On July 25th, 2013 – After a long day and night we all woke up and started to congregate on the deck of the hutch house. The sun was rising and the lake was perfectly peaceful. After a day of tragedy and a night of restlessness. All was calm. There were hugs, tears, reading scripture, texts from friends, grieving and disbelief. Why did this happen? Why did he swim across the lake? Could we have changed his mind? Why was this happening to our family? Yesterday could not be undone, erased or rewrote. There in the sadness was my mom, who’s words were, ” We need to move on. People will be watching our family and I want them to see us trusting Jesus.” God was lifting Mom up and the rest of us. It was already starting to be the new beginning. Even though none of us wanted it to be at that point. And as I would answer many times over the next months, “Why did Grandpa have to go to heaven? I would answer … that it was God’s Plan.
Over this last year I have seen our family BE that testimony. Family- stepping in to clean up the farm, a brother to unwind dad’s files and bills, sisters to clean, organize, help sell flowers, brother-in-laws to break out the chainsaws and cut down trees, weed and tile the garden and remodel the downstairs. Family that makes little nieces and nephews feel special on their birthdays because they know that Grandpa is not there to celebrate this year. It’s about the strength that is found in Christ. The strength that helps you make a choice for that day to move forward.
Over this last year we have all got a chance to talk to many many people we know about this new chapter in our family’s story. We may not know the seeds that were planted but we keep on telling the “God Stories” about his mercy and his provision and plan for all of us. Because our family keeps going and growing. Already in the last 7 months we have two beautiful boys added to the Wilken clan. Both of who will only know their Grandpa through our stories and pictures.
This year I’m holding onto the verse Isaiah 43:18-19 : Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Not that I’m forgetting dad -but I’m not dwelling the things that you cannot change or bring you down. God makes a way for us and makes beauty from these ashes!