Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
I grew up on a farm in Tecumseh, Nebraska. My mother was a believer, but my father was not. Every Sunday, she would take me and my two siblings (each of us born one year apart) to church. Because of her faithfulness, I became a Christ-follower at the age of twelve.
I married my high school sweetheart. Spencer accepted the Lord when he was 17 after I shared the WORD with him one time.
He joined the Navy to see the world and get a pay check, so off we went. Soon, we had three beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughters.
Once we started our family, Spencer began to think about getting out of the Navy. The possibility of having a daddy out to sea for months and months at a time did not seem conducive for family life. But God saw it differently. In the 20 years my husband was in the Navy, though we moved every three years, he was NEVER stationed on a ship! This is unheard of!
Spencer would travel, but he was never gone for long periods at a time. The military community became our family and God provided our every need.
It was a very good life–not a lot of money at first–but, in many ways, like a vacation. We lived in Maine, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Hawaii–all the time making wonderful memories.
In fact, I used to sing a little song, “OH, I HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE, I HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE”–and we did.
After my husband retired from the Navy, we moved to Lincoln and lived here 14 years. Our daughters grew up, finished school, got married. We’d been “empty-nesters” for about three-and-a-half years when, all of a sudden, my “wonderful life” came to a end.
Spencer became ill and died very suddenly. Within a three-day span, my life changed forever.
I remember thinking at the time, “how do people who do not know the Lord survive something like this?” That first night without Spencer, I remember lying in bed, feeling a tremendous weight of anxiety and despair. I said out loud, “But God, I will never get to sit across the table from him again” and the hands of God came down and pressed the anxiety out of my body. I could hear him saying, “OH YES YOU WILL.”
Then I said to the Lord, ” But I will never get to laugh and have fun with him again,” and God said again, “OH YES YOU WILL.” Then, God allowed Spencer to speak to me, and in a whisper I heard him say, “Oh Laurie, this is way better than we ever imagined.” After that, the anxiety lifted, and I was able to sleep all the rest of the night.
During those days of deep mourning, I would rise early and cry out to God and read in the the book of Psalms every day. I could only pray “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, you are HOLY, Lord.” I prayed for my children and grandchildren to get through this, but after several months, I realized I had never prayed for myself. That is when I learned the importance of intercessory prayer. I knew that the strength and comfort and peace I was experiencing was due, not to my own prayers, but to the many friends and family who were praying for me.
After about three months, one of my best friends came to visit me for a long weekend. At the close of that weekend, she said, “Laurie, I know why you are doing so well. You were mentally healthy, you were physically healthy, and, most of all, you were spiritually healthy when this happened.”
After thinking about what she said, I thought–isn’t that the way we should all live, every day, since we have no idea what is ahead of us?
Don’t get me wrong. None of what I went through was easy. There were days I could literally see myself crawling up onto God’s lap and laying my head on his shoulder–so he could carry me through another day because I was so tired. I would tell him I needed his help, and he did.
You see, I did not want my grief to become a part of my life. I did not want to become a bitter, middle-aged woman.
At times I would RUN–not WALK–to his Word for comfort. Many days I still do. If you’re facing something life-changing, my best advice to you is RUN . . . DON’T WALK to God and his Word.
I don’t sing the little song I used to, but I still have a “wonderful life” in Christ. It’s just different. And I know I WILL see Spencer again.”