This Christian woman knows what God’s faithfulness looks like. Her life is a first-hand experience in trusting God. She understands what it means to rest at the throne of God for every day provisions, for the strength to carry on, for guidance in the midst of trial. Today’s encouraging guest post is written by the lovely Lisa Appelo. Stay tuned every 1st Tuesday for another Your Story. To God be the glory as you walk deeper with him.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
I have long known that God is Faithful. I have sung hymns about it, taught my kids about it, memorized verses about it and seen it many times in my own life.
It’s one thing to read about God’s faithfulness or know it cerebrally. But it’s altogether amazing to learn that when life as you know it collapses, God is. In these last four years, we have seen God’s faithfulness over and over and over.
In 2011, our family was in a typically busy summer. My husband Dan loved his work. I stayed home with our seven children – five boys and two girls ranging from a 4-year-old to our 19-year-old college freshman. Though we had normal trials that come with raising children and meeting expenses and making a marriage, life was full and good.
Dan had asked me to go with him on a business trip to the Keys. I hesitated because it would leave only one day to get our whole family packed for a 50th anniversary trip to Maine for my parents. Lying in bed the night before the business trip, I sighed and told Dan I didn’t think I could make it.
Then I thought, the only thing your husband wants is for you to go on this trip. Just go.
And so I went and we had three days together, to reminisce, to stop at our favorite restaurants and to really say everything that needed to be said.
Arriving home, I went to bed early to prepare for a huge day of packing. Sometime in the early morning hours, I woke to Dan’s heavy breathing. I nudged him with my eyes still closed. “It’s just a nightmare, Hon. It’s okay.” A few seconds later, more awake, I realized this was not nightmare breathing. Flipping on the light, I saw instantly that something was very wrong.
As the 911 operator walked me through CPR, I thought surely I am not giving CPR to the man I just kissed goodnight. I told Dan we loved him in case they were the last words he might hear.
The paramedics took Dan to the hospital, still unconscious, and I went upstairs to see our children. My heart broke all over again. They were crying together in the boys’ bedroom. Everything in me wanted to reassure them that Daddy would be okay, but I couldn’t promise that. We prayed together, I hugged them and told them I would be home soon. It was about 4:30 a.m.
At the ER, I sensed that it didn’t look good. I wanted to hear the rushing of intense patient care, but it was quiet and still. The ER doctor soon came out and gently told me they had tried everything but had been unable to revive Dan.
I went back to see him one last time. To kiss him and memorize every feature of that face I had loved for 26 years. I slipped off his wedding ring and headed to my car, a mixture of fogged shock and raw pain.
In those moments I think I realized more about what marriage is than I ever had before. “They shall become one flesh.” We were one flesh alright and I felt like I had been ripped clean through with dangled threads hanging raw. Our hopes, dreams, arguments, make-ups, children, struggles, hurts and life together had stitched us into one. Now — tomorrow’s plans, next week’s list, our little family life with seven children we were raising– was shredded and would never be again.
What do you do when life as you know it collapses?
I have never asked God why but I sure have asked what now? What about my littlist girl that cried every day for over a year that she missed her daddy? What about our 6-year-old son who played just like neighborhood friends by day but cried himself to sleep each night? How was I going to raise three teen boys that needed their six-foot dad to help them navigate to manhood? How in the world was God going to fix eight broken hearts?
When you are at a place where you are utterly dependent on God, you are in the very best place.
Every single morning, I got by myself for time in the Word. It was my very food and I needed God so desperately. I’d write at the top of my journal “THIS IS TOO HARD, LORD. I CANNOT DO THIS.”
And every single day, God lifted my head. His Word encouraged and gave hope. I wrote our name by verses, cried through Psalms and was reminded that this? This was easy for God. He WOULD take care of us because He promised it.
God has so faithfully done that. I could tell you story after story of God’s practical provision for us, His encouragement, His guidance, His wisdom to me as a single mom. I could tell you BIG things He’s done — the kind that made me cry and my children gape in happy amazement. I can tell you about times when He has so personally met need that only He and I knew.
We’re almost four years out. The pain is less raw and we’ve slowly developed a new rhythm. Some days are easier; others we sink into deep missing. We will forever miss Dan but I’ve seen that God plants joy right in the midst of suffering.
And I know without hesitation that God is Faithful. It is his character and He can be nothing else.
Lisa is a recent widow and now single mama to 7. She writes about God’s faithfulness in the hard and all of the crazy good lessons God is teaching at True and Faithful.