"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kenya Update

Good morning and happy first day of April from Kenya!

We started our trip with a 15-hour flight from Dallas, Texas to Dubai, UAE. When we landed in Dubai, we got to spend 22 hours exploring the city and sleeping in a wonderful hotel room. We visited a mosque just in time to hear one of the daily calls to prayer. It was a weighty moment, but gave us opportunity to pray for a people group that does not know the truth and beauty of the gospel and to engage in gospel-centered conversations with Will and Layla. We also got to see the fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa and eat delicious food. The Lord was so kind to us in our time in Dubai.

From there, we hopped on a 5-hour flight to Nairobi. It’s amazing how quick that flight felt after a 15-hour flight! Landing in Nairobi was a very different experience than Dubai. Going through security and customs took a very long time. The kids and our team were exhausted.

We had heard about how tricky it can be to get out of the airport due to “customs” officers going through your bags and taxing you heavily for any American items you bring into the country. Our bags were filled with all of the supplies we were using to teach and entertain 50 kids for 4 days. That’s a lot of toys, treats, craft supplies, books and equipment. We were also carrying several bags to our missionaries in Kenya that were filled with over 100 audio Bibles in several tribal languages spoken here, batteries and feeding supplies for deaf and cleft palate children.

That morning, I had emailed our elders and staff asking for prayer that God would make us “unseen” by anyone seeking to take advantage of us or harm us. And through out our flight and time in the airport, the Lord placed that same prayer on the hearts of our team members, without any of us speaking to one another.

Friends, my God hears and responds to the prayers of His children!

After exchanging a very large amount of cash right in front of the “customs” officer area and with 30 bags and two small, very American looking children, we literally walked straight through the airport without being stopped. Not a single bag was opened. We had every reason to be stopped – we were the last people to get through security and we walked by the checkpoint when it was empty. But we were literally unseen and protected. 

After resting and more travel, we arrived at the conference center yesterday to set-up and begin teaching. It was overwhelmingly beautiful to watch these precious friends and teammates teach the gospel to these little hearts. There was joy, laughter, yummy snacks and shouts of “Praise the Lord” and “God Made Everything” that echoed throughout the retreat center last night as we taught the Creation narrative and about the power of the word of God as He spoke creation into being.

The presence of the Lord is here. I have been on the verge of tears for the last 3 days as I have seen Him generously pour out His Spirit over our team and this country. But there is also a presence of darkness and deceit that our team is battling. Bad dreams, fear and doubt are trying to sneak in. Will you pray against the attack of the enemy with us today?

This morning, we will teach narrative of The Fall. We will reveal how deceptive and sneaky the enemy is to the children. But, we will also proclaim the goodness and generosity of God who disciplines in HOLINESS, protects in LOVE, and promises a Savior to rescue us from sin and give us HOPE. Will you ask the Lord to move in power, to save, to encourage and to protect?

Thank you for your love and support. The Lord is so faithful and good! I have so many more stories to share over the next few days and as we get home.

With love and gratitude - CK

Monday, December 28, 2015

We're going to Kenya!!!

Before William and Layla were born, Barry and I prayed earnestly that the Lord would save them and give them a heart for the church and the lost. We desired for them to be compassionate towards those who did not know of the joy and hope that comes from being a child of God. God has been so generous to the Keldie family, especially over the last 6 years since Barry passed away. The Lord saved William in March of 2015 and continues to work in Layla’s heart, causing her to ponder the gospel and ask beautiful questions. As I continue to pray for Layla’s salvation and William’s growth in Christ, I have also been praying that God would give us an opportunity to go overseas on a mission trip. While we talk and read about the nations, there is something incredibly powerful about seeing something in real life.

I want them to see the value of the lives of those around the world. To understand that we may look and speak in different ways, but we are all created in the image of God. That we are all valuable and beautiful. That we are all born sinners, in need of forgiveness and reconciliation to God. That regardless of circumstance, our hope is found in Jesus. And that God has given us the beautiful opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with our friends here in America and with those around the world.

I have recently been given the opportunity to lead a mission trip team going to Kenya in March of 2016. Our main purpose will be to teach missionary children while their parents attend an annual conference. These missionaries have given their lives to take the gospel of Jesus to the people of Kenya. They have left family, friends and the comfort of life in America to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who do not know Him. I am overwhelmed and blessed to have the opportunity to love, encourage and teach their children. And this is a trip that I can take William and Layla on! They will get to play with and learn alongside of these missionary children. They will get to help teach younger children. They will see first-hand what missions is all about. We will also hopefully get to visit an orphanage in Kenya where we have sponsored and prayed for a little girl for the last 5 years and visit an IDP camp to understand what it looks like to have leave your home because of persecution and rebuild your life with very little resources.

