Beth LaFarge knows tragedy too well. She experienced both the crushing blow of her husband’s cancer diagnosis (from which he was later healed) and later his sudden and very tragic death. In this heart-wrenching post, Beth shares her story. She also shares ways that women can help others in crisis along with practical steps she took to seek healing.
Beth, you’ve experienced quite the journey. Share with us a little about your story.
On Valentine’s Day of last year, my stepson—who suffers from bipolar disorder—murdered my husband. A close family friend and neighbor called me at work and told me that the police needed to talk to me. After contacting my pastor and asking him to meet me at the house, I drove my 52-mile commute home. Alone.
All I can recall of that drive was proclaiming Scripture and crying out to God the verses that my husband, Laurent, and I had clung to in 2012 when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer (and later healed).
While part of my story involves my husband’s tragic death, my story—and the story of our life together—was really about the journey we were on together in our faith: allowing God to use us to help others, as He led us, and learning to trust in Him as the source of our strength when things did not always seem to make sense.
What can people do for someone who’s dealing with a significant tragedy?
The obvious answer to this question is to pray for that person’s strength, peace, and guidance.
My husband and I had the joy of experiencing an outpouring of prayer from so many circles as family and friends lifted us up during his battle with cancer. I experienced the same outpouring of prayer when he passed away.
During both times in my life, it was truly a blessing when people would send cards, letters, and emails to share that they were praying.
I’m sure many of us have heard someone say the words, “I’m praying for you.” But to actually put into writing those words is one of the most amazing expressions of love that I can imagine.
If there’s one thing you learned about the Lord as a result of your journey, what would it be?
He is with me each step that I take. Sometimes, He is carrying me. Sometimes, He is pushing me. Sometimes, He is dragging me. And, sometimes, He is just holding my hand. I sensed this even before the tragedy.
But when life is calm and peaceful, we often forget that He is always with us. Sometimes a struggle is what it takes for us to remember that when we put our trust and faith in Him, He will never leave us.
One of my favorite verses is about God’s wonderful grace . . . at a time when we are at our weakest. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
I am often reminded that in my own time of weakness—when I can’t find the strength I need—God’s grace is sufficient for me.
What are some practical things you do to find strength when you just don’t feel like you can get up and face the day?
There are many mornings when I just want to bury my head under the pillow and avoid the day. However, I have two things that I’ve learned to do for myself.
First, I’ve learned the importance of memorizing Scripture so that I can call on it when I am having one of those days. I’ve put together a list of verses that I keep by my bed and read them for encouragement right when I wake up or just before I go to sleep. A close friend also suggested writing Scripture on index cards and posting them throughout my home.
Second, I love listening to Christian music. It helps to always have something positive and powerful playing—especially when I’m alone. This keeps my mind focused on Christ and helps deter my mind from causing me worry or anxiety. When I really listen to the words of the songs, they speak to me in amazing ways. I often find myself getting into my car, and the song that is playing is just what I need to hear.
You joined us last year for the Priscilla Shirer Live Simulcast—just months after your husband’s death. What did this experience mean to you?
I remember Priscilla saying at the very beginning of the simulcast: “Our weakness is a platform for God to demonstrate His strength.”
As Priscilla shared those words, my heart stopped.
You see, I believed those words, but I was growing weary. I had walked through the struggle of cancer with my husband—and we had made it to the other side of healing. But, now, my husband had been murdered. When I arrived home that day, and I was told my husband had died, I remember crying out to my pastor, “NO, this was NOT God’s plan!”
Hearing Priscilla speak about Gideon and how God used him in his weakness gave me hope and encouragement for the future. At a time when I was totally overwhelmed with questions, Priscilla reminded me that God can use anyone, anytime, anywhere and anything if we offer ourselves to Him.
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