One resource Deep River Books has in great abundance is authors. We like to keep in touch with our publishing family–through the good times and the bad (more on that in our News & Tips section). Occasionally, we’ll run across something like the piece you’re about to read by Heidi McLaughlin. A piece that is poignant and universal, and that we want to share. This month, we decided to do something a little different than usual. Instead of interviewing an author, we wanted to let one speak for herself on an important topic. For more about Heidi, see her bio after the piece. Finding Hope When Life Falls Apart -Heidi McLaughlin- While having lunch with a friend, she looked me square in the eye and blurted out: “Can I ask you a personal and tough question?” I smiled, nodded and she proceeded. “I know that in the last 23 years both your husbands died suddenly, one on the basketball floor and one on your kitchen floor. These similar events both happened before Christmas. How do you reconcile this with God?” I smiled and chose my words carefully before I began. At church we worship with hands in the air, clapping and declaring that God is a “good, good God, and that He is good all the time.” What joy to sing this when life is good and our daily normal is filled with passion and purpose. But, how do we find hope in the midst of devastating and mysterious events? In spite of my circumstances I am able to heal and find hope because of what God taught me in the past. Here is what I shared with my friend. Things happen in life that we will never understand. God who created Heaven and earth, and who makes the sun come up each morning and forms babies in a mother’s womb is greater and much smarter than I am. God tells us we shouldn’t even try to figure Him out. I had to settle this with God when my first husband, Dick, died in 1994. “’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” –Isaiah 55:8. The most important part of healing is to KNOW that all that happens is part of God’s perfect plan for our lives. We have to prepare our soul for times of crisis. Because crisis will come! We can’t expect to run a triathlon without training, and we can’t repay a demand loan of $100,000.00 if we don’t have a penny in the bank. We have to prepare and strengthen our spiritual muscles every day by spending time reading God’s word, praying and learning to trust Him with the little things in life. When the big stuff comes along, we will be in pain but we won’t be destroyed. Build a loving community. After my first husband died suddenly, I became shockingly aware of the need for building loving and sustaining relationships. God made us to be His hands and feet for each other and we need each other. Over the years, I made intentional efforts to be involved in loving communities of friends. In the past two months, God has loved on me through these beautiful people who sat with me, hugged me, wept with me, prayed for me, fed me and shoveled my driveway. They have been the face of God for me. Trust God with every detail of your pain. The 23rd Psalm has been a lifeline for me. It reminds me that God is our good shepherd, and He is with us, and helping us walk “through” the valley of the shadow of death. If we truly believe this, we can cry out to Him for help and He will answer our prayers. A good shepherd watches every movement of his sheep, and makes sure his sheep are fed, cared for and free from danger. When we are knocked down, He wants to restore our soul. But we have to do what He says! “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” –Psalm 23:2 (NASB). In order for my soul to be restored I have to create quiet time to feed my soul with His promises, talk to Him in prayer, and then look and wait for His answers. During my grief I am spending one to two hours in the morning to seek God. I tell him everything. I ask Him for everything and I know He hears my prayers. By spending time with God He is healing me and restoring my soul. Know that God does not hurt us intentionally. God is the I Am of all I Am’s. The name of God is YHVH, which means “I Am.” When I say, “I am Heidi McLaughlin” that means that my “I am” only exists because of His. I know that everything in my life flows from Him and He would never intentionally hurt himself, so why would He hurt me? The only time He hurt himself was when He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and freedom. What kind of radical love is that? That’s the kind of love that brings us through pain, heals broken hearts and gives us hope for our future. I put my trust in that kind of love because I know my loving shepherd is right beside me, preparing a banqueting table in the midst of the enemy of my pain. Together, we are walking “through” the dark valley. Hope beckons me forward. More about McLaughlin… Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She has been widowed twice. Heidi is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. She has published three books with DRB: Beauty Unleashed, Sand to Pearls, and her most recent Restless for More. When Heidi isn’t working, she loves curling up with a great book, golfing or laughing with family and special friends. Buy her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide). Now available at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Goodreads.com or her website: heartconnection.ca.