Don’t Waste Your Pain

When something happens in our life that we don’t understand, the first thing we do is wonder why this happened. The morning my husband went to heaven, my response was “Why, God?!!!! How could You do this to me?!” Less than two months later when my mother joined my husband, my response was “Not another one, God!!!” Two months later when my dad left this world for heaven, my response was “This is too much for me to handle, God!! How could you take from me the three people who loved me the most in this world?!!”

As the numbness of that terrible fog began to lift a bit, I realized that I could not waste my pain. I did not know how to begin to face it and deal with it alone. That is when I sought out professional help from a Christian psychologist who had worked with widows for over 30 years. I needed someone to shine a light in my fog and direct me. Your family and friends can help you some as you are walking through your pain, but for the most part it is something that you have to walk through alone.

There is nothing wrong with questioning God for a while because after all, we are human. But, there should come a time for you if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior that you remember that whether or not you can sense God’s presence, He has promised in Hebrews 13:5b I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” Amplified Bible.

I personally do not believe that there are any accidents with God. He is always in control of what is going on in my life and whatever has happened is in His permissive will. He has a purpose for my pain and it’s up to me to face it, walk through it, and allow that purpose to work out for good in my life.

Waking up in the morning is the hardest part of the day for me. As soon as my eyes open and consciousness returns my first thought is of the losses of my sweet loved ones and how very much I miss them. In order to combat that pain I immediately turn on my iPad and go to the Daily Audio Bible app. This is my ammunition that helps me get out of bed and face my day. I purposely close my eyes as I listen so that I can give my full attention to whatever is being read in portions of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I so desire to hear whatever God might have to say to me for that day…….whatever encouraging words He might speak to my heart. Rarely ever does a morning go by that I don’t cry as I listen because this is my special time with the One who loves me so much more than my husband or parents ever did. I am using my pain to grow a much closer and more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior who has my back in this life as a widow.

After being encouraged by several people to share my grief journey, I began this blog as a way to not waste my pain. It has been and continues to be a way for me to pour out my pain and share with the readers whatever God has placed on my heart. In turn, the readers will share with me their pain as well as encouragement in the comments below my posts. Together we are not wasting our pain.

Reaching out to other widows to tell them about the many widow resources that I have found and sometimes even sending some resources to a widow is another way that I find helpful in not wasting my pain. Also, talking by phone or texting with a widow to just listen, affirm and encourage them keeps me from wasting my pain.

Remembering that God loves me and that His mercies to me are new every morning helps me not to waste my pain. Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV is a daily source of encouragement to me.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    His mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is Thy faithfulness.

Losing a spouse or a parent is one of the most painful things in this world. Allow yourself whatever amount of time that you need to question God and ask all of your “why” questions. He’s big enough to handle it and will not love you any less. I would encourage you not to run from your grief and waste your pain. Running will only cause you more pain in the long run as unimaginable as that is. Use your pain to strengthen and grow your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have never allowed Christ into your life, give it some serious thought because He understands your pain more than anyone else in this world ever could. He’s that friend that will never turn His back on you. He’s promised believers that He will never leave them nor forsake them. There is no way I could go through life without Him.

What things are you doing in order not to waste your pain? Don’t waste your pain.

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Wisdom of a Grandson

Levi and his buddyI never cease to be amazed at the ways God chooses to speak deeply to my heart. Yesterday was one of those “God moments” and the best way I know how to share that with you is to let my #3 daughter Charity tell you about it in her own words.

“There is a God story behind this picture of two buddies and what Levi (her son and my grandson pictured in orange) is holding in his hand. For the past year Levi has been mowing grass and saving his money to buy an Xbox. In January he received a letter from his buddy M (pictured in black) telling about a missions trip M is taking this summer to tell people about Jesus. Well, Levi comes to me and tells me that he wants to give his buddy all the money he has been saving.

At first I was trying to suggest that he not give all of it but maybe part of it. Then God stopped me in my tracks and told me to get out of the way of what HE was trying to do. OUCH! So, Levi gives the money to his buddy and his buddy’s mom asks me if the money was all from Levi and I share with her how he was saving it, etc. She then shares Levi’s story with M and the next day M tells her that he feels like God wants him to give Levi his own personal  Xbox.

Yesterday the exchanging of the Xbox took place and these boys have both seen a huge example of how God works in beautiful, mysterious ways. My words don’t even come close to expressing how God has used these two boys and their giving hearts to speak directly to my heart.”

Charity shared this on Facebook. Now I knew part of the story, but not all of it. Tears immediately rolled down my cheeks as I remembered how much my husband Bob loved missions and missionaries. I shared with Charity how he used to delight in folding up a $50-$100 bill in his hand, walk over to a missionary and shake their hand as he transferred that money to them. None of my daughters had ever known that their dad did that and when Charity relayed that to Levi his response was, “That is why Pa got to go to heaven early”. Now this is something that could only come out of the mouth of a child. Levi is looking at his Pa’s going to heaven early as a reward for him. I would have never ever thought of that, but as I have been mulling this over in my mind since yesterday, I can see the truth of it.

Now I cannot say that the reason Bob went to heaven early was because he loved missionaries and handed out money to them. But, I can say that for whatever reason Bob’s earthly mission and plan that God had for his life was finished and part of that plan had been to love on missionaries in that way. Because he had accepted Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior and chosen to live his life for Christ, his reward at death was life eternal in heaven. Bob got to go to heaven early. What a thought for me to meditate on and chew on for awhile! He got to go to heaven early. It was a privilege and a reward for him.

That’s not the way most widows look at the death of their husband. In our agonizing grief we get so focused on all that we have lost that we cannot pull the curtains of life aside to see that our husbands got to go to heaven. I will admit that at this point I am able to spend 50% of my time focused on how much I miss my husband and 50% of my time focused on wondering about all that he is seeing and doing in heaven. That pendulum swings back and forth.

My grandson Levi has pulled my earthly curtain back for me just a little bit more now and given me a “God glimpse” that I won’t soon forget. Such wisdom out of the mouth of a twelve year old boy that has a giving heart and is listening and doing whatever the Holy Spirit urges him to do. His Pa couldn’t have asked for more in a grandson and his parents who are actively setting the example for their son. How very blessed I am for God to have used this boy to help me see something wonderful about the death of my husband.