As I sat here this Sunday morning waiting on the time to go to church. I picked up a deck of inspirational and encouraging cards my daughter Kelly had purchased.
Then it came to me. Kelly really did work at following Jesus and getting it right. I mean she poured more effort and strength into knowing God and living her life right than I can ever remember doing in my entire life. This is a true statement.
Kelly was excited about and loved serving God. Kelly has become my inspiration and my encourager through Christ. I have never been more proud of her accomplishments and her perseverance in continuing to push through to the goal that layed ahead. Kelly got it… She understood the cost of both following and not following Christ. God was doing a powerful work in her life.
Kelly worked for and labored in a ministry to adolescent children called Brush Creek for boy’s and New Life House for girls. They are a part of Teen Challenge ministry group. She was a lead direct care counselor and mentor to both girl’s and boy’s. She was a part of a team that went to Rwanda Africa to establish for God a first ever and new Teen Challenge in that part of the world. She made quite an impression there. Her presence and participation made a difference in the life’s of many and today still yields life and results.
I have had the opportunity over the last couple of months to read some of her personal notes and bible scriptures she underlined, that meant so much to her. She had six or seven bibles and had underlined many scriptures, Proof she was searching and trying to find her way. Hammering out her salvation and walk with God.
I realized again for the first time since her passing that Kelly was is and will always remain a huge blessing and encouragement in my life. She had already touched many life’s while walking through her journey on earth. This I know from comments people have made and things they shared and wrote about her as well as my knowledge of her walk with Christ.
However even now God continues to use Kelly to reach and touch many life’s. It so amazing when I read God’s word and it say’s Oh grave where is the victory Oh death where is the sting. There was no victory in Kelly’s death for sin and Satan. Kelly had on this earth the eternal infinite spirit of God living in her and in her passing will continue to have that same spirit and eternal life that death and the grave can never conquer.
Her smile and laughter brought life where ever she was at. Kelly loved life and people genuinely . She really cared about the children she worked with and the staff members she worked with as well as her family and all mankind.
Kelly’s greatest burden in her life was the souls of the lost. Not many folks today have a burden for the lost, that drives you to laying out plans on how to get them to the Lord or the strength to continue daily never giving up the cause to show them Jesus. She had this.
I talked to her often and counseled her as a father should. She was interested in reaching the lost. There was another burden Kelly had. This was the burden for her family that she knew needed to have a closer walk with her Lord and savior. Not that she worried so much about them going to heaven. She wanted them to know what she did. That having a deeper more consistent relationship with God would reveal to them a new life filled with hope. Where they could find rest and assurance of their future for all eternity. Kelly wanted her family to know God intimately. To know his heart and what he wanted them to do. She never gave up on us.
Thank you Kelly (sister) as I called her for the love and sweetness that comes from the heart of a father’s daughter. I have many arrows in my quiver. You are an arrow that hit its target and was straight and true. You are a wonderful example to us all.
I want you to know another side of Kelly as well. It is a testimony to the greatness of God. Kelly was born to myself and her biological mother Terri Sue Collier on July 15 th 1987. She was our first and only daughter. Kelly was like most little girl’s full of life and energy and nothing was to good for my little girl to have.
We worked hard and diligently to provide a good home for Kelly and her two brothers Mike and Thomas Junior. There our many fond memories filled with laughter and good times.
Then the dark times came and I am not sure even today what brought about the change. I have my thoughts that pride and selfishness as well as misguided feeling’s and emotions and no steady foundation of Christ in our life’s led to a broken home filled with rage and anger. It wasn’t long and a good marriage and family was destroyed and we divorced. Leaving behind three children in the aftermath of our anger and pride.
Our children remained in an upside down and broken world for many years to come. Parents that were split apart from them and no Christ centered life. As children go and the world say’s they bounce back. Don’t believe that. Children never bounce back without a foundation to build on. They go forward like we do broken and scarred for life.
