Today, I am launching something new on The Scenic Route*. As many of you know, one of my goals for this blog is to spread hope. I am discovering that every turn, every struggle, every loss, every victory we experience in our lives is being used by the Lord to teach us how to cling tighter to the hope He has to offer us.
So, to kick off this new series of hope posts, I would like to introduce you to Leah Gillen. I met Leah through Twitter last Spring. We both had plans to attend the She Speaks Conference in Concord, NC that summer and somehow 😉 our paths crossed via the internet. (By the way, I did get the opportunity to meet this sweet lady face to face at the conference!)
One of the first tweets I ever read from Leah was one where she was asking for prayer…her husband had gone missing. My heart was immediately drawn to her situation. I prayed for her and I followed her journey. I still follow her journey…it’s a journey of hope.
Would you please take a moment to read Leah’s words today?
A Big Four-Lettered
by Leah Gillen
Hope. A small word with big meaning.
Life has taught me a lot about hope, but it was only an event that took place May 4, 2011 that ushered the word HOPE into my life in the surest way I’ve experienced to date.
I’ve suffered lots of tragedies in life but nothing compares to the suicidal death of my husband last May. We were married just shy of three years. We had such a beautiful future ahead of us. We were happy and in love and full of dreams for our life together. What could have ever caused this seemingly unbelievable devastation to take place? What caused my Chris to want to end his own life so suddenly…and without warning? Now, nearly one year later, I still don’t have answers to those questions. But I have hope…
After collapsing to the floor upon being delivered the news of my husband’s tragic death that dreadful Wednesday last May, I don’t know what caused me to proclaim (within minutes of the news) with tears streaming down my face, “I still praise you God! I still praise you God!” I look back and know that God’s Spirit inside of me allowed me to utter those words that dark day. Those were the words I clung to in the earliest minutes, hours, and days following my husband’s suicide. What made me choose to praise God in the midst of such a storm? Some have even asked me…how could I do such a thing and not be mad at God? In a word…hope…
Here I sit 11+ months into this journey of widowhood, and I so clearly see the fingerprints of God all over my life. Chris’ tragic death would have been enough to crush me…to render me ineffective…to stop me in my tracks in ministry…to cause me to want to curl up in a ball and simply “exist” rather than truly LIVE. Why didn’t I do any of those things? Wouldn’t that have been the easier choice? Yes…and no. To someone who doesn’t know the Hope I have…yes…that would have been the easier choice. But, to me, I know where my Hope comes from.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5
…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
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him… ~Lamentations 3:25
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ~Hebrews 10:23
Is it easy to cling to this hope rather than to sink into despair? Not always. Sometimes, I’ve had to just sit and sob for hours. There have been moments where I’ve felt the grief work has just been too hard. I’ve had days when I didn’t want to get out of bed or take a shower or get dressed. I’ve struggled, at times, to see anything good in the day. There were days that nothing could have made me smile. BUT…
I’ve chosen to rest in the HOPE I find in Christ alone. Honestly, what other choice do I have? This life is not my own…it’s mine to live for Christ. His plans for me are perfect…always! Therefore, I cling to that truth and the fact that He’ll never leave me or forsake me. He is my Healer…my Redeemer…my Savior…my sure HOPE!
About the Author:
In addition to her full-time work with 106.9 the Light, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Leah is also a young widow (as of 5/4/11), currently a single mom to her beautiful, teenage daughter, Anna, and a woman passionately in love with Jesus.
Leah wants nothing more than to share her passion for Jesus and His desire to work miraculously through all of our lives, as witnessed through the tragedies in her own life. She does this through writings on her own personal website Out of Deep Waters and by speaking at churches and events both nationally and internationally.
A big thank you to Leah for sharing her heart and her hope today!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
1 Corinthians 1:3-4
* Do you have a story of hope? What lessons is the Lord teaching you on your journey through this life about His hope and His faithfulness? I would love to read your stories and feature them here. If you are interested in guest posting on The Scenic Route, please send me an email: