Dear Cody…



Dear Cody,

I wanted to wish you Happy 3 years in the Heavens. I often daydream about what you could possibly be doing. Are you sitting at the throne of God? Are you in awe of the majesty and power that surround you? Are you dancing in worship, letting your radiant spirit shine? Or maybe, just maybe you’re on a pier on a beautiful heavenly lake with a fishing pole in your hand.

I wonder if you’ve met my Uncle Billy who joined you in Heaven almost 2 years to the day you went? Do you remember me telling you about him? He was my uncle who baptized me when I was a young girl. He was the one I’d wake up in the middle of the night and pray for throughout the years. You never got to meet him on this side of glory, but maybe you are friends now?

I wonder if you ever think of me or our life? I wonder what your capacity for earthly memories are? I wonder if you remember your life here at all? I wonder if you’d be proud of me?

Baby Abby is growing so beautifully. She has your laugh. Your deep belly giggle, and grin full of comic mischief. She has asked so many questions about you. “My daddy who held me when I was a baby?”, she’ll say. She asks to see pictures of you often. I’ll swipe through years of electronic photos of our life. She sees the ones with me in a white dress and she’ll gasp in excitement, “Mommie, you look like a Princess! Did you and my daddy get married!?”

Her little mind is so sharp and full of curiosity. At first the questions evoked an explosion of sad emotion throughout my soul… but now I can smile and enjoy telling her about you when she asks. She knows you loved her. She knows you didn’t choose to leave her. She knows you’re with Jesus. She knows Jesus lives in her heart, so she immediately says you live there too.

Your memory is so sacred to us. No matter where life takes us, we Love you.

I can close my eyes and remember my head on your chest. I can still hear your heart beating with life. I can see the light in your deep blue eyes. I can see the Love you had for Jesus and people shining out of you. I feel your arms around me. It used to be so hard to allow myself to remember you, to truly remember you. But grief is so beautiful when we allow God to lead us into healing. I grieve still, but I am so thankful for the memories. I’m thankful for our life, even though it was only for a few short years. I am thankful for where the Lord has brought Abby and I. He has taken care of us every step of the way. He has led an amazing man into our life. It’s weird to say this, but I know you would like him. He is a man after God’s heart. He prays for Abby and I daily. He has been an answer to so many of my prayers.

I want to thank you for showing me what Love is. I think back to that young innocent 23-year old girl who laid eyes on you and knew you were going to be in my life. I had no clue of the heartache and devastation ahead. But I do know the truth of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I have learned to be intentional in healing and grieving. I cry out to the Lord in my grieving. He does not forsake us. He does not leave any stone unturned.

My favorite “winks” from Heaven as I like to call them, are when someone who was touched by your life and testimony comes to me and shares the difference you made in their life. One gentleman in-particular comes to mind. He stopped me at church one day and with tears in his eyes told me he learned what true freedom in worship to the Lord was because of you. He could raise his hands to our Heavenly Father without embarrassment because of how you couldn’t contain your worship. You helped so many men struggling with addiction. You may have fallen in your life, but you never gave up. You always mustered strength and faith and kept walking. That is admirable. You taught me about God’s Grace. I didn’t have a revelation of that kind of Love prior to you. I will forever be thankful for the season of “us”.

I remember 3 years ago today talking with you on our front porch. Abby’s baby body was spread across my lap as she was fighting sleep. I was tired. You looked in my eyes and were concerned. I remember telling you, “I feel like I’m grieving and I have no idea why.” All I wanted to do was cry and sleep, which was abnormal. You sweetly told me to go rest. We had plans that day and I chose to sleep instead of spend time with you. I woke up a few hours later and felt so burdened spiritually. My heart was already aching before the tragedy happened. I often think about this. How could I have known devastation was looming? The Lord doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but I believe when our spirits are in tune with Christ, we can feel things not of this world.

I want you to know I forgive you. I’ve learned harboring unforgiveness, especially for someone who is no longer on this earth, is dreadful. The Lord showed me my anger and unforgiveness was debilitating areas in my life.

I forgive myself. This one was hard. I forgive myself for being angry when you didn’t come home that night. I had no idea where you were, and I was mad at you. You texted me and told me you were checking the fishing lines one more time and then headed inside. But you never came back. Hours pass and I go out to the pier, I yelled and yelled for you but you never answered. Fog blanketed the dark lake. The silence was deafening.  I stopped searching and I was mad at you. You weren’t here, and I was mad at you. I was mad for so many things I never said to you. I was mad at myself more than anything for not being emotionally present your last day on this earth. But the Lord has walked me through healing and forgiving.


One small word that is loaded with emotion and meaning. A word that feels tangible at times. A word that has been my greatest enemy these past 3 years. A word that has become my greatest friend when I need to hide from the world and allow myself to “feel” the trauma and loss.

Though we may never fully grasp death or heaven on this side of glory we have to learn to accept it. I vowed to allow the hurt to change me in a way that glorifies God.

