A few months after Kim’s death, I was talking to Leigh Ann Fort. Gordon said it best at the funeral. “Our families have been inextricably connected through these events.” Kim helped Leigh Ann the year before as Leigh Ann faced a life-threatening health problem. After five surgeries, Leigh Ann has done well. Then Gordon, Leigh Ann, and I were thrust into this experience of loss together. We’ve had to talk, process, rehearse, and remember.
One day, Leigh Ann looked at me and reflected, “I don’t know why, D. Ray, but Kim chose me to be her friend.” Kim chose Leigh Ann as her closest friend and confidant. Leigh Ann went on to say that Kim was more like a sister than a friend. But any would-be friend of Leigh Ann’s knows why Kim would choose her. Gordon knows why. He chose Leigh Ann, too. Leigh Ann is a selfless, loving friend. She’s also quite funny with an engaging laugh.
I want to go on record here and say some things I’ve already said to Leigh Ann. She was a dear friend to Kim. Kim was a dear friend to Leigh Ann. Kim served Leigh Ann through her illness out of love and not out of duty. After all, they were like sisters. Knit together.
“…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1
And Leigh Ann served Kim, me, and my family in Kim’s death. Leigh Ann was expecting Kim for a lunch date. When Kim didn’t show up, Leigh Ann went to our house and, after entering, she found Kim where she had collapsed. Leigh Ann spared me the shock of that life-altering moment. Kim wouldn’t have had it any other way. Honestly, Kim was a planner. If she could have planned the circumstances surrounding her death, she would have planned for Leigh Ann to find her before I did.
So, it’s true. Kim chose Leigh Ann.
However, Kim chose me, too. And I told Leigh Ann as much.
I was privileged to be Kim’s husband. I stand in awe of that previous sentence. We chose each other in a wedding ceremony on July 30, 1983. Really, we chose each other before that date, but we made our commitment before God, family, and friends on our wedding day. I chose Kim, and she chose me.
Leigh Ann said with a sparkle of gratitude that Kim chose her. She was blessed and grateful to be Kim’s friend. But I’m overwhelmed to have spent thirty-five-and-a-half years as Kim’s choice as her life companion. Pure grace.
If you’re married, take this opportunity to consider the blessing, privilege, honor, and responsibility bestowed upon you by the choice made by you and your spouse. A covenant.
As I jogged one morning mulling over this blessing, I realized something profound: God chose us. He chose to redeem us. God actually chose us.
“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” Ephesians 1:4
Kim chose me, yes, and lavished her love upon me. But she could not redeem me. She could not provide forgiveness. God has blessed us with those profound gifts. He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Let that sentence sink in.
Kim chose me on July 30, 1983. God chose you and me before the foundation of the world.
I’m taking this passage at face value. He chose us before the foundation of the world and predestined us for adoption. We are sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. His own possession.
He chose us.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” 1 Peter 2:9
Thanks for sharing your journey with us D Ray! So happy He chose me. Great thoughts there.
Amen! Thanks for joining this journey with me.
D. Ray thank you for writing your Journey and loss of Kim, she was always a very special daughter of the king. Now your words prompt us to pray for you and others who are facing loss of a loved one. It also reminds us to intentionally speak our love for each other more often after almost 68 years of our love filled marriage.
Amen! My admonition to any and all is to value the relationships you have, especially those involving such serious and priceless commitments.
Oh what a beautiful reminder of choosing., of relationship, of commitment, and of connections. Thank you D Ray, I am walking on into this day with a deep gratitude for the Spirit of the Living God who chose us and who chooses through us and for us in the relationships of our lives.
It’s a gift and a responsibility to walk in the light of the choice made by a spouse…and by God.
What great words on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Thanks! Blessings to you as you continue with me on this journey.
Wow! I haven’t commented before, D. Ray, even though every blog has blessed my heart so much. Just couldn’t leave this page without a word. I didn’t really know Kim so well. We met actually over a consultation about writing on marketplace. She was professional and cautionary. We decided not to write yet which was just as well given the turns on our organization too soon after that consultation. I would meet her again when you visited Movement and her brother was with her. I am so glad you settled at Movement Church. Kim and I had occasions to talk over the youth – especially as she chose the furniture to keep (even that dear old piano) and what to do with the space. There were other brief encounters. What I will always remember is what she did for Leigh Ann for which I will always be grateful. I will also remember the sparkle in her eyes and playful smile on her face when she talked about you…or when you were talking and she was looking at you. She chose you for all your relationship together, D. Ray. What a gift! What a gift you were to her. Thanks for writing.
I have been so blessed by the life and gift God gave me because Kim chose me…but even more because of being chosen, forgiven, redeemed by Jesus according to the gospel message delivered to us in the Scriptures.
Thank you D Ray for sharing yourself through your loss. I only met Kim one time but feel like I knew her, because of your writings. I’ve prayed for you as I’ve read each post from you and Kim’s friends. I can’t imagine the loss you feel so I continue to pray for you. I thought of Isaiah 41:10 for you because He truly will uphold you with His righteous right hand. Kay Cassibry
Thank you, Kay. Yes, I don’t have to choose fear. I don’t have to be dismayed. He is our God. He does strengthen us. He does uphold us.
D.Ray I meet you several times when I was at ILC. I served in SE Asia for 20 years before taking the VRI and I so appreciate your blogs . When I returned home I did not process grief well and ended up having to get some counseling. Grief is not fun and I was shocked at how it made me act. I am thankful for the counseling I got because I have now entered another season of grief. My job as a children’s minister has radically changed because of the pandemic. I am scrambling to connect virtually and as a former missionary who enjoyed being in a tribal culture the virtual world seems so cold. On top of that radical change, a category 3 tornado blew through my neighborhood and I have spent the last 2 weeks digging out! I am choosing to believe that this grief will help me know God on a deeper level. Thanks for being real!
My biggest lesson is to face the loss and embrace the lessons because you trust him completely. Loss is a result of the fall and that makes my faith that much more important. Face loss with faith not that it is good…but he will give you growth in Christlikeness. Press on.
And this is where we want to be……….His sons and daughters, in His arms, there knowing the beauty of His peace……”the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4-7. A place of fervent rest, a place of constant relationship. Once again, thank you for sharing this journey. Annette
Thanks, Annette. Yes, surpassing peace! He is peace and gives peace.
Wow! What an honor. You honor me today through your writing. Kim honored me with her faithful friendship. And God has honored us forever because of His “choosing love”. I feel so loved and so blessed. Thank you, D Ray.
Thanks, Leigh Ann. My family loves you and Gordon and your friendship and investment in our family has been healing. We are blessed by God through the entire Fort family.