Getting through the holidays is difficult when we live alone. We miss the memories of holiday celebration. Instead of feeling sad and lonely, get busy. Bake the special cookies, pies or cakes and donate them to someone in need. If it’s shopping we miss, go shopping for someone in need. Volunteer extra time to a charity. All this is in addition to our normal giving. Instead of sitting at home and being sad, get out there and be a giver. There is much joy in giving. God has us here for a reason. We are His mouth, hands and feet. He wants us to reach out to those who are in need. Christmas season is a good time to build the habit of being a giver rather than a downer. Let us learn to celebrate His joy by sharing His love with others. We are never alone. When we have Jesus in our hearts, minds and lives, we have His Holy Spirit living in us. We can miss those who have gone home to Him and left us here but we have the assurance He is with us and will reunite us with those we miss to enjoy for all eternity.
I’ve been going through the house sorting and cleaning out. It’s been a 2 year project. I still have one drawer to go. I’ve had that last draw for quite some time now. It was my husbands “junk” drawer. I’ve opened it many times but just can’t sort things how. It has many mementoes, things that meant something special to my husband. Some of them have no meaning to me but I know they were important to him. I know, when the time is right, God will help me sort out the items in that drawer. I know I don’t need to rush it. But knowing doesn’t erase the constant reminder that it is still there. When we loose someone we love we need to be sure not to put pressure on ourselves to do everything right away. There is no time line. But, there is a time to move on in each and every area of our lives. We don’t move on in every area at the same time and shouldn’t expect to. The main issue is being open to move forward with the leading of God in HIs way and His timing. He will move each of us in a unique and different way for He created each of us uniquely and individually. If you’re having trouble letting go of something in the past, lift it up before the throne of God’s grace. He knows when, what and how we each need to move on with Him. My last drawer is waiting. I don’t feel guilt or pressure. I wait on God’s time.
Today would be 53 years of our union together. It’s a biter/sweet day. The memories are wonderful yet the missing is still so very real. I was woken a 5 AM by a phone call from my Navy grandson. So sweet for him to think of me amidst all his work. I am surrounded by such a loving family and friends. One friend is going with me to my husband’s favorite restaurant to celebrate in his memory. It is important for those who find themselves suddenly alone to allow others into their hearts and lives. No, it doesn’t change the missing but it helps the heart in sharing the memories. If you’re grieving, let others into your grief through sharing the wonderful memories God gave you as you shared your life with that one. Just don’t live in the past. Our memories are given to us by God to help us live in the present. Enjoy the memories but also enjoy what God is doing in and through you on this day.
I needed a new kitchen faucet. That is a task my husband could easily do. Because of the garbage disposal I decided I need to call in a plumber. He came. I had to turn off the water for him. He began to replace the faucet but didn’t have the connecting parts to reattach the water. I paid him and he left. I traced the size of the fitting I needed and took the hose to be connected to the local building supply store. Parts in hand I returned home. I got down and began to try to attached everything. The first side went on easily. The second side leaked. I tried and tried. Tears started to roll as frustration increased. Then I prayed. Then I repeated, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Tears stopped and I was able to line up the threads and tighten enough not to have leaks. I am enjoying my new kitchen faucet. I’m learning to do the things my husband did through asking God for wisdom and being patient as He guides me. I’m also open to hearing Him lead me to get help. God never leaves or forsakes us. When we think we’re alone, all we need to is call out and become aware He is in us through His Holy Spirit and will guide us in and through all things. We only need to listen.
Psalms 56:3 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (NIV)
Suddenly you are left alone. The one you have become one with through marriage is gone. All of a sudden you are filled with “What if’s.” As the what if’s thoughts consume your mind fear sets in. God has given us the ability to choose what to think. We can choose to think about the possibilities of the future or we can choose to trust the One Who holds the future in His hands. Sometime our fear is not for ourselves but for someone we love. God says to pray for others and He will answer our prayers. As we pray we can choose to trust God hears us like He has promised or we can choose to hang on to our fear and doubt. I admit, choosing to trust God and turn our back of fear takes determination. Determination takes practice. We may have to choose to trust every few minutes at first but, as we continue to choose trust, fear moves further from our minds. God has been showing me He is faithful in the things I need. I now must do the things my husband always did. When I ask for wisdom, God provides it. When I ask for strength, God provides it. Sometimes God leads me to call someone for help. But, with every decision I now must make, I no longer need to fear. I know, with prayer, I will make the right decision. Even if I mess up and choose wrong, God is bigger than any mistake I might make. I am free to trust just as a little child trusts the parent. God is my Father and He is Perfect, Faithful, powerful and all knowing.
