I was recently asked if I blamed God when Amber died. The answer was an instantaneous “No.” I didn’t blame God, I blamed myself for every part of it. My walk within my faith may have been drifting all over the road at the time, but I never lost sight of God down that road. It is because of that, I listened when my friend; defacto brother; and brother in Christ, Michael gave me some advice that if I truly felt at fault, then all I need to do is ask for God's forgiveness. I did. Yes, I still deal with PTSD and I reflect on distinct memories of her 7 days a week; some good and some bad, but my once overwhelming sorrow is gone.
As Amber always said she wanted to do, I like to think of her dancing, running and climbing trees while in Heaven. She also wanted to meet the man lowered through the roof at a house where Jesus was. I have no idea if this is how things really work in Heaven but I suppose it doesn’t really matter how I imagine something so incredibly unimaginable. All that does matter is that I know with every ounce of my being that God’s promises are true and she is there with Him.
So where does this leave me today?
For a bit of history: In 2008 my job and I went our separate ways and I was lost. Amber came back into my life and filled that void. We had a lot of fun and we had a lot of trials and tribulations too. Out of sheer necessity and the economy, I burned through most of my retirement money in the short seven years following. I never revealed to her that my financial situation would soon be growing dire. Then, just when everything was supposed to get better, it all went horribly wrong and she was suddenly gone and my world went upside down. I had nothing. I no longer had a purpose. From the moment I walked out of that hospital, when almost every waking thought was about me being proactive in finding the most expeditious yet least objectionable way to go meet God head on, His plans were quite obviously about meeting me right where I was. All I had to do was just surrender, and so I did.
God has been so incredibly good to me since.
He has sent to me more new friendships than I have ever had in my life. Friends who counsel me rather than speak at me and friends who pray with and for me. Out of those friendships, He saw fit to include Alicia, the woman I now plan to spend the rest of my life with.
When I was willing to humble myself, He saw fit to give me the exact job I prayed for. Yes, I have a job now. It’s not my dream job; it’s completely unrelated to my lifetime profession; it pays nothing even remotely close to what I used to make, but it is the job I specifically prayed for for a variety of reasons. It’s physically demanding work but it has been good for my physical health and stamina. On my first day I worked alone, a random customer came up and asked me to pray for her. I've never had that happen in my entire life. From my meager paycheck, I have been able to bless a few random people. I know He has other plans for me in the future, but this is where I need to be right now.
For myself, I prayed for a new place to live. No, let me be more clear; I didn't just pray for a new place to live, I prayed for a single specific home address that I had absolutely no chance of ever having. In fact, it wasn't even available. When considering all of the events that had to occur in a very specific order for me to get it, I was more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning. Seriously, the odds against it were astronomical. Add to that, even if I did get it, all costs involved in breaking my current lease would have been financially devastating. Guess where I live now? Not only that, the previous resident of this tiny pinprick on the world map was a wonderful 95 year old prayer warrior named Amelia Rios who spent her life in daily service and prayer for the needs of everyone else. Yes, I now lay my head to bed each night in what I call “The War Room.”
So, on the anniversary of Amber’s passing, why is this post all about me instead of her? It’s pretty simple, really. While Amber was here with us, my biggest worries were about her and what would happen to her if I were gone. Likewise, she worried what would become of me if she were gone.
Today, Amber is doing more than well because she is with the living God, the very author and creator of the everything that she was so curious about. I know she would be happy to know that I am doing well because in the two years following, God saw fit to take the holes and fill them with the most incredible blessings. This is not to say that I don't miss her, I do, but I am happy for her.
After the biggest storm of my life, God has met all of my needs in absolute abundance and has given me unending love from every direction. It is well with my soul.