Kelly’s life took a turn, she begin to look for something to hold on to that she could identify with. This became other broken people and a lifestyle if you will that would destroy her world. Kelly turned to drugs, sex and a rebellious life with no good guidance from the two parents together she needed. I remarried and so did her mother. Neither home was good for the children at the time. Her mother was using drugs with her and went on to divorce again the man she was living with. This was another broken home for the children, tore apart again.
I remained married and still am to the same wonderful woman.We have tried hard to live a life and make a home for the five grown children we have. Not without our own problems stemming from divorce and broken marriages.
Kelly went on to spiral further into a destructive life with her mother using prescription drugs and smoking pot and sleeping with anyone to support this way of life.
We prayed for Kelly and did our best to give her a solid place to call home and reach out to when she would. By now she was 18 years of age and had already been in her current lifestyle for many years. Kelly went on being pulled one way then the other by the Holy spirit and prayers and the life we tried to show her and her other life filled with destruction and misery.
Kelly was 23 when God finally won the battle for her life. She answered the call to her heart, the Holy Spirit had put there. After a couple of failed attempts at going into recovery, Kelly finally surrendered to freedom House in Sapulpa Oklahoma and so began Kelly’s rebirth and new life. She would walk out of Freedom House once after being there for a month, only to return. The pull and love of God was far stronger and more powerful than pride, selfishness and all the evil Satan could come up with. Kelly was finally for the first time nineteen years later in a safe place and could begin to heal.
Well, the rest of the story is she graduated after 13 months and went on to work at Teen Challenge. Kelly was a caterpillar waiting to be a butterfly so to speak. God had already gave Kelly some strong roots and they were beginning to take hold. Of course there was some pruning every once in a while she needed like all of us. Her brother Mike is dedicated to serving the Lord and raising his own family. Working his salvation out. Her brother Thomas Junior is hearing the call of God on his life to give his heart to God fully and trust in him. Like Kelly he wont be able to turn from the calling sooner or later God will win him over. This I know. He is a good man who works hard and loves his children. God is pruning him some. Her mother is in drug support group and professes a belief in God. She still needs prayer. Kelly’s greatest burden was for her mother and brother Thomas Junior. Please lift them up.
If you didn’t know Kelly’s journey you would look at her and never know the miracle she was. You see the real story is God is in the business of restoration and relationships. God will take the ugly in our life’s just like Moses and Paul who claimed to be the chief sinner and all the brokenness they had and use it for his glory and purposes if we will let him. Kelly was willing to do that.
God took Kelly and begin to create that butterfly. Using her weakness and failures to reach the people who were hurting and broken like she had been. She could relate and build relationships and restore people’s hearts through the mercy and grace God had shown her.
On July the 30th 2014 at 10:56 am Kelly was struck by a truck while crossing a busy highway in Huston Texas. Life would change and never be the same for us. We had choices to make. We could become bitter and broken and let death have its sting or we could begin to mourn the loss of our only daughter and heal. Carolyn and I chose life and healing. God said he would restore our souls and renew our spirits he is in the process of doing this.
There are days when my heart still breaks and sadness washes across me like a huge wave. I am ok with that. I loved Kelly so much. We will move on with our life in time, not now though we are not ready. God has us here where we are at healing. We will walk daily with him trusting him in all things, listening for his voice.
So you see God does miracles and restores the broken-hearted. God does care. He does hear our prayers. He does watch over us and has plans for us. Kelly’s life is proof of that. Kelly never belonged to us. She really was always God’s child first. I had twenty-six years with her. For that I thank God.
She is perfect in every way now. She is home now with Pa-Pa and all our loved ones that went before her and us. Kelly has no more pain ,no suffering only perfection. She will live for eternity. She is an infinite spirit one with God.
Our journey here on earth is short with no guarantee of tomorrow . We get to make a choice where we will spend eternity. For me I look forward in anticipation of spending eternity with my Lord and my beautiful daughter Kelly and those that might go before me. Where will you spend yours?
Much Love Tom