By: Angela Roberts Jones

Have you ever experienced loss in your life? The death of a loved one, divorce, a job or career, finances, estranged children, good health due to disease or sickness? Are you struggling to overcome and move forward from this experience? How do you cope with grief and sorrow, adversity and disappointments? I discovered through observation that many people get stuck in painful memories of hurt and pain. Many struggles with MOVING FORWARD. Do you believe that God’s desire for you is that you heal, find meaning and purpose in your pain, ENJOY LIFE, and that YOU FULFILL your purpose with tremendous anticipation that the BEST IS YET TO COME!

In June 2008, my entire world was shifted, shaken up and sifted. I became a widow. Losing my mate was the most painful event I have ever experienced in my whole life. Everything changed in just a few minutes. I never imagined that after nearly 25 years of marriage, that this moment would happen at this stage of my life, but it did.

However, this painful event provides the springboard for my 2nd released book, “Moving Forward, Finding Purpose in Your Pain.” Although I share tidbits of my personal story throughout the book, the focus of the content is to speak to the reader on how to find meaning and purpose while moving forward. Below are a few tips summarized from the book, to encourage you through your journey.

     I. Moving Forward or Moving On:

Moving means to fill your life with activities to help take your mind from what has occurred. Comparatively, MOVING FORWARD means to think futuristically about your life, your relationship with God and others, your gifts and talents, your purpose in life and make decisions which will cause your life to develop and blossom. The MOVING FORWARD attitude, extracts lessons from the storms of life, and applies them to what is needed to embrace the present, but envision beyond the present. I like the example of soldiers in formation. The Drill Sergeant shouts the command, FORWARD-MARCH, and not MARCH FORWARD. In other words, the soldiers are to look forward, think forward then march forward. There is no looking back, or looking to the right or left – but forward movement. Mourning and grief are human emotions given to us by God. However, it is not HIS desire that you spend time moving in circles, or mourning indefinitely over losses which hinder forward movement. Eventually, you must press forward toward the mark and calling of Christ Jesus. God has already laid out your path; I implore you to seek. His command is, FORWARD-MARCH. I love the poetic way David expresses the perfect knowledge of God in Psalm 139:16

“ Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.”

     II. Make the Proper Adjustments:

My book describes in detail the dynamics of a marriage and relational intimacy, as well as other benefits. God created two people to become one in purpose and life. My loss caused a profound shift in my life – from marriage to singleness. I had to make some serious adjustments to survive, thrive and heal, both physically and emotionally. What about you? It takes courage, wisdom, and strength to adjust your life in whatever way necessary to bring restoration and walk into your new season. As painful or uncomfortable as it may be, do you know that God is doing a new thing in your life (Isaiah 43:19)? To see your life through a different lens, that is, from the perspective of your healing even before you are healed, is to accept what God has allowed and keep it moving.

     III. Mourning or Happiness…You Choose:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NLT) says: “So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” As you ponder on these words, please understand that one of the greatest ways to honor God and receive His healing power is to have an attitude of gratitude. This may seem impossible, but through Christ, you can do all things. It’s a matter of will. To wake up every day and whisper a prayer of thanks despite adverse circumstances will infuse your life with peace and positive energy. Many hurting people in the world do not realize that God has presented them with this choice. God has given us the mental and emotional capacity and will to make decisions. Circumstances and situations in life always follow decisions. Your decision to choose happiness will guide your life which in turn will manifest joy.

     IV. Embrace Your New Season:

Loss brings change. Ecclesiastes 3 explicitly describes the seasons of life. During the Fall season, trees lose their leaves. Flowers bloom, but then die as well during the spring and summer. Seasons change. Life is a series of gains and losses. Things will not always go your way. There are some things we would rather not lose. But just as God controls the gains and losses of nature, He sovereignly controls your gains and losses. The introduction of my book explains my choice of using the butterfly as a symbol for the book. I recognized that with the painful loss of a loved one, or the loss of anything in life, there is a new beginning. The butterfly begins life in an ugly cocoon, develops into a caterpillar, but evolves into a beautiful creature full of life. Not only is the butterfly beautiful, but it is productive and responsible for the pollen process of flowers. It has life and purpose that originates from the painful process of evolving. There may be winter seasons in your life, but it is only the time of preparation for Spring time and beautiful, blossoming flowers. Your heart may be overwhelmed in bleak despair, but embrace each season and anticipate this development stage for a sudden move of God. You are evolving into your destiny through the trials and tears, pain and disappointments. But this too shall pass!  Believe it and receive it!

Pastor Angela on the mission field: (Liberia Mission Trip) 

Angela Roberts Jones is presently the Senior Pastor of The Greenhill Church and Christian Outreach Ministries.  She is also an author, teacher, speaker, coach, and former educator.  She is a graduate of Fisk University (B.S.), Southern Illinois University (M.M.), and Liberty University (M.A.Th).  You can find the order information for her book, Moving Forward, Finding Purpose in Your Pain at:   


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