You’re the lucky one… Basking in glory… praising with the Angels…Giving everyone in Heaven your famous “Cody Hugs”… Living your best life…


I will see you again one day.




I Will Praise You Through The Pain


Photo By Brianne Campos Photography

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults. And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalm 28:7

I made a decision a long time ago that I would praise You, always, Lord.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand what praising You meant.

There was a time in my life when You whispered to me to praise You, and I replied with, “I will not praise You when my life is a mess… fix this and then I’ll praise You.”

What a victim mentality that was.

That particular night 4 years ago is a moment I will never forget. The Lord got a hold of my heart and revealed Himself to me in a whole new light. I began to realize it’s not about what God can do for us… We shouldn’t praise Him for what He can do… We should praise Him simply for Who He is. He is The Lord of Lord’s, The King of King’s. He is worthy of all of our praise, all of the time. No matter our circumstances.

Even when we’re hurting.

Especially when we’re hurting.

There is power in praising God through the Pain. There is power in praising God through the storms of life.

And I’m not talking about a flat tire kind of day storm—I am referring to the hurricanes and tornadoes of life… broken relationships, dreaded news…death. Through the dark chaos of life—God still deserves our praises.

Through learning to praise God during what was my greatest fear at that time—a near failed marriage (which God redeemed)… That trial changed my praise. God showed me the power of praising Him through the darkness. A supernatural power arises within us and around us when we lift our hands and eyes to the heavens and pour out our praises to our Creator. Some may think it’s weird, uncomfortable or mystical even. But we were made to praise God. There is something threaded in our souls that yearns for fellowship with Christ. We may not even realize it. But I am living proof of the strength that can be born from praising in the most un-praise-able scenarios. The above picture was captured at my late husband’s funeral on January 24, 2017.

When I look at this picture a swarm of emotions arise within me. I look at my face and don’t even recognize the woman in that picture. I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. It was one of those moments that changes who you are… forever. I will never be the same woman I was a moment before this photo was captured. The praise happening in this picture was one of absolute and complete surrender to God. I woke up that morning not wanting to face the day of burying my husband and the father of my then 9 month old baby girl. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to do this hard thing in front of me.

But God.

Getting dressed that morning was a blur. The drive to the church was a blur. Entering the building and being guided to a secluded room was a blur. The walk down the aisle to take my seat in front of the cedar casket that held my husband’s lifeless body was a blur.

But when the music began… When the words of worship emitted through the air… Something happened inside of me. I have always considered myself a ‘worshipper’. But this day changed that meaning to me.

The Holy Spirit came and ministered to me in my seat. He began to engulf me in peace. He began to shower me with an out of this world strength. In that moment—I knew I was going to be okay. I knew I was not alone. I knew God was bigger than my pain. I could feel the Holy Spirit tell me to surrender. He told me to TRUST. He told me this was not about me.

This tragedy was not about me.

This pain was not about me.

It was not about the cedar casket in front of me that held my husband.

It was not about anyone in that building.

It was about my Jesus.

My Redeemer. My Creator. The One who lives and reigns forever. Because of HIM I had the assurance to know and see in the spirit my husband was ALIVE.

He’s not in that cedar casket. He’s not lifeless.

He is living out his eternity with Jesus. He is more alive than we are.

I couldn’t stay seated any longer. I had to stand and praise my creator for giving LIFE to my husband and all that believe in Christ as their savior.

Christ was to be glorified through this tragedy. I was not to bottle up my hurt and sink into a dark pit.

The Holy Spirit whispered His love to me. He whispered parts of His plan to me. I knew it was going to be a hard road. I knew the grief that lay ahead would be gut-wrenching… But I knew I would survive with Christ living in me. By His power—not mine.

And you will survive the pain of whatever you’re facing too. God is bigger than our earthly pain and sorrow.

I hesitated posting this picture and this blog… But the pull in my spirit is someone needs these words. The pain is real. The pain of death is very real, almost tangible. Grief is its own entity. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. Just remember not to stay there forever. Ask God to help you through the darkness. Ask Him to guide you minute to minute. Ask Him what His purpose for this pain is. He will show you. Going through these last 12 months navigating life after deep loss has allowed me to feel others pain as if it were my own again. The compassion that has been etched into my heart specifically for other widowers is so real. I am thankful for that new emotion. I will carry it for the remainder of my life. I will always pray strategically for ones who face this same road. A road no one wants to travel or thinks of having to travel—This road is hard, but allow God to change your heart on the journey. He will not leave or forsake you, Ever. Even on the hardest and darkest day—HE is there, holding you, breathing life into your loss.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. John 4:23-24.

Praise Him in those moments. Praise Him when it hurts the most. He will show up in the middle of your pain. I promise He will.

“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the LORD…” Psalm 9:9-11.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6.

