02.13.07

Thank you

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:53 am by Libbie

Thank you to all of you who came to the service on Saturday, as well as to those who would have like to come but were not able to. and to all of you who joined us by webcast. Al absolutely loved people, and I know that each of you blessed him by your presence. Certainly you blessed us!

All last week we looked forward to Saturday’s memorial service. We knew that the burial would be both sad and joyful, but perhaps with sadness having the edge. As one of the kids said, “The focus of the burial is more on the physical body and the death part of dying, but the emphasis of the memorial service is more on the joy of heaven and the eternal life part of dying.” The burial service was wonderful, and contained the hope of the resurrection, but it was certainly also somber. The body that served Al so well–the feet that ran mile records and the hands that shot baskets, and wrote articles, and served us all so well–we committed to the earth with honor and dignity, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

But all week we looked forward with anticipation to the service on Saturday, which we hoped would be a time of joy-filled, triumphant celebration. It was everything we hoped it would be. Al and Jesus were both honored, and we came away with hearts uplifted and full of thankfulness. There have been and will be plenty of tears, plenty of aching hearts, but it will warm our hearts to remember the service, a time of celebrating Jesus’ costly victory and the benefits of it that Al is now enjoying. Having you there with us, whether in body or in spirit, made the service a community celebration, and that is exactly what was so important to Al. Thank you, each and every one.

Eowyn, Alden and I are going out of town for a couple of days to have time to process and re-group before jumping back into the demands of life. So don’t be surprised if there’s nobody home most of the time during the next few days.

Got to go pack the car…

Love to you all,

Libbie

16 Comments »

  1. Amy Givler said,

    February 13, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Libbie,

    I’m praying this is a time of refreshing for the three of you. May you have time and space to think, reminisce and sleep.

    With love,
    Amy

  2. Ruth Bird said,

    February 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Dear Libbie,

    Several years ago a friend of mine who was newly engaged told me that you and Al had the kind of marriage and family life after which she wanted to pattern her own relationship and home. The Lord certainly blessed you and your husband with each other and caused you to be a great blessing to hundreds and hundreds of people. Thank you for being so open and transparent as you shared this whole difficult journey with us bloggees. (Is that a legitimate noun for the recipient of a blog?!) I have cried out to the Lord for you, most especially in the last few weeks and pray that he will surround you with that sweet comfort and peace that belongs to his children. May you experience healing and know the Lord’s presence in a special way as you take some time away.

    With Love,

    Ruth Bird

  3. Alan and Rachel Finch said,

    February 13, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing all your experiences over the past months. You have been an amazing testimony to us as to how to live when you know you are dying; how to let go of your loved one; how to die in the glorious hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so encouraged by you, and know that your faith and hope will be a spur to us when the Lord causes us to walk through hard trials in our lives.
    May the Lord continue to uphold you and bless you.

  4. Allie Stryd said,

    February 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Libbie,
    The Lord has continued to call us into prayer for you and the kids, and the greater extended family. I know there are others praying, too. Just wanted you to know that the prayers haven’t stopped.
    And that we love you.
    Allie
    ps My favorite line from Al’s letter for his memorial is this:
    “…every day of my life the story is the same: I come to God in Christ.”
    Al once explained to me that the only difference between us as believers and those who don’t know Jesus is that we know Who to go for forgiveness and for bread. This has been really helpful. It’s all found in Christ.

  5. dan cason said,

    February 13, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Libbie,
    Candy and I were at the memorial service but were not able to sign the guest book. We will continue to pray.
    Grace and Peace to you,

  6. judi lemay-lusk said,

    February 13, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    hi libbie, i’m glad to hear that you and the kids are taking some time off. it’s been a long haul for you all and my prayer will be that you rest, relax and recoup.

    the service was lovely, i was so glad i was able to be there and to be a part of yours and al’s community.

    do be blessed as you go away and process. i’ll look forward to seeing you when you get back.

    you will all continue to be in my prayers and thoughts.
    love
    judi

  7. Tom Kulp said,

    February 13, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Libbie and family,

    I have to honestly say I hate going to funerals, but I felt so blessed to be at this one. As you wrote, Al and Jesus were honored, and all the speakers painted a different yet same picture of a man who loved his Maker and the people made by Him. What a beautiful service, thank you and your family for blessing us!!

    Tom

  8. Larissa said,

    February 13, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    It was a joy to share the day with you – I hope and pray that your time away will be sweet and full of the Lord’s buouying (is that even a word?!) presence. Lots of love – and hugs,
    Larissa

  9. Meenu Hoffman said,

    February 14, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Libbie and kids,

    It was a truly an priviledge to have known Al and to have participated in your mini church for those few years. I remember discussing some of those things that were brought up by Alden during the memorial service, and it was then that I truly realized how your kids (particularly Becky and Alasdair) were affected by the Gospel and how they lived it out even while they were in their teenage years, even during difficult circumstances. I realized that it WAS possible to raise up kids to remain steadfast in the Gospel even though they were tempted, and some around them didn’t even know the Gospel. This is another testimony to how their parents continued to point them to Jesus continually. It gives me strength as Ed & I raise Maya and Eddie today, and I will continue to reference it when they hit their teenage years! We’ll REALLY need God’s grace then, I’m sure!

    Two other points I want to make: Al’s Memorial service was the closest thing to heaven that I have ever experienced. A friend told me that it was a foretaste of things to come when we all join together in singing and praising our Lord in heaven. I, too, feel as though the things of the world have gotten smaller and the Lord, bigger. Wow! Amazing.

