I didn’t “move on”; I moved forward. Moving on sounds like you left something behind and forgot it. Moving forward means you take steps to rebuild your life one step at a time, taking with you all the glories, all the mess, all the imperfections, and all the sacred moments of the past.
When I lost my sweet Jeff, dreams were on the threshold of becoming realities. My book was within two months of release; speaking opportunities were becoming more frequent and with greater attendance; the ministry was becoming all I thought God had placed upon my heart. And then, suddenly, the gnarly, villainous arms of death crept in like a thief and stole my Jeff, taking all my hopes and dreams with him. The world became dark, and the pain suffocated the life out of me.
I tried. I really did. I tried to hope and to become the great pillar of faith I was before and to believe that all those dreams could still come true. I remained true to my conviction that God was Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals, even though he didn’t choose to heal Jeff. I tried to understand the great purpose for my pain and to continue taking steps to create at least some form of the life I knew before Jeff passed away. But grief changes a person, and I will never be the same. Not better, not worse; just not the same.
As time has passed, I have come to realize that perhaps those old dreams were not to be resurrected, at least not in the form they were before. I had to move forward in my life, and in doing so, I found that new dreams were awakening in my heart. The old dreams were beautiful and full of purpose, but they were shattered by the trauma I endured. Perhaps the pieces weren’t to be put together the same way. God has the power to reconstruct a life while recreating new dreams from the ashes of the old. I have begun to reimagine my life.
I’m not leaving the old dreams behind and forgotten, no more than I’m forgetting my Jeff or the spectacular life I shared with him. Instead, I am using all of the beautifully tragic circumstances as strength and a platform to move forward and build new dreams, a new life with a new man, and a new awareness of the fragility of it all. And I am excited, once again, about the future. God can now do his splendorous work of creating while I release myself as clay in the Potter’s hands. How sad it makes me to think of those who don’t have the hope of Jesus in their hearts and His ability to create new and beautiful things out of the ashes of the old. What a vast void it must be to the soul.
So, as people see me change and rise and fall and rise and ride the wind, I hope they’ll see beauty from ashes. My greatest desire is to help other women rise from the ashes, to adorn them from the inside out with the knowledge of their God-given beauty and strength, and to help them to see themselves as God does so that the reflection they see in the mirror affirms their royal status in the Kingdom of Heaven. They are princesses and a royal diadem in their Father’s hand. And if God wants to, He can grant some of the dreams and wishes of the past. That will be up to Him. In the meantime, I may do a little “tent-making” as Paul did and a whole lot of farming along the way, just as long as my life brings glory to the name of Jesus Christ.
New day. New dreams. May I be counted worthy of the opportunity to experience this journey, and through it all, may the beauty of Jesus be seen in me until I get to realize my final home in Heaven. In the meantime, I want to take so many women with me on this quest for holy fire and a spirit-filled life, all while adorned with garments of praise instead of spirits of despair. Life can be hard, but there is so much joy. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Hope Glimmering