My heart felt heavy. My lungs felt empty. My mind couldn’t form a coherent thought. The loss was more than I had ever known. The hurt resonated deep within my soul.
The wailing had turned to sobs, which eventually turned to quiet tears. The screams of “Why?” had turned to confused demands, which eventually turned to whispered pleas. I longed for answers. I begged to turn back time. I wished for more moments with life as normal, never to have to wade through this immense loss.
My dad was gone. He was taken from this world and into the next in an instant. In the blink of an eye, my life would never be the same. He was the first man I ever loved, my biggest cheerleader and supporter along the path of life—the man who would drop everything to be at my side and help me. He was the man who shared with me the gift of music and the love of singing. He was the man who always loved me unconditionally, even at my worst, and always reminded me of my worth, especially when the circumstances of life threatened my own ability to remember.
My dad’s sudden and unexpected death came on the heels of another great loss in my life—the death of my twenty-year marriage to the man I vowed to love until I breathed my last. The end of my marriage rocked me to the core. It shook my foundation and threatened my belief in the goodness of God. The pain that comes from the severing of a holy vow is like no other.
I was spinning from the realization that everything I thought to be true was no longer true. Questioning how God could allow this to happen to me, I daily asked Him if He was still there. Did He see my tears and hear my cries? Did He know this was going to happen to me? Why hadn’t He stopped the destruction that was heading toward my marriage?
The blow of my dad’s death, following the end of my marriage, threatened to undo my entire belief system. I was angry at God. I questioned how He could let this happen. How could He keep taking away people I loved? How many more people was He going to take from me?
I found myself in a dark place, feeling empty and abandoned. I was angry at God, and I walked around with a hurt in my heart that crushed my spirit. I didn’t want to be in the Word. I didn’t want to be with others who still had their marriages intact, whose dad was just a phone call away. None of this was fair, and I wanted to sit in my hurt and let it fester. I wanted to pout and throw a tantrum. And for a while, that’s exactly what I did. I let the sadness and defeat wash over me.
With time, I slowly untangled the hurts of my heart. With daily surrender, I gradually released my pain to the Lord and figured out how to move forward. The process was long and arduous. I was moving forward with intentionality, choosing to trust that God had a plan for me.
I chose to believe that He saw me and hadn’t left me.
I can tell you the exact day I had a breakthrough. It was as if blinders were taken from my eyes and I realized what was happening to me. I had allowed hopelessness to fill my soul, and it was threatening to overtake me as I did nothing to stop it.
I realized that this must stop. I needed truth to set me free and hope to fill my life. I started to write the truth in my journal, and as I wrote the words, I slowly began to believe them.
I am not hopeless. I know the situation isn’t hopeless. I know a God who is full of hope! Full of life! Full of love! Full of joy! Even amid sadness and despair, there is hope present. I choose to cling to the ever-present hope in the midst of deep darkness.
When life is a blazing and unrecognizable mess, I will make the choice to lay all my hurt, anger, and pain at the foot of the cross. As I lay them down, I will pick up hope, and I will carry on.
Kenda Haines finds joy in spending time with friends, encouraging those around her, singing worship music, and being filled with beautiful words. She loves being a mama to two beautiful young ladies and resides in Lowell, MI. She enjoys making time in her life to laugh, share stories, and go on grand adventures.