(Written 1 1/2 years into my grief journey)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons (and daughters) of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.   Philippians 2:15

This morning as I lay listening again to the book  At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, I heard these words spoken by one of the main characters who happens to be a very wise lady in her late eighties,  “The firefly only shines on the wing.  When we stop, we darken.”

That thought instantly struck me.  Grief has caused me to stop and fold my wings for awhile now.  Occasionally they have fluttered slightly and there have been tiny slivers of flickering light that have flashed in short bursts in this dark place.

I know that it is time for my light to try to begin to shine again for God tells me that as His daughter His job for me in this world of corruption and sin is to shine  like a star lighting up the sky.  A star is not like a match that is struck, shines brightly for a minute and then flickers and goes out only to be finished with the job and never to shine again.  No.  A star lights up the dark night sky.  It shines brightly and faithfully through the night hours and holds out hope to the world.

My husband’s God-given assignment is over, but mine is not no matter how much I might feel that it is.  Yes, I lost my husband and both of my parents in four months’ time and it has been devastating to me to know that all three of their assignments were finished so very closely together in time.  But I am still here and there is a reason for that even though I have yet to discover exactly what that reason is.

One thing is sure.  This firefly must again take up her wings and begin to fly through this pitch-black, rayless tunnel – this place that is gloomy, foreboding, mournful and seemingly hopeless.  I must begin to flutter my “wings” so that my light begins to shine again encouragingly and hopefully.  This is my job as I know it now and it feels almost too hard to do, but to stop doing it is to go completely dark.

Oh, dear Lord, You know that it’s going to take a lot of energy for me to take up my wings again and shine.  You know also that it would be much easier to just continue to sit in this darkness and do nothing.  I ask You to help me to use the strength that You’ve already made available to me in order to lift my wings today and let the world begin to see longer bursts of light coming from my direction again.  And in time may my light again burn brightly as I go on alone with whatever assignment You have for me.

Thank you that Your light never goes out.  Your Word says that You are not only a lamp that shines right at my feet guiding me, but it is a light ahead of me on this path.  I need You, Lord!

Come Up Higher

“As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads wide her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him…”  Deuteronomy 32:11-12a

As a widow I have come to a place where it is time to decide whether I am going to stay where I am spiritually or move on up higher in the intimacy of God’s presence  finding my identity in Him.  I am struggling with this because I want to hold on to my life as it was.  It was a comfortable life that I was used to where I felt very safe and secure.  I was so cared for and loved.  But, that life is gone now and whether I wanted it to or not, my life has completely changed.

This morning I read a story about a farmer who found an eagle egg.  He took it to the hen house and placed it in with the other eggs of a setting hen.  In time all of the eggs hatched and one was the oddest looking chicken the hen had ever seen.  While the other chicks chirped, this one would screech.  When the mother hen clucked, all but this strange looking one would come running.  There simply seemed to be no understanding  between them.  They spoke two different languages.  He was an eagle who was trying to live a chicken life.

One day while he was in the barn yard, a huge shadow passed over him.  It was the father eagle soaring high above.  Father eagle looked down and saw the little eaglet.  He swooped down giving a loud screech.  The little eaglet looked up and father eagle said, “What are you doing down there?  You’re not a chicken.  You’re an eagle.  Eagles aren’t made for barnyard living.  The sky is your domain.  Come up here.”

Now the little fellow wondered what to do.  Up to now, the barn yard had been his home, but he just didn’t seem to fit in.  All of a sudden the truth of who he was hit him.  He discovered that he was no longer a chicken.  He was an eagle. Deep inside him he felt the urge to respond to the father eagle, but when he tried, he couldn’t seem to get off the ground.

Father eagle screeched again, ”Just make a jump and flap your wings.  You can fly if you try.”   The little eaglet made a feeble jump, flapped his wings and landed on top of the barn yard fence post.

Father eagle screeched again, “Child, jump higher.  Try again.  Make the jump and I’ll sweep under you and carry you on my wings.”

The little eaglet did what his father asked him to do and father eagle did what he said he would do.  A mighty jump of faith and the little eaglet was riding on father eagle’s wings on his first solo flight into the beautiful blue sky.