“And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28

When life brings pain, remember you are never alone. The Lord is our strong tower, our ever present help in times of trouble. He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, Romans 8:28.

You are so much stronger than you know…

Just repeat after me…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Love You… Eternally

I Love you Eternally

Photo By Daniel Dockweiler

So many emotions the last few days have taken camp on my heart as I face the 1-year mark of Cody being home in heaven. But of all the emotions I’ve faced—Thankfulness is the most prevalent. I am so thankful for having experienced the Love of Cody Lusk. I am thankful to raise the life we created. I am thankful for the new appreciation of life I have. I am thankful for the people the Lord has brought into my life this last year. I am thankful for the deep grief, pain and sorrow, because it has allowed me to experience true joy and peace on a new level.

Tragedy doesn’t have to define you. We do not have to be victims of tragedy for the remainder of our lives. God does not allow tragedy to penetrate our lives for it to be forgotten in the ground… He put in us a strength and a faith that can erupt like a volcano when we Surrender to HIM. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t mean questions don’t come—but it means we can accept and TRUST that God has us in the palm of His hands—“We are covered under His feathers and under His wings we will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4. I don’t know about you, but there is no place else I’d rather be than covered under His wings.

The word eternity has pierced my heart this last year. I now have a deep desire to be more eternally focused. Over the last year I have re-read dozens and dozens of letters and love notes from Cody over the years of our marriage. Every single one ended with, “I Love you, Eternally”. The definition of eternally is, “in a way that continues and lasts forever; permanently.” That makes my heart smile. Over the last couple of months I am ashamed to admit I have struggled with anger in regards to unresolved things in our marriage. I would angrily cry out to God hundreds of WHY’S?

On New Year’s Eve while praying in my special prayer area, I had my face buried in my hands sobbing and I felt a little hand on my shoulder. I looked up and baby Abby was standing inches from me with her arms outstretched. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit say, “It is finished. Cody is with me. He Loved you with all that he had and I left the best part of him with you.” In that moment the burden of the unanswerable ‘why’s’ that were haunting me dissipated. The anger was released and replaced with that unexplainable peace that exists when we surrender. In that moment as my daughters little body was wrapped around mine, her little face nestled in my neck, feeling her heart beating and her breath on my skin, a new strength and love arose. I began to see a part of my heart neatly wrapped up with a pretty bow on it—that part of my heart was Cody’s and our life together. I then saw a huge part of my heart beating that I never knew existed. I’m realizing it’s okay to desire certain things again. It’s okay to look to the future with excitement. It’s okay to stop asking why.

It doesn’t matter why.

It doesn’t matter what happened.

It doesn’t matter.

That may sound cold, and I don’t mean it to at all. I just mean I am coming to a place, a new stage of healing and I’m realizing no amount of screams and cries to God or Cody in anger will change anything. Accepting that it was ordained for me to only get 4.5 years with him and Abby was only to get 9 months with him… But we have eternity to look forward to.

When I read the words “I Love you, Eternally” written by my husband, my heart soars and breaks at the same time. But you know what is marinated in my soul even deeper than my husband speaking those words? Is my Heavenly Daddy speaking those same words over me—He Loves me eternally. He will never leave or forsake me or my daughter. He has more than taken care of us these last 12 months and I trust and have faith He will continue to do so.

Romans 5:2-5 tells us “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I’ve had people ask me over the last 12 months if I have felt guilty for laughing or having fun. My instant answer is ‘NO’. I will never feel guilty for laughing or for exuding joy and God’s Love. Because joy and love is the essence of life. Cody was one of the most exuberant souls you would have ever met.

He would never want me to live my life in darkness and sadness forever.

So I refuse to.

Grief changes you, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent sad kind of change.

It can be a strengthening change.

A brave change.

A learning to Love deeper kind of change.

A let’s not take life for granted kind of change.

So yes, grief and tragedy has changed me, but not in the worlds way of thinking. God’s eternal love has penetrated my life on so many new levels this year that wouldn’t be had it not been for experiencing deep loss. I would have never chosen to walk this walk, but here I am. So every day I ask the Lord for help and continue to repeat…

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

It Is Well With My Soul


Though these 6 words are so simple—It Is Well With My Soul—they are the difference between spiritual life and death. Literally.

For the last 10.5 months I have been dreading this holiday season. The first holidays without my Cody. When I allow my mind to think too much, my heart feels as if it will palpitate out of my chest. Memories of Cody holding tiny 8-month old baby Abby across his lap as she opened her first Christmas presents invade my mind. The smiles on both of their faces are forever burned in my memories. Never imagining his smile would forever vanish on this earth only 3 weeks later.


It Is Well With My Soul.

No matter the pain, no matter the memories, no matter the grieving times… It Is Well With My Soul.

To say those words and mean them, is truly freeing.

