“I am a stay-at-home mom,” I’d reply when asked “What do you do?” And I loved it – being a wife, mom, housekeeper, baker, taxi, and home-organizer. Even though some days were challenging and tiring, in my heart, I loved all of it. It was my passion. It had been my desire since I was a little girl. I had seen it played out in front of me in the lives of many people in my little village of Grand Manan and I knew the value in this profession.
In a tragic event when I was a very young wife, my first husband died in a car accident on the day our son was born. In the next days, weeks and months that followed, as my life got rearranged, my faith did too. The tender sapling of my faith began to send down deep roots into the soil of my heavenly Father’s faithfulness and love. I learned to trust His mercies, new every morning to me, a young widow with a newborn son trying to find a place to stand. I stood in Him.
When doubts came knocking, I answered with biblical truths that had been seared into my heart – like the verse from Jeremiah:
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.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
God had gently held me under His wing and promised His love, protection and peace at a time in my life that had been knocked off-kilter and was marked by sorrow. Grief and joy were balanced carefully in my hands as I walked on a pathway celebrating new birth while simultaneously mourning a life lost. God showed up in countless ways in generous acts of kindness through the lives of family members, friends, my church family and community. And with the beautiful gift that still makes me smile to this day, a double rainbow on a rainy funeral day that spoke a gentle reminder of His love into my broken heart.
As I turned the corner into a new life, I began to create a family with my new husband. Over the next couple of decades, we danced and spun in the ballroom of our life. There were mountaintops and valleys, tears of joy and sorrow, and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of the life we had established.
As I look back now at the faces staring back at me from old photo albums, I didn’t know then that God was birthing a story in me while He was writing mine. I’m reminded of Isaiah 43:19:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
That’s what God does! He takes a mess and turns it into a message. A message of hope. I saw myself as a wife and mom, He saw me as a writer with a poetic redemption story to tell.
And that’s what I love so much about Him. It’s why I kitchen-dance to worship songs – lifting Him, lifting me. I love to sing of His goodness, faithfulness and kindness to me even in the limping, and through the dark valley. Yes, even then. Because I have seen it and I know Him and I am confident in His love and provision.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)
I am thankful that God’s eyes see potential in our broken stories, and that He has the power to redeem us, and change our stories into testimonies.
You can read Joanne’s story of healing, joy, and hope found in God’s faithfulness, in her book Sing Dance Pray. (Links to check it out on Amazon and a chance to win a free copy HERE)