Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW, FRED

 On July 28, 2010, while in Tacoma for my mother's 90th birthday, I saw  my sister, Kristan, from Fairbanks, AK, for the first time in 10 years.  We had a nice walk for about 1/2 hour.  Kristan had returned to the Lord several years earlier and I hadn't seen her since then.  It was a real blessing to be together.

As soon as we returned to the house where mom's party was taking place, Kristan received a call from one of her sons saying that her husband, Fred, had been in an accident and someone had been killed.

What finally came out a while later is that he was not paying enough attention, partly because he was so used to the highway,  he hit a cross-walk where a light had just changed to red, and he struck a 14-year-old girl, Kirsten, who was killed instantly.  [And for my sister/his wife, to be Kristan, and the young girl killed was Kirsten ... that has flooded many of our hearts.]

After a struggle re: lawyers, courts, judges, and on and on, he finally was sent to prison.  He entered in September, 2011, and will be released in early May, '13.

Fred had been a less-than-nice guy much of his life and was heavily involved in alcoholism and other addictions.  Back in early 1991, Fred and the family were vising out here.  And, NO, we weren't sorry that he left!  And we haven't seen him since then, and didn't miss him for several years.  We do now.

Fred came to the Lord about 12 years ago.  It was through his brother drawing him to the Lord and Fred seeking forgiveness from my sister, that she returned to the Lord, too.  WOW! We're so looking forward to seeing them.  The four of us together can rejoice, believe me.

NOW... while in prison, Fred has led men to the Lord, has helped them grow, already has some plans for ministering with youth at his church and others when he is released. He has dealt with some personal issues that he, while behind bars, couldn't run away from or hide from, so his emotions have healed more. He also went in with a high amount of extra weight ... and has been exercising and has lost piles and piles of it. Physically, he is feeling better.  Emotionally, being healed.  Spiritually, he is growing.  Good things.

Well, this is the group letter I received from him today... and it made me rejoice.  I usually don't share these, but I felt it was the right thing to do this time.  [I also didn't change anything ...  spelling, grammar, etc. ... just typed it same as he did.]

-- Oh, and the prison is about an 8-hour drive on curvy roads across mountains, etc., for Kristan to get there.  As a full-time worker in North Pole, it's a real challenge for her to be able to see him in a reasonable schedule.  Not similar to a pop-down from Omaha-to-Lincoln situation we would have here.--
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Holy smoke! 71 days left of my incarceration.  And I'm in a daze!  I can't think straight, or hold a thought to completion.  I am getting very emotional; anything happy or sad, I see or hear gets the water works going.  (I wonder what my cell mates think of this nut job.)  But God is so Great.  His hand was there to, protected and comforted me, give an opportunity to grow in Him.  To trust and obey as the Holy Spirit guided and taught me.  I'm shaking as I write this letter as if I drank 3 shots of espresso, because of my excitement in the fact that I will be able to hold, hug, and kiss those I love without being threatened with going to the Hole or losing my visitation privileges.  I dream now about getting into a car and going somewhere, anywhere!  To go to church, share a cup of weak coffee, be greeted with an "I'm so glad to see you smile, and warm hands shake!"  Even though you may have never met before.  The joyful and angelic faces playing and sing praises to our Lord, the special smile at the pulpit, the kind that lets you know he has something wonderful to share, and all you have to do is listen and watch.  It's exciting and wonderful to share this time together in Christ.  The demonstration of love to each other without a word, love that over flows to everyone around.  I pray that I am able to personally spend time with everyone who has carried me through this season of fear, torment, anxiety, shame, and surrender through prayers and visits, plus all the letters I have received in this soon to be 608 days of incarceration.  I know men who have not received 1 letter, card, or visit, period.  And I have had close to 50, or more visits, plus I believe more than 700 letters.  I know, even today I still average more than 1 a day.  In a way, I really don't know what it's like to be a prisoner, because so few prisoners have a family who cares as much as you do.

Love Fred.

.... Kristan said you fell down.  Me too!  And we got up. Ya!  Keep up the good fight Sis.

6 comments:

elizabeth said...

Wow! God has done a good work in the midst of a tragedy!

Kristin Bridgman said...

Just like our God to bring good out of something bad. Thank you for sharing and I will be praying for Fred and family.

caryjo said...

I don't usually comment on my own post, but wanted to share my sister's message to me. It was a sweet and touching one.

"My dear sister, to answer your phone message, you told the story and told about my wonderful husband the way it "was", THank the Lord that it is not the same Fred!!!! He is doing well and he is getting excited about getting out, he is counting the days in actual Hours, I told him that he should not be doing that because it is going to make it longer, but whatever passes the time for him is okay. I love you and I really appreciate your talent in putting stories and our lives into words, that is not an easy thing to do...God Bless you Big Sister,"

Musings by Robert said...

The verse God gave your sister is so true. "ALL THINGS" work together for good. I know the next weeks and days will be anxious ones!

Floyd said...

Wow... That is powerful... My heart breaks for the fallen world in which God uses tribulation to bring about better things. My mind races to the ends of all involved... This shows the omnipotence and majesty of our Father... Very moving. I'm praying for all involved.

Gayle said...

I am so happy for him and the healing he experienced there. His life is before him, and the firl he hit is with the Lord. I know she is blessing him as well. I will hold him in the light as he comes out of prison.