Today’s post is special to me. I reached out to Steffani on IG and asked if she would share her story. I was beyond thrilled when she said yes! Her father, Elder Von G. Keetch, spoke to our stake at stake conference a few years ago. He was such a great speaker! My kids even liked him- and that’s saying something! He was an amazing storyteller, and that engages everyone young and old.
I hope you will enjoy this sweet story by his daughter, Steffani. Her strength and light truly shine through her words. I highly recommend following her on on IG @themismatchedmama. She brings light and joy into your day. Someday I hope to actually meet her and give her a big hug! For now, here’s a virtual one ♥! *Grab a tissue friends!
“@awaitingrainbows asked me to share my story with all of you. And honestly 6 months ago, I didn’t really have one. I was your typical LDS mom, with 3 kids, teaching elementary school, and enjoying a wonderful life filled with family, friends, a wonderful community, and a few small bumps in the road that seemed completely manageable.
But on December 2, 2018 my whole life changed. In a matter of 90 days we welcomed a brand new baby girl, I unexpectedly lost my Dad to complications of cancer, and both my husband and I lost our jobs. To say our lives turned upside down would be a huge understatement. To say I was emotionally a wreck would be putting it lightly. I found myself living a life that felt like a nightmare. Everything I had known, everything I had planned on, everything I thought I believed was taken from me, and I was left picking up the pieces of my former life, and trying to figure out how to even breath again.
But let’s back up just a bit to March 2017. We had been trying for our baby girl for almost a year. Our other babies had come relatively easily, so we were surprised that this one was taking so much longer. After 10 months of trying we started down the road of infertility treatments, and after only 1 minor procedure we were shocked to discover I was pregnant! I didn’t understand the Lord’s timing then. I didn’t understand why we had to wait so long, to finally have it happen what felt like so randomly. But on December 2, 2018, our beautiful Chloe Bernice was born. And just 55 days later, the timing of her birth would all make sense.
Going back even more to July 2011. My dad had just been diagnosed with Colon Cancer. It was a scary time for our family, but his body responded well to the Chemo treatments, and for a while he was cancer free. He was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for the LDS church and gave an all time favorite talk at General Conference about sharks and the barrier that protects us from being devoured. But in April of 2014, tiny spots of Colon Cancer showed up on my Dad’s lungs. The doctors found the spots manageable and through surgery, radiation and many beautiful blessings, we believed my dad had a lot of years left to live. A lot more service to give. However, just 5 months ago, on January 26, 2018 his lung hemorrhaged and he passed away. I was devastated and completely in shock.
55 days after my Dad’s death, my husband’s employer of over 2 years called him to tell him he could no longer afford to pay him, and he needed to find a new job. This happened just 14 days after I had signed a Leave of Absence from my teaching position with Alpine School District. Leaving me without a job for the next year. In an instant we found ourselves with no means of income.
In just 3 months, life had changed so drastically. In 2017, life was paradise. The sun was shining brightly and things were going exactly to plan. But 2018 brought with it a raging storm, destroying everything in its path.
There’s a funny thing about storms though. Without them, we wouldn’t get to see any rainbows. And just like God promised he would send a rainbow after the storm in the Bible, he has sent me some rainbows too.
The first rainbow came with the understanding of the timing of my baby’s birth. She was just 8 weeks old the night my Dad died. She was with me as I watched the Dr. frantically doing compressions on my Dad’s chest. And she was clutched closely to mine when he came to tell us my Dad was gone. All those months of begging and pleading with the Lord to grant this righteous desire made sense in that moment. She was sent to me when God knew I would need her most. And she has brought such a peace into my life that I couldn’t have survived without and an realization that the veil is very thin.
The second rainbow is a little harder to see in the fog that constantly surrounds me since my Dad’s death. But I know it’s there. I catch glimpses of it when a friend I haven’t seen in years shows up at my doorstep with a much needed hug. Or when someone tells me my Dad’s talk was mentioned in their Sacrament meeting. Losing my Dad, my hero, and my best friend has been the absolute hardest thing I have ever had to face, but at special times when I feel him near I can feel the love not only my earthly father has for me, but the love my Heavenly Father has for me too. Through my Dad’s death I have gained a greater understanding of what my Father in Heaven is like. He is no longer an ominous being that I can hardly picture. He is a father. Who loves me even more than my Dad does.
The third rainbow is the opportunity for change and growth. I once thought God was cruel for allowing both my husband and I to lose our jobs right after my father’s passing. For putting this huge obstacle in my way right after he took away the one person that always helped me over them. But God wasn’t cruel. He was all knowing. He knew the only way I would ever look for the open window is if he shut and locked the door. He knew in my grief and in my pain I would be humble enough to accept His plan for me and begin to move in a direction I would have never considered before. He knows what he wants me to become. And he knows the path that will lead me there.
A friend of mine wrote a song called “Waiting for my Rainbow” it explains perfectly how I feel going through this huge storm in my life.
“Breathing, pacing, heart is racing
I can’t believe this is real.
What I feel.
Bleeding, praying, time is swaying
I need to find some relief
Is this all a dream?”
“A glimmer in the sky,
A promise from on high.
I’m waiting for my rainbow.
I need His peace within.
I trust it’s coming again.
Let it begin. I’m waiting for my rainbow.”
Life is full of raging storms. It’s full of trials that often seem too much to bear. But God knew that would be the case. And he planned for it. And because he loves us so much He sent us the ultimate rainbow. His Son. To provide a way for our burdens to feel light and for us to return to Him again.
And just like my Dad said in his 2015 General Conference talk:
“By allowing His will to be swallowed up by the Father’s, Christ gave us the prospect of eternal peace, eternal joy, and eternal life. And as WE submit to His will, we become what He wants us to become.” -Elder Von G. Keetch-
♥Steffani Keetch Dastrup”
I hope that as you read Steffani’s words, your heart was touched. I hope that this week as you might be facing storms of your own, that you will step back and look for the rainbows. For they always come.
Life is Good. Share the Good.
PS You can donate to Steffani’s family’s charity: Taco Amigo Cares Proceeds go to Huntsman Caner Institute.
PSS Do you have a story to share? Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org