When tragedy strikes—be it on a national scale like Hurricane Harvey or a personal one like a death in the family—it can be difficult to see past the fog of the pain and sorrow. It is easy in such times to lose sight of the bigger picture and question God’s presence and grace. In a new post on Sadie Robertson’s Live Original blog, Christian blogger Brittany Price Brooker opened up about her family’s struggle in the aftermath of husband’s untimely death and how their faith brought them through “the places of being so worn out from grief to a place of life and hope.”
September 29, 2015 started like any other day for Brooker and her brood. After their three young sons kept them awake most of the night, Brooker’s husband Patrick decided to leave early for work. She remembers kissing him goodbye and going about her day, which included a trip to Bible study with her boys, but that afternoon she received a phone call that would change her life forever: her healthy, 30-year-old husband had suffered a heart attack and died.
“I experienced a life-changing brokenness when I least expected it,” she wrote. “I remember so clearly sitting there in that hospital hallway, trying my best to grasp the magnitude of the devastating news that had been given to me. But in a way that was beyond my own strength, I found myself saying, ‘The Lord gives and takes away, He is so good.’”
At just 25 years old and with three children under the age of three, Brooker found herself “walking a road I never could have imagined.” She admitted that grief, especially when it involved comforting her sons, often felt unbearable, but she chose to hold on “with everything I had to the hope that God was greater than my grief.”
One particular evening, Brooker recalled a message she received from God that reaffirmed her belief that everything would be okay.
Honestly, there were moments when I felt finished, that life as the happy full of life woman I used to be was gone forever. How could I dream again, when the person who was in those dreams was gone? I remember crying out to God one night saying, God what do you have for me? How can I still have life ahead of me after this? Jesus whispered in my heart, “Hold on, there is joy ahead. I am not finished with you yet.” As I began to press into the truth of God’s word and His mighty promises of Hope, He began to heal my broken heart through His precious presence, and showed me even though I didn’t understand it, He was using this pain for His purpose, if I would just hold on.
I watched as God started to do what He promised. He kept writing my story – not putting me to the side saying you are finished, but saying ‘You are part of a story that is bigger than yourself and I will bring it to pass, just keep obeying me.’ He cared so much for me and precious little fatherless boys, and He kept writing our story with an overwhelming amount of grace. He heard our cries for Him and He truly became enough for us. It was not Jesus plus something, but just Jesus. He brought us through the places of being so worn out from grief to a place of life and hope. He began to do a good work in me.
Brooker wrote that she was able to begin a “new chapter” in her life, one that was “filled with healing.” Instead of always wondering “why” things were happening, she said she started to ask “what” God wanted her to do. In doing the “what,” Brooker came to meet a fellow widower and his family, who would soon become part of her own.
The ‘WHAT do you want me to do with this?’ question became me plea to God to use this story that I never asked for to bring Him glory, because it was too painful to be wasted. It was during that shift in perspective that God began opening doors to encourage others who felt like God was done with them, and that their stories were over because of the pain they were drowning in.
As I was reaching out to one family in particular, another widower with two small children was encouraging the same family with the truth of God’s word. God started to show me His plan, and He began writing a new chapter in my life. Here was another person who could have been consumed by their circumstances, but was choosing life even when faced with the tragedy of death. God began to write a love story that was precious and filled with much joy – an answer to prayers I hadn’t even prayed, but a physical example of God being a great Author, and one who writes the best stories if only we surrender to Him. It may not be a story we imagined, but it will be one that shows He is always at work, even when we don’t see or feel it.
Brooker has since remarried, and she loving refers to her blended clan of five children as the “Brooker Bunch.” She wrote that they were “two families marked by pain … all with one parent in heaven and one on earth.” And while that pain was deep, “their stories didn’t stop at the pain.”
“We still have chapters in our lives marked with sorrow and hardship, but we also have them penned in grace and mercy,” she shared. “God didn’t give up on us when we’re at our lowest. He had a purpose for our lives and we had to trust when we couldn’t see.”
While overcoming grief is an extremely personal experience, Brooker hoped that in sharing her family’s story, she could remind someone currently struggling that there is hope to be found even in the darkest days.
“If you are reading this right now, you are living and breathing,” she wrote. “That means that God has a purpose for YOU, and your story is still being written. God is not done with you.”
Ultimately, God has a purpose for every human being, and it is up to us to trust in his plan.
“God is not through with YOU. He has a plan and it is good. Keep taking the next breath and believing in His truth that gives life to your weary heart. Keep holding onto hope even when it hurts. Keep trusting that He is at work behind the scenes in your life, even when you can’t see or feel it,” she concluded. “His stories are always good – even when they are not always easy or comfortable. He is the good God, and the best story writer. You will see His goodness in the land of the living, because He is the life-giver. God’s not done with you yet.”
Read the entire post HERE.