What Does Easter Mean to a Christian Widow?

Never before has the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection meant more to me than it has in the last 7 years of being a widow. This weekend as I meditate on all of those events, my heart feels so many different emotions – sadness because of the sins of the world (including my own) that caused God to send His only Son to earth to die for my sins; gratitude that God and Jesus love me enough to do this for me; confident hope that because I have repented of my sins, belief that Christ’s death paid for my sins, and belief that He rose from the grave and is alive, one day I will be with Him in heaven where my husband and other loved ones will be waiting for me.

I am a deep-feeling and very sensitive person to the point that whenever I really think about a sad or traumatic event or even the possibility of an event such as that, I can actually feel pain and fear and all the other emotions that go along with it. It doesn’t take much for me to imagine what the women who followed Jesus were experiencing. Shock at what was happening. Fear of how the whole thing was going to unfold. Anger that God nor any of the disciples were doing anything to stop this horrible thing. Piercing, gut-wrenching anticipatory grief as they stood by watching Jesus slowly die on that cross. Complete loss of hope that moment when Jesus took his last dying breath. Questions and utter dejection as they followed closely those carrying Jesus’ body to see in what tomb it would be laid. Duty as they went back and made ready the spices and ointments that they would use to prepare Jesus’ body after they had rested on the Sabbath day. Complete and total full-blown grief.

The day after the Sabbath, those same women got up at early dawn and went to the tomb taking the spices and ointments they had prepared. But, when they went inside the tomb, Jesus’ body was gone. There in the place where His body should had been were two dazzling angels. One was seated at the end where His head should have been and the other angel sat at the opposite end where His feet should have been. Do you see that mental picture?

This is a picture of the mercy seat which was the lid placed over the Ark of the Covenant. Once a year the Old Testament High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies that contained the mercy seat. He would sprinkle the blood of animals sacrificed for the atonement of the sins of the people.

Jesus shed his blood on the cross. His body was then laid inside a tomb. His resurrection occurred. Several women came back to the tomb to prepare his body after the Sabbath. Inside they found that the place where Jesus’ body should have lain was empty. At the place where his head and feet should have been were angels. Jesus blood had become the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. That empty place with the dazzling angels at both ends was a picture of that Old Testament mercy seat. No longer would the high priest need to sacrifice the blood of animals for the atonement of our sins. Jesus paid it all with his own body on the cross. He made that sacrifice giving us the opportunity to individually repent of our sins, accept Christ as our personal Savior and have the promise of eternal life.

For the Christian widow whose husband accepted Christ, this is HUGE. This means that not only will we see Jesus and heaven at the moment of our death, but we will also see our husband again some day. This is HOPE in every possible way, shape, or form. I can’t live without this HOPE.

 

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The Castle of My Heart

“Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for He guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10 NIV

One of the most heartbreaking things in the life of a widow is no longer being special, no longer belonging especially to someone, no longer being loved by someone in human form, and no longer having her spouse to guard and protect her. You may have family and friends in your life, but really and truly it’s just you and God now.

Have you ever given any thought about how God is guarding your life as a widow? Yesterday I began reading a new book entitled Guarded by Christ: Knowing the God Who Rescues and Keeps Us that just became available during this month. Author Heather Holleman struggled with depression and anxiety, but found that using mental word pictures to daily focus on the truths of scripture began to help her break down those strongholds in her life.

I am a visual person and as I began to think about what word picture would help me to most understand that God is guarding me, the picture of HighClere Castle, whose massive stone walls stand strong and erect out in the  countryside of Newbury, England, popped into my mind. Because that particular castle was used in the filming of the PBS series Downton Abbey, I knew that I could order an inexpensive replica of it to put on the window sill over my kitchen sink to serve as my daily reminder that I am in the castle where God is standing guard over me.

