I was asked by the pastor of my church to share my faith story – specifically focused on surviving the storm. Now some people might panic or think “no” I cannot do that – stand up in front of the entire church and speak; but not me I love sharing my story so of course I said yes!! Below you will find my faith story that I shared at Freshwater Church on Saturday, February 14, 2015. I pray that my story and the storm that I went through will help you find your way through your own personal storm.
On September 7, 2011 my husband and the father of my 3 children died and on that day my faith changed forever! Mike had been fighting cancer for 27 months and during that time…
…I had been waging my own battle; one for my faith.
From the outside looking in I looked strong and secure in my faith and in my hope of the future, I spoke confidently to everyone about how my faith was getting me through and how I knew that God would answer our prayers. In my private moments and prayers to God I begged, pleaded and even tried to bargain with God to save Mike’s life all for my own selfish reasons. It was the most difficult time I have ever experienced in my life. Like the disciples in the boat, my faith was shaken. Even though my faith was shaken during those months, it never crumbled. Shortly before Mike died, I fell to my knees and prayed like I have never prayed before though it was so very simple – I prayed that God would guide me as what I should do next. I was having to make huge, life changing decisions by myself because Mike’s health had declined so much. When Mike died 2 weeks later I can say that I was grateful to God for answering my prayers. They had not been answered in the way that I wanted, but I knew then that he was listening to me…
…he heard every whisper, every cry and was with me during the entire storm.
That was the day that I was forever changed though at the time I didn’t realize how much or what the future purpose was. God had given me a peace that I cannot describe, though I knew he was there and He lifted me when I could not lift myself.
I turned to closer to God in the coming days, weeks and months because I knew he was listening he guided me through the deepest darkest moments within my grief and gave me a hope that stirred within me. Within a few months I started to take small steps to realize my purpose in this life and that including finding myself again. I was 33 years old when Mike died and for 27 months I had cared for him so I wasn’t really sure who I was anymore. This storm tore me apart so I had to begin rebuilding myself again with God’s help so I could fulfill my purpose. I went to yoga class, I changed my hair, and I began dating a wonderful man. It was a whirlwind of change, but I was ready for it and needed it.
Life wasn’t over, I just turned a new chapter.
Around the same time I created a Facebook group specifically for the caregivers of cancer patients. I could never find a group that supported me during Mike’s illness so I formed one after he died and today I have people from all walks of life that support each other while they care for their spouses. I started to write a book from my perspective as the caregiver and I started a blog (this blog) to tell my story. It was cathartic and reassuring to me that I could help others through my story.
Two years after Mike’s death, I found Modern Widows Club and I knew then that I was called to minister to widows in a way that supported them and showed them that they can move forward all while honoring their past. I started a chapter in Waconia and every month I host widows at my home and love them like Jesus called us to do.
I married Jeff in 2013 who is a wonderful, caring, and loving husband. Our blended family of 8 is very happy though we are just like every other family and have our rough moments. God has helped us to endure and we have all grown closer to Him throughout the process, something I could never have imaged when Mike was first diagnosed with cancer.
Through Mikes death and all of our suffering that went along with it, God has transformed me into a stronger woman of God, one that speaks passionately and without refrain about her faith and my everlasting hope in Jesus Christ. Mike’s death helped me to fully become the person that God wanted me to become.
I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus during the storms in your life. God will carry you through it and give you a peace that you didn’t even know was possible. I know because he provided that peace for me.
The sun will eventually shine again, just be sure to look up so you can see it.
The above photo was taken on a recent vacation to Antigua with Jeff. Life is so very beautiful when you stop for a minute, focus on God and allow yourself to see the beauty no matter what the storm you might be in or have gone through in the past.
I pray that my story and storm help you find your way through your own personal storm.