January 18th, 2011
10:32 AM ET
By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
Tragedy tends to either destroy or strengthen the faith of those left in its wake. When Lauren Lusk’s husband Jeremy died in a motocross accident after a crash landing attempting a “heart attack Indian air back flip” at a competition in Costa Rica, the motocross world lost a burgeoning legend. But Lauren Lusk says her faith was strengthened.
Motocross is inherently dangerous. Performing a back flip had at one time been seen as an impossible move; the holy grail of freestyle motocross. Bob Kohl, the first to perform the trick in 1993, continued to do so until he was left with serious injuries from it in 1995. But by then athletes had begun to realize it was physically possible.
It is the norm in extreme sports like American freestyle motocross to push the limits of physical possibilities. Neither Lusk was a stranger to that fact, but when athletes are injured or killed performing such unnatural feats, the result can still be devastating.
“For me, it was, going through the most horrific thing anyone could ever go through and really kind of hitting rock bottom, and taking a look at my life, and having to dig down deep and being able to take something that was so bad and turn it into something positive,” said Lusk.
Lauren Lusk founded “In God’s Hands,” a faith and fashion-based clothing and apparel line, as, “something that Jeremy and I definitely would have done together, and without him here to do it with me, it was something that I could make a tribute to his life, and everything that he stood for, and everything that he was about,” she said.
"We are a faith-based brand, but we’re very accepting. No matter what background you come from, or what you’ve been through in your life, or what you are going through in your life - me and Jeremy: That’s kind of how we rolled," Lusk said.
"We took everybody in. We were those people that had lots of stragglers on Christmas and Thanksgiving and people staying with us all the time. But I think that the brand is like that too, no matter what beliefs you rock, or where you’ve been in your life, I just really believe in second chances and turning your life around," she said.
The Lusks grew up together and were high school sweethearts. “He was a great friend, a great husband,” she said. But before she met him, Lauren was not religious, and faith wasn’t important to her. “It was something that I actually got more involved in as Jeremy and I became adults and got married and started going to church together,” she said.
The Lusks went to “Revival” when they lived together in Temecula, but since moving to San Diego Lauren Lusk attends “The Rock,” a Christian church.
The gritty Southern California style portrayed evokes Christianity, daredevilry, and good music. She says the company embodies “the (motocross) guys that are Christians. They’re definitely rougher around the edges, and have tattoos and risk their lives everyday, and that was totally Jeremy: He wasn’t real straight edge.”
She said her husband “really lived life to the fullest and wanted to succeed and had big dreams and he just rubbed off on everybody around him, and his faith in God definitely did as well.”
Lusk seeks to inspire that spirit in others.
Jeremy Lusk, a man who regularly defied death performing back flips on dirt bikes, had the words “In God’s Hands” splayed in a tattoo across his chest a month or so before he was killed. His widow said she believes that is where he is today.
"I felt like my faith was all I had. Just knowing that God did have a plan for my life - it helped because I knew, I took great comfort knowing that Jeremy was in Heaven and I was going to see him again one day," Lusk said. "It really got me through my toughest days."
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.