Oh God, you have stirred up my nest and I am no longer a wife but a widow.  I do not want to be in this place at all and I am fighting to accept this person that I so suddenly became.  I know that at some point I am going to have to choose to make a jump and flap my wings enough that You can sweep up under me and carry me on Your wings.  Help me when that time comes to have the strength to do that so that I can come up higher into intimacy with you and find my new identity.

Rock in an Ocean of Change

“There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside Thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”  I Samuel 2:2

One of the things that I so loved about my husband Bob was that he was as steady as a plow horse.  If he said he would do something, he always did it.  He was dependable and trustworthy.  He was my rock and I leaned very heavily on him.  He was my picture of Christ on this earth.

Now that Bob is gone, I miss having someone to lean on.  Now I am the one in charge and I do not like that.  It was so very easy for me to follow my husband.  His track record was excellent.  He always knew what to do and when to do it.   The paths he led us on were the right ones.

Never did I ever have to wonder if I was going to be taken care of.  Bob’s prerogative was for me to stay home and take care of our home and our four daughters and I was fine with that.  I can only remember him missing just a couple of days of work because of illness for the entire over thirty-six years of marriage.  He never called off work just because he wanted to.

Bob took our marriage vows very seriously and was committed to me in sickness and in health.  That part of our wedding vows was challenged when I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome for the last 20 years of his life.  I could not have asked for more unconditional love than he gave me.  He was always there for me encouraging me and telling me that he loved me just the way that I was in spite of my weaknesses.

There is an ocean of change that has taken place in my life since the day Bob died.  My earthly rock has left me for his heavenly home.  God should have been the prominent rock in my life, but I confess that it was easier to lean on my earthly rock because I could see him and feel him.

Now I have been thrust into this place without my earthly rock – a place where I have to put God in His rightful place in my life as THE ROCK.  This involves exercising my faith like it has never been exercised before.  I am asked to trust God like I have never trusted Him before and this is not easy for me when my faith has been so shaken.  Yet, I know deep inside my heart that God is the only rock I have in this ocean of change.

I have a choice to make.  I remember a time about three years ago when an older gentleman looked me in the eyes  and asked, “Do you trust God?”  My heart was pierced.  Again, he asked, “Do you really trust God?”  That simple question brought such conviction.  It was as if God was sitting right there gazing into my eyes asking me point blank if I really and truly trusted Him.

Oh Father, I am out here floating around in my ocean of change.  So many times I find myself thrashing around floundering and wanting to be rescued out of what I wish was only a nightmare.  You gave me a husband that I could totally trust and depend on.  Now he’s with you and it’s time for me to give You that rightful place in my heart and life.  Help me as I begin taking baby steps back to you.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me.  Help me to trust You to be my ROCK in this ocean of change.

Without Jesus

(Photo Credit: Flickr)

“For we are God’s own handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew  that we may do those good works which God predestined for us (taking paths that He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live).” Ephesians 2:10

If you would have told me before I got married that I would be a widow at age 57, it would have frightened me and I might not have taken that huge step to marry the love of my life.  For you see, I am not a risk taker.  Just think of all the wonderful things that I would have missed out on if I had known what the future held for us………knowing the love of a man who loved me unconditionally,  4 beautiful daughters and 4 wonderful sons-in-law who all truly love and serve the Lord with their whole hearts, 6 earthly grandchildren and 1 precious one in heaven, seeing God provide for us time after time after time and seeing firsthand the power of God in so many ways.

Without Jesus my husband and I would have never made it through those 5 ½ years after he received that horrible news that he was carrying something around in his body that would destroy him.  Without Jesus, we would not have been able to enjoy those last years together tucking away every good memory that came along so that later on I would have something to take out, carefully examine, and cherish.

Without Jesus Bob would not have been half the man that he was in those last weeks of his life showing me more courage and strength than I had ever seen when his body had been so very strong and full of life.  Without Jesus, he would not have been able  in his tears to focus by faith on Who was there with him and the promise of what glories were ahead.  Without Jesus, he would not have had that look of such peace on his face before and after he went to heaven.

Without Jesus I would not have been able to look at that ICU doctor after he told me that my husband’s heart had stopped and say, “It’s okay.  Let him go.  I KNOW where he is”.  Without Jesus I would not have in the midst of the shock of the very worst news in my life experienced the peace that passes all understanding .

Without Jesus I would not be able to get out of this bed every morning,  face my circumstances, and simply go on.

