It was around 10 years ago that Lisa Appelo's life changed forever. 

"On what seemed like an ordinary Friday morning, I woke up to my husband's funny breathing," said Lisa. "I wasn't even awake enough to open my eyes, but I just kind of reached over and nudged him and told him it was just a nightmare. As I woke more to his breathing and flipped on the light, I could see that something was drastically wrong."

Lisa quickly called 911 and began CPR until emergency crews arrived on scene. Her husband was rushed to hospital via ambulance but did not survive.

"It was a lot to adjust to," said Appelo. "I had seven children, four years old to nineteen, that I had to come home to and tell that their dad was in heaven."

In the initial stages after her husband's death, Lisa was traumatized and in complete shock. She says she went into survival mode.

"But I wanted to do more than survive. I didn't always want to feel like this," said Lisa. "I was very grief naive. I had never been through any kind of deep loss. For me, it was just trying to grapple with the hard emotions and the hard questions, and to help my children grapple with theirs."  

For a long time, Lisa thought to herself that she would never smile or find joy again, but God had other plans. 

"Every day I would get in my minivan, a place where I could just cry out my real emotions with the Lord, air my fears, and journal," Lisa explained. "I would give God my despair, my frustration, my regrets, my sadness, my loneliness, all of that. And then I would pick up the word, and I didn't go hunt for verses, and wherever I was, God would always meet me and remind me of who he was and his promises. It was enough hope to get me through the day." 

Lisa says that, while life’s unexpected turns may look like Plan B to us, they are God’s intentional Chapter 2 for our lives.

“You may be waking up to a life you never expected, never wanted, and honestly still can’t fathom, but you can flourish again.”

Lisa is now sharing her story in her new book Life Can Be Good Again: Putting Your World Back Together After It All Falls Apart. She is also a member of Widow Mama Collective, a Facebook community for young widows, where she helps women find hope in the hard places of loss.

Today on Connections, Lisa shares how she found hope and how she was able to put her world back together after losing the love of her life.