Hi friends, I want to say a special thank you to Lynette Monroe for sharing her amazing story with the Walking In Joy community. For being courageous and letting us see the dark places in her life and the amazing work that God has done in and through her life. I hope you enjoy the podcast interview airing August 14, 2014, below is a summary of our conversation. Lynette currently serves as the Regional Director for the Women’s Ministry at Saddleback in San Clemente, California.
Lynette has truly blessed my life, and I hope that her story reaches other women that might have similar struggles and brings them comfort and strength in what God is doing in our lives when thing look uncertain and are painful.
What was your life like before having a relationship with Jesus?
Fortunately, I have been blessed with an undeniable faith that Jesus my Lord and Savior died for me so that I may have eternal life. I was blessed at an early age to learn of Jesus and his sacrifice for me. Having grown up in a Christian household, I have had faith for as long as I can remember. But having faith and believing is just part of the amazing journey.
What kept you apart from Him prior to accepting God into your life?
As a little girl, I dreamed of what my life would be like. The white picket fence, married to a handsome prince with two babies and a dog! Well, I had that dream…. I was married at 19 had a baby and a home by the time I was 21 years old. Shortly thereafter my dream life changed. Three years later, I was divorcing my prince, fighting an ugly custody battle, found myself living in a rundown apartment, and filing for bankruptcy!
This was such a dark season for me facing unethical decisions, and leading down a disastrous path, battling the demons of my self-destruction.
Then one day when I didn’t think my life could not get any worse….. It was Memorial Day 1998, I received the call no woman/mother would ever want. My only son Bryan, who was ten years old at the time, had been in a tragic accident with his Daddy (the Prince I married and divorced). They both died instantly.
This is where I place fist to God…..REALLY GOD! This is what you want for me! My world was crushed! I fell to my knees! Praying Oh God! Don’t let this be true! Please let it be a nightmare! It was devastating to bury my ex-husband along with my only son. No mother should have to bury their child. My life changed drastically that day. I had to make a choice. I had to choose; I could either go deep into depression, be angry, and be full of regret. Or, I could take the blanket of comfort God was giving me, grieve, forgive, and give it all to God.
We learned in Malachi that the Israelites were feeling the same way; faraway from God they were defeated and devastated. And then Malachi went over the loud speaker…
Mal 3:6-7 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
The Lord said “Return to me and I will return to you”
God was calling me back….offering me comfort, peace and in time……even Hope.
I had so many emotions:
Regret: Not getting to say goodbye
Unforgiveness: Angry at my ex-husband, the driver of the MAC truck, the little couple that pulled out and ultimately causing the accident. So much shoulda, coulda, woulda!
Fear: of never having a family again, never marrying or having more children. I was nowhere near marriage in the relationship I was in.
Pain: My heart hurt so bad I thought it was going to explode.
Ultimately I had to give it all to GOD! The regrets, the forgiveness, my FEAR, and my pain. Although God put his blanket of comfort on me, the pain never truly went away. Not with that sort of tragedy. One must learn to grieve, cope and ultimately compartmentalize the heartache.
I am often asked “how did you get through this?” I tell them it was my faith in Christ, but I also give them a metaphor on how the pain was much like “concrete” At first it feels as if a ton of cement overwhelmingly heavy on my shoulders, which is reduced to bag of cement, still heavy and burdensome……then in time it becomes a brick……eventually turning into a pebble in my pocket.
Always there! A constant reminder of the pain but also a reminder of the good times, the memories, and what is yet to come……when we meet again with our Lord and Savior! Every once in a while the brick comes upon me again….and I have to carry it until it is reduced to the pebble again.
Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I had to make a decision! I could chose to bury my head and be bitter, angry, and life a full of hatred. Or I could choose to be healed by the Grace of my heavenly father! He gave me comfort, he gave me the wisdom to speak at their funeral, and he has given me a reason to live! My life verse and the verse I live for is….. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
How did your life change after?
