I Will Praise You Through The Pain

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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.

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?

Jesus.

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.

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.

Nothing.Can.Separate.Us.

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.

Grief… Such a Small Word

grief

Grief.

Late nights of counting sheep, can’t sleep.  I want to scream.  The king sized bed is empty.  I am a mess.  I miss you like crazy.  I can’t catch my breath.  I am angry.  I am trying to stay strong.  I don’t get why you couldn’t be here.  I am angry at you for fishing that night.  I am angry at you for having to check the jug lines one more time before you planned to come in.

That one more time took you.

I can’t breathe sometimes.  I am suffocated with anger, fear, loneliness, guilt, memories, love that I can no longer give.

Grief.

But I have to be strong.  There is a little blue-eyed, blonde-haired baby girl that looks up to me.  She grins and my world is right again… for a moment.  And then I remember I will never see her in your arms again.  The lump in my throat returns.  I gulp it back.  Blinking back my tears rapidly so I don’t feel the hot liquid run down my cheeks.  Because then I can’t stop the streams.

Grief.

I question God.  I used to think I should never do that.  But now I find myself screaming questions at Him.  He loves me the same.

Grief- such a small word.

People use the word ‘Grief’ so loosely.  Like you can just get over grief.  Or grieve faster.  It doesn’t work that way.  Grief is its own entity.  I find myself grieving my husband’s untimely death and my marriage.  The unity I had with one person out of 7-billion people on this planet, is no longer intact.  I’m grieving the loss of my team.  My team was broken.  My family was broken.  These are not pity words.  These are raw words.  How does someone come up from this?  Truly rise up from such devastation?  Some mornings I lie in bed and have to talk myself in to getting out of bed and face another ‘great’ day.  Because I am a Christian- everyday should be ‘great’, right?  Wrong.  Not realistic.  I’m craving to be transparent and real.  Life is hard.  This season has been dark and hard.

This season has been lonely.  I am craving my best friend.  My heart aches with thoughts of never running my hands through his hair again.  Or holding his hand.  Kissing his lips.  I beg God to answer me why?  I yearned to be married at a young age.  I waited for Cody to come into my life- my ‘to be’ Husband.  Impatiently waited I might add.  I loved being a wife.  His wife.  He challenged me in ways I never knew I needed to grow.  That’s what marriage is supposed to do.  Challenge you, make you more holy, reflect the image of Christ.  God redeemed our marriage through dark seasons.  Both of us had failed one another.  But God.

But God… Those two words are beyond powerful.  I no longer have a ‘But God’ in my marriage.  I no longer have a marriage.  I no longer have my daughter’s father.

Grief.

Have you ever hurt so much that you wanted to crawl out of your skin?  Out of your being?  Just vanish into thin air… Just to eliminate the pain in your soul?  A deep pain in your spirit that you can literally feel your physical heart throbbing and aching.  The pain is so intense it’s shocking to your body.  I’ve thought in those moments how someone could literally die of a broken heart.  I hate those moments.  I beg God to take the pain away.  I’ve begged God to take the memories away.  That sounds so cold, but the memories are a flood and I can’t think straight, or function.

Grief.

The following words depict grief so purely to me.  “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love.  It’s all the love you want to give but cannot.  All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hallow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go.”

Tragedy changes you.

Grief changes you.

It makes you bleed with rawness.

It brings realness to life.

One of the most beautiful things in life is to feel.  To feel love.  To feel emotion.  To feel passion.  To feel life.  God made us emotional beings who have the capability to feel on dimensional levels.  I used to run from my emotions, for fear of looking weak, for fear of looking ‘human’.  I am learning to embrace those feelings.  To become empowered by them.  To allow these roller coaster of emotions to deepen my relationship with Christ.

I changed on January 14, 2017.  I will never be the same person I was.  One of the things I am truly grateful for through this- is that change.  I saw myself from the outside looking in.  I didn’t like what I saw.  I saw someone who rushed through life.  Who was selfish.  Who took loved ones for granted.  Losing someone you didn’t think you could live without knocks all of your ‘props of life’ out from under you.  All you have standing in front of you is your faith and the choice to choose hope in a more than hopeless situation through the eyes of the world.

I am still here.  I ask God why?  His answer… To bring glory to Him.  It’s not about me.  I find the ultimate freedom in that revelation.  To bring glory to Him.  My time spent on this earth is to bring glory to my Heavenly Father.  In good days, in bad days.  In seasons of harvest and in seasons of loss… I am to bring glory to Him.  Even when it hurts.

I surrender.  Every day, I surrender.  Every day I have to choose to LIVE.

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

“My Wife Can”

My Wife Can

Photo by Cori Lusk Ford

As he hurriedly walked through the house with a level and tape measure in one hand and his phone to his ear with the other, he stopped to smile at me as I held the sleeping body of our 8-month old baby girl.  He was on the phone with a project coordinator lining up contracts for our telecommunications company.  His business call ended.  His smile turned to glossy eyes as he admired what he called a “beautiful sight”.  He updated me on the content of the business call- as I was now our Office Manager.  We were more a team than ever.  We were new parents who both had the privilege of working from home—which is where we both desired to be.  With one another and the new edition to our family.  How blessed we were.  And we discussed that often.  Nothing was short of the Grace of God.  During the hustle and bustle of this day—Cody asked me a question that still crosses my mind on the regular, “If something were to happen to me, can you handle all of this?”  I looked at him, and immediately shook my head “no”.  His next words will never leave my mind… “My Wife Can.”

He was referring to life.  He was referring to the remodel of our home.  He was referring to taking care of our precious baby girl who was demanding of attention.  He was referring to running our telecommunications company.  He was referring to the upkeep of our home, vehicles, and our fur babies.  He was referring to the life we had created.  Could I handle this without him?  What an odd question to ask.  And just weeks before he departed from this earth.

“My Wife Can.”

Such three simple words.  These three simple words have changed my mentality these last 6-months.

His Wife could.

I am she.

I can.

So many times a day, doubt seeps over me.  I second guess my every decision of the last 6-months.  I doubt my newly single parenting skills.  I beat myself up over the slightest failure- or what I see as a failure.  But then I hear those words—“My Wife Can”.  And I stand a little taller.  My God confidence arises again.  I am called for a time such as this.  For whatever reason—This is the path the Lord has ordained for my feet to walk.  So I shall.  With faith, with hope, with peace, with joy.  Faith, hope, peace, and joy.  Those four words, those four beautiful action words seem impossible to encompass during seasons of grief.  But they’re not.  With God, all things are possible.  I am living proof of that.  That is not an arrogant statement.  It is a testament to the living power of Jesus who resides in me.  In reference to we are the bride of Jesus and He is the Bridegroom—I can hear my Lord saying, “My Bride Can”.  We are the Bride of Christ.  That is beautiful.  That is all-consuming to grasp.  I am the Bride of Christ.  You are the Bride of Christ.  I am not alone during this ‘aloneness’ season of life.  And with Him…I can.

If my soul is stirred with the memory of my Husband’s voice proclaiming “My Wife Can”, oh… how much more my soul and spirit awaken when I hear the sweet and powerful voice of my Lord decreeing “My Bride Can”.

“For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”  Isaiah 54:5

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