It's been a privilege to share the stories of some of my friends during October's Marriage Mondays. Antoinette started us off and has been so sweet to provide a giveaway set of jewelry each week. This week's set is perfect for the end of October. Find out at the end of today's story how to enter to win.
Today's story is a story of survival, but it's a story of surviving the heartache of disappointment, of a friend who gave her heart to a man, but never married. Connie came into my life earlier this summer, and her simple words of wisdom, deep faith in God, and spirit of encouragement have blessed me over and over. One day as I was taking Connie on an errand after she had a stay in the hospital, we talked about our life journeys, and she shared with me her "Almost-Married Survival Story." I benefit today, along with others, because of how she survived the grief that sometimes comes with falling in love.
Connie was in her early twenties and living in a rural area when she fell in love with a young man named James. In the miraculous way that oneness happens, the two decided to get married and spend the rest of their lives together. With very little money between them, James told Connie she needed to be patient and wait while he earned a "nest egg" for their life together. I'm not surprised that my sweet friend was content to be patient, trusting that they had many years ahead.
It was on an afternoon that was probably a lot like today, sunny with blue skies, that her sweetheart James and a friend decided to go for a motorcycle ride together. Connie stayed behind to prepare supper, and James told her he would be back in a little while. When time passed and the day grew longer, state troopers arrived at the house and approached the door. With supper ready, Connie couldn't imagine why they were at her house.
They delivered news she never dreamed of; James was involved in an accident and killed. He was never coming home for supper, and she was never going to marry the man she gave her heart to and waited for. She was heart broken.
It's been about 40 years since the troopers arrived at the house with the awful news, and yet it was obvious that the memory and emotion are still fresh. When I asked how she managed to recover and go on, she said, "After James passed away I just decided I needed to take my love and give it to anyone or any little creature who needed tenderness and care in this ol' world, and that's what I've done."
And she has. A visit to her home includes meeting the dog she took in and the cat that her dog took in. ;) Most of all, I've had the joy and "lesson" of watching Connie gently and tenderly reach out to hurting women at the Serenity Women's Shelter where we minister together. She finds the one who is fragile and needy and gently, tenderly, patiently extends her love and Christ's love. When sharing about a chance to pray with and for a broken young woman recently, Connie said, "She reminded me of a child that was starving .. it was for the faith and love of God."
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." ~ 2 Cor. 1:3-5
She waited with anticipation for the oneness and joy of marriage, but it was all lost in a moment. Instead of staying in her place of greatest grief, Connie was inspired to use her deep well of love and compassion to care for those in need. She's an inspiration and a challenge to me.
Has your marriage or your singleness brought disappointment or deep grief? How have you/are you surviving it and responding to expose God's glory out of it?
To enter to win today's giveaway, share a disappointment you've experienced in your life's journey, large or small, and how God has used it for good.