unexpected moments

20 Jul

On Sunday, my Grandpa Thiessen (my mom’s dad) passed away peacefully in his sleep. With his eyes closed, his mouth turned in a slight smile and in the comfort of his bed, our Heavenly Father took my grandpa Home. Since Thursday, I have been staying with a wonderful couple and their almost two-year old son in their home in Charlotte, North Carolina (Thursday being the first time I had met them). Being in the Eastern time zone, I was at church with them the morning that grandpa passed away. In the Bible Study class before the church service the passage that we were studying was Psalm 90 and as we read it, this verse caught my attention:

“Seventy years are given to us! Some even eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90: 10) At the time I thought this was interesting because I hadn’t come across another verse in scripture where it so specifically says how many years we are given on earth, but also because I thought the imagery of us flying away to be with our Creator was beautiful.

After church I went with the couple to their friend’s house for lunch (who I have never met). For no apparent reason, I checked my cell phone to see if I had received any texts from friends or family back home and I had two messages – one from my dad saying to call him and one from mom saying to call dad. I text back and said I couldn’t call right now, but something told me that I needed to call home so I excused myself and stepped outside to call. I knew something was wrong which was affirmed when my mom told me that grandpa (her dad) has gone Home to be with Jesus. Immediately, tears welled up in my eyes and began rolling down my cheeks as the shock of this news began to set in. This is the first significant death in my family and this particular one came without warning. My friend and the lady whose home we were at (and just under a year ago lost her 22-year old son in a tragic accident) came outside and prayed with me, but before we started to pray, she asked me if my grandpa was a believer. A rush of comfort embraced my heart as I softly and confidently said yes. While she prayed I marveled at how this woman who lost her child ‘out of order’ rejoiced and thanked God that my grandpa was now in heaven with Him and being introduced to her son.

It was amazing how even in the midst of sadness and loss, I could see how God had ordained the situation. If things would have gone according to my plans, I would have been 3,000 miles away in Asheville, North Carolina staying by myself, but instead, I was still 3,000 miles away from home and family, but in the presence of wonderful, Godly people who seemed to know exactly what I needed in that moment.

I composed myself to stay for lunch but excused myself afterwards to go back to the house where I was staying so I could talk to my family more, spend some time with God and begin to process what just happened. In that time I began to think about the Bible class in the morning and that verse that had stuck with me – “Seventy years are given to us! Some even eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90: 10) My grandpa was 79 when he passed away,  just six months shy of his 80th birthday. And in the stillness of the night, my grandpa’s earthly years disappeared as his soul flew away to our final Home leaving behind the pain and troubles of our earthly existence. It’s a simple verse, but one I know I was meant to read that morning.

Reflecting on my grandpa’s life countless thoughts come to mind. As a solid man of God, His goodness was evident in his strong desire to tell others about Jesus. I can recall so many times being at my grandma and grandpa’s house and hearing about one of the coffee visits that he had just been on or was going to have with someone who doesn’t know Christ. He served at the church faithfully and had a quiet gentleness about him that made him very easy to be around. As a child I can remember the many outings for ice cream, checking out the huge John Deere tractors and the ‘rides’ he would give me on his knee. And as I grew up he would always comment on my height and how I was outgrowing him. Now, as a single, young(ish) woman, one thing that he said to me over lunch a few months ago really stands out. He told me that I’m a beautiful woman of God and that God has someone wonderful planned for me so I don’t need to worry or rush. My grandpa didn’t often say things like that, not because he didn’t think them, but that’s just how he was, so I remember being very touched that he would tell me that.

