Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Widow's Story: Carrie Jo Kistler Shride, Part 2

Welcome back everyone! Yesterday we met Carrie and found out the challenges and fear she faced when life changed forever in an instant when her husband was killed in a car accident only three miles from home. Carrie was 36 at the time, with three daughters ages ages 2, 5, and 10, and one of them with special needs. Carrie spoke of some ways she began to grow through her grief, and today we'll continue that conversation.

Carrie, what other keys helped you along the way?

I had several books given to me after Mike's death, of course. But I only read a handful. I love to read, but would find myself becoming even sadder and getting wrapped up in the "problem" of the book and not letting it relate to myself.
Lifeboat was something that helped me out so very much. It was awesome to be able to be raw and real with one another. I had an outpouring of supportive friends and family, but no one but my Lifeboat girls understood exactly what I was going through. I attended a grief group at church about a year after Mike died. I enjoyed the connection there, as well.

If you were to ask me the morning Mike died, how my relationship with Christ was, I would have told you “Good.” Now, I can say, “Great!” It's truly amazing! When I would surrender more and more to Him, that would open me up for more and more of His healing. It's all about being completely real with Him. He knew my feelings, anyway, right? I had to admit them to Him and ask for His healing to be upon me.
I had three little girls to raise, and although I cried, I didn't want them to see a mommy who couldn't function, or to think that life had ended for us too. We knew where Daddy was and that we would see him again, but we had to continue on here on earth without him. We persevered together, praying together every day and night, and as we allowed God to move, He did and continues to do so.

What Scriptures became most comforting to you?
Philippians 4:13 and Jeremiah 29:11 are favorite verses that I have really clung to on a daily basis through this journey. Occassionally, I'd add another one, but these two are my promises from the Lord. Romans 8:28 was a lifesaver, too!

What's the most surprising thing about widowhood you've discovered?
The most surprising thing was learning that...I COULD DO IT! The day Mike died, I thought, “How on earth will I survive without him and raising these three girls without their daddy?” But, with God as my husband...WE DID IT!

What advice do you have for widows in general, or especially for new widows?
My best advice for anyone in the early raw stages of pain and loss is to seek the Lord just as often as you need to throughout the day and night. I would go into the bathroom, just to get away and pour my heart out to Him. (The bathroom was the only room in the house with a lock, and with 3 little ones...a mom has to do what a mom has to do!)

No matter what it was, I tried to be as honest as I could. The healing can only come when we are laying our hurt out and asking for healing. I knew my God was big--- and trust me--- He has healed my fears, sadness, anger, and the list goes on and on...
Have opportunities to serve your church or the Lord come along?

God has done some amazing things for me to glorify Him. I was able to lead a Grief Share group at my church. We have since moved, but I would love to do that again. If He opens that door, I will be glad to follow.
I've also spoken at two different conferences for women this past year and loved every minute of sharing how this whole story truly is God's and how He does heal. I am looking for God to move again because this fall, my baby will be in Kindergarten and I will have some "extra" time.

In five years from now, if anything were possible, what would you like to be doing?
Carrie & Kevin on their wedding day
with Kevin's daughter and
Carrie's three daughters.
In five years from now, I would love to be continuing to glorify God through this loss. I remarried this past October to a wonderful, holy man who adores the girls and me more than I could have ever prayed for. In fact, I wrote out a prayer asking the Lord to bring a man into our lives as a husband and a daddy, leading our family. I didn't want my girls to not have that relationship for the rest of their lives--they had loved having a daddy so much. God brought us Kevin and it was very obvious that he is just who God hand-picked for us!

Carrie, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It's been a real joy to see what God has brought you through, how you latched onto His promises and chose to believe them, and God's blessing on you. I'm sure I speak for us all when I wish you and Kevin God's very best and abundant blessings!

An historic event occurred on Monday, and Kevin received three more reasons to be blessed for Father's Day! Visit Carrie's blog, Finding JOY on our JOurneY and you'll be over-JOYed about 'the rest of the story.'   ferree


  1. I loved hearing your story, Carrie Jo! I especially love the part how the Lord draws us closer to Himself through it all!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Carrie Jo. It encourages me to keep moving forward and cling to Jesus through this journey. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorites also. I know my Lord has plans for me and I'm learning to patiently wait.

  3. Carrie is an inspiration - she has amazing insight and incredible faith - I'm proud to have her as a friend.

  4. Carrie, you have encouraged me because I see similarities between your story and mine, but my husband died three months ago. One of the hardest things for me has been waiting; waiting for a period of intense greif to pass, waiting to see what plans God has for me, waiting to see how my kids will be affected in the long run, waiting for healing in my heart, waiting to see how I can impact others through this,waiting, waiting, waiting! Many of the things I would like to see happen in my life have happened in yours. Thanks for the encouragement. --Kristin


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