I met Leah Stirewalt as a blogger several years ago when her first husband
died by suicide. My heart sympathized for her but I also admired her strong
faith and determination to be defined by God's grace rather than death.
The title of her blog, Out of Deep Waters, was a fitting theme for her life and
the passion with which she lived and served the Lord with gratitude and love.
Eventually she remarried, and I got to meet her in person in 2015 at a Widows Might Retreat where we were both speakers. I came away wishing I could spend more time with her. She was so genuine, wise, and well-spoken.
It sounds like I'm writing her obituary doesn't it? Well, I'm not, but with the news I'm about to share it may as well be because you ladies all know that when our husband dies it feels like a part of us has died too. And that is what happened yesterday morning. Here are Leah's own words, copied from Facebook:
There are no words to express my thanks for the outpouring of love and prayers concerning my precious Joel! He is now in the arms of Jesus! We hurt so badly but are so thankful this "goodbye" is only temporary until we will one day be reunited in Heaven. We will still need your prayers for a long time to come but especially in a few hours when I have to share this heartbreaking news with his 4 youngest babies.
There are always new widows to pray for and exceedingly difficult situations, but I'm bringing this case to your attention because of the "4 youngest babies." Just this past year Joel and Leah adopted 3 orphans from Bulgaria and also became foster parents to a toddler. If you click on the Out of Deep Waters button you can view Leah's blog and see some pictures. (If you're viewing this on your phone and it doesn't work, you should go directly to my blog by clicking the title at the top of this page).
I'm sorry to burden you with more grief, but on the other hand, there are no better people to pray effectively than we can. I know you'll reel from the shock of it, the immensity, but as Leah says, "God is still good," and this is only a temporary separation. But pray for them anyway. I can think of no better gift to the Lord, or better way to deal with Valentines Day drawing upon us. Let's set aside our own loss and out of love cover this once-again widow with your prayers.