Without Jesus I would not have any comfort whatsoever.  I would not absolutely KNOW that my husband is in heaven and one day I will see him again.

Without Jesus, I do not know how a widow can survive.

Marvin Sapp sang this after his wife went to heaven.

The Lei of My Life

“God is my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, and throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.”  Psalm 32:7   The Message 


One morning a little over a year after my husband died, it hit me that he was really never ever coming back again and my first thought was, “What am I going to do now?”  The realization that I was going to be living alone for the rest of my life was frightening.  All kinds of thoughts and “what if’s”  went through my mind.

I had been told in my Widow’s Walk Grief/Growth Support Group that in time I would need to find a new identity and that time has finally arrived.  I find that I am even more introspective than I was as I wait to see who I am now that I am no longer a wife.  What is my purpose for the rest of my time here on this earth?

Every night when I go to bed, I put a book on CD into my CD player that I keep right beside me on my bed.  Last night the story was talking about lei making and how that the more complicated the lei is the more beautiful the finished product.

A lei has a spiritual meaning and is a tangible representation of aloha in which symbols of that love are carefully sewn or woven together to create a gift.  This gift tells the story of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.  A lei can be made of many things –  flowers, seeds, shells, berries, vines, and leaves and each piece tells the story of the person to whom it is being given.

I began to think about my life’s lei and what it looks like.  There is no doubt that it is a very complicated and intricately woven one for I have experienced some great losses in my life.  So according to lei making, my lei would be very beautiful.

God is the one who is in the process of stringing my lei.  There will be lots of delicate flowers showing  how deeply I feel things and how tender my heart is.  There will be shells symbolizing those hard times in my life.  Bright colored berries will be strung in my lei representing the brighter, happier times that I enjoyed.  Vines will be intertwined in my lei symbolizing my grief journey that wound around and around.  The green leaves will show all the areas of growth that took place in my life.

Right now I cannot see any beauty in my life, but I am doing my best to trust that someday when God walks up to me and puts that lei around my neck, it is going to be the most beautiful one that I have ever seen.  As I stand there face to face with Him His words will be,  “Aloha, Candy!  I love you!  Well done!  You did it!” My response will be awe, my words will be full of hosannas and praise and everything I have been through in this world will seem like nothing in His presence.  It will be worth it all.

God, help me through this grief journey.  I realize that my husband is never coming back.  Help me to discover who I am and to find my new identity.  Help me not to be afraid of the future.  Ease my loneliness.  Help the lei of my life to be one that is very beautiful – a garland  full of hosannas.

The Prayer That Never Fails


“And he (Jesus) went a little further and fell on his face and prayed saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  He went away again the second time and prayed saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done.”  Matthew 26:39, 42

If I believe that God’s way and will for me is the best way, I will always pray the prayer that never fails. But,  I will bear my heart with you and tell you that is the very hardest prayer for me to pray.  In fact, I find it almost impossible to pray.

I am afraid to pray that prayer because that means that I am not in control of the results.  Of course, I am not ever in control of God’s will in my life, but somehow I think that I am and how utterly erroneous that is!

Think with me about what could be the results of my praying that prayer.  I would open up my arms that have been so tightly wrapped around myself that have been trying so very, very hard to protect me from the bad things of this life.  I would be letting go of the steering wheel of my life and moving over to let that Someone who knows it all take it.

No longer would I need to Google Mapquest and print out directions that just do not quite get me all the way to my destination.  I would not need the GPS that can send me around in circles or take me on a route that I know is not the fastest because I have been a better way.

Imagine the relief that I could feel in totally trusting God like I totally trusted my husband with the only difference being that God knows it ALL.  My shoulders would finally relax and I would no longer catch myself clenching my jaws together.  I could just BREATHE!

So, why do I fight it?  Why do I keep hitting at air?  Why do I continue to be so afraid to say to God, “Thy will be done”?   How can I be so mindless in my thinking that I know better than God.

In the above verses, Jesus had to pray that prayer twice.  He was in human form experiencing all the emotions that I experience and He was not liking what was ahead.  Yet, He, unlike me, knew the outcome of what He was facing.  He saw the joy that was set before Him and knew what was going to be that outcome not only for Him but for me – joy that death and the enemy were going to be defeated and joy that  if I accepted what He had done for me on that cross, I was going to live with Him eternally.

