Craig Smith 26 January 1951 to 30 September 2011
This link has Craig’s Diary 2 pages, Updates on Craig Smith’s Health 6 pages, Livestream of Josh and Charmagne’s Wedding, Livestream of Craig’s Funeral, Livestream of the slideshow and Tributes given at the afternoon tea and Tributes in written form.
Two years on:
22 April 2014
It is the end of the financial year. This is the letter that I am sending out to all those who have given a donation to the Home Education Foundation during the 2013/2014 financial year.
Thank you for your faithfulness in giving each month. Your donations are greatly appreciated to keep the www.hef.org.nz website running and also help cover many of the other expenses required to run an office from home. Enclosed is your receipt for the 2013/14 financial year.
I still receive lots of phone calls from parents wanting to home educate their children. Mostly I pass them on to their local support group, but some require me to talk more with them. Some of the people I have spoken to over the past 12 months are new immigrants, solo parents having trouble with WINZ, CYPs and/or the Police, and others having trouble with the ERO (although calls to do with the ERO have quietened down a lot). I like to keep an eye on what the MoE and ERO are doing and what other home educators are doing as well.
MoE Exemption Form
The MoE online Homeschooling info pack has changed. Page 7 now includes:
Remember, you will need to have a record of progress and achievement over time i.e. weekly, termly, annually. This may also be needed when your child goes on to further education or training.
Please read my enclosed letter to the MoE. This will show you what some of my concerns are about this insertion into the exemption application form. Other concerns not mentioned in this letter are as follows:
1. If the MoE thinks that they can just insert a paragraph into the exemption package without first consulting and informing home educators, they will continue to do this until we are in quite a bind with them and find that we have unbearable restrictions.
2. In 1996 the MoE asked all home educators to write a self-evaluation report in lieu of reviews, for the Audit Office. Home Educators fought this and we WON. We did not want to have our reports incriminating us at some later date. Anything we write good or bad (with reading behind the lines) can be taken against us at some stage. And with the way the world is now, I don’t trust the Government at all. What is to stop the MoE at some later date requiring home educators to send in to the MoE their record of progress and achievement over timei.e. weekly, termly, annually?So I would like to encourage individuals and support groups to write to the MoE.
Even more concerning than the record-keeping requirement is the extra page of questions about the last 6 months for children who have been to an ECE Appendix A: Homeschooling Application Form [WORD; 59kb]. This has been included sometime during the last 2 years. What worries me is what they will use the information for. This could be the first move towards something else, something worrying—compulsory preschool for 3-5 year olds. We have looked at how to handle this and decided that a letter in the first instance would be best—see enclosed. Then, no matter what they answer, we will keep our eyes skinned and watch them like hawks. A bigger battle might be ahead than just a change on the exemption form.
Home Educators on a benefit
Being on a benefit is a real problem for people wanting to home educate. My advice to people is to get off the benefit as soon as possible. But unfortunately for a lot of people that is not possible at all. So they have to work around the obligations to keep getting the benefit. Some WINZ officers are great and tell home educators that having an exemption is enough—they can continue home educating without having to get a job. Other WINZ officers are very strict and by the book. If your youngest child is 6 then you have to work 15 hours a week and if your youngest child is 14 you have to work 30 hours a week. Some officers get mothers going to “Getting Work Ready” day-conferences when their child is well under 6 and the child must be left in care for that day. This could be something that we look into more this coming year.
There has been no word about the 3-4 age group of beneficiaries doing Government approved curriculum—we will leave this alone and not rock the boat.
International Home Education—There are many concerns about home education worldwide:
1. The Romeike family and the concerns behind their case http://hef.org.nz/2014/hslda-dangerous-policy-lurks-behind-romeike-triumph/ The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal to stay there but they are able to stay indefinitely in the States as guests of the USA Government http://hef.org.nz/2014/the-romeike-reprieve/
2. The German home educating family in New Zealand who was refused Asylum in NZ 2012 has returned to Germany. http://hef.org.nz/2014/is-new-zealand-a-free-country/ and http://hef.org.nz/2014/will-the-supreme-court-take-romeike-please-pray/
3. The Government in Scotland passed a Bill assigning a Government Agent for every child. http://hef.org.nz/2014/hsldascotland-officials-overstep-bounds-by-passing-bill-to-invade-the-family/ This has been muted in NZ. Craig wrote about it several times in TEACH Bulletin. We need to keep an eye on the Government and any moves they make in this direction in NZ.
