Joy will come in the Mourning!

A Widow’s  Journey

By Kathleen Hefley

My husband Flood was an amazing man. He loved God, me and our kids. Everyone who knew him liked him. He was well known for his passion about all things Grand Canyon. He was an Author, Canyoneer and avid backpacker of the Grand Canyon. 

He was the loving spiritual leader of our family and the Love of my life. I loved the sound of his voice, his corny jokes, holding hands with him and the security I felt with him. As passionate as Flood was about the Grand Canyon, he was also passionate about our family. He took the time to share with us how to hike the Grand Canyon and survive in the desert. We learned under his careful guidance on how to respect and appreciate the beauty of God’s handiwork. He poured a bit of his intrepid spirit into all of us and inspired us.

It was a summer afternoon during monsoon season. I had just driven 500 miles to just try and make sense of all that had just happened. Just a couple weeks prior I had laid to rest the most wonderful man I ever knew. As I stood on the Rim of the Grand Canyon and peering over the edge for a glimpse of the trail far below, I couldn’t quite find it. I knew there was a trail but I just couldn’t see it. My husband Flood had taken me there many times, but this time was my first time at the Grand Canyon without him. 

Flood was like my Elijah. I relied on him to take care of me and the family. He had my back so I could grow in my career. He encouraged me to grow and develop as much as I could. Life was a true adventure with him and he was the guide. But it wasn’t meant to be that way forever, God whisked him away on a Saturday afternoon. Without warning, my Flood was by my side no more. So there I stood on the rim alone. 2 Kings 2:11 ”Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

I’ve grown and learned so much during this time of mourning the loss of my husband. One of the things I’ve learned that deeply resonates with me is how to make my journey through the valley of the shadow of death. The trail that I’m hiking without Flood is the most difficult trail I’ve ever experienced. No matter what happens I must keep moving forward. Psalm 23:1-4 “1-The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2-He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3-He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4-Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

The trail in life that I’m hiking now is named the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I honestly would rather be on an easier “Trail” but this is where God is growing me. I’ve learned that no one can Hike this trail for me and that it was chosen especially just for me.  I’ve had to really think about my journey and learn to adjust my attitude in order to navigate the trail. 

I’ve learned that we have the ability to make choices that allow us to experience our trail to the fullest and most amazing ever. Or make choices that will do the opposite. 

One choice could be to crawl our way on the trail. This choice may be necessary for a time, but crawling too long will only result in abrasions on our knees, sore hands and hinder our ability to take in the full view. We could also decide to find a nice big rock to rest on in the warm soothing sun. This rest is vital, however, if we bask in the sun too long, we’ll end up sunburned and not making progress on our journey. Then a few other choices could be to stomp, kick and scream.  But all that’s going to accomplish is exhaustion and a headache. No matter how we decide to make our way, we still must keep moving forward, no matter what. 

People can encourage us, pray for us and cheer for us.  And no matter how much they would like to absorb our pain or carry us, they cannot. We must continue on, looking to our Heavenly guide. Psalm 23:3a “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness

There will be times when the trail doesn’t seem quite distinguishable before us. At those times, I’ve learned that God is preparing each footing for us as we make each stride. I visualize Him placing a secure flat stone beneath my feet just before my heel touches down. Always there, guiding me along, patiently and lovingly, as I muster up that intrepid spirit within me to continue on. 

Through faith, we know that God will have that stone under our feet every time. No matter how we decide to make our journey the path is always there. I decided the way I will continue this journey now is to dance. I can dance on my trail so that I can experience that there is Joy In The Mourning. Jer 31:13 “Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.”

Kathleen Hefley is a REALTOR in Southern California. If your interested or have need to buy or sell real estate with someone who knows what you’re going through, you can reach out to her through her web site

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