A Sweet Homecoming

My husband’s Grandpa Jim Wiersma went to be with the Lord today, in the early morning. All nine of his children were able to be with him at the end, as well as several of his many grandchildren. His sweet wife of 68 years was there to hold his hand, and say goodbye.

Grandpa and Grandma Wiersma are a couple who understand homecomings. Their love for each other, and trust in God has withstood far worse separation, rejoiced over far smaller homecomings.

During the war, Grandpa Wiersma spent two years in prison camp in Austria. Grandma was at home in South Holland with their son. During that time he wrote to her, on stationary emblazoned with a swastika, of the Sovereignty of God, of hope, and of faith. When they were liberated by the Russians, he was part of march across Austria – an experience that left him with a belief in cleaning your plate.

That separation that could have been the end, proved to be just a beginning. Eight more children were born after the war, grandchildren (in abundance)  followed. Heartaches, sorrows, and troubles were all born by them with a much deeper understanding than many of us have. They were very comfortable in the hand of God. In their living room was a picture, taken before many of the great-grandchildren were born, of the whole family. I remember him looking at it and saying “Isn’t that amazing? Who knows what God is going to do with that?”  He was completely confident that God would do more than we could ask or think of.

This final homecoming for Grandpa Jim is sweet. His wife Kay knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will meet again. And she knows that when they do, real life will just be beginning.

Thank you Grandpa Jim, for your testimony, for the family you built. Thank you for the example of steadfastness, and faith in God’s plans. You have left us, and our children, with a mighty inheritance in the Lord. We will look forward to meeting you again.

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11 thoughts on “A Sweet Homecoming

  1. Rachel, what a wonderful testimony to the Lord’s graciousness and mercy!

    Thank you for sharing with us. We will be praying God’s peace and comfort to Kay and to all of you who will miss him.

  2. I read a neat story today which fits your title: “Sweet Homecoming” A friend emailed it to me, and I thought you would enjoy it:

    Woman & the Fork

    There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and
    had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things ‘in
    order,’ she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss
    certain aspects of her final wishes.

    She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she
    would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

    Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young
    woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

    ‘There’s one more thing,’ she said excitedly…

    ‘What’s that?’ came the Pastor’s reply.

    ‘This is very important,’ the young woman continued. ‘I want to be buried
    with a fork in my right hand.’

    The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

    That surprises you, doesn’t it?’ the young woman asked..

    ‘Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Pastor.

    The young woman explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from
    that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love
    and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending
    socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main
    course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep
    your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was
    coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something
    wonderful, and with substance!’

    So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand
    and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell
    them: ‘Keep your fork ….the best is yet to come.’

    The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman
    good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her
    before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp
    of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like
    than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.
    She KNEW that something better was coming.

    At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they
    saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand… Over
    and over, the Pastor heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over
    and over he smiled.

    During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had
    with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the
    fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could
    not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not
    be able to stop thinking about it either.

    He was right.. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind
    you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare
    jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.
    Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share …. being friends
    with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

    And just remember…keep your fork! And have a great day!

  3. A friend shared this link with me today because my own grandfather went on to Glory… early this morning. Maybe he and Grandpa Jim walked through those pearly gates together! It is neat to see in these times of sorrow, the grace of God at work through the godly heritages bestowed on us by such faithful men! Thank you for sharing your story today.

  4. Blessings to you all in your loss.
    I wanted to comment regarding Mr Wiersma’s WWII experiences.
    My husband’s parents grew up in Europe, and lived under Nazi occupation.
    I have thought many times that that tremendous evil left a trickling down of blessing upon my own family.
    The deprivation and loss and great sorrow they endured gave a tender appreciation for all gifts great and small to my husband’s family. Having witnessed great evil, they fought and stood firmly for great kindness and mercy and they required excellence from their own children.
    I believe that this is a great mercy of God on us all. Out of such misery, we have found some residual blessing which endure 75 years later.
    What a sweet gift that you have received some of that blessing yourself!

  5. Smile. I just keep giving thanks for all the sweet memories.
    Like kjv Bible reading after dinner and turning all of the lights off except the room you were in. It was a little unnerving to walk to the bathroom in the dark during dinner and back!

  6. My own husband’s grandfather went to heaven Saturday night in his sleep. He went to be with his Savior and his Beloved who left him six months earlier. He was a good man. We all loved him. It’s good to know that we’ll be seeing him again

  7. That was beautiful, Rachel. No wonder you have such a great husband. Blessings to Luke and your whole family as you all go on for a time without this godly man in your lives.

    Love your book! We had a fun and lively discussion of it last night at our ladies’ study. So many of our ladies are at your stage in life, and I know it has been a real encouragement to them, and us older moms too!

  8. Thank you for sharing this with us. We live in a spoiled generation and it SO good for our souls to remember the steadfastness of God’s people during really really difficult times. Not that our difficulties our nothing, but in comparison to some of the things the older generations went through, it’s shameful of us to complain. God be with you.

  9. What a wonderful legacy – thank you for sharing. I have heard some about his life of faith from my sister-in-law, who is one of his abundant grandchildren (and a cousin of your husband). Just hearing how much his life reflected Christ was inspiring and moving.

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