With everything that’s been going on with my dad over the past year the phrase “Kelly Tough” has been used in a number of articles and interviews – as well as hashtaged on various media outlets like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
I was asked to give a definiton of “Kelly Tough” in every interview that I had the opportunity to do.
Soooo I thought I would share my answer with you too:
It was the first time she cried since we found out about Daddy.
I don’t think she knows how to deal with everything.
Tears welled up in my eyes as my little sister, Camryn, hugged me.
As I held her in my arms my heart longed to release the tears, but my mind reminded me to be Kelly Tough.
Kelly Tough doesn’t mean that we don’t cry.
Kelly Tough means that in that moment I was strong for someone else…. I was strong for my little sister who couldn’t bear to watch her daddy suffer.
Kelly Tough is a selfless toughness.
It’s not about being strong in your own strength.
And it doesn’t mean being strong for the sake of your own suffering.
Being Kelly Tough means that you press on because there’s someone else out there who needs you to be strong.
For years, my dad was tackled into the turf, but he still got up.
He never quit.
Because he heard the fans cheering, and he remembered the sound of his dad’s voice saying, “Come on, son. You’re a Kelly. Be tough!”
He was determined to fight no matter how hard the battle.
Although my dad is known as one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play in the National Football League, I’ve never witnessed toughness like that of my brother, Hunter!
I’ve never watched someone so weak be so incredibly strong.
Hunter relied on God for every breath.
Every worry, every fear, every hurt.
He couldn’t do it on his own.
He had to rely on God, completely.
He was Kelly Tough so that we could fall into the strong and mighty arms of God. Hunter was Kelly Tough so that we could rejoice with every breath he took and every time he blinked three times to say, “I love you!”
Hunter was Kelly Tough so that every child, everywhere can be tested at birth so they don’t have to suffer like he did.
Hunter was Kelly Tough to encourage my dad on THIS day… as we hear the word “cancer” for a second time… as he goes to bed every night not knowing what tomorrow will bring… as he suffers from intense pain yet still smiles when his daughters walk into the room.
Hunter James Kelly was Kelly Tough so that our family can say to the world today, “We are weak… but God is strong!!”
For my daddy…some days are harder than others to press on. I’ve never seen him this weak before.
But Jim Kelly will remain tough… for Jason, the cancer patient who had only weeks to live, for the little boy with Down Syndrome, for the Hunter’s Hope families, for the person who doesn’t think they can keep going, for the die hard Bills fan, for the city of Buffalo, for the entire Kelly family, for his wife, for his daughters.
He’s Kelly Tough.
Because in the midst of his struggles, he has surrendered to the God who holds this moment and the future.
THIS is Kelly Tough!
Today we went to the Emmanuel House! It was absolutely amazing! As soon as I got there two girls came over to me and grabbed my hand and hung out with me the entire time. They were so welcoming and their smiles were contagious. Even though I didn’t understand everything they were saying, it didn’t matter- we were friends immediately.
Later on, a few girls got up and sang some songs in English. I felt so blessed to hear them sing about Jesus in our language along with being able to sing to them in Spanish. When we sang “Mighty To Save” all the kids sang along and the smiles on their faces showed that they knew what the words of the song meant. Although many were young, the love for Jesus and each other radiated from them.
The hardest part is always saying goodbye. Every word, hug and smile is precious and are moments that I will never forget.
STAY TUNED…MORE TO COME!
Oh yeah…I’ve been videoing for all of you HCWG girls so be on the lookout for a cool Cam Clip soon!
March 25, 2013
My mother wrote this and I thought it would be really cool to share it with you – since I was there too! I hope this blesses you – Love, Erin
The best way to share this is to just tell you what happened — the way I remember it.
But, before I unload I preface all of this by first telling you that I’ve prayed hard and long about what to share. And I trust that God has given me the right spirit and words.
If you watched the local news stations (either last night or this morning) you might have heard part of the story. If you missed it — here’s a link:
If you weren’t there, and have now watched the segment, you’ve only heard part of the story. The part the media, Jim Martek (the Ref), the doctor, and the Athletic Trainer have chosen to share.
But, there’s more, and I know that…
Because we were there.
Jim, my mom and dad, Jim’s best friend Chris, Pastor Matt, nurse Judy, Klaire, Beth, the Stone family and many more were there.
The CCA Crusaders were playing Mount Mercy Magic. It was the first quarter and already the competition was fierce. No doubt our girls would have to go hard all four quarters to win this one.
And then it happened, right in front of us.
The “Ref” handed one of the players the ball to take out and just went down. As he lay there, all I remember is the terrifying sound of his desperate struggle to breathe — it was completely silent except for the sound of this man gasping for air. I’m shaking even now as I try to type this all in — as I remember it.