God is so generous to continue to give us opportunities to do ministry and witness what He is doing around the world. I am praying that this trip will draw our hearts to Him and give us a deep understanding and love for others around the world. Honestly, I am hoping that this is the first of many mission trips for William and Layla. That they would continually be willing to leave the comforts and safety of home to take the gospel to the nations.

Will you pray for us as we prepare to go to Kenya? Will you pray for our hearts to trust in God’s perfect plan and provision? Will you pray for the many details of the trip that I am responsible for? Will you pray for the curriculum that I will be writing – that the gospel would be clear and make much of Jesus?

While we are using our vacation fund to help us with this trip, we also need to raise additional support. We need to raise $2000 of $4000 by January 31st. If you would like to financial help us with this trip, you can: 
Mail a check with "Kenya VBS – Keldie" in the memo to: 
The Village Church 
2101 Justin Road 
Flower Mound, Texas 75028 
Contributions to this trip are tax deductible.

If you would like to follow our adventure, I will be updating this blog as we prepare and go.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19 & 20

"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:12-15

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nightmares and Lies

The nightmares have returned.

They were once a constant companion, starting in college and continuing on for almost a decade. Vivid, graphic, unnerving dreams that tormented me in the night.  Undoubtedly, they were spiritual warfare raging in my soul and mind. Despite their continuous recurrence, I had learned how to manage their effects. Waking up in terror, I simply had to reach over in the darkness to the other side of the bed and wake him.  And in an instant, I was wrapped up in his arms, protected from the invisible attacks. Scripture and words of prayer whispered over me in the darkness, shinning light and truth into my fearful heart. He was my comforter, my protector. 

When he died, the dreams stopped. I don’t know why. I just know I was thankful. But last week, they returned. I awoke in the middle of the night, sick from the images that were screaming through my head. Desperately afraid. And very, very alone.

He wasn’t there. I had to face the terror of the night alone. As if that weren’t enough, his absence, my aloneness, sent an unbearable wave of grief through my being. Fear and sadness were suffocating me in that dark bed. Even the light of day could not seem to drive away the horrible feeling. 

The nightmares have continued. My flesh has responded with lies. Lies that the sadness and loneliness will never really go away. That, regardless of time, some wounds just do not heal. My flesh hurts. My heart hurts. I thought I was past this. I want to be done with grief. It is not my friend.

I have to fight the lies with truth.  Just as night is followed by the light of dawn, weeping is followed by joy (Psalm 30:5). I will not remain clothed in sackcloth and ashes. One day I will get a beautiful headdress and garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3).

And I am not alone. The deeper truth is my husband was never really my comforter and protector. He was simply an instrument used by God to bring me comfort and protection. Despite the illusion of being alone in the darkness after the nightmares, I am never really alone. I am still held and protected. Still covered in words of truth and intercession to the Father. My physical senses may not register it, but my heart does. And I have hope.

So I wait for the dawn of a new day. Not simply to escape the terrors and loneliness of the night. I wait for the dawn of a new day that I know will bring a joy so deep I can’t help but dance in praise to my loving God. He has promised me that a new day is coming…

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye

“Saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.” - from The Muppets Take Manhattan

This month seems to be a month of saying goodbye. Already, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends as they have moved away. And on Friday, I’ll say goodbye to another.

These aren’t just basic friends. These are people who have touched my life in a deep, sweet way. In fact, it seems shallow to call them friends – they aren’t friends any more. They’re family.

These are the friends that have been there for all of the big moments of my adulthood. We all had children at the same time and we figured out how to raise them (…not kill them) together. These are the friends who visit you in the hospital when you have a baby, come to all of your kids’ birthday parties (even when the Cowboys are playing), help you stay sane when your kid is up all night for weeks and celebrate every silly milestone you have as a parent.

These are the friends who study the Bible with you, pray with you, encourage you with the truth of Scripture and hold you accountable (even in messy, painful situations). They point you to Jesus – over and over again.

These are the friends who walk through the most painful situations of your life with you. They keep your kids for days while your husband is dying in the hospital, cry with you and pray with you in the middle of the night, celebrate all of those awkward and painful “first” holidays and anniversaries with you, sit with you while your child is in surgery, come home early from Christmas with their families when the doctor tells you your son has cancer and celebrate like crazy when the doctor calls back and says a mistake was made – there is no cancer.

