wanted to be anywhere BUT his funeral, I wouldn’t have been anywhere but AT my papa’s funeral.  It was important to me to be a part of the funeral for my papa, to do something there to show my love in a tangible way.

My papa, along with my dad, taught me to play golf. I sometimes wonder if that is why I stuck out the two years of sucking, because two of my favorite men had taught me to play. It was special to me that the three of us would go out together. No one else. It was my time to be spoiled by them. My top love language is quality time and there is no time more quality and focused than the time spent golfing with someone.

Not only did my papa teach me the sport that I loved but he was also a book lover like me. I don’t remember when it started but at some point he noticed my love of reading and as he began to suggest different books and authors that he loved a new dimension to our relationship began. He introduced me to the author Lloyd C. Douglas and the book The Robe. If you’ve never read it, stop right now and go find it, you will not be let down! Reading was our special bond. We never really talked about the books but I just knew that he understood me perfectly.

My papa. He just got me and I miss that. I also miss how beautiful I felt in the gaze of my papa. That may sound strange but it was true. At a time in my life where I often felt awkward and unlovely my papa never made me feel that way. Quite the opposite he often made me feel like the prettiest girl in the world.  You wonder why?  Because he was notorious for asking me, “So Kaitlin, are those California boys blind or something?” He asked me that the very last time I saw him, days before he passed away. It was like he had waited for me to come home and ask me that before he could go. And I needed that. I needed to see him, hug him, kiss him on the top of his head and chuckle at the question. And my response was always, “I guess they are papa.” I chuckle today as I think what he must think, sitting up in heaven, “So Kaitlin, the boys in California AND New Hampshire are blind now are they?”  Yes Papa, I guess they are.

In my life I have been blessed three times with loving grandpas. And it is always in the fall as the leaves change color and the air changes temperature that I’m reminded intensely of their love. The joy that they brought to my life and the lessons that I carry around with me because of them. Whenever I shuffle cards, play golf or read a book I’m reliving a memory and cherishing a moment long since forgotten.

Losing a loved one is hard. Loosing three in one role seems nearly impossible. But when you have lost someone you can’t hold onto what you no longer have but you have to remember what you had for the moment when you might have never had it to begin with.





There is a First Time for Everything

30 05 2012

I’m the youngest of three girls.  There is me, my sister Jessica who is 22 months older than me and then Christine who is 4 1/2 years older them me.

I have always counted my sister Jessica as one of my best friends.  When we were kids we played together so much that we had our own language, which we referred to as Japanese, and which we understood.  As young children people would take us as twins because Jessica was small for her age and I was quick to grow!  In high school I would spend as much time and go where ever I could with my sister because I genuinely liked hanging out with her… whether this is the case for her I’m not sure I can tell you.

I looked up to both of my sisters immensley and although I worked hard to stake my individuality as a person I wanted to be just like them.  In all honesty, whether my sisters know this to be true or not, I came to Christ because of them.  Not because they preached Jesus to me but because He was good enough for them.  When I got to the end of my rope… when I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go… when I had given up I surrendered it all because they had.  I figured that if it was good enough for them, if they thought it was real I had nothing to lose and therefore I would try.

Things with my eldest sister Christine were not the same as with Jessica.  It wasn’t like we didn’t like each other but it was more that we didn’t understand each other.  You see we were in completely different stages of life:

  • When I was just coming into middle school my sister was graduating from high school… my 13 was her 17 and then she was off to college…
  • 4 years later at the age of 21 she graduated from college when I was only 17 and a Junior in high school…
  • The next year, at the age of 22 my sister got married… and I was only 18 and graduating from high school…

Every time I hoped that we would be close to being on the same level, everytime I thought that maybe we could come to some understanding of each other she moved further and further from my grasp.  And when I went to college I was saddened by the idea that I didn’t really know my sister at all.

Don’t get me wrong… when I was home and we were together it wasn’t as though we were strangers but it also wasn’t like we would go out and hang out or anything.  I didn’t know how to express my desire to be more than just a sister, more than someone who was thrown together due to the similar chromosomes we share.  I stood in silence as time went by and we were more acquantance than friends.

And then… the Christmas that I turned 21 I decided that I would make a step to make a change.  I had realized that often how we feel in relationships is only because we are not willing or we do not know to speak up about what it is we want.  I had watched and heard from both sides of multiple relationships where people had wanted to be closer but didn’t know how… the thing that seperated them wasn’t an actual ability it was just the chasm of broken communication.  And so I did the only thing I knew how to do… I talked.

I ask my sister if I could spend some time with her.  It sounds dumb now but I was honestly scared to ask.  I didn’t know what she would say, if she would realize why or even be interested.  What would I do if she shut me down, dismissed my request and in a sense rejected me?  I didn’t know but I wasn’t content to sit by and allow things to stay the same.   And to my joy she accepted… I spent sometime with her at her house and there I told her how much I loved and admired her.  I told her how my sisters are the world to me and then I told her that I desired to have more of a relationship, a friendship with her.  That for years this had been my desire but I felt as though she was always at least one step ahead and we could never relate to each other.

