Tag Archive | Lord

Trust in the Lord With ALL Thine Heart

Greetings, my fellow travelers.  Well, I’m nearly seven months into my journey as a widow.  I thought I’d gotten my bearings and was progressing in a healthy fashion.  But I’ve somehow become side-tracked.  Don’t know exactly when it happened or what did it.  It’s probably that the ‘holidays’ are here, but my dear Brian isn’t.  All I know is that I’ve gotten back into that old, ‘why me…what did I do to deserve this?’, frame of mind.  That’s not a good place to be and I don’t like it!  It wastes precious time and energy and impedes, I think, proper healing because it’s rooted in self-centeredness and not Christ-centeredness.

You might say, “But I’m hurting!  Half my heart has been ripped out of me!  Why shouldn’t I be focused on myself and my pain? What do I care about Christ? Why should I be Christ-centered?  That won’t bring back my spouse!”  I hear you…believe me, I hear you.  This was my frame of mind for about the first month or two…definitely the first two weeks!  I was floundering.  I knew Jesus was supposed to be there but I couldn’t seem to find Him, couldn’t seem to grasp hold of Him.  I didn’t realize that He was there…He had hold of me.  But I couldn’t feel or see this.  For many days I couldn’t pray, couldn’t find any scripture that would ease the pain or give me hope.  Oh, I knew my dear Brian was in the arms of Jesus where, next to me, he longed to be, and that I’d be reunited with him one day soon.  But what about ME here and now?  Nothing made sense and that’s a problem for me.  I don’t care what it is, it’s gotta’ make sense!  But God often doesn’t make sense…at least, not to our way of thinking.  Not because He delights in confounding us, but rather, it’s because of our fallen human nature that we don’t think and understand as the Lord does.  ‘”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord.  (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV)  And “…having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:17, NKJV)

Without Christ we are blind and alienated from the life and understanding of God. Without His Life and Spirit in us we have no way of understanding His thoughts and ways.  And though we may have given our lives to Christ and are walking with Him, there are times when what He does or allows in our lives just won’t make any sense to us!  This is when we must rely on our instruments, like a sailor out at sea in a heavy fog who cannot see the sky. For the Christian, that instrument is the Word of God – the Bible.

Well, that’s where I was for nearly two weeks after my dear Brian went to be with the Lord.  I was stuck in, ‘it doesn’t make any sense.’  You see, Brian was the answer to my many-years-long prayer for a Godly husband…and I was the answer to his long-time prayer for a Godly wife.  I was everything God knew Brian needed and wanted, and Brian was everything that God knew I needed and wanted!  We were so happy to have finally found one another…so eager to begin a life together of serving one another and serving others as the Lord would lead us.  We knew it was going to be very hard work to get him back to health, but I would have endured any hardship for Brian!  He had so many plans for missions work…he was so sure God had more work for him to do, and he finally had a partner who wanted to join him in that work!

But the cancer Brian had fought since December 2006 had returned for the 3rd and last time.  This time it manifested itself in a completely different way so it wasn’t caught in time to resume treatment.  It had mutated into a much more aggressive form and grew quickly.  A born fighter, Brian was determined to fight and WIN as the Lord had previously enabled him to do.  But it wasn’t to be.  Though almost every member in my church was praying and trusting God for healing, along with many others around the country, it wasn’t to be.  On May 9th, 2011, at 7:18pm, God took my precious husband ‘home’ after only 24 days of marriage.  I was heartbroken and devastated!  “Why, Father?  Why did You answer our prayers for Godly spouses, give us hope for a life together, only to take it all away?  Why??  What did we do or not do?  What did I do or not do??  How could You do this to me?  Why would You be so cruel?  Why would You take someone away who only wanted to serve You, someone who only wanted to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples?”  How I tried and tried to figure it out but couldn’t.  I was angry and bewildered with God.  I felt He had tricked me.  I felt He was cruel and unfair, much like my step-father.  I was having a crisis of faith.

