Tag Archive | New King James Version

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Brian!

A Christmas and New Year’s Letter To My Husband On My Birthday, January 3rd:

Just a tad late, but Merry Christmas, Sweetheart!  And Happy New Year, too!  Oh, how I miss you!  Do you ever get the chance or desire to think of me, or to look out from Heaven and see me, hear me,  listen to me?  Do you know how very much I still love you and miss you?  Do you know it was Christmas-time last week?  What’s it like seeing face to face the One Whose birth we  celebrated here on Earth?  What’s it like being with Him continually?

This has been a rough holiday season for me, my love.  I am writing with tears streaming down my face.  I had SO hoped to be spending these holidays with you this year.  You were the answer to my many-years-long prayer for a husband, lover, partner, friend, and soulmate.  You were the love of my life.  Why did you have to go?  I participated in my church’s Christmas Choir again this year.  Did you see and hear me?  I didn’t enjoy it, but only because I was missing you so very much.  I was in a room filled with people…yet I felt so very lonely and sad.  I would have given anything to be able to go back in time and be with you as I was last year, though our being together consisted only of phone and internet contact at this point, Christmas-time 2010.

The 1-year anniversary of you proposing to me was a few days ago!  Remember?  December 30th.  You were so very sick and suffering from not being able to receive the desperately needed care from your VA docs. Their indifference is unconscionable!  I hold them all responsible for your decline and passing.  Yes, I  understand that God is and was in total control.  But I don’t understand why it all had to happen as it did and I’m venting.  When it gets too much for me, I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:5 & 6 – “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”  Yes, I still prefer the old King James, though I’m warming up to the New King James version…lol!  It’s difficult, but I’m learning to trust our Heavenly Father when He doesn’t make sense to me.  You know how hard this is for me, Sweetheart.

Do you know it’s my birthday today?  Nothing special was done…just another day…(sigh)  You were supposed to spend it with me last year, remember?  You were going to come down south for the winter and spend it with friends in the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area.  We were finally going to spend some ‘in person’ time together and get better acquainted.  (Truth be told, I think you were going to propose!)  You were going to take me to Catalina in the new sailboat you’d been given!  That would have been the very first time I’d ever been sailing!  Still waiting for that first time.  But instead, you were in the hospital, gravely ill, and we spent it on the phone, which was fine with me…I was still spending it doing what I loved doing with you – talking and listening to you!

Brian, December has been a very hard month for me, and I’m sorry to say that I let myself be tripped up by the ‘why me?’, ‘why did God do this to me?’, ‘God must not want me to ever have any happiness’, syndrome.  I’m sorry.  This isn’t what I learned or experienced with you.  You never let yourself fall prey to this type of attitude.  And if you did, you got yourself out of that pit FAST!  But I so miss you!  I miss talking with you, talking about our Heavenly Father and studying the Word with you, listening to you tell me stories about your life.  Remember how we could talk for hours and it felt like only a little while had passed?  Remember how hard it was to end our conversations?  Remember how much fun we had just talking and sharing with one another?  Remember how you introduced me to the ‘Left Behind’ movie series?  We had a couple of movie dates and ‘watched’ them over the phone together.  I loved it!  Oh, how I miss this!

I went to visit your earthly resting place on Christmas Day and today on my birthday.  Remembering that your favorite color is blue, I left you some Irises as a Christmas present.  Though more violet, they were the bluest flower I could find.  Blue has become my favorite color, too…:)  I don’t like where you were placed.  It’s so dry and dusty because they’ve yet to plant sod so I end up kneeling in the dirt which is hard, rocky, and uncomfortable.  Had I been given a choice, I certainly wouldn’t have picked that part of the cemetery.  I’d have chosen a place with trees and grass.  But you’re in Heaven now and are enjoying trees and grass and water in abundance and purity!

