Erin Porter of Eat Pray Get Well shares how God truly has a plan for us. “I thank Him that Bob was a part of my plan,” she says.
When I stop and reflect on how God has worked in my life, I am reminded of two scriptures in the Bible. One is Romans 8:28 when Paul said that “all things work together for good to those who love God,” and Jeremiah 30:17, “ I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord”
I have experienced God’s healing in my physical body as well as emotional healing. For those of you who don’t know my story from my blog (and book) Eat Pray Get Well, I struggled with chronic illness for decades as well as with the emotional scars from an abusive childhood. God has healed my body and my mind and has demonstrated how He uses our hurt for our good.
Often times we may even find ourselves somehow better because of difficulty and hurts we were forced to face. One example was the blessing of my website and book that I mentioned earlier. A book that He planted in my heart over 20 years before it came to fruition. He has given me a platform in which to share my knowledge, experiences and trauma in order to help others find hope in the darkness.
He also provided me with another huge blessing which is my husband. I wouldn’t be writing this however if it weren’t for a tragedy. That is the story I would like to share with you today. The Lord does not promise we will not face difficulties, tragedies, or death, but He will take our hurts and use them for our good when we put our trust in Him.
My husband Bob, was married to my good friend, Laura. My family and Laura’s family grew up together in The Bronx, New York, and we all considered ourselves family. Our parents and grandparents knew each other long before Laura and I were even born. Eventually I moved to Florida and it wasn’t long before Laura and Bob found themselves in Florida as well.
In July of 2011, while vacationing in Europe, Laura found a lump in her breast. She did not panic, she simply made an appointment with her OBGYN when she returned home. The fact that she had been always been very healthy and had no symptoms of illness made it easy for her not to worry. Upon returning home Laura and Bob received unthinkable news, Laura had stage 4 cancer.
The news only grew dimmer as further testing proved the melanoma had spread to her brain and organs. This news was beyond tragic especially for the two young children she would potentially be leaving behind. Almost exactly one year later Laura passed away.
I’ll do my best to describe Laura but my words probably won’t do her justice. She was the most generous, thoughtful person one could ever meet. She was always thinking of others before herself, and maybe the biggest example of this selflessness was what was happening behind the scenes before her passing. She was so concerned about everyone else’s happiness that she was already planning who she thought would be a good fit for Bob if she should pass.
She sat him down two weeks before her passing and told him that she had somebody in mind that could be a good fit for him and step in and help raise her children. It was me. The last thing he wanted was to entertain thoughts of dating or being with anyone besides his wife of 17 years, he simply didn’t want to hear it. After a period of time following her death Bob got the nerve to ask me out for coffee.
Because he was Laura’s husband, I did not jump at his offer without first giving it some serious thought and prayer. I had been praying to meet a Godly man as I had gone through a painful divorce years earlier and was raising my young son alone, but this was certainly not the vision I had in my head. I had to know her family was okay with this situation. I found out not only were they okay with it, but Laura’s father had been praying every Sunday at church we would find a way to each other. Her sisters were also secretly rooting for us behind the scenes. I felt so accepted. We did ultimately go out on that date and the rest is history.
We will both be forever grateful to Laura for the newfound joy we found after such a period of grief and sadness. Bob tells everyone that I “saved” him, but in some strange way it was Laura’s death that brought me back to life. I was broken from the years of health issues and difficult childhood with my son being one of the only beacons of light in my life.
I know some of you can sense some irony in our story. I’ll add to that by saying that Laura and I share the same birthday. Our sons, Joe and Dominick, who are exactly one year apart, also share the same birthday and are just as inseparable as are Bob and I. This was a much-needed new relationship for Bob’s nine year old son, Joe, who was very much grieving his mother’s death. For my 8 year old son, Joe was the sibling close to his own age he always wanted. Bob also brought his beautiful twelve year-old-daughter, into our lives, a wonderful person I continue to learn from every day. Laura’s father walked me down the aisle and became the loving, accepting father I never had.
God Has a Plan for Your Pain
I will end by saying God truly has a plan for all of us and I thank Him every day that Bob was a part of my plan. Trust God and enjoy your life regardless of what season you are in. You never know what incredible surprises are waiting for you just around the corner. When there is pain and even death, wait and watch God work. He uses all of our pain and can even bless us with His healing and restoration.
For more about Erin, visit Eat Pray Get Well. You can also get a copy of her book Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey from Chronic Illness & Brokenness to Wholeness & Wellness (forward written by Doug Kaufmann – Host of televisions Know the Cause. She has been seen on PBS American Health Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC, Know the Cause, Christian Television Network amongst others.