DALLAS (BP)–When Haven Bailey learned that her 34-year-old husband Tim had died while saving their son from drowning, her fears threatened to overwhelm her.
“Panic. Where am I going to live? How am I going to support the children? How am I going to do this on my own?” These were the thoughts that flooded Haven’s mind.
Almost a year later, Haven sits in the living room of the parsonage of Calvary Baptist Church in Donalds, S.C., where Tim served as pastor from February 2005 until his death on May 26 of the same year. The church has been gracious to allow Haven and the children to stay in the parsonage as long as they need to, but with the school year coming to an end, the Baileys are preparing to move to their new home in nearby Greenwood to be close to Haven’s parents.
“I do not understand why God allowed Tim to be taken from us,” Haven said. “It is a question I ask every day. I do know that God provides for His children.”
God’s provision for the Bailey family included life and accident coverage through GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. That coverage has helped provide the financial security Haven needed to begin making new plans for her and her children’s future.
“GuideStone’s coverage has allowed me to stay home with my children and provide them with the support they need during this time. Without the insurance, that wouldn’t have been possible,” she said.
Still in shock, Haven tells her story with her four children gathered around her, each eager to share memories of their dad.
“Tim and I met at a Baptist Student Union meeting while we were freshmen in college,” Haven said. “We were best friends for five years.”
Just a few months before graduation, Haven started dating someone, prompting Tim to reconsider their relationship. “Tim got to thinking,” Haven said with a grin. “He called me on New Year’s Eve and we had a long talk. Then we went out.” Four months later, Tim and Haven graduated and then married shortly thereafter.
First best friends, then husband and wife, Tim and Haven started planning their future together. To prepare for Tim’s call to the ministry, the Baileys moved to Louisville, Ky., so Tim could attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
After graduation from seminary, the Baileys followed God’s call to Elam Egypt Baptist Church in Guyton, Ga., where Tim pastored for five years. God provided a ready-made family when Tim and Haven adopted three brothers -– Christopher, William and Dylan. He then added a little girl named Caitlyn to complete the family.
Tim loved spending one-on-one time with his children. “He always made a point to have special days with each of the kids individually,” Haven said. “It was important to Tim for the children to have him to themselves since his pastoring duties took him away so much.”
“He was a good dad,” William said. “He took us on our special days.”
Dylan remembered times when Tim took them to the beach or mountains and a special trip to Disney World.
“He loved to play with us,” added Caitlyn.
In 2005, Tim received a call to pastor Calvary Baptist Church.
“We were cautious about accepting a ministry position back home,” Haven said. “They knew us as the kids who had grown up here, not as the pastor and his wife.”
Yet after careful consideration and much prayer, Tim and Haven felt it would be God’s will for their lives.
“The church was great,” Haven said. “They welcomed us and accepted us. After just a short time at Calvary, Tim said to me, ‘This is where I’m going to retire.’”
On May 26, 2005, just four short months after arriving at their new church, the Baileys’ plans for the future changed abruptly.
“It was the day after school was out,” Haven recounted. “Tim said it would be a busy summer for him with mission trips and youth trips. He wanted me to have a day to myself. He told me to go shopping –- do whatever. He would take the kids.”
Haven argued that he couldn’t handle all the kids, but Tim insisted. He said he’d be fine. They would stay close to home. Tim decided to take the kids down to the Saluda River near their home.
“I don’t know exactly what happened that day since I wasn’t there,” Haven said. “One of the kids fell in and Tim went in after him.”
“God called him to go to heaven,” Dylan said.
“I felt a part of me was gone,” Haven said. Devastated, she looked to friends and family as well as her church family for emotional support.
“The church stepped in and said, ‘You can live in the parsonage as long as you need to.’ They came and got the children at times just to give me a break. They brought food.”
Because of Tim’s foresight and concern for his family’s security, Haven found the financial support she needed through GuideStone Financial Resources. The term life insurance, personal accident insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage that Tim enrolled in when he began his first pastorate in 1999 provided benefits that allowed Haven and the children to remain financially secure.
“The life and accident insurance through GuideStone helped us to survive, buy groceries,” Haven said. “For the first two months, I was just in shock. GuideStone stepped in very quickly and took care of everything.”
Haven received an additional death benefit from the protection section included in Tim’s church retirement plan. An often-overlooked feature of GuideStone’s retirement plan, the protection section provides eligible participants a survivor death benefit of up to $100,000 at no cost to the participant or the local church.
Haven had been unaware of the additional benefit.
“The folks I talked to [at GuideStone] helped me,” she said. “They told me about some policies I didn’t even know we had. Life insurance just wasn’t something we discussed, being so young.”
Voicing appreciation for the GuideStone representatives’ helpfulness, she recounted, “I would call confused; they’d walk me through it. They even set up a direct deposit to put the money right into my account.”
Today, Haven, William, Dylan, Christopher and Caitlyn are sustained by their faith. “We have a great faith in God,” Haven said. “We believe Tim’s work was finished. That is what gets us by, knowing that he is with God.
“Tim made a way for us to be secure. He was very adamant about the insurance. ‘If anything ever happened to me, I don’t want anything to happen to you,’ he’d say.
“GuideStone for me has provided financial security for my family,” Haven said. “It has provided a place I can go when I have financial questions. They’re always very helpful and very friendly. You do not find that everywhere.”
Haven, offering advice for other young ministers and seminary students, said: “Whatever you have to sacrifice to pay for insurance coverage, it’s well worth it. You may never need it, but you just never know.”