    Also, your words have tremendous impact on those who don’t even know you. A good friend of mine called to wish her condolences for Al’s death, but when she read your “Homecoming” entry, she cried and said” well, I called to say that I was sorry for Al’s death, but after reading the blog, I don’t think it’s appropriate. It sounds like he is in a wonderful place and that he really loved God.” Wow! Amazing! Praise the Lord! What a testimony Al was, even in death.

    Meenu

  10. Chris Fisher said,

    February 14, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Dear birthday-mate, child of Epiphany, 12th night, little Christmas, An epiphany you are indeed, as was Al. You have shined Christ to the world.
    Know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Enjoy your unstructured (hopefully) time to try to consolodate all that has happened in your lives.
    Al, indeed took a part of all of our hearts.
    “Blessings”,
    Chris

  11. Judith Irwin said,

    February 14, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I clicked on a link and arrived at this blog. I feel blessed to have been led here and have the opportunity to read this beautiful testimony to a man, his family and the God that they love and serve. I hope you are able to print this out so that your children are able to share this written journey with their children some day. It is moving, uplifting, sad, joyous, memorable, etc., etc. I hope you allow the blog to remain for as long as possible so that other people may have the chance to come upon it, not by accident, but by God’s direction. I believe the way that you and your family walked through the waters will be a great encouragement to others.

    “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3,4

    God Bless You All!

  12. Graham Stockdale said,

    February 15, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Dear Libbie,

    I am sure you do not remember me but Al endeavoured to teach me Hebrew 1987-88. The Winter Hebrew was a particular challenge but Al’s rhymes for remembering the weak verbs managed to get us through.
    I particularly remember the student evenings when you opened up your home and allowed us to invade and supplied us with large amounts of very good ice-cream.
    I am now pastoring a church back in N.Ireland and dealing regularly with illness and death. Reading through the blog and Al’s message has been a great encouragement. We will remember you in our prayers.

  13. lisa said,

    February 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Dear Libbie & family. Thank you for the wonderful homecoming celebration for Al.Totally blew my family away with your praise, joy and total trust in God and His ways. We pray that your time away will be a time of quiet and refreshment. You all are wonderful and are well loved by many.

    Love the Hildebrand family

  14. Irene Inman for Sarah said,

    February 15, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Libbie and kids, Sarah asked me to share her condolences with you. She is in India, but her thoughts and prayers are with you. She says that Al was always very kind to her, first when she babysat for your small group during her high school years, and later when she was a student at Westminster. I think she was always amazed that he cared enough to spend time in his busy life to talk to her. I am grateful for Al and other elders in our church that took the time to make my children feel cared for.

  15. Judy Parnell said,

    February 19, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Libbie, what a privilege it was for Ray and I to be at the memorial service. It has been over a week now and I find myself still just reliving that service. What a tribute to Al but it all pointed to Jesus. We will never forget that precious time.

    During this past year, you have certainly ministered to all of us who have kept up with your blog. Many of us were miles away but yet we were able to feel as though we were in your living room. Thank you! You, Al, and the children have taught us so much. When we have to walk in your steps, you have shown us how.

    As we traveled to Pennsylvania from NC for the service, it gave us a chance to talk about how Al had affected our lives. Working in Academic Affairs at Westminster for 14 years meant working closely with the faculty members. For the last nine years, it included taking faculty minutes in every faculty meeting and as in church, everyone had their specific seat for every meeting and Alís was usually around the corner of the desk beside of me. Regardless of what was being discussed, Al always had a calmness about him that certainly made me feel better. Will never forget the times, he would just reach over and whisper a little remark about what was happening with humor and graciousness at the same time. What a joy it was to know and work with him. After he accepted the position as VP for Academic Affairs, he was my boss for 3 weeks before I left Westminster in 2005. I could tell in just those three weeks that it would have been great working for him. Ray also remembered how Al always had time for the guys in Physical Plant. The Hebrew Institute was down in the basement where their offices were for years and Al would always greet with that special smile as he came through each day. If someone had a problem, Al would take time to help out, regardless of the time it took.

    These are just a few of the things we remember about Al and there are a lot more as he did affect our lives in many ways. We will always be grateful that we had the privilege of knowing him.

    Libbie, we will continue to pray for you and the children. You and the children have been a light, as Al was, and may God bless you in the days ahead. Thank you for being a blessing to us.

    We love you.

    Ray & Judy

  16. Sungheum Abraham Lee said,

    February 24, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Dear Mrs. Groves,

    Even though I was in professor Groves’s memorial service, because of the number of people, I could not approach you. So, I just came back. But, the service was very impressive. I was moved. It was a good time for me to pray that God would allow me that kind of memorial service at the end of my life.

    I believe that the death of believers is not sorrowful but thankful and rejoyful because the dead are in perfect and the most peaceful presence with Jesus Christ our Lord face to face. But, I know how much hard it is to live with that faith in the real situation. However, your family was a good example, through which I learned so many things and had so many beautiful reflections, for the faithful family.
    Thank you so much, Mrs. Groves.

    Please keep in touch via email and personal meeting.

    In Jesus Christ who is with professor Alan Groves,

    Sungheum Abraham Lee.

    P.S. My wife really wanted to go the service. But, she could not because she gave birth to our second daughter Rachel Shinhye Lee on Dec. 26th, 2006. Someday in March, we would like to meet you with our new family member.

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