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Four years ago, at 36 years old, I found myself widowed with two young children to care for. My husband had collapsed suddenly while on a site in Lancaster, PA. We would later find out that he had an enlarged heart, which had worked overtime for too long and simply had no more beats to give.

I’ve experienced grief in a multitude of ways, losing many family members and friends over the years, including my dad, but this was different. I’d planned on a future with Kyle, and we had two children who needed him. This was inconceivable to me, and I was entirely consumed by the pain of losing the love of my life. In the earliest days, in my anguish, and in the midst of my grief, I turned away from God, consumed by anger and confusion. How could He allow such pain? I felt abandoned and alone, unable to see His presence amidst the darkness.

Now, almost five years out, I reflect back on those early months, and I see how God remained steadfast by my side, offering His love and support in ways I could not comprehend. The anger, disappointment, and sense of punishment clouded my thoughts, obscuring the truth that God was still by my side, even in my darkest moments. In the depths of my grief, I could not see the ways in which God was working in my life. He sustained me when I felt like giving up, offering love and support even as I pushed Him away.

My children unknowingly nudged me back towards Him because they wanted to go and see their friends at church, so most Sundays we would go, and I would blandly sing the songs and then tune out the message. Needless to say, It was a slow journey back to faith, marked by moments of resistance and eventual acceptance. True to God, though, he softened my heart toward Him.

Music played a significant role in my spiritual awakening. Despite my attempts to shut out any form of communication from God, He persisted in reaching out to me through song.

Music has always had the ability to move me and touch my heart, causing a deep emotional response, which is why I refused all music for months after Kyle died. (I recently learned that Researchers from USC released a study that suggests only about 50 percent of people feel things like shivers, a lump in their throat, and goosebumps when they listen to music.) After months of gradually letting music back into our car and home, one song in particular pierced through my pain, reminding me of God's unfailing love and His promise to walk beside me in my sorrow. It was a song I’d heard many times prior to that day, but this new version featured a female voice, and her harmony cut right to my heart.

I couldn't see it then, but I believe it now

Trying to hold my head up when the ground fell out

I felt all alone even in a crowd

Like a sinking stone dragging my heart down

And the weight of the sorrows I carried on my chest

It kept pulling me under, and I couldn't catch my breath

Not how I thought my life would go

Didn't know my heart could sink this low

Oh, my God

I remember when I cried

Shook my fists up at the sky

I wondered why

You felt so far from me

Oh, God

It was in my deepest pain

That I heard You call my name

I heard You say

That You were right there with me

When I say I was moved….Honestly, I should have pulled my car over to sob, but I was pretty close to home. I pulled into the garage and completely broke down. This time it wasn’t in grief. These were heavy tears that marked my walls against God were collapsing all around me. The reality of Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” was undeniable in that moment.

It felt like I turned to face Him and just crumbled into His arms with all my broken pieces, finally willing to let Him carry my load (Matthew 11:28). In that moment, I heard a small whisper in my mind say, “He weeps with you.” It was a moment of profound revelation, as I felt the weight of my grief lift and a sense of unexplainable peace settle over me. I knew then that I was not alone, that God was with me, weeping alongside me in my pain. 

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Since that day, my relationship with God has deepened in ways I never thought possible. I have found solace and comfort in His presence, akin to the strong embrace of my late husband. Music continues to be a source of connection with the Divine, speaking to my soul in ways that words cannot.

Despite my initial reluctance, God led me to join the worship team at my church. It was a terrifying leap of faith, but worshiping Jesus has become my greatest joy, and I am grateful for the family I have found within my church community. My prayer is that when I am on stage singing other people can see the joy I have in Jesus radiating out of me. I want that to be the first thing people see in me – my unwavering love and faith in Jesus – because He turned my life around when everything in me shattered.

In the end, it is not about the trials we face or the pain we endure but about the ways in which God uses our suffering to draw us closer to Him. He is the source of all comfort and hope, and in His presence, we find true and lasting peace.

Kelley Ford

Born in Baltimore, but now residing in Southern PA, Kelley lives with her two kids, who bring her sunshine on dark days. They have one dog, three cats, and more plants than she can count. Her favorite things to do are singing on the praise and worship team at her church, tending to her large outdoor garden and indoor house plants, and occasionally hobby hopping from art to woodworking to writing. If she's home, there's a 75% chance that she's dancing in her kitchen to worship music. 


Kimberly McDaniel about 2 months ago

I lost my husband April 17th 2023 and I too find a lot of healing through music. I am very sorry for your loss. I also have had to lean in to the Lord and His word or I couldn't make it without Him

Keah Stoltzfus Young about 1 month ago

My sincerest condolences to you and your boy’s, Learning your story of love & loss. Your story touched my heart & soul. I am also a young widow ( x2 ). 2017 & 2019 . I lost all hope in life and in the lord thru this dark journey of loss. ( a lot of anger & tears shed ) . I am a mother of 1 adult son that I am very proud of. It took a lot of love & strength & courage to face each day & to draw near to our Heavenly Father. Music is my outlet to joy and happiness & knowing God has never left me. My Christian sisters , family, friends & the church led my way back to the Lord. God puts angels in our path to help guide us thru our trials of life.
You inspire me to keep moving forward in life 💕

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