4. In France a Bill to Restrict Homeschooling to “Exceptional Circumstances” was withdrawn after worldwide opposition to it. http://hef.org.nz/2014/bill-would-restrict-homeschooling-to-exceptional-circumstances-2/
5. There is proposed legislation at the Council of Europe which “calls out homeschooling as a practice that should be restricted because of the danger of parallel societies and religious sectarianism.” Michael Donnelly of the HSLDA says “The Salles report poses a serious threat to religious freedom and goes too far as to undermine a parent’s right to choose to homeschool their child on the basis of their religious convictions, a right that is clearly protected by the European Convention and other human rights treaties.” http://hef.org.nz/2014/council-of-europe-report-threatens-homeschooling/
Good news—we are hoping to get the July 2011 Keystone (which Craig had half finished) completed and in the mail by July 2014. We will change everyone’s subscriptions to 4 issues (or however many are still left on your subscription) instead of 4 issues a year. We will not have a time limit for when each issue comes out—when it is ready we will post it, hopefully with not too much time between each issue. I have two young ladies who have finished being home educated helping me. Your donations will help to pay them for the work that they are doing in helping me put together Keystone. Please pray for us as we do this. It is a huge learning curve for all of us.
Home Education Foundation staff
So the very part-time staff of the Home Education Foundation are Lisa and Jeanli Boessenkool for Keystone and Suzannah Rowntree for Legal issues—all home education graduates. My children and I continue to maintain the website, answer phone calls, SKYPE calls and emails as we can, while keeping an eye on the MoE, ERO and what other home educators are doing.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. We could not be doing all this without you
From the Smiths:
Updated 30 September 2013 One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
Information on Getting Started http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/
Information on Exemptions http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/
This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/
Click here if you would like an easy way to go to the links in this letter: http://hef.org.nz/about-us/craig-smith-26151-to-30911/craig-smiths-health-page-1/one-year-on-craig-smiths-health-page-7
30 September 2013
Two Years On—My Reflections
Things For Which I Am Thankful
Craig is home—eternally home with God and his Saviour in Heaven
How do we know this? How did Craig know that he was good enough to go to Heaven and be in the presence of God Himself? Had Craig done something special to know that he qualified for Heaven? Did Craig’s good deeds outweigh the things that he should not have done?
No, no, no. Craig was the first to say that he was a dirty rotten sinner, that he had done nothing special, that he did not deserve to be singled out. Craig would say that there was no amount of good deeds he could do that would outweigh his failings.
And yet Craig had assurance of Salvation and knew where he was going when he died. He was looking forward to it. He knew that it was nothing that he had done himself but it was what the Lord Jesus Christ had done for him on the Cross that qualified him for eternal life and Heaven. “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:5-6
“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” — 1 John 5:11-13
Craig knew he had eternal life and would be eternally in Heaven with God.
Here are a number of YouTube videos where Craig talks about his assurance.
1. We had 32 wonderful years of marriage and have eight incredible children and six adorable grandchildren at the time that Craig died (We have two+ more grandchildren since then. Two are named after Craig – Joshua Craig and Sedona Rai (C Rai g).
2. I am so thankful that I understood the Sovereignty of God at the time Craig was diagnosed with the Brain Tumour. I thought that I understood the Sovereignty of God until I was struggling with where my father was headed when he was dying 15 months before Craig was diagnosed. One day as I walked to the hospital to visit with him “Irresistable Grace” was going around in my mind. I realised then that if God was calling him then He would show my dad His irresistible Grace and my dad would not be able to reject it. Along with that I grappled with the perfect Will of God. When Craig was diagnosed I was able to trust God that His Will is perfect and as Craig said on numerous occassions “the Lord has the best sanctification programme out” and He does.
God has worked in both Craig’s and my hearts drawing us to Himself “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
Understanding this has given me peace through all the difficult times I have been through over the last two years – and there have been plenty of difficult times.
