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EP 20: God's Presence in Heartbreaking Loss: A Conversation with Jim and JeanneKay Van Houten

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  --2 Cor 1:3-4 (NIV)

This week, we’re talking about the delicate issue of when we lose a loved one, and how God fits into our lives.

When my mom died at her young age, it was a tough time during a cold December week in Upstate New York. As usual, it was cloudy. Snow was on the ground and it fell almost every day during our time of mourning.

The stark, gray environment contributed to the mood that filled the air for my family. We were all pained in a big way by the loss of a wonderful woman who had given herself for us. 

I remember how she would squirrel away extra grocery money in one of the drawers. She would send it to me at college to help me out. You can imagine what a $20 bill in the mail meant to a college kid.

Our Guests

Jim and JeanneKay Van Houten are dear friends of ours. My wife and I met them over 20 years ago on a hot, hot day. More on that in the interview. Their son, Jeff, played baseball against our twin sons a few times and that’s how our friendship developed -- even though we lived hundreds of miles away.

Jim is a retired financial planner and Jeanne Kay had a career in education and raising their boys. Their lives were turned upside down nearly two years ago when their son, Jeff, tragically died.

I don’t know if there’s anything more painful than losing a child. I have seen this couple walk through the storm and have witnessed their heartache and pain. But I’ve also seen how their walk with God has flourished.

I wasn’t sure if I should ask them to be on the podcast, and I wasn’t sure if they wanted to. But they said “yes” because they want to help others going through a crisis like this. It was a hard interview, probably the hardest I’ve ever done. When I think of Fresh Faith in Real Life, I think of people like Jim and Jeanne Kay. I’m so grateful they came on the show to share their story and their faith journey with Christ.

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