Mattie Selecman‘s telling book, Lemons on Friday: Trusting God Through My Greatest Heartbreak, is out. The book details Selecman’s sorrow over losing her husband, Ben Selecman, in an accident while on vacation, shortly before the couple would have celebrated their one-year anniversary.
“It’s very honest, and I don’t really hold much back,” Selecman told Everything Nash at an industry event celebrating the book’s release. “I feel very at peace with it. And I think just the feeling that I had when I read C.S. Lewis’ [A Grief Observed], his words, and how that broke what felt like severe isolation in my circumstance. You have to be vulnerable and honest to be able to do that for somebody else. I’ve lived through everything, I’ve survived everything, and I’m very grateful for what my life looks like right now.”
Lemons on Friday includes Selecman’s whirlwind courtship with Ben, and the details of the fateful accident, along with how her family, including her father, Alan Jackson, and her friends helped her recover from the unimaginable loss. But far from being a sad story, Lemons on Friday is filled with hope, something Selecman knows Ben would have wanted.
“He always said, ‘Llive life to the fullest,'” Selecman says. “That was his thing. He was truly an abundant person, and a joyful person. Everything to him, no matter how small it was, was worth celebrating. I have hoped and prayed since he passed, even when we were together, that that would wear off on me. Especially when he died, I felt this sort of opportunity to carry his legacy in a way. And so I think that joy and optimism and fervor comes more naturally to him than it even does to me. That was my prayer.
“Let me start living more that way, and let other people be reminded that you can, and that you should, and it doesn’t take a ‘miraculous life’ on paper to really love your life and love the people in it,” she continues. “He did that so well. And it’s truthfully turned my focus more toward my relationships and even what I want to accomplish more than it ever has been, because that’s what his life was about.”
Selecman relied strongly on her Christian faith, even when she didn’t see her husband healed like she had begged God to do.
“For so long I wanted the answers to that,” Selecman says. “I wanted something from Him, like an explanation. I think that’s so natural when you really know He’s good. But I think trading in this desire for answers, and exchanging that for just choosing trust. I say in the book, you choose trust over understanding, and that’s when you start to lean on Him and you start to trust Him, and you start to feel like maybe there’s a purpose in this pain, even if I don’t get an answer to the why.”
Selecman still deeply mourns the loss of her husband, while also feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for how her life is unfolding, even with the heartbreak.
“The thing that I just keep feeling is just thankfulness that everything that happened is for what feels like such a divine purpose, because that’s all I wanted from the beginning,” Selecman says. “You can’t take it back. You can’t change what happens in your life, but I’ve already seen so much fruit from it. I’m just so grateful that it matters.”
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