It was as if we (everyone in the gymnasium) knew. Immediately, there was a common bond and understanding. You could feel the weight of eternity bearing down into the severity of the moment — almost as if it was being held off while pondering the shared compassion for this fragile man so few of us knew. We instinctively stretched our hands toward the man whose life hung by a thread while reaching our hearts toward heaven praying for that thread to be strengthened. We were pleading. We were crying. We were coming boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our time of great need — on his behalf, for his life, for his soul…
I remember well the sounds. It reminded me of the day Hunter went home to Jesus. The memory of that moment with my precious son overwhelmed me as I fell to my knees standing in the gap for “the Ref” — and the Spirit interceded with words that I simply could not muster in my own strength.
Honestly, it was horrifying and amazing.
Horrifying in that it appeared we were all witnessing a man die — pass from time into eternity right before our very eyes.
Amazing because God had strategically orchestrated that moment for His sovereign purposes — His people were there and we were all storming His throne praying for a miracle.
We left Mount Mercy Academy that night drenched in tears and deep anguish. The outcome looked grim. We continued to pray. Late that evening, I received this heartbreaking text, “He didn’t make it.” The girls and I prayed for “the Ref’s” family, his children, wife — not even knowing what his name was, or if he even had a family. It was over…
But just like the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-44), who had been well beyond hope, the next day there was amazing news — news that defied reason: “the Ref” was in a coma in the ICU.
We were shocked and thanked God.
But God wasn’t quite finished and this remarkable news was followed by an even more amazing turn of events — he was out of the coma, talking to his family, “the Ref” was going to be fine.
We didn’t witness a man die. We witnessed a miracle.
And so now, I get to the point of why I’m sharing this with you.
You see, I watched part of the segment last night. And this morning, I watched the link above. And after watching, listening, texting my mother, father, and praying — I’m overwhelmed.
Here’s what I just wrote in my journal:
Lord, after watching the account of what happened to Jim (the Ref) at Erin’s game, I can’t help but have completely mixed emotions. I’m so thankful that You, God heard the prayers of Your people interceding for that man’s very life and soul. I’m in awe that the doctor said that there was only a 5 percent chance of survival for cases like this and YOU saved him. I’m thankful for all the people that You had there, in that moment, to help this man when every second mattered — when his heart stopped beating and when he wasn’t breathing.
And yet, I’m shocked and full of sorrow. There was no mention of You. Mere man can do nothing apart from You. You made sure just the right people who knew what they were doing were there; You made sure that just the right equipment was available in the building. You did all of this. You saved his life. You heard the cries of Your people. You answered our prayers. You performed a miracle. You did all this.
And so now, I’m asking You Lord…
How can these people not see it?
How can they not give You all the honor and glory?
How can they not see YOU?
As per my typical quiet-time routine, I continued to pray and then I grabbed my Bible and started reading where I left off yesterday. Here are some of the verses I read:
“You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did…” Deut 4:3
“What other nation (people) is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD is near us whenever we pray to him?” Deut. 4:7
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.” Deut. 4:9
“You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” Deut. 4:35
Needless to say, I was a wreck after reading.
Here’s the thing, and I’m not ashamed to admit it — before I read these verses, I was frustrated, aggravated, and so sad. How could “the Ref” story be told without acknowledging God? He’s the Miracle Maker. He’s the only ONE who deserves the praise for rescuing this man’s life. So I was indignant and in my ignorance I prayed and talked to God.
And He responded.
Read the verses I shared again…
Do you see it?
He doesn’t want us to forget. He doesn’t want me to forget!
He allowed us to witness the “miracle.”
He did it for us
So that we would be reminded…
So that we wouldn’t forget…
HE IS GOD, there is no other.
It’s all Him.
The compassion we all felt.
So that we might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.
I believe we all have moments where God reveals Himself to us in ways beyond what we can fully comprehend this side of heaven. This moment and the miracle it brought have been etched upon our hearts. And only by His grace and mercy will we be able to remember and never forget…
He is God
There is no other.
For Bible class, I was asked to write a paper regarding my personal description of a “miracle”. Because my definition is not what you might usually understand a miracle to be, I thought I would share it with you. BETTER yet, when you’re done reading this, please share your definition with us…okay!
My definition of a “miracle” would more than likely contradict or challenge how most people define a “miracle”. In order to fully explain how I have come to this somewhat radical understanding I think it would be helpful to share some personal history.
My younger brother, Hunter died from a genetic disease when he was just eight and a half years old. Throughout the entire time God allowed Hunter to live my family persistently prayed for a miracle. We believed (and still believe) that God is all-powerful and He has historically demonstrated through various physical healings in the Bible that He is more than capable to restore the sick to good health. Therefore, we prayed daily for Hunter’s physical healing. However, God chose not to heal Hunter here on earth.
