Shift

I was meant for marriage. I’ve long known that and it only became more apparent to me as I got older. Now what I have to do is figure out how to negotiate that with my current situation. Stephanie was the same as me. We both knew for our entire lives that we wanted to be married some day. Married and raising kids was a lifelong dream.

We both also went through at least a couple years of being single during our early twenties that gave us some time to figure out who we are for ourselves. God taught us how to be content having no one else but Him in our lives, and we were both so thankful for that. We got to a place where we were no longer expecting to get married and could be content if we never did.

One of my favorite lines from a book about marriage (“Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas) goes something like “If we want to serve God, we should remain single; if we want to be like Jesus Christ, we should get married.” I love that quote because neither option is greater than the other. Both honor God so highly and serve Him in every way. For me, it was particularly exciting to think about the prospect of being more like Christ, and saw how marriage could really make a person more like Christ because of the intensely close relationship that marriage is. “As iron sharpens iron,” right?

Anyway, the point is that now I have to figure out how to reorient my life. Taking that quote, it would seem that now would be a great opportunity to serve God more directly. The one thing I didn’t expect in the equation was the fact that I have already been married and I now have kids. I don’t have any answers to these questions now, but I do feel like God has been helping me to serve Him more and showing me how to use my additional time for His glory (though that extra time is minimal because of the kids). I think my life has to make a shift, but I have to figure out what that’s going to be exactly.

15 thoughts on “Shift”

  1. Brad, Your words bring tears to my eyes. Praying for continued support to surround you and your babies through this grieving process. You are precious in His sight. Thankyou for sharing your heart. I do see Him in you and I know it is due in part because of the beautiful marriage you and Stephanie shared. ♥

  2. Brad, your faithfullness and strength are such an inspiration! Reading your blogs gives me strength and makes me feel that no matter how bad things get, God is always in control! I love him so much! I know he knows this and I know he has saved me twice for a specific reason! I feel just by being me and being a positive person helps the people around me! I have been very blessed in everything he has given! I am not married, I am not dating, I don't have a job that is extremely important or pays alot! But I enjoy life everyday with the little blessings God has given me! I may be alone, but I am not lonely! I am pretty much Happy everyday and I love my job! I don't live a high maintenance life, but I feel that I was meant to live a very happy simple life. Whether or not that may include someone who I am meant to love and be married. I would like to thank you for posting your blogs also cause it keeps us informed! Please don't stop! I pray that things will get better a little everyday! And stephanie hasn't left you! She will be with you all the time ! Both in your heart and your spirit! Love ya! :)

  3. Brad,

    Be patient and wait. You can’t rush into things. Being a single parent is a very hard job. From what I can gather you have a lot of support. Take advantage of that during this time. Enjoy your children and spend some time taking care of you. God already knows the answers to all of your questions, concerns, and thoughts. He just doesn’t put it on a billboard, which would be my preference, so I would know when to expect the answers to my problems/questions. Keep blogging, it is a tremendous help to so many of us and I believe it’s helping you also. Take care and may God continue to wrap His powerful arms around you.

  4. Hi Brad,

    My cousin, Sarah Hershey, requested prayer for you some weeks ago and I have been thnking about you and praying for you ever since. Sacred Marriage is a book very near to my heart, as it gave my husband and I the kick-start we needed after, at that time, 11 years of marriage. One part of that book that really spoke to me, in addition to the quote you wrote, is the notion that God is our Heavenly Father-in-Law. From everything I’ve read, you were a husband that made your Father-in-Law(s) proud, grateful, happy, and peace-filled. I hope that you allow that to bring you comfort and to know, if He is your eternal Father and in-law, she is your eternal wife. You have my greatest sympathy and my continued prayers. I have shed tears for your pain and I don’t even know you. That’s God…

  5. Brad, Your words bring tears to my eyes. Praying for continued support to surround you and your babies through this grieving process. You are precious in His sight. Thankyou for sharing your heart. I do see Him in you and I know it is due in part because of the beautiful marriage you and Stephanie shared. ♥

  6. Brad,

    Your life will shift and God will bring you to new places and you will change in so many ways. After my husband died, I wasn’t sure who I was for a long time because I only knew myself as “his girl”. God showed me, though, that I am His and that He is my husband. He took me through specific journeys this past year to rebuild my confidence of being a single parent. There are still such lonely times that will creep up and I start wondering who I am without my love, but God speaks to me and brings me back to His truth of the love that He has for me and my children. You may never be who you were again, but God has so many awesome places for you to go. You are glorifying Him daily through your faith. Keep looking up. You will continue to see His awesome hand at work.

    The strength of His love will always surround you.

    Love,
    Kelly

  7. Dear Brother in Christ,

    I have done theatre with and know the Hnats, with the exception of Bill, for several years and was referred to your blog by my facebook friendship with John. Like so many others I have followed your story and cried for you and with you.

