Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Sometimes it would be really easy to curl up in a dark corner and withdraw from the world, wallowing in pain. I long for how my life use to be when we were an earthly family of 5. We were happy, fulfilled and it was a lot easier. Despite this longing, I am continuously amazed at how God continues to pick me up, giving me the strength to focus on my blessings. He gives me strength to keep doing the next best thing even when I don’t feel like doing it. Three years later, doing the next best thing has turned into a beautiful life.
Each day we push forward, dancing with both joy and sorrow. Happy moments are bittersweet that we don’t have Chad here to experience them with us. We still have many heavy moments of being hit by another grief wave but are learning to wrap the heaviness in budding new life. Curling up into the corner is not God’s plan for me and my kids and so we press on.
The bible tells us to think on excellent and praiseworthy situations. Such amazing and helpful advice. Where our focus is, our energy flows. Focusing on how much I miss and long for Chad does not help my children or solve any of my heartache. Choosing instead to focus on how grateful I am for Chad and our relationship changes my perspective and softens the pain of loneliness. Focusing on all that is still right in our world fills me happiness. Focusing on the promises God has made for us and our future fill me with joy.
God has also been whispering to me about the strength he sees in me. I have been having a list of accomplishments I have managed on my own pop into my head, reminding me I am doing this and can continue. Some of these are small but any widow knows accomplishing any meager task on our own in the beginning is huge success. Focusing on how far I have come helps me have strength to know I am going to be okay.
Jesus tells us that this world will have many trials and sorrows but to take courage as He has overcome the world. John 16:33 Jesus promises we can get courage from Him to continue pressing on through our trials and sorrows. What comfort to know we can count on God to give us what we need to persevere. I find great comfort to know this temporary life is so short compared to the eternal joy and happiness we will experience forever once we get “home”. Focusing on that as a family takes away the sting of this hard widow and fatherless life.
Today is yet another day of waking up from a dream of Chad, to find my house feeling too lonely to want to get out of bed despite having my three beautiful children down the hall. Today is another day I need to decide to reflect on all the heavenly gifts I have been given. I need to focus on all the good that is promised yet to come. God is writing our story and so I can trust in his goodness and face another day. Today I choose joy.
Tanya Christians met her soul mate during her final year of university in Spring 1999. Although she was only 21 at the time it didn’t take long to know that this guy was the one. Chad Christians was charismatic, adventurous, confident, gorgeous and incredibly kind. He was a talented athlete who made everyone feel better the minute he entered a room. Deeply loved by everyone who knew him, Tanya always felt incredibly blessed that he chose her. Chad had a 2-year-old son when Tanya met him so once they moved in together in 2001, Tanya became a part time step mom. They were married July 2004 and then had 3 children together; a daughter in 2006, a son in 2007 and a second daughter in 2010. They built a beautiful life together in a close-knit acreage community.
Chad was a successful business owner and Tanya happily gave up teaching to stay home and raise their kids. They were incredibly happy.
In 2015, Tanya returned to work as a teacher, first part time because their youngest was in kindergarten and then full time when she was in grade one. It was June of this year that everything shattered. The life Tanya thanked God for several times a week came crashing down. Chad had been having severe back pain which led to his gall bladder being removed. After that surgery, Chad’s intense back pain was still more than he could stand. He had
been seeking medical attention for his pain since February but it wasn’t until June 11th, 2017 that the answer to the pain was found. A moment forever etched into Tanya’s mind. Chad had terminal, stage 4 gall bladder cancer. Despite being told the odds, Chad fought this cancer with everything he had, even seeking private treatment out of country, but it was just too aggressive. To everyone’s devastation Chad passed away 3.5 months later at the age of 41. When Chad moved into the different hospitals, shortly after diagnosis, Tanya moved in with him. She was by his side every moment as his health started deteriorating very quickly. Tanya’s strong faith in God gave her peace and hope during this horrendous time. She started a small, private blog telling her story during the endless hours of living in a hospital. Reading other widows blogs during this time gave her hope as well that possibly she could figure out how to live without her beloved Chad.
Chad passed away September 19th, 2017 at the age of 41. Tanya still lives on their small acreage, is working full time as a grade 6 teacher, has three kids in sports and activities and tries to stay connected to her community.
Tanya hopes sharing her story of how she is choosing to build a life where she and her kids thrive, despite her devastation, will give others hope too. How being intentional with her healing, taking steps of self care, adventures with and without her kids, staying connected to those who love them and a deep faith in God is helping them all to live a whole-hearted chapter 2 of their lives.
You can find Tanya on Instagram @christianstanya and her personal blog www.seekingthelightca.wordpress.com