Posted in Joy

Change Brings Unexpected Blessings

               Ask any widow and they will tell you that there is a sometimes subtle change that starts happening after they lose their spouse.  They grow and adapt and learn new skills, and while it doesn’t change the heart of who they are, there is definitely a transition that takes place.  And those changes can be for the better.

               This week in my Bible study I was asked to reflect back on who I was a year or two ago and how I have changed since then… and what is so significant about that change.  I sat down with a pen and paper to start thinking about the me of today compared to the me of two years ago.  And this is what I came up with:

  1. I’m more independent then I have ever been before.  I have learned that I can do many things on my own, and whenever possible, I choose to do them alone, even when I don’t have to.
  2. I’m more of an overachiever than I have ever been before. I set high goals and I strive to achieve them.  I want to be successful at whatever I undertake and I want to do it all, and do it well.
  3. I’m less focused then I have ever been before.  It takes me twice as long to complete anything these days.  Call it mom brain, widow brain, or whatever you want, but I have the hardest time sitting down to complete any task on time and without distractions. 
  4. I’m more outspoken then I have ever been in my life.  While you won’t get me on a soapbox about politics and my other strongly held beliefs in the public realm, you will definitely see them if we are friends.  If I’m not happy about the way you are treating someone or handling something, I am way more likely to tell you then I have ever been before… but I will try to tell you kindly.
  5. I’m less of a people pleaser than I ever was before.  I still want to please people, but I am not going to sacrifice what I think or believe in order to make you like me.  Instead, I have learned to stand up for myself and refuse to be treated badly.  I have learned that being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to repeatedly let others hurt you just so you can be friends!
  6. I have learned to say no. If there is something that I don’t want to do, I am more likely then ever to just say no.  I have turned down opportunities for higher paying jobs and better benefits, because it wasn’t something that I thought was best for my family in the long run.  If it isn’t going to bring me joy and peace, chances are I am going to walk away from it!
  7. I have learned to do a lot of hard things.  Burying my husband and raising my kids alone is just the start.  Navigating being a mom and making all the hard choices for my family and myself in the midst of grief is still a struggle.
  8. I have learned that the only person who can measure my success is ME.  And if I am happy and living the life that God has called me to live, then I don’t have to answer to the masses of people who surround me.  All I have to know is that He holds me in the palm of His hand and He guides me.

As an educator, I have always argued that we never stop learning.  That once we become satisfied with where we are in life, we should keep looking for new ways to grow.  I am excited to see what the me of two years from now looks like, and how the Lord will continue to grow and change me in light of all life sends our way.   What about you?  Have you gone thought something that has changed you over the last few years? Are there ways that you are praying you will keep growing and changing?     

Posted in Grief, Joy

Are You Really Living?

               If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I write a lot about fear and refusing to live in fear of the unknown.  I try to embrace each and every day the way that Ben would have wanted us to, without being afraid of what may lie ahead. 

               The other day my daughter asked if the coronavirus was done spreading yet and when we were going to be able to leave our house and see our friends.  I sat reflecting on the last time we had spent so many days in a row at home.  I could immediately recall when it was.  It was at the end of the summer of 2017 after we lost Ben.  In those days we stayed home because it was my safe place to hide.  My heart had been torn out and shattered.  I never knew when I might implode, so I needed to be in a place I could trust to protect me from the outside world.

               In those days, I wasn’t forced to stay locked away from the world, but I chose to.  I needed to be locked inside myself to heal so that I could return whole again (or as close to whole as I could get). 

               Being able to pick myself up after a loss like that was a challenge.  It was a challenge that I was not ready to face right away.  But, one day I woke up and decided I wanted to embrace living head-on.  I have prided myself the last two years on learning to live again, truly living!  I wake up every day looking for the next great adventure that will allow me to truly live life!

               I don’t know about you, but I have not really felt like I have been living the last few weeks.  Being locked away, told who I can and can’t see, being unable to plan for the future; makes me question my definition of living fully.  It’s made me wonder whether people, things, and places are what I really long for and whether I truly know how to be happy for myself. 