3.We did not have to use a lawyer after Craig died. This saved me having any lawyer fees to pay. We owned everything jointly. So no need for a lawyer. Everything is so distressing at the time it was good to not have to worry about this at all.
4. Craig made sure that we were debt free. I can’t tell you how much of a blessing that this has been to me.
5. I am so thankful for my wonderful children who have taken up their responsibilities to support their widowed mother leaving the true widows to be looked after by the Church 1 Timothy 5. I am not on the widows benefit. This leaves me free to concentrate on home educating my three children still left at home.
6. I am so thankful for my family and friends – for your friendship, support and prayers – thank you
12 September 2013
Our second year anniversary is drawing near—18 days away. In some ways this second year has been easier but in a lot of other ways it has been hard, incredibly hard.
The first year there was this cloud over me and during that time I went through many different emotions sometimes the sun peeped through the clouds and I could smile but mostly the stage of mourning I was in carried me along. I was trusting in the Sovereignty of God and was always very happy for Craig—he has gained. He is in paradise. But our lives had changed, never to be the same again. I was empty, lonely, sad, and I felt sorry for myself (something I didn’t want to admit to people at the time).
The cloud lifted at the beginning of the second year especially when I began the fight with the Government over a Bill that Craig would have fought if he was still here. Craig always lamented the fact that more was not done back in 1877 to stop compulsory education. I was fighting against compulsory Government approved preschool for 3-5 year olds of beneficiaries. We did not win. What the new law says and does not say and my recommendations are here: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/
- “If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else.” – J. Gresham Machen.
- When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith. — Abraham Kuyper
- “Freedom is not free, it requires an eternal vigilance.”~ Patrick Henry
Some of the hard things to deal with during the last 12 months that were different from the first 12 months
- 7 February Craig’s mother turned 90.
- Two road deaths hit me pretty hard one in January 2013 and the other in August 2013. Each time I was taken back to when Craig died and thought about how I felt and tried to think how each wife would be feeling. In the end I don’t think I was any help to either of them as I grappled with my own situation. A friend of mine wrote this on her Facebook page. “To all my married friends: Hug your spouse, kiss them passionately and tell them how much you love them. A dear friend, Raewyn, lost her husband yesterday in a car accident. Our days are numbered and we do not know when the day may come when we may no longer be together. Make the most of your marriage now! – Jenny
- Our trip around the South Island. Craig always drove, did most of the workshops, and we shared the other things like counselling, looking after the bookstand and our children. This year I had to do everything—the driving was the thing that scared me the most, thankfully we did the trip without any problems. There was only one thing to do—to thank God for the safe trip. The 2nd and 3rd readings of the above Bill happened during this trip so I was still busy with that as well.
Some of the wonderful things that have happened in the last 12 months—surprisingly these have been very difficult times as well. But first, my children continue to support me. And, oh, how thankful I am that I am not dependant of the State and all the obligations they want to put on the widow’s benefit while I still have small children at home. I am also thankful to those of you who have continued to support me—you are a real blessing to our family, thankyou.
1. Grace’s Baptism—Craig wanted to see this. It was very hard to stand up the front with Grace without Craig.
2. We cleared out Craig’s office in April—there was a comfort walking into his office to see it as it always was. Now that it is empty it is another reminder that he has gone. Some of you will remember this sign above Craig’s office door (Our children made this):
3. I had a grandchild in Australia that I had not met and a new one arriving in the States. So my children decided that I needed to visit with them and paid for my airfares. So 15 May I left for Australia with my younger children. “Joshua Craig” was Baptised and Eva celebrated her 2nd birthday. I left Jedediah with Genevieve and left the girls with Charmagne before flying to the States to visit with a 20 day old grandchild for 7 weeks “Sedona Rai” (C Rai g). Dust also celebrated her 4th birthday while I was there. Watching Joshua’s Baptism without Craig was very hard.
4. While I was in the States Jeremiah graduated from the Marine Bootcamp. That was a wonderful time but made very emotional especially when they thanked the mothers – I was already struggling with tears, then when they thanked the Dads I lost it.
5. Jeremiah and I visited with Craig’s mother—it is the first time I have visited her without Craig. I did find that hard.
