With Hope

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

~Isaiah 43:2

I know that lately I have been talking a lot about my grief and my sadness. It is all encompassing. I think about my husband much of the day. I cry every single day-numerous times a day. I know that there is a grief process and it'll be one that I will probably spend years walking through. I have mentally prepared myself for this to be an extremely long process of difficult moments mixed with small victories. When you spend a decade of your life with someone, then lose them in an instant, very few people can understand how painful it is unless you've been there. It is the deepest pain I have ever felt, the darkest place I have ever been to.

But. And there is a but.

There is hope deep within me in the midst of my circumstance.

In 1 Thessalonians it talks about not grieving as ones who have no hope. I will not grieve as one who has no hope. It's important to note that and it's important for me to proclaim that. I know where my husband is and he is with Jesus. I know that he is happy and that he is whole. I know he is walking in the fullness of everything that God has ever had for him. I know that I will see him again and once I do it will seem like the time apart was the blink of an eye. I also know that God has promised that He has not left me or my son. He has promised that He will take care of my family. He has promised that He will restore what was stolen from me. And His biggest promise? That He will turn my ashes into a thing of beauty like only He can do.

I know there have been many people directed to this blog who stopped reading the day that my husband passed away. To them the story of our family is over. Know this-the story of our family is just beginning. Joel's story is just beginning. Yes, his journey on this earth has physically ended but the impact of his life has not and will not end. God will turn the pain of losing him into a testimony of His greatness because that is what He promises to do.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

Our best days as a family are yet to be. I know that statement may be hard to understand because of what we have lost. But it comes from our deep belief in our God and His ability to restore what was lost and work all things together for our good. I don't look at anything with Joel's life as an end point. He's not here physically but he still lives and we will see him again. Until then my son and I are on a mission to tell his story and for God to still get His glory. We know that Joel will be cheering us on every step of the way.

I had a friend leave a comment on this blog that touched me beyond words. He told me about a dream he had about Joel in Heaven and he was looking down on Milo and I and he started to be sad for all of the pain we were walking through. But then Jesus went to Joel and was whispering in his ear and Joel was filled with joy once again. He said it was as if Jesus was showing him all of the things that God had in store for our family and it filled my husband with so much joy because he almost could not believe all of the incredible plans that God had for us. We know that our goodbye to Joel was not the end. And until we are reunited with him we have some work to do and we will make sure that he is at the center of it. I've said before God has never failed us and He won't start now and even in the midst of my grief I believe that now more than ever before. We grieve-with hope.

Not For a Moment-Meredith Andrews

You were reaching through the storm Walking on the water Even when I could not see In the middle of it all When I thought You were a thousand miles away Not for a moment did You forsake me Not for a moment did You forsake me

After all You are constant After all You are only good After all You are sovereign Not for a moment will You forsake me Not for a moment will You forsake me

You were singing in the dark Whispering Your promise Even when I could not hear I was held in Your arms Carried for a thousand miles to show Not for a moment did You forsake me

And every step every breath you are there Every tear every cry every prayer In my hurt at my worst When my world falls down Not for a moment will You forsake me Even in the dark Even when it's hard You will never leave me After all

Not for a moment will You forsake me