The location of my castle was especially important to me. Wide open spaces bring a feeling of peace. It’s a place where I can just breathe and feel the muscles in my body begin to relax. Jesus and I are strolling the grounds outside my magnificent castle as I pour out my heart to Him and share with Him all of my fears, concerns and deepest feelings. He quietly listens and then tells me how much He loves me and that I am His own. He puts His arms around me and points back to the protection of the castle walls assuring me that He’s got my back now.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6 NIV

Inside the castle I imagine myself seated with Jesus at a table for two. Flowers sit in the center of the table with their sweet aroma filling our intimate space. There are floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the outdoors flooding the room with warm sunlight that never ceases to uplift my spirits. During the fall and winter months a bright, cheery fire burns in a fireplace close to our table warming us as we sit together in close fellowship. The firelight lights up the gold gilded walls and painted frescoes on the ceiling. Love radiates from the face of my Jesus warming my heart. He reaches across the table and holds my hands letting me know that He’s got this widow life and will never ever leave me alone.

Early this morning as I began to come to consciousness the words and music to a song that my four daughters used to sing as children began to play in my mind. I haven’t thought of this song in years, but how relevant it is to my new word pictures as I meditate on being in the castle  with Jesus as He now guards my heart. Perhaps you will find that word pictures are helpful to you as a widow. When you think of some that are different than the ones I have shared here, please share them with us. How thankful I am that I am not doing widow life alone and that God’s got my back.

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

It has recently dawned on me that since the deaths of my husband and both parents I have been more focused on death than on living life in the here and now. The brevity of life and unexpectedness of death has greatly impacted me. For the first time in my life I had to meet with a lawyer to make out a will. In order to alleviate as much burden as possible from my four daughters my financial adviser helped me make preparations and arrangements should I ever need any type of long-term care. I added my oldest daughter’s name to my checking account. All paperwork possible for end of life details have been signed.

I find myself more concerned about all the different possible future “what if” scenarios than just being able to live in the present and enjoy the moment. In fact I would even go so far as to say that I have become obsessed with making sure that all my ducks are in a row.

It is a firm belief of mine that God does not reveal something to me that I need to work on in my life until He knows that I am in the right place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to process through it and make a change. This is one of those times.

My life went from caring for three loved ones to life now as a widow. This has given me a lot of time to think. Now that can be good and it can also be detrimental. The good parts are that I can spend the time I need to really face my issues, process through them and deal with them. The not so good part is that I can get so focused on something that my thinking can become obsessive. My mind can go to the worst case scenario very quickly.

During my last six years of holidays I have done what I felt was best for my daughters and their families. But, the holidays this year were different in a good way. Because I was not feeling well, I spend Thanksgiving alone. This is something that I had needed to do for myself, but had chosen not to do because I did not want to disappoint my family. I used the time alone this year to feel whatever I needed to feel and found that it was a very peaceful day.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas my daughter and her family from Missouri came to spend a little over a week visiting with me and the other two daughters who live in the area. Being able to spend time with my Missouri grandsons and seeing how much they have grown and changed between each visit is a joy. I always think about how much Bob would have loved them and how they would have loved Bob. I especially loved it this time when my five year old grandson Cole told me “I have a grandpa in heaven“. This meant that my daughter is keeping her dad’s memory alive in the hearts of her sons who were born after Bob went to heaven and that brings me so much joy.

Christmas Eve was spent with one of my brothers and his family. We had a very simple meal of several homemade soups which are my favorite comfort food. It was a very quiet, relaxing and enjoyable evening spent reminiscing and laughing about our childhood holidays with our family, grandparents on both sides, aunts, uncles and cousins. Christmas day brunch was spent with my oldest daughter and her family. There was quiet conversations, a time where gifts were opened, a meal featuring everyone’s favorites and a time of games that were played.

Between Christmas and New Year my daughter from Georgia and her three sons came up to visit for a few days. I love how much my four daughters desire to spend time together and how very hard they work to make sure that their children have as close a relationship as possible. All nine of my grandchildren ages one to seventeen have a very special connection and love to spend time with each other several times a year.

Ferree Hardy challenged widows to dress up a special jar and put it some place where it can be seen every day. Before going to bed at night, write down one blessing that has occurred that day. I have decided to take that challenge as one way to help redirect my focus on life and to tell my heart to beat again.