    I have only been a 100% committed Christian for about 2 years, which seems like a long time, but isn’t. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and had a lumpectomy in October found out that even though the surgery was succesful in removing the cancer that I am facing a round of chemotherapy to kill a gene that causes it to come back.

    My thoughts and grief about my own situation have often been eclipsed by my absolute amazement of the way you have been able to rest upon the Lord and His promises during this time. You have given me courage to face what is ahead of me.

    I am a HUGE fan of Rich Mullins (RIP) and one of his lyrics that comforts me is “and as I move beyond everything I’ve known You pull me near.” I do believe that just like any other parent, when we go into unknown territory that God’s hands are on us, and the lucky thing is that those of us that seek Him will feel those hands holding us.

    I never has the privilege of meeting Stephanie, but I feel like I have, and I know that you are my brother, whether we meet in this life or not, we will spend eternity at the feet of our Lord together.

    I will continue to keep you and your little ones inmy prayers.

    -Sharron

  8. I always find it hard waiting for God’s answers too. I think of that story with the person on the island who looks for God in the airplane, thunder, and wind but God spoke through the whisper of himself or something like that. Anyway I always find it hard to listen for the whisper so I know the answers for the problems that I am seeking. Kids make it a lot harder to listen to God in the quite places because they do not know how to be quite themeselves.
    Praying for you
    ALC

  9. Brad,
    I have prayed for you and your family since I have heard about Stephanie. I prayed even harder through this past weekend. I still continue to pray for you and your family as now reality is setting in and life is continuing. You are right it is a shift into a new chapter and God is going to do some AMAZING things in your life. God’s timing is perfect and he will help you get adjusted to life as you now know it. Let God work on and in your heart and God will give you the desires of your heart.

    Be blessed by God and let him fill you to overflowing.

    Erin

  10. Hi Brad,
    I cannot help but think of what a wonderful reminder your children will be of your beautiful wife and your marriage. My husband and I are expecting our first child and I have come to realize that even if I were to lose my husband, I will always have this child to remember him by. I pray that your children are a source of refuge and healing for you. Christ is not only who we look to be like, but he is also our Shepard. You are now the Shepard of your children.

    In His love,
    Jackie Gamble

  11. Brad,

    Lindy from Focus sent us news of Stephanie’s passing. Roc and I want to extend our deepiest sadness. We so admire your courage and confidence in His faithfulness to see you and your children through this valley over the coming months. Our prayers are sent to you.Oh at such a time as this how good to having a Living Savior.Grieving with you,Bev and Roc Bottomly

  12. Brad, your faithfullness and strength are such an inspiration! Reading your blogs gives me strength and makes me feel that no matter how bad things get, God is always in control! I love him so much! I know he knows this and I know he has saved me twice for a specific reason! I feel just by being me and being a positive person helps the people around me! I have been very blessed in everything he has given! I am not married, I am not dating, I don't have a job that is extremely important or pays alot! But I enjoy life everyday with the little blessings God has given me! I may be alone, but I am not lonely! I am pretty much Happy everyday and I love my job! I don't live a high maintenance life, but I feel that I was meant to live a very happy simple life. Whether or not that may include someone who I am meant to love and be married. I would like to thank you for posting your blogs also cause it keeps us informed! Please don't stop! I pray that things will get better a little everyday! And stephanie hasn't left you! She will be with you all the time ! Both in your heart and your spirit! Love ya! :)

  13. Still praying for you and your family. I have been wondering how have your kids been thru this? I do think you should write a book as someone else has mentioned. Your life will and has changed and God will guide you thru.

  14. Hello Brad,
    I’m still on the bus with you also. I’ve continued to lift you and your family up in prayer. You seem to like Christian music, as do I. I find it can take me away from my problems and redirect my thoughts to the Lord, His goodness and everlasting faithfullness! I work for the Clinic taking care of patients and I love my job. Sometimes, though the sadness, the stresses of my job almost overwhelm me. I listen to my Ipod all day, and it helps get me through.
    Yes, you will have to shift your life, and God has asked a whole lot of you. I pray that you find that “shelter” whenever you need it. I wanted to share a new David Crowder Band song, Shine, done all with lite brite pegs! It is really amazing and it spoke to me about how God can turn tragedy into something beautiful. I hope you enjoy it, laugh a little, cry a little, but make sure you wait until the end…there’s something beautiful for you!
    Blessings and Prayers,
    Barb

  15. Brad,
    The thought that came to my mind after reading your post is that God IS shifting you but it won’t be the only shift, because it seems life is a series of shifts. Sometimes, too, I get anxious and I want to shift to the next stage but I can’t because it’s all about God’s timing and not mine. (Truly easier to type than live out.) As you continue in your walk with God, I know He will continue to direct your path.

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