Like any single mum, Abby Grimes has her tough, exhausted days. Raising two littlies, aged one and three, while juggling the groceries, the cleaning, and a high-pressure full-time job, takes its toll.
Throw in the complications of a recent separation, a brother struggling with addictions, and the loss of her mother, and life – potentially – could be very tough.
But Abby’s got a couple of touchstones in her life, that keep her smiling through it all.
A Faith That Endures Life’s Challenges
Watch: Abby Grimes shares her story with Emma Mullings
The first of those touchstones is a strong faith, which Abby adopted when she was very young.
“I was brought up in a Christian home and at eight years old I made a commitment to Jesus,” Abby said, “then at age 16 I realised I needed to get more serious and made a recommitment.
“I grew up in a great home with a great family; I didn’t have bad experiences or dabble in bad things. But I found that getting older, getting married and having children, I started having challenges – like losing my mum, living overseas and being homesick, having financial difficulties, then getting separated.
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“I now know what it’s like to experience pain and discouragement…But God was making things happen behind the scenes.”
“I now know what it’s like to experience pain and discouragement, and to feel like nothing’s going to get better. I was fortunate that I had my Christian background at that those times, because I have the scriptures from the Bible in my mind, and have a network around me of people encouraging me.
“When things get hard, I think of people in the word of God like Joseph and David who all went through these difficult times. But God was making things happen behind the scenes and there was a tapestry [being woven}. We know the big picture and can see what the purpose was for their pain. God had a plan and was working through it, and brought them through. So I can know that if He did it for them He’ll do the same for me.
“And on those days when it’s hard as a single mum, it’s good to be able to take a minute and just pray and know that God is going to give me the strength just to get through that day.”
Losing Her Mum, And Trouble In Her Marriage
A close bond: Abby Grimes with her mother, who passed away at age 60.
Three years ago Abby lost her mother, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the age of 60.
“My mum was on holidays and the day before she came home she had an aneurism and passed away, overseas,” Abby said. “My baby was only three months old. And then my one-year-old was born and there were complications, and my mum wasn’t there.
“And I’ve gone through a separation recently too. It’s not fun; life is hard.”
But despite these painful experiences, Abby has leant on her faith.
“As a Christian I have been able to pray and trust that God was in control – even in these times when it doesn’t make sense,” she said. “I find focussing on Jesus and his word and knowing that it says “I’m working everything out for your good”, carries me through.
“Being a Christian doesn’t mean that your exempt [from pain] and that everything’s going to be easy and that you won’t go through hard times. But when you do, you know that Gods in control and he’s working everything out. I have this history where He’s got me through before – so He’ll get me through again.”
Walking With Her Brother Through Addictions
Faith has also been Abby’s strength while walking alongside her brother through some bad choices and addictions, and the consequences that have come of that.
“It’s been a long struggle,” she said. “And there have been moments where I’ve thought, “this is not going to end”. Sometimes you’ve got to process that frustration and grieve,” she said. “I’ve had to sometimes just sit and cry and say, “I hate this and want him to get through it”.
“But then I pray and ask God “what am I supposed to do at this time”. I do think that any time you’re affected by something, there’s always something in it for you. There’s always a lesson in it.”
The Encouragement Of Christian Radio
Alongside Abby’s faith, another constant that has helped keep her strong is the radio station Hope 103.2FM. It’s been keeping her company for years, through all of life’s challenges.
“I work as a complaints officer in a field where I’m exposed to probably the worst of human nature,” Abby said. “So it’s very important to keep my perspective on Jesus and understand that whatever’s going on around me, there is hope. I like listening to Hope 103.2 because it keeps my perspective right. It stays focussed on the positive, always.”
The radio station was particularly uplifting for her when her mother died.
“We were planning the funeral service, and it was all very surreal,” Abby said. “I knew mum was in heaven but I was still dealing that loss. Then I heard the song The Hurt And The Healer on the radio, and was reminded of how in that time of grief, is when Jesus is really there.
“I sent the song to my family to encourage them to keep on going. That really stands out as a time when Hope was a real light to me.”
Safe Listening For Little Ears
Pride and joy: Abby with her children, Lincoln and Faith
Abby said she particularly likes the family-friendly sound of the station.
“What we listen to and what we watch influences us,” she said. “I can put Hope on the radio and know that there’s not going to be anything inappropriate, there’s not going to be any words my kids shouldn’t pick up, and in the music they’re listening to, all the lyrics are positive.
“I don’t have to try and censor things at this point when they’re so little. Even with the news, if there’s a disaster they will talk about it some of the good stories that have come out of it. They talk about organisations that are making a difference.
“It reminds me that there are good people out there who are translating their faith in Jesus into what they do with their life and how they make decisions. I need my kids to hear that.”
“Turning To Jesus Will Get You Through”
Abby said she would encourage anyone experiencing tough times in life to “give Jesus a try”.
“Try praying and telling Him how you feel and what you need, because He already knows,” she said. “It gives Him an opportunity to respond and show his love and you can encounter Him and experience Him in a personal way. I’d also say to get around people who will pray for you and help to carry you through.
“It’s vital to go from discouragement, depression and disappointment, to change our perspective to know this isn’t going to be forever, things are going to get better. Perspective is everything. Turning to God and turning to Jesus will get you through.”