By Millie Grams on @deenamadams
Today’s story comes from Millie Grams, an online Facebook Group friend. When cancer spins Millie’s perfect life upside down, she must find hope in Christ to dig out of her despair and begin again. May her story encourage you when you encounter a devastating situation or struggle through grief.
In 1965, at age 18, I met and married the love of my life.
We started our journey together, helping his father in a small church. God blessed us with two sons six years apart. We lived close to his family, and life was great.
Fifteen years later, my husband and I pastored a tiny congregation in northern Illinois.
Our hearts were filled with grand dreams, ideas, and ambition to bring hope and inspiration to others who struggled.
Earlier that same year, after encouragement from friends, we spent a weekend in southern Missouri to apply for a senior pastor position. They accepted us.
With hearts full of excitement for a great adventure, we packed up our home furnishings, said goodbye to friends, family, and our church family and drove our two sons to Missouri.
What a fabulous start to a wonderful life.
After eight hours of driving, and exhausted upon arrival, the congregation welcomed us with open arms.
This season began at full speed ahead, and we never looked back.
We filled our days and weeks with settling into our new home, meetings, school registration, and getting acquainted with our people. Even though we kept extremely busy, we were happy and fulfilled.
Years passed, and our two sons grew … and the church grew.
Ten years into ministry there, something happened to my husband.
After a few months of physicals and unanswered questions, sadly, doctors diagnosed him with Melanoma cancer.
Life wasn’t fun anymore. In fact, it became almost unbearable. Emotions ran high in our home, the church, and our family. Constant specialist appointments and multiple visits to the ER made for a crazy time.
Bad news turned to worse news.
Every day we tumbled down a spiral of desperation and defeat. Each day became worse and worse and then oppressive. The boys didn’t want to go to school, but that was the only normal part of their lives.
Nights were dark, and my tears drenched my pillow. Our life was falling apart. Would we ever make it through the turmoil?
Our church was wonderful. They brought food and visited almost daily to encourage us and pray. They did anything possible to lighten our load. We couldn’t have made it without our church and family.
It was horrific … nothing was right.
Our hearts split in two, the pieces scattered all over the place. For me and my sons, life as we knew it was over.
How could we go on without him? Didn’t seem possible. In my mind, we would be shattered and broken for the rest of our lives. We’d lost everything we held dear except the things that mattered the most … each other!
We had to start a new life with no inkling how and no desire to do so. But I knew it had to be done, so I went to work.
I sold our large home and one car. Our oldest son moved to Texas to establish his new life, and our youngest son and I moved into a little house on the other side of town I remodeled by myself.
After a few months, my youngest son went back to northern Illinois, which left me alone. It was horrible.
Although extremely difficult, I stayed for three years working in my own business before I finally moved up north to be with my son. We got a home together and each worked a job.
God works in mysterious ways to put us back on track.
I had wandered for four long years with resentment, bitterness, and anger with Him and my first husband for the end of our life in Missouri and our ministry to a congregation of hundreds.
God intervened and brought my husband’s first cousin across my path, and we married the following year—the fifth year of our grief.
Although my life changed dramatically, after thirty-one years, I can now say life is good again, and I’m happy to be alive.
My oldest son lives in California and has been happily married for almost twenty years. My youngest and his family live about thirty-five minutes from me and my second husband.
There’s so much more to this story, but you can see how God walked the dark hills with me and my two sons.
If you’re experiencing the same fate, just remember, God hasn’t left you.
He’s walking through the valley with you. He has a plan for your life and it’s to bless you and give you peace. Never forget, He’s there all the time.
I pray my story of grief will bring encouragement and hope to many who are suffering.
About the author: Millie grew up in a large family of twelve children in southern Indiana. Her love for Jesus was ingrained into her little heart as a five year old, which grew a strong desire within her to serve Jesus and help others. She was born to be a pastor’s wife, fell in love with the man of her dreams, and married at age 18. Millie is a mother to two sons, foster mom to five, stepmom to four, and Grandma to nine grandsons and one granddaughter. Her life has been abundantly blessed in spite of the difficulties she’s dealt with. Her passions were, and continue to be, mother, grandmother, a woman of compassion, an encourager, and an advocate for abused women of all ages. She loves the broken-hearted ones, the abandoned ones. Her goal is to reach all with the fact that Jesus loves them.
Join the conversation. Can you relate to Millie’s despair? Her hope in Christ? Do you have a word of encouragement to share with readers who are struggling with grief?