God’s Glory After Tragedy – Gwen’s Story
I can honestly say I am honored that God chose me for this journey as I am better for walking it, and my relationship with God has grown even stronger.” – Gwen
After 24 years of marriage, I was divorced. I remained single for nine years and prayed for a husband believing God would provide my Ephesians 3:20, “More than I could imagine” request. He did, and in 2013 I was married to my husband, Todd. We were happy and had an amazing life.
Todd’s youngest son was an alcoholic and on a horrible, self-destructive path. Todd, a police officer, and Air Force veteran was a newly born again believer. In March of 2015, he asked me what we could do to help his son Christopher straighten out his life and give his heart to Jesus. I told him we could “pray whatever it takes, but that he should understand it could take us with it.” We did pray that, and two months later, Todd’s 21-year-old son, Christopher, shot and killed both his father and his 27-year-old brother in anger! I was a widow after only one and a half years of marriage.
The next morning, I was doing my “Jesus Calling” devotions and read “Do not run from the difficulties I place in your life. Allow Me to walk you through them and bring Glory to Me.” I raised my hands into the air, and said, “God, here are my hands, you will have to take my hands and walk me through this because I cannot even imagine how to do this.” I knew that Todd had been a gift from God, that he was not mine to keep, and God was in total control of my life. I told God, “I see only a portion of what you can see, what I see is really, really good. I am going to trust you to know that whatever you have planned will be even more amazing.” That is how my journey began.
Years ago I read the book “The Shack,” which was extremely instrumental in helping me forgive some pretty big wounds. I knew God wanted me to forgive Christopher. I have been forgiven, so I, in turn, have to forgive those who hurt me. I visited him three weeks later and was able to pray with him. I continued to visit him, and he has given his heart to the Lord. This is a kid who did not believe in God when he did this, but now sees that God has a ministry for him inside the prison walls. In the beginning, I asked God to help me,”show him Jesus and not Gwen”, and to love him through me. Initially I could not even like him much less love him. God has done just that. I can sit across from him, tell him I love him, and he knows it is genuine. That is ALL God!
God has used this horrific tragedy for such amazing good. Many peoples lives have been changed forever, and there were thirty-two people that raised their hand for salvation at the funeral alone. God continues to carry me on this journey. There are so many God moments where He has blessed me. I have had multiple opportunities to share God’s goodness and amazing grace through this tragedy. He has been so faithful through it all. I ask, and He always provides what I need. He is indeed the peace that passes all understanding. I can honestly say I am honored that God chose me for this journey as I am better for walking it, and my relationship with God has grown even stronger. All Glory to God!
Todd was a school liaison officer, so we have set up a memorial fund providing scholarships to area high school students pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Story submitted by Gwen Besser, from Elk River, Minnesota.