Being Worthy of God’s Love

(Written 15 months after the death of my husband)

“Jehovah appeared of old unto me, (saying), Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”  Jeremiah 31:3

One of the thoughts that has hounded me the most in these fifteen months of grieving is  how much of a disappointment I must be to God because of how the death of my husband literally threw me on the ground and shattered my faith.

Surely I am a disappointment to Him because I am a Christian and should be able to stand up to the greatest loss in my life.  I should be able to keep my head up in the midst of this darkness and have a smile on my face.  I should be stronger than this.  My faith should be at the highest level it has ever been.  I should not have any questions of “why” or statements of “how could you do this to me after my serving You my entire life”.  Instead I should be bowing my head in quiet acceptance.  I should not be having any trouble finding out who I am now that I am no longer a wife.  I should be able to just let go of all those years I had with my husband and move forward.

Yesterday as I was listening to the Moody Radio station in my car, I heard a statement that hit me right in the heart.  I do not even remember who said it, but the essence of it was that there is nothing I can or cannot do to make God love me any more than He already does.  All my life I have believed that if I do all the right things in following the Lord, that will make me more deserving of His love and more deserving of more of His blessings.  When God did not answer my prayers for healing for my husband, I felt totally and completely betrayed.  My first thought was that somehow there was something that I did not do right that made me undeserving of getting that answer to my prayer.

The idea that there is nothing I could ever do or not do to make God love me any more than He does literally blew my whole life’s way of  thinking out of the water.  It stripped me bare of all of my “doing” and left me feeling like a load of “works” had been lifted off my shoulders.

All my life I have been a performance based person with very high expectations of myself and others.  I always wanted to do everything I could to make my parents proud of me.  Now they did not demand that of me nor do I even ever remember them telling me that they expected that of me.  As the oldest child and the only girl this was just something that I expected of myself.  I felt like I was the one that should always take care of everyone.

This carried over into my marriage and family.  I strived to be the perfect wife for my husband and the perfect mother for our daughters.  Whenever I failed, it greatly troubled me.  After my husband received a terminal diagnosis and we made the decision to go the alternative medicine route in dealing with that, I did everything I was told to do to keep him alive and well and it worked for a little over five years.  I spent hours every day preparing fresh juices and raw food meals for him, putting his supplements in separate bottles to be taken at different times throughout the day, reminding him of all the things he had to do every day to help his body heal, and so much more.

Both of my parents were having health problems at the same time and I was scrambling to do my very best to take care of them as well.  To say that I was living on “high alert” would be an understatement.  My thoughts were that I HAD to do everything I could for all three of them so that God would answer my prayers for their healing.  When they all three died in less than four months’ time, I was completely crushed.  My performance had not been enough to merit enough love from God to keep all three of them here with me.

When I heard that statement on Moody radio I realized how erroneous my thinking was.  God’s healing is not based on my performance nor on how much He loves me.  There is nothing I can do to earn His love.  He already loves me as much as He will ever love me.  That truth is very freeing.  It is something that I am going to have to continue mulling over and over in my mind.  I guess that is what renewing the mind is all about.

Thank you, God, for opening my eyes and my heart to this truth.  I know it does not negate the truth that I am to do my best for You, but it lets me off the hook in thinking that the more I “do”, the more You will love me and the more prayers You will answer for me. 

Help me in this grief journey, Lord.  Heal my broken heart and my shattered faith.  In spite of everything, I love You, Lord. I don’t understand how I got so messed up in my thinking, but I thank You that as I can handle it and this fog begins to lift, You are helping me to throw open all those doors of my heart that have been locked and sealed and are beginning to clear out the cobwebs in my mind so that I can “see” what is really true.

