Spiritual

Wife of Young Pastor Who Committed Suicide Says They Won’t Let It Ruin Their Day: “God Has Big Plans”

suicide

Kayla Stoecklein and her three boys have navigated a whirlwind of grief since her husband Andrew committed suicide last month.

In a heartwrenching letter written just three days after the tragedy, Kayla poured her heart out to her sweet husband who she couldn’t imagine living life without:

“Nothing can take away the suffocating pain I feel now you are gone. I miss every part of you, I see you everywhere. I replay the events of that fateful day over and over again in my mind wishing I could have done things differently. Wishing I could have held your hand one more time and prayed over you and told you how much I love you, how much I believe in you, and how God’s got this too.”

As a father, husband, and the head pastor of Inland Hills Church, Andrew was the rock for his family and the spiritual leader for so many.

Losing him seemed unfathomable.

 

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No better way to celebrate the greatest day in history than with this handsome crew @inlandhills ! Happy Easter! ❤️

A post shared by Kayla Stoecklein (@kaylasteck) on

But just three weeks after his death, Kayla has found that her grieving but strong little family is still able to revel in the small joys and big plans God has for them.

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While the pain may rest just beneath the surface of every moment they walk through, Kayla is proud that her boys won’t let the tragedy of losing their dad ruin their day.

“I am so proud of my boys and the way they are facing each new day of this new normal,” she wrote on Instagram yesterday. “These last 3 weeks have completely changed the very framework of their lives. They are devastated and miss their dad to their core, but they don’t let it ruin their day.”

Kayla is impressed by their resiliency and says it has inspired her to be stronger too.

 

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I am so proud of my boys and the way they are facing each new day of this new normal. These last 3 weeks have completely changed the very framework of their lives. They are devastated and miss their dad to their core, but they don’t let it ruin their day. They are resilient and they inspire me to be too. • It would have been easy and understandable to cancel our plans today, but we didn’t. Instead we showed up, met up with life giving friends, and enjoyed a refreshing day at our favorite beach. We kayaked, rode paddle boards, dug holes, we laughed and we played. We made new memories together and we had a good day. We are refusing to allow this grief to distract from all the beauty and joy God has for us. • The pain and grief is always present just under the surface. When the boys are feeling sad and need to talk, I listen. After we shed our tears and have our sad moment together I gently remind them that their daddy still loves them, that God has big plans for them, and that we are going to have a happy beautiful life. And with each word I say I am also reminding myself. God has big plans, he’s not done with us yet, he’s dreaming up big dreams for my boys, and we are determined to have a happy life together on this side of heaven. #godsgotthis

A post shared by Kayla Stoecklein (@kaylasteck) on

The widow continued that it would have been “easy and understandable” for them to cancel the beach plans they had for the day, but instead, they decided to go — AND go on a treasure hunt for joy that exists even amidst pain.

“Instead we showed up, met up with life-giving friends, and enjoyed a refreshing day at our favorite beach,” she writes. “We kayaked, rode paddle boards, dug holes, we laughed and we played. We made new memories together and we had a good day.”

Kayla and her boys refuse to let their grief take over their lives, as they know God has more in store for them after (and even within) this storm:

“We are refusing to allow this grief to distract from all the beauty and joy God has for us. The pain and grief is always present just under the surface. When the boys are feeling sad and need to talk, I listen. After we shed our tears and have our sad moment together I gently remind them that their daddy still loves them, that God has big plans for them, and that we are going to have a happy beautiful life. And with each word I say I am also reminding myself. God has big plans, he’s not done with us yet, he’s dreaming up big dreams for my boys, and we are determined to have a happy life together on this side of heaven. #godsgotthis”

Please join us in praying for the Stoecklein family as they continue to navigate through a storm of grief sprinkled with joy. May the peace that passes understanding be with them always.

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Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.

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