               And this is what I have learned.  We get to determine how happy we are in our circumstances.  No matter what put us in this place, we have a choice every day to make the best of it.  Just like everyone else, I want to see my family, and I want to see my friends.  I am disappointed in all the plans that have been cancelled and all the plans that won’t come to fruition because of this pandemic. 

And this is what I have decided to do:

  1. Keep Living.  Keep waking up every day and making the most of it wherever you are. 
  2. Keep embracing the ones you love.  Whether that is those you live with or your close circle of people that you are riding the storm out with, find a way to be close to them as much as you can.
  3. Keep making memories.  Try something new.  Learn some new games and watch new movies. 
  4. Keep sharing joy.  No matter how hard your current storm is, there are others who are struggling just as much or more.  Find them and figure out how to share a little joy with them.

               1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing.  Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is the will of God.”  I encourage you to keep on living life in spite of all uncertainty and doubt. Make plans and put them on the calendar.  Find a way to look forward to waking up every single day.  You won’t regret a moment spent looking for the good! 

Posted in Grief, Joy

A Widow’s Reflection on the Nation’s Crisis…

I have reflected a lot the past two years on all I learned from Ben and about the ways that God prepared me for losing him before he was gone. And in the last few days I have read countless posts by people who are overwhelmed by the current situation in our country and all that they have lost. I am no different.

The current crisis in our country makes me increasingly aware of the sanctity of life and my place in this world… but I do not face this situation overly fearful and without hope. Because this is what I know:

  • I know what it is like to lose control.

When Ben got sick, I quickly learned what it was like to lose control.  I lived by routines and dietary restrictions because they were something that I could manage.  When he died, we learned quickly that no matter how hard we try, there are some things that are just plain out of our control.  This is no different.  We still have choices, but many things are going to be out of our control in the coming weeks.  Embrace flexibility.  Take control of what you can (routines, schedules, and keeping your family safe).  Let go of the things you can’t control.  Holding onto those things too tightly will only stress you out more.   

  • I know what loss feels like.

You may not have lost a spouse or a child, but we are living in a time when most everyone is going to suffer a loss.  If I have repeated any sentiment over the last three years it is this.  Your loss may not be the same as my loss, but it still matters.  It is okay to be sad about graduations, trips, and plans that won’t happen.  Do what you can to make the best of those situations.  Choose a way to make those moments still happen for you and your family, and try to find a way to smile through them.  But there is no loss “too small” that you can’t shed a few tears over it if you need to.  Don’t belittle anyone else’s pain.  Sit with them, tell them it is okay and try to share some joy with them.  Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

  • I know what it is like to homeschool my children (and to give myself a whole lot of grace).

This is my kids first year in public school.  It was a very conscious decision on my part to NOT homeschool this year.  And while I love homeschooling and the freedom it allows us, I felt that God gave me peace to let them go this year.  Like many of you, I did not plan on homeschooling this spring, nor did I want to.  Yet here we are.  We are only on day 2, and one of my children embraces this process wholeheartedly, while the others are already struggling.  I’m an experienced teacher and homeschool mom, and I am acknowledging this will be hard.  Find your tribe, share the joys and trials, and lift each other up.  Some of us will enjoy this time, and others will not.  Find a way to give yourself grace.  It doesn’t make you less of a parent to be honest and say you are struggling with this!  Remind others to give themselves grace too! 

  • I know what being lonely is like.

I have never felt more alone in my life then when I lost Ben.  Even in the moments when I was surrounded by others, I was so lost in myself that I felt like I was in the world alone.  There are going to be times the next few weeks that even if you are surrounded by your family (24 hours a day 😊) that you are going to feel alone.  It’s okay.  We were made for fellowship with others.  God intended us to have others to hold us up and share life with.  No matter how alone you feel, I encourage you to reach out to someone else who you realize might be more alone (a single parent, a widow, someone without children, or elderly).  Knowing there are others out there going through the same thing can make you feel less alone.  Hebrews 13:1 says, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.”    