I do not know just how God is going to change my focus from death to life nor just how He is going to restore life and joy to me, but I do know that He continues to speak to my heart and will not shake His head at me in shame or disgust. Yes, I struggle every day with so many things. Yet, God continues to gather me up in His arms and assure me that He “gets it“, He loves me and will never ever leave me or forsake me.

In what ways has God been working in your life to help you tell your heart to beat again? Listen as remarried widower Danny Gokey shares the song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUHRDCYnFfg

Broken like you’ve never been before
The life you knew in a thousand pieces on the floor
Words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never going to get back to the you you used to be.Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of grace
Yesterdays a closing door you don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
Tell your heart to beat againBeginning just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now, love’s healing hands will pull you through
So take one step, look back up
See the rise and feel the sun
Because your stories far from over and your journey’s just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of grace
Yesterdays a closing door you don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
Tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak and every scar
Be a picture to remind you, who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
This moment He is working everything out for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of grace
Yesterdays a closing door you don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
Tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again

The Unfolding Glory

Have you ever taken the time to look back to the beginning of your life and considered how it has unfolded? This is an exercise I did during my second year of grief with the help of resources from an organization called OneLife Maps that enable you to recognize and respond to God in the story of your life.  Their resource is a portfolio of unique visual maps that help people document their life stories for the purpose of spiritual growth and meaningful forward action.  It is a self-directed journey written from a Biblical perspective that helps you invite God into the process of reviewing your past, assessing your present and to continue walking with God into your future.

The workbook is for a person who is seeking God in a deeper way and desiring to rediscover who you are through His eyes.  It is for someone who is thinking “I don’t know myself anymore“, wondering “Is there something more?”, or standing at a crossroads in life and are asking “Which way will lead me toward expressing more of who I am made to be?“. Or perhaps you are looking for a way to understand the restlessness that you feel inside or find yourself relationally at odds with yourself and/or others in ways that have ties to your past.

When I sat down and took the time to really look back at my life, I was amazed to see how God has been working in the peaks and in the valleys – in those dark places where I could not feel Him and wondered where in the world He was.  I could see how He has been orchestrating my life all along.

From the time I was a young girl music has always been something that deeply touches my soul.  I took piano lessons for many years and although I am far from an accomplished pianist, I used to play for church services and vocalists in church. Nothing made me feel happier and more fulfilled than to just sit down at my piano at home and allow all of my emotions and whatever I was feeling to come out through my fingers.

For a long time after my husband died, I could not listen to music. It was too painful for me. Gradually over time, I began listening to christian music again with tears streaming down my face. Something had changed within me and I began to really listen to the words of songs and research why the composer wrote the lyrics. Most music is written from a person’s life experiences.

Last night my daughter Annissa asked me if I had ever heard the song THE GLORIOUS UNFOLDING written by Stephen Curtis Chapman. After listening to it with tears streaming down my face, I had to know what was behind the lyrics of the song that he . I knew that Stephen understands grief because of the tragic loss of his daughter some years ago. This is what he had to say:

“There is a story that God is telling in our lives and He knows the story that He’s telling.  It is a story that’s ultimately going to be incredible and good and amazing and yet, it involves chapters that can be very hard….be very difficult… Throughout this music, really, I kept revisiting that through just different truths that I’m learning and holding onto…that God is committed to finishing the good work that He has begun, the work He starts in us.  He is working even at any moment in the story, even in the hard chapters, and that He is at work, working all things together for good.  He’s taking even the broken pieces, and hard chapters and hard parts of the story, and weaving them into the epic, amazing story.  It’s in that process, watching and seeing those places wherever the story is unfolding, where He’s revealing it to us and revealing more of Himself to us.

It takes us holding onto that by faith sometimes, and really choosing to see those places and believe even in those dark places that God is at work….The nature of my music, I think more than not, has been that I want to encourage.  I want to speak this in a way that encourages someone else in their journey.  In a way, that’s what this album is a bit of a return to for me, from the place that I’ve walked and lived and am still living in my family, to begin to say to someone else, ‘Can I say this to you? I’m not pretending to know what you’re going through exactly, wouldn’t dare to do that. But whatever it is, I want to say this to you with confidence and with certainty from my experience….'”