6. A fun time after that was visiting with friends just south of San Francisco. It struck me that it is going to be hard as my unmarried children consider getting married. Craig will not be there to give his daughters away or have the joy of seeing his sons getting married. We already have 2 extra grandchildren and another on the way. Trusting God for lots more as well – grandchildren who will not know their grandfather in this world but hopefully they will in the next.
7. I attended my first home schooling Convention in Chicago. Again without Craig. He had talked to me about all these things he wanted to do with me—going to a Convention in the States was one of them.
8. Alanson represented the New Zealand Services playing Rugy League in England. At the end of the tournament he made the Defence Force Rugby League World Cup team – only 4 Kiwis made the team, 3 from the NZ Army and only Alanson from the NZ Airforce. Craig missed this too.
I think that elbow was when his nose was broken. Alanson is the one hugging the guy with the ball.
9. Some New Zealand research on home education that Craig would have been thrilled to read: http://networkedblogs.com/MvCKd
10. Seeing a son-in-law standing in the Australian elections—how Craig would have enjoyed that.
11. Over the last few months I have visited all my children-two boys in the States and two married daughters in Australia and their families, 4 children in NZ. All around September 30, 2011 I lost Craig, Charmagne to Tasmania and Jeremiah to the States. In earlier years Zach had set up residence in the States and Genevieve in Australia. I am used to family going away and staying away for a long time. But this visit I saw everyone except Craig.—not easy.
Here are two entries I have put up on Facebook recently:
“I can’t do this on my own. I am missing Craig terribly at the moment. And yet God has called me to do this on my own. Last night’s reading Ephesians 6:10-20 encouraged me to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and to put on the armour of God because we are wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“Now I need to be praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (and some in particular); that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
On the occasion of Josh and Charmagne’s 2nd wedding anniversary 10 September 2013:
“Praise God we have a lot of wonderful memories of Craig – today two years ago he wanted to walk his daughter down the isle. He did – with the aid of a standup wheelchair. 20 days later he was no longer with us on earth. But we do have wonderful memories, to numerous to count. The most precious memories we have are from around our dinner table. Craig would always read the Word, we would sing together and pray – wonderful discussions would come out of these times together. Those are the most precious memories we all have which are continuing in each of our homes today.”
I am now challenged with these verses in Philippians 3:13-14 (not that I will forget Craig but I do want to forget my hurt, sadness, loneliness and feeling sorry for myself and so I want to press forward): “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Last family photo with Craig – 2 years ago at Josh and Charmagne’s wedding.
2+ grandchildren joined our family over the last 2 years
1 May 2013
As an update I would like to share the letter that I have just written to those who have supported the Home Education Foundation over the last 12 months:
26 April 2013
I am sorry that I have not written to you for such a long time. As I look back now I see that the last letter I sent to you was June last year. The twelve months after Craig died were very difficult. I felt like I was under a huge cloud then the last three months I was under a very heavy huge cloud. I had not anticipated how hard those three months would be. The cloud lifted as I got more and more involved in fighting the Beneficiary Bill. I still have some hard days but the cloud has gone along with our beautiful long sunny summer.
Thank you for your support of the Home Education Foundation. We really appreciate it. Enclosed is your receipt for the 2012/13 financial year.
I have been involved in many issues this year including:
1. Several people having trouble with the Hamilton and Dunedin MoE offices, and a couple of families having ERO difficulties. There is one issue at the moment with the Dunedin MoE Office where an exemption has been declined twice because the mother is working. There is nothing in the law to say that a mother cannot work and home educate her children. We are holding the office to what is written in the law. I talk about a number of issues referred to in this letter in my overheads from my recent South Island tour: State of the Nation – What can we be doing—http://hef.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/State-o
2. The Beneficiary Bill took up a lot of my time. THE ISSUES, as I saw them, that caused me to fight this Bill:
· State approved curriculum being compulsory for any child
The Government making it compulsory for any mother to have to go to work while she still has children at home
For it being compulsory for any child to have to complete the Well Child Checks
Our freedoms slowly being taken from us.
The Bill passed in Parliament by 2 votes. It will become law in July 2013. I sent out my 25th Media Release on this subject the next day: http://hef.org.nz/2013/media-release-25-families-and-churches-must-care-for-the-unemployed/. I started to get quite a few emails from concerned beneficiaries so I put up the following post on the website about what was in the Bill and what was not in the Bill including my recommendations: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/
We need to be vigilant to make sure that the Government does not try to make compulsory ECE and Well Child Checks apply for the rest of the population.