As this loss continues to sink in, I am so thankful that I was able to see my grandpa just before I left on this trip and give him a hug. And even more thankful that I talked to him last week on my birthday and was able to tell him that I loved him. The last thing he said to me was that he loved me, but the second last thing he said was he asked me how my car was running. Pretty much every time I went to visit my grandparents he would ask me how my car was running… it was one of the ways he showed his care and concern for me. So the fact that that was one of the last things he said to me couldn’t be more perfect for me. I will miss grandpa and there will be sadness in the days, weeks and months to come, but I’m so thankful that he went peacefully, home to Glory.

such a great smile


14 Responses to “unexpected moments”

  1. Natasha July 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    So beautiful Jamie. Sorry to hear of your loss… you’ve got me in tears here. God is so faithful and it is truly amazing how He is always looking out for us. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well!

    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:27 am #

      Thanks Natasha! I love that you have been following me along this journey. In a way, it kind of all started with you and our chats in the lunch room. You were such a great encouragement! Praying for you as you press on through the third trimester :)

  2. Jaime July 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Hey Jamie,

    I just got off the phone with Liz not too long ago and she was telling me about your Grandpa and I was just so SO glad that God had it in mind to have you stay with them over those few days and during your Grandpa’s passing. I’m praying for you and your family and will pray that God continues to be your comfort especially during the long hours on the road and those times at night when sleep seems elusive.


    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:28 am #

      Thanks Jaime! Yeah, I’m so thankful that God thought to have me with the Stewarts when I found out about Grandpa. I couldn’t imagine having to find that out being alone… they were so great! Thanks again for your many connections and help along this trip. You have been wonderful and hopefully I’ll actually get to meet you in person someday soon :)

  3. Traut July 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Hey little buddy,

    I’ve been thinking of you lots. I was reminded yesterday of my dear friend’s passing. To hear this encouraging note reminds me again of the wonderful place they are in. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers. The Lord has had his hand upon you during this trip. It’s so evident that He’s doing a good work in you. May you feel his peace and comfort in the remainder of your travels. I love you dear friend.


    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:30 am #

      Oh my friend, I just love you. Thanks for the message. You are such a huge encouragement to me! I can’t wait to see you when I get back and catch up on life. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers… sending them right back your way!

  4. Elizabeth Stewart July 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm #


    We love you, friend, and miss you already. I will be praying for you daily.

    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:30 am #

      I love you and miss you guys too! You are so wonderful! Thanks again for everything!

  5. Erin July 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    What a reminder that God’s ways are so above our understanding. To have you there, with those people, during this loss. Having them rejoice with you that your Grandpa is in heaven, and yet know the sorrow. Amazing.
    Love you, got your message, and will call you soon.

    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:32 am #

      It’s so true. I have been quite blown away by God several times throughout this trip and this was another one of those times. It just makes God feel so real and personal that He cares enough to make sure that I was covered in that moment. Crazy. Love you too! I know your parents are with you so whenever you have a chance to call is great.

  6. grama July 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Jamie; I just finished reading your tribute to grandpa. The whole family spent between 6 and 8 pm at the funeral home. Being able to see the body of grandpa but we just knew he wasn’t there. We cried and laughed and told little anecdotes about some of the things he did. We all know his love of John Deeres. Well, your dad phoned the John Deere dealer and they are delivering their biggest tractor to be placed in front of the S. Abbotsford church where the memorial is being held. That would have pleased grandpa to no end! Thank you for the wonderful tribute. It just warmed my heart to read it. Also wanted to tell you that Jodie and Luke will be walking with me in the processional tomorrow. I’m just going to love it! Well, I’ll close. Kath and I have been adding our hours of sleep and collectively we had 6hrs last night. Tonight should be different. Pastor Terry prayed that I would have a deep refreshing sleep. So I’m now going to bed. Love xoxoxoxo g.

    • Jamie Born July 26, 2010 at 7:35 am #

      Grama, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and pray for you. The service was beautiful and I’m so thankful that I was able to watch it from Virginia. Terry’s message was amazing! Praying for restful sleeps and that God’s comfort would be the most real and close to you that it has ever been. I love you lots and can’t wait to see you when I get home!

  7. Pat Lee July 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Send this to readers digest. It is truly a moving story and one that says a lot

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