  • I know who holds the future.

I believe I have been through a LOT of suffering and hard times in my short 39 years on earth, and I can tell you this: I know who holds the future.  Even in the darkest and most trying times of my life, I know I was not alone.  And in those darkest moments when I had no one else on earth to depend on, I found my relationship with the Lord growing the deepest.  Embrace your church, embrace your online Bible studies, and lean into the truth of the scripture.  Because while we don’t know the future, I know who does.  John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

I do not know what tomorrow holds for any of us.  But I do know these few things.  And I know that others, who have grieved and lost, know more than you can imagine about the pain that the world is in right now.  We know it, we have lived it, and we are still here to say you can get through this too!

I am praying much health and happiness over each of you.  Keep on loving and encouraging others.  We will get through this together!

Posted in Joy

The world doesn’t have to be scary… unless we let it…

My kids and I aren’t sick, but with an extended break from regular school attendance looming in front of us we have been doing a lot of talking about what that means for us.

I’ve always been super cautious when it comes to parenting. I limited my kids exposure to toxins and sugar and chemicals for much of their toddler years (and to some extent now). There are still times now when I wonder who this person is that lets her kids have sugar at parties and celebratory moments.

But if you ask anyone who has suffered trauma and loss they will tell you that you always come out of that loss overly aware of the sanctity of life and how fast it can change. It’s what people do with that knowledge that is different for each person. Some choose to throw caution to the wind and enjoy every moment because God is sovereign and all of our days are numbered; while others live cautiously in fear of making one misstep that will cause the world they have left to come crashing down.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting over the past two weeks. My kids and I had travel planned and bags packed and were heading to spend a couple of days with family at one of the happiest places on earth. 😉

I debated and prayed about whether to go and reviewed medical statements and recommendations regarding travel.

If we had been leaving the country I would have cancelled and stayed home as so many of my friends did. But there were less than a handful of cases of sickness in the entire state where we were heading and none in the city or county we would be visiting. I heard Ben’s voice in the back of my head saying not to live in fear. And so off we went.

It was not an easy decision. Because of the trauma my children have faced, they live with an often unvoiced fear of losing me. They worry that everything the world faces will come down on our house and they are used to keeping those feelings inside. I am acutely aware of this, so I try to make sure that I explain things in the world that they might hear about in ways that they will understand and be able to relate to.

The world seemed to suddenly be blanketed in fear just a few days into our trip. I talked to the kids and we discussed the virus that everyone was afraid of. I explained it in terms they would understand and we discussed our options.

The reality is, I’m not worried about us contracting the virus and not recovering, and Lord willing, I won’t have to eat my words. However, I explained to them the reasons that schools are closing and people are being asked to limit exposure to others. And I explained to them the importance of everyone doing the same thing if we want to be able to go back to school/work anytime soon.

They agreed to head home earlier than we planned. We got excited about the idea of homeschooling again for a couple of weeks and of having pajama days and cooking and doing other things with just us. We talked about how we wouldn’t be spending time with others who are not able to do the same thing. We talked about what it means to protect others.

These are kids who understand sacrifice. They have been making sacrifices their entire lives. They knew that while this would be fun for a little while, it could still be really hard.

I do not regret taking them to Florida for a few days. I’m glad they got a couple days with family like we planned. I’m trying to embrace the promise I made to myself after Ben died that I would not live in fear, but live every moment to the fullest. And I think because we talked about it together as choices were being made, that they learned a valuable lesson in sacrifice and how we each have choices to make in order to help make the world a better place for other people.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

***All of us have a choice in how we handle this with our children and the lessons that they will learn. Whether you agree with the decisions being made or not, you can still use this to teach them the value in making sacrifices for other people.***

Posted in Joy

Waiting for my life to begin…

Earlier this week I listened to my kids in the back of the car conversing about things to come in the months ahead… “I can’t wait until…”; “I’m not going to enjoy anything until…” and my mind started rolling backwards to moments that I had wished away from my life.

