Everyone of us are faced with pain in our lives. It comes in all forms and affects us in different ways. It may be sickness, death, financial difficulties, rebellious kids or any various circumstances. It’s not if we will be faced with pain but how we will respond to it. For me, pain came at the age of 25 in a way I could never have fathomed. My husband suddenly died and I was left with three precious boys under the age of 3. Widowhood is a lonely journey and not a path anyone would want to choose. It’s pain that hits you out of nowhere and has a permanent sting that is difficult to describe. In order to understand my life fully, it would would mean that you have walked this path filled with the sting of death too, and I wouldn’t wish that on a soul. My amazing husband, Patrick will always be loved, missed, treasured and honored by me and so many others beyond the circle of family. I chose him for life and I am always grateful I did, its just that forever didn’t turn out how I planned. I wanted one man for life, one dream, one united family. Yet we live in an imperfect world where death, sickness and pain come in an instant and change everything. I didn’t have a choice in the pain but only in the way I would steward the pain I was given. I am walking a path I never wanted but one I want to do well to the glory of God. I prayed often that God will just help me to widow well for His glory, and help me to find my all in Christ alone. He truly has been my hope, my comfort and my strength.
Instead of reaching back to the grave I have chosen to reach up to eternity and keep my eyes set on the prize, which is King Jesus. I want to keep my time and emotions aimed at the gospel and what truly matters in this life. I don’t want to stand in the valley of the shadow of death, I want to face pain head on and walk through it, not filling the pain with other things but feeling it. God has seen me every night fall in bed exhausted doing life by myself, with no one to partner with, to celebrate the joys of life and to share the great sorrows. No one to protect and provide, to be a daily example to my boys and train them in the ways of the Lord. He heard my prayer when I told Him that if I was more effective for the Kingdom of God as a widow, I would be that the rest of my life knowing eternal impact was greater than my earthly comfort, and this life is short. He saw my boys cry after we got in the car from a birthday party where they noticed they were the only ones without a daddy there. He saw them cry and ask why their daddy had to die, and why he would never be there to jump on the trampoline with them or see their brother walk and talk. He saw my exhaustion from getting up all through the night, nursing a newborn and comforting grieving toddlers all while crying because of the utter pain and loneliness I felt from doing it all alone. He saw me going to bed alone each night and waking up each morning alone. It felt like it had been another lifetime where I had been happily married and dreaming about our life together. God saw me and He worked.
In the midst of finding purpose in the pain, I began to communicate with others walking in grief. It was not because I had anything figured out, and certainly not because I had handled everything perfectly, but because I wanted people to know they weren’t alone in their suffering and that God would carry them through. Throughout this journey, I was in the process of trying to choosing joy instead of bitterness, choosing to get out of bed when all I wanted to do was disengage emotionally and physically. I tried to choose contentment over jealousy and accept healing from God and not waiting on time to do it but trusting Jesus and His word to heal the gaping wound death created. In the midst of this season of healing, God brought a gift, a blessing in this temporary life that reminds me daily of His goodness as a Father to my boys and I. As I was trying to encourage one deeply hurting family, God allowed my paths to cross with a widower who was doing the same. Here was this man who was walking the same difficult calling as me, grieving his great love and best friend, single parenting and doing life alone. But instead of wallowing in the pain he was committed to use it for something greater than himself.
Jesus grew a love so great and strong through the depths of brokenness and began growing a beauty from the despair. Hearts united for the same eternal purpose, someone who understood a person cannot be replaced, a parent who didn’t shut down for life but chose to live even when faced with death. Only God could bring these stories together, such deep pain to such great healing.
Through long distance, 5 small children, grief, ministry and many prayers and counseling, God began writing a new chapter in our lives. When our stories only looked like they would be ladened with sorrow, God wrote one filled with joy. He alone has brought together two families to do life better together than apart. He is going to give me the strength to mother two grieving children as my own and tell them about how much their mom loved them and chose them and share pictures of her beautiful smile while knowing the great depth of their pain. He alone is going to give Daniel the strength to take on 3 little toddler boys who can’t remember the sound of their daddy’s laugh and wonder why they didn’t have a dad in so many family pictures and yet be present for their life today and remind them of how much their daddy loved them and how they will see him again because of Jesus. He alone is going to give us the grace to be married to someone who people refer to as someone else’s spouse, and everyone has inside jokes and memories that we will never understand. We both have a life already lived that the other didn’t get to be a part of. He is going to give grace to marry someone who didn’t chose to not be married again and only wanted one spouse for life. He alone is going to give grace to be thankful for every good and perfect gift and never compare God’s gifts and timing. He alone is going to give grace to bring 4 grieving families together, not by choice but by death. It’s such an odd and difficult situation yet one with God’s fingerprints all over.
He alone is going to give grace to share about the past but give strength to not live there. He alone is going to give grace to pour out your heart and your body to others each day in a new life and world you never thought you would be in and you still don’t feel enough for it. He is going to be enough, never the circumstances, the joy, the pain. Christ is going to be enough. Just as He has been faithful in the sorrow, He will be faithful in the joys. He is the God of the mountains and the valleys, and the sustainer of them all. To Him we worship, to Him we adore. Broken always yet held together by His hand.
So thankful for the amazing David Douglas Jewelers who was so gracious and kind and blessed our family by being part of our redemption story.