Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Standing in that parking lot behind the school, hearing her scream, I froze. Did she find him? Was he okay? Was he injured? Bleeding? Surely my husband isn’t . . . 

The morning my husband was found lifeless in the woods shattered my world. After being missing for over 40 hours, the search had come to an end. Aaron’s accidental fall from that towering tree stopped his heart and nearly broke mine.

Widowed at 35, why that’s impossible. We have four children and a good suburban life. Shock, numbness, pain, sorrow. I was unprepared for tragedy. Aren’t we all?

Those first few hours, days, and weeks are a fog now. My goal was simply to survive the tangible void left after my husband left earth for heaven. Keep the kids alive. Fill out the paperwork. Remind yourself to eat. Bathe the boys. 

I was in a place of such hardship and pain that simply walking to the mailbox required effort. Are you there? Are you weary, empty, burdened? Forget thriving, you’re just trying to keep your head above water? Is the ache in your heart flooding each thought every day?

RELATED: “Stop Being a Butthole Wife”

At the crossroads of Despair and Hope, turn towards Hope. Not self-created hope. Not fake smiles. Hope comes from The Source of love and life. The reason I was able to take one step after the other is a Guy named Jesus. As my Maker, He knows exactly what you and I need. He’s GOT THIS. Surrender, “Okay, God, You’re in charge. It’s Your planet, Your rules.” Grief is not easy. Pain is unyielding. But the Lord wants to love you lavishly and carry you through your trials. He is capable. All you have to do is ask.

What are some practical ways to cope without falling off the deep end? It’s not at the bottom of a whiskey bottle or at the shopping mall.

Here are the 6 Ps to dealing with unyielding pain:


Draw or journal your thoughts to clear your head. Pour it all out onto paper, not focusing on if it makes sense or comes across as rational.


Tell God your fears, your worries, your frustrations. Verbally vomit what’s tumbling inside, knowing He can handle it and help you move forward.


But only for a limited time. Trudging through the valley is brutal and it’s okay to acknowledge that it sucks and not fair.


Focus on what is GOOD in your life and thank the Lord. As you face the storm, cling to the truths of current blessings that still exist.


Take time for yourself to do what distracts you from hardship. Give yourself freedom to escape in a way that brings relief. Unhappiness and joy can coexist.


Don’t alienate yourself from others—you’ll end up crazy. Depression pulls us inward, but friends and family can cushion the blows of life. 

When I pondered an unpredictable future or when I looked at our boys’ faces that veil deep pain, I focused on what was constant and predictable. My Savior is always with me and for me, He is unchanging, He has a plan to give me a hope and a future. And that is the truth for YOU as well!

RELATED: I’m His Widow, But I’m So Much More Than That

I gained the “widow” title in 2012. Some days it seems like 400 years ago, other days it’s more like four minutes ago. Despite my wishes otherwise, time has marched forward. And those six Ps are still a part of my life. I make more efforts to plan outdoor excursions like Aaron had. I talk to the Lord and my children about pain that may subside but never ends. I refuse to rock in a corner, clutching a whiskey bottle. 

And I’ve remarried, which makes me smile through tears. God works so mysteriously; Jason actually searched for Aaron who was missing. I am so burdened, I am so blessed. 

No one foresees death, pain, or grief on their calendar. We dismiss it out of fear and dread. And yet, we all must face it at some point. To be anchored in advance by relationship with Jesus is the only way to withstand the storm of loss. May we all cling to Him while fully enjoying our now.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Debbie Wilkins Baisden

Debbie is a mom to 4 boys (Paul, Brad, Andrew, and Joshua, or “PBAndJ” for short). Unexpectedly widowed in 2012, Debbie’s world was turned upside down. Clinging to God, her stay-at-home mom days in suburbia now demanded a paying job. Instead of returning to the classroom, she decided that Chapter 2 of life meant pursuing her passion of all things fitness and nutrition. She enjoys helping women look and feel their best. Debbie remarried in 2014 and lives in North Carolina.

As a Widow, I’m Letting Go of the Life We Planned

In: Grief, Loss
Woman walking in tunnel with kids

On an ordinary Thursday night, I kissed my husband goodnight and went to bed happily married like I had a thousand other nights. I had no idea life was about to change forever as I lay down with thoughts only of all I needed to get done the next day.  Sometime in the dark early morning, I woke to my husband’s labored breathing. Despite my best efforts and those of the team at the ER, within the space of two hours, I became a widow and single mom to seven. Life as I knew it imploded and would never be...

Keep Reading

Dear Newly Widowed Friend

In: Grief
black and white photo of women sad in forest

Dear friend, There’s nothing I can say or do that will make your loss hurt any less. You lost your partner, your pillar of support, the love of your life, the lifeline of your family, the father to your kids. I wonder what went through your mind when you were told of the news. I wonder if you were confused, thinking of course it’s a mistake. If you thought he’d be standing there just to tell you that it was some kind of a joke he pulled off. I wonder if you blamed him or God or yourself. If you blamed...

Keep Reading

Grief Holds My Hand

In: Grief, Marriage
Half-made bed, color photo

After my young husband died, I joined several grief groups. I wanted to connect with people who knew what grief was, but more importantly, knew what I was feeling. The ups, the downs, the in-betweens. All of it. I wanted people around me who knew that grief sucks as bad on a Tuesday afternoon at a red light as much as it does on Christmas morning. I wanted to feel like I had a community who got it and who understood that some days we are OK and some days we are not. But, the one question I hear from...

Keep Reading