I challenge you to do what I did.  Get the Listen to My Life Portfolio/Workbook and take the time to look back at how your life has been unfolding. See how God has been working all along unfolding His glory in your life.

 

Good Enough for Who?

Last weekend several of my Texas relatives, one of their friends and I went to see the movie “Moms Night Out“. During one of the scenes at the end of the movie Trace Adkins (Bones) and Sarah Drew (Ally) were sitting together in the waiting room of the police department.  Ally was exhausted from what she had planned to be a nice quiet moms’ night out with a couple of friends that ended up being a total fiasco.

While sitting together on the bench, Sarah (Ally) begins to tell Trace (Bones) that she just isn’t good enough.  He asks her, “Good enough for who?” and she begins to explain that she’s not a good enough mom to her children or friend to her friends, etc. Trace then asks her again, “Good enough for who?? YOU.  You’re the one that you’re not good enough for.” You could have heard a pin drop in the theater as tears were streaming down the faces of many of the women there.

I remember during the last months of my husband’s life how stressed out I was trying to be a good enough wife and a good enough care taker for him.  I was literally running on empty by this point, but I couldn’t stop because Bob needed me.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough because he was becoming more and more ill and I couldn’t stop it.  I wasn’t good enough because I was so afraid as I sat there in the hospital next to his bed day after day too scared to leave the room except to get him some fresh water.  I wasn’t good enough because my faith was so weak by this point that I could not even pray.  I wasn’t good enough because I had few words for those who stopped by to visit.  I wasn’t good enough because my mask was cracking under the weight of anticipatory grief.  I wasn’t good enough because roles were reversed and my daughters had to step in and help me deal with literally everything. I just wasn’t good enough!

Now I see things differently.  No matter how stressed out I was, how weak I was physically, mentally, and emotionally, and how shattered my faith was, I was good enough in God’s eyes.  He knew how long and how hard I worked to take care of my husband for four and a half years.  He knew how much I loved Bob.  He knew how exhausted I was, yet how I forced myself to keep going and doing the things that needed to be done.  God knew when I got to the point where I didn’t believe that He was good any more and was unable to even pray.  God knew.  Yet, I was still good enough for Him because He loves me in a way that I cannot even fathom.

What about you?  What are you thinking that you are not good enough for?  The truth is that if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you are good enough for whatever place in life in which you find yourself.  You are equipped to go through it even though you feel that you aren’t. You are good enough.

 

The Railroad of Life

Last night I became fascinated and intrigued with a television series called “Railroad Alaska”.  I spent several hours watching how the railroad masters take care of the railroad line between Wasilla and Anchorage.  It is their job to go ahead of the trains every day and look for any obstruction such as a broken track, avalanches, or even deadly icicles overhanging or blocking the railroad track.  These track crews are critical to keeping the train running because the railroad is the life blood of Alaska.

This particular railway runs through the more remote parts of Alaska where there are people who have chosen to life off the grid and away from society.  Their only way to get supplies, fuel, or any kind of medical help is to either walk or ride their snowmobiles several miles to flag down the train that goes by on certain days and only at certain times.  The train is their provider and their protector.

As I watched the special jobs that the railroad masters do and how very seriously and carefully they do their work, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how God goes ahead of us preparing our way as we follow Him.

Even though the railroad master’s job is to go ahead of the train to ensure it’s safety, the train engineer must always be on high alert during the course of the journey watching for moose on or near the tracks, sudden avalanches, people on snowmobiles and vehicles on or too near the tracks.

During the bitter winter months the Alaskan Railroad trains must go through long tunnels where water has seeped through the roof and sides creating perilous icicles weighing up to a ton that can easily cut through the metal of the engine like butter. This forces the engineer to slow down in each tunnel so the train can safely come out the other side.

There are times in our lives when we go through tunnels of unexpected circumstances or dangers that we have no control of.  We are forced to slow down as we remember that God has gone ahead of us to prepare the way and is also sitting in our engine riding along with us through the tunnel.

