Can you imagine?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love HIm. James 1:12 NIV

Have you ever looked up the meaning of the word perseveres? It means to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. Do you consider yourself a person that perseveres? Do you know and admire others that display this in their daily lives?
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of going with one of my best friends to see the movie “I Can Only Imagine”. I am sure that many of you have already seen this movie or at least know the story of Bart from Mercy Me. It’s an incredible story that resulted in a beautiful song that makes me cry every time I hear it. His story is one of perseverance and resilience in facing his childhood riddled with physical and mental abuse at the hands of his dad. His mom left him at a young age at home alone with an abusive father. This meant he had to also deal with feelings of guilt and abandonment. Not very many people could have bounced back from that type of childhood and become part of a record breaking Christian band. Long story short, go see the movie or read his story, he forgives his dad and is able to write this incredible song out of his pain, anger, and grief. Just a truly amazing story.

So on my way home while talking with my friend Kathy about the movie, a thought came to me about Bart’s story. Now hang with me for a minute…but if Bart did not live his life of abuse and pain; do you think he would have wrote a beautiful song that would reach so many people? Do you think Bart would have escaped his childhood and drowned out his life with music? We will never know the answer to that question. What we do know is that God used Bart and his life lessons to reach millions of people through music. Not only the Christian genre of music lovers, but country and pop fans as well. Because of Bart’s perseverance, his life story has touched millions of others and has opened their eyes and minds to God.

We see in Romans 8:28 NIV it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God takes our pain, fault, sin, anger, and brokenness and turns it into a blessing for others. My loss of Kirk has been able to spring board me into a position that is a blessing to other widows and their families. My loss has enabled me to reach back and help others that have begun their journey of widowhood. Would I rather have Kirk here at home with me tonight? You bet I would!! But God has a purpose and plan for me that I am not going to try to understand or know the reason why. I know that when God lays something on my heart to do, I obey and follow His lead. I use my grief and story to try to help others that are struggling and needing a compassionate ear and heart. If I can help just one person see the love God has for them and help ease their pain of their loss; I feel Kirk’s death has meaning and a purpose. If I lead one person to be saved by our story, then Kirk did not die in vain. This gives his death a purpose, a beautiful purpose of leading a soul to enter the kingdom of God for eternity.

I use this verse a lot in my blog and I’m going to use it again tonight because it applies to our story so well. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” God knows the why’s and the reasons, we don’t. One thing I do know is that His way and path for me is so much better than the one I try to carve out for myself. I don’t understand why Kirk was taken from us so soon. I don’t know why his life was cut so short and my daughter has grown up without her father. But what I do know is that God has a plan for all of us and that I need to trust Him with my whole life, with my whole story. I know His plans for me are much more beautiful than anything I could do myself or dream of. I say this to myself several times a day: His way not mine, His will not mine.

I encourage you to use your story to help others in your life. Do you know how much you will bless someone to just give them a few words of encouragement? To let them know they are not alone. Here’s a big secret, you will actually feel more blessed by doing this. It’s an incredible feeling that is a beautiful balm to the soul. I also encourage you to listen to the song “I Can Only Imagine”. Look up the lyrics and let the words soak into your heart and mind. I cry every time because I can only imagine what I’ll see and what my loved ones that have gone before me have already seen. Incredible!!!

Angela Key was born in Indianapolis and was raised in Mooresville. There she graduated from Mooresville High School and after secondary school and marriage, her and her late husband Kirk stayed in the area to raise their daughter Emily. In June of 2011, they tragically lost Kirk in an accident at his workplace. As time has passed, Angela began to take classes through Indiana Wesleyan for Biblical Studies and also took a class for Biblical Counseling through Rod and Staff Ministries. She always had a desire to help other women who find themselves in a similar situation being a widow and being left as the only caregiver. Angela experienced that through the love of Jesus and leaning on Him for strength, she could find a new normal and be able to reach back to help other women on their widow journey. She works full time as a Certified Professional Coder for Community Physician’s Network. In her spare time, she likes to read and enjoys watching Emily play travel and high school soccer.