On this particular morning, I felt led to pray for my husband before I left for the day. I don’t remember the words that came out of my mouth, but I knew he was stressed at work. Normally, I would check in with him by text throughout the day and get a quick response. But I didn’t hear back from him all day long. When I got home and he wasn’t there, but his car was, I knew something was going on and immediately called the police. After two days of searching and praying, there was a knock at the door. The officer said that they had found him, that he wouldn’t be coming home, and that it looked like suicide.
I was a new mom gearing up to celebrate my son’s first birthday and the most traumatic moment of my life happened. There was no inclination that suicide was on my husband’s mind. We were in a sweet season of life with our son. I’ve tried looking back to see what I had missed, but at some point, I had to decide to stop trying to figure it out. I’ve concluded that I will not ever fully understand suicide or mental health. I decided to turn my gaze to Jesus and the Word for truth.
My understanding of this broken and fallen world deepened, and it caused me to run to Jesus. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and gave me new hope as I read James 1:2-4 over and over again. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
My son and I would not have to live in utter suffering and crushing grief. Life comes with trials and heartache but in our faith, we would lack nothing. God’s Word reminded me in my grief that I am being made more complete. Though I tragically lost my husband, I will lack nothing because of Jesus’ work in me.
Several months after losing my husband, I went on a retreat where I met an army of courageous women with young children who had gone before me in the loss of their husbands. Though my grief was still fresh, I knew in time that I wanted faith like theirs and I wanted to come alongside other widows. I now have the honor of leading the ministry, Songs in the Night, where we host retreats and offer discipleship relationships for widows. This is one way I get to see God turning my pain into purpose this side of heaven.