3. Some overseas issues including the Romeike family, and the Johansson family: I have written a number of letters to the authorities from the Home Education Foundation in support of home education in a number of countries over the last 12 months. Here are some of the letters: http://hef.org.nz/international/. Two families who have taken a bit more of my time have been the Romeike Family—a German family living in the USA and the Johansson Family living in Sweden. Both these families are waiting for the results of Court cases at the moment. The Romeike’s case is particularly of interest to us in New Zealand. They were initially granted Asylum in the USA, then earlier this year their Asylum status was taken away from them. They were in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit April 23. This leads to a case in New Zealand which is of concern (more in next paragraph). Michael Farris of the HSLDA says that the German Homeschool case may impact US Homeschool Freedom. This also applies in New Zealand. We heard tonight that the supreme court of Sweden refused to hear the Johansson’s case.
4. A German family in New Zealand was refused Asylum in NZ 2012. They have recently received a threatening letter from the Immigration Department. We are eagerly waiting to see what happens with the Romeike Family in the USA. In the meantime we have been trying to find a job for the father in New Zealand. Today the father told me that he has two sons also looking for jobs or apprenticeships. The father is a primary school teacher—he can also teach in secondary schools as an English, German or Music teacher. If you know of any job openings for the father and/or his sons anywhere in New Zealand then please let me know. The other option is to find somewhere else in the World that he can go to. At the moment the best lead we have is Mexico. Again if you know of any job openings overseas then please let me know—a long shot I know but still worth asking you all.
6. My workshops in Wanganui and around the South Island seemed to go well. I spoke at 12 different venues in the South Island: Takaka, Reefton, Greymouth, Hokitika, Wanaka, Te Anau, Invercargill, Tapanui, Dunedin, Oamaru, Rangiora and Blenheim. I was concerned about the trip before we left as Craig and I had always travelled together and Craig did most of the driving and most of the talking. This trip I had to do all of it. My two youngest 12 and 7 travelled with me, we left the North Island in Summer, then winter arrived in Te Anau, there was even snow on the hills. We arrived home safely to a colder North Island.
On 28 February I banked a cheque for $230.00 without keeping a record of who it came from by mistake. If you gave this cheque to the Home Education Foundation then please let me know so that I can send you another receipt. If you find an error in the enclosed receipt then please let me know so that I can fix it for you.
Some good conferences are coming up at the end of May and Beginning of June in Christchurch and Auckland: http://hef.org.nz/2013/building-a-god-centered-family-conferences/. Of particular interest is a leadership meeting on June 4 in Auckland—more on this soon watch www.hef.org.nz
I am very thankful to the Lord for continuing to provide for all of our needs. I do not have the gift with the pen that Craig had, infact I am the opposite of Craig with the pen. I am very thankful therefore that the Lord brought Suzannah Rowntree in contact with our family. She came over from Australia to attend Josh and Charmagne’s wedding and stayed on to help run our home while we nursed Craig. Since going back to Australia Suzannah has been “my pen” for all my official documents. Suzannah has written letters to the MoE, ERO, letters to the MPs, to officials in other countries (some are here: http://hef.org.nz/international/) Media Releases, the brochure and other letters and documents regarding the Beneficiary Bill for me. More recently she has expanded to helping the Johansson family get their son Domenic back by putting up this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domenic_Johansson. As Suzannah’s circumstances allow, she has told me that she is available to continue helping me with MoE and ERO cases and any other issues that may come up. The Home Education Foundation has been able to pay Suzannah AUS$15.00 an hour for all her work.
Please pray for me over the next four months as I seek to complete the July 2011 Keystone Magazine. I would like to be able to get it in the post to subscribers by the end of this year. It is a huge learning curve for me. Craig was half way through compiling this edition. My children and I would like to dedicate the rest of this edition to Craig and the work he was doing for home educators.
Thank you again for your faithful support of the Home Education Foundation.
