by RUTH GNIRK
Bethany Baird has learned many lessons about hope and healing because of her experiences with grief and loss. The way she responds to hardship and suffering has made her stronger and more compassionate toward others. She has learned to use what she’s gone through to show others the love and comfort of God. They believe her because she has lived it.
Bethany’s parents divorced when she was young, and her father passed away when she was a teenager. Her first husband was in the Navy and passed away before their third anniversary. Her second husband, a hockey player for the Corpus Christi Ice Rays, was severely burned in 2008, and passed away in 2014.
“The best way you can honor loved ones who have passed away is to be better,” Bethany said. “I don’t live in the past. I learned to embrace the positive memories and let go of negative circumstances and regrets.”
“Before I had a relationship with God, I wanted to numb myself so I couldn’t feel the pain of losing my dad and my first husband,” shared Bethany. “But God transformed me. He met me in my loss, and poured out His peace and comfort on me. Now when bad things happen, I make the choice immediately to believe that God is in control and I will trust Him completely.”
Bethany refuses to live her life in fear that all the men she loved would be taken. She rejoices that God has blessed her with two sons, and a daughter, and that He has good plans for them.
Bethany cherishes a conversation she had with the mother of Justin, her first husband, after he had passed away at such a young age. Justin’s mother thanked Bethany for giving her son a full life. Though she was grieving, Bethany told Justin’s mother that in the short time they had together, Justin gave Bethany exactly what she needed in that time of her life. Justin was a strong man, and a man who showed God’s love to Bethany and to her children. Justin had become a father to them.
Another thing that brings Bethany great comfort is the five “extra” years that she had with her second husband, Jason. He was badly burned after a lawn mower caught fire in 2008. Their daughter was only eight months old. Bethany refused to believe the doctor’s report that Jason may not survive, or that he may not be able to use his limbs. Jason not only survived, and walked long before the doctors thought he would be able to, but he got back on ice skates!
There was a time recently when Bethany was feeling overwhelmed with the loneliness of being a single parent. Although she selflessly gave her time to people and causes within the community, there were moments when she could have felt alone and forgotten. She did not allow herself to wallow in a pity party.
“If I’m going through something, someone else has gone through it or is going to be going through it,” reflected Bethany. “God gives us grace in our weakness, and even if we mess up, He never leaves us. He wants to empower us to act, instead of us just following our feelings and reacting. There are seeds that God has planted, and when we’re ready, they can sprout and grow.”
Bethany used the pain of loneliness to cultivate the seeds of care inside of her. Instead of allowing herself to have a victim mentality, Bethany reached out to other women and started an enocuragement group. They meet online weekly to read and study the Bible together, and pray for each other. Bethany is also thinking about creating a YouTube channel where she can share hope and encouragement with others.
One of the Scriptures that brings Bethany comfort and joy says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
“Tragedy will always come,” observed Bethany. I pray that my story brings an overflow of comfort and peace, and the strong desire to read the Word. Be strong, and go forward!”