Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I hardly know how to start a blog like this one. My heart remains heavy with grief and I am still praying for peace and understanding for the circumstances of this past week. A very good friend of mine and the Discussion Group Leader at my MOPS, table, Jeanie Kochan, lost her 21 month old daughter in a tragic accident. Sweet Avery was swinging outside in her yard and wanted down. Her mom got her down as a car was coming up the driveway; a new meter reader. She needed to be told where the meters were. As Jeanie directed her, neither women noticed little Avery had walked in front of the car. She was struck as the car moved forward. Jeanie scooped her up and raced inside to call her husband and help. She could see Avery was badly injured and was not conscious. Before the first responders could arrive Avery stopped breathing. They worked on her, placing IVs and supporting her breathing, and when the ambulance arrived, she was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital with Jeanie riding along. After one hour of a perfectly executed code with no heartbeat being restored, Jeanie asked them to stop. Avery died at 4:45 pm Wednesday, May 21, 208. However, Jeanie felt confident in saying that she went to be with Jesus in her arms before help arrived. Jeanie spoke at the funeral yesterday with boldness and confidence about her Savior, Jesus Christ and how through her personal relationship with him, she was confident she would see her daughter again in heaven when she went there. The morning after the accident, Jeanie told me of a recent prayer of hers that she meant then and still means today even in light of the tragedy. She was feeling frustrated with her apparent lack of success in witnessing to her family and prayed for God to use her and her husband in any way necessary to draw them to Himself. Jeanie recognized that the death of her daughter may be what God uses to reach her family. I can't tell you the comfort and strength this gave her. I could see it in her eyes. Eyes that were filled with tears and a heart filled with questions like "How do we ever get back to normal??" and "What do I do without my daughter?" and "How do I get used to having only 2 kids again? I have 3!" Those eyes filled with strength and peace in that moment. That peace and strength allowed her to get up and give a short testimony at Avery's funeral as well as read a book for kids about heaven to her sons and neices and nephew near the end of the service. Peace and strength oozed from both she and her husband as they greeted and even comforted friends and family for over 2 hours after the service. While the rest of us were eating at the picnic and allowing our children to enjoy the bounce house and balloon release, Jeanie and Rob were hugged and supported and also gave back courage and strength to each person in attendance. I do not tell you of this to give praise and glory to this amazing friend and her husband. I had to tell you about this story to be sure you knew of the hope you too can have in Christ Jesus. Jeanie and Rob have given their lives to Christ to be the Lord and ruler of their lives. That means setting aside all their earthly desires and submitting them to the sovereign rule of Christ and obeying His commands. I have never seen this more tangibly lived out as I have in the past several days. Again, this is not to bring glory to Rob and Jeanie, but to the Lord who is seated on His throne, who makes the weak strong, and who makes us more than conquerers!!! His grace is sufficient and is made available to us as we need it, as promised in the Bible.
Please remember this precious family in your prayers. They have 2 sons, Tate 5 yrs and Austin 4 yrs. who are doing amazingly well. Pray that Rob and Jeanie continue to hold tight to the promise in Romans 8:18, 21: "Yet, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. ...the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay." (NLT)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Wow...what a beautiful little girl and I truely and at a loss for words. I hope your friend is doing ok...and her two little boys and husband as well. While she seems to be handling it well...I would just be devastated. I've certainly got her in my prayers.