On the train tracks are sensors that will sound an alert inside the train letting the engineer know that the wheels of the train are too hot.  The engineer will then stop the train, find the hot wheel and throw snow on it to cool it down before proceeding.

On the train tracks of our lives God has given us the Holy Spirit to sound an alarm in our spirit whenever something is wrong in our lives or danger is ahead.  We have the choice to either acknowledge that warning, stop, check ourselves and do something about it or just barrel on ahead and ignore the warning.

As a widow, I need to be listening for any alerts going off in my spirit warning me that there is trouble.  This is one of the ways, I believe, that God acts as a widow’s husband.  He loves us enough to alert us when something is not right.

When I was a teenager, I heard an old 82 year old evangelist sing a song that made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten it.  The title of that song is “Life’s Railway to Heaven”.

Life is like a mountain railway.

With an engineer that’s brave;

We must make the run successful

From the cradle to the grave;

Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels’

Never falter, never fail;

Keep your hands upon the throttle,

And your eyes upon the rail.

Refrain:

Blessed Savior, thou wilt guide us,

Till we reach that blissful shore,

Where the angels wait to join us

In Thy praise forevermore.

You will roll up grades of trial;

You will cross the bridge of strife;

See that Christ is your conductor

On this lightning train of life;

Always mindful of obstruction,

Do your duty, never fail;

Keep your eyes upon the throttle

And your eyes upon the rail.

You will often find obstructions,

Look for storms and wind and rain;

On a fill, or curve, or trestle

They will almost ditch your train;

Put your trust alone in Jesus,

Never falter, never fail;

Keep your hands upon the throttle,

And your eyes upon the rail.

As you roll across the trestle

Spanning Jordan’s swelling tide,

You behold the Union Depot

Into which your train will glide;

There you’ll meet the Sup’rintendent,

God the Father, God the Son,

With the hearty, joyous plaudit

“Weary Pilgrim, welcome home!”

Where are you on the railway of life?  Are you facing any unexpected circumstances or surprise obstructions?  Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail.  God has gone ahead of you.  God is right there with you….even when you can’t feel His presence.

The Construction of My Design

After the death of my husband I sold our home out in the country and moved into a new home in town close to one of my brothers and two of my daughters. There were two changes inside the house that I considered making, but just never had peace about doing them.

In the last six weeks two new family members have been added – two beautiful grandsons. My oldest daughter is in the process of rearranging her home to accommodate her mother-in-law. I again began to think about those changes here in my home and after getting an estimate and counseling with my financial adviser, the work has begun to add a bathroom to the 2nd story and finish a large bedroom/den type area that will make more room when my other two out of state daughters and their families come to visit.

As I am observing the process of this kind of construction, I am seeing the order of each step of the process that has to be taken in order for everything to be completed correctly. The Lord is pointing out to me that this is how the story of my life is working.

The electrician comes to install the wiring. The homeowner looks at the room along with the contractor and the electrician to get a feel for how the furnishings in the room will be laid out in the future. The electrician can then decide according to code where each outlet and light fixture can be installed. He completes those installations. Work then stops so that the inspector can come inspect the work to make sure it is up to code and just right. Until he signs off on that completed work, nothing else can be done. Should he find mistakes have been made, then the electrician must go back, correct those mistakes, and go through another inspection.

Before I was born, God had a design plan for the construction of my life. Step by step He works on that design. But in that process I have a free will to make choices and decisions in my life. When I am unsure of decisions I need to make, my heavenly Inspector comes along to show me what is wrong and how to make it right. Once I make those corrections to the course of my life then everything works in harmony together creating something beautiful.

How carefully God works on my life to make it lovely. At times there is construction that entails hard work with hours of clean up afterwards.

I look back at the life of my husband and all the steps God took to complete his design. No matter what happened, Bob always stayed focused on God. During the last few months and especially the last few weeks of his life, that focus was even more pronounced to the point where I felt a disconnection from Bob. That disconnection hurt for a long time until I realized that it was necessary for me to decrease so that God could increase as the end of his days drew near. After all, it’s really ALL about God.

