On New Year’s Day 1997, my husband, Brent, went to bed before I did, and that was last time I saw him alive.
When I got to the bedroom a couple hours later, he wasn’t breathing. I called 911 and the paramedics came, but he was never revived. He hadn’t been sick or anything—he just went to bed and went to heaven at 37 years of age. (You can read more about it in my book Why God Why: What To Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense).
As you can imagine, that event rocked my world. I was caught completely by surprise. Our sons were 12 and 13 years old, and the three of us were plunged into a season of grief and bewilderment. As for me, I had to take over parenting teenage sons, pastoring our 4-and-a-half-year-old church and getting over the sudden death of my husband.
That was over 20 years ago now, and looking back, I can see that while it was the worst time of my life, you could say it was also the best time of my life. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I can say this because I pressed into God like never before, and He met me in a profound and life-changing way. He was right there, a very present help, drawing near to me every time I drew near to Him. It’s really the time I fell in love with Him.
I spent hours reading my Bible, running my finger down the page like a 5-year-old learning how to read. I had to have it. God’s Word is Him talking to us, and I wanted to hear Him every minute during those first days of recovery.