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It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since we lost country singer Craig Strickland. The lead singer of country band Backroad Anthem was out duck hunting when his boat capsized during severe storms on Dec. 27, 2015. His body was found near the lake on Jan. 4, 2016. He was just 29 years old.

Today marks two years since my late husband Craig Strickland passed away. I honestly can’t believe it. It’s been hard, yet through it all I’ve learned and grown so close to God. To me having faith has never meant having a perfect life. It meant trusting God when life wasn’t perfect. Hope can be found in even the darkest of places when we choose to trust God with everything. Yes, if I’ve learned one thing from widowhood, it’s that when we release our hold on trying to control our own lives, God can finally pick up the pieces of a broken heart and make you new again. And over the last two years I have thought deeply about what my reasoning for loving God is truly based on. And I’ve concluded that I love my Heavenly Father for no other reason but because he first loved me. He has blessed my life tremendously in ways I do not deserve. And therefore whatever he gives or takes away, or no matter what he needs my life to look like in order to tell his story, I will be willing to live that life for His names sake. Craig’s story continues to move people, and bring them back to God, and I will humbly praise God for allowing me to be part of that story. Apart from Christ I see no way of overcoming a tragedy like losing the one you love. But I pray that Craig’s story, my story, and his family’s story will show you the hope you can have in Jesus. No matter the outcome of my life, I will choose to love Him and trust his plan for my life. And I know Craig would expect nothing less. ❤️ I love you Craig, thank you for blessing my life tremendously. . Watch NWA Channel 5 news for an interview with me tonight at 9 & 10pm

A post shared by Helen Wisner Strickland (@helenelizabethstrickland) on

In the two years that have passed since Craig’s death, his wife, Helen, has relied on God to get her through. She posted a long note on Instagram to mark the two-year anniversary of the loss.

RELATED: This video that Craig Strickland left behind for his wife will break your heart

Helen writes, “I honestly can’t believe it. It’s been hard, yet through it all I’ve learned and grown so close to God. To me having faith has never meant having a perfect life. It meant trusting God when life wasn’t perfect. Hope can be found in even the darkest of places when we choose to trust God with everything.”

Going on without her husband has taught Helen several lessons, too.

RELATED: Craig Strickland’s death prompts Backroad Anthem to make a devastating decision

January 12th will forever be a day of reverence in my heart. 3 major milestones for Craig and I happened over the course of 3 years. January 12, 2013 I received an invitation from Craig via Facebook inviting me to, his newly founded band, Backroad Anthem's concert the following Saturday. Since I was friends with a couple of the band members, I decided to go…and the moment Craig found out I was recently became single, he snatched me up ❤ January 12, 2014 I won Miss Arkansas USA and Craig surprised me by coming on stage (even though he wasn't allowed to-typical Craig) and proposing right after I'd been crowned. I thanked God over and over for his blessings, and cried because I was so thankful and humbled. January 12, 2016, on the other hand, was the hardest day of my life. But even so, I will still choose to thank God over and over; and even though it caused me to cry, I am still thankful and humbled by the love that God has shown me. A year ago, today, I buried my husband, but I was given the sweetest blessing of a overwhelmingly beautiful memorial service held and webcasted by @crosschurch to 42 countries around the world ✨ And now, today, January 12, 2017, I can look back on this year and say that God has taught me SO many things. One of the most important lessons being that Joy is much like love in that it's not just a feeling, but also a perspective that we choose to have; it's a lens that allows us to see God's everyday blessings and reminds us that we are loved. Therefore, over the years when I look back on 1/12/16 I will choose to look through the lens of Gods love, so that I may be joyful when I see all the love poured out in the midst of tragedy, and the impact the Gospel had all over the world because of Craig's story. Thank you Lord for that opportunity. And thank you every single person who worked so hard last year to bless Craig's family and honor Craig's life. Thank you 100x over from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget all that you did… ✨And for anyone unable to watch Craig's Memorial Service that night (or want to join me in re-watching), you can find the link in my bio. Love you all, and God Bless 💖

A post shared by Helen Wisner Strickland (@helenelizabethstrickland) on

She continues, “When we release our hold on trying to control our own lives, God can finally pick up the pieces of a broken heart and make you new again. And over the last two years I have thought deeply about what my reasoning for loving God is truly based on. And I’ve concluded that I love my Heavenly Father for no other reason but because he first loved me. He has blessed my life tremendously in ways I do not deserve. And therefore whatever he gives or takes away, or no matter what he needs my life to look like in order to tell his story, I will be willing to live that life for His name’s sake.”

Though Craig is no longer with her, Helen still sees God using his life and untimely death to this day.

“Craig’s story continues to move people,” Helen says, “and bring them back to God, and I will humbly praise God for allowing me to be part of that story. Apart from Christ I see no way of overcoming a tragedy like losing the one you love. But I pray that Craig’s story, my story, and his family’s story will show you the hope you can have in Jesus. No matter the outcome of my life, I will choose to love Him and trust his plan for my life. And I know Craig would expect nothing less.”

Helen closes out her note with a heartfelt message for her late husband. She says, “I love you Craig, thank you for blessing my life tremendously.”

A country music widow pays tribute to the husband she lost too soon Instagram/@helenelizabethstrickland
Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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