Skip to main content

Family Portraits

Family Portraits

Over the last months I have been enjoying looking at my family pictures. Each has a story and is connected to emotions we experienced as a family. I especially love looking at the last pictures we took as a family between January and April of 2012. Julie and I had been married for almost 12 years, and we were enjoying life as a family of four. Both of our children, Timothy and Anahi, had come as a result of much prayer and years of waiting. Each of them, before even arriving into our home, had a powerful story.

At the time of the accident, Julie was pregnant again. I remember during one of our breakfast conversations not long before the accident, Julie said, "If it’s a girl, let's name her Lilian, and if it’s a boy, let’s call him Caleb." She was due in December 2012. If the pregnancy would have come to a full term, today I would be the proud father of three children and the husband of an incredible woman. I consider myself a family man, and I believe the institution of marriage can be the closest representation to heaven on earth. Only God knows the reason for taking half of my family home . . .
As I have learned to grieve over the past 14 months, I've realized that true healing happens when we deal with our pain. And part of this process is letting go and accepting the loss. At a recent personal retreat I was made aware that the next step is saying goodbye. I began saying some goodbyes on this blog last month, and on July 1 I said another goodbye, this time to my family portrait. Yesterday I clicked "edit" on our Facebook profile picture and selected a more recent picture that represents my new family: a snapshot of a widowed father and his daughter.

Does this mean I want to take my old family portraits off the wall? NO. Does it mean I feel like going on with life without Julie and Timi? NO. I want to continue loving them and cherishing them, and if I could change things, I would bring them back. No one can take away the experiences, the lessons, or the love that we cherished as a family of four. Julie, who loved God first and was willing to serve me just as I was willing to serve her, helped me to become a better man, husband, and father. Timi made me a more grace-giving, more spontaneous, and more self-sacrificing man.

Thank you, Julie and Timi. Even though you are no longer in our family profile picture, you are, indeed, carved in the innermost place of my heart, forever. 


Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.
We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for …

A day like today, five years ago

April 17, 2012 was another normal busy ministry day, just like today. I spend half of that day with a group of pastors and leaders. In the afternoon, I went to pick up some documents for Anahi, in the city of Encarnacion, about an hour from our home.

We were working on a side walk for our house, so at about 4 pm I took Timothy and Anahi with me to get some supplies before our trip the next day.

That evening Julie made pizza. I played with Timothy for about an hour with the new toy we had both created. I kissed my boy good night, and prepared some stuff for the trip we were going to make next morning very early towards Asuncion.

Life was good, we were in the midst of great projects with the church, we were also serving at the radio station and managing the new bible training bi vocational center we had created the year before.

Neither one of us had the fog-est idea that this would be our last day together as a family of four, our last dinner, our last time to say goodnight and to look …