While enjoying breakfast with a friend recently, I saw some new facets of loss. We were deep into the catch-up of our lives and the happenings in our families. The mother of a blended family, she happily announced the upcoming births of two grandchildren.

Her smile disappeared, though, when she referred to dashed dreams for her elder daughter, whose choices in life had brought about unalterable results. Then she shifted to a different kind of heartache: lack of love from her husband.

Her mother had opened the way for meeting this particular man. Eventually, with high hopes for a happy life together, she said yes to his marriage proposal. Yet, soon she realized he was incapable of connecting with her emotionally. Throughout many years of marriage, she’d felt unloved, uncared for, and alone. Her dream of happiness had died.

She said, “I don’t know why God let me fall in love with him. But I did.”

Her unhappiness wasn’t new to me, but her startling statement that morning broke my heart. How could I soften the impact and make sense of the deep losses in my friend’s life? I could not. But we both remembered how God had already woven an intricate plan to help her experience His unchanging love.

Four months before, while reading my book about the cascading losses in my life, she asked herself, “How could Gail survive all this?” She came to the conclusion that I had made it through because I had God, which led to the realization she didn’t know God like that. When we got together the next time, she related her discovery. After talking a while about God’s desire for her to know Him personally, I asked if she wanted to accept Jesus Christ as Her Savior and Lord. She did! Her prayer was the beginning of a relationship with God, the only Person who could fill her life with the love she’d been searching for.

Now in the moments of not knowing how to encourage her, God gave me this verse:

“Do not fall to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Tears filled her eyes as she listened to God’s promises and clung to His words of hope. Her circumstances most likely will not change, and she knows that. But she saw that by letting go of the “dashed dreams” in her past and willingly focusing on the new things God promises to do for her, hope would have a chance to grow.

The next day she emailed, “Thank you so much, Gail, for supporting me in my new journey with Jesus and with prayer. Your verse really hit a tender spot and was so appropriate!”

This Easter season reminds us that God looked on the Friday of death, despair and dashed dreams and turned it into a celebration of resurrection on Sunday! Because of Christ’s resurrection, we have hope for our future. Whatever circumstances you face today, whatever personal dreams have died, God promises to create roadways and rivers where none exist. Your part is to let go of the past you cannot change and look ahead to God, who has the power and desire to do something new in your life.