“All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised” – Hebrews 11:39
My soul has been stirring, it’s been restless in the moments that when I finally sit and respond to the swirling thoughts and emotions that seem to be my friend these last few weeks I am overwhelmed. I have learned in the few years that I have been writing this blog that when God is being persistent and pursuing me, in ways that keep pointing to writing, he is asking me to be obedient and I am disobeying the more I put it off. Someone reminded me last night, ” sometimes in our disobedience, God decides to change his plan and use someone else…”
I have been dragging my feet on this topic because it stills evokes so much deep sorrow, that gets laced with joy. The joy, it honestly can really upset me more then the sorrow, I want the right to be sad, mourn the unexpected, but God loves to promise “wipe away every tear”.
March 15, 2016 will mark the one year anniversary of Ken Teune’s death. There are times his absence is felt in such deep areas of the soul that you wonder how Faith still remains. Then there are days that it seems unreal, that he still isn’t gone, maybe it’s because the ripples of his kingdom work are consistent, or maybe it’s the subconscious trying to protect those tender moments that will only happen in memories now, no longer to be lived out with him. Here is a card Ezzy wrote him shortly after he passed.
One of the most precious experiences I had shortly after his death was talking with another grieving soul. I was then told how a handful of us had received phone calls from Ken in the last week of his life here on earth. The commonality didn’t come in the fact we received the call, Ken spent a lot of time on the phone thanks to his many hats, it came in the form of the fact we ALL felt an urgency to answer his call. We all even in a brief moment, almost let it go to voice mail due to our busy schedules at the time, yet we all answered it, something drove us to push aside the current troubles and sit and talk…
I am going to be forever grateful for that Saturday afternoon chat. Standing in my room with the door closed in attempt to quiet my family’s noise. He requested prayer, he was nervous, maybe nervous isn’t a good word…he was all to aware of the real battlefield he was going into. I remember he sounded tired, his back had been bothering him, but he was ever determined to go and stand with other brothers and sisters for a cause dear to his heart.
One of the things he loved to tell me in the rare raw moments of standing or sitting across from him with warm hot tears gracing my face thanks to the weight of my current trial at the time was ” Sarah, God is not done with you yet”.
Oh, that simple phrase could make me so upset at times, I wanted him to say “yeah, this is crappy, you have every right to be mad” yet he was always quick to bring me back to why God had called me to the battlefield. Ken had a great gift to be able to have long range view, he kept his eyes on the champion.
I had a few people come to me after he passed and either read his blog or attended his celebration of life. I was given testimonies of reconciliation or healing that came out of the tragedy of loosing him. The stark reality that he was gone and that today was all they had, no promise of tomorrow, ignited them to lean into the difficult.
When I look back on this last year without him, I still see people trying to navigate in the pain of loosing their friend, I see some have found healing and have moved on, I see some at times afraid to mention his name. Can I say one thing, don’t be afraid to say something, I believe his legacy is meant to be carried by us all. Even if our encounters weren’t at a soul shattering level, if you crossed paths with him, he impacted you. Don’t be afraid to talk about him, share memories, write a letter to his wife, daughter and son, telling them the impact he had on you.
His passing has made me step in or just lean lightly into hard things. If I was honest, he was a crutch for me at times. When I was in a hard spot, it was so much easier to go to him and talk it out rather then wait on the Lord to speak. I haven’t found a mentor with that responsibility, but I really believe I am not suppose to. This year of having to seek, wait, and know I have heard the sovereign Lord give direction is exactly where Ken wanted me. He stayed close by because the big stuff I was facing could have wounded me, leaving me with a heart unwilling to let grace and mercy in. In this year, crazy as it seems I have learned what a Good Father HE is, even if he took my friend/mentor/running coach/elder/brother in Christ/father figure.
When I think about the changes that have taken place on the worship team, something he was just as passionate about as me, I KNOW he would be rejoicing here with us. A group of people United in stepping up to the battlefield and choose to armor up joyfully is what he wanted. A team that saw one another as brothers and sisters was what he knew needed to happen if we were to make waves here on earth. Yes, there are times when certain songs are played that his signature bass line is missed and felt by those of us who played with him each week. Loosing Ken called forth a desire and necessity within our team to practice what we asked people to proclaim each service. Heaven has become tangible…what a gift to keep running the race set before us.
His celebration of life reflected who he was. It was packed, the church building he had served and helped many years before being asked to help plant a church on the south side of the island, held many grieving and yes rejoicing souls. Some heard the salvation message for the first time, might have been taken aback at the worship service that took place, but Ken was unashamed of his Heavenly Father, his citizenship to a home built on streets of Gold, with pearly gates was evident.
It makes my heart heavy that the memories are fading, it is inevitable, I realize, but the fear that his legacy is fading is driving me here, today as I write this. I have been blessed at times a conversation we had will hit me out of nowhere, when I am driving in the side ways rain and a song lyric brings it fresh to mind that it feels as thought it was yesterday.
There has been so much affirmation of his faith, his spiritual heritage as I have watched his family still serve, stay close to God through it all. It challenges me to the core, makes me question if I would be able to say “God you are enough”. His legacy is being carried through them, it’s beautiful, it’s in those moments that you see if God is asking you to walk through something he won’t leave you on your own, he stays with you, even carrying you if you need it.
If I were to go back to that little phrase that could at times get under my skin…”God isn’t done with you yet”, I am brought back to his promise “and I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” – Philippians 1:6.
Some of you are struggling with this truth, you might feel as though your time is done, you have no value on earth, some might be in complete denial that you too are a citizen of heaven, just a foreigner on earth. You are a prized possession of our Abba Father. If you were to have one more chance to talk to Ken, what would you have said? I think about this a lot, knowing the spectrum was always big, but always found its resting place, safely back into the fact that we have been called to “eagerly await Christ’s return”.
As we being to enter another year without our brother who HAS claimed his inheritance, who is resting in the garden of Eden, who is worshipping in the throne room that has flashes of lightening, who is sitting with the heroes of Faith, growing in the realization his faith has still room to grow, and who is there, watching and waiting for YOU to join him…how would you live your day? God isn’t done with him, Ken is living out his eternity, earth was just a few small chapters of his life, really. Just as that verse says in Hebrews, we won’t receive all that is promised until we stand face to face with our maker. Friend, I can call you friend, because if you are reading this we share something close to our hearts…so friend can you say this now “(your name) God is not done with me yet”
Can I encourage you to do something? I think it would be amazing to honor him, to keep that legacy alive and well. Will you take a moment to write a letter to his family, a memory, something, anything, send a picture if you have one. I will gladly gather them, I won’t open or read them. Just send them labeled this way and I will deliver them to his family hopefully in time for his one year anniversary of his passing.
c/o Ken Teune
3827 Alaska Ave
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901