When the Hits Keep Coming – What Easter Means in Suffering

adult autumn beauty blue
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I felt like a hurricane hit me when Trevor died.  Unfortunately, the storm didn’t stop, and when I thought life was getting easier, another storm would hit.  Can you relate?  I told a friend once that, just as I was able to get up on my knees after one storm, another wave would knock me over.  Have you ever asked God what he’s doing?  Why he won’t give you a break?  I have.  Irreverent.  Ungrateful.  Real.  God knows your heart; you don’t have to hide your true feelings from him.  He knows when life is hard, and he understands your pain.

I know several sweet women who have also walked the difficult road of losing their husband.  None of them – not one – didn’t have multiple difficulties afterward.  There’s a financial and legal nightmare to wade through when you’re trying to grieve.  Every widow wants to do paperwork and make phone calls when she’s trying to cope with life on her own.  Money is tight, and you try to figure out how to pay the bills and take your kids to counseling and pay for all of their usual activities and needs.  Illness comes.  Relationships break.  There are always struggles, and they just keep coming.

I don’t say this to depress you.  I say it to show you you’re not alone.  There’s nothing more that Satan would like than for you to believe you’re alone, abandoned.  That everyone else has a peachy, easy life while you’re struggling to survive.  Know that your life is hard, dear friend, but you’re not alone.  Hang in there.  God is doing something to build your character that he wouldn’t be able to do without these difficulties.

A potter makes all different kinds of vessels.  Some are made for normal, everyday use, but some are made special.  They take more work, more molding and remaking.  God’s making you into something special; you just have to trust the process and know that he’s making you into something beautiful.  You may see broken and hurt and struggling, but God sees you as already beautiful because he knows what the end result of your suffering will be.

We have scars on our heart – scars that will always be there this side of eternity, but rest assured, because of Easter, we have a Savior who also has scars.  The scars that prove his love for us.  And the night before he died for our sins, he spoke these words to his disciples about suffering: “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33b)  Jesus knew how much his followers would suffer for his name, and he wanted them to know that what he was about to do would forever change how they’d view their trials.  The same is true for us, sweet friend.  Because Christ conquered the cross by rising again, we know that all of our difficulties are temporary.  Now that’s something worth celebrating this Easter!

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”  2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NLT

 

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Waiting for Spring

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For a long time after Trevor’s death, the future looked so dismal and devoid of hope.  It was a terrifyingly dark thing to think about.  The future is still uncertain, but God has taught me to trust him and therefore live with the uncertainty of the future, knowing that He’s already there and already in control of it.

This week will mark 21 months since I lost him.  It seems crazy that it’s been that long.  For months, I didn’t know how I’d make it another day without him.  It seemed like a travesty of justice that the world kept spinning and the sun kept rising without him.  As cliché as it sounds, it just took time.  Time to not hurt every moment of the day.  Time to be able to see joy and hope again.  Time to accept the season of life God had placed me in.

As much as it pains me to say, God has taught me lessons that I never would’ve learned if Trevor were still here.  I’ve had to learn to completely trust God, even when things aren’t the way I want them.  I’ve had to learn to do the hard things.  I’ve had to learn to accept that God’s plan is bigger and better than my own, even when it hurts.  I’m a different person today than I was two years ago.  You can’t go through something like this and remain unchanged.

As you begin to heal and go on with life, God will most likely put another widow in your path that you can speak to and encourage.  It’s hard because it forces you to remember the pain and loss, but it’s what we’re called to do in 2 Corinthians 1.  I know I am so blessed to have a friend in a women’s Bible study who lost her husband a couple years earlier than I did who is always willing to talk to me.  Sometimes, it’s just so helpful to talk to someone who has been where you are and knows what you’re going through.  If you have the opportunity, be that person for someone else.

