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Episode 132 - My Life Re-Purposed


Hi! First let me say, thank you for letting me share my life with you. This whole journey of healing – being played out in this podcast – is obviously not just for myself. I’ve heard from many of you that God is using the episodes to bring healing to your own brokenness and a renewed sense of purpose in your life. These are the stories I’ve been inundated with just of late. And it reminded me of an interview I did on Life Repurposed Podcast with host Michelle Rayburn. Now, I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed on several hand-fulls of podcasts, and this one is in the top 2 or 3 for me. Michelle asks good questions. And I just loved her from the get-go because she’s a re-purposer of things, just like me. Which is exactly what God has done in my life, repurposed it. Please do go follow her podcast. She brings many beautiful stories of God’s redemptive grace. I’ll link her podcast in the show notes.

So, with that said, I do hope you are blessed and encouraged by this episode in your own journey. Here’s the interview with Michelle.

Michelle Rayburn 00:02 This week my guest and I have a heartfelt chat about how God showed her that when her dreams and plans crumbled, he gave her hope and a message that she could have another beautiful life after the heartbreak. I want you to know that this episode includes a topic that may be triggering. Although we do not talk about suicide in a graphic or detailed way. Please use discretion if suicide is a sensitive topic for you. More than anything, this episode is about hope and renewal, about transforming our minds and breaking old patterns of thinking. I got chills a few times while recording. Maybe you're wondering if God has another beautiful life for you after something has caused everything to fall apart. Hope is very much alive in Tricia's story, and I hope you enjoy our conversation today.

Michelle Rayburn 01:07 You're listening to Life Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration, and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host Michelle Rayburn.

Michelle Rayburn 01:31 Before we jump into the conversation, I'd like to introduce you to my guest today. Tricia Zody. After the tragic death of her husband, Tricia is learning to put the pieces of her life back together by leaning on the love and hope of Christ one day at a time. His promise to her of another beautiful life is evidence of his gracious mercy and tender care for the brokenhearted. Hers is a story of loss, broken dreams, and complicated grief. But it is also one of redemption and great hope that is full of evidence of God's loving presence that is proving to be beautiful and good. Tricia Zody is a speaker, a life coach for Christian women, and a podcast host of Another Beautiful Life. Tricia lives in the Houston area and is the mother of three beautiful adult children who are scattered all over the globe. Let's jump into the conversation with Tricia.

Michelle Rayburn 02:24 I'm gonna give you a scenario, and I want to find out something about your personality here. So you have a random free afternoon, which I have a feeling is pretty rare for you.

Tricia Zody 02:33 Yes, yes.

Michelle Rayburn 02:34 So do you spend it at home reading a book and lounging on the patio? Or do you call a friend and go out?

Tricia Zody 02:41 Oh, it's so hard because it's both and. I am an outside on my patio person, girl. I love to be outside any— In fact, before we got together, I went out and stood out in the sun on my back patio just to soak it up for a minute. That does something for me. I love being outside. But there is something about the necessity of connection for me as well. And so it's not just anybody. I have very specific friends, right. I have my little close-knit friends that I will call and see if I can get together. And listen, if they can't, I am so happy on my patio. So, it's all good.

Michelle Rayburn 03:22 Oh, I'm so jealous of the sunshine because you're in the south and I'm in northern Wisconsin and I went for a walk this morning. It's late May when we're recording this. It was 46 degrees and raining. So I want the sunshine so badly.

Tricia Zody 03:39 Oh my goodness. Let me tell you it is. It's gonna tell me right here. It's 81 degrees here completely sunny all day, not a cloud in the sky.

Michelle Rayburn 03:47 All right. Well, I'll be on a plane in—I'm two hours from the airport. So I'm on the way.

Tricia Zody 03:53 Come on.

Michelle Rayburn 03:53 Actually, I was in Houston for a podcasters conference in 2020. Right before everything closed down. It was February. It was like maybe 55 degrees. And I went outside on the patio at the conference center. And there was one other person sitting out there with me. It was a woman from Michigan. And both of us were enjoying the fact that in February, 55 felt like heaven.

Tricia Zody 04:16 Yes, exactly. Exactly. I love it.

Michelle Rayburn 04:19 Tricia you've self identified as a huge repurposer. So I want to know a little bit more about that.

Tricia Zody 04:26 Oh, wow. Well, my husband and I used to go to antique markets. There's a huge antique market that comes out twice a year. And we're real junk finders so it was me were we'd go to the junk. We go to the old furniture, not the new you know the swanky lookin' antiques. We'd go to the old stuff. And anything that we could find whether that be antique chairs or furniture or just anything. My house is filled with it and it is we've brought it in. And, and you know, put a little bit of love on it, maybe some paint, you know and which, and crackle paint it, which anybody who is an antique dealer is freaking out, right?

Michelle Rayburn 05:12 I like chalk paint. So I get you.

