Chicken Pox for Christmas!

Today, December 8, 2011 I celebrate Abigail Grace Henkel, my first born gift.  Her school, Grace Christian Academy performs, “Dude, You hear what I hear?” and I continue to stand in broken awe of how God is working to make beauty for ashes.

Our 1st Christmas with Sophie in heaven

We returned home to Jacksonville from an extend vacation with friends and family in California; just in time for Abby to participate with her (Dance Theatre of Jacksonville) class in this adorable Christmas dance entitled “Chicken Pox for Christmas.”

The day of her Christmas recital December 13, 2009, had been a dark day.  As we put up our tree and started hanging the ornaments.  She would say, “I miss my baby sister.”  Abby would see an ornament with Sophie’s picture or ornaments from the previous couple of years that were Sophie’s and her broken heart was evident.  My heart joined in her pain.

In a moment of reflection I realized, I have been blessed with two extraordinary girls.

Abby; my first born, very shy on a regular day to day basis however, she LOVES to sing and dance.  (Kind of a walking contradiction in my mind.)  But, I had repeatedly witnessed her gift first hand.  If Abby was given a song to sing or steps to do (from the age of 3) she would remember, participate and begin to beam.

Sophie; never shy within our family circle.  She sang and danced from the moment she was able.  These two sisters were synchronized in their love to sing and dance.  It truly was their bond.  They danced every second they were together on earth, it was their love language.

This is Abby’s first recital performance since Sophie went to heaven.  (Abigail is the one in the middle of this video, big red bow, glitter skit and top.)  I wasn’t sure if her love for dance would reappear, had the brokenness of her heart, shattered her love of dance, stolen that which gave her so much joy?  Would the courage of the young boy David arise and cause the enemy to flee??  I was nervous for my Abigail.

And suddenly; the glory of God shown around her as the music began.  Sophie was there as well, I know it.

I was so blessed to see her love every second of this performance.  Something she’s been gifted at and truly loves to do!


For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable!!

Not even our devastation, broken hearts or anguish can remove what God has deposited!  His destiny and will for our lives can not be stolen!

7 responses to “Chicken Pox for Christmas!

  1. Hi Kimi,

    A returned Christmas card led to a Facebook search and ended here on your blog. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Even though it was more than 2 years ago, I know it’s as fresh today as it was then.

    Wendi and I are grieving with you. And as you’ve noted, God is in the midst of it all.

    Could you please email me your new address?

    Give Russ a big hug for me.


  2. My adult daughter has chicken pox this Christmas and is missing church and all the parties. To cheer her up I googled Chicken Pox for Christmas and found your wonderful video. I posted this to her and she has now shared it with others. I went back to watch it a second time today and read the story you had posted with it for the first time. I just had to share how moved I was by it and how it shows us the true meaning of the birth of our Savior. You are blessed with a beautiful daughter and faith that has seen you through your loss. I pray God will continue to grant you peace.

    Mindy Kettner
    Alberta, Canada

    • Dearest Mindy,
      Your comment strikes right to depths of my heart in gratitude and honor. Honoring God, in what our family continues to journey through daily and in remembering the extraordinary life of our precious Sophie.

      This blog is a delicate balance of yielding to the Spirit and writing what HE wants me to write and not what I want to write based on our experiences. This last post was in celebration and gratitude knowing that the enemy has not been able to steal gifts that God has given to Abigail. I have however watched her battle “to continue on” in the gifts and calling of God even though it’s a constant reminder that her precious sister Sophie does not participate next to her in the natural but in the Spiritual realms. Sometimes the battle feels like victory and other days defeat.

      We live expectant of God’s surprises each and every day; to comfort our hearts and encourage us that HE’s using our journey to glorify Himself. Your blog comment found me on Christmas afternoon, celebrating in the birth of Christ, the miracles of God and missing my precious Sophie, not unlike most days.

