Note: I have a long story to tell you that involves a little bit of back-tracking. It's a story that really should be shared by sitting together in person, talking, laughing, and crying over tea… I have waited to share it publicly. Still not entirely sure what is going on :), but I want you to know about my life and what God is doing to answer prayer. So many of you have prayed so consistently and patiently for me throughout every step of this painful journey...
As the girls and I had been praying into God's plan for us, God seemed to speak over and over again that we were to wait for the one he had chosen. I wrestled greatly with how to move forward. What ministry would look like as a single woman and single mom? I felt uncertain about that path… It didn't seem right. It just didn't resonate with what God had put inside of me.
So, in agony, we cried out to God to provide for us a man whom He had chosen... A man who would walk with us on this journey of grief and ministry, hand and hand, with a shared heart and united call.
Is it possible, I wondered?? Who could possibly fit the profile? How could a man be out there somewhere, submitted to God's plan for his life, who would happen upon us, (not be already married…), and willingly take up the call to join a grieving family in sacrificial surrender to full-time Christian ministry??
I guess I knew that if such a man arrived, it would be only by the hand of a providential God who reigned sovereignly over our lives and with whom nothing is impossible.
So… January 18th, 2014, Brent Dongell arrived at my door with a car load of student leaders from Kingswood University. They were on PEI for a special leaders retreat weekend, and Brent had taken up the responsibility of delivering to me the "RESTORE Suddenly" painting (Restore.; Sudden burst of joy.) from a mutual friend, Nicole Fitzgerald. (Thank you, Nicole.)
I had no idea who this man was, but quickly recognized him in the Spirit. My prophetic nature kicked in, and I saw him as a strong and humble warrior of God, with a heart like David, most definitely a man after God's own heart. They unveiled the painting. They prayed. It was beautiful. Then they left. Brent lingered just a few extra moments to express honour and appreciation to me for being a reputed woman of God.
This experience, lasting maybe 15 minutes in duration, set off an explosion in my inner being :). What just happened?? Who is this stranger, and why did I know him in the Spirit?? How did a "drop off" turn into such a divine appointment? How did a stranger manage to connect to my heart in a way that only my husband had? and in only a few moments of interaction??
Ultimately, my thoughts for the next day and half revolved around, Who is this man? and where did he come from? and What was that I saw in the Spirit when we met??
Eventually, I sent him a quick thank you e-mail, including a loaded question at the end which effectively instigated an intense e-dialogue, where both of us wrestled with how to make sense of our strong connection and shared heart… :) Then, I left for Bangladesh.
Brent and I continued to e-mail and text some while I was away. Our relationship was sudden and seemed to bring about this new wave of sudden restoration prophesied in the very painting he had been sent to deliver… He approached me with a sense of honour and respect, terribly careful to guard and protect my heart. He asked for nothing in return, but put himself in a position of support and encouragement, exhorting me on occasion as well, gently nudging me toward healing and empowerment. These are his gifts. He is an empowerer who activates the potential in those around him. Such a fun, special guy :).
I don't know what God is doing. I don't know what the future holds or looks like. But, I definitely know that Brent has played an important role in our healing and restoration. I know his ministry to my family has been a gift with which we are exceedingly blessed. He has filled our lives with music, joyful laughter, a breath of fresh air and renewed hope. He has entered into our world of grieving Lynn, watched the funeral DVD, read through my entire blog, ordered grief books... He embraces Lynn as a forever part of our family, is concerned about me honouring Lynn and his memory, and what this will look like for the rest of our lives. He is concerned about me stepping into God's plan for my life, stepping into my gifts in a new and more pronounced way…
I don't know how it's possible to be blessed with so much of God's providential hand evidenced in my life. I don't know how it's possible to receive so much favour and answered prayer. I don't know how its possible to meet another man, completely different from Lynn, who still shares my heart for the Lord and for His people…
I have a lot of unanswered questions (so does he!), and a few fears about embracing a very new and different life from the one I would have lived with Lynn… But I am also at peace in God's sovereign care. He truly does work in the realm of the impossible. He truly does honour and lift up those who are bowed low. He truly does hear the cries of His people and provides for the afflicted…
I do not know my future, but I love my Jesus. I have been so blessed in Him.
And I am thankful for my new friend, Brent. :)