Leigh's Story "The Color In My Life"

Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a wife and mother. Three amazing kids, three fantastic stepchildren and two failed marriages later I still felt like my life was black and white. Don't get me wrong, I loved my children with a fiery passion. But I had not found that all consuming storybook romance that was just like the movies. I knew it was out there. I could feel it in my heart. My knight in shining armor had just not arrived yet.

Then came Kenny.... I get choked up just THINKING his name. He had been my best friend for years, I just didn't realize it. Our friendship grew to love. The type of love that takes your breath away. It was the first time in my life that I didn't question if a man loved me..... I KNEW he loved me. That type of love has an ease to it. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was just like the movies. His smile - the prettiest I've ever seen. BEST LAUGH EVER. He loved my children as his own. He was a big guy with a soft heart. I knew this one was the one that would last because he was my best friend.  One beautiful summer day he got down on one knee under the magnolia tree in our yard. He had entrusted the kids to take ribbons and tie pictures of our family from the branches while he drove me around blindfolded. He asked me to be his wife. That was a perfect day. Then, we got married. That was an even more perfect day.

Fast forward through 14-months of bliss, laughter, and happy family. Then, one day, Kenny suddenly had a heart attack and passed away. Just like that he was gone. He had brought color to my life and it just vanished. It was like a candle being blown out. It literally felt like an internal organ was ripped out of me. I felt like part of me was gone because we were a team. I didn't know how to do anything because he was a factor in every decision I made. I couldn't believe this was happening.  And then there was all the pain our children felt. How do you explain that to your beautiful children who have already been through so much in their lives? How do you assure them that everything is gonna be ok when you are falling apart yourself?

Here's how:  JESUS! From the moment it happened God put on my heart that He was going to make beauty from these ashes. So I told them that.  Did my earthly feelings feel that way? No. I was grieving. I was dying inside. But did my heart and mind know it was true?  Yes! I had no idea what God's plan was in this but I did know He is wiser than me and that the only way He would allow this pain would be for our betterment. So each day I pulled up my bootstraps, drank a lot of coffee, and started this journey towards Him. It was on autopilot at first. I figured if I just put on blinders and focused on Jesus he would walk us through the fire. I was scared but He said that was okay because He would be brave for me.

So I started reading the Bible from the beginning for the first time and I started studying. As I read through the pages I found strength and reassurance.  And slowly I started finding my new self. I started finding joy. Laughter. I started finding color again. And turns out the color in my life was actually Jesus. See, I thought that color was Kenny. But it wasn't.  It was Kenny showing me the love of Jesus. It was Jesus all along.... He hides Himself in our hearts through the Holy Spirit so we can give that love to others. Because He first gave it to us. I kept telling the kids that God has an amazing plan in all this.  And now that time has passed, and I see the plan. It was for us to grow closer to Him through His son Jesus!

Did it hurt? Yes and it still does. I don't think it will ever go away completely.  But we are stronger, we appreciate things more,  we have drawn closer to Jesus. It difficult to say, because I love my husband so much, but I'm a better person than I was. And I like the new me. I think of Kenny everyday. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. But no matter what I know that God's plan for my life is always best. I will trust in Him. I mean, who better to plan my life than the one who made me? He knows all my hopes and dreams. He hurts for me when I hurt. He laughs with me when I laugh. And He gave His son to be my best friend. Now Jesus is my best friend. I'm not perfect and He's okay with that. He loves me just as I am. And boy, He must have even more amazing things planned for me and my babies!

Psalm 91:4 --- He will cover you with His feathers,  and under His wings you will find refuge;  His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.