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Choosing Joy Amidst Great Loss

Aisha Thomas is choosing joy, just weeks after her husband Brad passed away. How is she doing it?  Here she shares her tips, advice, and daily routines for faith-keeping and faith-building in a time that could feel hopeless.

I know God’s love is real because I could not get out of bed on my own.  They don’t tell you this: you wake up and it takes a couple of seconds. You think you are still in your old life.  If it were just Aisha, I would be lying in bed all day, but because of what the love of Jesus gives us, I’m able to turn over the covers.  I also feel him through my kids, my mother, through friends reaching out, and my church. When I put the title of “widow” on, I just want to go to the corner, huddle and say, “this is my life.”  But God stretches me to let them love me and for me to love them back.

I think that if we seek God individually, we will find His blessings and healing.  All I can speak to is what He has done in my life, and I am just a regular person trying to get through.  If He loves me in all my weaknesses and He is proving it every day, I need to tell people.  

If you have not read the Bible much, start with Romans or James.  And get a version that works for you and your learning style. I like CSV, NIV, or The Message. Theology-wise, Romans does the best job of encapsulating on a digestible level the relationship between God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and us on Earth.  People try to put things on Jesus, like rules, but all we need to understand is that Jesus is all about love.  

The most important call as a Christian is to love thy neighbor.  We know that hurt people hurt people, so that must mean that loved people love people.  With so many hurt in the world, people struggle to believe in Jesus’ love. But, it is real. 

What is helpful for me is to commit to a study.  I take Bible Study Fellowship classes online and go to the classes in-person too.  That has increased my spiritual maturity. I am going through the hardest time I’ve ever gone through, but committing to read scripture and pray every day gives me something to fall back on.  I pray before I read my Bible, to ask for wisdom and discernment. I pray multiple times throughout the day.

I was already living a “choose joy” mantra, which has given me the ability to focus on small moment things.  Like, “my baby boy is cuddling with me right now.” I recognize that I’m sad, and there is a deep sadness, but I do not let that lead my day.  It has been rewarding and has kept me on the right track. It has made me get up in the morning, get dressed, and make breakfast.

Here are my favorite verses that I lean on the most:

James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5, Ephesians 3:13

Aisha with her family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
Aisha with her family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