Valentine’s Day, but my valentine is no longer here. I can be sad that we can’t do our normal but extra special romantic dinner and share word of love or I can move my thoughts to One Who loves me even more than my valentine love me. The One Who loves me more really did lay down His life for me out of love. He suffered in ways I can’t comprehend just so I could receive His love. Then I remember today is also Ash Wednesday. It is a day of preparation for the sacrifice and suffering of the One Who loves me without measure. How fitting for this to coincide with Valentine’s Day. This is a day to represent love and remind us of love. I may not be able to have that romantic dinner but I can share word of deep love with the One Who loves me most. I hope you also know that perfect love and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day expressing that love to Him and receive His love. The love of God, the Father and His Son, Jesus through the Holy Spirit Who resides in all who love Jesus. Happy love day.
Memories can be bittersweet. They come at odd moments and can send us for a nose dive into sadness if we allow them. I have memories of the things I used to do and loved doing that my body is no longer capable of doing. I also have memories of all the things we used to do together as a couple. These memories make me miss him so ever much more. I can be sad and upset of his being gone or I can choose to thank God for all the wonderful times we shared things together. I have willed to thank God each time one of the memories comes up. Instead of concentrating on what can no longer be, I am thankful for what was; the joy and the experience shared. As the memories of your beloved come into your mind and the longing to continue experiencing those things, turn instead to thanks to God for what He gave you in your past and know He has other memories for you to accumulate as you continue to walk with Him.
From time to time I try to understand why God took my husband and left me. What was His purpose in His decision. I was the one who was pronounced terminal two times. He was always fine. But, as I ponder this question the following scripture comes to mind. Mark 10:15 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (NIV) As a little child, we accept the decision of our parents because we know they love us and are making the best decisions for us. We don’t demand (when we are young) the reason. We just accept in complete trust. God wants our complete trust. God wants us to know His love for us so complete that we have no need to question His leading or decisions. As this comes to me, I ask forgiveness for my demanding to know the why. Peace gradually replaces the need to know and understand. The peace comes from the assurance that God really does know and see to it what is best for us and His glory comes about It is very comforting knowing that the One Who created all that was, is or will ever be loves us so very much and holds our very being in the center of His perfect love for us.
I just celebrated another birthday without my husband. We always made each other’s birthdays very special. I wasn’t looking forward to it. But God surrounded me with people who made it a very enjoyable day. I was asked by one of them if I had a favorite memory of one particular birthday. What joy it brought back to me as I shared. He had made reservations for a surprise party for me at a dinner theater. I had no idea of this until that morning when the phone rang and the dinner theater asked to confirm the amount of reservations. I was so surprised that he had planned it and even more surprised at how many friends were coming. I never told him that the restaurant called. I acted very surprised which was easy seeing all the friends who cared enough to spend their money and come. The feelings it gave me still stay with me today as I reflect on it and that was quite some time ago.
As we allow God, He will gently lead us through the special times that we miss so very much. What a loving, patient and gentle Father God we have.
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.