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For All Seasons
Little girl with sled
Photo: Hemera
I knew that eventually I’d have to experience all the seasons, but in reality I’d lived most of my life in summer. I had a good childhood, married my high school sweetheart, had a lovely daughter and generally lived a happy life. Of course, there were ups and downs, but I considered them just summer storms.

Oh, I knew what winter was like because I grew up in Michigan. Winter sports such as ice skating, sledding and skiing, combined with the occasional snow day from school were all to be enjoyed. It wasn’t until reaching adulthood that I realized that winter sometimes meant gloom, frozenness, cold and gray, gray days. But, like I said, I lived most of my life in summer, until …

I entered the real winter of my life on January 3, 2005. On that day, Mel, my high school sweetheart and husband of nearly 40 years, was critically injured in an automobile accident. He died the next day without ever regaining consciousness. Suddenly, every descriptive word about winter applied to my life and to my heart: frozen, numb, dark, gloomy, lonely, despairing, hopeless, desolate, forlorn, abandoned, deserted.

My husband had engraved on my wedding ring Genesis 2:24 – “they shall become one flesh.” When you’re married to someone you love and who loves you, it isn’t just physical joining, it’s spiritual and mental joining as well. Suddenly that joining was torn apart. I felt bereft -- as if part of me had disappeared. For weeks after the accident, I’d look in the mirror and was surprised to find that I didn’t look any different because inside half of me was missing. The other half of my flesh, of my very self, of my very being had been ripped away. I no longer knew who I was, where I was going or what life meant.

The End of the Line?

One night in my sadness and despair, I poured out a handful of sleeping pills and stood in front of my bathroom mirror contemplating what was left of my life. How could I go on without my beloved Mel? But God is there working in our lives even when we don’t know it. He brought two thoughts to my mind that stopped me from swallowing those pills. The first was of the incredible love that my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren had showered on me. How could I repay them for that love by making them go through still another funeral, another death? Secondly, I had been raised to believe that suicide was an “unforgivable sin” and couldn’t stand the thought of being rejected by God, the One on whom I was depending more and more. I poured the pills back into the bottle and went to bed.

Over and over I asked God, “Where were You in all of this? Mel was a fine Christian man, an elder in our church and had a wonderful Christian influence to everyone he met. He was gentle and yet strong. I continued to ask God why he hadn’t spared Mel’s life. How could He let such a terrible thing happen to someone who loved Him? At the same time, God drew me closer than I had ever been in spite of my many unanswered questions. Verses like Romans 8:38, “Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God,” began to make their way into my consciousness.

Last week during the sermon, one of Pastor Tim’s texts was Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” It’s taken me months to both realize and accept that Jesus IS the same every day. He loved Mel. He was with him on Sunday before the accident. He loved Mel. He got in the car with him on that rainy Monday morning, and was with him even as the accident was happening. He loved Mel. God was with Mel as he was being transported to the hospital. And He was with Mel on Tuesday in the hospital when Mel died. Jesus loved Mel. I also realized that God was with me at each of those times and He’s still with me today.

I still don’t understand what happened. What I do know is this: Mel loved God and served Him for most of his life and, even more importantly, God loved Mel. Because of that I feel confident that I will be reunited with Mel when God comes to take His loved ones home. Engraved on Mel’s stone at the cemetery are words from John 14:1-4. “Don’t’ be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

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By Dee Reed as told to her by Judy St. John. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © copyright 1996.

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