Sometimes in life we experience brokenness that impacts us so greatly we feel as if we are finished. The life we once dreamed about is gone and now our life is never going to come close to all we desired. It may be a result of a physical struggle, an emotional battle or a change in your life that you never saw coming, and now you find yourself discouraged and struggling to make sense of where you are right now.
I experienced a life-changing brokenness when I least expected it. I was happily married to a handsome man who was my first love, first hand hold and my beloved husband. We had three little baby boys together and I felt like I was living out my dream of being a wife and a mother. Then one day, I kissed my husband goodbye and told him I loved him as he was leaving for work only to receive a phone call several hours later that my healthy 30 year old husband suddenly died as his heart went out of rhythm. I remember so clearly sitting there in that hospital hallway trying my best to grasp the magnitude of the devastating news that had been given to me. But in a way that was beyond my own strength, I found myself saying, “the Lord gives and takes away, He is so good.” I instantly became a widow at the age of 25 with three precious boys under the age of three, walking a road I could have never imagined. My dreams and my reality shifted in a moment, taking the breath out of me. I found myself asking God to give me the strength to make it minute by minute, even when I couldn’t see the road He had in front of me. As I waited, I held on with everything I had to the hope that God was greater than my grief.
In the months following my husband’s death, I often found myself in the middle of night trying to soothe my newborn baby as I claimed the hope from God’s word over my family. But it wasn’t easy by any means. I still remember the way my tears of brokenness and grief would fall on his sweet little cheeks. Honestly, there were moments when I felt finished, that life as the happy full of life woman I used to be was gone forever. How could I dream again when the person who was in those dreams was gone? I remember crying out to God one night saying, God what do you have for me? How can I still have life ahead of me after this? Jesus whispered in my heart “hold on, there is joy ahead. I am not finished with you yet.” As I began to press into the truth of God’s word and His mighty promises of Hope, He began to heal my broken heart through His precious presence and showed me even though I didn’t understand it, He was using this pain for His purpose, if I would just hold on.
I watched as God started to do what He promised. He kept writing my story – not putting me to the side saying you are finished, but saying “you are part of a story that is bigger than yourself and I will bring it to pass, just keep obeying me.” He cared so much for me and precious little fatherless boys and He kept writing our story with an overwhelming amount of grace. He heard our cries for Him and He truly became enough for us. It was not Jesus plus something, but just Jesus. He brought us through the places of being so worn out from grief to a place of life and hope. He began to do a good work in me.
I started a new chapter in my life, one filled with healing. I began to see in very real ways that God was not done with my family yet, and I continued to hold on to that truth. I decided that I could either stay treading in the waters of tragedy or I could start swimming for the shore of triumph. And it was in that time that I stopped searching for the WHY and started looking for the WHAT that God had for me here. The “WHAT do you want me to do with this?” question became me plea to God to use this story that I never asked for to bring Him glory, because it was too painful to be wasted. It was during that shift in perspective that God began opening doors to encourage others who felt like God was done with them and that their stories were over because of the pain they were drowning in.
As I was reaching out to one family in particular, another widower with two small children was encouraging the same family with the truth of God’s word. God started to show me His plan and began writing a new chapter in my life. Here was another person who could have been consumed by their circumstances but was choosing life even when faced with the tragedy of death. God began to write a love story that was precious and filled with much joy – an answer to prayers I hadn’t even prayed, but a physical example of God being a great Author and one who writes the best stories if only we surrender to Him. It may not be a story we imagined but it will be one that shows He is always at work, even when we don’t see or feel it.
Two families marked by pain, 5 children, all with one parent in heaven and one on earth. Their stories didn’t stop at pain but instead were joined together when sorrow and joy collided. As a result, the Brooker Bunch was formed. We still have chapters in our lives marked with sorrow and hardship but we also have them penned in grace and mercy. God didn’t give up on us when we’re at our lowest. He had a purpose for our lives and we had to trust when we couldn’t see.
If you are reading this right now you are living and breathing. That means that God has a purpose for YOU and your story is still being written. God is not done with you. Your life is not over and God sees and cares about all you are facing, even the hidden things. Your story is not complete so don’t give up when it’s only half written. I remember so many times, my boys would ask me why they couldn’t go to heaven right then. I would look them in their bright blue eyes and tell them “Jesus isn’t finished with you yet.” God’s word tells us to run this race with endurance and keep our eyes and hope fixed on Jesus the whole way. The same is true of you and me. God is not through with YOU. He has a plan and it is good. Keep taking the next breath and believing in His truth that gives life to your weary heart. Keep holding onto hope even when it hurts. Keep trusting that He is at work behind the scenes in your life, even when you can’t see or feel it. His stories are always good even when they are not always easy or comfortable. He is the good God and the best story writer. You will see His goodness in the land of the living, because He is the life-giver. God’s not done with you yet.
We are to run this race we have been given with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews ) . When we fix our eyes on our problems all we see is ourselves and our hurt and we can grow self pity and bitterness. But when we look to Jesus and fix our eyes on eternity, it helps us to view everything from His perspective. It will give us the strength to make it moment by moment through whatever hardship we are walking through, knowing His purpose will outweigh the pain.
I know what it’s like to feel the weight of this world heavy on your chest but I also know what its like to feel Jesus come and pick me up and carries me through the storm, letting me know I am not alone. He never wants you to walk this road alone. He is there, every step of the way even when all we feel like we can do is limp, He is there to hold us up.
Keep holding on and reaching towards the prize, King Jesus because He is the only One worth living for
Over the next years I have had to purpose in my heart to not just stay treading in the waters of tradgey but swim for the shore of triumph and not search for the WHY but the WHAT God had for me. I saw how true God was to His promise and how He truly gives peace, comfort and joy even in the darkest times. I experienced how temporary this world really is and what truly matters. I have had to choose everyday to live the life God called me to even when it look so different than what I imagined. I realized we are never promised tomorrow so I must live fully in today, not letting the weight of tomorrow pull down the joys of today. I have seen how the only thing that outlives us is not what we look like, what we buy, the success we have or the popularity we have but what we do for the Lord. It’s the unseen things that have value that death can’t take and money could never buy. .