October 18, 2010

Tribute to Grandma Kim

Bong Ha Kim
July 15, 1930 - October 16, 2010

Tonight we celebrated my grandmother's life and legacy.  Over 300 guests came to pay their respects and say their final "See you soon".  I paid tribute to her in a letter I shared:

{ with her third great-grandchild;
photo taken by sun yun }
Dear Grandma,

As the eldest of your grandchildren, I had the privilege and honor of bestowing you with the title “Grandmother” for the first time on the day I was born. And 10 grandchildren later, it became a role you embodied and embraced with so much love, pride, and care. You spoiled each and every one of us rotten – not with material things (for you knew these things mean nothing in the end) – but with the power of your prayers and by demonstrating God’s love to us on a daily basis.

None of your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren have known a day that you, our mighty prayer warrior, were not interceding on our behalf. Every day, you and Grandfather knelt before the King of kings lifting up the many petitions, concerns, and praises for our family.

One petition that I knew had grown heavy on your heart several years ago concerned the prospect of me ever getting married.  I was pretty adamant about staying single and stubbornly declared I didn’t need a husband or children.  Maybe I’d just get a dog one day.  When I was 26, I specifically remember Christmas at Uncle’s house that year.  You and I were sitting on the sofa, and you had asked me again if I was dating or if there was a man of interest in my life.  I told you “No” and reminded you that I was never going to get married.

And then you leaned in towards me.  And very quietly, you asked me in Korean, “You like men, right?”  And I laughed!  And then you laughed, but I think you were somewhat serious!

Well, I saw the delight on your face the day I got married to James and knew God had answered your prayers.

It was hard to see you suffer the past few months.  It was difficult to see the color and life of the light of our family slowly start to dim.  Why had God allowed you to suffer in such a way?

But even in the midst of suffering, you continued to praise God.  What a testimony to us!  I remember an instance when I came to visit you earlier in September.  You had just been released from the hospital and were in hospice care at Uncle’s house.  You were so weak, tired, and in pain.  Your mouth was extremely dry so I rinsed it out with some water.  You lifted up your frail arms and thanked God even for spit because it gave you the ability to speak, even if just a whisper.

That was the testimony of your faith – being able to bless His name even when the circumstances were difficult.  And then I began to realize why it was you suffered in such a way:  It was because your faith was so much greater and stronger than ours.  You were ready to go home to your greatest treasure, Jesus, but we weren’t ready to let you.

So God prolonged your agony and your suffering for our sake.  For the sake of your husband, your children, and your grandchildren.  So we could prepare ourselves to say our goodbyes.  So we could have time to process you not being here on earth with us anymore.

And then it made me think of how Jesus died and how God had allowed his perfect son to suffer for your sake and mine.  How great is that love!  Thank you for that sacrifice, Father.

Grandma, when I heard that you went home to be with the Lord, a very selfish part of me thought, “we’ve lost our mighty prayer warrior for this family.”

And the Lord, ever lovingly, said “No. Your prayer warrior is here with me, right by my side, and continues to intercede on your behalf.”

{ four generations }
I pray you find rest and peace in heaven, Grandma.  Although I imagine with your new body, your bad leg finally healed after all these years, your spirit and mind restored, you’re probably too busy singing, jumping, and dancing with Jesus to rest.  And I praise God for that.

We love you with all our hearts. 

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our 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 4:16-18)


  1. This was an awesome and beautiful entry Rach.
    Thanks for sharing. Really. Thank you. My prayers are with you and your family.

  2. Rachel,
    I love your Grandmother too now. How could I not when she is described with so much love. What a woman of God.

    We'll all meet again in heaven and you can introduce me. The honor will truly be mine!


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