It was just a few days before Thanksgiving 2014 that I answered an ad. Another hopeful-adoptive Mama had a great fundraising idea! As a Mom, she knew how busy and overwhelming the holiday season can be. As a fellow blogger, she knew that blogging gets extra busy in November and December. She was offering short-term assistance to help bloggers balance family time and computer time throughout the holidays. She would help me with some behind-the-scenes blog work and the income she earned would be put towards the adoption she was saving up for. It was a win-win for both of us. The blogger offering her services was Mandy Kelly from WorshipfulLiving.com and I had no way of knowing that this woman would soon teach me an incredible lesson that I would never forget about loving someone more than yourself.
Mandy was no stranger to adoption.
She told me how her father had adopted her when she was a toddler and she was “forever thankful” for his role in her life.
She'd been adopted a second time by her Heavenly Father and was fully confident of her place in His affections and her place in His family.
And when she grew up and married a man who had been widowed with three small children, she humbly and gratefully adopted his children and they became her own.
The Lesson: Loving Someone More Than Yourself
Mandy with her husband and children
I didn't have to talk to Mandy for very long to realize that she adored her family and loved her life. She threw herself into mothering her children with everything she had.
One afternoon we were chatting on the phone about our families and our shared dream of adopting. She was telling me about what it's like to be a step mom. I'll never forget it… She said, “I love my husband and kids dearly, but I would give anything if it could have prevented them from experiencing the pain of losing their wife and mother.”
Wait. Mandy… if your husband and children hadn't lost their first wife and mother, she would still be here and your life would look completely different. You would be missing all of this.
But Mandy didn't see it that way. She hurt deeply for the pain that her family had been through and she would have been willing to sacrifice anything to prevent them from having experienced that kind of loss. She wasn't thinking about herself AT ALL. Just them.
Because that is typical of Mandy.
Precious in the Sight of the Lord
Last Tuesday, March 21… The unimaginable happened.
The Kelly's home caught on fire. Mandy, her husband Scott and their two youngest children – their 9 year old daughter Lizzie and Judah (the 10 month old son they had just adopted) – didn't make it out of the house in time.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15 (KJV)
That Bible verse is so difficult to understand during times like this.
The Kelly's church has a fund set up, and cards may be sent to the family, in care of the church:
Trinity Baptist Church
2003 Charleston Hwy.
Cayce, SC 29033
You can also donate to the Kelly Family through Trinity Baptist Church’s website. There is a GIVE button on the menu. Choose the ‘Kelly Fund’ from the drop down options. The funds will be used to support Mandy and Scott's older two children (young teens) who survived the fire.
An Online Memorial
Mandy blessed and encouraged so many people through her online ministry. If you are in need of Christian encouragement, please visit her website WorshipfulLiving.com. Here are some of my favorite posts on Mandy's site:
Seeing Jesus for Who He IsRekindling Joy When You're Tired of Church3 Ways to Launch Your Bible Study TimeThe One Thing You Need to Battle TemptationGrace In Marriage2 Selfies God Wants Our Kids to TakeMaking our Home a Haven When The Storm Rages2 Things I Leave On My Counter Every DayMore Than Knowledge
Her death has left a gaping hole in the blogosphere. Today several bloggers are all sharing a lesson they learned from Mandy. You can find everyone's posts in the collection of links below. Please click through to some of these links to learn about what an amazing woman our friend Mandy Kelly was.
Please pray for her oldest two children and Mother in Law who survived the fire. Please pray for her other relatives who are mourning the loss of these amazing people. And please pray that her published words will continue to make an impact for the Lord and keep causing people to draw closer to him. That, Mandy would have said, is the most important thing.