Happily-ever-after ended at just eight years of wedded bliss. Prince charming died. The castle was sold. The title of princess morphed into the label of widow. 

While I am a princess by adoption (read Ephesians 1:5 and you’ll see that you are royalty too!), my life is not a fairy-tale and my prince charming Luke did indeed die. I would dare to say that your life hasn’t been pure sunshine and cupcakes all the time either.

At any given moment, this reality can feel depressing; but what if we should be thankful that life isn’t perfect?

As I pushed through the mire and muck of the emotions this week surrounding what would have been our thirteenth wedding anniversary, I am struck with the concept of loss in general. And as a result, a difficult question is haunting me; begging for an answer.

Why do we view all loss as completely bad?

Not all loss should be lamented; in fact, some loss should be celebrated. And I’ve seen this with clarity today, realizing that when I lost my husband, I also lost some things that I never knew had crept into my life.

Thrown unwillingly into the world of a widow, I was forced to set aside my false sense of independence from God. With a husband who lovingly cared, protected and provided for me, I had slipped away from complete recognition of just how much I need God. There are many things in life that lead us to think we only need God for certain parts of life.

Another thing that got ripped away was the subconscious idea that service to God meant being spared from suffering. I’ve read God’s word enough to know that God lets the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust (Matt 5:45). However, I still found myself saying “But God, I’ve served you my whole life, don’t you remember?” Those statements were a tell-tale sign that my theology had somehow become skewed without even knowing it. Skewed theology is a sneaky, sneaky thing. We are never really aware of it until it leaves us hurting and questioning. Being surrounded by solid believers will help keep us grounded and less likely to wander too far from what the Bible actually says.

Finally, what I lost was the desire for a fairy-tale life. Why? Because I now know that it is only through hardships that we can become refined on a deeper level. Hardships are not easy, and I still would not choose to experience the premature death of a spouse; however, I can clearly see that a charmed, happily-ever-after can very well stunt our spiritual growth. God, who is infinitely good, has blessings piled up, just waiting to be lavished on us. And the closer we are pressed into Him through life’s circumstances, the sweeter and more treasured those blessings are. Rebuilding and restoring are God’s specialties and as I look at my new husband and our blended family, I am reminded of His faithfulness on a daily basis. 

I ask you today to choose to long for more than a charmed fairy-tale. Choose joy over happiness. Choose spiritual growth over striving for an unattainable happily-ever-after. Is it easy? No. Does it always feel good. Not even close. But trust me…there’s nothing that can replace the rewards of recognizing that our deepest longings really have little to do with a happy life. We were made to live in the presence of God, our souls long for more than what this world has to offer. We will never truly be home here on earth, and the truest happily-ever-after begins the moment we arrive in heaven.

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