Good Afternoon and thank you to all for coming and sharing this Celebration Day of Sterling Sky Kielsmeier. By way of introduction, we are JoAnn and Paul Kielsmeier- better known as Mimi and Opa. We could spend hours if not days sharing stories and insight into her life but we will save most of those for the family blog in the months to come as our journey continues
I am going to read to you the scripture that I was reading when Sterling breathed her last breath here on this earth. It is a scripture that has brought much comfort to me over the years, it is a "go to" scripture for me.
I read this scripture anytime I have a troubled heart and I want to remember who I am to God. When I want to remember how much He loves me. When I want to remember how important I am to Him.
I read this scripture when Sterling was in the hospital. During the hours and hours of torment watching our beautiful girl suffer. I needed hope. I needed peace. I needed to know that the One who created me was with me. I needed to know He cared. And so I read and I was comforted.
Through His word He showed me that even tho she had this horrible, ugly, evil brain tumor... she was not created by mistake. Her life had meaning and purpose. That her life was not in vain. That this beautiful, funny, kind amazing little girl that I loved so much had a mission.
She touched me with how brave she was. I realized that she was in my life for a reason that I needed to learn the lessons that He had for me. Lessons I didn't want to learn, but knew I couldn't back away from them. And so I embraced every heartache. I wrapped my arms tightly around them... and cried and gently rocked backed and forth and read God's word...
so... how appropriate that my tender, loving, wonderful and comforting God would lead me to this scripture again, as she breathed her last breath...
Psalm 139 NLT
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or when I stand up.
You know my thoughts... even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow behind me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
it's too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers!
They blaspheme you;your enemies misuse your name.
O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
...and so I was comforted... over and over and over again as He spoke to me through His word. Not just this scripture but many others and the comfort that I received was blessed and sweet, like a gentle breeze on a summer day or a refreshing rain shower....
What a tremendous peace there is in being known so intimately by my creator... the One who formed me. My creator, the One who knit me together in my mother's womb. Not only did He create and form me but He also created my granddaughter. He fashioned her delicately and so carefully.
This horrid cancerous tumor was not a part of His plan. It was part of the wicked and fallen world we live in. This toxic place that we have poisoned and polluted. Not the beautiful perfect world He created before sin entered in.
But here we were standing by helplessly as our beautiful Sterling suffered, feeling so tossed and torn, our hearts breaking.
She didn't like our hearts to be breaking so She became good at making us feel better. There was a hundreds of funny things she did to make us laugh.
As the tumor pressed so tightly on her brain she began having trouble remembering all her words but because of her funny sense of humor and not wanting to scare us, she just would make a silly little "pssst" sound with her mouth when she came to a word she couldn't remember... or she would stick out her tongue and "thshpt" we would laugh our heads off and mimick her! soon the room would be filled with psssfts and thpshts and laughter and she would look around the room and say "what the heck?" which would of course send us into more laughter....... oh how she loved to make us laugh.
One morning in the hospital when we were moving from the PICU to the 3rd floor Oncology unit she had been quiet but when all the bussel of moving started she looked around and said... "Oh no, this isn't going to be good" ...we laughed...we still aren't sure what evil she thought was in store for her but... it made us laugh and realize we needed to re-assure her that we were just moving... no procedures that day.
She loved to choose people. It was an unwritten, unspoken thing that she did. She had us ALL at her beck and call, we were ALL chomping at the bit to comfort her and ease her pain. I think she knew which person needed her the most on different days and she would choose that person... and only that person could help her, read to her, carry her, pull her wagon, sit on the bed with her, give her a drink... it was wonderful to be chosen... to be a part of her world for a while. Those days that I was chosen are especially golden to me.
One evening, she decided she was a turtle and began a long list of the things that turtles do and don't like...
"Mimi" she said "turtles don't like to take naps..."
"Oh they don't" I say
"no" she says....
"Mimi?" "yes" I say
"turtles like ice cream" she says...
"Oh, of course they do" I say, beginning to understand the game
"what else do turtles like?"
"Oh" she says... "snuggles" I laugh "of course they do" I said
this little game went on and on... "I a turtle" she says... "oh I know you are" I say...
God truly blessed us when He gave her to us. She was born into our family. This precious little girl. We enjoyed her so much, all of us. On July 29th He blessed us again as she survived her brain surgery and then on the 31th the second surgery, He gave us 62 more glorious days with her and for that we are thankful. We are here to celebrate her life. To lift up our grateful hearts to our God that He allowed us to have her for the short three years of her life.
...as I close I want to share a few more of my favorite scriptures... scripture that gave me hope during my darkest moments and it is my hope that they comfort you too today...
they are taken from Romans ch 8
Romans 8:1-4 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.
And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit....
18-25 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.
We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently....
35-39 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
....I stand here before you, as sad and as heartbroken as I may be, to celebrate. I celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus, Sterling and I.
I celebrate the day when I will see her again. When she wraps her sweet arms around me and enfolds me in her embrace and smothers me with her kisses.
Because you see, as she is a daughter of the King, so am I a daughter of the King.
I cling to His promise that when I close my eyes here on this earth, I will open them, just as she did face to face with my Savior.
Yes Sterling is the Daughter of the King. We have confidence that she was welcomed by her Prince Charming the Prince of Peace- our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. She now has her new body with no more pain and no more suffering and with that we have peace.
As Sterling would get up in the morning she would check to see who was at home as she started her day. This was her way of comfort; as she knew when to choose a family member to help her with whatever she needed through the day. I could her say from the top of the stairs “where’s Opa?” I would answer her or another family member would direct her downstairs to my office. Down she would come and retreat into my office to see what I was doing and to have her time with Opa. Sterling taught us to slow down, revaluate our life and cherish what God has given to us today.
In closing I wanted to share John 3:16 with you….yes it is a verse we all have heard so many times but it holds the key to eternal life that even a child can understand. “For God so loved the world that He Gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but have eternal life” This verse is why we have confidence that we will see our Sterling Sky again……do you have that confidence? Please accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today so you can have this confidence as well.