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Reader thankful for community’s outpouring of love

Published 1:27 am Sunday, July 13, 2014

It had been four months since our precious Kim went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It seems like only yesterday. I wake up every morning not believing that she is really gone. Thinking back over the eleven months that she was ill and then her death, there are so many people that we would like to thank for their outpouring of love and caring in so many ways. In all my years of being a Christian, I have never witnessed ministering or being ministered to by so many sincere and loving people. It started with a community benefit for the Stribling family with so many people from Vicksburg and surrounding areas responding. It was held at Crossway Church with the help of other churches and the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg. What a day that was, we were lifted up through testimonies, prayers, songs of praise and worship. We all left with renewed hope and faith in God’s will and His healing power. Ministering did not stop with the benefit. People from all churches and the Junior Auxiliary continued to reach out in so many ways. We will always love the people of Vicksburg just as Kim did.
Then Shirley Walker started the “Caring Bridge Page” for Kim and what an opportunity for people everywhere, nationwide and worldwide, to write words of encouragement, love and caring, giving all of us comfort and hope on days when there didn’t seem to be any. How I wish I could embrace each one for all the encouraging words and scriptures that kept us going from day to day. May God bless each one in a very special way for taking the time out of your busy days and schedules to love and encourage Kim and this family. What strength and comfort Kim drew from all of you. Shirley Walker was an angel on this earth and a friend to Kim since school days. How little did either of them know just how much they would need each other in the days ahead.
And then there was First Baptist Church, Kim and Billy’s home church. The outreach from this church was beyond anything that I have ever witnessed. The love, caring and encouragement, hands reaching out from all directions to offer and do anything that we needed them to do. Margie Heltzel and Kara Brister coordinated a food train that was so appreciated and helpful. Especially those months that Kim and Billy were in the hospital. With two teens and two small children and busy days of activities and schedules, there would be a hot meal waiting to feed them. Many people from different churches and organizations responded to the food train and what a blessing it was. Thank you and God bless you for taking time from your own families and busy schedules to minister to Kim’s family. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
I can’t say enough about Vicksburg Catholic Schools. They supported Kim and her family in so many ways. The most special was helping our girls feel loved and cared for through all those months, guiding them through the sadness and confusion of trying to deal with their mother’s illness and absence from the home. The special sweet prayer services lifting Kim up in prayer for healing and peace. What a comfort that was to her family. Also setting aside a day for a blood drive. The list could go on and on.
Ergon, the company that Billy works for, also ministered to the family in so many ways. Their prayers, visits, cards, gifts to the children, food brought to our home and most of all allowing Billy time off to be with Kim during her hospital stay and remaining time at home. May God bless them for their kindness, compassion and generosity.
We are so thankful for a community of people that we can call our friends and family. Thank you for walking with us through this journey. The pain of our loss is still ever present, but I thank God for allowing me the privilege of being Kim’s mom. She was never perfect, but she always strived to be all that God wanted her to be. I am thankful for so many people that loved her and moss her as we do.
Please continue to pray for our family. We still have a long journey ahead and are still trying to understand God’s reasoning and His plan in all of this. The grief is still ever present, but He has my heart and I know that He holds my hand.
Thank you all and may God bless you and yours
Lillian Martin, Billy, Will,
Carly Grace, Lilly Jo and Libby