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Finding My Faith


Date: October 28 , 2012

Home Page Tabs Title: Finding My Faith

Posted By: TAPS

 Just as grief is a journey, faith is a journey and there are always going to be bumps and turns along the way. It has taken me a long time to find this peace in my heart. It hasn’t been an easy road to this point and I know that it is not going to be smooth sailing from here either. However, with this I do feel a renewed sense of hope for the future, contentment in the present, as well as pride for my past.  


Hill, Rachel - Family Liason Officer
Finding My Faith

~ Rachael Hill, Survivor

October 28, 2012

I don’t normally write about my faithin my blog but something hit me recently that I just have to share.

This past month my boys and I went to visit some friends out of state. Not just any friends, but my FLO (Family Liaison Officer) and his wife who we have become extremely close with since my husband’s death 27 months ago. I had known Daniel for many years before hebecame my FLO and he had worked very closely with my husband Jeff on numerous occasions, but it wasn’t until he was thrown into this position that his influence became apparent.

When assigning a FLO the Air Force wants someone that is not emotionally connected…a requirement that I am so thankful was overlooked in my case. I knew Daniel, Daniel and Jeff were good friends, and to this day I can’t think of a better person I could have had as my FLO. He took this job seriously and went above and beyond to make sure everything I needed was being taken care of. He was official when he needed to be, a friend when I needed one, and gave me spiritual guidance when I needed that. He was the whole package and I cannot say it enough, I absolutely couldnot have gotten through this without him!

Now that you know a little about my FLO Daniel let me move on to my faith.  I hate the cliché when people say it to me, but I honestly do believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has the ultimate plan. I’m not really a big fan of the plan at this moment in time, but I do believe that He has one with our best intentions in mind. There has to be a reason to this madness. In my heart I believe that Jeff is wherever he is, doing whatever he is doing, and that his job there is more important than the job he was doing here. This belief is often times what gets me through the day. The belief that his death wasn’t in vain and that ultimately there is a purpose. There has to be a purpose. Otherwise what’s the point of anything we do here?

About 6 months before Jeff died I started having thoughts that something was going to happen to him, and a few of my friends can even attest to this as I shared these feelings with them. I tried extremely hard to push these thoughts aside but they persisted. As a result, Jeff and I had conversations that people don’t normally have. We shared thoughts and feelings that you don’t normally share and because of this, when he died I had no regrets and very few questions about his thoughts and opinions. I knew his thoughts about me dating again if something happened to him (yes, that was one of the topics we talked about). I knew his feelings about dying in a plane crash, which ironically is how he died. I told him that I would buy a new car, which I did. And most important of all, he knew how much I loved and appreciated him. He knew because I told him!! When I heard the news on July 28th that their plane had gone down, in a sense I wasn’t surprised. I had been prepared for this. God had prepared me for this.

Now back to my visit with Daniel and his family. While at their house late one night we began a conversation about faith and they asked me where I was in my walk with God. I told them that I very strongly believe in the bigger picture that everything happens for a purpose, but that I am having a difficult time with the smaller things regarding my faith. For example, the idea that God loves us, all of us, with everything He is. My response to that is, “if He loves me so much, how could he put me through this?” That just doesn’t seem right! If He loves me, he should want to protect me…not hurt me! 

As I explained this, they nodded in understanding and then asked if I had heard Daniel’s story. When I said no he immediately started to share. About a year before Jeff’s accident Daniel had a moment where he realized he needed to work through some personal struggles in his life. While working through this there were other things that came up and more difficulties that needed to be addressed. Then on the night of the accident the squadron asked his opinion as to who my FLO should be, because he and his wife knew both Jeff and I personally. When nobody really came to mind his wife said, “Daniel, you should do it.” Knowing that it would be an extremely difficult job on top of the fact that he had just lost a good friend, there was no hesitation as he stepped up to task.

At the end of the story he explained how before the events of that year unfolded, he would not have been able to step into the role of a FLO, let alone my FLO. God was preparing his heart to be able to be there for me during my time of need. I was completely taken back by this and started to cry. At that moment my heart was so full of love as I realized God’s love for me. It was no longer a feeling that if He loves me he wouldn’t put me through this. It was then believing that because God loves me, He had not only prepared me for Jeff’s death, but He had also prepared the people around me so that they could be there for me in a way that He knew I would need. Now that is amazing!

I don’t share this story with you to tell you what to believe. Just as grief is a journey, faith is a journey and there are always going to be bumps and turns along the way. It has taken me a long time to find this peace in my heart. It hasn’t been an easy road to this point and I know that it is not going to be smooth sailing from here either. However, with this I do feel a renewed sense of hope for the future, contentment in the present, as well as pride for my past.  


I love this story. Thank you for sharing. I agree I wasn't the biggest fan of Gods' plan at the time, but knowing He was walking through it along side of me brought more comfort than I would have expected.
Posted by: Elizabeth at 10/29/2012 10:58 AM

Nice blog, I believe god uses our own grief and faith experiences,too. I'm looking for the chance to help a close friend with his recent loss,when he is ready. Please keep me in your prayers...............................................************............beth
Posted by: beth van luven at 10/29/2012 12:12 PM

This brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. As much as I know you hate to hear this...you are one of the strongest and brightest women I know and I am incredibly proud to be your sister. Thank you for sharing something that is personal to you but can touch so many including me. Love you.
Posted by: Kristina at 10/30/2012 10:51 AM

I am amazed & my soul is touched deeply. Thank you for being willing to share your heart with us. Deb
Posted by: Deborah at 10/30/2012 11:13 PM

I am just beginning to reconnect with god. It is not the god I knew before Ryan died by suicide. It is more on a spirit relationship, not sure how it fits in, not what everybody would call christian faith but for the time it is working for me. I lost my faith when I could not find answers and felt god did not love me or my son. that I was not important enough to matter, or hear my prayers. I have been struggling for more than 2 years with these feelings. i know I have a long way back and that I need to do the work if I find the relationship I had prior to Ryan dying.
Posted by: Ryans mom at 10/31/2012 9:27 PM

When you suffer such a loss, as with losing a spouse, I believe the core of your faith is shaken. It is easier to trust God, walk in faith, love Him, and know He loves you when all is going well. The true test of faith and obedience is when tragedy strikes and we either run to God or from Him. When I first lost my husband earlier this year, I know it was my faith that sustained me and got me through the moments, hours and days that followed his sudden passing. I may have not been seeking God as much as I should have but thankfully He was seeking me and carried me through. I pray for you in your continued journey.
Posted by: Stacey at 11/2/2012 8:18 PM

I would call you right now but I can't find my phone. Thank you for sharing. I'm bawling at my computer right now and hating every second of this pain you have to endure. There is a big picture that we can't see, but sometimes getting those all vision glasses is just a rotten process. Love you friend. You are an inspiration to all!
Posted by: Leslie at 11/12/2012 11:54 PM

Rachael, Thank you for sharing. I always had a strong faith, but the death of my husband has truly challenged it. We met late in life and we considered each other a gift from God. So when he died I had (still do) a tough time understanding why God would take back such a wonderful gift for which I was always so grateful. I had a hard time understand how the loving God I believed in could hurt me and those that loved my husband so much. Instead of turning away from my faith though, I have kept trying to accept and understand. I am now starting to see how God prepared me for this. I too had a premonition something was going to happen. He put me in a good place, surrounded by caring people. It has been 10 months now and this has been a tough journey. Your words inspire me to continue believing that there is more to this life and that God knows what He is doing!
Posted by: Cindy at 12/3/2012 10:54 AM

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