Oh God, please help me to quit holding on so very tightly to what I want!  Help me to unstrap this heavy load that I’ve been carrying for so long – this load of my will versus Your will – and to allow You to finally lift it off my shoulders as I say to You, “Father, Your will be done.  Help me not to be afraid to pray the prayer that never fails.”


“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part, You shall make me know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6

One of the greatest and most hurtful things that a widow faces are all the disappointments that come after the death of her husband.  There may be disappointment in God, in what she feels like is the abandonment of her husband, in lack of follow through from people who told her right after the death or at the funeral that they will be there for her, in the lack of care from her pastor and church, in the state she finds her financial affairs, in the abandonment days afterwards of her couples friends as well as her own personal friends and so on.

These secondary losses are unexpected and devastating.  The normal response is at first deep hurt and then comes the anger.  Most people do not have an understanding of all the emotions that a widow feels in her loss.  They just want her to get on with her life and get back to being the person that she was.  We know “that person” will never again ever be the same.  How could she be?  She has not only lost the love of her life, but she has lost so many other people and things in the aftermath.

How do we deal with all of these disappointments?  One at a time and in time.  There is not a quick fix to this even though the disappointments all seem to come at once.  Some widows may need to seek professional grief counseling to guide her through the process.  Other widows may find that journaling her thoughts and just writing them down will help her to more clearly see things as they are, allow her to forgive and begin the healing process.  Each widow is unique and has a different way of dealing with things.

I am in my 3rd year of this grief journey and I have not “arrived” at the end of dealing with all of my disappointments, but I am learning to face them, acknowledge them, deal with them, and then let them go.  I admit that there are times that those disappointments crop back up to hurt me or even make me angry.  All I can do when that happens is to go through the same process and let them go.

In her February 4, 2011 blog The Gift Hidden Within Disapointment life coach Bambi Corso said,  “Is it possible, however, that held within every disappointment is a blessing in disguise masked by the cloak of expectation?  Regardless of what the disappointment is, if you were to look at life believing that there is no such thing as an accident, and trusted that a better scenario was working its way towards us in order to bring us closer to what we truly want, then there couldn’t be disappointments.  Neale Donald Walsch says it wonderfully,

“Disappointment is temporary.  Change your mind about what has disappointed you and you will change your life.  All disappointment is just advantage looked at from the other side.”

Lord, give me Your wisdom.  Help me to make right choices and right decisions in the midst of my pain and great disappointments.  Heal my wounded heart and soul.  Help me to rise above my disappointments to see what greater opportunities you have for me and to become a victorious widow.

A Changed View

 “We don’t yet see things clearly.  We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!  We’ll see it all then, see it as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.  And the best of the three is love.”  I Corinthians 13:12-12 MESSAGE

The day my husband died everything changed.  Nothing in this world was important to me anymore.  Time stopped and did not matter.  Life became very short.  Material goods faded into the background.  Eternity yawned in front of me and heaven became the most real place in my life.

Death made me realize for the first time that truly this world is not my home.  It is a bus stop where I am waiting for the bus to pick me up.  It is Grand Central Station where I am passing time before boarding the train for my final destination.  It is a football stadium where I am either sitting in the stands watching others play the game of life or I am down on the field joining in the game of life.

When I became a widow I immediately left the field of life and was hurled to a seat in the stands.  And I did not care.  Without my quarterback I did not want to be on the field.  There was no way in my mind that my “game” could possibly go on without him.  We had been playing the game of life together for almost 37 years and he had been taken out of it way too early.

My husband had always been the one that made the important decisions for the both of us.  He was the one that provided for me and took care of me.  My job had been to take care of our home and work with him in raising our daughters and I absolutely loved it.  It was what I was designed to do and I viewed it as my highest calling.

Our daughters were grown and we were empty nesters.  Our first daughter had been born fifteen months after we got married and five years later we had completed our family of 6.  We had no time for ourselves.  So, when the empty nest period came, it was a wonderful time.   And, when my husband took an early retirement two years before he died, it was one of the happiest times in our lives.  To have that happiness snatched away from me has been devastating.

