It has been almost 6 months since my husband was ushered into heaven, sometimes it feels like it has been years. The change in the seasons to Spring delivers a different load of grief, memories, and pain. I have been dealing with a mountain of paperwork that occurs with death, picking out the tombstone, etc… and taking care of my sweet 3 boys who are 3 and under, nursing a baby every 3 hours, trying to navigate dealing with what doctors called a severe allergy with the baby, intermittent sickness for all 4 of us all while grieving and getting adjusted to doing life without my husband and partner. (Just in case you were wondering what the life of a widow right now looks like and how to better pray for us.) We are truly walking through the valley of the shadow of death. It is not getting easier, it is getting harder as more and more realities hit every day with the absence of my sweet man. We are hurting deeply but hurting with HOPE. God is more real to me than ever, the hope of eternity is clear and so desirable. I tell myself daily not to get comfortable in this world, and preach the truth to myself about how God is truly enough even though half of me has died with my husband, along with our dreams and plans. It is a moment by moment surrender to God and His ways that are so much higher and greater than mine. It is trusting that His will IS BEST. The Word of God has become food to my soul, it provides strength, hope and joy every single time I open it. When you go through suffering you can either close your fists and be angry or open your hands and say Lord I am yours, SPEAK. My hands and my heart are open and the Lord is using this time to show me my weaknesses and my great need for Him. I am so grateful for how He works and how merciful He is not to allow us to stay where we are. I keep asking God to teach me, and help me to NEVER forget what He is teaching me during this time. I know I will never be the same nor live the same. My world has truly been changed forever and so has my relationship with Christ.
I am so grateful for how walking through this suffering has allowed me to have so many conversations with my boys about eternity and about knowing Jesus. Toddlers don’t understand death like we do, and quite frankly, my boys don’t fear it at all because to them it represents going to heaven to be with Jesus and their daddy. The other day as I was crying and missing Patrick, my son walked up to me and said “Do you want to die mommy, because then you can go and see daddy!”. I responded that I didn’t want to die right then but I just wanted Jesus to come and get us. It spurred us on to have a conversation about how God alone appoints the day of our death and He has us here on the earth still for a purpose, and that purpose is to share Jesus and His hope with as many people as we can. I told him how daddy died and the Lord is using that to show many people how to have life in Christ and that although we are sad, we are so grateful for how God is working. Then the other night as I was rocking my toddlers on the porch late at night to get some cold air to help them with their coughing, I was singing “You will always be more than enough for me, nothing can stop Your plans for me nothing can take Your love away” and “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future and life is worth living just because He lives”. The thought occurred that these are no longer songs we sing but they are the plea of our hearts and they are our life, that life is worth living and His promises are true. These conversations, these convicting words in songs, the pulling on my heart strings towards eternity, the burden for lost people to come to Christ and saved people to be encouraged……that is what this suffering is about- perspective change.
I am learning that suffering is God’s mercy to awaken our hearts, so our grip on this world loosens and our grip on His Word tightens. Suffering is a gift and it has purpose. May we never be the same after what God is doing.
My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Psalm 119:71