That conversation was a year and a half ago.  It’s crazy when I even think that the conversation happened because in the course of the past year and a half everything seems to have changed.  I would tell you that, although Christine and I aren’t the friends that Jessica and I are, we are friends nonetheless.  She no longer is some person moving so much further ahead of me… I still have not experienced love, marriage and motherhood but I am able to understand the heart behind what she says.  Where when we were growing up she tried to mother Jesssica and myself, now she really is a mother and so the mothering seems to fit.

Just a few days ago I went on my first sister date with Christine.  We went to a Martini Bar and Bistro in Spokane called Twings.  It was a nice place with a breathtaking view from the outsiding seat we sat at.  But that wasn’t the truly great part of it, it was great because it was something we had never done before together and I was able to treat her out.  It wasn’t weird or awkward instead it was refreshingTo be able to talk about life, about church, about family and friends… to really talk about what matters the way I would with any other friend.

You know there is a first time for everything.  Although it took 22 years I am so thankfully for this first sister date with my sister.  I am thankful that there has been a change in our relationship from one of relation to one of relationship and communication and understandingIt seems that my time spent in Washington between California and New Hampshire was a time or refreshment, joy and a redemption of what things have become.  God is so good and I love to be able to see His hand working through my life.

 

Have you experienced a first time for something lately?  What was it?

Have you ever felt a disconnect in a relationship?  What have you done to fix it?

Look at the relationships in your life.  Decide your desires.  Take a rist of rejection for the possibility of connection. Communicate!





To my dearest neice…

2 01 2012

The last two months I have experienced one of the most amazing experiences of my life… becoming an aunt. Amazing because my parents are now grandparents, I am related by flesh and blood to a beautiful and intriguing bundle of joy, flesh and blood that is a manifestation of the beautiful love of my brother-in-law and sister and that means my sister and brother-in-law are new parents.   To be able to see someone who I remember teaching me the electric slide and who as a young child was the only person I trusted enough to curl my short hair now mothering is amazing and awe-inspiring. As I watch I can’t help but think that it is as though they was both created to do this, the ease and the joy in which they both attends to my neice is something that often brings me close to tears.

And so… in honor of the New Year and the new life that my family has been experiencing I would like to dedicate this post to my sister, brother and family as I write to my wonderful neice.

My Dearest Mo,

For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul know very well, My frames was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15

I hope you understand how special you are to our family, how truly unique, beautiful and loved you are. Before you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye, before your mother was even old enough to think about who your father would be, I wondered about you. I knew that the things about your mom that drove me crazy as her sister where the exact things that would make her the best person to raise you.  You mark the start of a new chapter in our families journey, a gift from God to bless us in our pursuit of what He has for us just as you are a blessing that shows the complete love of your mother and father.

But my prayer for you is that you won’t only look at yourself as the start of a chapter but instead that you would know the anointing that the Lord has upon this family and that the Lord has upon your mother and father.  Seemingly from the outside your little family is just moving forward as life goes on and yet, the truth is found through God’s eyes.  For me your mother and father have both been people that the Lord has used in my own life: your mother is one of my biggest heros for who she was growing up and who she has become, she always stood up for what she believed in and has allowed the Lord to heal her and bring her to wholeness.  Your dad has become the best brother I have ever had (hehe) and the best example of the type of man that I want to marry, he loves your mother very much and loves our family as his own.  Their love, support and even their desire for me to be in their lives gives me the strength and the courage to listen to God and to follow what He is telling me to do.

You my dear little one are a blessing and a joy!  I pray that as you grow up that you will find an intimacy with the Lord that took us along time to desire.  I pray that the anointing that God has blessed our family with will be every stronger in you.  I pray that you will bring joy to those who you encounter through your smile, your touch and your words.

That you will not shy away from being yourself, from speaking your mind and from sharing your love.  That the Lord will guard your heart and that you will look to your parents for guidance, truth and wisdom.  Hold close to your heart that you are wanted, respected and known.  Do not shy away from knowing and being known.  Enjoy your childhood, cling tightly to the time you share with family and friends, do not think family a thing to be endured but instead to be treasured.  Know that God has a wonderful plan for your life that is different than anyone elses, do not get upset when it takes longer than you desire and do not desire to grow up too quickly but instead enjoy the blessing of time.  And finally above all live, laugh but most of all love!

I know you are a bit young to understand this but these words are for you today all the same.  I look forward to learning who you are as you grow older.  I look forward to seeing my family grow with you.  You have a very special place in my heart and you will always be my very favorite first neice! God Bless little one, I love you dearly!!

With all my love,

Auntie Kaitlin

 

Do you ever struggle to tell someone what you truly feel?

Take the time today to speak life into someone you love and to speak love into someone who needs life!





.:Rearview Reflections:.

31 12 2011

I don’t know about you but the Holiday (Christmas and New Years) season makes me take stock of my life; where I am at, where I have been, the people that surround me and the changes that have happened and this season hasn’t been any different.

