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July 19, 2020 2:00 am
Today, Susie is joined by our friend, Sheila Lanier. In this powerful episode, Sheila shares her testimony of how God brought her through the incredibly difficult tragedy of losing her husband in a car accident. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, we urge you to listen to her story.
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life and welcome back to the Salvation Army's words of life.
I'm here with my cohost Bernie Dave welcome Bernie hey Cheryl great to be back in the studio. If you, yes, it is imperative to be a very special episode. We are in our third week of our new series barefoot Cinderella's and in this episode, our listeners get to hear from an old friend Donald friend, Col. show here who Cheryl you are sitting in the seat that she would've been a when she was recording her episode. She has been on an incredible journey that involved the loss of a loved one. Steve her own battle with cancer and she has a lot to say, particularly to people that are experiencing some of these challenges. I know her stories gonna bless you, if you suffer the loss of a loved one, just waiting to hear her incredible story of God's faithfulness hello Maj. Susie Erickson with the Salvation Army and today am in the studio with Lieut. Col. Sheila linear welcome you well. I am just delighted to be here with you today. You know I think about on if there were a beauty pageant for barefoot Cinderella's UN definitely take on the crown because you have experienced that Cinderella life on so many levels.
But it didn't always start out as a barefoot Cinderella life did it years, started out as a fairytale absolutely. Could you tell us a little bit about what the fairytale was like before the stroke of midnight first fell I was raised in a in a wonderful home with parents to loves me absolutely, and taught me the ways of the Lord in the word so you know I was blessed to come from a loving home. When I went to college I went to Christian college and was blessed to have good friends and just you know enjoying life, and I went home to Dallas, Texas during Christmas break and I went to a Christmas party and there was my Prince charming.
Oh, in the middle of the crown entertaining as you can well imagine, and I get you not. I really believe in love at first sight because he just absolutely captivated my heart.
He actually was there with update and he put his state in a car and said good night to her and we went out okay.
You know what can I say but we we just really handed the ultimate love story and then we became Salvation Army officers together. We were blessed with two beautiful children, a son and daughter.
I mean we were just loving life.
I can't. I can't tell you we've had a great marriage.
Our family life was wonderful. Our ministry together was wonderful.
I really have been blessed to Cinderella life, but the stroke of midnight did hit didn't did you tell us about that journey. My parents were living. They were retired and living in Charlotte North Carolina and we were living in Oklahoma and we went home for Christmas the day before we were scheduled to come home back to Oklahoma. We went out to the camp that we had shared five summers in North Carolina and we visited that camp and cut a walk down memory lane together so we had a wonderful day of anomaly.
Looking back, but looking forward and then the next day we left to drive back to Oklahoma.
There was snow on the mountains going across Tennessee. We hit a patch of ice and had a an accident and Steve was killed immediately and it was just a bolt out of the blue that changed life forever for me in and forth my kids and at that moment I became a barefoot Cinderella.
My my coach turned into a pumpkin very quickly.
What did life look like after that Willey you know and in the Salvation Army, you you share your ministry and we had been fortunate to be in appointments where we worked.
We worked together so closely and I didn't know who I was.
Without him I didn't know what my ministry would look like I didn't I didn't know what the Salvation Army would plan for me and Steve was so so outgoing and so energetic and you know I wondered who and who am I without him by my side to kinda mean did I just ride along with him or what did I have within me. It was really you know a law apart from the loneliness and the grief and the and the gut wrenching sorrow unit was also a time for me to figure out. I don't know who I am because I was always, we write so what did you learn about yourself and discovering who you were.
While I learned that I was a whole lot stronger than I thought I was in a shock is a wonderful thing because it it protects you from, you know, taking in what's happened all at once because your mind and your spirit in your unit, you just can't. You can't wrap your head around it so kinda shock allows it to see been a little bit of the time I and you and you never know how strong you are until you have to be and I didn't have a choice. For a while I struggled with feeling like I had to work extra hard to prove that I was enough right by myself and and I had to learn that I didn't have to do that because I was enough. God made me enough right, what did you learn about God in the midst of such pain-and-suffering will obviously the faithfulness of God and Steve and I did a lot of music together in one of the duets that we traditionally sang was in a great is thy faithfulness and then suddenly those words for head to take on meaning and I think when you go through crisis. You have the faith that you've had your whole life that you've trusted in and all the sudden their questions that you never thought you would have to ask the biggest of all being. Why why God you know why. Why him.
Why me, why us. The real lesson for me was to learn.
I'm not going to get an answer that question. And so the task is to learn to live with the questions and not to learn to live expecting answers and I learned that God he was going to be there waiting for me because for a while. It wasn't necessarily anger or bitterness. It was numbness just not feeling anything.
And then I guess about two months after Steve's death.
I came back to North Carolina for youth councils because there a group of young people were doing the musical Godspell and they were going to dedicate the performance to Steve and my parents picked me up and they were driving me to the location where the musical would be at a CD that I had given them. That was my utmost for his highest. Brian Duncan and the song came on a love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in the and then that verse came on old joy that sequenced me through pain. I cannot close my heart to the and those words just like a bolt joy that sequenced me because I keep reaching out to God and feeling like I just I wasn't.
I knew he was there, but I just couldn't feel them, and to know that joy would seek me and continually seek me until it found me again. I really learned that God would be faithful to just wait it out with me right and sometimes when I prayed it was some I was saying the words but II said to a friend of mine.
I don't understand I can't even when I pray I can't feel God, and she said to me, and this is the time that you just rest on our prayers on your behalf.
So those are some of the things that that I learned if you had a chance today to sit down with a woman who has just lost her husband, whose fairytale world has just come crumbling down. What would she say to her, you know sometimes when we sit down with the Scripture were drawn to passages that are favorites were drawn to passages that are easy, but one day I was in a meeting somewhere and the passage was Lamentations.
Nobody ever says I think I'm going to read the book of Lamentations, but the message was seen affliction. The rot of the Lord's wrath is driven me away walking in darkness rather than light.
The Lord is turned his hand against me is broken, my bones minute. It's a hard passage to read his dealt with me with bitterness and hardship like a bear lying in wait like a lion in hiding. He dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help and his horrible and then all of a sudden in the 21st verse it says and yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed or his passions never fail great is your faithfulness.
You have to learn to live on this side of yet because it's easy to live on the side of the bitterness and the brokenness and the heartache and the grief you can get stuck there. But if you believe and have hope you can have on the other side of yet and yet I will call upon the Lord, and yet he has been faithful, be patient with yourself. It's not a matter of you'll get over it.
You will not get over it. You learn to live with it. You get used to its weight. Continue to pray even when you don't feel like it.
Continue to call upon the Scripture that you've known even when sometimes it doesn't feel true. Keep speaking it until it rings true. The Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs to become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and love to hear from you.
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