Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, New International Version

In September of 2016, I said goodbye to my best friend and husband of nearly 25 years. At that moment I lost the best part of my life and started a very lonely and heartbroken journey, trying to figure out how to live without Dick. I cried a lot, talked a lot to counselors and friends, but I couldn’t find purpose in living. I turned to prayer, asking God to guide me through my lonely, broken life.

During this time, I took on caring for my elderly widowed mother and began to find some peace and purpose. I also went on trips to Israel and Greece and really felt God around me and in me during those trips, giving me strength and hope for a better life. I felt God challenging me to reach out and help others by volunteering more in my community, church, and veteran’s groups. I slowly began to rebuild my life.

My mom and I had an amazing visit to Yuma Arizona in 2020, and I really felt the love of God alive in my life. Little did I know that on the way home in February, the realities of Covid in America would usher in all sorts of challenges ahead. Two weeks after arriving home, my mom moved in with me on hospice care and our only contacts became the hospice personnel, as Covid restricted all visitors. I once again felt very lonely and lost as I had very little contact with anyone, couldn’t attend church or community activities, and as a very outgoing person, I really missed the contact.

During this time, Brita reached out to all of her previous women’s retreat attendees with the offer of an online mini-retreat. One of the questions we wrestled with was: What do I miss most in my life today? After meditation and prayer, I realized what I missed most was a women’s Bible study group. I reached out to Brita with my answer and explained that the small community I lived in currently couldn’t have gatherings like these. She invited me to join the online Bible study she was starting with the women at her church. What an amazing group of women in Christ! They were so loving and encouraging that I once again felt God giving me strength to endure the next eleven months of caring for my mother alone, 24/7.

‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.’ Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NET)

The answer to many prayers for strength and hope came through those online Bible studies. When my mother passed away, I turned to God for the hope and strength I needed to once again find a purpose for living. As I strode into my new life, little did I know that God had great plans for my future, filled with love and kindness from a Christian man who was also a widower. Today we are walking together into a future filled with hope.

Lord, thank you for all the love, strength, and hope you fill my life with daily. May others find that same hope for a great future, walking through life with you as their Guide. Amen.

Reflect on this:
What setbacks to hope are you experiencing today? How might those setbacks be part of God’s plan “to give you a future filled with hope”?

Colleen Foland lives in Plankinton, SD

Volunteering for church, veterans, families, and community is my passion! I also love to ride in my Polaris General, side-by-side with Mike.

11 replies
  1. Leeta Mackey
    Leeta Mackey says:

    I’m so glad the Lord brought us together in the online Bible studies, Colleen. You blessed us all with your stories of how the Lord was giving you strength and hope during those challenging times caring for your mom. God indeed has future plans for your life! May He bless your upcoming marriage in the new year.

  2. judymikes
    judymikes says:

    Hi Colleen,
    Thank you for your beautiful story. I have been blessed to meet you through the Bible Studies. Your encouragement to reach out to others and begin to build a new life is so helpful. No matter what we are personally going through, everyone experiences changes that require us to grow beyond ourselves. Thank you that your walk with the Lord during those times is a great example of keeping the faith!

  3. Lori McQueen
    Lori McQueen says:

    I’ve shared in your journey through your facebook posts and find much joy and encouragement through them. I am so happy for you in the next phase of your life.

  4. Andi Kristo
    Andi Kristo says:

    Hi Colleen! It has been a long time since we last enjoyed our Zoom Bible studies! Your story fills my heart with great hope for the future! Jeremiah 29:11-12 has also been my go to for reassurance and comfort in difficult times, waiting times and hopeful times. So very happy for your joy and happiness! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Christina Price
    Christina Price says:

    OMG Colleen! Amy and I were hoping you would be writing a devotional for this series. It was so fun meeting you in zoom Bible study and hearing your stories. So thankful that we all were able to be a blessing to you in your time of need. God is so great like that. Miss seeing you on zoom but so glad to hear you are doing well. Sending love and hugs!

  6. Debbie Nahodil
    Debbie Nahodil says:

    Thank you so much for your story! It gives me hope that God really does still have a plan for my life, even though I can’t see it yet.

  7. Julie Chisholm
    Julie Chisholm says:

    Colleen, I am always thrilled when you joined on line retreats. I also take away something when you share. I think of you as a daughter of God, a warrior. I see you as such a strong wise woman. God bless you!

  8. Colleen Miller Foland
    Colleen Miller Foland says:

    Ladies thankyou all for your inspiring comments, love andkindness. You have all blessed my life in so many ways through our zoom meetings.


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