Mother's Day 2015 our family attended Willowcreek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. Pat Kelley, the love of my life, high school sweetheart, and loving husband for nearly 37 years, our three adult children and their significant others (Daughter Lisa and her husband DJ - Daughter Cindy and her fiancé Adam, Son Greg) and myself. This was the first time we had ever all been together for Mother’s Day Service. Pat and I were very happy and felt so blessed. Yet, during the worship songs prior to the message, I could not stop crying. I felt overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. Pat hugged me and I smiled and said I don't know why...Spirit rushing thru.
Note: That morning I could not locate the current notebook I had been using when attending church services, ever since my sister had passed away on November 20, 2008. I knew it was nearly full, so I grabbed a new notebook which happened to have the words Joy, Peace and Love on the cover. I felt a new chapter in our journey was about to unfold.
During the Mother's Day message I jotted these thoughts in my notebook.
1. God is for us - Who can be against us? (A verse from Romans that I artistically had written on a board and gave to my husband when we were in high school - Romans 8)
2. Moms are not in control and that is a relief.
3. Let go of what you expect and embrace what you have.
4. With us - for us. You suspect God is good during the day. It is confirmed at night.
5. Are the things you are living for worth Jesus dying for?
Later in the service, an announcement was made. Each lady in the church was invited to choose a key necklace with a word of encouragement on it. The idea was to wear it as long as you needed it and then pass it on to someone who needed it more. We had been praying for our nephew’s wife who had been battling cancer and knew instantly that I wanted to send my key to her. My life could not have been more blessed. After all I was with my entire family at Mother’s Day service. I did not feel any need to keep the necklace for myself, even for a short while. I planned to send the key to Sarah the very next day.
I stood in line for a COURAGE key but they were gone when I got there, so I chose HOPE and said God plans.
As we were leaving church we discussed if we really wanted to attempt brunch on this very busy day of the year. We planned to go to Sweet Tomatoes and it was early so we thought it may not be too long of a wait. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere, did not matter where, because Pat and I had purchased an angel necklace for Mother’s Day for our daughter, Lisa, who had become pregnant after years of trying. So we decided to go to Sweet Tomatoes and if the line extended outside the doors we would just save the lunch for another day.
When we arrived, there was NO line at all and again I said, God plans.
We enjoyed our time together. Lisa and DJ gave us a very special gift - an ultrasound picture of their TWINS! Pat cried instantly with excitement. We were overwhelmed with joy that the pregnancy was going well and we could not wait to be grandparents! We gave Lisa her necklace, enjoyed our family and brunch together.
The next day, May 11th, God called Pat's name. My husband's body suffered a massive heart attack. Pat, my everything, was gone from this world in a heartbeat. We praise the Holy Spirit, Pat did not suffer long and thank God, Pat's loving spirit has continued to dwell within me and all those who love him greatly, in indescribable ways ever since.
I took the necklace with the word HOPE, added our wedding bands and wore it around my neck for nearly two months before I finally sent it off to Sarah with a letter, on July 10th (one day prior to my husband’s 2 month anniversary) Sarah sent me a heartfelt note in return.
Yesterday, the day after Pat's Celebration of Life, our daughter Cindy gave me her necklace that she had received at church on Mother's Day. She had chosen the word LOVE. I am currently wearing this new key with my wedding bands.
I now look forward to being a blessing when prompted by the Holy Spirit to pass this LOVE key onto someone new.