Maybe the wound’s still fresh for you.  Maybe you’re still in the winter of your life.  Maybe it’s hard to imagine spring coming in your life.  Know that God promises to always be with you.  Psalm 23 assures us that he is with us in the valley of the shadow of death which can also be translated as the valley of deep darkness.  Notice he doesn’t say he’ll save us from the valley or prevent us from walking through it; he just promises to be there with us.  Some days, it felt like I was lying down in the mud and mire of that valley and I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to crawl out.  God was still with me, and sweet friend, he’s with you too.  He will never leave you.  He will walk with you through this season and every other season too.  Don’t let the enemy lie to you and tell you you’re unloved or alone.  There’s a spring coming, one that only the Lord can bring.  He will shine light and healing and love into your most broken places.  Trust the Lord, and trust that spring is coming.  It may be just around the corner.

 

Side note: get outside and plant something, even if you’re not a gardener.  There is something strangely therapeutic about growing things.  I dug a little flowerbed last year outside my window and planted a couple roses.  This year, I added a couple lilies.  It’s nice to see something blooming outside your window.  I also planted a few veggies.  There’s something incredibly satisfying about eating things you’ve grown yourself.  So get up, make a trip to your local grocery or hardware store and buy a few plants.  I even let my daughter pick a couple flowers to pot for our back porch.  My boys can help pull weeds and water the plants too.  They all love picking the veggies when they start growing.  My toddler kept picking cherry tomatoes last year, hoping they’d magically turn into grapes.  😊 I’d love to see pictures of the things you’re growing!!!

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Tears and Sapphires

“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.”  Isaiah 54:11

 

It’s the days that no one sees that are hard – the struggles that no one knows about.  Once time elapses, people assume you’re fine.  They think you’ve recovered, and all is well.  You keep on going (because you have to), and you fix your hair and wear makeup, so people assume you’re okay.  In some ways, you are.  You don’t cry as often.  You’ve adjusted to a new (yet exhausting) routine.  But there are still days.  Oh sister, there are still days.  The days when your kids fight with each other and disobey you, and you no longer can shake your finger at them and say, “Just wait ‘til your dad gets home!”  Now, you have no more overarching threat.  When you have a rough day with them, there’s no looking ahead to the evening when relief comes in the door from work.  Now, all you have to look forward to is their bedtime.  When you have to make difficult decisions on your own or life is hard, there are tears, the ones no one knows about.  Because life is still hard, there are still constant reminders that this is not the life you chose.

Some days, I feel like a two-year-old at the foot of the throne of God, pulling a fit, because this is not the way my life was supposed to look.  I’m so grateful that, at these times, God is so patient with me and so merciful.  In these hard moments, God gently reminds me of all the things I have to be thankful for.  Even on the hardest days, there are still things to be grateful for.  Sometimes, the sapphires sparkle a lot brighter when there’s darkness all around.

He knows your afflictions and is personally acquainted with your grief.  He sees the tears and knows the pain you still feel because he carries them for you when the burden becomes too great.  In fact, he loves us so much that he waged a war on the cross against death and Satan and sin.  The promise of Easter that we eagerly look forward to is that he won.  He didn’t just win a battle; he won the eternal war, defeating death and the power of Satan for all of time, so we know that our pain is not the end of our story.  He will redeem it.  He will restore you.  He will take the broken pieces of your life and knit them back together, and it will be beautiful because everything he does is perfect.  He won’t leave you battered and bruised; no, he “will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.”  Sister, when he’s done with you, you won’t look like that figurine you’ve hot-glued back together 10 times after your kids have broken it.  No, you will be sparkly, like a precious and beautiful gem.  One day, you will look back and see beauty instead of dust.  Until then, we trust that he’s working in the storms and he will see us through.  There were things I prayed about in the early days after his death, things I begged God for.  I can now look back and see how he’s already granted some of those heart-wrenching, tear-stained prayers, and say, “Yes, God.  It hurt and it was hard, but you are so, so good to me, and I know you will be with me every step of the way because you already have been there in my darkest hour.”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reAlJKv7ptU

 

He Will Fight Your Battles

 

I’m so thankful for this promise. Sometimes, we don’t have to do anything. We just have to wait for God to work, and he promises to fight our battles for us. The Israelites defeated the Midianites with some lanterns and trumpets. Jericho’s mighty walls fell because God’s people walked around them. God sent an earthquake when Paul and Silas were in prison, beaten and bruised, yet singing hymns of praise.

