Sue Keddy chose those bittersweet words to begin the story of her husband, Jim’s, sudden death and her life without him.
What unfolds is an inspiring, raw account of grief, faith and courage. She has my gratitude for sharing her journey.
Sue’s story is personal for me.
MARRIAGE, MINISTRY AND MISSIONS
I attended Bible College with Jim Keddy for three years. His quit wit, winsome smile, artistic talent, gentle spirit and positive attitude won him the admiration and respect of classmates and profs, alike. Jim was our Student Council President.
He married Sue Ozard, a pastor’s daughter, three months after I married Jocelyn. We graduated together a year later as “old married men.”
In 1980, my connection to the Keddys took an interesting turn when I became a pastor to Jim’s family in Essex, Ontario.
For three years I lived in the town Jim grew up in. I was a chaplain to his grandfather. His dad became my tennis partner. His mom was the women’s ministry leader. Jim’s sisters, Myrna and Nancy were volunteer leaders in our youth program and bus ministry.
His family admired and adored Jim.
Jim became a successful youth pastor, missionary, teacher and most importantly, father to Curtis and CJ.
The Keddy’s missionary newsletter featured Jim’s illustration of his family on a carpet, riding down a mountain side. The newsletter was entitled, “The Ride Continues…” At one point in time Sue had a dream about the Lord inviting her to trust Him and ride down a mountain on a carpet. That became their theme for life.
Their newsletter shared stories of family adventures and miracles and conversions to Christ through Jim and Sue’s personal witness.
Jim taught for ten years at Munsang College where he influenced the faith of hundreds of students.
He and Sue had life by the tail.
Jim’s sudden death left everyone reeling.
JANUARY 25, 2005
Jim and Sue began every morning reading the Bible together and praying. January 25, 2005 was no different. They had just read 2 Corinthians 12, about God’s strength being made perfect in weakness. Sue reached out to hold Jim’s hand and heard a strange gurgle in his breathing.
She says that his eyes were bright and looking at something she couldn’t see.
His hands were open.
Her hands were empty. She screamed his name and begged Jesus to give him life.
Paramedics and doctors couldn’t revive him.
He wasn’t even 50 years old.
LIVING WITHOUT JIM
Sue kept a journal after Jim’s death, chronicling her journey. She opened her heart to the world in writing, “Living Without Jim.”
The emphasis is on “living.”
Her shared experiences are like a beacon of hope guiding people through the darkest moments of their lives.
Sue continued to serve in Hong Kong after Jim’s death and then recently returned to Canada to launch a ministry to women.
Here are some of Sue’s discoveries, made in living without Jim.
14 DISCOVERIES ABOUT LOSS AND GRIEF
2. Psalm 23 became brand new to me. When Jesus becomes your absolute everything, every verse of Scripture is intensely personalized.
3. Its hard to imagine my heart ever leaping for joy again, but God’s Word says it will, if I choose to trust Him.
“My heart chooses to trust in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7
4. I had a choice: I could embrace God’s sovereignty or I could resent Him for allowing this nightmare
5. I believe a day is coming when Jesus will eliminate words like “good-bye,” “sorrow,” and “pain.”
6. I have a reservoir of memories to draw from but all I want to do is make new memories. The dreadful realization that he is never coming back is devastating. My heart feels like its in a vice.
7. I’m grappling with how becoming a widow at 46 could even be remotely good. “…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:2
8. I’m learning that when my legs won’t take me where He wants me to be, He’ll carry me there if I let him.
9. I’ve stepped onto a very crowded path. There are many ahead of me and others who are just beginning.
10. Jesus does not remove the pain. He holds me steady and walks me through it one step at a time.
11. Even though I saw you leave and have actually lived 60 days without you living and breathing beside me, part of me still expects you to be waiting for me when I walk into our home this morning.
12. I am learning to rejoice in suffering because this God-carved path is changing me. It has tightened my grip, firmed up my stance, strengthened my resolve and focused my eyes on the prize.
13. I know that one day I will be able to comfort others with the same comfort that has comforted me. Broken crayons still color.
14. I am determined to prove that this crazy way of living can be reality for a follower of Jesus. A reality that I must die in order to really live.
Purchase a copy of Sue’s book by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s $20 and every penny of every book sold goes to support work in Haiti.
Sue Keddy is a real tonic and an intrepid adventurer for Jesus. She has enjoyed picnics in a junk boat on the South China Sea, ridden a camel on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Karachi, Pakistan, and celebrated wedding anniversaries on deserted stretches of beaches in the Philippines and Guam.
APPLICATION: How has reading about Sue’s journey influenced you? Please leave a comment below.
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