(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.