What’s the common theme? When God’s people obediently press on, God will deliver. It may not be immediate, but he will rescue us, one way or another. Therefore, we can march bravely into our battles with the weapons of faith and praise to our God, trusting God to act on our behalf. Remember, he provides special care and protection for the fatherless and the widow. (Deuteronomy 10:18) “After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Let’s take a look at King Jehoshaphat’s response to a surprise attack from the enemy. In 2 Chronicles 20, he’s told that a great multitude is coming against him. He prays and fasts. He calls together the people of God and prays. He acknowledges the power and might of God. He prays the promises of God. He acknowledges that they don’t know what to do and that they are utterly powerless to stop the enemy.  Then, they wait for God to respond.

What happens next is beautiful. Sometimes, we can’t see the wonder of God’s power on our behalf unless we’re attacked by the enemy. God speaks through Jahaziel and tells his children that they need not be afraid. He commands them to stand firm, hold [their] position, and see the salvation of the Lord. (V. 17). He could have prevented the enemy from coming against them in the first place, but he didn’t. Instead, he gives them his presence and tells them it’s not their battle but His.

Today, God may be telling you the same thing. You may be tired and scared and hurt, but God is telling you that he’s already sent his son to carry your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). He died on a cross so you wouldn’t have to fear death or Satan. Maybe today he’s telling you to simply be still and quit fighting because He’s got this. This battle you’re facing, this mountain that looms in front of you, this mess that surrounds you. He’s got this, and he’s holding you. Psalm 56 tells us that he cares so much about us that he collects every one of our tears in a bottle.

He’s not blind to your pain or your struggles today. Trust him to fight on your behalf. Then, fall down and worship him and sing praises to him. (2 Chronicles 20:18-19)

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Celebrating the Greatest Love

First of all, Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiday. We are still getting over buying Christmas gifts for everyone, and now we’re supposed to get our kids stuffies they will only play with for a day and tons of candy??? I already have to drink way too much coffee to keep up with them; there is no way I’m going to fuel them with sugar! Also, the candy wrappers in my house have a really tough time finding their way to the trash…

 

I am fortunate that my husband and I never did much for Valentine’s, but maybe it’s different for you. Maybe your love went over the top. Regardless, it’s tough because it does remind you of what you no longer have – the marriage you had but never chose to end. It reminds you of the cruel fact that instead of going out with your husband for this holiday, you’d have to visit him in a cemetery. But here lies our hope.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13 reminds us that we don’t grieve like others do. As believers, because of the ultimate love that God showed us on the cross, we don’t have to grieve without hope. When we were told our husbands were no longer in this world, they were already in glory! It’s miserable news for us, but the greatest news for them! Today, we may not have someone to celebrate with, but what we can celebrate is the knowledge that we know where our husbands are (because of their faith in Christ), and that, because of our faith in Christ, we will one day be with them. As depressing as this day might be, that is something that can always give us hope and a reason to keep pressing on.

 

Don’t let the enemy whisper lies to your heart today! He knows it’s so easy to discourage you and make you feel abandoned or unloved. Let’s take a look at some Scriptures that tell us otherwise. When you’re struggling today, preach these truths to your heart.

 

  • “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places.” Isaiah 58:11
  • “For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” Habakkuk 1:5
  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6
  • “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
  • “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.  This I know, that God is for me.”  Psalm 56:8-9
  • “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Life is hard.  It hurts.  It’s hard to feel loved by God when he took the person in this world you loved the most.  I get it.  Last summer, I had the word “loved” etched into my skin as a reminder to myself that I am still loved by an almighty God, even on the days that I feel alone.  The greatest tool we have to combat the lies of the enemy is the word of God and our trust in him.  When we put our faith in Him, even on the hard days, we “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”  (Ephesians 6:16)

On this silly but difficult day, let us remember that instead of messing with Cupid’s arrows and frilly hearts, let’s concentrate on something far greater – the love and will of our living, all-knowing, all-present, sovereign God who has promised over and over in Scripture to never leave us or forsake us.  That’s something worth celebrating today.  (And it doesn’t hurt to have some chocolate while you’re celebrating either!)

chocolate hearts

chocolates

Take Care of Yourself

I am by no means an expert on this; in fact, I need to tell myself these things just as much as I need to share them with you.  However, here are a few things that I have learned in the last 19 months.

