I’m what you would refer to as a “church baby” my parents accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour the same year I was born in 1980. I grew up with strong Christian values all my life.
There are some who came to church because of their parents, not necessarily because of their own desire to be there. As I reflect on my childhood and years growing up in church, my love for Jesus is what kept me going. The love was so real that whether my parents brought me or not I would have found a way to be there.
Over the years I would face different challenges whether that be in peer or romantic relationships, and experience some of the heart break that came along with it, yet I always found my comfort and strength in my relationship with Jesus.
Whenever I was faced with a challenge and I didn’t feel as though there was anyone I could talk to about it, I always knew that I would find my help in the word of God and through prayer and praise.
I have always had to learn how to have faith in the fire. The more intense the battles became whether internal or external, was the more I looked to Jesus. He has brought me through every single time.
In all the different things I have walked through nothing could prepare me for the loss of my husband.
Ian and I met in 2006 and by 2008 we were married. Fast forward 10 years later and my husband’s health began to decline, he had diabetes which was impacting his kidney function.
Regardless of witnessing the challenges he was experiencing in his health, I had a strong resolve that he would come out of this. I imagined his health being completely restored with the two of us having this incredible story to share of how we overcame this very challenging season of our lives.
To my utter surprise on December 16, 2018, I left the family home for one hour only to return to find my husband laid out in his office unresponsive.
The paramedics did all that they could, but Ian’s spirit left his body that night. I stood there in disbelief as the paramedics told me how sorry they were, but my husband was dead.
3 years later it still seems so surreal that this has become my reality: How could this be? Why didn’t God warn me that this was coming? So many questions, hurt, and disbelief. Losing my husband unexpectedly the way I did, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to experience. I didn’t have the words to articulate how I felt. I was uncertain about what I was supposed to do next.
I was able to sleep like a baby at night because when I slept it was as though none of it was real. It was when I was awake that the reality and finality of his death would hit me.
I felt so broken, and lost. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and had no clue how to navigate this.
People would text, call, and drop by but I didn’t really find any comfort in it. I couldn’t make sense of what happened, so I went to the only one that could understand, and that was God.
I needed HIM to help me through this because it was so much bigger than me. I needed to know that all these years of serving, singing, and talking about the goodness of Jesus wasn’t in vain. My faith was tested in this season like never before.
I would go to church because most didn’t know that I had lost my husband, only the Pastor, his wife and a few others knew. as I was only visiting at the time when my husband died.
I would empty my tears at the altar, cry out in my seat in the pew. Lose myself in the worship and pour my heart out to the Lord believing that some how HE was going to get me through this dark valley.
Every time the church doors were open I was there. I went with an expectation that God was going to speak to me.
I can confidently say that HE used my pastors at the time to minister to my heart the words that I needed to keep going. I also found so much encouragement and understanding as I read the 90-day devotional “Crushing”’ by Bishop T.D Jakes.
I began to understand that this fiery trial was not a set up to destroy or kill me. It was going to produce fruit. That as I was being broken and crushed, God was going to use this some how for HIS Glory.
My faith began to rise as my understanding increased, and my perspective around what I was going through began to change.
The greatest lesson I have learned on this journey of losing my husband was that God does not always prevent or remove us from the circumstance. Sometimes HE allows us to go through it. This doesn’t take away HIS goodness, nor does it stop Him from still being God.
I’ve come to understand on this journey that the blessings of God are not contingent on our circumstances changing. You can be right in the middle of the fire and God can still bless you and cause you to grow.
One of my favourite stories in the bible is the life of Joesph found in Genesis 37-42.
God’s hand never left Joseph even though he was stripped of everything and sold as a slave. God never forgot HIS plan and purpose for Joseph’s life. HE was able to cultivate him and use his circumstances to prepare him for the elevation that he would come into.
The loss of my husband has been painful, and I continue to navigate this journey of grief, loss, and widowhood.
God has shown me how he can turn pain into purpose. That’s what HE has been doing through me. Helping me to use my story and journey to encourage others experiencing loss, or going through a crisis.
God is right there with you in your darkest and lowest hour. The circumstances may not change, but God can use it to birth a greater purpose in and through you. He has done it for me, and no matter what you are facing today I know HE can do the same for you.
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