Tricia Zody 05:16 Yeah, so my house is completely covered with repurposed things. We've got—One of my favorite things is, we found some Egyptian gates that were outside of a mansion in Egypt, and they were brought to this antique market. And so we snatched up several of them. And they are 12 feet tall. They're, they're about four and a half feet wide. So I have two by two of them sitting next to each other as my headboard. They are and they're old and the paint chipping off and it is just, it's gorgeous. And then we got another one and we had someone cut it up and make a base of a side table for us, and then put a piece of soapstone on the top. So we're all about that. So yes, when I heard about you, oh, yeah.

Michelle Rayburn 06:12 As you're talking, like, you're a girl after my own heart. Because I like the rusty. I like the chipped up things. And I am not afraid of painting wood, even though people do not like me for that.

Tricia Zody 06:23 Yeah, yeah. So we took a—so you'll love this. So we found some old whitewashed pine, which is kind of rare to find, but it was in an old dance hall where I think like LBJ danced one time. So like, it has some history, right? So we commissioned this guy to make a dining table for us. It's 10 and a half feet long, it's quite large. Or maybe I'm sorry, 12 and a half feet long. And, and he also kind of put farm table kind of look base on it. And we didn't really like that. So I had my husband take the farm table based off, and we bought old antique columns, and put them side by side. And those are the base to the dining table. But the then the, the pine was just not really my color. And my style. So I painted it. And then did a crackle finish on top of it. I mean, let me tell you, it is the and then and then went in with a rub on top of it. It is the coolest table. But if I tell anybody that I have this, this, this product, right? And then what's under that all that pain, they just about freak out. But you know, like I told him—my husband—"I was like, I'm not going to appreciate this as much as I would if it were ours. I know we commissioned it. But it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, or I wanted to, so he was all in. We did it. It's my favorite piece. When I moved, I had to make sure that that dining table went with me, like, I'm never getting rid of that dining dining table. So anyway, it's so much fun.

Michelle Rayburn 08:01 This leads perfectly into why I think that repurposing is a metaphor for life. So my show here started from originally a blog about decorating before and after things. And the beauty is really in what we find in it. It isn't in what somebody else finds in it, because somebody else might love my chandelier with the original brass, which I changed to oil rubbed bronze, but somebody else might think that's too rustic for them. And that's how life is too, like the repurposing that God does in our circumstances are really about the beauty that he helps us pull from those situations. And I know that you've gone through some really tough times in your life and, and the toughest part has been most recently. So could you tell us a little bit about your story?

Tricia Zody 08:53 Sure. So just to give a little bit of of back history I have. I've been married 30 years, had three beautiful children with my husband, Brian, and we grew up. We kind of grew up together because we were young and when we had children. We weren't... we didn't really know what we were doing, and we just figured it out together. But he was definitely my best friend and like I said, when we'd go antique shop, we just did things together. We loved being together. So he was a very smart man and just very kind, loved the Lord, followed Jesus, read his Bible every day. He was just a he was just a man that was you know, he was the man that my parents prayed for me to have, right? I've had the privilege...he owned his own business, and I've had the privilege to just stay home with my kids raise our three children. And I spent most of my life in women's ministry teaching Bible study, mentoring women, and also leading worship, and then volunteering wherever I wanted to. So that was such a privilege for me. So that that is, that's kind of who I've been.

Tricia Zody 10:12 But most recently, I am a widow. So my husband passed away in 2017. And so I'm just going to give you a real concise version of the background and the backstory. And if you want to stop me at anytime you're welcome to and ask any questions. But basically, in 2012, my husband began experiencing debilitating back pain in his lower back. And then he had five major surgeries in five years. And that included a laminectomy at first, and then fusion with cages. And then we had to go in and take out the cage and put in new cages, and then several more fusions, anyway, all the way down to the sacrum. And then every surgery seemed to have left him worse off than before. And then in 2017, the neurosurgeon finally told him that there was nothing more that they could do for him, and that he'd be on pain management for the rest of his life.

Tricia Zody 11:09 So at this point, he was and, as you can imagine, the despondency that comes from you know, you have a major surgery that tell you, it takes about six months for that inflammation to go down to see if that surgery "took" right? [quote, unquote] I'm doing air quotes, if it "took," so we'd wait, we'd hold our breath, six months, and then to find out that that surgery didn't, didn't take, he was still in pain. And then we did spend the next six months trying to figure out going to physical therapy and acupuncture and doing all that the stretching and do all the things that he needed to do and figuring out what was next for him. And then you know, and then we'd have another surgery. So we do this for five years, five major surgeries. So at this point, he is so he's so ... just done. He's like, he can't sit for very long in a chair. It's very, very painful for him, standing up gets extremely tiring. So he found himself laying on the couch quite a bit. He owned his own business. Fortunately, you can work from home. And so he did his work from from the couch, basically. But here he was. And like I mentioned at the beginning, he was a very strong man, very smart man. He was strong physically, he's strong spiritually. But this chronic pain, literally did a number on him. And he had lost a significant amount of weight, and was unable to do most of the things that he loved doing. And in somewhere in there, he lost himself. And he became hopeless.