These are the friends whose husbands love your family so much they agree to coach your kid’s soccer team, teach your son how to ride a bike, sell your car to protect you from creepy strangers, manage contractors so you don’t get taken advantage of and dress up in silly costumes so a bunch of five-year-old “super heroes” can attack them at a birthday party.

These are the people that God puts in your life to give you a glimpse of what His love for you is like.

This month I have to say goodbye to these special friends. And it is so sad. But with the tears that come with saying goodbye there is also overwhelming gratitude. I am so thankful for each precious moment God allowed me to share with them. I am thankful for how they have taught me and shaped me through all of the good and bad moments we have faced together. And above all, I am thankful that God loves and cares for me so much that He gave me these friends to share life with.

So, we say goodbye. We know that distance may separate bodies but it cannot separate hearts. We trust that God will provide new friends to encourage us and walk with us in this next stage of life. And we say “thank you” for the gift of friendship.

“Somehow I know we’ll meet again. Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when. You’re in my heart, so until then - it’s time for saying goodbye.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moving Forward & Pausing to Look Back

At the end of this summer, the kids and I took our first vacation as a family of 3. We went on vacation last year, but took my parents along for help. This year, I decided it was time to own our new life and braved it alone. There were lots of people who didn't understand and were concerned about us going on vacation alone. Would we be safe? Would we have fun? What if I needed help? I understood these concerns - I had them myself. But after a year and a half of being a single mom, I decided it was time to take this next step.

We went to San Antonio with the sole intent of going to Sea World. We love Sea World. In fact, it was the last vacation we took with Barry. That trip was one of the sweetest memories I have of us as a family of four. Going back to San Antonio was safe and easy - I knew where to stay, how to plan our days. So, I packed us up and headed out for a new adventure and new memories.

Our trip was wonderful. I could not have asked for more. The kids had a blast. William and Layla fed sea lions, seals and dolphins. William even found the courage to pet a dolphin! (It may or may not have taken 3 days to build up the courage...). On the first day, Layla was terrified of the Shamu show. By the last day, she was begging to go back and cheering. We went to the water park. The kids ate funnel cake for the first time and William loved it. Layla was fascinated by the penguins and William insisted on seeing the sharks every day. We laughed and played and explored and had the best time.

While there were so many wonderful moments, there were also some painful moments as well. On our first day, we went to the pool at our hotel. We stayed in the same hotel as our trip with Barry. As we walked out to the pool, William screamed, "Momma! I swam in this pool with my daddy! I pushed him under the water right there." It was a bittersweet moment. I remember that day. I remember them playing and laughing . And I wish William could swim with his daddy again. We miss him. But it was also so sweet to see how God is continuing to answer our prayers for William. After Barry died, so many people prayed that God would seal memories of Barry in his heart and help him remember his daddy. God has answered those prayers. William remembers. And I think that going back to that place and remembering has helped to strengthen that memory. As we watched the sharks at Sea World, we missed daddy. William missed having his daddy there. I missed Barry as William asked me what kind of sharks they were and I didn't know the answer. And I wished that Barry could see the awe William and Layla both had in watching their daddy's favorite animal.

As I reflected on our trip during the drive home, I felt a great sense of peace and gratitude. I was thankful for the for the blessing of getting to have adventures with my kids. For the ability to laugh and play. For the strength to not just endure life, but to enjoy it and move forward. I realized just how far God had brought us over the last 18 months. And I was thankful that while we were creating new memories, God let me look back at old memories with deep joy and peace. Our life with Barry was precious and good. And even though we miss him, our life without him is also precious and good. How amazing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Soap Day

My husband was a complex man. Most people only saw the public side of him: the preacher, counselor, church planter. He was passionate, worked hard and took his calling seriously. But behind that man was the funniest, sweetest man I have ever met. He made life fun. He was that guy you pull up next to who is singing to the radio at the top of his lungs. He was the guy who loved cheesy kid movies like Sky High and Because of Winn Dixie. He never failed to make me laugh – every single day. He enjoyed life and he showed me how to enjoy life.