      Your comments were God’s fuel my husband and I needed for yesterday, confirmation that HIS purposes for all this is much greater than we could ever imagine! A gigantic “Surprise” and in the morning before receiving your comment I typed this comment, “Christmas was sweet in ways we anticipated and in ways we didn’t anticipate! God is full of surprises! Maybe “Surprise” will be our Word for 2012. And maybe, I will hold onto this Word for our family in the year of 2012.

      I hope your daughter feels much better very quickly! Adult chicken pox are tough to navigate through! I have known a few adults that have battled it! Please give her our love and you too for standing post! I know there’s no where else you would have rather have been. Still the battle proves exhausting and even challenges our hearts to Believe.

      God bless you!
      and thank YOU!

      • Dear Kimi,

        It is always amazing how God works, “Surprise” is right! How a chance case of chicken pox and a video ended up adding so much to our Christmas is a blessing. I had been rushing around and it just made me stop and really think how blessed we are to have our faith and to know we have the promise of eternal life. It is not an end and little Sophie is safe with her Heavenly Father.

        I can not even begin to imagine the pain of the death of a child, I’m sure every day has it’s many struggles. I am so pleased you have a strong faith to call on when you need it. To see such joy when I know Abigail’s heart must have been breaking was such an inspiration and we thank you so much for sharing this. I know this will be a video I will revisit when I need a lift, you can’t help but smile when you watch it.

        I also wanted to let you know how far reaching this has been, I’m in Canada, my daughter is in Memphis, and my family is in Kansas City and we have all watched it and read your story. My good friend in New Jersey just Skyped me to say she had found your blog and that there was an answer from you she didn’t want me to miss. I also shared the story with my coworkers today. We have one lady who is in the last stages of cancer and I will see that she watches the video too. I know it will be a blessing and a comfort to her. She is so sad to be leaving her young grandchildren. So your message has traveled thousands of miles in just days and touched so many!

        Please give my love to your family and tell Abigail we all think she’s a STAR!

        Blessings and you will be in my prayers,


      • Mindy,

        My apologies for this delayed reply, the delay does not correlate to the importance I place on your correspondence and reaching out to us! I have continued to be completely undone by how God has united our paths through a shared experience of “chicken pox for Christmas” funny how different our experiences actually play out in this circumstance but your reach to us in it; is a divine gift I am unable to verbally quantify at this very moment in time.

        Thank you again for sharing how our story has touched your family and brightened your 2010 Christmas season.

        I have shared your sweet encouragements with my family and especially our precious Abigail. Abigail doesn’t often feel as though she exudes “Joy” as the definition of her name proclaims. We have a continual running dialog about how much her heart hurts, misses and longs to be reunited with her best friend and baby sister Sophie. Abigail believes people see her pain. The pain that she carries everyday since Sophie departed the earth. But, your comments expressed a very different perspective, like a fresh wind blowing new ideas and hope upon her. It was life giving and I can’t express the depth of my gratitude.

        Undone by His love for us through you!

  3. Hello Kimi,

    I am Mindy’s friend from New Jersey. I wanted you and Abigail to know how much JOY her video has provided for me. She is such a delightful child. I have watched that video numerous times. I love it. Being the Christian family that you are you can be assured that your Sophie is in God’s loving hands. She is happy and would want you to be happy, too. I would love to see a recent picture of Abigail. I have been searching through GOOGLE to see if you had posted anything recently. Please give Abigail a hug for me and tell her how much she has brightened my heart every time I watch her video.

    God be with you all,

    • God bless you Mindy!

      Forgive my delay in replying!
      The new year, schedules resuming, school, extra-curricular activities, keeps a Mama busy!

      You are so sweet to ask about Abigial! And you will be amazed at the answer I have to report in my newest blog post. 🙂

      God drawing near to her broken heart and binding up her wounds in very extravagant ways!

      We are still taking every thought captive with every fiery dart but the truth shines brightly in the darkness!

      I am undone, thankful, marching on and reaching up!

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