Your Story: Lisa Appelo

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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 everyday 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.

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It is because of Yahweh’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail.

They are new every morning.

    Great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 WEB

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.

Summer 2011

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.

The 911 Call

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

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.

When Life Collapses

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.

I Cannot Do This

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.

About Lisa Appelo

Lisa Appelo facebook profile

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.

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40 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful and moving story!!! Two great take-aways: 1. It is such a good reminder to never ever take one single moment for granted. Love on each other. 2. God can lift us up out of the deepest despair and provide a way where there seems to be none.
    Thanks Lisa, and thank you Kristi.

    1. Isn’t Lisa’s story a grabber for what God can do? Christy, it affected me in the same way. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I am so thankful for this post. It makes me think of the things I don’t consider, all I take for granted and how great our God is. Powerful. Thank you for sharing this Kristi and Lisa. Cheering on today from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    1. The Lord’s power through Lisa’s story is evident, isn’t it, Kelly? I’m thankful she shared, too. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Lisa, thank you for sharing your story here at Kristi’s place today. It is so inspiring to see a woman of God go through something so devastating and still continue seeking Him and praising Him. You are a light in this world. Blessings to you.

  4. What a beautiful story, Lisa. So inspiring to read that you obeyed God’s nudging and went on that last trip with Dan. Kristi, thanks for sharing Lisa’s story and linking up at #TestimonyTuesday!

  5. I am speechless. My fella and I celebrate 38 years today and there are tears in my eyes. Tears because I understand the two being one and tears because I realize that marriage is a wonderful gift. Even in the hard times, it is a gift. Blessings Lisa. Thank you for sharing your heart, your pain and God’s love and provision. Thank you Kristi for sharing your page today. You have blessed me. <3 Sharing this on my FB page.

  6. Lisa, I am without adequate words to express the shock of a world fallen apart, and the joy of God’s faithfulness. I pray I remember your testimony and seize the moments to love on those close to me and even more fully live my life with intention.

    Thank you, Kristi, for sharing at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing.

  7. This was so powerful! Thank you for your honest sharing. I am the mother of seven as well, and cannot imagine losing my best friend and having to deal with all those little broken hearts missing their daddy. And all while you were broken and hurting too. How wonderful that God has sustained you through these difficult years.
    May God richly bless you sweet one,
    Kamea

    1. There have been hard and messy days…especially as I learned how to parent without the humor and spine of my husband. But we continue to cling to God and ask for much grace from each other. Thank you, Kamea.

  8. Wow, I am holding back the tears as I read this. What a demonstration of relying on God in a way that many of us cannot even comprehend. And what a beautiful gift – the time you and your husband had together, just the two of you. Thank you for sharing this. It shows me a deeper level of trust, provision, and hope. May God richly bless you and your precious kids.

  9. What a testimony, Lisa. I cannot begin to imagine what you have been through. How beautiful that God has shown Himself faithful and that YOU are standing on His faithfulness. Thank you for sharing your story. This makes me realize how important it is to appreciate my husband and family.

  10. I love her Kristi, When I get to read the story of God’s faithfulness in the life of another, some how I grow a little more. Let your faithfulness continue on us all Lord. I loved reading this story today. I’m praying for Lisa and her family. Thanks for sharing.

    1. His faithfulness abounds in Lisa’s story, doesn’t it, Jamie? We can’t help but grow. Thanks for stopping in, my friend.

  11. Precious Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing your heart. You are touching so many of us with your honesty and your dependency on our Heavenly Father. John and I plan on celebrating our 50th this year, but we have learned to take nothing for granted. I am grateful for every day with him, and we both know that our lives are in God’s hands. You are a special blessing to all who know you and your sweet family. I love you and continue to pray for you and your family.

  12. Wow, I had tears, such a powerful story of your faith in the Lord and His provision over your family. I can’t even begin to imagine how you put one foot in front of the other, other than through the strength of the Lord. Blessings to you and your family. Your neighbor at #livefree

  13. Lisa, thank you for sharing your story. I have so many thoughts running through my mind. I too have had “this is too hard Lord,” circumstances. What a blessing to know God and His faithfulness when I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed. God’s blessings to you and your children. You are touching many hearts for His glory.

  14. Oh wow. This really is an amazing reminder that our worst fears could happen, but God is faithful because He can be nothing but. Thank you for encouraging all of our hearts and faith with such an incredible God Story. All of His stories are incredible, but praise God for the testimony on Lisa’s lips. So much power in that to spread hope, love, and the deep peace of Jesus to others. Loved this line—-> “When you are at a place where you are utterly dependent on God, you are in the very best place.” Amen!

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. I did not realize Dan passed away until I looked him up tonight after doing some research for my resume. Dan hired me for my first professional job after graduation subsequent to me meeting him at a college career fair when he was recruiting for CCP. He was such a good person and made a lasting impression upon me as a man who was foremost a Christian, husband and father. He spoke so highly of you & your beautiful family. I’m so deeply sorry upon learing about his passing. My prayers go out to all of you.