Hello friend! Wherever you are at in your journey today, I’m thankful for the space you’ve shared to click on a link and land here. In this blog I share my experiences and process through especially motherhood, marriage, loss and grief, faith and doubt, remarriage and blending my family. I’m honored to share my stories with you, and hope the healing I get from reflecting and writing can be helpful to others too.
About this blog
I believe with all my heart that healing happens when we share our stories.
I began blogging in this space just before I became a mother – the most life-changing moment of my existence. Yet, most of the posts thereafter were actually written from the tear-stained pages in my journal after the death of my first husband, Eric, in 2016. That pivotal moment of loss shaped my writing as the act of publicly processing & publishing was invaluable to my own healing. It has been over four years, and what feels like a full lifetime’s worth of change since, but much of my processing still goes back to that moment, to the aftermath, and onward into beauty that could only have come from those specific ashes.
When friends responded that my words had helped their own hearts too, that they wanted to share them, I was blown away and also encouraged. I know that my experiences of love, loss, pain, healing, rediscovery, faith, and doubt are not uncommon, so I am humbled that anyone has taken time to read them, and I am hopeful that they will be helpful.
The short story
Lizzie Lindberg // 2012-2019
Eric Lindberg charmed me as a best friend, boyfriend, fiancé, lover and husband from pretty much the first moment we met. I mean he told me he could not wait to meet our children before our first date. We married in 2012, had our first baby (Bingham) in 2013, and began youth ministry in 2014, and Welcomed William (Billy) in 2015. In those three years, Eric accomplished his life’s goals to be a husband, father, and youth pastor. He was always a dreamer, and lived with zest and intensity everywhere he set foot. He loved Jesus, loved people, and loved sharing Jesus with people. I was mostly happy to be his wife and his babys’ mama. They were my whole world. We danced.
And then Eric died. Suddenly. And a part of me died too.
I moved into my parents’ home with a 2-year-old and 9-month-old. Took a job as the communications director at a church, and began sharing about my grief, single parenting, and God’s faithfulness. I wrote, “…in Christ alone I find strength to survive the daily grind and face the grief with my littles. His Word and the support systems that surround me sustain us and even bring deep joy. God is in control, He is faithful, and it’s a good thing.”
Elizabeth Rayford // 2019 – PRESENT
Davin Hussein found me on eharmony and prayerfully pursued me. As the tall, dark, handsome and strong man of my childhood dreams, he had me at hello. Yet, it took a minute for me to admit that to myself, let alone to the world. Over the next few months, we talked well into the nights, and made the most of each day to learn about one another covering topics from childhood happiness to trauma, race, religion, writing, education, cherished moments and lost love. When I was fully convinced that Davin was a good man, I introduced the boys to him, and watched as they melted together in what seemed like the way it always had been.
So in July 2019, we were married! We said vows to one another, poured sand into a jar, shared cake and partied with our friends. Then we crossed our “I”s, dotted our “T”s, Davin and I changed our last names to “Rayford,” and we began blending.
Here we are: The Rayford Family
Today I’m writing from the sunniest spot on our brown sectional couch with the wind machine fan blowing full blast into my face. Most days Davin works upstairs and our boys are play outside in the Winona, Minnesota weather.
For a while, we put down writing to simply be – to blend as best we could with intention and space. The pandemic provided concentrated time to realize who we are together, to build, but also to fall apart in each others arms. And as for me, these months have been a different kind of trial, where life on the outside is everything I’ve been wanting but what’s inside needed some real work. So I’ve been doing that work – through tough conversations, journalling, a counselor and a mentor, reading, praying, crying.
I am still raw and very much in that process. Yet, I’ve been sensing a shift – a time to move where writing relates to use my voice for the sake of healing. Maybe you will resonate, maybe not, but it’s this space I plan to use to share my story. To share this Rayford Story.