Moving Forward: Finding Purpose in Your Pain taps into the deep wells of experience gained by author Angela Roberts Jones from her grief over the death of her husband. She reflects on her loss from the perspective of the Bible's message of hope and suggests ways to find through scripture words of encouragement and guidance for living today with hope for tomorrow.
Moving Forward sketches three legs for the spiritual journey from loss to hope. The grief stage takes a clear-eyed look at profound loss and the pain that accompanies it. The healing process proposes how to make adjustments, to move ahead despite one's pain, and to sidestep barriers that would block one's progress in healing. Finally, the strengthening phase outlines how, after the death of a spouse, one may move from marriage to singleness, let go of one's old ways, and choose between mourning and happiness.
By contemplating the author's story and her guides for living as you read Moving Forward: Finding Purpose in Your Pain, you can face the transformative times that pain inevitably brings. You can discover how God is leading you to embark on a path that leads to healing, celebrating life, and discerning His purpose in your own pain. You can move forward knowing that the best is yet to come.
MOVING FORWARD... FINDING PURPOSE IN YOUR PAIN
...My journey through grief and healing
Angela Roberts Jones
TABLE OF CONTENTS
...Till death do us part
...The process of healing
...Make an adjustment
KEEP IT MOVING
...In spite of the pain
...From marriage to singleness
GLANCE BACK – GAZE FORWARD
...Present pain does not paralyze the future
MOURNING OR HAPPINESS
There are many people who have experienced horrific pain. You may be one of them. Many have asked the question, "How do I move forward from here?" This is the central focus of the book. This book is not a "how to book," a handbook nor workbook on grief, pain or purpose. However, it chronicles my journey through the very painful season and my overcoming of the loss of my spouse. God led me through this journey of healing and poured into my soul his infinite power and wisdom which brought me great comfort. I am reminded of the scripture found in 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4, 6 (NLT)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.
This scripture describes the purpose of me writing this book. As I tell my story, I am sure that you will identify with some of the stages of grief and healing. I am sharing with you the same comfort that I received from God. My journey through this season in my life gave me great revelation on the faithfulness of God as I worked through the pain to move forward to fulfill the purpose for my life. I believe that moving forward is just a little different from moving on. You might compare this concept to the marching of the infantry soldiers. The drill Sergeant calls out the words, "Forward, March," and not "March, Forward." There is a difference.
In other words, the command is to first look forward, think forward, then move or march forward. I equate moving on to just living from day to day, from event to event, but moving forward is living out God's purpose in spite of the challenges of grief. Moving forward requires deep healing and the power and courage to readjust to a new life. Moving forward means that one moves beyond this point in life and away from the pain to peace, prosperity, new relationships, and greater elevation in personal development. The person who learns to move forward has reached the peaceful resolve that their loved one is truly in the hands of God, and that we have been left here to Live, Laugh, and Love. Moving forward means that you may reflect on occasions, but you are not so set back in your emotions that you cannot get up with a smile and thank God for the journey and for your future. Destiny becomes your daily diet. Pain is no longer the focus from day to day, week to week, but becomes the stepping stone to fulfill the vision and purpose of God that is already set in motion. You may experience moments of sadness, but an even greater anticipation to experience life at its fullness. Life is an adventure, but unfortunately, it includes trials and tribulations, crises and challenges, death and loss.
I started writing this book a few months after my husband passed. Although it was therapeutic, at that stage in my life, I found myself focusing more on surviving and figuring out how to manage my life and my emotions. I know that this is normal for anyone who has experienced a loss. Writing my story would certainly have been a very positive source of expression and healing. But as of this moment, I am so glad that I waited. I have now reached the seventh anniversary of his death. I know that this is my year of release from all of the struggles associated with this loss. Many things have taken place during the past seven years. I now have a better perspective on what it has taken to heal and to reclaim my life and purpose. Therefore, I can give a little more insight to someone who may be just starting this journey, or perhaps some years have passed.
I will begin this book by telling my story. I purposely included vivid descriptions of some of what I experienced both physically and emotionally to help whoever may read this book to relate, identify and put a name to some of the stages of grief and healing you may also experience. Steps to healing and moving forward are mentioned and intermingled with my story throughout the book. As I pen the words to these pages years later while reflecting on the days of sorrow, healing and learning to live again; I can truly say that I know that God's plans for me are awesome. And yes, in spite of my present challenges, I am truly looking forward to what the future holds. I pray that as you read these pages, you will be inspired and will find courage, strength, healing and wisdom as your life begins the shift from your season of surviving the pain to a season of thriving in purpose.
Angela Roberts Jones, the senior pastor of Greenhill Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, an author, motivational speaker, and former educator, earned her bachelor's degree in music education from Fisk University, a master of music degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a master of arts in theological studies degree from Liberty University. She is a native of Sylvania, Georgia.