My dad gave each of us, me, my sisters and brother-in-law a picture that summed up the year.  As I looked at the pictures that my dad had chosen for me I couldn’t help but notice the difference that one year had made in my appearance.  But the change in my appearance isn’t the only change that has happened but there have been so many changes that have happened in my life…

But looking back at how my life has changed can’t just be contained to a year but it has been a constant change for years….

2005-6: I turned 16, went to my first dance, kissed a boy for the first time and it was the last time I ever lived with one of my sisters…

2007: Was the first time I ever had a boyfriend and I got to see my oldest sister fall in love…

2008: I graduated from high school, got my first official job, watched my middle sister graduate with her AA, gained an amazing brother and watched my oldest sister get married, sent my dad and sister to Chicago for 10 months…

2009: Moved to California, started Ignite and gained friendships that will last well beyond graduating from college and lost my papa (a man who I miss and think about often; someday, whomever I marry will be someone who he would have been proud to call a grandson)… and right before the end of the year I graduated from Ignite!

2010: Started Life Pacific College, got a job in the Cafe and worked there for 3 months, had an amazing internship at the Northwest Foursquare District Office, learned how to challenge myself in taking risks and got hired in the Registrar’s Office at Life Pacific College.

2011:

I now live in an apartment, my very first apartment, with three other girls…

I pay bills…

I only have 15 more units (for the most part) until I will be a college graduate!!

I am more than happy with my appearance for the first time in a long time…

I have worked at my current job for a full year and a half

I am now an aunt to the most amazing lil girl in the whole world (and i’m not biased ;])…

I went on my first official date(!!)…

Experienced a lot of wonderful firsts…

and now… 2012.  What will this next year hold?  Where will God lead me?  What will  He say?  Who will I meet and who will I be?  Tonight isn’t just a start of a calendar year but more it is a springboard to move forward… To move forward but never forget what is behind….

My life is a journey, I have no idea where I will go or who I will be… the view in front of me is beautiful and free but I must never forget that the view in my rearview mirror is just a wonderful because of the stories, the beauty and the lives that are entailed!!

What are you thinking about as 2011 ends and 2012 begins?

What type of rearview reflections do you have today?





The Same Jesus

21 12 2011

I just finished a class called the History of Christianity in which we learned about the journey that the Christian faith and doctrine has gone on over the last 2,000+ years.  I found myself often wondering in my mind why the men and women we were studying would create such distance between each othe over small insignificant details when the big picture was they were behind the same thing.  I know that there was at least one or two times that I was really outraged… wasn’t what they were doing (fighting with each other) not only creating disunity in the faith but it also was not showing the love that Jesus calls us to to others.  I might have possibly even become a little arogant thinking… I sure am glad that I’m not like that!

And then this weekend it hit me… I am.  It might not be in such a drastic way or in causing bodily harm to another believer but I am exactly the same.  I go to a church that isn’t the same denomination of my own, who doesn’t worship the way that I worship, or who doesn’t believe the EXACT same doctrine as myself and I start off looking down at them.  I start to wonder why they don’t see the biblical truth and how they could be so BLIND.

But the truth is that I was the one who was blind… how could I not see that we have the same Jesus.  I love him and seek to follow after Him.  They love him and seek to follow after Him.  And we listen to what Jesus is saying to us to the best of our ability.  I may be right or I may be wrong.  What matters is my focus and my Jesus.

I was struck by this very fact this weekend as I was with family.  Family that I am still truly getting to know.  I find that often I’m on my guard because of hurts from my past and hurts from other family members.  The guard comes up, my attitude automatically goes to defense and this usually leads to me internally analyzing anything theological or biblical in nature that is said.  Luckily, I realized this almost the first time it ever happened and so I am aware that my automatic response is not correct.  So this weekend I was with family again and as I again found myself beginning to go there, I PAUSED and realized how I was just like the early church fathers… I was discounting and writing off someone’s viewpoint because it wasn’t my own but… really we have the same Jesus.

I realized that, yes I had been hurt in the past by doctrinal differences within my family and yes at time I had felt harrassed and bombarded for my school and my beliefs… but, that was in the past and if I really wanted that to change it had to start with me.  And so… although I won’t agree 100% doctrinally with those in my family and in my life I will respect them.  I don’t have to change my viewpoint when talking with them but I do have to recognize that our differences doesn’t mean they aren’t listening/seek Jesus all the same.  And really, all that really matters is…

Jesus is the same to me and to them.  The same Jesus who loves.  The same Jesus who cares.  The same Jesus who heals.  The same Jesus who protects.  And the same Jesus who most certainly guides.  I don’t know who is right and who is wrong, what path is correct and what path is off, but I’m thankful that I follow a God who is BIGGER than what I often view Him to be and in the end… He is the only Way that matters

Do you ever find yourself criticizing, verbally or internally,  other Christians and their walk with God?

Do you find it difficult to interact with or talk about spiritual matter when doctrines are different?

What is God calling you out on in this time of Family and Fellowship and how do you choose to respond?