I have such a pressing in my spirit to share what a good, good Father we have. His love is so real. His faithfulness is never failing. So many people base their trust in God on their circumstances—I’m so guilty of this too. But that only hurts us. It’s easy to love someone when they love us and give us what we may think we need or want… But to love when it’s hard—that is the true test of our character.

Our love relationship with our Heavenly Father is the most epic never ending, adventurous love story of all time. I don’t want to stop loving Him or seeking Him because His plans differ from what I had pictured for my life. His plans—though not of this world—are so much more beautiful than we can fathom.

Let go, and let God.

Let go of the hard stuff. Let go of the un-forgiveness. Let go of the shame and guilt. Let God take your burdens. Let God restore your relationships. Let God heal your life and make you white as snow.

He yearns for His children to say—‘It Is Well With My Soul’. No.Matter.The.Circumstances.

“Oh, my soul

You are not alone

There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know

One more day, He will make a way

Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

‘Cause you’re not alone…” Oh My Soul, by Casting Crowns

These song lyrics stir my spirit. They are words testifying that our troubles and trials do not have to dictate the status of our soul.

Jesus took care of that status at the cross. He sacrificed His life so we can say ‘It Is Well With My


“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. Though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:1-10

With God as my fortress— I have the confidence to enter a new year and a new season of deep healing as the Lord writes the rest of my story. I pray I will always sing… It Is Well With My Soul.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

Maternity 04.07.16 (47 of 72)

Photo By KT Photography

“I can’t go anymore,” I thought to myself. I was defeated. The sun was beating on my face, my shoulders, and arms. My feet felt like they were on fire. The sweat poured from my face as if someone had dumped a gallon of warm water on me.

Just when my feet were about to stop, I heard… “Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep doing that over and over. Focus on one step at a time… Keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

I smiled through my pain. He me made it look so easy. He made it sound so easy. Then I thought, “What if it really is that simple?” I could do that. I could keep putting one foot in front of the other. I turned to my right and watched this man, who I was falling in love with, cheer me on. He wasn’t giving up on me. He wanted me to succeed. He wanted me to become stronger. He was lovingly pushing me to the invisible finish line we had set.

My strength rose. My ears tingled listening to his Marine Corps Cadence’s, as he ran beside me.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other… and it will lead you to the finish line.

I woke up this morning with such heaviness in my heart. I feel pulled in many different direction in life as of late. As I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, my heart skipped as I saw a beautiful picture of my husband that my father in law had posted along with a story of how Cody’s soul lives on through the many lives he touched.

It wrenched my heart, it pierced my soul. I love hearing stories of how Cody impacted others through his testimony and passion for life. But it wrecks me to the core at the same time. My flesh screams that it was too soon for him to leave this earth. My flesh aches with not getting to hear his laughter and feel safe in his strong arms. Or get to see him hold my baby girl again. So many torments. So much that is unfair.

So many times the last 8 months I don’t think I have the strength to make it through a tough day. I hear these words… “Just Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other”.

I can hear my Husband’s voice cheering me on.

But… to top his voice… I hear my Heavenly Daddy saying the same.

The words, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other” have helped me tremendously the last 5 years- since they were first spoken to me. Cody and I would often remind one another of them when we faced difficult things in what was our life together. We would repeat these words often while running together. One would give the other strength when needed. But these words have come to my mind countless times since Cody departed to his eternal home.

When I want to give up, throw in the towel, so to speak. Shut down, shut the world out. When I want to give up progressing and moving forward in what is now my new life… I hear the Holy Spirit prompting me… “Keep putting one foot in front of the other”.

As I an avid runner, I have many times thought of the analogy that our daily life and faith walk is much like running a race. There are many times during a difficult run that I am having an internal conflict. One part of me is screaming to walk or stop all together. The other part is passionately saying “Keep putting one foot in front of the other.” I am proud to say the latter usually wins that battle.

But what about the spiritual race I run daily? That is what really matters. Proverbs 4:25 instructs us to “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” When I meditate on this verse, I see a finish line in the distance.

What is the finish line?


My eyes are to remain on Him. He is the finish line.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24.

After the 5 days of searching for Cody’s body in the lake came to a devastating end, the next morning I woke up with a strength that can only come from the Lord. As soon as my eyes opened that morning, I had a strong urge to go for a run. My mom was staying with me during this time so she watched Abby while I ran. About 2 miles into my run, my feet slipped. I was running up a slight hill and millions of pine needles had shrouded the road. A truck had just passed me when my feet gave way and I fell to the ground. I felt the sting of the pavement against my right knee and shin. I had used my hands to block the majority of the fall so my hands were throbbing and scratched.

Without hesitation, I jolted up and continued my run. I pushed the minor embarrassment out of my mind and I ran even stronger than I did before I fell.

Walking this faith walk is not about never falling.

In fact, get ready to fall.

This faith journey is about how you get back up when this ugly world knocks you down. It’s about Who you turn your eyes to even when you’ve fallen. You have never fallen too hard or too far for you to call on the Name of Jesus. He will hear you. He will give you the strength you need and even some you didn’t know you needed.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11.

