Have you ever met someone and within minutes, developed a strong and lasting friendship with that person? That describes my friendship with Becky Waters. We met at a writer’s conference and discovered we had many mutual acquaintances and shared much in common, including writing and a Christian Education career background. Although we only spent a half hour together, we’ve kept in contact through Facebook and email. You may remember that Becky has shared with the Grace on Parade family before.
Last year, Becky lost her husband in a tragic accident. Many of her friends and acquaintances have been deeply moved by both her strength and her transparency as she moved into a new phase of life called, “Life without Tom.” I am truly humbled and privileged that she agreed to share the story of God’s grace during that first difficult week. Here is Becky’s story.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
Our days are numbered. Yes.
When Karen asked if I would like to write this post, I was honored. It took a while to “arrive” at that place where I could put the words on paper, but Karen understood.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 was a beautiful, sunny day. Shortly after lunch, my husband left for his daily bicycle ride. He rode fifteen to twenty-two miles every day for his health. A few minutes after he pedaled away, I received a phone call. Tom had hit a tree. The life squad was on their way. So was I.
I need not go through the details. Not here. Not yet. The bottom line is this: Within two hours of receiving that call, my life, as I knew it changed forever. So did Tom’s.Tom left this earth to live eternally in a place so spectacular I can’t even begin to imagine it. I was left behind. Not like the book or movie. I know that one day I’ll join Tom, but for now, I must trudge on. I’m learning to pay bills and mow my lawn and trying to figure out how to use the DVD player. Silly things in the scheme of it all.
Losing Tom has proven to be the most painful experience of my life. It would be like living in a sad and surreal black and white movie if not colored each day with God’s grace.
For this post, I’ve decided to share a few details of that week. I hope you can see as clearly as I do, the way God nudged us along. I hope you can see His grace and love and care. And He continues to provide for me in every way.
Tom and I sold our house just weeks before the accident. At least we had a contract on it. Once we had a closing date I was ready to pack. Tom insisted we wait until the first of November. “We’ll know by then if they’re getting the house or not. We’ll have plenty of time to pack everything for storage. I know you, Becky. It would stress you out to live out of boxes.” He was right. By November 1st, I knew I would not be moving. The buyers let me out of the contract. I trust God nudged Tom along in the decision to not live out of boxes.
We had been going to a new church plant for a couple of years. The Sunday before Tom’s accident he woke up and suggested we go to our home church. “Just to reconnect with some of our friends,” he said. We went and true to form, Tom hugged everyone. I trust God nudged us to attend to our home church that day.
On Monday I asked Tom for our PayPal password. He was always very protective of all of our passwords and such. That day, he brought a thumb drive to me. “This is where I keep all the usernames and passwords for all or our accounts. You should have these, anyway.” God knew I needed that information. In two days Tom would be with Him and I needed those passwords. He nudged Tom to give them to me.
I had a lunch meeting scheduled for Wednesday but it was suddenly and inexplicably changed to Tuesday. God knew I needed to be home on Wednesday.
There were six small items on the list to attend to after the home inspection. Simple fixes such as new caulking around a vent and the replacement of an outlet in the bathroom. Before Tom left for his bike ride, he took care of all six. Tom and God have always worked together. I trust God nudged Tom to not put off any of those items.
And anyone who knows me will understand how God played a role in this next bit of evidence. I constantly lose my phone, keys, and shoes. I’m known for it. As a consequence I’ve missed calls, been late getting places, and have shown up for meetings with mismatched shoes. Seriously. As Tom left for his bike ride, I headed into the office to write. When the man called me from the scene, my phone was by my computer, my keys were next to it, and my shoes were under my desk. I was out the door and in my car as the man was still on the phone directing me to the scene. It could only have been God.
I could go on and on. God continues to provide. These aren’t coincidences. These are God showing me that this is part of His plan. When I married that man forty-three years ago, God knew October 29, 2014 was Tom’s day. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was on his bike or sitting at his computer. Our days are numbered. All of the days ordained to Tom were written in God’s book before he was ever born.
My daughter recently asked me how it is that we can see so clearly God’s timing here. “Other people struggle for years with questions about why they lost their loved one, but we all see it was Dad’s time. Why do you think that is, Mom?” I have but one answer. It is through the grace of God. God has nudged us along to steep ourselves in His Word. We didn’t have to go looking for answers. We knew and trusted God when He told us our days are numbered.
I miss my husband. I cry at the most inconvenient times. But I trust God and I revel in His grace.
Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca has published several freelance articles including two submissions in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
To learn more about Rebecca or to read A Novel Creation, visit her website at www.WatersWords.com
You can order Becky’s debut novel, Breathing On Her Own at : https://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103154/