My heart is so thankful that the construction of my life is being done by the Master Designer. I can be assured that I am not going through the process alone without guidance. If I make a mistake, my Inspector will come alongside me, show me exactly what needs to be corrected, take a look at my corrections helping me to get them just right and then say “Well done, Candy!” All I have to do is focus on Him the very best that I can knowing that He loves me no matter how imperfect I am.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7n_JLLuUNTY

Help Somebody Cry

There may come a time in your life when your friend or even a relative has lost someone very dear to them.  People flounder around trying to find the right words to comfort others.  Here is the best way to comfort someone who is grieving and to be their Jesus with skin on. Sit there with them as they cry.  Don’t be afraid to cry with them.  Their tears don’t stop after the burial.  They can go on for years. The following song says it so much better than I can.

Someone you care about has a broken heart.

You want to be a friend, but you don’t know where to start.

There are no words to speak that could ever be enough.

How can you show them your love?

Help somebody cry. Be there for the tears.

God will use your life to show that He is near.

There’s no easy way to make it feel alright.

You don’t have the answer to why.

Help somebody cry.

Time may heal the wound, but that doesn’t matter now.

So lend your friend your faith.

Walk them through the doubt.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but hold somebody’s hand to pray them through.

Help somebody cry.

Can you say, “YOU are good”?

“YOU are good, God.”

It’s taken me a long time – literally years – since the death of my husband to be able to say those words and truly mean them from my heart.  Whenever I would hear someone say them it would literally feel like a dagger had been plunged into my heart and inside I would scream at the top of my lungs, “COULD YOU SAY THAT IF YOUR HUSBAND DIED???!!!!

The loss of my husband so shattered my heart that the truths I knew from God’s Word were there in my head, but my sorrow covered them in my heart.  This sorrow was so deep and so dark that nothing else mattered for awhile.  It was so overwhelming that for a long time I didn’t even care how anything went.  My loss of the control I thought I had of everything in my life left me saying in my heart, “God is in control and He’s going to do what He wants to do regardless of my prayers.  So, why even pray.”

You see, grief has a way of bringing out all that is in your heart – even the weaknesses that you didn’t know where hidden inside.  It strips you of all pretenses and masks.  In time, IF you are brave enough to face grief head on, it will allow you to begin taking careful inventory of everything that you believed all of your life and start throwing away those things that really weren’t true.  You find that some of those beliefs weren’t beliefs at all.  They might be personal preferences or even man’s ideas about God and His ways that you’ve heard preached….things that really don’t match up with the truth.

Maybe you were so very desperate to believe certain things that you truly believed were true that you didn’t stop to consider the whole portion of scripture in context.  When the rug gets pulled out from under you, you are left empty and full of questions and accusations.

After the anger over your loss and the situation and circumstances God has “left” you in begins to cool, your mind begins to go back perhaps all the way to the beginning of your relationship with God, unpack it and then process through everything thoroughly.

This is exactly what I am doing and the process isn’t finished.  I can tell you that it is a very painful process that is not for the faint of heart.  Not only has my life begun all over again now as a widow, but I am rebuilding my relationship with God.  And I don’t view this as a bad thing whatsoever.  I have been given the opportunity to discover just who this woman Candy really is and who God truly designed me to be – not as a daughter, a wife, or a mother, but the woman that God created with a specific purpose and plan.

More importantly I am rediscovering who God really is from a whole different life perspective.

Perhaps you are the type person like me who has been shocked when your true feelings were revealed after the loss of your husband.  Maybe like me you were such a people pleaser that you feared how much you were disappointing God with your thoughts and reactions to your grief.

It took me time to realize that God knew my thoughts way back before I even thought them.  And, you know what?  He has not turned His back on me nor stopped loving me.  He didn’t stomp His foot in frustration and say, “CANDY!  How could you even think this way after all the things known and unknown that I have done for you your entire life!”  No. God has been so very patient with me allowing me the time I needed just to sit in His lap as He rocked me for awhile in my grief until I could find the strength to begin sifting very slowly and gradually through the tiny fragile pieces of my crushed heart.  There are times when I still need to go back and just sit in His lap and rock.

It’s because of this one-on-one time that God is giving me, I can now say from my heart, “You are good, God.”