There have been some bittersweet moments for many of Jennifer’s loved ones this Thanksgiving. The makeup of holidays change when someone special is physically removed from your celebration. Still, each of us have so many things to be thankful for. For many that includes precious new friendships that have emerged through this season. God has woven our hearts together in a powerful way that brings comfort, hope and understanding. He has fused together the exact people each of us need to help us push through and keep our eyes on Him.
Jennifer’s legacy continues in countless ways, but this week marked a unique milestone that is just another example of how God’s plans exceed our expectations. On Thanksgiving day, Jenn’s blog surpassed 100,000 visitors.
None of us could have imagined what God had in mind for Jenn’s story. As one of many “behind the scenes” friends, I can tell you that Jennifer truly lit up as she realized how God was using her story to touch others. She drew great joy from your encouraging comments and prayers.
Simply put, Jenn had a passion for sharing what God was doing in her heart and life that was much BIGGER than the cancer she was battling. She recognized that in every circumstance was another opportunity to point people back to God’s love, hope and perfect peace.
Although we sit in awe as God’s plan for Jennifer’s story unfolds, it’s no surprise to Him. He knew exactly where each of us would be in our hearts, lives and spirits as He led her through the fight of her life. The many ways that her fight has inspired, challenged, grown and even broken each of us were part of His plan from the beginning, intended to draw us closer to Him.
… In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15
On Saturday, October 23rd, Church @ The Springs in Ocala, Florida hosted a Celebration of Life in Jennifer’s honor. In case you weren’t among the nearly 300 in attendance, you can now view the event online by clicking here.
Tremendous gratitude to Pastor Ron Sylvia and his entire team as well as Patty Laramore for their very special parts in this celebration.
H20 Church in Ada, Oklahoma is the sort of place that makes you immediately feel at home. Each person you meet is like a long-lost friend. It’s a congregation that operates from a genuine desire to become the hands and feet of Jesus. This house of worship is literally crackling with activity; a deep sense of God’s purpose is tangible from the moment you arrive.
H20 has been a pivotal part of Jennifer and John’s journey, and as a result this church has touched everyone who loves them. In fact, in the midst of our most difficult season, this extended family emerged as a shining light: praying, loving, serving and simply *being* when we needed them the most.
They filled in the gaps in every sense imaginable – literally and spiritually. If you were blessed by them or have experienced something similar in your own life, you understand that there simply aren’t words to adequately express gratitude for such a gift.
In the last month, many of you have made donations in Jennifer’s honor to benefit the H20 Children’s ministry. To date, your generosity will bless this ministry with over $2,600 and honors Jenn’s heart and life’s work in a unique way that will truly leave a legacy of faith; equipping H20 to reach more kids for Jesus.
Jenn’s family, friends and the many children blessed by H20 Church thank you. The next time you’re in Ada, Oklahoma, stop by, say hello and see what God’s up to next in this amazing fellowship of believers.
This weekend several of Jenn’s good friends including Christie Nelson, Christy McFarland and Dede McFarland will hit the streets for the Dallas / Fort Worth Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure. This event is no easy undertaking; it’s involved intense training (28 weeks!), fundraising ($2,300 minimum per participant) and unwavering personal commitment. We’re talking genuine, above & beyond personal commitment that involves sacrifices like getting up at 3 a.m. for team training on an ongoing basis, financial investment and even unfortunate personal injuries (we’ll consider these a badge of honor, ladies).
This weekend Dede and our “Christy/ies” will walk in memory of Jenn as well as other friends & family who have and are fighting a brave fight against breast cancer. They’ll be sporting these t-shirts as they do so:
- Pray for great weather and ideal walking conditions.
- Pray for endurance and that they would finish well.
- Pray for physical health and safety and that God would protect them from injury.
- Pray that God would magnify their energy from start to finish.
- Pray that God would fortify them emotionally from attack.
- Pray that they would feel God’s presence and that He would bring about amazing new friendships.
- Pray for the work that God will do in their hearts during this significant weekend.
If you’d like to support their efforts, you can still donate to Christy Nelson, Christie McFarland and DedeMcFarland. Plus, if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth area you can head out to a cheer station to voice your support in a more audible way!
Finally, if you’ve recently participated in a similar event in honor of Jennifer or plan to, please let us know. We’d love to acknowledge your efforts, share your story and celebrate the lives that Jenn continues to touch.
Given the events of last week, a few folks have asked about a post that Jennifer made on February 12th called “Done with Radiation.”
In it, she said:
In addition, my friends Nicole and Christy came to Dallas last weekend and we have been up to something….all I can say is mark your calendars for October 15-17th. Details coming soon. I can guarantee you won’t want to miss this. Stay tuned….
The backstory here is timing that could only be from God. After Jennifer’s final radiation treatment and a celebratory lunch last February, she got that sparkle in her eye that meant she was up to something BIG (you know the look I’m talking about). She proceeded to unveil a plan to bring friends and family together the weekend of October 16th, 2010 for an amazing weekend that included the Susan G. Komen 5K Walk in Dallas, TX.
In typical Jenn fashion, she thought through every detail: there was a theme, an agenda, a host hotel, a menu and “goodies” for all. She fairly glowed (non-radiation related) as she shared her vision. An invitation was designed and printed. She was addressing and stamping the invitations … when God said STOP. She didn’t know why, she confided at the time, but her sense was that God had something even bigger on the horizon, and she needed to wait on His timing.
When the weekend of October 16th came this year, Jenn’s friends and family were indeed gathered around her, pouring out our love. We could never have imagined the timing that God had in mind; He definitely had something MUCH bigger planned for Jennifer that particular weekend.
And as for those invitations … never fear. Jennifer put far too much thought and love into this weekend for it to fall by the wayside. We’ll be praying about God’s timing to extend her very special invitation to you in the future.
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.”
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven …
This Saturday, October 23rd at 11 a.m. EST the Church @ The Springs in Ocala, FL will host a celebration of life in honor of Jennifer Cunningham Kimbrell. All are welcome to attend. The service will also be streamed live via the Web at: http://tv.springs411.org/
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests charitable donations in Jennifer’s honor be made to the children’s ministry at H2OChurch.cc in Ada, Oklahoma.
- Secure online donations may be made via Give Forward at: http://www.giveforward.com/celebrate-jenn
- Or you may send them directly to H20Church.cc, ATTN: Tiffany Anderson, 100 W. Main St., Ada, OK 74820
Friends and family are encouraged to share their favorite memories of Jennifer, prayers and encouragement by submitting stories and notes via her online guest registry.