As we near the time of Justus’ homecoming, my wife Kelli (who has always brought the emotion and beauty to our marriage and family) wanted to share some thoughts before that day arrived. I know some have fallen off reading these regularly. The good news is, we’ve never had any expectations for these updates… it’s always been a God thing! So we trust those that need to hear the words from these last several days will eventually come across them. I hope you will read her words. They will encourage you!
How do we say goodbye to our family #TeamJustus? Please know this is as hard for us as it is for you. We feel so connected to you all. This has been a journey that we did not prepare for, caught us so off guard and yet we want you to know that we are better people because of your influence in our lives. We know that we do not know all of you personally, yet you have ministered to us in ways that have felt like Jesus Himself was here with us in our darkest hours. And you have not left us, but stayed to bring hope, encouragement and then celebrate with us all that has happened to Justus to date. Your words, your stories, the Bible verses you have shared and your willingness to be exposed about your own very personal faith journey has been both humbling and inspirational.
We are not sure we would have made it through this storm like we have without all of you. God has used you in ways you will never fully understand. One picture will be forever carved in my mind and I think I will use it for tonight’s photo. It is of Alyse, late at night, exhausted, afraid, cemented in a rocking chair by Justus’ bedside, wrapped in a blanket reading what you all had written for that day. It is one of my favorites. Next to begging the Lord for her son, and praying with Jason, your words of hope and encouragement, allowed her a margin of space and time to feel God’s presence in that hospital. Even as I write these words, my eyes are filled with tears of gratitude and a debt that I will never be able to repay this side of heaven.
You have loved us so well. You have renewed our faith in the community of Christ and what we can do for and with each other if we will just do what you all have done and unselfishly engage in the lives of other people. The prayers, comments, gifts, meals, travel to be here, taking shifts to sit at Justus’ bedside, research, coffee, tears, cheers…and so much more has carried us through this time.
We will pray for all of you for the rest of our days. We pray blessing on you and your families and your life’s work. We pray that the legacy you leave your family will be one filled with faith, and hope, love and deep family relationships. We pray that when you face storms in life, that you will be surrounded with people who pray for you and bless you and journey with you. We pray for a wonderful faith community that nurtures growth and challenges you to think deeply about the tenets of faith.
Lastly, we pray that your faith journey has been strengthened as much as ours has. We pray that you will see the hand of God moving in your life in ways that you know could know only be Him. You see, that’s how He does it…He is quiet and gentle and will never force Himself, but rather woos you and invites you into a relationship with Him that is like no other. He alone points us in the right direction, helps us order our priorities and reveals who He is in ways that catch us off guard…a sunset, the moon, the colors of fall, the raging sea, a loving response or a surprise visit.
We love you team Justus. There are no words that could ever express our gratefulnees to you all. We are so thankful that our paths have crossed in life. We hope you are too.
Tonight, I get the honor… join me #TeamJustus… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5…