During this time I continued to tune into Christian programming on radio and TV.  I was desperately hoping to hear something that would help me.  I did, but it took me almost two weeks before I recognized the lifeline my Heavenly Father was handing me.  Whenever I tuned into a program, whether radio or TV, it seemed that ONE scripture in particular was being discussed or taught:  “Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5, KJV)  It finally dawned on me that there must be a reason why I kept hearing messages and discussions on this verse.

And once again, this verse has called me back to what I must do – trust in my Heavenly Father with ALL my heart…and stop trying to figure Him out and make Him fit my way of thinking!  This verse has put me back on track.  No, it doesn’t give me any answers to all the ‘whys.’  I still have those and probably will until that wonderful, glorious day when He finally calls me ‘home’ and I see my Savior and Lord face to face!  Rather, God bids me to rest in His loving wisdom and let Him carry out His work through the situation, and join Him in His work!

When you were little, did your parents ever have you do chores that made no sense to you?  Did you ever ask why you had to do them?  Did they ever say, ‘you’ll understand when you’re older’?  Or maybe you asked a question that your parents knew was beyond your years and wisely deferred the answer for a later time when you’d be better able to understand and handle the answer?  I’ve learned that this is exactly what God does.  As the all-wise, all-knowing and loving Father that He is, He often cannot explain His doings because we just are not able to understand.  I often say it’s like trying to teach calculus to infants…do you think they’ll understand? If God tried to explain we probably couldn’t comprehend.  And sometimes He doesn’t explain because He wants us to trust Him…trust in His love…trust that He has our best interest at heart no matter what the situation looks or feels like…trust that He knows what He’s doing.  We honor Him when we do this.

I still don’t know why it was necessary for the Lord to take my precious Brian ‘home’ so soon and not give us a chance at a life together and a life of service to Him.  Not a moment goes by that I don’t miss Brian terribly.  But I choose to put my trust in my Heavenly Father.  He knows what He’s doing.  Not one tear, not one pang of grief goes unnoticed or unfelt by this loving God!  Nor is it for naught…He has lovingly and with great care designed and ordained a purpose for it all!  That’s why I chose this picture of the iceberg.  There is more going on than simply what is visible to me.   I must trust that He is working out a far greater purpose and plan not only for and in me, but for and in others.  I’m being drawn into a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father because of Brian’s passing…that’s one of the purposes.  My faith and trust in Him are growing stronger…that’s another purpose. I’m being prepared and equipped for something…what it is, I don’t know yet.

But growth doesn’t come without pain…Brian would call trials ‘growing pains.’  God doesn’t tell me that I must understand all the details…but He does tell me that I must trust Him with ALL my heart, and not rely on my understanding!  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)  Thank you for letting me talk things out and encourage myself in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6, KJV)  I hope this is of some help to someone.

Together in Christ,

Diana

Does This Ever Happen To You?

Your day is going well. You are plodding along, dealing with your new companions, sorrow and loneliness, learning about them and their new significance in your life when…BAM! It happens! Just like the two comets in this photo are on a collision course with one another, you find yourself on a collision course with a well-meaning friend and their words of  ‘encouragement.’  They ask how you are doing and you decide you will be honest with them.  “I miss my husband terribly and I just want the pain to stop…please pray for me.”

Now, you know things are not going to get better anytime soon. You know that you will be traveling with loneliness and pain for some time yet.  You didn’t ask for advice, only prayer.  You just needed to express how much you miss your spouse and that it hurts A LOT.  Your well-meaning friend then proceeds to tell you how much worse it’s going to get, especially with the upcoming holidays.  Did you really need a reminder of this??