Tricia Zody 12:43 And then in August of 2017, he ended up taking his life. So that is that's kind of my history that brought is kind of brought me to where I am today. Because after his suicide, I found myself in despair and overwhelm, and a desperation like I never had before. Right? I've had a very vibrant, robust relationship with the Lord for many, many years. Those last five years were filled with desperate cries and begging the Lord to heal him. But, and alongside that, a faith and a belief that he would. And Brian had the same. Brian believed that by medicine or by miracle, God could heal him. And he asked that he would every single night. In fact, there were many times that we would go to bed together, praying in tears, asking the Lord to heal him. So we had great faith that the Lord could do that.

Tricia Zody 13:48 So it was very interesting that at that point, it was overwhelming for him, to the degree that he no longer had hope. He was hopeless. So I had to, at that point, kind of reconcile, how did that all happen? Like, how did that even? How did that even happen to him? Right? And then, you know, like I said, I was a stay-at-home mom for all those years, and I did women's ministry. And so now all of a sudden, I no longer have my best friend and my husband, but I also no longer have my financial provisions. So I had no idea how I was gonna go on. I hadn't I had not been in corporate and over 25 years, you know, you know, what do I how do I how do I do that? And you know, how do I jump back in? And so I was at a point where I really didn't know how I was gonna go on. If even if I want it to go on, right? I just felt like my life was over everything that I knew all the dreams that we had planned together. You know, we were at the time, we were—we've had some property at the edge of the hill country. And we had been mapping out clearing the land mapping out where our house would be, talking to an architect about what that would look like, talking about, you know, oh, we'll do a little bunk house for the kids, the grandkids over here, you know, we'll do a playground over there. So we had so many things to look forward to in our future. And then all of a sudden, it was just gone in an instant. So I was in a really, really dark place. And I, it was probably the first time in all of my years of being a Christian, that I've ever questioned God, and honestly felt like I had a crisis of faith. There were a lot of things that I didn't understand that I believed about God, that didn't come to fruition didn't happen, and made me question everything.

Michelle Rayburn 15:58 I'm thinking about how you had five years of watching your husband, struggling, and I can hardly imagine the discouragement of having been through that process. And now suddenly finding yourself with this immense loss on top of that emotion... I've been married over 30 years as well. And so I it's hard for me to imagine what it would be like to watch my husband suffering, like your husband was with the pain. So you talked about this crisis of faith that you came to What questions did you wrestle with then with God?

Tricia Zody 16:35 Well, you know, it's, it's really interesting, if you had asked me, Michelle, "Hey, Tricia, do you treat God like a genie in a bottle?" You know, I would have argued with you until I was blue in the face, because I loved him, I honored him, I had reverence for him, and I trusted him and I knew who he was. And I knew his goodness. But I didn't realize that until that moment, that I really was expecting something out of him. "Look, God, I've been serving you. For all these years, I've, I've sacrificed my life for you. We've, we've given over our not just our family and our children to you. We've dedicated everything, our lives to you, our business is yours. We have dedicated, we've done all this for you. We are live it. Couldn't you have just done this one thing? For me?" Right? And it really was—it exposed a lot about how I felt our relationship was transactionally. I would never have I agreed, I would have never admitted that before, I would never have even believed that. That's what I was believing. But my very question asking him, "Couldn't you have just done this one thing for me? I've done all these things for you."

Michelle Rayburn 17:52 I think there's probably a listener that can relate to that, who maybe has been waiting for a loved one to be healed from cancer. And then that was not answered in the way that they had hoped for. So I interrupted you there. But how did you process that then when you realize that?

Tricia Zody 18:14 Right. Well, I had to realize that then what I was really saying was my life, my comfortable life here, was was about me. I mean, life on Earth for me was about me and me being happy, and me getting the things that I wanted. And so through a process, and I do say process, because it was not over overnight, was literally wrestling with the Lord, over and again. But I came to understanding that I really was living a me centric theology...that everything that I believed was about me and my happiness and my life here. And what the Lord allowed me to see by His mercy and His grace, He showed me that this world living here is really all about him. It's about his plan, his overarching plan, and it's something that I don't even, I can't even know or understand fully, I can know a little bit. But I can't fully understand because my because of my small, feeble brain. We can't know God that that way. We can't really understand him. And thank goodness because if I could understand him, me if I could understand him, he must be a very small, shallow God. So I came to understand His sovereignty a bit better here on this earth and my place in it. So I know now, who he is, and who I am in Him and what I'm here on earth for, and that is to give him glory and to enjoy him forever. And those two things can go and do go hand in hand. So I literally am my life, even in my husband's death, and in the way that I'm healing now, and in this healing journey is for His glory.

Tricia Zody 20:10 Now in my grieving, do I still have grief and sorrow? Absolutely. But I also have hope. And I have hope in that I have eternal life with Jesus after this life. And also I know my husband does as well, so and so he's been resurrected, I will at some point be rejoined with Him in heaven. So that's my hope. And if and if that's where my perspective is, if I have an eternal perspective, if that's where my focus is not here on this earth, in this world in this life right now, but if I'm looking to the, to the future, which is forever future, if I'm looking at that. And that's my focus that eternal perspective, then everything changes here, everything is just like, Okay, well, this is just—we are just a breath here. This is just a blip of my of my soul and my ex