Brian, I sometimes wonder if our whole relationship was real or if I dreamt it.  But I see our wedding pics and my brother confirms that he was there to take them.  I often wonder if what I remember experiencing of you, with you, was real or if I’m remembering it all, and you, better than it actually was.  I know that once someone is gone we have a tendency to forget their faults, forget the bad, and remember them far better than they really were.  I ask and wonder because when I hear some women speak of their husbands and marriages it’s sometimes with disdain, contempt, frustration and anguish at the lack of communication, the lack of understanding, the lack of cooperation, the lack of thoughtfulness, the lack of love.  Some of these marriages are rather strained and some are even falling apart.  But our experience was quite different.  Oh, we got on each other’s nerves from time to time, but by the grace of God, we didn’t lose respect for one another.  I believe this makes a BIG difference when it comes to spousal conflict.

Sweetheart, the total sum of our relationship, from first meeting, to friendship, to courtship, to marriage, was a total of fourteen months.  It would have been much longer if ‘someone’ had been able to tell me how they felt about me early on…ahem…:)  Yet never in that time did I experience with you the agonies and aggravations that other women speak of.  We did get on one another’s nerves a few times, remember?  LOL!  But you put me so at ease when you lovingly told me, ‘That’s ok…I’ve allowed for this.  I knew we were going to have difficulties learning to communicate with one another and I allowed for this.’  It also bugged you that I didn’t want to make multiple trips when tidying up, so I would load up my arms with all the stuff that needed to be put away so I would just make ONE trip across the room.  You couldn’t see the sense in my logic and I couldn’t see the sense in your logic…but it sure bugged you to see me with my hands full of stuff to put away…lol!  However, we always sought to understand the other’s point of view and not belittle.  Brian, I really wanted to understand why my need to make as few trips across the room as possible bugged you so much…but we weren’t given the time.

You were also interested in what I was thinking, what I was feeling, always.  I remember you telling me when I marveled and told you how much I appreciated this, “Well, when you love somebody, you should be interested in what they’re thinking and feeling.”  To you, this was simply common sense.  Wow!  You’d really been doing your homework, Brian!

When you knew I had something on my mind and heart that I was having difficulty expressing, you would firmly, but kindly, ask and say to me, ‘What is it?  Talk to me.  Just spit it out.’  That would give me the courage and confidence to say what I had to say.  And you always seemed to know when something was troubling me, no matter how hard I tried to hide it.  How intuitive you were!  Brian, when I hear some women speak of their husbands and marriages, even Christians who have been married far longer than we were, I marvel that there are still struggles with communication, verbal intimacy, thoughtlessness, household duties, self-centeredness, even infidelity.  And in some cases, the struggles aren’t lessening the longer they’re married.

Only God knows what you and I would have struggled with later in our marriage had He let you live.  But I think we had an advantage that precluded, and would have continued to prevent, many of these struggles:  We both had studied, for a long time, how to have Godly relationships and Godly marriages.  We both had studied about male/female thinking, behaviors, needs, why we think, feel, and behave as we do, why we see things so differently from one another, why we need what we need, and learning how and why God made us as He did.  In learning these things, we gained an understanding and appreciation for those differences.  We learned that the differences were designed by God Himself with specific purposes in mind and were not intended to frustrate.  We learned that our differences are not weaknesses or liabilities, but strengths to be used to help and support one another.

We also learned about love.  I thought I knew what love is, until the Lord began teaching me.  Love isn’t about getting our own personal needs met.  It’s not about ME.  It’s about the other person.  Love serves and sees no shame, degradation, or humiliation in serving.  When God began to work this into my heart, my whole understanding about marriage and relationships was dramatically transformed!  My eyes and heart were opened and I longed ‘to serve.’  Not as a slave, not as having no identity of my own.  But as Christ came to serve.  God, in human form, came TO SERVE the humanity He created!  The Almighty GOD is a ‘servant’ God and Father!  Not a genie, but as a loving parent ‘serves’ their children, doing always what is in their best interest, meeting their ‘needs,’ so He does with those called by His name!  Brian, in putting you, your needs, your feelings before myself, I found such joy and happiness that I’d never experienced before!  And in so doing, I found my own needs being met completely!  Brian, I know you must have learned the same, because you behaved as a loving servant to me!  Why, oh why, is this so hard for people to understand?  They don’t realize what happiness, peace, joy, and love they’re missing out on!