Acts 2:38-39 And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (NIV)
It’s not too hard to keep strong faith when you, yourself are facing major problems. When your children or grandchildren are facing hard times, I find my strong faith waivers. I find it difficult without my husband joining me in prayer, physically helping when necessary and confirming decisions and sharing tears for their hurts and problems. We can know in our head that God will work all things out for our children and grandchildren just as He does for ourselves. But knowing this in our emotions makes strife between our mind and emotions. This is part of the human nature. God made us feeling people. But emotions are not to reign. Our emotions will change from day to day and situations to situations. What last is the faithfulness of God. So, as I watch and help where I can, I keep the prayer of intercession and the prayer of thanksgiving going, knowing I am not praying alone but praying with God’s Holy Spirit Who dwells in me. I know there are many other widows and widowers who face the same problem and would encourage you to be honest about your emotions with God, then confess your trust and His wisdom and thank Him for having the final say in each of our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.
My son and his family needed me. I left home quickly and headed for where my husband and I raised our children. It’s hard helping adult children with their problems when your spouse, your prayer partner, your confidant is no longer with you. It’s hard seeing good friends from the past alone. It’s time for choosing our emotions when faced with situations like these. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves. We can choose to look at what we no longer have. We can choose to look at what we do have. We can choose to believe and trust God’s word when He said He would never leave us alone. These last 2 statements are what I’ve chosen. I choose them even with the empty place in my heart knowing God knows the hurt and is blessing me in other ways. Yes, life is a changing process. Without change and movement there is death. As the Hebrews moved with the pillar of light and the cloud, so we must move with the Spirit of God allowing Him to work in and through us in all circumstances He allows to come our way. God’s blessings are far beyond our most extravagant dreams. Let’s all move on with God thanking Him for whatever is to come.
Knowing God is always with us, always sees us, always hears us and is always in us through His Holy Spirit we must pay attention to this verse. Colossians 3:17 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV) As a widow I have found it hard to motivate and cook a good meal or do housework in a timely manner. Sometimes my clean laundry would sit in the basket waiting me to fish out what I need for the day. Then I remembered this verse in Colossians. It doesn’t matter what there is to do, all of it can and should be done to the glory of God. Dishes cleaned praising Him for dishes to clean and hot water to use. Meals cooked because God loves me and wants me to be healthy for Him to dwell in me. As I sit and eat, I know He is with me. Whatever I’m preaching, doing rounds in the hospital praying and helping patients and their family, writing devotions, walking a dog, doing laundry or scrubbing the bathroom, I do it all in thanks and praise to God and for His glory. How is there glory in doing the normal, mundane tasks of daily living? God gives us life. Life has regular things in order to maintain a healthy body and mind. Whatever brings health in life brings glory to God as long as we recognize we are here to fellowship with God, live for God and bring others to an awareness of God. With God in our minds, hearts and lives, we are never alone. Knowing this brings God glory.
Anniversaries. These are dates usually celebrated with great joy and thanksgiving. But, sometimes they’re full of sadness. Anniversary of a birthday, wedding date or the day of someone’s passing are mixed with good memories and hurt for the missing of the person. Today was my brother-in-law’s birthday. I remember the joyful times of celebrating with him and kidding him for being a year older than I. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my husband’s going home to our Father. I can still see everything that happen and hear everything that was said that day even though it is now 2 years. The question for us is how we will choose to celebrate those anniversaries. We can dwell on our lost, our pain, our hurt or we can choose to put our mind on all the wonderful times we had together and thank God for what He gave us. Sometimes it takes gritted teeth and we must join Job in saying, “Even if He slays me I will praise Him.” We have the choice of where we allow our minds to take us. Let us choose always to be thankful for God is always with us and never will leave us.
It’s all comparative. We compare most everything. When we shop we compare quality and cost to find the best deal. I was pondering on my marriage and realized I had the joy of my husband for many, many more years than the amount of years possible or me to be without him. And then I will see him for all eternity. That doesn’t means sadness and grief don’t rear their ugly head from time to time but it does help me appreciate the gift of our marriage God gave us more and accept that God has other purposes for the remainder of my years walking this earth. I know there are some who read this who were not blessed with the 50+ years we had together, but all of us can be thankful for whatever time God allows us the blessing of someone else’s love to share. So in all things and all situations we can rejoice in the love of God and be content in the situation He allows for us to work through in His love and grace.