“But God!” A Lesson About Moving Forward After Loss

I spoke at the “Bakersfield Gives Thanks” event on November 4th and the Women’s Club of Bakersfield was full of people from different denominations and cultures.  I made new friends that night but it was a blessing to be reunited with old friends too.

In particular, I saw a mom whose children went to junior high and high school with my children.  Nneka and I have seen each other throughout the years at school functions at our son’s tennis events.  But this time when our eyes met, I had no words.  I was overcome with emotion.

You see this was the first time I’ve seen her since her 15 year old son Nedu went home to be with the Lord last summer.  My friend Nikki happened to capture the moment:


Typically when a friend loses a loved one, WE are the ones consoling, hugging, loving them through the grief.

However, that night I experienced and witnessed true healing.  Nneka was consoling me!!

I remember looking at her and reaching out my arms to her.

I had no words.  My ugly cry face in the photo above communicated how sorry I was for her loss of a son gone too soon.

She looked at me square in the eyes and exclaimed, “I know…I know….BUT GOD!”  As tears filled my eyes, she said, “a year ago I would never think I could be here today….BUT GOD!”  Tears could not stop flowing.  With every breath I took, Nneka kept encouraging me, even saying…”it’s going to be okay…BUT GOD!”

As I sit here typing, I’m filled with emotion again.

What I’m learning on my journey of recovery is our trial isn’t going to last forever.  The sting of hurt, in time, doesn’t affect us like it did on day one. Every story has a beginning, middle and an end.  

Think about the end.

The end is what you’ll be telling your children.  The end is what others who are wounded are most interested in.  The end is what brings glory to our Lord.

I heard this quote from William Vanderbloomen, “Will I be healed up? Or damaged goods?”

We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our response to said circumstances when: 

  • Churches split.
  • Children reject parents.
  • Spouses betray.
  • Friends move away.
  • Life storms challenge our faith.
  • Relatives misunderstand.
  • We have to say goodbye to loved ones.

Some of us, like Joseph in the Old Testament, are victims of hardship and broken hearts.  In the end, Joseph was found “healed up.”

If you are indeed a victim, my advice is to resist the temptation to have a pity party and welcome sympathetic hugs and words of agreement to your situation.  The world welcomes an attitude of entitlement and culture teaches us to seek vengeance.  

Pray to have a response such as my friend Nneka.  Remember this earth is NOT our home and our response to devastating situations is an important testimony to those watching us live out our Christian walk.

Nnekas’ son, Nedu, left this earth at only 15 years old.  No parent should out live their child.  I know there were times when her weeping became unbearable and her heart literally ached…however her words, “But God!” reminded her and should remind us, God is in every circumstance of our lives.

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

2 Timothy 2:9
for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

That evening left me encouraged.  I too want to be found like Nneka in the middle of life storms. She is living and moving forward in her new normal only via the grace and promises from our Lord.  

Thank you Nneka for inspiring me, being a Godly example and reminding me of God’s undeniable healing power.

Need prayer? kidmin.kelli@gmail.com 


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Is it just me? Or are parents delaying putting their babies in the nursery?

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I’ve seen a decline of newborns to 6 month olds in our nursery ministry in the past few years.  The trend I’ve observed is millennial parents are delaying putting their precious ones in the nursery.  I witness posts like this, “Susie’s survived her first day in the nursery,”  and Susie is almost 5 months old.  Or, on Instagram,  a pic is posted of Adam’s first day in the nursery and Adam is full on standing. #timeshavechanged   We have a nursery area and a toddler area in our building and as I walk through on Sunday mornings, our nursery area is always empty. Which led me to pause, realize and identify this trend.  I see our volunteers playing with the babies rather than holding them because the infants are no where to be found.  Why do I care?  Why does it matter?  Well, my heart goes out to the parents of these precious ones.  When I hear of a 5 month old’s first day in the nursery, I wonder,

  • How were the parent’s being fed for the past 5 months?

In all honesty, as I “keep it real,” it’s easier to worship and take in a message without holding a baby and worrying about it’s needs.  Being a new parent is a time one can truly benefit from worship and hearing the Word of God.  It’s a time to be refreshed and ministered to.

  • How can our Nursery be a safe place for families to feel comfortable leaving their children?

I had to reevaluate our nursery.  I added a “Nursery Coordinator” to add and show value to this age group.  I had to be honest with myself that I needed help.  I just wasn’t giving the nursery the attention it deserved.  Miss Anna has been a welcome addition as she keeps me up on the latest and greatest in the nursery scene.  She’s a proud “MiMi” to two toddler granddaughters. Most importantly, she ensures week after week that we have ample help and enlists & trains volunteers that love our babies as if they’re their own.  As I revisited our nursery system I realized we were missing a major safety net. Fingerprinting!  We will live scan all our nursery workers beginning in 2014. We already fingerprint those who serve in the 2’s to 6th grade age groups. (If our volunteers get live scanned while their child is in the nursery…it makes it easier, one less step, for them to become Sunday school teachers.  Haha!)

  • How can our Nursery communicate, “Come on in! We’ve been waiting for you?”

I updated the nursery with soft play furniture and replaced the 20 yr old rockers with safe, comfy, upholstered gliders. Our seasoned volunteers were especially pleased.  We also bought mini gliders for our toddlers so they can watch Veggie Tales in style.  In order to help keep our carpet clean, we provide booties for volunteers to put on their feet or over shoes.  We use Netflix now and we longer have to search for lost DVD’s.  Did you know that parents these days don’t use the microwave anymore to warm up bottles?  We provide a bottle warmer we bought at Target.  We put a mailing label sticker on diapers letting parents know who changed it and at what time.

There’s much more I could discuss and I will as I enjoy my blogging journey in the future.  For now, I’m curious about your nursery ministry.  Is it just me? Or are parents at your church waiting to put their babies in your nursery and if so, how are you adapting?