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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Dave and Robin Kidd
Nov. 24, 2013

Missing ... and Celebrating ... Justin

Dave and Robin Kidd pastor True North Church (Assemblies of God) in Minerva, Ohio, and offer marriage seminars through their Binding Hearts Marriage and Family Ministries. The Kidd family suffered the destruction of their home to a fire on the night of April 27. Son Justin, 20, was unable to get out of his basement bedroom. The Kidds have continued in ministry during the months following Justin’s death, and reflect this Thanksgiving on the blessing of his life. They spoke with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.

evangel: In photos you have posted of Justin online, he comes across as someone both deeply thoughtful and possessing a unique sense of humor. What is one example you remember of each characteristic?

Dave Kidd: I remember a pretty heavy conversation I was having with someone, and I didn’t realize Justin was listening. He stepped in and made a simple comment that showed wisdom beyond his years. I think of Solomon in Scripture, who could have asked God for anything at all but chose wisdom. And Justin had an amazing amount of godly wisdom that was so uncharacteristic of a 20-year-old. He would speak that wisdom into my life on occasion, and usually follow it up with something light or funny. He could drive home a truth and then have you laughing about it.

Robin Kidd: Justin would say something profound that would make you stop and realize, “Yeah ... that’s right.” And then he could have you laughing about it a minute later. Justin dealt with an emotional condition, dysthymia, which made social interaction very difficult. In order to feel accepted, he would do things to make people laugh.

evangel: How have the past months shaped your ministry, and what do you hope to communicate to families in the years ahead?

Dave: I was just thinking and praying about that this morning. We have some upcoming speaking events, and it’s going to be unique.

Events in life are kind of like a Bell curve. You’re leading up to an event, and may not know it; then, you’re in the event; and then you’re past the event but continuing to deal with it. In some sense, we feel like we’re still within the event and will be speaking from within our own pain and loss.

But my prayer is that couples and families will see in Robin and me and in our family that God is good. In the midst of pain and loss, He can be trusted. Couples who have experienced a tremendous loss don’t have to fall victim to the blame game and lose their love for each other. They can still have a thriving marriage, even in the midst of pain. God is absolutely that good.

Robin: I think it was the day after Justin died, Dave and I were sitting together. We were in shock, but we still agreed that as hard as this is, we feel God is going to use us to minister to other families and other couples who have lost children. Yes, it is so very hard, but you can still bind together and love one another with Christ’s love. You don’t have to divorce. God wants you to pull together as a family and be strong.

evangel: Talk about your other three children.

Robin: Brandon is Justin’s twin. He and KiAnna married in July and live in Wisconsin. Alex is 15 and a high school freshman, and he loves to run. Kaitlin is 13, in seventh grade, and she loves to sing.

evangel: You’ve posted a motto with some of Justin’s photos: “Don’t run if you don’t know your walk.” What does that mean?

Dave: That’s a song lyric Justin liked to apply to his life. When you know Christ, when you have a relationship with Him, you can run through life. You can trust Him. But it’s also a warning, because if you don’t know Christ and try to run through life, you’ll run yourself right to the end. And an end without Christ is tragic.

evangel: Justin made no secret of his commitment to Christ. What were some ways he communicated his faith?

Robin: His blogs were very popular ( Even when he was texting, he was trying to encourage other kids who did not feel accepted. After he died, several came to me and told me how Justin encouraged them and told them God would use them.

I work at a Christian bookstore, and a man who works with me is a youth pastor. After Justin died, he came to me and said he got on Justin’s blog and pulled material he could preach to his youth group.

Dave: Another person told us about a friend on the West Coast who was struggling with a difficult pregnancy. Someone had given her a piece Justin wrote. Justin had explained that God allows things to happen in our lives that force us to look to Him, and He’s there for us. That really encouraged her.

evangel: How did losing Justin impact your church and community, beyond your family?

Dave: We’ve seen tremendous good come about in the lives of many teenagers and families. Conversely, we’ve seen some people struggle with their feelings about God as they’ve grappled with Justin’s death. It’s a mixture, but the majority outcome has been people coming back to the Lord and growing in their faith.

The community rallied around us. It was so humbling. Families and churches across the Assemblies of God and other denominations supported us, people we didn’t even know. We went from having just the clothes on our backs on the night of April 27 to having clothes and furniture and other necessities given to us in a matter of days.

Robin: Justin had a heart for the youth, and was a youth leader in our church. When he died, it was very hard on some of the youth. But Justin’s ministry is continuing. We donated Justin’s savings account to support our downtown youth center for another year, and they’re starting to really grow. Justin wrote a lot of his thoughts on his blog, and a number of other kids are starting to blog and write about their faith on their Facebook pages. They’re stepping it up another notch.

The night of the fire, when we realized Justin was gone, my husband prayed a simple prayer: “God, I’m not bartering with You, but I’m just expecting 1,000 souls for my son’s life.” We believe through this, through Justin’s impact on the youth and through the marriage ministry Dave and I continue to offer, there are going to be souls added to the Kingdom.

evangel: In your season of loss, what are you most grateful for?

Robin: My sister Rose has been completely amazing. She’s been a constant comfort and help since the day we were cleaning up from the fire to our move into our new home where she’s helped us paint every room. God puts people in your life to be there during those hard seasons. And Rose represents so many others.

Dave: Hundreds of people have given so much of themselves. We’re sitting in a beautiful home by the goodness of God and the generosity of His people. And we’ve determined to make it a place of ministry. We’ve created an office and attached suite to minister to couples facing crisis.

Robin: And we want to host visiting missionaries to our church.

evangel: Any concluding thoughts?

Dave: It’s important for people dealing with loss, even in thankfulness, to realize their natural feelings and thoughts will still be a challenge. But God is good even when we don’t feel that’s the case. Our faith in Jesus Christ is our anchor, and that anchor will always hold.

A lot of people, when going through a loss, feel as if they have to always be a pillar of strength. But the loss is real, the pain is real, and you don’t always feel strong. You may not even feel God’s presence. But in faith, you can know that the Holy Spirit is present and is ministering to you and carrying you through. We can be thankful for our faith even when we don’t feel it.

Robin: When people tell you, “It’s OK. It will get easier,” that is almost meaningless. Because unless you have been there, you can’t know how it feels. But because we know Justin was serving God, we have peace.

God gave me that peace in a very specific way. I was the last one to hear Justin alive. I had tried to get him to come out, and I couldn’t get him out. I heard his last moments, and I just struggled with that.

But this young boy in our church and youth group had a dream, and he insisted that he had to tell us. In his dream he saw “Pastor Justin” kneeling in his room praying, and that Justin was just taken. That gave me such peace, because it let me know Justin didn’t suffer. When he knew he was not going to be able to get out, he went to the Lord and the Lord just took him. I think it was just like Enoch and Elijah.

I know Justin is in heaven, and I know I will see him again. No one can take that from me. I can’t imagine going through this without my hope in Christ and the hope of that reunion.

Dave: What’s even more amazing, that boy named from his dream the very corner where the medical examiner told us they found Justin’s body.


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