Keep running your race.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Rise Up and Walk Right


Google Image

Do you ever feel like you’ve reached a Y in the road regarding your life?  I am sure most of you are shaking your head “Yes”.  I am at that fork in the road so to speak.  I am standing in front of this gigantic Y.  Not moving.  Just standing still.  I envision myself looking way down each road.  The road on the left is glittery and shining beautifully, calling to me, enticing me.  I just want to run into the fun glitter.  It appears to be the easier path.  But I can only see the beginning of that road.  I only see the glittering lights.  I don’t know how far those lights actually shine.

Then I look to the road to the right.  It’s kind of dark in the beginning— I would have to be brave to step into that unknown darkness.  I envision myself having to put on armor to protect myself against any enemies or any discomfort.  But I can see further down that road.  The path brightens up.  An out of this world brightness of colors shine to no avail.  And keeps going and going into more illuminating purity.  But it’s so dark in the beginning.  How could I bravely step into the darkness not knowing when I will actually reach the luminescence?

I’m still just standing there.  I’m straining my neck and standing on the tips of my toes.  I’m trying to see further down each road.  But I cannot.

I step toward the left a little, the glitter has me mesmerized.  But I hesitate.  That still small voice that has guided my life for so long is telling me to go back.  I run back to the beginning of the Y.  I look to the right.  My flesh does not want to step into the unknown.  It doesn’t look pretty and captivating until way down the road.  My flesh has been through so much.  I just want a break.  I just want instant glitter and shininess.  I just want to walk left.  No more trials, no more tests, no more loneliness.  My flesh is tired.  My flesh is weak.

But God.

Can I take a moment and say that those two words are two of the most powerful words in my vocabulary book.

But God…with these two words the plans of the enemy become ruined and undone.

I fall to my knees in between these two roads.  My flesh is torn.  “… you shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.  As soon as he hears it, he answers you.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images.  You will scatter them as unclean things.  You will say to them, “Be gone!”  Isaiah 30:19-22

I know in my spirit, this is a pivotal moment in my walk with the Lord.  I bow my face before Him.  I am reminded of trials in the past.  I am reminded of being in the middle of life and death situations.  Physical death and spiritual death.  I am remembering the darkness of those trials.  I remember Who saved me.  I remember who I am.  I am a Daughter of the most High King.  I am a Daughter to the creator and King of the Universe!  I am made for a time such as this.  I am an overcomer.  I have the wisdom of the Lord.  I have overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the Word of my Testimony.  I may be weak, but He is strong.  I may be weary, but He gives me my strength.  He never leaves me.  He never forsakes me.  He makes a way out of danger.   The power of God tears down the veil.  I believe in the Holy Spirit, and He has given me new life.  Though I fall, He makes me new again.

Lauren Daigle sings the perfect words, “You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You break my chains, You overcome, You gave Your life to give me mine, You say I am free, How can it be?”

For years I have struggled with perfectionism.  I have tried to maintain an image of perfection, an image without stains.  God is bringing me to a place of transparency in my walk with Him.  Perfection doesn’t exist.  If it did, we would not need Jesus.  There is a world full of broken people who are at a fork in the road.  I can feel the loss of strength in them.  I am here cheering you on, I am here shouting, “Rise Up!” The Lord is your strength.  His Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalm 119:105)

Now Rise Up, and Walk Right.

It may be dark and quiet for a little while, but His light will guide every single step on the path He has ordained for your feet.  And oh, once you reach the pure luminescence, you will understand the battle will have been worth it.  The momentary darkness, the fear of the unknown, and the discomfort of your flesh was all preparing you for an eternal victory.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Make Me Broken

Fear of the Lord

Lord, Make Me Broken…

I didn’t know this is what it would feel like to be broken.  When I prayed that prayer, I didn’t know what I was praying.  I prayed to be broken, so I could be healed.  What does that even mean?  They say “why fix something if it’s not broken?”  Why pray to be broken so you can be healed?

About 2 years ago, the Lord was drawing me deeper to Him.  I remember being on my face begging the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His.  I didn’t know this is what it would feel like.  I didn’t think about the “breaking” process, until now.  The song “Keep Making Me”, by Sidewalk Prophets comes to mind.  “Make me broken, so I can be healed, ‘Cause I’m so calloused and now I can’t feel.  I want to run to You with my heart wide open.  Make me broken.  Make me empty so I can be filled.  Cause I’m still holding onto my will.  And I’m completed when you are with me.  Make me empty.  Until You are my one desire, until You are my true Love.  Until You are my breath, my everything.  Make me lonely so I can be Yours.  Until I want no one more than You, Lord.  Cause in the darkness I know you will hold me.  Make me lonely.”