If Hunter were healed, it would’ve absolutely been considered a “miracle” by most definitions and standards. It would have been a miracle according to the Word of God as well. Can you even imagine? The news of his healing would have been the top story on every media outlet.
But, what if the greater “miracle” was in the fact that God chose not to heal Hunter physically. What if the “miracle” was that God healed our family spiritually? What if in Hunter’s physical dying; God brought all of us from death to life in Him – where true life can only be found?
God used my brother and his suffering to bring my entire family to the Son of God and His perfect suffering. And it’s through Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf that we find our healing and hope – for now and forever. It’s also in the Cross of Christ that we find healing for Hunter.
There is a depth to this that I don’t fully understand and might not ever understand until I see Jesus face to face in heaven someday. What I do know is this – Life in Christ is the ultimate “miracle”. When a person puts their faith and hope in Christ alone a “miracle” takes place in the human heart that defies logic and understanding. The work of God in the fallen human heart is the “miracle” – everything else that God chooses to do is like icing on the cake.
Hey, don’t forget to share your definition with us – if you do we will send you HCWG#1 autographed – suppa cool!
Don’t forget to tell us where to send the book!
For Easter break this year our mom and dad decided to take us to Miami, Florida for a few days. We left on a Monday and came home three days later, on Thursday.
We tried to pack in a lot in those few days. While we were there we also learned a few very important things we thought we’d share with you.
First of all…
Do not sit in the sun all day without protecting your skin. YIKES! We’re still recovering from our sunburns and its not fun – its torture. In fact we’ve even cried a few times it hurts that much.
Money can’t buy you happiness…or hope.
Daddy’s friend took us on his friend’s boat. Actually it was a 60 million dollar yacht. WHAT? Yes, it’s true – the boat cost 60 million dollars and it also costs almost 3 million dollars a year to take care of it. We got a tour and everything on the yacht was perfect. Completely spotless. In fact, it was so perfect mommy asked the owner if it was always so clean – and he said “Yes, always.”
It’s weird because we felt very uncomfortable while we were on the yacht – like we were afraid to touch anything because it was all so perfect. The man that gave us the tour was really nice but you could tell that he didn’t know Jesus at all. Sadly, he even said Jesus’s name like a swear word. UGH!
After we left we talked about our experience. We were all kind of sad for the yacht man because although he had a ton of money and worldly things – he didn’t have true happiness and hope. Only Jesus can give us true life, hope and joy!
Erin: Everyone has moments when they feel discouraged or let down. Whether its by parents, siblings, friends, classmates, whoever. There will be moments when people will tell you “you can’t”. When times like this happen, you have an opportunity to show people that with Jesus “you can”. In Christ and through His strength you can do all things.
If you find that your friends are always discouraging you, pray for them and ask God to help you be an encouragement to them. I know this sounds crazy and really hard – right? Like, why would you want to encourage and pray for someone who is always discouraging you and bringing you down? Well, of course you have a choice as far as how you would respond. We all have a choice. I’ve found that even if someone is mean to me – if I repay him or her with God’s love and kindness it keeps anger and frustration from filling my mind and heart. Ultimately, only God can encourage you in the way in which you need it most. Don’t let others bring you down. If you belong to the Lord – trust Him with all that concerns you today.
It’s so encouraging to read what other people are saying about HCWG!
But, we know where all of this good news comes from – from the heart of God – of course. The really cool thing is that this is what we prayed for and what we continue to pray for – for every single girl that would read Hot Chocolate with God. It’s always been about the reader! That she would know and believe how special and unique she is. And that she would Know and Love GOD more!
Check out what others are saying:
Well, we just spent the last four days at Kingdom Bound – a huge Christian Festival near where we live. It was amazing! We introduced Hot Chocolate with God to everyone and it was a huge hit – the talk of the event! Everyone loved it! My prayer is that those who will read HCWG will experience God on a whole new level and that young girls will follow hard after the Lord.
Holding her in my arms is like holding everything good in this world. When she is in my arms nothing else matters; nothing and no one else exists.
Although the world says, “she can’t”, we know that through Christ, sweet Karis can do all things! Although the world sees her as disabled, I know she is very able.
Every breath is a miracle! Every little smile is the greatest gift.
Read more »
Read more »
Isn’t it hard to love people that don’t love you back? It’s like you can’t make someone love you if they don’t. I wonder how God feels when people don’t love Him. Does He feel sad? Does He love us any less if we don’t love Him? I can’t imagine loving the entire world—that’s just way too many people.
Read more »
Read more »