My view of myself has changed.  I no longer have a strong person to depend upon.  I am not a wife nor am I a daughter-in-law.   I am not even a daughter anymore because both my parents joined Bob in heaven.  I have to make all of the decisions now and be the one in charge.  This is the place that I never in my life wanted to be.  I am a follower and not a leader – an introvert and not an extrovert.

The biggest thing that has changed is my view of God and I do not like that.  My faith has been so shaken that  it is hard to fully and completely trust Him now.  I know that is not right and I do not want it to be this way, but for now, it is.

God, help me to find the right corrective lenses so that in time I can be able to view myself  and my life the way that You view it.  Help me to find out exactly who I am and what my purpose is in this game of life.  Most of all, help me to see You as You really are and not like I think You are.  Help me to trust You more than I was ever able to trust You before and give me such peace in that trust.

Ore or Gold?

Written in 2010 during 1st year of my grief journey

“And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, Who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3

When I became a widow, I had one major choice to make.  Was I going to embrace my grief and walk this journey through it or was I going to turn my back on grief, ignore it, stuff it into a room of my heart, slam the door, lock it, and throw away the key?

I chose not to ignore it.  At first I thought I could get through grief all by myself, but after five months into it, I knew that I had to get help.  There was no way that I could “do” grief alone.  I did not have the tools or the know-how to deal with it.  After all, no one had ever sat down with me and talked to me about the grieving process and just how to go about it.

Now I am beginning to see that had I decided to ignore my grief, I would have stayed away from a gold mine content with just digging ore.  I know that sounds like a very strange thing to say and if someone had said that to me at the beginning of grief, I would have looked at them like they were crazy.

But, I am a year into this process now and I have been able to dig gold nuggets instead of ore.  One gold nugget is the wisdom and understanding that God is giving me through the words of my coach.  I can hear a truth from others, but somehow when my coach explains things to me more deeply, God helps the light to go on in my head and I can really “get it”. It helps that he has been working with widows for over thirty years and this is “not his first rodeo” as he puts it.

Another gold nugget is the friendships and bonds that I am forging with other widows.  No one understands a widow like another widow.  No one truly knows what a widow is going through and all the emotions that she is feeling except another widow.

Yet another gold nugget is writing.  I never had the time or the desire to write, but now I am finding that writing is very healing for me.  It allows me to throw open the doors on all those places in my heart that have been sealed shut for so many years of my life.  It helps me to put God’s truths down on paper even when I feel that those truths were not true for me because God did not answer my prayers the way that I wanted Him to.  Even though right now my heart is not “getting” those truths, somehow the spirit of Christ within me knows that they ARE true.

So, what will you do, my widow friend?  Will you stay away from a gold mine to dig ore?  Or will you embrace grief, walk through it, and mine for gold?

My Daily Load

I wrote this a year into my grief journey.  At the eighteen month point my load of constant 24/7 deep, deep soul pain did begin to lift.

“A father of the fatherless and a defender of widows is God in His holy habitation. Blessed be the Lord Who daily loadeth us (with benefits).”  Psalm 68:5, 19

My initial interpretation of this particular passage was the God loads me daily with benefits.  However, after taking a closer look at it, I found it had an entirely different meaning.

The word “daily” does not translate into just the daylight hours.  It means not only for a twenty-four hour period, but continually.

Loadeth” means just what it says – to lay a load on.

The words “with benefits” were not in the original translation and do not give us the true idea of what this passage means.  The true idea here is Blessed be the Lord God even if He lays a burden on us, and if He does this daily, for He is the God of our salvation. He makes us able to bear it; He gives  us the strength to bear it; and finally He delivers us from it.’

The moment her husband passes away a huge load is laid upon a widow, but this scripture says that God constantly aids us to bear that load.  He does not leave us.  He enables us to triumph in Him and through Him, but the part that gives me the most hope is that finally He delivers us from it.

What will it feel like to finally be free of this great pain that I carry around in the very depths of my soul every waking moment?  I cannot even imagine it at this point, but from the testimony of a widow who is years further down the road than I am, I see that it is true and that time will come for me.

In God I not only have a defender and a load bearer who gives me the strength to bear up under that load, but I can look forward with the hope that He will in time deliver me from all of this sorrow and grief.  I cannot imagine how those widows who do not have that personal relationship with Christ bear up under their load.

Thank You, God, that You are right here alongside me helping me to carry this heavy load and that someday You will deliver me from it.