Who in their right mind would pray this prayer?  I didn’t really know what I was praying for.  Until this moment.  Until relentless episodes of grief have hit during this new season of my life.  I get it now.  I get what broken is.  I get what empty is.  I get what lonely is.

And I am thankful.

Through the pain, confusion, tears, I am thankful to be broken, thankful to be empty, thankful to be lonely.  Because that means I can see the Lord shine bigger in my life.  I can feel His presence overpowering the brokenness, emptiness, and loneliness.  I feel his love in an all-consuming way. When I am weak, His strength comes in and turns everything around for His glory.  “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.

I don’t want to be “complete” in myself.  I don’t want to be “full” in myself.  I don’t want to be so distracted by this world that I don’t know what loneliness feels like.  If I didn’t experience life altering brokenness, I wouldn’t be experiencing the depths of God’s Love.  I wouldn’t be able to witness firsthand Him build something beautiful out of the broken pieces.  After all He is the Master creator.

Walking this faith journey has made me more sensitive to real things.  By “real things” I mean getting out of the way of God’s plan.  I mean stepping out of my comfort zone when He calls me to do so.  I mean helping others even when I may not feel like it.  I mean getting myself off my mind, even on a grieving day.  I mean trusting in God when I see only darkness surrounding me.  Those are real things.

Jessica is weak.  Jessica is broken.  Jessica is empty.

But God.

With God, Jessica is strong.

With God, Jessica is made whole.

With God, Jessica is filled up.

It is a freeing place to be to admit I am weak, broken and empty.  I am nothing without God.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Make me broken.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.


An Eternal Romance

An Eternal Romance

Photo Credit: Google Images- Return of Christ Banner

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed more recent posts referring to missing being romanced by my husband.  I have had to really take this to the Lord.  I have had to lay these feelings at the foot of the Cross.  Of course after the death of one’s spouse, or even a breakup or divorce—you’re most likely going to miss the romantic sparks.  The sweet surprises, love notes, flowers, the whispering’s of “I Love you”… whatever it is that defined romantic gestures in your relationship.  I know it’s normal.  I know this is a part of grief I have to walk through.  But I also know my personality.  I know if I dwell on this part of my life being lost along with my husband it can create a dark pool of self-pity.  It can create a selfish monster who says, “I deserve that in my life”.  That selfish monster would not make wise decisions.  I don’t have time to not be wise.  Neither do you.  Can I get an Amen?

Let’s take a moment and really think about our society—All of these dating apps, dozens and dozens of Reality shows designed for finding love, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Blind Date, Married at First Site, Love Connection, Bachelor in Paradise… The list can go on and on.  There is nothing wrong with yearning for love, and seeking love, or watching people go out on a limb to find it—I admit I watch a few of these shows myself.  They can be quite entertaining.  And yes, some really do find love at the end of the show.

But what if these individuals focused more on an eternal romance rather than an earthly one?  I bet their perspective and satisfactory levels in life would sky rocket.

Through my current stage of grief I can feel the Lord prompting me to dissect my own heart.  My relationship with him is designed to fulfill ALL my emptiness and longings.  “Lord be enough for me,” I pray daily.  Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”  Those aren’t just nice words strung together to make a pretty sentence.  It is TRUTH.

He satisfies, He fills.

Jesus wants every area of our heart and soul.  He wants to be the One who fills us.  All other fillings will fade away.  Even the great loves of our earthly life.  People will let us down and disappoint us.  We will let people down and disappoint them.  Death parts earthly love.  Death will never ever part the eternal love of Jesus.

We live in such a dissatisfied culture and generation.  We seem to always be striving for more.  And then when we obtain that ‘more’.  Guess, what?  We want even more.  Singles seem to be in a downward depression because they want to be married.  Married folks aren’t appreciating their spouses and wish they were single.  It’s a never-ending battle of unsatisfactory circumstances from our fleshly perspective.

Here is some earth-shattering, life changing news—We have the answer to a more than satisfactory life.  His name is Jesus.  And He literally saves souls.  He wants to romance you to depths that your human mind cannot imagine.  He wants to have an intimate relationship with you.  Not a religious one, an intimate one.  This is the place I am at in my walk with the Lord.  I have walked with Him since I was a child.  But there is something about this season of grief that has opened my eyes to new realms of who God really is.  During my marriage I faced seasons of loneliness, and disappointment—as did my husband.  I was a difficult person to be married to, especially in our first year.  Nothing satisfied me.  I wished I knew then what I know now.  The more you allow the Lord to work in you, the more you want to LOVE others with a passion.  Even when life seems to be turned upside down, we can react in love because of the love of Christ living inside us.

When I get stuck in my selfish, fleshly mind, I begin to fear my future.  I begin to pity my title of widow, and my daughter’s title of fatherless.  I become angry.  I am overcome with deep sorrow.  I yearn for my husband’s strong arms around me in the middle of a long grief filled sleepless night.  But the Lord is drawing my heart to Him in a way that would never be without facing this dreaded earthly pain.  He is bringing my heart, mind and spirit to focus eternally.  It’s not about what I can see in front of me.  It is about the unseen, for the unseen things are the eternal things.