From the Smiths:
Updated 1 May 2013: One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
This link is motivational:http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online:http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
2 February 2013
Dreams, Dreams, Dreams, Dreams
Some are good and some are not so good
Then I awake in the morning to reality
Last night I dreamt that Craig and I got married
Oh what a wonderful dream
Other nights there is such a separation
We can’t get close to each other
Sometimes there is a deep canyon or narrow chasm
Or a body of water to keep us apart
Those are the difficult nights
But there is hope and a wonderful morning to wake up to
One morning I will awake to be with Craig and the unspeakable bliss of heaven
I am reminded of Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain
Oh, how glorious it is that Craig is rightly related to God
That his sins have been forgiven by grace and so Craig has been made fit for heaven
How marvelous is God’s grace!
The most wonderful thing to happen in Craig’s life happened when he died
and Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints
Craig has gained and is enjoying the blessings of heaven
For to me, to live for Christ…I have a lot of work to do yet
Until I can claim Philipians 1:23 I am torn between the two:
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far
But for now I have a lot to do 3 little ones at home give me a great desire to live
A Social Security Bill to fight, families to encourage and a garden needing work.
I am not alone; God is with me and He is giving me rest and peace
as I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
19 December 2012
Psalm 66:16-20 (ESV)
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
RC Sproul says what is in my heart so well:
highlandsministriesonline.org/ ask-rc/ ask-rc-one-year-later-after-the -passing-of-your-wife-what-hav e-you-learned/
That time heals some wounds. It is natural as we enter into that season of the year, and now the very anniversary of her passing, that the pain would grow more acute, more insistent. And it is certainly possible that my expectations were terribly naïve. But the truth is not that I thought I would be done by now, but that I thought I would be feeling better, that there would be by one year some kind of improvement. And it just isn’t so. It hurts, and I am sad.
Time does heal some wounds. As I travelled through the anniversary of the last three months of Craig’s life the pain grew more acute, more insistent. And I think I can say as RC said that my expectations were terribly naïve. It was a very painful time and the pain was all consuming. Like RC I was expecting pain but not to the degree that it hit me during those last 2 – 3 months. I had mentioned to several people that I felt under a cloud for the 12 months and it became a thunder storm in the last 2-3 months leading up to the anniversary of Craig going to Glory.
I am sad, if this makes any sense, not because my wife passed away, but because I miss her. I miss being with her. I miss her as the very framework of my life. Though I am a rather minnow sized fish in something more like a large puddle than even a small pond, most of the world that knows me knows me either as a guy giving some sort of talk, or as a guy publishing some sort of writing. They, perhaps you, think that’s who I am, that the public ministry defines the private person. As much as I love my work, as open, honest, and vulnerable as I aspire to be, as much as I give thanks for all the opportunities God has given me, as much as I love to exercise my gifts, it’s still what I do. What I am is Denise’s husband.
I can say with RC that I am sad, not because Craig is not here – I am happy for him, but because I miss him. My life has an emptiness without Craig.
This sadness is rather like a localized rain cloud following Charlie Brown around. It is always with me. Now when I smile, when I laugh, I mean it. It’s genuine, real, and something for which I give thanks. Hugging my littles before I go to work, teasing my bigs on Facebook, catching my students at Reformation Bible College in a formal fallacy, all these things I delight in. But they are rays breaking through the cloud. They do not drive the cloud away.
Yes, I had already identified with being under a cloud. I still laughed, was thankful and was joyful but as RC said they were rays breaking through the cloud which was always with me. With the intensity that I have fought the Social Security Bill over the last 2 – 3 months the cloud has lifted. I have been fighting a battle that Craig would have fought had he been alive. The first stage of the fight is over, we go into the second stage of the fight in the New Year.
I learned as well that because life is short, life is long. My beloved did not get her three score and ten. She was welcomed into her reward earlier than many. And here I am. The wait that I have has now multiplied, because I am without her. This past year has been not just the hardest, but the slowest of my life. I wake earlier than I wish, and lie awake at night while wanting to sleep. The things I once looked forward to no longer appeal. Isn’t half the blessing of a blessing having someone with whom to share it?
