When Your Next Chapter Begins with a Question Mark

Dear Sweet Midlife Friend,

I want you to know that I take great joy in encouraging you to embrace your personal midlife journey! 

In part, my own personal midlife journey is what led me to start this blog.

It was one way I thought I could connect with other midlifer’s going through major life-shifts.

I wanted to create a community of women who felt free to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about the challenges and the beauty of midlife and our next chapter experiences.

So I set out on a journey to write words that matter. Because, I seemed to have more questions than answers.

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My hope was (and still is) to reach women from all walks of life who felt stuck in their current story, and help them get unstuck. Somewhere deep inside me, I knew I wanted to move women from where they are to where they need and want to be. I want them to discover, appreciate, and embrace their own unique potential so they can confidently step into the next chapter of their story and become more of the person God made them to be; someone whose life and talents satisfy their longing for a life that has value and purpose and bless others.

After several years of navigating through my own rough waters, hanging on for dear life, and living to tell about it, I began to experience a gradual sense of relief – as one being carried downstream into more calming waters.

But here’s an honest confession…

Just as I began to think I was finally getting the hang of this “midlife rapid-ride thing” life changed…suddenly and harshly.

I felt like I was moving things along at a slow and steady pace that worked for me and my crazy flying schedule, however, I also wanted to take some big next steps forward in my writing life…But “my plan” of moving forward into my next chapter came to a sudden stop (as I shared in my previous post).

On the morning of August 25th, 2018, my son-in-law Adam left this earth and entered his forever home.

His heart stopped working and our hearts were broken.

That’s why you haven’t heard from me, friend.

  • I couldn’t think.
  • I couldn’t write
  • I couldn’t fly.
  • I couldn’t breath…normally.

Grief had washed over our family like crashing waves against the walls that frame its banks. And had it not been for God’s grace and mercy we would be overwhelmed and overcome by its’ sting.

But…Hope is a gift in times of trouble. Because…

His name is Jesus.

Or as my 5 year old grandson calls him…“God.”

This is Vincent’s precious art work that he painted just a few weeks after his daddy went to heaven.

When he casually gave it to his grieving momma and told her he painted her a picture of “God’s face”…we were all undone. This sweet painting now hangs in my daughters home.

This was one moment (of many moments) throughout our grieving journey that our God has made his presence known.

This personal God who:

  • is our hope.
  • stills the raging river within.
  • empathizes with our weakness.
  • is our present help in time of trouble.
  • weeps with us in our sorrow.
  • comforts us in our sadness.
  • is Lord over very joy and every sorrow.

“Yes sweet Vincent boy….He is God!”

And he promises to be a father to the fatherless and a faithful friend to every widow and orphan.

Precious friend, you are not alone. Even when your next chapter may be filled with questions upon questions.

I hope and pray that this place will become a safe place for you to be where you are and that you will find the encouragement you need to step into your next chapter knowing God is with you right where you are.

I’ll be sharing more “Next Chapter” content as I get my feet back under me and jump back into the raft. I’m grateful to know the One who knows our beginning and our end and everything in between. I’ll be walking you through a series of new content that I’ve written just for you. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

What kind of midlife challenge are you facing beautiful lady? Please feel free to share your comments and journey challenges below. Let’s do this midlife thing together shall we?

Until next time…you are safely being carried by The Above and Beyond who loves you deeply.

Betsy

7 thoughts on “When Your Next Chapter Begins with a Question Mark

  1. Joan Ticherich says:

    Thanks Betsy for sharing your thoughts with us! Lifting you and your family right now in prayer as you try to discover a new normal in your journey through your grief and sorrow. Xo Joanie T.

    Like

  2. Mary M-D says:

    Hi Betsy,
    I literally just discovered you last week through Hope*Writers on IG! I instantly felt drawn to you and when I read your blog about the loss of your son-in-law I knew God had put you in my path for a reason. I will contact you in the coming week or two. I am praying for you, you entire family and your son-in-law.

    Like

  3. cari mcnelis miller says:

    Betsy, this looks beautiful, I am looking forward to keeping up with you and learning through your grieving process. I feel like I have an ongoing grief watching my daughter in a chronic illness, losing her formal self daily. God bless you and your family. You are using your experience, so painful, to help others.

    Like

    • Elizabeth Duncan Stretar says:

      Hi Cari. Thanks for sharing your journey of grief with me. I certainly don’t have this grief thing figured out – just that God is faithful when we lean into him for comfort grace and strength. All the things I believe to be true about God are being refined through sorrow. He comforts those who grieve – he hears the broken hearted. He gives strength to the weary – he mourns (weeps) with those who mourn (weep) – he too was acquainted with grief – he is sovereign – he is good – he brings beauty from ashes, literally – he is with us – we are not alone – etc. God will meet you where you are and help you to help your daughter find beauty and purpose in her suffering. I’m praying for you both now friend. What is your daughters first name?

      Like

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