I grew up in the desert part of the Pacific Northwest. Yes, there is a lot of sagebrush and tumbleweeds in Oregon and Washington.
I was raised in a Christian home, attended a Christian University, and married a godly Christian man.
When I was twelve years-old I began having daily headaches that would progress into full-blown migraines. My parents took me to every specialist they could think of, with no answers as to how to stop the headaches. So, I learned to live with them and still have them to this day.
It was when I was thirteen that I truly gave my heart to God and asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. My mom tells me that I was saved when I was five and again at nine, but it was when I was thirteen that I fully understood what it meant to turn my life over to God. There was an unquenchable fire inside of me that cried out for the King above all kings. I wanted to serve him in any way that I could. And I desperately needed him to forgive my sins.
My life has had its shares of hard times and struggles, and through it all I have trusted God for my strength. But nothing I had experienced had tested that faith as much as the death of my youngest son, Benjamin, due to flu/sepsis. As my son lay dying, my faith was strong. On the ride home, my faith was strong. But walking in the door to our house without our twelve-year-old was when I realized that my faith wasn’t as strong as I thought.
I could write books on grief, and what it feels like to lose someone who was so much a part of you that you feel as if your heart has been torn apart and now you are functioning with only half of a heart. I could describe in vivid detail the way it feels to have a black hole open up in your life that seems so unfathomably deep with a darkness so smothering that you have trouble breathing just thinking about it. I could list the ways grief is an assault on every fiber of your being from the physical to the mental. But I can’t adequately describe the way in which it makes everything you ever thought you believed so startlingly clear and real.
I have never clung so hard to my God as I have in these last two years. I’ve gone through the times of questioning, the times of anger at the situation and the unfairness of it all, the times of overwhelmingly deep sorrow, and the times of guilt at not being able to protect my child from sickness. My faith has been shaken to its core and I’ve found that I am truly weak. But through it all God has not wavered in his faithfulness to us and he has been our strength.
We are still on the fresh side of loss. It’s only been a little over two years, but there are often times that it feels as if Ben died yesterday. Our daily prayer has been, “God, get me through this day,” and he has not forsaken us. It is a testimony to his glory and goodness that we are still functioning. In my darkest times, God has given me hope through his Word and even at times through his people. To say it has been hard is putting it mildly, yet somehow the knowledge of how desperately dependent we are on God has given us profound peace.
It hurts my heart that Ben’s death has been the push I needed to publish my writing. My regret is that Ben would have loved to see my stories in print. But losing Ben brought with it an awareness that I didn’t want to waste my life. My son lived more in his brief twelve years than most people I know. He loved God wholeheartedly and never held a grudge. He was almost always happy and loved his family fiercely.
My deepest desire is to be a vessel that God uses to bring others to him. One way I am able to do that is by using the gift that God has given me in being able to write. In the book of James, he says, “What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” I will write as long as the Lord wills it! I pray that the stories of redemption woven throughout my books may touch the hearts of my readers and help them to draw closer to God.