Being laid off of a job, getting diagnosed with cancer, having your home and possessions burned to the ground, losing a loved one, breaking your foot, sinking into depression with no idea what to do next in this life, are all either recent experiences of personal friends, or have been prominent in the news. I will claim the broken foot. So many are asking questions like why me, what do I do now, how could this happen? This is not fair!
These are all examples of tremendous life challenges that have consumed my thoughts during much of what has happened over the past couple months. Witnessing the reports and destruction of the fires in California, to hearing the heart felt and agonizing story of a dear friend who lost her newborn daughter, the incredible strength and resilience of the human spirit never fails to amaze me. God’s grace abounds in the midst of it all.
As I listened to the stories from adults and young children alike as they recap their escape from the fires, to the selfless acts of so many firefighters and volunteers, I was brought to tears with gratitude. While I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose all my earthly possessions and be scared to death as fire consumed my surroundings, the reports of the rebuilding that has already started and pictures of kids holding their pets as they begin to smile, gives me hope for the future.
Last weekend, a former youth leader at our church, Linda Vannoy-Castillo, talked about her new book, Live Without Borders. It is a book about her life’s journey in which she discusses, among many other things, the tragic loss of her husband to a motorcycle accident, and the story of how she has beat cancer 6 different times! Hearing her tell of unbelievable loss and challenge was heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. The beautiful way in which she told of the transformation from loss and grief to the incredible ministry she has created, truly impressed me. It is well worth a read.
Friends, whether you’ve experienced life changing loss from fires, and illness, the loss of a loved one, or something else, don’t let it reduce you. We must all have a chance to grieve, but we must also let healing come in. The hand we are dealt in life is never the one we envisioned for ourselves, but with the grace of God and help of others, it is a hand we can learn to play with joy, peace, and love. Get out there and embrace the journey, no matter what happens. For the best is yet to come!