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Kelli Turner

I’ve always considered myself to be a faithful person. I believe in God and I have always tried to live a godly life.

And then my daughter died unexpectedly.

Her name was Emma, and she was a beautiful, independent, sometimes stubborn 16 month old blonde haired, blue-eyed girl. She was mine and my husband’s only child. The child that we wholeheartedly prayed for. She was our world.

On January 29, 2015, I was called from my classroom, where I had just released my students, to go to the office and wait. A request that seemed unusual, but nonetheless, I waited. I was taken by my principal who appeared to be in a panic. She told me we were going to the hospital. Naturally, since my husband is firefighter and was on shift that day, I thought he must have gotten hurt. It wasn’t him. I wasn’t given many details other than that Emma had been taken to the hospital and I needed to get here fast. That’s never a good thing. Most everything from there is a blur. I went into a room filled with white coats and scrubs. People working tirelessly, though not saying much. I knew. The silence was evidence enough. Emma didn’t survive the accident that occurred while she was with her babysitter.

When I fell on that cold, nasty, hospital floor I asked God why? I begged Him to bring her back. He didn’t. I pleaded with Him to spare her life. He didn’t.

Just like that, everything that I thought and believed about my God suddenly seemed contorted. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mad when God didn’t answer my prayers. I was angry, sad, confused, and grief stricken. I was quick to see what God wasn’t doing in my life and slow to see what He was doing.

At the time I didn’t realize that God was presenting himself in the form of others. God was there when a young, brown-haired nurse met my husband and I on a cold, trash littered hospital floor and asked to prayer over us. He was there that night riding front seat on a fire truck with my husband’s crew sympathetically holding enough food to feed a small army. He sat with us from the early morning sunrise to well-past dark, daily sharing tears, silence, and the occasional laugh. God dropped gifts at our door, rang the bell, and then left.

Those deeds were God’s work. It was the actions of others that opened my eyes to see that He was there all along. In Matthew 5:16 the Bible says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” When my daughter stopped breathing I thought He stopped working. But God sends people into our lives to do His good deeds. While in my selfishness I thought God didn’t hear me, or dare I say, care about me, I was wrong. When I thought He wasn’t there, He was. He sent those who believe to share His word and His love.

Through my journey I’ve learned so much about myself, my marriage, faith, and eternity. I pray daily to give thanks for the blessings in my life, not just when I need help. I see the world a bit differently as I’ve learned first-hand that life is precious. My marriage is stronger than ever as my husband physically and emotionally picked me up from the lowest point. We have cared for each other, often times as if reading the other’s mind. Because we experienced such grief together I don’t have to explain or justify my thoughts or sudden teary outbursts. I’ve grown closer to God and sought out scripture to help me to better understand, and to cope with the loss. I believe that happiness is a choice. Having a relationship with God makes that choice easy for me. Eternity is a place we all long to be. My daughter is there, I’m certain reaping all the benefits heaven has to offer. She is there among her family and in the presence of God. I know that one day we will meet again and I long for that day to hold and kiss my baby again.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And, I have comfort knowing that my daughter is in heaven. When we trust in the Lord and cast our cares on Him, He promises us many things.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

A year and a half after losing our daughter, I gave birth to twin boys, Jake and Luke. One who looks just like his big sister, the other who acts just like her. God provided for me. He knew the desires of my heart and granted them. My boys are my hope for the future. When I look at them I’m reminded of a God who loves me and takes care of me.

My faith means trusting in Him despite the circumstances or when it’s convenient for me.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Having faith doesn’t mean that I don’t still wonder or worry. I do those things often. What it does mean is that I can rest assured knowing that He is in control. Having faith is a choice that brings me a sense of contentment, which certainly beats the alternative. The best part of my faith is absolutely knowing that my daughter, Emma Kelli, is in heaven and each day here on earth is one day closer to her.

Amanda Buccola
[email protected]
  • Jan Monroe
    Posted at 13:20h, 23 January

    I worked with Kelli during this time. It was so hard to see her and Jacob suffering. I asked everyone I knew to pray for this sweet couple. I cannot imagine the grief, though I have watched it. I am thankful she is willing to share her testimony. Others are blessed every time she shares.

  • Ladell Smith
    Posted at 18:14h, 23 January

    I am so thankful for the opportunity to see you Central . I love you lady!!! I dont see your face enough this year but you are so amazing and your testimony helps me on some of my darkest days. Thank you for being that Light on this dark world.

  • Donna Culver
    Posted at 19:39h, 23 January

    What a Testimony! Thank you for sharing your story. Praying for your little family

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