Yes, Craig did not make his three score and ten. We had less than 2 months from diagnosis until he went to Glory. They were two glorious months that we are very thankful for. We had lots of wonderful family time with overseas family coming home, a very emotional wedding, and Craig made 146 Youtube videos. It would seem that Craig’s life was cut short especially when we see the things that need attention that he was so good at. Yet God’s Will is perfect. He took Craig Home in His perfect timing. One day we can be living life to the full – the next facing death. It seems Craig’s life was short and as RC said “Life is long …And here am I”. Those first 12 months after Craig went to Glory were the hardest and slowest of my life. The nights were short, the days long. Even though I had some of my children living with me the gap was too large and the cloud to heavy. There is One who has sustained me through this time and when the gap got too large and the cloud to heavy He would carry me during those times. So I echo the words of RC below:
By God’s grace I have not had to struggle with anger. I remain confident in His tender love for me, His assurance that what He has begun in me He will see through to the day of Christ Jesus. That work hurts. And it will continue to hurt. That doesn’t mean something has to change. My sadness is not a sign that something is wrong, that I need counseling or pills, or even a change in perspective. It means I have received the wounds of a Friend. He is ever with me, and there is no one, no one, I would rather have near.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.
5 October 2012
It is now 12 months since Craig passed to Glory. This Sunday will be the day that so many of you gathered to support our family at his funeral. We want to thank you all for your continued support towards our family, I wanted to write a personal note to every one who contacted us since July 28 last year—the day of Craig’s MRI. I wrote this enclosed letter back in April and have sent it out to a very small number of people so far. It now looks like the coming months are going to be very busy for me. I have decided not to send this letter with personal notes so that I can concentrate on this issue that would have been very dear to Craig if he was still alive:
New Zealand is taking the first step in making preschool at registered ECEs for 3-5 years old compulsory.
Craig always lamented the fact that in 1877 New Zealanders lost the freedom to educate 6 –15 year olds at home without applying for exemptions. He would say that our forefathers let us down by not standing up for their rights. So now in 2012, will we be the generation that begins to lose the freedom to preschool our own children and to make our own decisions about health care for preschoolers.
That is right, there is a Bill going through Parliament now, at the submission stage, which wants to make these things compulsory for beneficiaries—DPB, Unemployment, sickness and Widow/widowers: http://hef.org.nz/20…or-3-year-olds/
- attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3
- attend school from age five or six
- enrol with a General Practitioner .
- complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks
It is clearly part of an agenda to separate children from parents and to break the family ties at the earliest age possible. This is merely a stepping stone. This Bill MUST be stopped. I have enclosed a Pamphlet. Please put in a submission. (Pamphlet for printing out)
So for now I would like to thank you all for your very generous gifts to our family—money, organic food for Craig, meals for the rest of our family and helpers, herbs, medicines and vitamins sent to us, flowers, cards, links to good websites, books, visits, phone calls, emails and many other things as well, especially verses and your prayers. God is faithful and he has been faithful to us every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Hints for printing the pamphlet:
(choose 2 sided print flip on short side)
(For some people this pamphlet wont print direct from this page, so you will have to save this page to your computer, then open the pdf - then it will print just fine.)
1 October 2012
We have two days of remembering every milestone so it is the same with the 1st anniversary of Craig’s death. Today is the 30th in the States. We as a family are planning to try to have our first combined SKYPE talk – trust we will be able to make it work.
2pm in Australia (1 October) – 2 family connections
5pm in NZ (1 October) – Family Home
10pm in Illinois (30 September) – 2 family connections
We will be sharing a Memory Book that Charmagne put together for us. It was Genevieve’s idea for us all to write up some memories we have of Craig to be shared with each other.
30 September 2012
Isaiah 57:1-2 (NKJV)
57 The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.
I wrote this letter earlier in the year. I want to send it out to everyone that I have had contact with since 28 July – the date that Craig had his first MRI.
I trust that it wont be too long before I get your personal copy of this letter to you.
I have been very busy over the last few days with a new Bill going through Parliment – the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, Here are the concerns that I have with this Bill: HUGE Concerns over the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill and Q+A: Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. By Thursday 4 October, I trust, I will have information all fixed up to help us fight this Bill. Submissions are due in by 1 November. Here is a link (still to be completed) which I trust will make it easier for people to make submissions: Submissions for Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.
1 Peter 1:1-9 (ESV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.