He is bringing me to an Eternal Romance with Him.

It is ironic how such dark, bleak, tragedy can change you to the core for the better.  Christ uses life altering phenomenon’s to draw us nearer to Him when we are at our lowest points.  If we surrender through the pain and darkness, He will lift us up.  He will set our feet on the rock of His foundation, on His steadfast love.

In the first weeks following my husband’s death—all I could do spiritually was cry out “I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.”  I had no other words to pray.

Every great love story begins with trust.  It’s no different with the love story of our Savior.  I know my heart being drawn to the eternal romance of Christ began when I surrendered.  When I put all of my trust into Him.  Not some of my trust—but all of it.  (I have to do this daily)  I had a revelation that my life is not my own.  Our earthly lives are but a blink of an eye— however our eternal lives are just that… eternal.  Forever, and then forevermore.

Realistically, I am young—one day, Lord willing, I hope to be re-married.  But my focus is not on an earthly love.  My desires, my heart, my yearnings are on an eternal love.  An Eternal Romance with my Savior.  Everything else falls into place after that.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”   2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:11.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

Until Death Do Us Part

Until Death Do Us Part

Photo By A Smile Is Forever Photography, Marisa Durrett

This past weekend I had the humbling honor of standing next to my best friend, Shala, as I witnessed her make vows before God, family, and friends, uniting as one with her, “Redneck Romeo”, Ryan.  It was a beautiful, Christ centered ceremony.  As I stood there watching the Holy Matrimony being created I couldn’t help but be overcome with emotions.  As the tears streaked my face I could vividly see me and Cody standing at the altar almost five years ago.  I could remember my heart racing with excitement and a little fear of the unknown.  I remember thinking—this is it.  My life is “complete” now.  I have the one that will be by my side until I’m old and grey… Or “Until Death Do Us Part”.

When the Officiating Pastor, Willie Williams, spoke the words “until death do you part” during yesterday’s ceremony, it was an arrow piercing through my heart.  My eyes closed as I prayed that this beautiful couple have a lifetime together—I prayed they will indeed get to grow old with one another before that vow is fulfilled.

During the ceremony there were bay windows overlooking beautiful landscape with unique trees.  As my ears listened to the words being exchanged, my eyes were being drawn outside.  My eyes saw past the trees, pasture land, blue skies, and perfect white clouds.  I saw raw beauty.  I saw hope.  I saw God.

The wind was blowing ever so slightly—I could see a bush standing alone—just swaying back and forth.  There was something spiritual about watching this bush dancing in the wind as the beautiful vows were being exchanged.  God created that bush.  God created the wind.  God created this moment.  God created all things—something as simple as a dancing bush to something significant as this man and woman pledging their earthly lives together.  God created the unity between the wind and the bush and the unity of this man and his bride.  God is in everything, He is omniscient—all knowing, all-wise, all-seeing.

My eyes rested back on the couple standing before me and I could literally feel the Love and adoration exuding between them.  It was beautiful to be a part of.  Again, my heart felt as if it were going to palpate out of my chest.  My mind raced with a million thoughts.  Why was my marriage cut so short?  Why couldn’t my husband be here with me?  Why is being in a season of widowhood God’s plan for my life?  Why?  Those questions may never be answered on this side of glory.

As thoughts of my own wedding ran through my mind—I realized I am  a completely different woman than  I was when I made my vows to my Cody until “death parted us”.  Reflecting on my first year of marriage, I admit I looked to my husband for things only a sincere relationship with our Heavenly Father can give you.  Though your spouse is supposed to fill many roles such as being your helpmate, best friend, and lover, only God can fill your heart, mind, and soul to depths that one cannot even put into words.  God’s Love feels like glitter running through your veins.  As much as I desire for my married status to still be intact, I am so awe-inspired and grateful to walk with God.

His Love has become so much more real and tangible to me in these last 7 months.  His Love is so evident all around me, even during intense grieving.  I know His Love has always been there, but I am seeing life through new lenses now.  It’s beautiful.

I feel like that secluded swaying bush.  I am alone, dancing.

Oh, but I am far from alone…  

Though I cannot see my Heavenly Daddy—just as the wind cannot be seen—He has me wrapped up in His arms dancing with me ever so sweetly, guiding my feet where they shall go as He leads this dance.

There is no place I would rather be than in His Love.  His Love is the only sure thing in this life.

Nothing can separate us from it.  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39.


I may no longer be a man’s bride, but I am the Bride of Christ.  And for those of you who are ‘a man’s bride’—Remember you were Christ’s Bride first—and that is an eternal title.

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.

