Since the beginning of 2016 I have been taking a look back at my life as a widow in order to consider all that has transpired and to see what changes have been for my good. My focus has been especially on my spiritual life because I believe that looking back for that purpose is beneficial and needed.
During the first six to nine months of widowhood I was so numb that I literally did not care about anything. By saying that I am not saying that I felt suicidal, but that for the first time I did not worry about how things were going to turn out. I did not worry if the two homes on thirteen acres of property were going to sell. I did not worry about whether or not I was going to find another place of my own to live in a larger town closer to two of my daughters. I just did not care. I felt no guilt about not reading my Bible because my comprehension was not there. Praying was impossible because I had no words and felt like God was going to do whatever He wanted to do anyway. Listening to music was impossible because the familiar melodies and lyrics were way too painful.
After that time period passed and my numbness was gradually beginning to fade, I began to be concerned that God was disappointed in me. I had accepted Christ as my own personal Savior as a nine year old girl and had followed Him the best I knew how all of my life. I was the “good girl” that sat back and learned from other people’s mistakes. My tendencies to be a perfectionist and to do everything just right (my husband used to say that if someone asked me to jump I would ask them how high) was my idea of pleasing God and being the kind of Christ follower that He wanted. This period of just not caring, not reading my Bible and no longer praying must be wrong and I thought God had to be shaking His head and be upset with that kind of response to grief.
It wasn’t until I began working with a Christian psychologist that I learned that God not only made me the way that I am, but He knew what my response to grief was going to be. He knew how upset and disappointed I would be with Him for not stepping up and answering my prayers the way that I wanted them answered. He even understood that anger that I felt towards Him. In fact, He was big enough to handle it. He was not shaking His head at me in consternation. He understood the great pain that I was feeling and even provided that period of numbness because it was more than I could possibly bear. Simply surviving was all that I could do.
Then came that second year when the reality set in that this really was my life now. My husband was not just away on a long trip. He truly was not coming back. A widow friend of mind described our third year as a time of trying to find out who we are. The fourth year is when we begin to focus on who God is to us now. I found that year five was a time of giving myself permission to lie beside those still waters and wait on God.
Now I am part way into my sixth year and am finding that my focus is on searching out the depth of the love of Christ for me as an individual. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is doing a Bible study by radio entitled “How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love with Jesus”. She asked some questions that really struck a chord in my heart:
“Do you ever stop and think as you go into that time with the Lord that He wants to see your face? He wants to hear your voice?“
She goes on to say that there are seasons in our life circumstances in which we face mountains where we feel like there is no way possible to climb them much less overcome them. Those are seasons when “He (Christ) calls us to come away with Him into those circumstances and experience His supernatural power.”
It would be much easier for me this year to stay in that place lying beside the still waters and not put in the effort to search out the depths of Christ’s love for me. Yet, there is a deep desire to experience more of the love that my husband is experiencing in complete totality there in heaven. In order to know more about heaven and all that is going on up there, I have to get to know Christ better.
The main way that I am doing this is to really take notice of the blessings of each day and write them down. Now that sounds like a little thing, but I am finding that I am seeing more and more of God’s love for me personally. For instance, today the first thing I wrote down was warm/hot water in the shower to soothe me. That may not sound like much, but I experience tight aching muscles in my neck and shoulders because of lymes disease. A shower gives me moments where I can just say, “AHHH!!! Thank you, Jesus!”
One day last week I wrote down how God directed me to fill out a questionnaire for home and auto insurance quotes which, in turn, led me to call the developer of my housing community to help me answer a particular question. In the course of the conversation with him I received information on what to look for when seeking out an insurance company. My husband had always taken care of that kind of thing and I had no knowledge of the correct way to go about it. Unbeknownst to my developer, who named a particular insurance company’s change of pay-outs on certain claims (a company we were with for 25 years and one that I just continued on with as a widow), I found out that the urging in my spirit to get new quotes was for a reason. It is one of those “God things”. God has my back and He is the one that gave me that sense that a change might be needed. That’s His way of loving me as an individual. When I write down blessings like this, I am overwhelmed with God’s care for me and I weep. It feels good to know that God is my husband now and I am never ever alone.
There have been many changes in my life in the last six years and I have talked about those in other blog posts, but the biggest change has been spiritually. I have come from the point at the beginning of widowhood where I was totally crushed and disappointed with God to a point now of rebuilding a new personal relationship with Him. I do not mean that I lost my salvation for that can never be lost once you repent of your sins and accept Him as your personal Savior. My relationship has become deeper and much more personal. Instead of feeling like I am walking in a crowd of others, I am finding that I am picturing myself in a one-on-one conversations with Jesus. Sometimes that picture is of us sitting together in a quiet and peaceful place. Sometimes we are walking along together – just Jesus and me. Many times we are riding together in the front seat of my car because after all, I enjoy going for long drives several times a week. So, of course, He is riding along with me.
What about you? Can you as a widow say that Jesus has become more precious to you? Have you drawn closer to Him knowing that He is all that you have now or have you pushed Him away, turned your back on Him and run the other way to do things on your own and in your way? It would seem to be easier to run than to stay and do all the hard work that goes with facing your grief head on and walking through it. Yet, running away will eventually lead to a dead end where you hit a brick wall at break neck speed.
“Now to you who keep trusting, He is precious.” I Peter 2:7a Complete Jewish Bible