I only ever ask God for two things: one, to watch over my family because they are my world, and two, for strength to get through each day.

Lately, those two things have meant more to me than ever before.

We’ve all dealt with losing someone unexpectedly. It causes a kind of ache in your heart that will never go away.

But sometimes, losing that person happens over time. Pieces are gone or broken until, one day, she is not who she once was. You’ve known her all your life, and one day, you realize you barely know her at all anymore.

You start searching the past to determine where it all began, where she started drifting away from herself.

You question whether you did something wrong. Did you cause this struggle they are suffering with? Could anything have stopped it from happening? Is this the path they were always destined to go down?

Is this part of God’s plan?

And when you think of that question, the question that always pops up in your mind, you have a type of quiet anger inside your soul, mad at the one constant in your life.

God is supposed to watch over my family, to give me strength and to help lead us all down the right path. Losing this person this way isn’t supposed to happen. It all feels unreal, like a bad dream from which I’ll be shaken awake.

But it won’t get better anytime soon. This person who is lost cannot snap back into who they were. It will take time and patience to rediscover the path God has set for them.

Elder Bruce D. Porter, a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “When we humbly and quietly trust in the Lord, He will give guidance and strength in every challenge we face.”

Some of those challenges are small: the exam we barely studied for, a forgotten important meeting or a fight with your best friend. You’ll look back one day, and it won’t matter.

Sometimes, though, God pushes us. When we feel like we have the world on our shoulders, He puts a mountain in our path, challenging us to take on more. And with a slight sigh, and maybe some tears of stress, we take a big breath and say, “okay,” because we trust in the Lord.

I’ve lost a person very dear to my heart. One day she was just different, and it hurts. It won’t ever be the same as it was, but it will get better—eventually.

I believe God will always watch over my family, and I believe He gives us what we need—the challenges we bear, and the guidance and strength to get through them.

Brooke Kinney is a senior fitness management major from Adams, Minn.