Have you ever anticipated and looked forward to something so much that you just couldn’t enjoy a single thing while waiting for it to happen?  When I got married in 2006, I remember I was ready for my life to finally begin.  I had finished graduate school, met the man of my dreams and was ready for the fairy tale part of my life to really start. 

Now, I know my life didn’t really begin when I was 25 years old, walking down the aisle to marry Mr. Right.  But every journey begins somewhere.  Mine really began a long time ago as a big baby born in Maine.  I was the daughter to military parents who had the privilege of living in Germany, Italy, and multiple states on the east coast during the first decade of my life.  My journey continued through high school and college in North Carolina, on into graduate school.

But if I’m being completely honest, I lived all those years just waiting for my real life to start; the life you find in fairy tales and daydreams.  I have always been a storyteller.  I imagined being swept off my feet by the handsome stranger and riding off into the sunset where I would live in blissful happiness in a gorgeous well-kept mansion with all the children I could hope for (at the time it was 12, who magically appeared without doctors and fertility treatments assisting, cause who dreams that into their story?). 

Of course for me, I learned at a young age that I didn’t get to write that part of the story as easily as I had dreamed that I would.  I spent several years “searching” for Mr. Right before he found me (not surprisingly when I wasn’t looking or chasing after him).  The next few years we tried to enjoy that blissful idea of life together while waiting for the “family” part of our journey to begin.  That beautiful journey into parenthood finally began after several years of disappointment and loss.

And just when we thought things were looking up for us and all our dreams were coming true, we found deployment and brain cancer looming over the next horizon. Another baby was added and our dreams for a family that would keep growing were once again shattered amidst another devastating loss. And then cancer was back, and we were back to waiting for life after cancer to find us…

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that life after cancer to begin alone, a few years later, as a single mom of three. I longed to know when the new beginnings were to come and what journey would begin next. And once again, I find myself longing to write that story… because I want to control the timing and the outcome of where I go from here.

But if you hear anything from me in all of this writing… HEAR THIS… my writing will never be able to do that story justice.  You see, every moment that I have spent longing for the days ahead and for the next right thing to roll into my life, is a moment that I have not spent appreciating the here and now.  Matthew 6:31-34 says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV). 

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7, NIV).

I won’t ever be able to write my own story as beautifully as He can… and neither can you.  No matter how hard we try.  But I am bound and determined to appreciate every moment of the here and now while I’m waiting for the next unbelievable thing he sends my way. 

I am going to stop waiting for the life I’m longing for to truly begin.  And I’m going to start living in the moments I’m in right now.  And I’m going to make them count.  And more importantly, I want my children to grow up thanking God for every moment… not just the ones to come.

Posted in Joy

Give Me the Happy Ending…

Anyone who knows me knows I love a happy ending.  I watch television and movies to escape from reality.  I love the chance to see how problems are solved and people’s lives are improved over the course of an hour or two.

I remember the first time I watched Mrs Doubtfire. I laughed, I cried, I envisioned the happy ending, and then I ended the viewing feeling utterly beat down. How could the producers end a movie that way? Where was the happy ending they had been building up to for the whole film? I remember feeling heart broken for this made up family because things didn’t go the way I expected that they would… the way that I thought was “right.”

It was a harsh realization the day that I realized that our stories don’t always have a happy ending:

  • Sometimes marriages end in divorce when one partner doesn’t want it to
  • Sometimes the longed for pregnancy ends before it really has time to start
  • Sometimes cancer kills the ones we love
  • Sometimes jobs are lost and we face financial struggles we didn’t see coming
  • Sometimes the love we have been seeking our whole life never comes
  • Sometimes children don’t get to grow up with a mom and a dad
  • Sometimes children end up torn between two homes
  • And sometimes our every hope can be shattered in an instant.