Barry was also a man of habit. He liked certain things certain ways. One thing he was very particular about was the soap he used. He only used bar soap. No liquid soap. And it had to be Irish Spring. The good thing about bar soap is that it lasts a long time. A very long time … But every so often a beautiful thing would occur. Barry called it “New Soap Day.” It was the day you got to throw away that little cracked sliver of old soap and open a new box of Irish Spring. It was a glorious day. It did not matter what was happening that day – no matter how stressful or painful. Everything was going to be okay because it was new soap day. It sounds silly, but new soap day made him happy. He delighted in it. And it made me happy, because it was fun to watch him enjoy new soap day.

A couple of months ago, I came to an interesting realization. In the last 16 months, I have learned a lot in this new life I live. In regards to learning to walk in the land of the living (Psalm 116:9), I feel like I have done well. I’ve learned to manage our household and our family. I’ve taken big steps. God has been faithful and generous. But I realized that I have forgotten something vitally important. I have forgotten how to have fun. How to be playful. How to laugh – really laugh. And in talking through this with a friend, she asked me what I found delight in. Guess what? I didn’t really have an answer.

Don’t misunderstand. I am content. I am joyful. In fact, I think I have experienced a contentment and joy that most people don’t ever experience. Walking through the darkest of circumstances can show you how bright and good life really is in Jesus. But being content and joyful are different from having fun. And while fun is fleeting, the Bible tells us that God created us for delight. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to experience pleasure. He is the creator and giver of those things. And while suffering and grief are a part of life, they are not the only part. They don’t overtake everything. I can still have fun. I can still be silly. I can still laugh so hard I cry. So, while I have temporarily forgotten how to have fun, I am on a quest to relearn the art.

So, here’s to finding my equivalent to “New Soap Day.” To finding delight in the little things. To enjoying the life that God has given me – not surviving it, but really enjoying it. What God has given is so good – may my attitude and actions reflect it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Update on William

A few weeks ago, William had another MRI to monitor the size of the mass in his leg. This was something his oncologist wanted to do in order to confirm his diagnosis. If the mass had stayed the same size or gotten smaller, it would confirm his second diagnosis of heterotopic ossification (excess bone in his leg resulting from the original fracture). If it had grown, it would confirm the original diagnosis of osteosarcoma. So, off we went to Medical City Dallas Children's Hospital for 7 hours of fun and testing.

To be honest, my heart was full of angst about this MRI. Logically, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Just by looking at William's leg, I knew the mass had gotten smaller. He had regained all of his range of motion and was walking, running and jumping like any other 4-year-old. (Thank you for all the PT, Melissa!!!) And, while sedating him for the MRI isn't exactly fun, I knew he wouldn't have any allergic reactions to the anesthesia. But logic doesn't always rule my heart. Sometimes, fear and worry does. There's a little voice that whispers, "What if ..."

I hate that voice.

Leading up to this MRI, the Lord literally put a song in my heart. It was like a having a CD stuck on repeat in my head all day and all night. It was a song that I knew and believed. And yet in my belief, I needed to be reminded of this truth continually.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more.

This song reminded me of the father of the boy with an unclean spirit in Mark 9. His exclamation of, "I believe; help my unbelief!" is exactly how I was feeling. I believed that God had shown us great compassion by sparing William of cancer in December. I believed that God was working all things for our good and for His glory. I believed that God loved us deeply and would carry us through what ever trials He brought our way. But doubt still sneaks in. The lie that Adam and Eve believed in the garden is still whispered to me today. Despite the beautiful work I have seen God do over the last 16 months in the Keldie family, I still need the Holy Spirit to speak truth that drowns out that lie. I need grace to trust God more.

Oh, how He gives grace. William's MRI went exceptionally well. He was brave. He was excited to go the hospital - he loves the play room. Even when he found out he had to "take a short nap" (what he calls being put to sleep), the tears were only momentary. We had the best anesthesiologist we've had yet. William woke up from the MRI well - no terror and sobbing like last time. And even more importantly, we got the best news we could have gotten. The mass in his leg has shrunk. In fact, the oncologist was surprised and extremely happy about how much it had shrunk. Any question as to William having cancer was destroyed. His leg is doing so well that, unless a complication comes up, he won't have surgery to remove the mass until he is in middle school. Originally, we were told he would have to have surgery next year. And the icing on the cake of our good news - no more MRIs. All monitoring of the mass can now be done with x-rays.

Over the last 16 months, we've faced some horrible things. And yet, every single step of the way, God has been generous and faithful. With every heartache and tragedy, He has poured out blessings. He has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and uphold our faith - to help my unbelief. I am so thankful.

I'm so glad I've learned to trust Him
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me
Will be with me to the end.