Friends, so well-meaning and caring, can sometimes make us feel worse. This happened to me over the weekend.  I had expressed how much I was missing my dear Brian, how I just wanted the pain to stop, and requested their prayers. My friend, very clinically, proceeded to explain to me how I must travel this dark, lonely, and painful road.  The pain will mellow in time, they said, but won’t ever go away and reminded me how I’ll be missing my Brian even more with the coming holidays.  I know this was meant to encourage me, but it didn’t.  I already knew this and didn’t need the reminder.  I have tried not to focus on the upcoming holidays and the acute sadness I’ll be feeling.  I have tried not to focus on the darkness of the journey.  My friend also encouraged me to not isolate myself but to stay connected with by bible study groups, which I am doing.  But do I really want to expose myself to constant reminders of how dark, lonely, and painful it’s going to get??  I think I’ll stay in isolation, thank you very much…lol!

Another time a dear friend, a ‘mom-type’ in my life, told me within a month or two of my dear husband’s passing that perhaps God wanted me to stay single after all. Brian and I had only been married 24 days before the Lord took him Home and we had both married late in the game – 50 and 53.  This was the first marriage for us both.  I know she didn’t mean to hurt me, but that’s exactly what she did.

Sigh.  What to do, what to do with well-meaning friends who are trying to help because they love and care about us, but at times botch it.  As Christians, we must respond in love.  Sometimes it is best to just take what they give us in the spirit intended and say, ‘thank you,’ and move on.  Other times we might gently explain to them that what they just gave us is not what we needed or asked for.  We must remember that in all likelihood they do not understand what we are experiencing.  How can they unless they have gone through it?  A spouse’s passing is far, far different from the passing of a parent, or child, or other loved one.  I know the pain of a parent’s passing.  I know the pain of a sibling’s untimely passing.  In my introduction post I stated that we are literally missing a part of us…half, to be exact. As the scripture says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  (Genesis 2:24, New King James)

If you know a widow or widower, and you have not experienced what they are experiencing, please take a moment to think before you speak.  Often what is most needed is simply a loving and patient ear to listen.  Please be sensitive. Unless expressly asked for advice, refrain from giving it, especially if you have not experienced what they are going through.  Just let your friend talk…listen without judgement, without trying to ‘fix’ them.  When it is time for you to speak and if you don’t know what to say, tell them this.  Offer to pray with or for them.  Guide them to the Psalms.  We appreciate this far more than being told you understand us when you actually don’t.  When meeting with or writing to your grieving friend, pray beforehand and ask “…the God of ALL comfort…” (2 Corinthians 1:3, New King James) to give you what your friend is needing so you can then pass it along to them, and if the Lord would have you to say anything.

Above all, please be patient with us and let us express our pain, our loneliness, our sadness, our fears. Don’t think we’re expecting you to ‘fix’ us. We know you can’t do this…only God can and will, in time.  If you try to ‘fix’ us, chances are you will inadvertently hurt us.  A warm hug, a kind smile, the holding of a hand, a phone call, a card, an invitation for coffee/tea, a visit, an offer of help, an available, empathetic, and loving spirit go a long way in helping the grieving and wounded heart to heal.  We do not want to be lied to or mislead…we want the truth.  But sometimes being brutally blunt is not the best way to present it, especially to someone who is grieving.

By no means am I saying that only widows and widowers can comfort and encourage widows and widowers, though they are the best qualified because they actually do understand. As Christians, we are ALL of us called to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, New King James)  I only ask that you think before you speak.  Try to put yourself in our place…how would you want to be encouraged and comforted?  What would you find most helpful?  I hope I have not discouraged anyone from reaching out to comfort and encourage a grieving friend. Instead, I hope I have been able to give you some insights so that you will now know how to be much more effective and helpful. Believe me…your friends will thank you!  🙂

I don’t know.  Maybe I was just in the wrong frame of mind when reading my friend’s email.  It’s nearly six months since my dear Brian’s passing and I must say that the bulk of the encouragement and comfort I have received from friends has been positive and affirming! Thank you to ALL my friends for your love, concern, and support…it has not gone unnoticed by me, nor by the One who will reward your loving efforts. God is good!

Together in Christ,

Diana

P.S.  Have you any stories or comments you would like to share about well-meaning friends’ words of ‘encouragement’, or something you were given that really helped you during a time of need or grief, or how the Lord has used you to be a friend to someone in need?  Any insights you would like to share?