By Hadassah Treu
Brave Women Series - Hadassah's Story
Friend, are you facing a life-altering loss today? Or perhaps it is not just one enormous loss, but a myriad of losses that have cumulated over time like a snowball?
Like every human being who has lived at least a couple of decades on this earth, I have experienced many losses. But nothing has prepared me for the tragic loss that came upon me like a hurricane about three years ago.
With one sweep, I lost my beloved husband, my family, my home, and the blissful way of living in the beautiful country of Austria. It seemed that everything that I held precious was cut down with one mighty blow and removed from me.
I felt like Job, stripped down, thrown in the mud, with no future I could envisage. I couldn't understand why God acted this way in my life. His actions seemed cruel and unfair. Losing my trust in Him was actually the most dangerous loss I could experience.
"I couldn't understand why God acted this way in my life. His actions seemed cruel and unfair. Losing my trust in Him was actually the most dangerous loss I could experience."
The death of my husband brought death into my heart, too. I simply didn't want to live in a world in which he was not present. I didn't see any point to keep going. Life just stopped for me, split into before and after.
I was at my weakest possible and didn't have any strength or courage to keep living this new life of a childless widow. A life I didn't like and didn't want.
He carried me like an eagle every single day and minute in the loving and powerful embrace of His invisible arms. God provided for me by sending people who took care of me in various ways. It was a miracle for me to wake up every morning and find out that I was still breathing.
"I was at my weakest possible and didn't have any strength or courage to keep living this new life of a childless widow. A life I didn't like and didn't want. But God. He carried me like an eagle every single day and minute in the loving and powerful embrace of His invisible arms."
Pain truly opens our spiritual ears. I didn't stop searching for the Lord, asking questions, demanding answers, and praying for His help. And I began hearing Him again through the thick fog of crushing pain, anger, doubts, and despair.
He imprinted on my heart to leave Austria and go back to my home country, Bulgaria. This evoked mixed feelings in me, but the Lord reinforced His message by speaking to me with the story of Ruth in the Bible. I found so many similarities between her situation and mine and also hope for the future.
The Moabite Ruth, who also was a childless widow, acted in faith when she followed Naomi, her mother-in-law (also a childless widow) back to Judah. She was brave enough to keep moving forward despite all the uncertainty and overwhelming losses. She chose life with the God of Israel, trusting His provision by saying: "Your people will be my people and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16 NIV)
The Lord, indeed, provided for Ruth and Naomi in such an unimaginable way, redeeming their pain and losses and blessing them for eternity. He not only provided a husband and home for Ruth and Naomi, but He also gave Ruth a place in the family line of our Lord Jesus Christ through her son Obed, the father of David.
Empowered by this story, I felt brave enough to make this step in my future and keep walking in a challenging period of transition and healing.
I found out that the Lord wanted me to put my faith into practice. Having faith after a loss means that even when we lose the thing or the person we thought we couldn't live without, we keep living supported and carried by God's power and love.
We continue living and not just existing.
"Having faith after a loss means that even when we lose the thing or the person we thought we couldn't live without, we keep living supported and carried by God's power and love. We continue living and not just existing."
This was God's call upon my heart – a call to life, a life with Him, in Him, and for Him. Such a life deserves any effort to keep moving forward, to press into grieving, and to find healing.
God kept talking with me through the vision of God's glory in Ezekiel chapter 1. The prophet sees four living creatures that are carrying God's throne and His glory. The most distinctive characteristic of these heavenly creatures is that they go only straight ahead, without turning in the direction in which the Spirit leads.
"Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went."
(Ezekiel 1:9, 12 NIV)
The message was undeniable. God gently but firmly nudged me forward in the direction He was leading. My path went straight through the valley of the shadow of death, hopelessness, and despair, but the Lord was still my good Shepherd.
He made me brave enough to make each step along this path and to keep living, to keep healing, and to keep believing. Because God is much greater and bigger than any loss I can experience, and He is truly my source of life, strength, and comfort.
"My path went straight through the valley of the shadow of death, hopelessness, and despair, but the Lord was still my good Shepherd. He made me brave enough to make each step along this path and to keep living, to keep healing, and to keep believing."
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
Friend, you can be brave and summon the courage to keep living even after a life-altering loss, too.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Hadassah Treu is an award-winning Christian author, blogger, poet, and speaker. She is passionate about encouraging people on the journey of faith and a deeper walk with God. She is a regular contributor to the faith-based platforms Devotable, Koinonia, and COMPEL Proverbs 31 Ministries Blog. Hadassah is a contributing author to over 10 devotional and poetry anthologies. Her first solo book “Draw Near: How Painful Experiences Become a Birthplace of Blessings” with Calla Press Publishing is scheduled to release in 2024. She has been featured on (In)courage, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Her View From Home, Living by Design Ministries, Thoughts About God, Aletheia Today, Today’s Christian Living, and other popular sites.