I Have to Face It


Photo by Cody M. Lusk

Lately at night I wake up and I need him.  I need to feel him close to me.  So I give in and randomly select videos out of the hundreds of him I have stored over the years.  Tonight I landed on a video of us on the same aluminum boat I watched him take his last steps onto.  The video was recorded on March 22, 2016 at 9:01 a.m.  Cody was checking juglines—the same thing he was doing the night he never came home.  He was fishing for catfish.  I am recording our morning adventure.  I found myself smiling through tears as I watched my beautiful husband sip his coffee, watched the steam escape from his mouth as he talked into the cold air.  That steam off his breath meant he was breathing and alive.  Our commentary on the video is so normal.  Life was so normal.  Watching back, I just wanted to climb into the video and wrap my arms around his body and never ever let go.  But I just sit and watch the screen.  He caught a catfish at the end of the jugline.  What I watched him do next sent my stomach in a whirlwind of knots.  He knew I was recording.  He wanted the fish to be well seen for the camera.  So he stood up.  The small boat shook.  He put both arms out to balance.  He sits down quickly, knowing he shouldn’t have stood up.

But he did stand up.

The water was 50 something degrees on the night of January 14, 2017.  In my heart, I know he stood up for some reason or another.  (Because out of the dozens of times we were on the boat together, I witnessed him stand up more than once.  He had to get onto me about standing up while trying to reach for a fishing pole).  Mind you, most parts of the lake were not even 6ft so thoughts of wearing life jackets were nonexistent.  He fished on that same boat, on our little lake, running those same juglines literally hundreds of times.  Day, night, in the cold or heat.  It was second nature to him.  Like driving to the same place every day.  It becomes second nature—you think you could do it in your sleep.  That’s how I know he viewed being on our lake.  He became too comfortable.  As I sat here and watched him stand up on the video, I find myself screaming at him.  “Why did you stand up?”  “Why?”  How can one slight movement become the domino effect resulting in the end of a life? Obviously I have no way of knowing what really and truly happened that night.

I have played and replayed what could possibly have happened the night he never came home.  The only thing that makes sense is he he stood up, lost his balance, hit the water, tried to save the boat, his body went into shock from the cold water.  It was dark.  His lantern light would have diminished hitting the water.

I have spent the last 204 days forcing myself not to think about that night.  To just block it out of my mind.

But I have to face it.

I have to work through the devastation.  I can accept that he’s in heaven with our Creator, he’s in ultimate glory.  I can accept that.  But I’m still flesh.  I have to accept his earthly death.  The suddenness of tragedy is what penetrates the heart like a knife.  One day your life is so normal.  You have a whole family.  You have your protector, and best friend, lover, partner, spiritual leader of your home—He’s here, by your side, doing life with you—To nothing.  It’s dark.  I wake up from dreams looking for him.  It’s always so dark and I can’t find him.  I become so angry and broken.

I think of the aluminum boat being pulled out of the lake 5 days later.  I think of the tackle box recovered, the fishing poles, the ore, the boat seat—random things.  I hate these things.  They mean nothing.  They hit the water that night too.  They were recovered.  They can be reused again.  They are still here serving their purpose.  But my beautiful husband hit the same water these things did.  But he’s no longer here.  He was recovered from the lake but his purpose was fulfilled.  But these things are still here.  That is hard for me to grasp and accept.

I feel selfish lately.  I want him here with me so badly.  To the point where I would selfishly call him out of glory to live with me and our daughter in this broken and fallen world again.  Just to feel his strong arms around me.  To lay my head on his chest and hear his heart beating.  To feel his hands on my face.  To just be in his presence and experience his exuberance again.  I can’t express enough to LOVE your Loved ones.  Spouses, if you’re upset with your husband or wife- don’t procrastinate a solution.  Don’t stay angry too long. Don’t let a day escape without an affectionate touch or word.  I am so thankful Cody and I said “I Love you”, every single day.  We hugged and kissed every single day.  I know he Loved me, I am forever changed by that Love.

Lately the grief is freshly intense.  Almost as if I am back in the 5 days of the search or the preparation of the funeral.  It doesn’t feel like it’s been nearly 7 months.  It feels like it happened yesterday.  I guess that’s stages of grief.  The intensity rushes in like an unannounced flood and overtakes you.  Even though I don’t want to do this, this life as a widow or single mother—I have to face it.  I have to walk through this season.  I know the Lord is calling me to walk through these emotions that pierce the soul.  I know I am not to run away from this.  I have to face it.  Every single part of it.  I have to own it.  Writing helps.  To put into words what my mind and spirit are working through.  It is a deep release and therapeutic for me to write.  I have to allow myself to feel what needs to be felt.  My heart feels like it is bleeding.  I have to allow it to.

As much as I miss my husband and our life together is as much as I can feel my Heavenly Daddy wrap His omniscient, powerful, Agape Love around me.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  He has not forgotten me.  He has not forgotten Abigail.  He is not far away, but rather tucking us under His wings.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  Psalm 91:4

I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.