Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who He Says I Am (from A Widow's Might)

My eyes flutter open.  It is a rare day when no alarm clock is needed and the morning calendar is void of events.  A few months into the newness of widowhood, I lie in bed realizing that I am different. 

I ask myself, “Who am I now?”

I’m one of those old-fashioned girls who always wanted to be a wife and mother.  There is no shame in that.  I enjoyed my career too, but role of wife and mother was my dream “job”.  I thrived being under the loving leadership of my husband. 

He is gone now.   

It is clear who I am not.  I was my husband’s primary caregiver during his cancer battle.  Suddenly, I am no longer the charter and giver of all medications, the guider of his walker as he navigates his way out of his home hospital bed, no longer the overseer of changing his clothing, the administer of nourishment through his feeding tube, no longer the helper for his personal care, nor the one reading to him as his eyes fail.

As I stretch my memory past the illness, to the beautiful years of our marriage, I find that I have lost many other pieces of myself as well.  I am without my best-friend, the Spiritual leader of our home, my parenting partner, my lover, and my biggest fan.  (Wow.  That’s a huge loss in one single blink of an eye.)

Thankfully, I am still Mom to our two children.  But even that role has changed.  I have new responsibilities as the only parent in this home.  I am the sole overseer of homework, sports schedules, chores, and nutrition.  I am the lone chauffeur for all road trips, long or short.  I am the one to guide our children, emotionally and physically as they navigate grief and the early teen years. 

It’s a lot, to be honest; but you already know this, because you too are walking this lonely road of the widow.  Some of you are also raising children during this transition.  Some aren't, but whether we have that common thread or not, I am guessing you feel like you've lost a chunk of who you are also. 

So much has changed. 

WHO are we now? 

I have a rule that I have implemented in my life to keep my train of thought positive when life is topsy-turvy. 

When you are unsure of something, go back to what you know is true.

So, what is true about who we are?

We are children of the most high God {Acts 17:28}. 
We are forever His treasured possession {Deuteronomy 7:6}. 
We are guided by Truth {John 16:13}
We are forgiven {Ephesians 1:7}.
We are fully complete, strengthened in His might, lacking nothing {Colossians 1:11 & 2:10}.
We are holy and dearly loved {Colossians 3:12}.

Losing the role of wife has shaken me to my core.  It has left me feeling lonely, awkward and lost.  Can you relate?  I am so thankful that God reminds us of our worth, regardless of what our earthly “titles” are.  We are still precious and beautiful in His sight; He wants us to see the beauty that remains within us.  Let’s rest in the knowledge of who He says we are

Lord, thank you for staying with us right in the messy middle of our lives {Hebrews 13:5b}.  This life gets ugly and it is so easy to lose sight of our true identity.  You call us “loved”, “accepted”, and “friend”.  Wow.  Remind us when we forget, Lord.  Let us feel the saturation of who You say we are from the inside out.  Amen.  

There is no escaping the reality of being a widow; but I refuse to simply accept “widow” as my sole title.  Ladies, whether we view the title of widow as an honor or as a curse, it is not the sum total of who we are!   
Yesterday I shared with you who God says we are.  I am a lover of music, so today I want to share a few more titles He has given us from the song “I Am New” by Jason Gray.  I hope these truths encourage your heart.  ~Lori

You can visit aNewseason Ministries or A Widow's Might for more articles by Christian women who are navigating the rough spots of life by clicking here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Birthday Joy?

Yesterday I turned 43.  

I was semi-dreading the day.  It was my first birthday without the love of my life by my side in over two decades.  

Firsts are hard stuff.  

I have days where I feel the brokenness inside of me healing; I can look with hope towards our future.  

Other days, it takes all of my energy and strength to keep my head faced forward.  

The missing of what we had, maybe that’s what hurts the most.  Life really was truly such a wonderful thing.  Tim made tough times bearable and good times amazing.  My man was hilarious in a dry, sarcastic sort of way.  We were quite the pair and this home was filled to the rafters with laughter every day.  We laughed through our tears and clung to our God and each other in the difficulties of life.  

So, you can imagine my trepidation of facing yesterday without my best friend.

I woke up yesterday filled with…peace and joy;

the kind of deep down in my soul joy that bubbles up from within.  

Peace that I knew we were going to make it.  The kids and I are building a new kind of fabulous life together.  I had a happiness that is indescribable.  

I didn't expect it.  

All day, I had this “keep looking forward” attitude that I woke up with.  

I can’t explain it with any other word than JESUS.  I could literally feel Tim’s prayers over me.  Did my joy get intermingled easily with tears?  Absolutely, but they were the sweet tears.  As memories of both good and bad times fluttered through my mind, my heart remained happy. 

I smiled at my “happy” in the simplicity and "normalness" of a day. 

Then it hit me…we have found our new normal. 

I make mistakes daily in this single parenting gig, but I am trying hard; constantly evaluating my attitude and trying to connect with our children in a way that nurtures both the “mothering” and the “fathering” that they need and deserve.  And I am leaning hard into God for guidance.  

I think Tim would be proud…and that makes my heart soar.  

I want to honor God and I want to honor this man who walked beside me in this life as my biggest fan, best supporter, lover, and friend.  The longer I walk, with each minute of every day without him, the more incredible I realize he was.  Don’t get me wrong, I KNEW I had a keeper!  It’s just that hindsight can show me even more things to appreciate about his character and his love.

So at 43, I don’t find myself without my husband as much as I find myself with

the love he left behind,

the wisdom he guided this family in,

the optimism that permeated his life,

and the laughter he echoed in our home, our hearts and our souls.

I am grateful.  I rejoice in God's love.

Don’t you worry, Tim…I've got this!  I've got it with a confidence because it isn't me at the helm, it is God and He never disappoints.  

Just like you proclaimed until your final breath, God is God, God is good, forever Faithful One.

Even If…