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Finding Strength Amidst Unthinkable Circumstances

In many ways, I live a typical life. I work in a career field that I love. I live near extended family and enjoy hobbies like reading and being outdoors. However, in the fall of 2017, my life took a sharp turn as my husband of 11 years passed away unexpectedly. I stepped into a season of deep grief and found myself as a single parent, a title I never expected to hold. Out of this deep pain and by the Lord’s leading, Songs in the Night, a discipleship ministry for widows, was born. Through this work, I am daily surrounded by stories of loss that include: cancer, caregiving, anxiety, depression, PTSD, widowhood, and single parenting.

I deeply desire to build a strong family and to see the families I walk alongside build strength within their homes to stand firm despite the trials they are facing. But how can a family riddled with trial and heartache stand strong? This can sometimes feel impossible. We must recognize that we can often get tangled in our feelings which can then blur the truth. Our immediate thoughts often come from our past wounds rather than from Biblical principles. How do we have eyes to see what God is doing in our homes when the current situation feels incredibly broken? How do we partner with God’s plan to strengthen our family in the midst of weariness and weeping? How do I do all of this without my life partner?

These aren’t questions easily answered; however, God gives us His Word while we hold these tensions. He establishes a firm foundation of hope amidst waves of uncertainty. In Isaiah 61 we read that the Spirit of the Lord brings good news to those brokenhearted, captive, poor, and afflicted. He exchanges comfort for mourning, beauty for ashes, and praise for a faint spirit. He takes what is broken and exchanges it for Himself. This is hopeful news.

In Romans 5:3-5, Paul tells us to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” Notice that hope is produced from suffering. The path to Biblical hope is paved with suffering, endurance, and character building. We walk this difficult road in our families with hope. Hope in things we cannot easily see. Hebrews 6 tells us that Abraham patiently waited to obtain the promise God had given him. God is unchangeable in his purpose, and it is impossible for God to lie. Hope that God will do what He says He will do is truly an anchor for our soul, especially in the most difficult of circumstances.

I don’t know what God is doing in your family, but I can tell you that His character does not change. He will continue to meet you with strength. He will continue to equip you in every place of lack. God is full of grace, and He will keep showing up. Walk hand in hand with Jesus. Wait and remain watchful. In Isaiah 61:3, we read how this good news in the Kingdom of God changes us…“That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” When I think of an oak tree, strength is one of the first words that comes to my mind. I believe God is building strong families in the midst of our unthinkable circumstances. He is establishing strength within our homes. He is building strong families.


Brooke Talley is a mother and a lover of James 1:27. She began writing to heal in the wake of her husband’s death by suicide and believes that the depths of grief can propel us into even deeper places with God. Brooke is the founder of a discipleship ministry to widows called Songs in the Night.


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