Last September, just days after Kelly Gaygen and her sister attended the Women of Faith event in Rochester, NY, Kelly watched her 83-year-old mother’s life ebbed away. “I was exhausted, but God gave me the strength to do what He had called me to do. I watched the Gaither Gospel Hour on Sunday and who did I see? Natalie Grant, Amy Grant, Jamie Grace, Sandi Patty . . . my Women of Faith friends were singing to me and to Mom as she was getting ready to leave this world – WOW!”
Kelly describes her mom as her ‘woman of faith.’ “My Mom was very sick much of her life, but her faith was strong from beginning to end. Through the trials of life on this earth and through the storms of adversity and many near-death experiences, her faith and love for Jesus and her family grew with every challenge and she passed her faith on to me.”
After her mom’s death Kelly had a hard time dealing with her grief. “I had become ‘functional’ around others,” Kelly said, “but when I was alone, I just couldn’t hold back the tears or deny the ache and hole in my heart.” On a whim she decided to look into flights to Dallas for the Women of Faith 2013 Christmas event and was pleasantly surprised to find one that fit her budget. The surprises continued when Kelly’s dad gave her a check that covered both the airfare and event registration.
“I needed some closure,” Kelly remembered, “and God gave me a ‘holy hug’ which is what I receive every time I attend any and all of Women of Faith events. I needed to see my sister, Ann [who lives in the Dallas area], and to be blessed by God . . . I was going to Dallas!”
As you may remember, the 2013 Women of Faith Christmas event took place in the midst of an ice storm that virtually shut down the city. Because the event was simulcast to thousands of people gathered in hundreds of churches around the world, cancelling the program was not an option; the ‘show’ had to go on regardless of the weather.
“Ann and I slid our way—literally on thin ice due to the storm—to the church. This church had only a few brave souls, but the presence of God was apparent. It was so beautiful. Tears of joy started to flow as I thought ‘Mom would have loved this so much!’”
The experience was just what Kelly needed. “I felt at home . . . I could feel the answered prayers. I felt the arms of His angels hug me as I met Sheila Walsh and Max Lucado that evening after the event. I can’t thank Sheila enough for taking time out of her busy schedule, allowing me to cry on her shoulders and praying for Ann and me.” Kelly returned to New York with peace in her heart and a bracelet on her wrist that read “In this life you may have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” This coming August, Kelly and her sister will be back at Women of Faith in Rochester “in the second row!”
Now the God of grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen and support you after you have suffered a little. —I Peter 5:10