Looking back on our life before October 14, 2016 is something that I do often, I want my old life back. The life with my four children that bickered constantly. The life with calls for money to be transferred to four kid’s bank accounts. The stress of making sure I coordinated our schedules to have our family of six all in the same place at the same time. I want that life back. In the years prior to that day, I believe that God was preparing us for what was ahead even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I do not believe that it was part of God’s plan for Derek to be taken from us that day but I do believe that He knew it would happen. Looking back, I can see God’s hand working in so many ways to help us prepare for the most difficult experience of our lives.
Life hasn’t been easy for us, a Military family with many moves, many combat deployments, two miscarriages, and many tough situations. Marriage was hard, raising kids was hard, and life was just hard. My marriage got so hard that I quit listening to God and gave up. I walked away from my twenty year marriage when it got really hard. Thankfully, God didn’t walk away from me and he kept working on me, convicting me, and tugging at my heart. I started listening and trusting Him again and I’m so glad I did. A year and a half before that horrible day in October, my husband and I started working things out, repairing what we had broken, and restoring our failed marriage. On May 7, 2016, we were married again and had our family back together. It was a decision that would strengthen us as we faced that heartbreaking day that was ahead.
Fast forward five months to October 2, 2016, God was working for the good of our family that day. Derek went to Georgia with one of his college buddies to spend the weekend with his family. He went to church with them that day and heard a sermon on The Parable of The Prodigal Son and how God loves us even when we mess up. On that same Sunday in Texas, we decided to visit a new church. We responded to an invitation in the mail to hear Don Piper, the author of 90 Minutes in Heaven, speak about his near death experience and his time in Heaven. I talked to Derek that evening about what he heard in church that day, what we heard in church that day, his relationship with God, and the struggles and temptations of being a college kid. We talked about his decision to accept Jesus as his Savior as a young boy and how God loves us even when we mess up. I’m so thankful for the talk I had that day with Derek. I’m also thankful that twelve days later when I heard that my oldest son was no longer here, I had visions of Heaven as Don Piper described it and Derek being met by his Great-Grandparents when he got there.
Oh how it hurts and I want him here. I want our family of six all together again. I want to watch Derek graduate from college, get married, and start a family. I know that God didn’t want Derek to be taken from us that day but I do believe that He was putting things in place to help us deal with the tragic situation that was coming. I’m sure I will always question God and I won’t understand until I join my oldest son and Jesus in Heaven. I have to trust Him though and know that He works for the good of those that love Him.
Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to trust you even when my heart is broken.
“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