Blooming from Sorrow
Recently I shared on Sanctuary's podcast about the sudden death of my husband, joe, on March 15, 1981, and the healing of my broken heart on the eighth day after his death. The healing of my heart was indeed a miracle that happened to me. However, this was just the beginning of a journey I was to take in finding God's purpose and plan for my life now. I was thinking, "What will my future hold? Am I to stay where I am or go? What am I to do now?" Questions, questions. I knew His plan wasn't for me to be in a holding mode the rest of my life.
As I was asking these questions, the Lord said, "Your life has been like a rose bud; it is going to open up and come into full bloom." I didn't understand what He meant.
I stayed in the church where we had pastored for one year after Joe had passed, doing whatever opened up for me, standing for the new pastors, supporting my pastors, but still asking God for direction. After one year it was time to leave.
During this time I read a book by Paul Billheimer, Don't Waste Your Sorrows. He had a two-book series on this title:
Gave insights in God's eternal purpose for each Christian in the midst of pain
Finding God's purpose in the midst of pain
When sorrow comes, it can either drive us out of ourselves into God or away from God.
Book #1 helped me to see sorrow or adversity in a different light because we can always learn something new about God through sorrow or adversity. When sorrow comes, it can either drive us out of ourselves into God or away from God. I believe every difficult situation comes with a message from the heart of God. What am I to learn from this? How is this working for my good?
I began to move into God, surrendered my life totally to Him, and asked Him to show me His way.
What is surrender?
Surrender is certainly not what I wish to be, or where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my own? What the Lord will choose for me is better, so I will go or stay as He says. When I surrender I place my future and destiny in His hands, knowing He will take care of me.
Doors began to open for me in ministry, but they were very diversified. Doors I had never walked through before. Among those doors were opportunities like working at the City of Faith in pastoral care and prayer ministry, various speaking engagements, overseas travel for ministry in Bible schools and conferences, a youth pastorate under three different pastors over a 16 year period, a district youth camp pastorate for six years, and a district-appointed advocate to raise up 700 intercessors across the state of Oklahoma.
The Scripture is true: "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). The good God is working through our suffering is not always understood while we're going through it, but He is still working.
I've come to realize just how many people suffer in silence, hiding behind their hurt and pain behind a public smile. God has better plans for your life. Don't waste your sorrows. His plans for you will not be like mine but blossom where you are planted.
Betty Calabrese was recently featured in Episode 16 of Sanctuary's podcast, Let's Talk with Sanctuary. She shares of the lessons learned after her pastor husband unexpectedly passed, leaving her a widow at the young age of 46. What happens when the pastor's wife becomes the pastor's widow? Listen to the heartwarming, yet challenging, conversation by clicking here. At age 87, Betty now serves in various roles of ministry, not the least of which include intercessory prayer and pastoral care through her local church in Sand Springs, OK.