All Things Work Together For Good

“All things work together for good of those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.” For a long time after Phil was killed, I shuddered every time I looked at this verse or considered the words. How could something so awful, so nauseatingly awful, be good? How could it be that God did not intervene that day as evil rained down in that room? How could I justify the many prayers and beliefs that I carried (and still carry) when I prayed for Phil’s safety and then it didn’t happen? Not only was Phil not safe, he was assassinated in the worst way possible. Lastly, how can it be that from the worst day, the ending of all of the dreams I once held, that so many unexpected blessings have come my way?

I prayed for Phil’s safety and I expected that those prayers would carry him home to me. I believed that my faith and the many prayers would cover him in safety. Surely the verses that talk about asking in faith meant that Phil’s safety was a given. I had faith, didn’t I? My assumptions shattered that day. My faith is still in integral part of my life, but I had to consider that verse and I had to rethink my beliefs. Isn’t it true that every man has the choice to choose? Could God have saved Phil? I do believe that he could have, but that he gives people free will. Phil’s assassin chose evil. He had a choice and he chose to destroy others. I also believe that the whole story isn’t the story here on earth. All I know is what I know on this earth, but the real story is what comes next.

Yes, grief hurts—a lot. Given the choice, I would choose my old life in a heartbeat, but it isn’t a choice and living in the shadows of that want or that life will effectively end my life. I need to keep moving forward. I am moving forward.

Since minute one, I have done what feels right for me. Maybe my journey isn’t the journey others would understand or embrace, but it is why I can get up in the morning. I really didn’t think about what I was doing, I just put one foot in front of the other. I made choices. The first choice was to fall into my faith. How could I claim to have faith if in my darkest hour I turned from the faith I claimed? I chose to fall into my faith and it has made all of the difference. I may not understand the evil actions of one, but I do know that there is more to the story than that event. I also chose to run and in that choice I found my footing, my happiness, and my way forward. I chose to return to work five days after Phil was buried. That choice led to me getting the focus away from all that was lost and it got me out of my pity party to begin the slow process forward. I chose to use Phil’s education benefits even though I had a ton of education and it gave me a way to focus my energy and it gave me a way to start acting on my values of living again.

These choices have led to a life that I can barely recognize as my own. It is far outside of the realm of possibilities and dreams I could ever imagine. I have become a better version of myself and it is humbling to see how God has used my story, my heart, my words to change awareness of military issues and to impact change in our military world. I have never seen or thought I could have success at this level. How could it be that from the ashes have come this strength and this broken beauty of a fire that blazes within. I don’t understand it. I just do what feels right and I have seen more attention and recognition of my efforts than ever before. To say that I have had amazing blessings enter my life is an understatement.

While I would certainly give up those blessings and successes to have what I once had, it doesn’t work that way. Happiness is a choice and I choose happiness. In shifting my paradigms, I can indeed see how from the ashes, all things are working together for good and according to his purpose. I don’t have to understand the events of that day, I just have to do what feels right and trust in myself and the faith that carries me.

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