Read His Words Before Ours!
A few months ago, after supper, a dear friend of mine sat down with me, and began to open up about a big part of her story. I’d heard bits and pieces over the course of our friendship, but we hadn’t gone this deep before. She gave me permission to share her heart with you, in the hopes that you can encourage someone else.
When you first meet Wanda, you can’t help but smile. She embodies someone that loves the Lord, undeniably. She has a servant’s heart that I pray I can learn from, as well as a genuine love for everyone that crosses her path. She is one of the most creative people I’ve ever encountered, and has this incredible ability to turn something from rags to beauty with just a bit of love and inspiration. I admire her so much, and when I think of all that she has gone through, it stops me in my tracks.
On that Monday evening in her living room with my daughter Maizie playing at our feet, I asked her to tell me about losing her 3rd husband, Brad. Wanda’s life had significantly altered course, yet she still passionately chose to live and love deeply. Her life spoke volumes of a dependence on our Heavenly Father and I wanted to hear the heart behind her faith. She smiled and told me that for her to talk about the present, she needed to start in the past.
You see, Wanda’s story is one that includes being in multiple abusive marriages, losing her husband to suicide, spending time in jail, being involved with drugs and alcohol, and losing custody of her children.
But, her story doesn’t end there.
Following Brad’s death, Wanda’s life took an unfortunate turn. With no one to lean on, she found herself in a home filled with hard drugs and alcohol, causing her to fall back into a lifestyle she thought she’d walked away from. This time the consequences of her decisions carried even more weight, as she had her twin boys by her side.
One night, she gathered enough courage to pack her things and leave that home and all it represented. During the trek out of town that night, a series of events landed her in jail and her boys in the foster care system.
She spent the next few years in and out of jail. While in prison for the last time, she allowed herself to unpack the weight of all she’d been carrying over the course of the last decade.
It all came to a head, and a once-familiar Voice of the Lord came rushing back with these sweet words:
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.”
These verses have become Wanda’s battle cry over the last several years. A reminder, that though life has thrown unexpected curve balls her way, she can rest and rely on Jesus, because in Him she will find His perfect peace.
Even after all these years, Wanda is still working through the grieving and healing process of being a widow and a single mother. This encourages me that grieving is a process, a necessary one. Wanda’s story reminds me to be compassionate to the widows in my life, sensitive to the reality that they have experienced grief in a way I haven’t. We can learn from these ladies!
One of the ways that the Lord has brought healing and allowed the walls that once surrounded Wanda’s heart to come down has been through the local church. It has been a place where she has found true brothers and sisters in Christ that have come alongside her, and her boys, encouraging and lifting them up through the process. She has been able to use the talents that the Lord gave her in many of the church ministries, from painting to taking care of babies, and everything in between.
Again, Church, where are we? Women who have lost their Loves are among us, do we know them? Are we alert to their needs? Are we finding new outlets for them to serve because God’s purposes have not ended for these precious ones!
For Wanda, she has chosen to remain single, even though she is still young, and
run after all that God has for her.
A beautiful encouragement for each of us; whether we are single, married, widowed, or divorced.
Let’s run after Him together, arms interlocked, so we can carry each other along the way!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!