4 responses

  1. Dear Candy,
    I have been following your blog for some months and have been so greatly helped and blessed by your comments. My husband died Jan 2010 aged 59 after a diagnosis of stage 4 gastric cancer only 4 weeks previoiusly. Like you we have served the Lord faithfully all our married life and he was such a Godly loving man. I too am finding it so hard to accept and my faith has been shaken to the core. Then I reflect on the love of Christ and the triumph of His resurrection and I rally for a time again. I feel my future is so empty and am unsure of the purpose of my life at present, though I have a loving family and 4 gorgeous grandchildren. Yet nothing can fill the emptiness.
    Thank you for the opportunity to share your journey with you.
    Mary Smith

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    • Mary, I am deeply sorry for your loss and understand being in that place where your faith is just shattered. I told one of my daughters last week that I’m standing with the pieces of my faith on the floor all around me and I don’t know how to put those pieces back together again. She said something that I thought was very wise – “You don’t need to pick them up and put them back together again because your faith won’t be your old faith. It will be made into something new.” That was one of those GOD moments when you know that the truth has been spoken and it was actually a relief to me to know that I don’t have to do anything to try to put all those pieces back together again.

      I don’t know how you found my blog, but I thank you for reading and most sincerely thank you for having the courage and transparency to write a comment on something that you are experiencing in your own life. I know how hard it is just to actually say that our faith has been shaken after so many years of walking with God.

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  2. Hi Candy,

    I deeply appreciated your post today as I, too, struggle with the issue of faith. My husband, aged 59, passed away January 2 after being diagnosed with Stage IV cholangiocarcinoma just 79 days before. At times I think I am doing well and other times I am still in disbelief that he is gone. I would say my lowest point (so far) is when one of my blog friends ( who is not a widow, but is happily married) pointed out to me that if I had a personal outreach ministry, I would be able to get my mind off myself and reach out to other people who are hurting. She defended that advice by quoting the verse which tells us to bear one another’s burdens. She pointed out to me that God will bless me by helping me to heal faster if I stop thinking about myself. I know she meant well and no doubt thought she was encouraging me but I was truly devastated. Sometimes I don’t even recognize the person that I have become and I don’t know how on earth I can be expected to reach out to others when I am in a state of fluctuating emotions, never knowing when the tears will start flowing. I did a lot of soul searching and I came to the conclusion that this was a valuable experience that taught me not to allow myself to become so vulnerable as to think that everyone who offers me words of advice is correct. Probably one of the best things I was told by another dear friend was that God knew about my husband’s illness and death long before it happened and He was with us through it all and His Word says He will never leave me nor forsake me. And daily I remind myself that Psalm 68:5 tells me that God is a defender of widows and in Isaiah I am told that God is the husband to the widow. And I will remind myself that He loves me with an everlasting love. Oh, and Isaiah 41:13 says that God will hold my right hand, saying to me, “Fear not, I will help thee.” What comfort that is to me as I fall asleep at night. It used to be I fell asleep holding my husband’s hand but now, in trust and faith, I put my right hand in my Heavenly Father’s hand.

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    • Hi Judy. I am so deeply sorry for the very recent loss of your husband. I also was told to reach out to others in my grieve and couldn’t imagine how in the world I could do that when I had nothing to give to others. Nine months after my husband went to heaven, I was told about a lady who had just lost her husband. We had been members of the same church years ago and although I didn’t really know her, I did reach out to her because I knew what she was going through. I was able to walk with her through the first year of her grief journey and I believe that it helped both of us. I have developed a passion for reaching out to other widows and doing this blog is the only way I can give to others right now.

      I have also taken my daughters on several trips as a ministry to them to give them a little break from all the energy drainers of motherhood. There have also been times when I have kept my grandchildren for several hours or even for overnight.

      When you are further down the road in your grieving, perhaps you will be able to lift your head long enough and desire to give something to others – something as simple as a smile or a thank you. But, until then, focus on the finding things to help you through this journey.

      There will be time in the future for you to bear the burden of others, but right now there are others who should be coming alongside you to help you bear your burdens.

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