All of us want a story that begins “once upon a time . . .” and ends ” . . . and they lived happily ever after.” The day the tragic motorcycle accident tore my late husband’s, Pastor Paul’s, physical presence from this earth, my world collapsed. My fairytale became a nightmare, and my life as I knew it ended. With Pastor Paul’s “promotion to heaven,” our marriage of twenty-eight years was over. And I assumed a new title: widow.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Luke 1:46
Within the first few months as a single woman, I learned a lot about how to ask for help: personal and family grieving, financial struggle, preparing meals for one, making major decisions (buying a car, putting a new roof on my home, and remodeling a bathroom), even traveling to Africa alone. Fearful at first, I received discernment from God and, accustomed to my independence, developed a new confidence and conquering spirit.
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” Lamentation 3:25
In June 2012, widower Jim Turner asked if he could clean my garage. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted help; however, the Lord asked me to be open and accept it. Jim’s wife, Peggy, succumbed to a five-year battle with breast cancer eighteen months prior, and we shared our grief as we sorted. Through that task and other chores, Jim and I became good friends and began dating. Jim and I have known each other for twenty-five years. Both our families attended the same church, Jim’s wife and I were friends, our children were in the same youth group, and he took care of our family as our chiropractor. God has melted my heart into something he can mold. Jim and I have fallen deeply in love.
“Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the disappointment of your widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4
My story reminds me of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, also widowed at a young age and fearful of what her future would hold, yet she remained faithful. We see God’s grace in the midst of Ruth’s difficult circumstances. God provided Ruth a kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, to share her future. A hopeless romantic, my faith in fairytale happy endings has been restored. Jim and I are planning a spring wedding. My Boaz has come!
Thanks so much for sharing in our joy!