The summer Ben died I did a study on the book of Job.  After I lost him, I kept studying and found myself angry at moments.  Job lost everything, but still trusted God.  I understood how he could keep trusting God, but what I didn’t understand was the end of the story.  In the end it says, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.  He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.  And he also had seven sons and three daughters.  The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.  Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.  After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.  And so Job died, an old man and full of years.” (Job 42:12-17)

_THe Lord Blessed the Latter part of Job's Life More than the Former Part._

I remember asking another widow at the time, how is it possible for God to bless the latter half of his life more than the beginning?  He LOST his family and no matter what he got back it couldn’t replace what was lost.  I didn’t understand.  No amount of new children, cattle and money could replace those who he lost.

I may never know the answer as to why we lost Ben.  But friend, life is full of unexpected twists, turns, roadblocks, and heartaches. We have the choice to either let those heartaches beat us down and destroy us or to beat down the gates of heaven praying that God will allow us to push through to find a greater blessing on the other side.

Things don’t always go the way we anticipate or expect that they will, but God is still good and God is still on the throne. I believe that His way is sovereign and that all things work together for good even when we can’t see the good.

The last chapter in Job begins with this: “Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things, no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:1-3).

It’s still hard for me to understand how God can bless the latter part of my life more than the first.  How can He give me more than I can even imagine after all that has been lost?  But I trust that God has things in store that I can’t even understand… things that are too wonderful for me to even know.  And I intend to hope and believe that the day will come when I can look back and say that I am grateful for all that we have been through and all that God has given me as I keep moving forward!

In the meantime, I’m just going to keep choosing joy!

Posted in Grief, Joy

Remembering to hope…

I remember a few months after Ben died meeting another lady who had recently lost her spouse.  I was so thankful to have someone who understood my pain and could relate to this uncertain new world I was entering.  When she invited me to a young widows support group I jumped at the opportunity.  I knew early on that surrounding myself with people who not only understood my pain, but who had been there, would make all the difference in how I navigated loss.

I remember sitting in tears and listening to this group of ladies sharing about losing their spouses, how long they had been married, and how long it had been since their loss.  These ladies had been attending this group for weeks, months, years, and some even decades.

I remember leaving so confused about how they could still be grieving such a loss so heavily after so much time had passed.  I remember telling my friend, I loved Ben so much, but I don’t want this to be what defines me for the rest of time.  Twenty years from now, I don’t want to still be introducing myself to people by my pain and loss…  I will ALWAYS be Ben’s widow, but I don’t want that to be the only thing that is left of me.

As time has gone on, I have realized that you don’t magically wake up one day and have the grief disappear.  Ben will always be there, and while the pain from losing him will lessen, it will never go away.  But I have also realized something critical to surviving loss, and that is that I have to grieve with hope.

Have you ever faced something and felt helpless to overcome it?  A death, a divorce, infertility, a lost job or an uncontrollable relationship?

I have met so many people who grieve without hope.  They believe their loss will define them until the end of time, and are determined that it is impossible to ever be happy again.  Charles Spurgeon said, “without Christ there is no hope.”

As difficult as it was to lose Ben (and I would NEVER have chosen it), I have prayed and believed since the day he died that God had a plan that would help to redeem some of that loss.  I believed that He would help us to come out braver, stronger, and while not without scar, with purpose.  There have been moments here and there where I lose sight of that, but when I reflect back on the past few years, I have never doubted that God has a plan even when I didn’t understand it.

I actually learned that from Ben.  After years of infertility and a devastating miscarriage; he taught me that life is not without pain, but we can’t let that pain define us.  God always sees us through and if we allow it, He will rewrite our stories in ways that we can’t even imagine.

I will always be a widow; just like I will always be a mom, a daughter, a teacher, and a lover of Christ.  And I will always need the support of other widows who understand what it is like to walk this road.  But when people introduce me twenty years from now, I want them to also remember me as someone who made the most of every day that she was given, not living in the land of “what ifs” and days gone by, but instead basking in the goodness of all that the Lord has given her in the present.

If you find yourself without hope; I pray that you will find a reason to dream again.  That God would allow you to hope for a better tomorrow… that you would be able to wake up and face the day with hope for all that He can be doing in and through you in this new season…

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

_Isaiah 41_10

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” Psalm 130:5

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7”

*** Please understand that I don’t want Ben forgotten, and my past will always help to define me.  Every bit of what I have been through in life is what makes me who I am today… but first and foremost, I am a child of God, who longs for my relationship with him to be the first thing people see when they meet me.