First of all, I do understand when things are busy, the easiest thing to let go is what you need to do.  When I wait until the morning of to get my kids’ homeschool lessons out, I just skip yoga.  I think it’s been a month since I last did it (maybe more).  When I’m trying to get ready for the day and there’s a time crunch (which would be almost every single day), I just skip breakfast.  However, do you know what I’ve learned?  Replacing breakfast or lunch with coffee makes me feel terrible.  I may can keep going for a little while, but eventually, it catches up to me, and I feel horrible.  What I’ve learned is the few minutes it takes to prepare and eat a meal is well worth it in the long run.

Exercising is so important for stress relief.  If you’re like me, you feel completely exhausted and going to the gym is the absolute last thing you feel like doing, but I never regret going.  Once I actually get there and finish.  If you can’t go to a gym, just go for a walk or run outside.  Since your kids are depending on you, you need to stay healthy.  I also tend to eat healthier if I have been to the gym; after all, I don’t want to ruin what I did!  I guess it’s about time I went back to the gym because, as I’m sitting here typing this, I’m eating Cheetos and drinking a Coke.

In addition to taking care of yourself physically, you need to take care of yourself emotionally.  You cannot parent your kids out of emptiness.  It’s hard when you lose your husband because you lack their love, support, encouragement, and wisdom when you’re trying to live and parent your kids.  You must figure out what things fill you up and refresh you and then make time to do those things.  Get a sitter to just get a minute away (or a minute to take a nap.)  If getting a sitter is financially out of the question, ask someone from your church or ask a family member or friend.  List things that are beneficial for your heart and then do them when you’re having a rough day (or even when you’re not!)  Call a friend or relative to chat.  Watch a funny movie.  Read a book.  Sit outside for awhile.  Just play with your kids.  A messy house can wait.  You can feed them sandwiches for dinner.  Sometimes, you just need time to enjoy those little guys.

Finally, and this is the biggest one of all, take care of yourself spiritually.  In the difficult seasons of life, it is so vital that we abide in Christ and stay in His word.  George Muller said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.”  Do this.  If you have to cancel an appointment, delay the start of homeschool, let your kids eat junk for breakfast, make sure that you get enough time in Scripture and in prayer to face your day.  On the days when it’s hard to pray and you feel hopeless, spend more time doing this.  Nothing is more important.  You cannot do this life that God has called us to without the help of the Spirit, and you cannot do this apart from the Lord.  He will help you, but you have to stay connected to him.  No matter what.  This applies to your kids too.  No matter what happens in the day, try to have a Bible study with them, even if it’s short.  Some days, it may not work out with a busy schedule, but make it a priority to try and find the time to start your day (or at another time of day if it’s better) with time in the Word and time in prayer.  And you know what?  When your kids see that you make it a priority to start your day with a quiet time, and that you make it a priority to start their day with a family Bible study, it will teach them an important lesson for the rest of their life.  May they see that even when we fail, even when we’re exhausted, even when we feel like giving up, we press in to Christ.

vine

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

How to Homeschool In Dark Seasons

First of all, I am not an expert at this, and I most certainly do not have it all figured out.  As I type this, I have not done a whole lot of homeschool today (and it’s lunchtime.)  Also, my toddler is screaming, it sounds like my big boys just broke something, and I’m not even getting up to go check right now.  So there’s that.  I did want to share though what I have learned through this crazy, exhausting, and often difficult season of life.

My first tidbit is don’t compare yourself to other homeschool moms.  Don’t do it.  I find myself doing this and always fall short.  Always.  Why?  Because I compare my worst to others’ best.  Also, I tend to compare myself to other moms who have their husbands.  Ones who have help from their families.  I would never let a friend do this, but yet, I do it to myself.

The next thing God has taught me is that I have to let go of my previous standards and expectations.  My homeschool is not nearly as structured as it used to be, but I’m also the only one who can run the errands, pay the bills, take kids to practice and appointments, and as if that weren’t enough, now grief counseling.  As single moms, we must wear a lot more hats than previously, so it’s only natural that our schedules won’t look the same.

