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Continuing To Trust In Our Good God, Kellso Family Update

Josh Kellso December 8, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all, Julie and I want to express a resounding “THANK YOU!” for the care you all have shown to us. We have received countless cards, emails, texts, messages, gifts, and other acts of kindness. We have received numerous gifts anonymously of which we don’t even know to whom to express thanks. So if it was you….THANK YOU! It all is truly so meaningful and helpful to us. God’s provision for us through all of you has been humbling and tremendously encouraging. The love and support we have received and continue to receive have been overwhelming. We are bearing a burden, but we are not doing so alone. Your care for us has been astonishing. We are especially grateful for our church body and the way we have been spiritually tended to and supported in this time. We have been pastored so well by our church leadership and cared for in an exemplary manner by the entire church body. God’s grace is abundant, and His provision is beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. We praise and thank God for all of you!

We would like to fill you in on how we have been doing these last several weeks. In summary, we are well in the Lord. The Lord had only been faithful to us through October 11th. The Lord was abundantly faithful to us on October 12th. And the Lord has been exceedingly faithful to us every day since Caleb’s passing. We have not found it difficult to trust God in this trial. The gospel has been so near to our hearts. And in light of the sacrificial love of God giving His Son as the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins, we cannot question His goodness, wisdom, and care for us as His children.

The hardest part of this trial is that we simply miss Caleb. He brought a youthful and playful energy to our family. He was such a joy to our lives. Yet, the joy of Caleb was never the source of our strength. The joy of the Lord has been and continues to be our strength. And so we press on with sorrow in our hearts, tears often in our eyes, and an unwavering joy and hope found in our precious Savior. The sorrow of these temporal days is overshadowed by the hope of eternity with our Lord and the reality of the eternal life we currently possess in Him.

God’s Word continues to be more precious to us than all else in this world. It has been a glorious light on this dark path the Lord has set before us. It has revived our souls often in moments of weakness. It has been a shield for us from sinful thinking. When temptations have arisen to want a worldly explanation as to why or how this accident took place, God’s Word has abundantly satisfied every curious impulse of our hearts. And it has been a means of drawing near to and resting in our good God. Psalm 145:18 says, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him. To all who call upon Him in truth.” As much as we feel Caleb’s absence from our lives, we are assured of the Lord’s nearness to us. This has been a sweet blessing and comfort to us.

Since Caleb’s passing, there are several things to which we have committed ourselves. First of all, we will not question God’s goodness. God is good. We are not in a position to determine or judge if God is good. He simply is good. That doesn’t change because of our circumstances. Our circumstances rather are an expression of what is true about Him. God, in His wise goodness, has us in precisely these circumstances. Therefore, we have not and will not require Him to meet our expectations or desires. Rather, we plead with Him to conform our thinking to His own. We plead with Him to grant us the grace and faith to humbly entrust ourselves to Him when times are difficult. We pray for help, that He would sustain us as we yield, trust, and believe in His goodness. He has answered these prayers.

We also resolved to not let “hard” determine what we do or don’t do. In all honesty, pretty much everything is hard right now. Rather, we have committed ourselves to do what we believe is right before God. This thinking has been such a blessing as we have continued to engage in our church body, attending most services, small group gatherings, and other events as we have been able. We have also sought to not dictate how we are cared for by others. But rather we continue to trust God that His care for us through His people will be just as we need. We know His care for us through His people is also an expression of His sovereign goodness. He has not disappointed. Again, the care we have received from our pastors and church body has been an incredible means of grace in our lives. Also, the care of believers beyond our own church body has been such a sweet grace from the Lord to sustain us spiritually before Him. Again, THANK YOU!!!

We also have committed to mourn worshipfully. What does this mean? Well, we are sad a lot but not discontent. I can honestly say that the Lord has upheld us. However, we are sad frequently. We miss Caleb. We are sobered by the reality of sin and death. We are figuring out how to function as a family of 5 and not 6. Yet, we are committed to worshipping God amid our sadness. There is a great temptation to let our sadness over Caleb’s absence from our lives lead us to question God or to have discontentment in His plan. We refuse to entertain such thoughts. Rather we have resolved to let each moment of sadness be a catapult of worship for the gift Caleb was. This has been so helpful for us as it has aided us in proclaiming “blessed is the Name of the Lord” through our tears and has kept our hearts focused on the undeserved blessing of being Caleb’s parents.

Many have asked how we are doing as a family. By God’s grace, Julie and I have never been closer. This is a gift from the Lord, and the only explanation is His grace. Julie is and continues to be, the godliest, most loving, faithful, and precious gift from the Lord to me outside of salvation. Each one of our children’s responses has been soft, sweet, and an encouragement to Julie and me. For the first 4-5 weeks, we would spend time each night together, and each of us would open and read one of the many many cards we received. We were continually encouraged by the care for us. This led to many sweet discussions. We also would share favorite memories of Caleb from different events, activities, or simply favorite attributes about Caleb and give thanks to God for Caleb’s life. This was such a wonderful season where, through tears and laughter, we as a family have been able to remind each other of the gift Caleb was to our family. Over time we shifted to remembering things we loved about Caleb and also sharing things we were thankful for regarding each other. This usually was something we would do on birthdays but have incorporated into more of a regular practice.

Boasting only in the Lord I can say with full conviction that we are not merely “getting through” this season. Rather we are worshipfully and dependently embracing with thankfulness God’s good plan for our family. We are joyful. There is laughter in our home. And while the youthful energy isn’t the same, and we miss Caleb more than words can describe, God’s goodness is unchanging. We know this! And in our sadness, sorrow, and frequent tears, there is also joy and hope. Endurance is having its way in our lives. What more could we hope for? God is faithful! We are vessels created for God’s good pleasure to bring Him glory. We will not stipulate what that must look like. Rather we will embrace His perfect plan, entrusting ourselves to Him and seeking to live out His purpose for our lives to glorify Him. God’s mercy is sustaining us each day. And each night we pray anticipating the new mercies He will provide every morning for what we need that day. He is a benevolent Father.

I know some have wondered if they should ask about how we are doing because they don’t want to bring up a sensitive topic. This is such a sweet consideration of us. However, we want you all to know, WE LOVE talking about Caleb. Even if our response is often accompanied by tears. Those tears are not an expression of hardship but are an outward expression of our love and gratefulness for Caleb. At this point, we’re pretty used to crying in front of people. So I think it really only makes those around us uncomfortable. But if you want to know about Caleb, how we are doing, or have things you’d like to share, we welcome it. It is a blessing to us.

What are our current needs? Honestly, I can’t think of anything except continued prayers and encouragement. This is not because they have been lacking in any way, but rather, the abundant prayers and encouragement have been such a means of grace from God that He has used to sustain us. We simply covet them more. We know December will be filled with difficulties as we continue to experience many firsts without Caleb. His birthday was 12/23 and so we know the coming days will be emotional. Yet, as our dear friends the Hantlas have modeled so well, we don’t need to suffer tomorrow’s trials today. Rather we cling to our Savior today and know He will provide all we need for tomorrow.

Once again, thank you for your love and support. You all have been beyond faithful in your care for us, and so once again we thank you and worship God. Blessed is the Name of the Lord!