Jennifer is a single mom of 2 sons. Jerad is in High School and Jeremy was tragically lost in a car accident 4 years ago. Jennifer lives in Independence, MO and has her masters degree in Health Administration for University of Missouri, Columbia.
She learned early on that life was not always fair. Her father passed away from a rare skin cancer in 1984, when she was only 14, and her life was changed forever. Jennifer had a string of failed relationships which included a divorce 5 years ago. All of the these failed relationships included the man she was with straying to another woman which diminished her trust in the male gender. Then, almost 4 years ago the unthinkable happened. Her oldest son was tragically lost in a car accident caused by the hand of another boy who survived the accident.
What was the most difficult part of your transition?
I have made peace with my father and son passing away and all of the failed relationships. I would say that my greatest challenges in my transition are overcoming trust and forgiveness issues. While I am getting better at forgiving, trust is still a huge issue for me.
What do you think was most helpful for you to move into the hope and peace you were needing?
While my life has taken me to and from many dark places, I have never given up my faith in God and the miracles he provides. He is my Lord and Savior and will never give me more than I can handle. He gives me strength and courage to face life’s challenges. He does this not only through His word, but through the wonderful people he places in my life.
Was there a special verse that the Lord used to encourage you during this time?
I am constantly reminded to “Pray about everything and worry about nothing.” But my favorite verse that I always cling to is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV): 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
How did your faith grow from this transition time in your life?
My faith has never been shaken. Every day I awake with faith stronger than it was the day before. My faith is what brings me peace and comfort. My faith helps me to believe in love and the power that comes from it. My faith in God gives me the strength I need to continue living a loving life and bringing peace and love to others. My faith is what keeps me focused on what a blessing life is. My faith is helping me on my journey in trusting and forgiving others just as Christ has trusted and forgiven me.
What would you like someone in the middle of a similar transition to know?
Loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to go through regardless of who the person is to you. Trusting others is hard when you have been wronged, and forgiveness is truly hard to give when you have been hurt so badly.
When we lose someone we love through physical death, it is not the end. It truly is the beginning of something wonderful for the person who has physically died. We may not physically see them anymore, but we feel them in every moment of our lives. God continues to use them through us to bring love and comfort to others. I am grateful that God chose me to be my father’s daughter and my son’s mother. These are experiences I will cherish and take with me throughout the rest of my life.
About trust, I am learning that it is earned. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person – forgiving others is an experience that helps us remember that we are not perfect and make mistakes just like the person we are trying to forgive.