Monday, September 08, 2008


Milton, here for Kristy:

I was lovingly welcomed home to preach at the church I pastor this Sunday. It has been over a month since I attended church and a couple of months since I last preached. God called me to preach the end of August of 1968. Three years later on August 14, 1971, Kristy and I were married at the church I now pastor. 

The service was very special to me and difficult at the same time. This 
was the first time I have preached as the pastor of any church without Kristy. The Hammontree Family sang a upbeat southern Gospel song. I have shared a portion of it on this post.

For almost thirty-seven years, Kristy supported me and stood with me as we ministered together. I helped her in her calling as a writer. That is the way our marriage was. We loved and cared for each other and worked to complete our calling to serve God.

Today I shared about the process of healing in Kristy's life and the healing of God in my life due to her loss. Jesus is the Holy healer and I know that Kristy is well in heaven and that God will heal my broken and bruised heart through His grace. 

I gave each of our deacon's wives one of Kristy's purses as token of love to them for all our church has done to love her and us. My message title was "What Is in Your Purse?" I brought  the contents of Kristy's purse and shared some of what she carried in it. 

She carried a Bible that I gave to her for Christmas in 1984, and I read some of her notes she had written in her Bible. She had a note pad and I read some of her notes in it too. She had combs, and makeup, and lip stick, and a mirror and lots of other items. 

Kristy always carried a tape recorder and I turned it on and listened to her dictating her last words for a novel that she was writing at the time this journey began. It is amazing that I am blessed to have so many different writings and words from her which are a legacy for me and our family.

I couldn't look into her purse until the last few days. It was only this morning that I looked closer and found chocolate kisses there too. Can you believe it. Kristy left a few kisses for me in her purse. I ate one of them in church this morning and will save the rest to remember her wonderful kisses. 

God helped me preach Sunday morning a word of faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. Next to God, Kristy is the love of my life. She is my beloved.


At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton, I was reading some back entries from Kristy. In June 2006 she wrote about a vacation you two took with your daughters and grandchildren:

During the entire vacation, I saw a Christian love story lived out: my husband Milton became the dotingest grandfather I've ever seen. And it warmed my heart. Backstory: He was a good father to our girls. He provided well for them. He was "there" for them. But the interaction I saw this week between him and the four kids was, well, like I said, doting. And heartwarming. "Want me to take the three oldest ones to ride the paddle boats?" he'd ask. Or, "Can I take them to the play place while y'all get ready to go to Cypress Gardens?" Or, "Let me take them to the swimming pool." Or, "I'll go get them in their carseats for you." Or, "Claudia, come here to Papa. I need a kiss." Or, "Alexander, come to Papa. I need to tell you how much I love you." Or, "Nicholas, come here to Papa. I want to tell you what a good boy you are. You're Papa's buddy." Or, "Jennifer, give me that baby. I need some loving."

I'm thankful for my Christian love story: a marriage to a godly man who loves me, loves my girls, and loves our grandchildren.

Thank You, God.

Those of us who are left behind to carry on have our memories. I thought recently of what a GIFT it is, that God built our brains with the capacity to remember. What if we could not recall precious times? What if everything ended when our loved one left?

God provides exactly what we need when we need it. I loved your description of your church service, and how you used Kristy's purse as an analogy. Your church family sounds precious and supportive. I know they must have looked forward to your return.

May God lift and sustain you this day, and may He strengthen you to continue your work for His kingdom. His calling on your life is strong and sure, and you have a full life ahead. It's an adventure, and with your hand in His, He can do great things through you.

Yesterday was just the beginning.

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for your comments today! What a marvelous way to share Kristy with your deacon's wives... giving them one of her purses! ...and sharing the contents... the chocolate kisses placed doubt for you... brought many tears to my eyes. Every detail...just like Kristy! She is with you in so many ways. Thank goodness that going to heaven only makes the heart grow fonder...right? A loss...yes... but also... A marvelous gain!

Be Blessed and Comforted...each day in the Lord's Presence.

Love and Prayers...
Steve and Darlene
West Columbia, South Carolina

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked my 30 year old daughter if she was still reading your blog. She said "No,not since Kristy passed. I shared how you gave away Kristy's jewelry and clothes and what a beautiful way to remember her. Now today you have shared the "PURSE" STORY. My answer to her then and now is..."The story isn't over yet!"

Keep sharing, Milton, there are many readers but few commenters. Sometimes we just don't know what to say but we are still here...still praying.

Annette B. Grahl
SEU 1971

p.s. Steve & Darlene, I hail from West Columbia and remember you from years past.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger DayleShockley said...

That's a very kind thing to do, sharing Kristy's purses with her friends.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Margo Carmichael said...

That is so cute, saving chocolate kisses to represent hers. I see that the Holy Spirit is finding sweet--no pun intended--ways to comfort you.

Hugs and blessings~

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sitting here reading your blog and trying to imagine how hard that must have been for you to go through Kristy's purse. Then, to share it so tenderly with the congregation....what a blessing for everyone who loved Kristy so much. I loved how you gave a purse to each of the deacon's wives. You're always so thoughtful, beyond what many men would even "think" of. I just know those dear ladies are thrilled beyond words at your kind and moving gesture.

God is stretching you, Milton. I can see it so vividly. Your trip to see old friends, and your family. The "down" time at the Bed and Breakfast.......the out of the way was all so needed, as I'm sure you've recognized. Then, to return home and face yet another journey...entering into pastoring without your soulmate. But, GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH THIS, MILTON. YOU ARE GOING TO COME OUT SHINING. Your faithfulness will be honored, time and time again!
We're still praying for you. As you're there in your beautiful home, you have a huge circle of friends, family and loved ones who are lifting your name this night!

At 3:18 AM, Blogger Barbara J. Robinson said...

What a wonderful, sweet thought, gift, and message, "What's in Your Purse?" How sweet, the kisses. Glad you had a great welcome back and shared Kristy.


At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Milton,
I visited your church today for the first time and the Lord used you in a might way to minister to my life. At the end of your message you said thanks for listening to me ramble but it was far from rambling the Lord used you and I just want you to know that I too am praying for you.


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