I have lived a lot of life in 34 years. Some people see this as tragic, but I know I am privileged.
I lived a whole lifetime with my husband Lynn, had my babies, became a widow and single mom, re-married to my amazing husband Brent Dongell, learned the hard work of becoming a healed, whole, healthy person who can lead and carry the presence and power of the Living God to fulfill her calling in Christ Jesus…
And now I am living as wife and mother separated from her family by international border for an indefinite amount of time… A journey countless families have experienced while immigrating to somewhere new.
Today marks Day #4, and I am thrilled to say that Brent and the girls are doing AMAZING. They are moved into our new home and getting settled with the help of an already loving and supportive community of friends! My girls are healthy, strong, secure, and thriving. They have no fear in this circumstance so far, but are peaceful and confident, safe with their amazing Dad, secure in Mama’s love, trusting that I’ll be there when I get there. Praise God!! This is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and the investment we’ve made into our still young family, making tough decisions to form a firm foundation for our marriage and family to thrive, even in times like these.
All glory to God!
Friends, I am not destitute in my present circumstance. I am aching, but not a grieving widow overwhelmed by the darkness of death (as before). I am strong. My family is strong. And I will be with them soon.
I am blessed in this season to revisit my life toolbelt stacked with the tools I acquired on the long dark night of the soul through my seasons of grief and restoration.
I’ve written about them on the pages of my 1st book (charting the journey through grief and the dark night of the soul), and will write about more on the pages of the 2nd (unpacking the growth, healing, and process of restoration that took place on the other side of remarriage and leadership – tools acquired through change and building a new life).
I’d love to share with you some of the tools that I am utilizing in this present circumstance. As much as I want these to be practical, so much of life’s battles are fought in the mind. These tools reflect truths, mindsets, and understandings that allow me to move through difficult times with a steady peace (at least most of the time!) and a faithful confidence in my good and loving God.
This post is merely an introduction to others that will follow, but here is my #1 Tool:
#1. The power to say YES.
I have given my YES to Jesus, and can therefore know that my God is in control.
In all circumstances, no matter the cost, whether I understand it or not, no matter the situation, I have the power to choose to give Jesus my YES.
He has given me His YES, and I continue to give Him mine.
I choose to say YES to His plan. YES to His ways that are higher than mine. YES to His thoughts that are higher than mine.
I have entrusted my whole being into His hands, as well as my family’s because He is more than qualified to take on the job of being God in my life.
Because of that, I can wade into the troubled waters of this life with the peaceful assurance that my God reigns. He reigns over my life and was perfectly capable of opening the border to me if He wanted to.
If I could lay back on my bed and breathe out the words, “Daddy, I need an arranged marriage,” and a few months later open the front door of my Prince Edward Island waterfront grief home to look into the eyes of a California, surfer boy (who had clearly lost his way to end up temporarily in Atlantic Canada), delivering into my hands a painting that said, “RESTORE Suddenly,” and marry me about 9 months later… Clearly He is capable of opening a border.
When Jesus calls, and we respond with YES, and then continue responding with YES, no matter the circumstance, He is LORD over our lives.
There is no safer place to be than fully surrendered to His sovereign reign over my life.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
YES, Father. You are my God. And You have my YES.
“Did I not say that if you believe me [keep you YES in me] than you will see the glory of God.” (John 11:40)
Note: Psalm 31:1-5 (The PASSION Translation) has been my go-to passage for Scripture meditation in this situation:
I trust you, Lord, to be my hiding place.
Don’t let me down.
Don’t let my enemies bring me to shame.
Come and rescue me, for you are the only God
who always does what is right.
Rescue me quickly when I cry out to you.
At the sound of my prayer may your ear be turned to me.
Be my strong shelter and hiding place on high.
Pull me into victory and breakthrough.
For you are my high fortress, where I’m kept safe.
You are to me a stronghold of salvation.
When you deliver me out of this peril,
it will bring glory to your name.
As you guide me forth I’ll be kept safe
from the hidden snares of the enemy—
the secret traps that lie before me—
for you have become my rock of strength.
Into your hands I now entrust my spirit.
O Lord, the God of faithfulness,
you have rescued and redeemed me.