In the new issue of Simple Grace, the first inspirational monthly magazine and devotional in one, award-winning singer and actress Queen Latifah opens up about how God’s love has helped her overcome unimaginable tragedy and fills her with joy every day.

When Dana Owens, better known as the superstar Queen Latifah, was 22, her older brother, Lancelot Jr., was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. Compounding her pain was the knowledge that she’d bought Lance the bike he’d been riding.

The siblings had shared what Latifah describes as a “spiritual connection,” and the death of her brother plunged her into a dark spiral swirling with emotional pain that she tried to soothe with drugs, smoking and alcohol.

“That loss, man, I was rocked to the core,” Latifah tells Simple Grace exclusively, the pain still palpable in her voice all these years later. “I felt guilty because I got angry at God. But you know, He loves me anyway, even though I’m no saint and I’m far from perfect.”

It was her honest relationship with the Lord and knowing she was loved by Him no matter what that helped pull Latifah out of the darkness.

Latifah also says she was comforted by the stories in the Bible where people endured suffering, but then God always came through in the end. “Understanding that God never leaves us helped me realize my brother was in a better place.”

“In life, you’ll go through ups and downs, but you will come back up eventually,” she tells Simple Grace with a smile.

“My schedule can be so full, it would be overwhelming,” she confides. “So I’ve come to learn the importance of staying in the moment and being present where I am. I focus on all of life’s joyful little things like a good meal or an unexpected text from a loved one. The now is where God is, where you can feel His love the most. And knowing that, feeling love like that in your heart, gives you comfort and peace to keep on fighting the good fight.”