Brian, I’m not trying to say that we had it all together and would never have had any difficulties.  We’re both hard-headed, as you kept reminding me…lol!   Oh sure, we would have continued to get on each other’s nerves now and then as we learned to live with one another and as we would have to deal with life’s curve balls and frustrations…that’s just life in an imperfect world.  And I’m sure at times we would have made mistakes, been in bad moods, reacted harshly or impatiently with one another, spoken in anger to one another.  Again, this is just life in an imperfect world with two imperfect people trying to build a life together.  Like you said, it’s to be expected.  But as long as we each kept the Lord FIRST in our lives, kept Him at the center of our marriage, as long as we maintained respect and a servant’s heart for one another, as long as we could humble ourselves and  say, ‘I’m sorry,’ I believe God would have helped us and blessed us with a happy union…:)  And Sweetheart, you were definitely a man of God.  HE was most certainly FIRST and foremost in your life…and this makes a huge difference!

Thank you, my friends, for allowing me to indulge myself some.  I hope I’ve not bored you all while I ‘talked’ with my dear husband.  I hope there was something that you could glean that would be of some help or encouragement to you.  Truly, I’d been wondering if I was remembering correctly as I’d been hearing of such troubled marriages.  I needed to talk things through and make sure.  I’m now certain that I am remembering truthfully and correctly…to God be the glory!

Brian, thank you, my love, for being the man I longed and prayed for.  You know, your former pastor, Pastor Glen, once told me, “You got hold of a good man.”  Dearest Father, thank You for the gift of ‘a good man.’  Short though it was, thank You for the gift of a loving marriage!  Could You do so again?  🙂

Happy New Year, my friends!  May the Lord bless you richly in this new year.  May He guide you to experience ‘joy in the sorrow.’  And when He does, may you encourage others!

Together in Christ,



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,


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?

What I’m About

Apple BlossomsHello…I’m new to blogging, so please bear with me as I learn.

My name is Diana Hogan. I’m a recent widow, just 5-1/2 months.  It was suggested to me to create a blog and document this journey as a way to not only help myself heal, but to help others, men and women, that are going through the same lonely journey, wondering if anyone knows or cares or understands what it is they’re experiencing.  Please let me assure you that you are NOT crazy…the pain and the emptiness you feel are very real.  You are literally missing a part of yourself!  Let no one tell you that it is time to move on or to stop grieving…only God and you will know when this time comes.  I am open to any thoughts and experiences, or encouragement you are willing to share.  Together, we can help each other through this ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death’, and learn to not merely survive the journey, but to thrive during and because of the journey.

I must tell you upfront that I am a Christian.  Everything I will be sharing will come through the filter of my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without HIM, I can do nothing.  Without HIM, I would have checked out of this life long before now.  HE is my hope!

It is my hope and prayer that through our sharing with one another we will enter into a stronger and deeper, more intimate knowledge and relationship with the Almighty, thus allowing Him to heal our broken hearts and wounded spirits.  It is my hope and prayer that we will find God faithful and Someone Who is completely trustworthy, even when it looks and feels like He is nowhere to be found.  Yes, I have felt like this, and still do sometimes as I journey alone.  That is when I have to set my course by faith, or by instruments, as a sailor would say.  Sometimes on foggy nights, when a sailor can’t see the familiar celestial bodies in the sky that have always been his help, he must rely on his instruments to guide him.  So in our life journeys, when our tears and the fog of our sorrow seem to have obliterated God from our sight and our life, we must rely on His Word, on God that cannot lie, to see us through!

I’ll be back with my first official post soon.  I look forward to the new friends I hope to make on this journey!

Together in Christ,