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Sometimes in this life, we are given a glimmer of hope when we need it most. I have been struggling with some things recently and happened upon this post that I wrote back in the spring. It refreshed my memory and challenged me about where I have been lately. It moved me to focus on gratitude and to truly be thankful. I remember the girl that was before I experienced great loss and I miss her.  She seems hard to find sometimes. This post was a gentle reminder that all I need to do is surrender and focus on gratitude.  The rest will be taken care of.

This past Friday I was sitting alone in our camper. The first weekend we finally got to go to the property where it resides and open it up for what will no doubt be an amazing summer. My husband was gone fishing and I had just finished cleaning up the mess left from the winter (and last deer season) and sat down to read a book. All was well. I was absolutely excited for this kid-less weekend; so much so that I was finding it difficult to focus on reading my book about getting over your money hangups….lol.

Then it happened. This song came on the radio:

I cross my heart and promise to

give all I’ve got to give to make all your dreams come true.

In all the world, you’ll never find

A love as true as mine”

I Cross My Heart by the great George Strait. And also the first dance song for my first husband and I at our wedding reception.

Immediately, I was back on that dance floor in his arms. Eighteen years old and full of love, hope, and promise. Too young to fully know what awaited us, but crazy in love and carefree nonetheless.

The tears pooled in my eyes and threatened to fall. They are far and few between these days, being just over 6 years from when I lost him, but they are there on occasion….and this occasion came on suddenly and with force.

Instead of purging into sadness, however, my immediate thought was,

Thank you, Lord, for what we shared. Thank you for these amazing memories that I have. Thank you for comforting me and allowing me the peace that is needed to move on in this life post-loss. I am so thankful for what I had and I am also breathtakingly thankful for what I have now. I am so thankful to be here in this moment to create memories with my current husband. I don’t deserve this life, yet you give it anyway. For that, I cannot praise you enough.”

The last few years before I lost Chad, I had the push from the Lord to give all I had to him. To love him like I never had before. To be selfless and to memorize him. I really feel like I just knew somehow…..especially as his time grew short (which neither of us knew about, it was very sudden and unexpected). As I look back now, I can see the hand of God in every circumstance leading up to Him calling Chad home.

A few months before he died, I had surrendered my whole life….including the very thing I didn’t want to surrender to the Lord… my husband. I feel, looking back now, that was the place that the Lord needed me to make the loss of my very best friend survivable.

Was it awful? Yep. Horrible, life-altering, heart-shattering, surreal, terrible.

But I had peace the entire time. There is no way that wasn’t from the Lord.

I see so many people trying to do life on their own. I even fell away for a little while after the dust settled from losing him, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t move forward in my life without the Lord leading it.

So many people commented on how strong I was, but I just think of the verse that says that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Chad was my very best friend. We were inseparable. I even wrote a blog post about the fact that I’d inadvertently make him my savior, my everything. As I started to let him off the hook and take that pressure back off him and put it back on God, where it had always belonged anyway, my life started to change.

That is when I started to feel that no matter what happened in my life that God would have my back. He would give me the strength to get through it. I didn’t ever have to do life alone.

I see so many in my widow’s groups that are depressed, suicidal, anxious, and struggling to even live post-loss. I feel so bad for them. I can totally see where I would’ve been that person, had I not completely surrendered my life and all the events in it to God.

I fully believe that I’ve been shown amazing grace in the greatest loss I’ve ever known because I chose to give God my whole heart and life. I have been given another incredible husband. We have an incredible relationship. I know that what we have is special. I know that to have this kind of love twice is very rare. I don’t for a minute take it for granted. However, I also know that the Lord honors those who let Him lead their lives.

So while I don’t think there will ever come a time when a memory doesn’t suddenly make tears threaten, I will always remember what was with gratitude and thankfulness and not despair or depression. I refuse to question or dwell in the past. I am forever grateful for what was and I am daily thankful for what is.

Are you trying to trudge through this life alone? Are you feeling the call to just surrender? Don’t push it off. Fall into the arms of your loving Father and let Him carry your burdens for you. Let Him bring the peace that only He can.

I’m nothing special….I’m not strong or capable or amazing….I’m just fully surrendered. It changes your outlook on life and makes the hard times bearable. Is it time you surrender?

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