Conntecting the Dots

When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

Last Friday I texted a friend with a question. She answered it, but then she added, “Did you see the post about Jennifer?”

“No,” I responded. “I’ve been busy writing under deadline and haven’t been on social media much lately. What about Jennifer?”

“She died on Wednesday night.”

To say I felt stunned is an understatement. My gut reaction was, “No!!!”

Jennifer Kennedy Dean had become my friend over the past several years. She was a prayer warrior and gifted Bible teacher who radiated love for Jesus and her family.

I’d prayed for Jennifer and her three sons years before I met her in person. She and I belonged to a mutual writers’ association. One day I read online that her husband had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. I followed her blog through that experience and I prayed.

Getting to know Jennifer personally has been a lifetime highlight for me. We attended an event earlier this year where we were assigned to the same small group. She led it, and oh, how I loved listening to her pray. She clearly enjoyed intimacy with her Savior.

Precious memory from last January

The news of Jennifer’s passing—due to a heart attack—has left me saddened and reeling. I can’t imagine how her family must be feeling right now. Once again I’m praying for her sons who are now married and parenting small children.

I’ve wrestled with wondering why God would take Jennifer so suddenly and so young. I’ve taken walks and prayed for her family, crying for the pain they’re experiencing. And I’ve sought comfort in the only One whose presence soothes the soul. I choose to believe that He is truly who He says He is—sovereign God—and Jennifer’s passing was no surprise to Him. Somehow, in some way, this tragedy will someday evidence purposes beyond what we can see. I believe it with my whole heart, and I know others do too.

Life takes unexpected turns. Sometimes we have no answers. But we always have a Comforter. And in Him we always find hope.

How has the Lord helped you when life took an unexpected turn?

#bgbg2 #FindingHope  #GrievingLoss

8 Responses to “When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn”

  1. Nancy Griggs

    I hadn’t heard this. It rocks me. I love her writing. Praying for her family. One of the girls in my small group for P31 OBS recently lost her husband and I am trying to walk with her at a distance.

    Reply
    • Grace

      Hi Nancy. Jennifer’s passing is heaven’s gain and our loss. I’m sure her family will appreciate your prayers as they grieve and learn to walk a new normal. May God comfort you as you process this as well, and may He give you wisdom and compassion as you walk alongside the woman who was recently widowed.

      Reply
  2. Nadine Davis

    There are so many of us that loved and cared for Jennifer that have had to deal with this unexpected turn of events. Most of us are very familiar with God’s Sovereignty and His deceision to take her from us. Yet, it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. What I have had to come to terms with is that Jennifer belonged to God and not to me. We love and cherish the lives God send to us however we are stunningly sobered when we come to terms with the fact that they do not belong to us. I’m so grateful for the brief time I got to meet and come to love Jennifer. She was just on my radio broadcast three weeks ago, sharing and teaching us about the Power and Necessity of Prayer! We consider it a sweet blessing for that precious morsel of time we were given to share in the wisdom and revelations on prayer the Lord had delivered to her. We mourn with all that knew and loved her, knowing that we will get to see her again.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Nadine. Thanks so much for leaving your comments here. I totally agree with you about Jennifer’s passing leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. She indeed belonged to the Lord, and He is sovereign. This, for me, is a case of not understanding His ways but trusting Him nonetheless. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to have her on your radio broadcast. What a gift.

      Reply
  3. Deborah Norred

    Grace I was so shocked to heart this news as well. I loved her Bible studies and her heart for prayer and the church becoming a HOUSE OF PRAYER.
    She did her work on this earth so well that she got promoted to a bigger better position. To God be the glory. Prayers for you and all her family and friends who are hurting and missing her presence here on earth.

    Reply
    • Grace Fox

      Hi Deborah. Yes, this was sad news. Our loss is heaven’s gain. Scripture says that God’s numbered our days from before we were born, so it’s not really true to say she died too soon, right? But it sure seems that way. But God knows what He’s doing, so we choose to trust.

      Reply

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