I will never forget where I came from and where I am now is only by God’s
grace and mercy on me. Today, I have been married to my best friend for 14 years, we have three beautiful boys, I have such an amazing job of being a Momma and serving our church for the women of Saddleback San Clemente. I have to pinch myself that I know longer have to live paycheck to paycheck, I have the time to serve in a ministry that I am so
I ultimately came to realize that this life is not our own. It’s God’s to do what he chooses…And our children are not ours but they are His. They are just precious gems he entrusts to us… To raise and to lift up to be godly men and women. Making this realization helped me tremendously. Don’t get me wrong… not a day goes by that I don’t miss my sweet boy and wish that he could be right here with me…right now. I also learned that when we loose our loved ones…it is our selfishness that hurts so much. I know my sweet boy is up hanging out with Jesus living in God’s Kingdom. I also know that I will see him again! That brings so much peace and so much comfort. It offers so much more than this empty secular world can offer.
What were some Holy interventions that helped you in your process?
It’s important to know that everyone grieves differently… There is no wrong way or right way to grief. Connecting with a grieving ministry helped me so much. It directed me to ultimately realizing that I can have a personal relationship with Christ. That he loves me and wants the best for me. And he has given me a story to share that will maybe help others in some way. I had to make a choice. I had to choose; I could either go deep into depression, be angry, and be full of regret. Or, I could take the blanket of comfort God was giving me, grieve, forgive, and give it all to God.
What do you feel that God has in store for the next chapter of your life?
My favorite verse in the bible is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I don’t know exactly what my future looks like, but I do know that not a day goes by that I don’t thank Him for blessing my life with 3 more sons and a loving husband. I am so grateful for what God has done in my life and the lives of those I love dearly. God is good.
What best practices would you recommend, that have allowed you to get closer in your walk with the Lord?
Getting connected with your local church through a small group and finding that quiet time with God.
If you could give any advice to your “younger self” about your walk with God, what would it be?
Oh boy…if I could tell my younger self anything at all it would be to
“let it go”. I fought a lot with my Bryan’s daddy. We went through a bitter divorce and we said and did so many hurtful things that were so trivial and insignificant. Looking back now I can see that it’s not worth it. Knowing what I know now…I should have been praying for my ex-husband instead of fighting him. Some of this is just part of growing up too. I was very young.
Do you have any book that you have read that recently has blessed you in your walk?
I’m not much of a self-help reader…I believe the Holy Bible is the best support book out there. I prefer to escape when I read. The problem is there are a lot of crummy books out there. There was one popular book going around that I won’t mention the name nor will I judge anyone that has decided to read it. But it is basically pornography in paperback. I was tempted by my good friends and neighbors….Good people with good morals. They would say, “You’ve got to read this book”…”but you must hide it and keep out of sight of your children”. What? That was my red flag.
You serve in a Women’s Ministry position, what do you notice as some prominent strongholds that you think we as women need to be more intentional in taking to the Lord? Have you seen patterns of struggle that the Lord is working in and through you?
As Regional Director for the Women’s Ministry here at Saddleback in San Clemente I see many women not taking the time for themselves to soak in Gods word and get connected with other Godly women. Women do not usually take the time to focus on themselves. It’s almost like we feel guilty for taking that time. But in reality taking that time to connect, worship, and learn Gods word…we become better, more complete women, wives, and mothers.
Any other closing thoughts that you may want to share?
A mother’s greatest fear is losing her child, her second fear is that everyone will forget his or her child. Never ever be afraid to ask a mother about their lost loved one or mention his/her name. Number one…you cannot hurt that woman any more than she has been hurt. Number two…it brings great joy and warms her heart to hear her child’s name and hear of his/her memories.
Ursula’s Closing thoughts:
I hope that after hearing Lynette’s story that you too are encouraged. I am amazed to see how beautifully God had transformed Lynette’s life and that you may join me in praying for Lynette’s family as they were blessed again earlier this January 2014, when her husband received Jesus into his heart; we rejoice with them! We pray that they will have strength and courage raising their three boys especially as they start entering the teenage years, and we pray that their marriage will be firmly rooted in Christ; Amen!