I have learned that I am not enough, but God is, and his grace is always sufficient.  Paul begged God to remove his thorn three times.  Have you begged God to fix your situation?  I know I have, but yet, life continues to be difficult.  I continue to be exhausted.  I continue to lose my patience with my kids.  I have prayed for three years for my youngest to sleep, and he still gets up in the night.  Still.  It’s a good thing God made him so darn cute.  I have come to realize that as difficult as this is to swallow, this is God’s plan.  He’s trying to teach me something.  He’s making me more like him, even though it’s painful.  Only when I’m weak can I truly experience the strength of God.

Another thing we must realize is that there are things more important in life than grammar and math.  Those things are important, and don’t misunderstand me: your kids do need to learn them.  However, the lessons of faith and trust and perseverance are far more important.  Teach your kids the Bible.  Teach them and show them how to rely on him, even when times are tough.  Especially when times are tough.  This lesson will serve them later in life far better than how to diagram a sentence.  You can put off some things until tomorrow, but if there’s anything you teach your kids each day, let it be the word of God.  Scripture tells me that if we put him first, he will help everything else fall into place.  I also need to make sure that my soul is ok with God before I can start teaching my children, even if this means starting lessons later.  My quiet time with the Lord is absolutely essential for my day.  (This is also why we do homeschool year-round.  It gives me more flexibility which is absolutely necessary as a single mom.)  You can also change things in order to manage your homeschool workload.  My big boys now do math online.  It’s one less thing I have to grade.  Both of them do science at our coop.  It’s one more subject off my plate.  (I still have to help one of them with lessons, but it’s easier than managing the entire curriculum on my own.)  Also, I used to make sure that I didn’t do any school in the evenings because that was our family time.  However, since my husband isn’t coming home any more in the evenings, it’s acceptable (when I have the patience and energy) to continue working with a child into the evening.  For example, I might have a kid read to me while I cook dinner or I might help a child with a worksheet page while I fold laundry.  In fact, this can sometimes be preferable because, if a kid or two are gone to practice, it gives me more ability to focus on the child I’m working with.

The final thing I’ll leave you with is a bit of encouragement.  For all the reasons you chose to homeschool when your husband was alive, it’s still a good choice.  In fact, it may be even better now, given what you have and your kids have been through.  Children are still a blessing, not a burden.  (It may not always feel like it as a weary, single mom, but those kids are what keep you going, whether you realize it now or not.)  Spending time pouring into their hearts will have eternal value.  Don’t give up, even when you’re tempted to.  The greatest weapons we have against the attacks of Satan are trust and gratitude.  We don’t have to understand what God is doing in our lives to thank him for what we still have and for what we can trust him to do in the future.  High five, Mama.  You’re doing an awesome job, and someday, those munchkins will thank you.  In fact, Scripture says they will rise up and call you blessed.  (Someday, that is.  In the meantime, they don’t really hate you.  They really won’t die when you take away their electronics.  Not every other kid has a cell phone, and your dinner really does taste good.)

lane and bo at perot museum

 

