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Following Jesus' Breadcrumbs to Happiness & Hope after Loss

By Theresa Anthony, author of Hope Springs from a Mother's Broken Heart

For many people who experience the loss of a loved one, it’s their faith that keeps them from throwing in the towel and giving up on life. I have firsthand knowledge of this fact, having lost my own child, but also because I was involved in compiling stories written by ten other grieving mothers for my book, Hope Springs from a Mother’s Broken Heart. Although each of these mothers’ stories is unique, the one common thread that ran through all of them was faith. When writing their personal stories, each of the mothers attributed their ability to survive the loss of a child to having a strong faith.

In my own case, I can unequivocally state that I would not be sitting here today if it weren’t for my unshakable Christian faith. So yes, this blog is about believing in a loving God who I believe is looking after my child, and about hanging onto that faith for dear life until I am once again reunited with him.

I don’t often write about my religious beliefs, mostly because I realize that everyone has their own personal take on the subject. But there are times that I break my own rules to proclaim that it’s the loving presence of God in my life that keeps me moving forward, that propels me to place one foot in front of the other each and every day.

My grief journey is almost ten years along now. Tragically, my precious son succumbed to despair on October 23, 2013, and took his own life. In the ensuing years, I have experienced the full gamut of emotions that come with such a devastating event. Anger, sorrow, longing, confusion, and my own despair - these emotions have been my bedfellows for a decade now. I do not marinate in these negative emotions, but I do honor them when they hit me upside the head.

But even though I have experienced some dark days since losing my son, I have somehow been able to spot the little breadcrumbs that Jesus peppers across my path. I don’t always recognize them as such, not at first anyway, but as I figuratively reach down to pick up each of these little hints and clues I am meant to follow, I eventually realize, usually in hindsight, that all this time they have been leading me to hope.

Case in point. After my son left us, I struggled to manage my grief in the corporate workplace where I spent my days. To compound my sorrow, I had also lost my significant other to leukemia shortly after my son’s death. The two losses simply overwhelmed my ability to cope.

Well right on time, Jesus dropped a breadcrumb – the idea (a God prompt) to start my own business. I picked up the breadcrumb and ran with it. Soon after that, Jesus dropped another breadcrumb, a new grandchild for me to love! How could I ignore such a delightful breadcrumb, so I embraced him. Just two and a half years after that, a beautiful little breadcrumb named Cecilia entered my life.

Year after year, these little breadcrumbs would appear on a regular basis, daring me to step over them, but I never did. Each time, I was blessed with the insight to recognize a Jesus breadcrumb that would end up improving my life in some way.

Most recently, Jesus sprinkled a trail of breadcrumbs all the way from California to Tennessee, I kid you not. I didn’t even try to ignore them. Nope, I picked up each and every one – selling my house, packing it up, saying goodbye to dear friends and loved ones, and traveling across the country to where Jesus wanted to plant me, near my grandchildren who had relocated to Tennessee.

Once settled in my new home state, the breadcrumbs have come fast and furious. I can barely keep up. New friends, a new dog, new discoveries, new activities, new church family, new music, new opportunities… I follow the trail and smile as I pick up each of these little gifts from above. All of them have led me to a new, fruitful, exciting life that has culminated in renewed hope. Hope that I will experience a joyful last third of my life as I await the day when that final breadcrumb arrives… leading me to heaven where, God willing, I will be reunited with my beautiful Boy Blue.

So, yes, that is what Jesus has done for me.



My newest book, In Search of Gopher Hollow, is a memoir that

covers all the ups and downs, peaks and valleys of my life.

People often ask me how I manage to get up in the morning, much less accomplish anything, after enduring so much loss. In this new memoir, I share about the many challenges I have faced in my life, and how the influence of my amazing grandfather equipped me for the difficulties that lay ahead.

Hope Springs from a Mother's Broken Heart, please click here

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