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Living Upward


en years ago I lost my wife to cancer. She was 35 years old. And if you read some of my dated blog posts, you will see how difficult her loss was to weather. We were perfect together, at least in my mind. She was the mother to the most incredible boys alive today. She was brave, so much more so than I.

I’m a believer in the power of conversations. A single conversation can change the course of anyone’s life. When she died, literally within five minutes, I decided to have two conversations: one with God, and the other with our boys to give them an opportunity at closure, however long it would be in coming. My conversation with God was simple, but life-changing for me. “God, this wasn’t what I thought would happen today, but now it’s just me and You. Please be with me.”

Equally as life-changing was the conversation I had with the beautiful 5-year-old and 8-year-old boys staring back at me in shock at the news that they would never see their mom alive again. We went home as a family of three for the very first time. And I had no idea how to live the next minute, let alone the rest of my life.

Nothing has ever been harder than losing the boys’ mom.

But God has been so good to me; to us. I remarried another incredible woman in Lindsey Graves six years later. The boys, now 15 and 18, have grabbed hold of their own futures with a vision of greatness in each of their respective interests. Life is filled with joy again.

On my way into work this morning, however, I realized that I’d lost sight of how truly great the work God has done in my life has been. I realized it after hearing Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns this morning for the very first time. This song captures exactly how I felt in the moments, days, weeks, months and years after losing Jeseca.

Click play on the song above and let the words sink in.

My soul was crushed. My faith was shipwrecked. You’ve been there, too, if not by losing your spouse, then by something else equally traumatic or earth-shattering.

But God says we are not alone. And it’s by that one simple truth that He carried me through. And He gave me the strength to carry our boys through. I will never lose sight of that again. It’s the foundation of the life I have now.

Would the relationship I have with my boys now ever have been as strong had Jeseca lived? I’ll never truly know, but I’d bet not. Tragedy brought us closer, and bonded us in a love stronger than we ever could have imagined.

So what does that mean? Did I gain by losing? In short, Yes, I did. Was it fun? Hardly. Was it worth it, though? I wouldn’t trade what we have for anything, not even for bringing Jeseca back. That’s so hard to say or think about, but it’s true. What I have with my boys, and now with Lindsey, could only have happened by losing the one I thought I could never live without. And I can accept that only because I know that God knows better than I do; that He knew it was time for Jeseca to leave to be with Him; that He knew my heart needed to feel a pain so deep in order to give a love so strong to the two boys He wants to change the world with. That He knew a young woman needed a man who understood loss and pain and still trusted in the God who made him; and that their union would take on a life of its own.

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