By Judy Frueh

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I also believe every action can have a ripple effect.

This last year has left me challenged in ways I never thought possible. I have been in situations that still seem surreal to me. I have been shunned by people that I thought loved me. I have also felt love and strength from strangers when I needed it the most.

These last few weeks with the sudden loss of my brother is another situation that has left me stunned. It is amazing how you can be so deep in grief that you can’t even remember if you did something you do on a daily basis, such as putting the right amount of water in the coffee pot. Yep, it happened! I also am amazed at the love my family has for each other. I have learned something wonderful about every member of my immediate family as we have had to deal with my brother’s death. I know this experience will bring us all closer as we continue to cling to each other for love and support in the months ahead.

I don’t know why we have to face challenges in life. I don’t know why some people seem to have much larger crosses to bear than I. I do feel we can control our destiny in some way by the choices we make and the attitude we have when the challenges come. I believe when I get to Heaven God will explain things to me in greater detail, but for now I have to trust and obey. That can be easy to say and tough to do.

In April, God lead me to a book written by Gary Zimak titled “Give Up Worry for Lent.” I have read this book daily since I found it so that means I have read it over three times. Along with reading this book, I have started praying more and reading the Bible more. I am so much more at peace. I am happier. I am learning I need to be thankful for the challenges. These challenges are all part of God’s masterpiece He is making in me. It has, and will continue, to make me a stronger person, but more importantly it has brought me closer to God.

I know there will be more challenges. That is how life is supposed to be. I pray I will continue to cling to my God to get me through each of the crosses I have to bear so one day I can enjoy my reward in Heaven.

Side note: Most of these words I wrote two months before my brother died. Do you think God was trying to prepare me for the next challenge? I sure do. Remember God always has a plan.

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