Posted in Grief, Joy

All My Broken Pieces…

A few weeks ago, a friend referenced broken pottery when describing what happened to our family when we lost Ben.  Her analogy of our family shattering into a million pieces so accurately depicted how I have felt the last few years about the pain from this loss.  She validated how hard it has been to pick up all those pieces and try to put them back together.  No matter how much we try; we will never be able to put all those pieces back together and restore them perfectly to what we had before.

Sometimes I still wonder if I will ever truly feel whole again.  If the broken pieces of me will ever fit back together well enough that I no longer feel the wind blowing through all of the cracks.  If my longing for perfection, will ever allow me to be satisfied with the reality of life after loss.  I long for the innocence that came from that “perfect” relationship, and the us against the world mentality; but am now faced with the reality that us against the world, could once again easily become, just ME.

Change has always been hard for me.  Growing up I wanted to marry, set down roots, and live in the same place close to my family for the rest of my life.  But God forced me of my comfort zone time and time again as he led me to marry someone in the military, follow him around the country and set down roots in new places over and over again.

Deep down, I know this is no different.  God is still leading me out of my comfort zone, into the unknown, and directing me to put my eyes on Him and Him alone.  I know that the piece that Ben filled will always be left empty, but this weekend I changed my perspective.  I saw a cracked jug in a store… it had a beautiful plant growing out of the broken places.  At first glance it may have seemed like trash, completely broken and wasted, something no one could use; but someone was able to make something beautiful grow out of the brokenness.

I want that to be me.  I want to trust God to create something new and beautiful in my broken places.  What about the broken places in your life?  Do you ever feel they are beyond repair? I pray that you would be able to make something beautiful out of that brokenness in a way that only Jesus can.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

I didn’t buy that cracked jug.  At the time I didn’t want a reminder of the brokenness that I feel on a daily basis… but I have been thinking about it all week… and I may go back to that store and bring it home.  I need that daily reminder that God can create beautiful things out of our brokenness if we let Him.

God can create something beautiful out of all your broken places.

Posted in Joy

You are not a statistic… and neither am I!

Have you ever been asked a question and after answering thought about all the things you should have said differently? I have. I’m notorious for sleepless nights spent overthinking every comment I have made and wondering if I said the right thing.

Last summer a sweet boy questioned me about my roots. He was curious where he had come from and whether he would grow up a certain way based on his heritage. I remember answering that we each have a choice about the type of person we are going to grow up to be, and regardless of where we come from, we have the choice to be and do something different.

The other day someone posed a question about relationships to me. They asked if I know the divorce statistics for second marriages. My immediate response was that I’ve never had a failed marriage (my apologies in advance if this offends you; but the loss of a relationship by death is different than divorce and I do not believe the two should be automatically grouped together).

I didn’t get a chance to explain myself at the time; but if I had, I’d like to believe the response would have been something like this…

You are not a statistic and neither am I. Regardless of what the world tells us the outcome will be, we have a choice in the outcome of our destiny. And we serve a God who can redeem any situation! If we refuse to give in to defeat, we will not be defeated.

If you go into anything knowing that it may not turn out the way you are wanting, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of a different outcome than the one you desire. Refuse to accept the possibility of defeat. Refuse to allow yourself to see it as an option.

Some of the best marriages I have seen have been second marriages. Marriages between two people who due to death or divorce have learned that life and relationships are much harder than they originally believed. They have gone into a second marriage with eyes wide open and knowing all the odds against them. They have been successful because despite the odds, they refuse to see failure as an option.

Friend, if you have lost someone you loved through death or divorce, you are not a statistic. You don’t have to fear opening yourself up to that again because the odds of repeating the past are higher than the odds of success. You are the author of your own destiny. Embrace life and keep loving… know that God can and will redeem this if you will let Him lead and guide you!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Romans 15:13 (NIV)