On April 9, 2003 in College Station, TX I was wrapping up another year in college ministry, rerouting summer teams whose destination had to change because of the SARS epidemic in Asia.

Meanwhile, wholly unbeknownst to me, in Omaha, NE many of the people who are now nearest and dearest to me were going through the hardest days of their lives. Fifteen years ago today, Matt’s first wife and my oldest child’s first mother lost her battle with breast cancer and went home to Jesus.

I love this life I lead, the home we’ve built, the family we rejoice in. But I also recognize that our home was built on a foundation of sadness and loss. Ours is a not a story of victory only, but of redemption.

My sweet life was made possible by the bitter hurt of the people I love the most.

So today I pray: Thanking God for my husband and son, praying for Julie’s parents, her sisters and brothers and the nieces and nephews who were robbed of knowing their aunt.

And I remember to trust God in my own bitter seasons, looking for His sweetness even here, and expecting His comfort for me and mine. He is a God who knows the bittersweet.

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