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Frank & Edna Kessler

Does God Care When Dear Ones Die?

by Edna Kessler

I would like to share some of my life 's journey and God 's faithfulness with you. I think of life as going down a road that has smooth road with bumps or maybe some high hills to climb along the way. I will focus more on the bumps and hills.

I was born into a Christian family for which I am very thankful. I don't think I really realized how blessed I was, until we began fostering and saw the brokeness and the situations these children came from.

I was the youngest in the family and had a happy childhood. I enjoyed attending Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School, and other services which were held in our school. It was at one of the evening services we had when I was six years old that I asked Jesus into my heart.

I was eleven years old when we moved away from that area, and things were very different. We were quite a distance from church and as we only had horses and wagon to drive we did not attend church regularly which I missed very much at first. We were very busy on the farm and school so things were quite routine. When I was out of school I worked at a few places when they needed help for a few days or a week, but mostly I was needed at home.

My Christian life was not what it should have been. We had not attended church that often, but there were some evangelistic services held so one night we went and they had testimonies. Well, my Dad gave his testimony which I had never heard. I don 't know what the speaker spoke on, but my Dad 's testimony really spoke to me and that night I rededicated my life to the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 became very special to me.

The following summer I was baptized and joined a little Baptist church.

By this time I had met Frank Kessler, the love of my life and we were married in 1952.

Five weeks before our wedding my Dad passed away from a stroke, so we stayed with Mom that winter.

In the spring we moved to Manitoba where we worked on a farm at Headingly. Our oldest son was born in Winnipeg. We didn 't stay very long. We moved back to Saskatchewan.

We lived in Saskatoon for six months, then moved to what is now Martensville. We were the fourth family to move out there, and it was interesting to see the place grow into a town.

We attended church in Warman, where I was involved in teaching Sunday School, Ladies Fellowship and on different committees. Life was good. God was good.

Frank and I had three children, Kenneth, Winnifred, Eunice and Darcy. When Darcy was born in 1962 somebody said to me, "You 're so lucky, just what you wanted, two boys and two girls, a perfect family." (I have yet to see a perfect family).

But I thank God so much for our family. Frank, my husband was working out of town a lot while the children were growing up. I found it very busy with raising the kids by myself so much. Especially when they went into their teen years and started to rebel. I asked some times, "Where does a Mom go to resign." The only answer I knew was down on my knees and to lift each child up to God.

We all missed Frank very much. Some times in summer we would go with him and camp at a park close to his work. Those are some of the best memories. The longest he was away at one time was two months. And we didn 't use the phone like we do now. We wrote letters. But we had God with us and the church. (It was more letters.)

In 1973 I discovered our family was not complete. I was pregnant and although it was not planned by us God had a different plan. When Nollan was born he was a happy baby and brought a lot of joy and blessings to the family. And at that time we had built-in baby sitters.

Two years later the Lord gave us another baby boy, we named Warren. The nurses called him the king of the nursery because he weighed 9 lbs. 11 oz. and beside a little 5 lb. baby he looked pretty big. I had only been home with him a few days when I noticed he was not well. We took him to the doctor twice but were sent home saying he had a bit of a cold, he 'll be fine.

The third time I phoned, and said we were bringing him in, and I asked to see a specialist. After some tests they found he had spinal meningitis. Well, we prayed and asked God 's will to be done. But I kept thinking he would be our miracle baby and come out of it. He was in the hospital six weeks.

The doctor phoned and said he wanted to release him but he wasn 't eating well enough so they would keep him over the weekend. Well, on Friday the hospital phoned and said Warren had a relapse. It was at that time that I prayed and truly released him. I could truly say, "Lord not my will but yours."

The doctor phoned us early Tuesday morning to tell us Warren had passed away.

That morning in my devotions I read Psalms 29:11. The Lord gives strength to his people, the Lord blesses his people with peace. Unless you 've gone through it you can 't fully understand what it 's like to lose a child. I missed that little fellow so much my arms literally ached to hold him. But we did not have to go through our sorrow alone. The Bible says the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. The following summer we were blessed with our first grandchild, which helped heal our sorrow.

Later, when Frank was home more, we took in foster children, and again, with each child, we learned to love and pray hard for them. But therein lie many other stories, such as when Jason joined our family permanently.

In 1978 we moved to an acreage near Osler. We loved the country. Nollan enjoyed the outdoors, having pets and building tree houses and things. We enjoyed camping as a family. Nollan would lie on the floor with a map looking for a place to go in summer.

It was Easter Monday 1987, a beautiful warm day. Frank and the boys were working out on the yard all day. I had invited our daughter and family over for supper. After supper the kids went for a bike ride to our daughter and son-in-law 's place. I and Winnifred followed a few minutes later.

We came upon an accident at the intersection about three quarters of a mile down the road. Nollan had been killed in a car and bicycle accident. We were numb with shock. It was indescribable.

It was that night I battled with my feelings and asking God, " How could you take my son?"

It was as plain as could be. He said, "But he 's my son too."

That gave a peace that I can 't express. I still had many mixed feelings and questions, but I did not question why any more.

It was a very dark and sad time but we experienced such love and comfort from family and friends for which we praised God many times when the walls would close in around me and I just had to get out. My church family was always there for me.

You never get over something like, that but God is faithful, He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Through it all I learned to draw nearer to Him and cling to Him.

In 1997 we moved to Warman. I found it hard to be back in town. I loved the country. The first night the music next door was so loud I said to Frank, "Let 's just go home," but I did adjust and Frank enjoyed going for coffee with his friends and fishing.

In 2002 our son Darcy was diagnosed with lymphoma. When I heard the word cancer, it was just like saying that tomorrow he 'll be gone. But God has been very gracious. After a stem cell transplant, chemo and radiation he is back at work and we are thankful for every day.

In 2007 we went to Manitou Beach with some of our extended family.

We had just said good-bye to Frank 's sister and family and went into the water when about three quarters of an hour later Frank had a heart attack and passes away suddenly.

Looking back now I see a beautiful picture of me holding his hand and Christ reached down and took his other hand and led him through the pearly gates. On the way home God gave me the song, "I 've got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday." It was a big shock as he was not sick at all. God has been so close to me.

One night the power was out and I missed Frank so much. I thought if only I had some of the letters he wrote when he was out of town. I thought they were lost when we moved to the acreage as some things were lost at that time. However, shortly after that I went to the garage and there was an old filing cabinet that I never even opened. Well, I opened one drawer and saw a box from a Bible. I took it out and there were letters from him when he was working out of town.

Is God faithful? Does He care? Oh, yes he cares. His heart is touched with my grief. I have found God to be very near me when I was grieving and hurting from loneliness. He has soothed my mind and helped me to cope and then to adjust to these losses in our family.

Warren was two months, Nollan was thirteen years and Frank was eighty. We were married a few months short of fifty-five years. I wasn 't ready to part with any one of them, even being married all those years seemed so brief. Yet, I know where they are, and am convinced of God's love.

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.

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