Telling the boys yesterday was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It crushed me. Our oldest son Smith had the most difficult time processing everything. He is such a smart boy and is incredibly heartbroken. • The types of questions he asked really shocked me. “Are you and daddy still married?” “Did the doctors know daddy was going to die?” “Why didn’t he say goodbye?” “What is my life going to be like without daddy?” • These are questions a 5 year old shouldn’t be asking. These are questions a 29 year old mommy shouldn’t be answering. I hate that I can’t protect them from their grief. I hate that the only way to move forward is to walk through it. There is so much unknown for all of us. • The unknown is daunting. This isn’t the life I dreamed about, but I know God is with me. This isn’t the life I prayed for, but I know God will provide. This isn’t fair, this isn’t right, this doesn’t feel real, but I know God is greater, stronger, and bigger. God is for me, with me, and beside me. He is wrapping his loving arms around me and my boys and reminding us even now that He has got this too. #godsgotthis
Kayla writes telling the boys about her husband’s death has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. Yet even in this incredibly difficult task, the family found a silver lining. She writes about a coloring book, “When Someone I Love Dies,” that she used to help the conversation with her 5-, 4- and 2-year-old boys. The coloring book instructed them to draw an egg, a caterpillar, a cocoon and then a butterfly. Using the example of a butterfly, it was helping the boys think about life constantly changing. Later, Kayla found a caterpillar inside their house and her oldest son, Smith, recognized it as “a miracle from God.”
The significance was not lost on Kayla, who also embraced the metaphor and the nudge she felt from the Holy Spirit. She writes:
Right now I feel like a caterpillar trapped in a dark cocoon. It feels like a full on battle, a full fledged war. I didn’t choose this. I don’t want this. I just want to be a caterpillar again. I don’t want to be wrapped up in grief and pain, I don’t want to walk through this, I don’t want to be smothered by anxious thoughts about my future and the future of our children. I want this all to go away so I can be free again.
Today I am reminded that although I hate it, God has me right where I need to be. I can feel Him wrapping his loving arms around me. I am fighting it, kicking and screaming, but I can feel the Holy Spirit infusing me with His strength. I can feel God protecting me and holding me close. I can feel the safety and security in my own little cocoon. It may take years until I am ready to fly, but I know that the fight won’t last forever. One day, God will release me from the darkness and despair. He will show me a life of hope and a future full of purpose. I will no longer be a carefree caterpillar, I will emerge a new creation, a beautiful butterfly and I will soar to even greater heights. I can’t see any of it now in my dark clouded cocoon, but I know that I am safe. He’s got me right where I need to be, and He has great plans for my life and the life of our boys.
Understandably, looking to the future is incredibly difficult at this moment. Kayla has announced Stoecklein’s funeral information on her Instagram account. The support coming in from around the world is evident in the comments on this post and also the GoFundMe page that has been set up for the young family.
Please join us in praying for the Stoeckleins, for those who knew Stoecklein, and for those who feel, as he did, that they cannot go on. If Kayla’s words teach us anything, it’s that even when we feel as if we can’t possibly imagine the future, God’s still got this. And he will see us through.
This Saturday, honor the love of my life, Pastor Andrew Stoecklein with us during his memorial service at Cal Baptist University. In stories, in video, in music, and in community, we celebrate everything we loved about Andrew as a pastor, a family member, and a friend. . Saturday, Sep 8 | 10am Doors open at 9am California Baptist University – Events Center 8432 Magnolia Avenue Riverside, CA 92504 . Please arrive early to allow time for parking, walking to the Events Center, and finding a seat. #godsgotthis