36: Treva Kuyper

Treva Kuyper | Hope and Healing After Unexpected Loss

Treva never thought her story would be written this way. Her husband and best friend of 22 years was killed in a tragic car accident and she became a widow at the age of 44.

She has experienced widowhood and the journey of being a single mom to three teenagers.

The Lord has carried her every step and she has been renewed.

Now, at almost 47, the Lord has blessed her once again with a new best friend. She was reunited with her high school crush after 30 years and they are engaged to be married.

Her story is one of grief but also redemption as Lord continues to write her story.

Treva shares with me her story of losing her husband, Jeff, in a tragic car accident. She walks through her grief during the first few months following his death and how God has walked with her and her children every step of the way. She encourages widows and shares of Christ’s redemptive work through her suffering.

Raleigh Muralist: Lisa Gaither

4:58 Treva begins sharing her faith story with us and what life has looked like for her the last 5-10 years

She and her husband, Jeff, were married for 22 years.

8:16-17:04 Faith and grief collide in Treva’s story.  She takes us back to 2017 and walks us through the tragic car accident where her husband lost his life.

“That was something I feared, losing my husband. He was such a good dad, such a great husband, a godly man, very strong in his faith. I used to call him, my Boaz. I didn’t think from the abandonment I had already suffered as a daughter that the Lord would ever allow me to be a widow (before 80).”

Treva and her husband, Jeff, did ministry to teens together for 17 years.

“Your dad makes sure you have fun and I make sure you’re alive.”

17:06 Treva shares about what the months were like following the loss of her husband, Jeff.

“It was the most beautiful act of love that the Lord had for us every day that week. It is where joy and sorrow collide. Where we saw the hand of God so mightily, but in the worst circumstance.  I used to always says, ‘We have the best scenario in the worst circumstance,’ just how God carried us.  If I had ever doubted God’s love for me or for my kids, it was in those first few months afterwards that God solidified for me who He is and how He loves our children….He doesn’t have to have all the pieces that we think He has to have to finish the good work that He started in them.”

18:53 Treva shares how her relationship with God changed as a result of losing her spouse, her best friend.

“He has been my provider, my protector, my defender, the lover of my soul….”

“For months later, I knew the Lord was with me and I spoke a lot about the Lord being with me, but the inside of me felt lost, because my one flesh was no longer. There is a real wrestling where, ‘Yes God, I trust You. I believe You. I see all of the things You are doing, but on the inside I feel empty, because my one flesh has been ripped a part.’ That is a kind of piercing pain that is indescribable.”

“I used to think of suffering as something bad and it is, but there is good in it too and that is the part I never looked at.”

Camp 17: a program that helps you connect with your body

True religion is taking care of widows and orphans  James 1:27

25:59 Treva shares a little about the grief journey of her children

“The Lord and I had to wrestle through some things.”

“I have reminded the kids over and over from the beginning that if we believe God is who He says He is, then we have two choices. We either trust Him and we walk in His ways or we roll over and we let the enemy deal with us. That’s how I handled the moving forward. We’re going to trust God in this and when they were falling apart crying, wailing or I was, we would just hold each other and say I am sorry.”

“You go through something so traumatic and yet God is sufficient in all of that, no matter how dark the days are, and the days were dark.”

31:13 Treva shares words of encouragement and wisdom with widows

“I want them to know they are normal. Whatever they’re feeling, whatever they are wrestling with, whatever brings them to tears, every other widow has felt that too. I want them to know they are normal, they are not an alien.”

Grief Cycle: 5 Stages of Grief

38:54 Treva gives advice on how to interact with a widow

“The worst thing we can do is avoid.”

“Always bring up the name of the person (who has passed).”

41:56 Treva shares how she and her kids keep Jeff’s memory alive

43:35 Treva shares about dating again and what life looks like 2.5 years after losing her husband

Jeff means heavenly peace.

“I often talk to widows about being ready to receive God’s blessing whatever that looks like and not fall into the formula that the world puts on us.”

“No matter what we go we go through, what suffering, we have to keep our eyes so focused on the Lord that when He tells us to build an ark in the middle of nothing, we need to just build the ark. Then, leave it the outcome up to Him…but it is a battle to stay focused in that way.”

52:12 Treva shares about her relationship with her in-laws, who she now calls mom and dad

“My late husband’s father is going to give me away at my wedding with my new husband. If that is not the redemptive work of Christ, I don’t know what is….From a woman who still has that little girl inside that says, ‘Why does everybody have to leave?’….So much redemption.”

54:25 Treva shares about learning how to navigate relationships (family, friend, etc.) after losing her husband

55:40 Treva shares about how she is ministering to widows

Not Just A Widow


“If we give Him our pain and our suffering, He will make beauty from ashes. He will. And it will come in ways that surprise us, in ways we didn’t anticipate. It’s just such a beautiful process. It’s hard….Even in the beauty of what God does, we still have to walk each step through the valley. We still have to make it through, but we can have hope even in the pain… Don’t quit. Don’t give up just keep one step in front of the other and the Lord will walk you through it.”

1:00:40 Treva shares how God covered her with His grace at night when she would go to bed and in the morning when the sun rose during the first few months following Jeff’s death.

She would wake up every day and thank God that she made it and thank Him that His mercies are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23

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