I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to go. Tim and I had just had dinner out with friends the night before, and with frigid subzero temps outside, staying indoors and cozy sounded marvelous. When one sitter after another said it wouldn’t work to watch our children, I took it as confirmation that it wasn’t meant to be.

But as the afternoon waned, Tim approached me again. It was important that I be there, he insisted. We could make it work. Try another sitter.

So I found myself, just a few short hours later, at a concert benefiting a local homeless shelter, one we love to work with year-round. We’ve served meals there, adopted families for Christmas. They have such a heart for others, and we are always humbled and blessed by the interactions we have while there.

It was in the midst of ballerinas dancing and a lovely soprano singing that the announcement came: They were in the midst of updating a women’s wing, and they had decided to call it Katie’s Club. Katie’s Club — as in, my sister’s foundation. My sister’s legacy. Cue the tears.

As we watched the video that my mom and sister and I did for Bridging the Gap’s Thrive Conference (and I cried, yet again), as we went onstage afterwards, as I jiggled a fussy baby who squawked and burped loudly onstage (ahh, baby timing!), I couldn’t help but beam through my tears.

Afterwards, I was approached time and again by strangers. All radiating sincerity, all offering condolences on my loss, all marveling that such a tragedy could result in something like help for a women’s wing at Place of Hope.

And I’m reminded, once again, of something we wrote about a few years ago in our first book: Only through great loss can we experience God’s great gain.

In the past ten years, the foundation that my brother-in-law Jim and the rest of our family spearheaded has raised $200,000 to support girls and women, giving them opportunities in Christian environments that they otherwise might not have had. Providing an education. Sending them to camp. Helping trafficked women. Serving homeless women. Even more? Giving them hope, choices, freedom. Those intangibles have made the burdensome weight of grief a little lighter, a little easier to bear. And I’m so grateful and thankful that our pain has given us the opportunity to accomplish something so much bigger than ourselves.

As we left that evening, I felt blessed, thankful, and — most of all — hopeful.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…”