Stories - God's Given Me A New Life

Kirk and his family moved to Silverton right before he started high school. Leaving behind his childhood friends and community was tough, but he quickly formed new friendships and relationships. Rhonda became a very close friend of his, but their relationship never went any further because they were afraid it might ruined their friendship. After high school, Kirk went to California to go to college and lost touch with Rhonda. After a couple semesters, he decided to drop out of school and pursue his dream of music. He joined a band and, during that time, met Deanna. The two of them hit it off quickly and soon got married and started their life together. But Deanna was soon diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder that causes extreme muscle fatigue. A few years after that, she was also diagnosed with melanoma. She began chemo treatments right away, but because of the myasthenia, it took a toll on her body. “All the chemo was killing the cancer, but it was also little by little taking her life as well.” Deanna passed away in early 2008 and Kirk felt like everything he had was gone. “It felt like I was in the dark.”

After struggling for a while, Kirk went to an Easter memorial service at the cemetery where Deanna was buried. At that service, after feeling far from God for so long, Kirk “felt the spirit of God reenter.” He went to a church service after that and even though he felt the sorrow of losing his wife, he also felt the joy of regaining his relationship with God. “I just felt like I had some hope again.” Later that year was his 20th high school reunion. After praying about it, Kirk decided he wanted to go, even though he knew he would have to talk about his loss. To his surprise, Rhonda was also at the reunion and they spent most of the time together, catching up on what they’d missed. After that, he went home and he and Rhonda kept in touch. After a few weeks, Kirk found that God had placed a love for Rhonda in his heart “that was just undeniable.” The next time they were on the phone with each other, Rhonda shared that she felt the same way. “I just have to think that God was behind all of this. And He was going to take me out of what I’d been going through and give me a new life.” They soon got married and Kirk moved back to Silverton. Rhonda had a 5 year old son, Blake, from a prior marriage that ended. “It was something I was looking forward to because he was going to be the son that I could never have.” With Rhonda working and Kirk without a job, he spent a lot of time with Blake. It was tough at times, but their bond grew very strong. 

Kirk and Rhonda’s verse has always been Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” They’ve felt that God truly has taken care of them and had good plans for them even while they’ve gone through hardships. “I’m so thankful and grateful for the blessings that He’s given me and for our family.”

I just have to think that God was behind all of this. And He was going to take me out of what I’d been going through and give me a new life.

Kirk Merrifield

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