me and cana at target

cole and bo hanging out

cana tent

When Life Gets Tough, Set Up Some Stones

stones by river
In Joshua 4, the Israelites are told to leave stones as a reminder to future generations about the wondrous acts of God. They would be a reminder to the nation of Israel that God lead them across the Jordan River on dry ground.  In Hope in the Dark, the author says “his prayer [Habakkuk’s] basically challenges us to recall our own key memories: those people, places, moments in time, and provisions that reveal the bigger picture of God’s presence in our lives…rather than…replaying only our immediate, distressing circumstances.” (P. 120)
Today, when you survive only on coffee and you feel like you’re about to drop from grief or exhaustion or frustration or loneliness, set up some stones. They don’t have to be pretty, like those silly painted rocks that have been popular recently.  In fact, in my current, sleep-deprived state, I feel like my stones would end up in a jumbled heap anyway.  Or my two-year-old would steal them and throw them at a sibling.  That’s OK.  God will honor any attempt at remembrance and faith.  Remember what God has done in your past and know that he will act again. You just have to trust.
Here is my sample list, but please make your own and read it as often as you need to be reminded of what God has done for you.
  1. Worked out all the details for us to move to the mission field and to move back.
  2. I didn’t know why God would have us get rid of everything for just two years on the field, but He did. He knew I would need to get reestablished here before I lost Trevor, and he knew that I would need to learn some serious lessons in faith that would serve me well when I lost my husband.
  3. God saved the souls of my two oldest boys and I got the privilege of seeing them baptized by their daddy.
  4. When family let me down, God gave me friends to step into the gap and walk with me so I wouldn’t be alone.
  5. Coffee.  And more coffee.
  6. The fact that I am still living, homeschooling, and caring for my kids is proof that God strengthens those who lean on him.
  7. When the shrubs at my house bloomed for the first time, and I realized they were pink azaleas. (Pink is my fave color!)
  8. When everything in my life changed in an instant, I was so thankful to know that God’s word is unchanging.
  9. After losing three pregnancies (2007-2008), God has blessed me with three more healthy children, the last of which was a final gift from my husband – the result of a vasectomy reversal.  🙂
There are so many other things I could list here; things that are more recent or closer to home, but suffice it to say that God will act as he has done in the past. He doesn’t always do it on our timetable and he most certainly doesn’t do it without pain, but he will act, just as he did in the past. We can rest in that promise.
Final tidbits: Meditate on Lamentation 3 and let its truths soak into your weary soul.  Also, read the picture book It Will Be Okay by Lysa Terkeurst.
river

What If…

Sometimes, because we’re human, we are tempted to focus on the negatives in our current situation.  We feel like we’re drowning, and each day is a struggle just to keep going.  Especially when being a single mom is so unexpected, it’s hard to think about the uncertainty of the future and actually see anything positive.  We have hope (maybe), but often, our fears about our future shout at us while the hope only whispers.  Kids also shout at us, and it can make it difficult to think about much else.  Hope of meeting someone else and our kids turning out OK and life settling into a good (albeit different) normal seem like small possibilities, and after experiencing the worst case scenario, we have a difficult time hoping for good things in our future.  The fears of our kids walking away from the Lord and being single forever and running out of money and not being able to handle it all can overwhelm us.  Fear is often much stronger than hope.

Scripture says that perfect love drives out fear, but how do you reconcile perfect love with a love that would allow so much pain and suffering?  How do you continue to hope and not lose heart?  We look to the unchanging promises and truths of Scripture.  Job, Joseph, David, Hannah, Paul.  They all kept going even when life was uncertain.  It doesn’t mean their life was without pain or doubt or questions, but it does mean that they remained faithful and they were rewarded in the end.  I’m not promising you that things will get better soon.  I’m not promising you that everything will work out in this life, but I do know that God has a plan for you and that things will someday work out perfectly.  If not in this world, in the next.

Yesterday marked a year-and-a-half since I suddenly lost my husband of 15 years.  I thanked God for how far out of the pit God has brought me.  It still hurts, and it’s still hard.  My life is still a mess more often than not, but I’m doing this life that God has called me to, and God has richly blessed me.  I’m not saying that everything has worked out yet, because it hasn’t.  However, God has helped me to learn to choose joy even when I don’t know what the future holds.  He has helped me to be grateful for what I have today and to trust him with my future.

Let me ask you a few questions; think about these.  Really think about them for a moment.  What if God wants to pour out his grace and mercy on you?  What if he wants to teach you to trust him more and make you more like Christ?  What if it took losing your dearest, closest person in this whole world to do that?  What if he knew that you could see him more clearly and feel him closer if he was all you had?  What if God knew that through this storm, you would develop a deeper, stronger faith that would be a testimony for others for years to come?  What if he gave you a story – not the one you wanted but one nonetheless – that would be a comfort to others in your situation.  Let’s face it – young widows are a lot more common than I realized at first.  Since losing my husband, I have had several friends of mine mention to me a friend or family member that was widowed young and left with children.  You’re not alone.  We’re not alone.  God won’t leave you.  Trust that he’s doing something, and that if not today, then someday, you will be able to look back and tell others how faithful your God has been to you.  Remember this – the view is a lot different from the top of a mountain than it is at the bottom.  If you don’t start at the bottom though, you’ll never be able to see it from the top.

woman looking at mountains

woman and baby on top of a mountain