But God – Hope and Healing at Christmas

*Christmas is often a hard time for people as memories of the holidays with loved ones who are gone can sometimes swallow us up. This year I wanted to share Hope for those who are struggling. I asked a friend of mine, Dianne, if she would share her story with you all, and she very graciously agreed. It is not an easy story to share but if you can get to the end I trust you’ll walk away feeling the healing that she experiences every day and the hope she wishes to share with others.

 “It’s about time you knew the password for our online banking,” stated my husband as he walked down the hall into the living room and sat down beside me on the sofa.  Little did I know that in less than twelve hours he would be gone forever from this life and that the information he shared with me would be critical in the days ahead.  December 21st, 2016 will be a day I will never forget and one that shattered my life into pieces.  It has been said to me that “Nothing can prepare you for such a tragedy” and yet, as I have lived these past three years I see how God had prepared me every step of the way. It is true, my life was shattered that day but God has been taking those broken pieces and one by one strategically placing them together to create a beautiful masterpiece that glorifies Him.

Christmas is not a merry time for everyone. 

For those who have lost someone close to them it means remembering all the happy times and family traditions that are gone forever.  Our first Christmas that year was a blur as it was spent planning a funeral.  All the family was home but we were just going through the motions in shock that our pastor, son, brother, husband and dad was now gone.  How would God use this for His glory? 

He used Kevin’s death to bring one soul to Christ over that Christmas season! Aren’t you glad for those two words that we find over and over in Scripture, “But God”!  This gives us a hope, not a ‘hope so’ but a guarantee that God is not finished with what He has begun.  Do not lose hope in your life when your flesh fails or when your heart is broken or discouraged – God is your strength! He is strong when you are weak.  People may look at you and even say to you, as they do me, “you are so strong!”  I reply, no, I am very weak but I have a God who is my strength!  

When you go through a tragedy in your life, having confidence in who God is and what He is doing in your life makes a significant difference.  Without this foundation, I know I would have been struggling with so many questions – not to say that I did not have many!  One doctrinal truth that I learned long ago but became alive to me during this time was: God is sovereign. 

That is to say, God knows the beginning and He knows the end.  Praise God!  This brought me comfort knowing that God was not taken by surprise by this event that happened in my life!  He knew it would happen and even prepared me for that day!  There are many things that took place before my husband’s death to prepare me, my children and even our church family. 

Even on the morning of his death as I was headed out to work the Lord told me to call ahead and tell work that I was going to be late because I needed to wait for my husband to return from his early morning paper run just to make sure he was safe. 

As I listened to the radio and heard of an accident in the area he was in; I knew he was involved.  I did not know he had died but I knew he was involved in that accident.  As the police officers drove into my driveway I met them and was told he had lost his life in that accident.  God gave me a calmness and I immediately thought of his parents and how I would break the news to them and then to my two youngest children that were at work.

God was not taken by surprise by the events that happened that tragic day!  How I am thankful for this everyday.  This reassures me that God has a plan for my life! Romans 8:28 has been my life verse since He called me into full time Christian service.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 

All of the things that have happened, even the things I call ‘bad’ – all the hurts, pain and, yes, even a great loss; God can take and work them together for good.  If I was God there are many things in my life, that if I could, I would erase.  But God in His Omniscience has allowed those things to be a part of the beautiful pattern that we call ‘life’.  He has a purpose in all those ‘broken pieces.’  All that He designs in my life is only for my benefit and growth as a daughter of the King. 

As I meditate on these truths from the Scripture I can not do anything else but praise God for all that He has done in my life. Psalm 73:26 has been such an encouragement for me as I enter yet another Christmas season.  “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” My life was shattered into a million pieces three years ago when my husband was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident; but God has taken those ‘broken pieces’ and little by little is creating a beautiful picture of His grace through my life. 

My prayer is that you will not look at my life and lift me up but that it will cause you to look to Christ who can work all things together for His good and His glory!

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