Have you experienced that feeling when you don’t want to wake up but continue sleeping and dreaming the wonderful dream you had? When you don’t want to wake up to the painful reality of a tragic loss that shattered your heart to a thousand pieces and turned your life upside down?
I have often had such mornings since the unexpected loss of my husband. Throughout the days, more losses would stare at my face. A memory on Facebook would pop up and make my stomach tighten in a knot. Or I would get an email demanding a decision from me in an area where I would need advice. My husband was the first person to turn to, to share a problem and ask for help.
One day, I cried in utter despair to the Lord.
“Lord, it is too much to bear. I feel abandoned and alone. I can’t understand why my husband needed to die. Losing him threw me into the depths of a black ocean and the waters closed above me. I can’t recognize my life anymore. I don’t like and don’t want this new life. I am like a tree, cut down, with the trunk being a large, open wound.”
As I curled in my bed, the Lord started talking gently to my heart, bringing memories, images, and imprints of comfort and understanding.
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“My child, do you remember how Thomas came into your life? Do you know how unlikely it was for you two to meet because you lived in two different countries and spoke different languages? Yet, I did what you could not do for you and blessed you with a faithful, caring, and loving husband like him. I can do this again.”
“Yes, Lord. Thomas and his love were a gift. Thank you for this precious gift.”
I uttered these words and I could see a strip of light in my darkness.
I could hear birds singing outside, freely, carelessly, with pure joy.
“Do you remember how I took care of every detail and every need following Thomas’ death when pain and confusion paralyzed you? I sent people to your aid. I never left you alone to deal with all the overwhelming tasks and problems. I can and will do this again.”
“Yes, Lord. I am grateful for your perfect provision. Help me look to you and your ability to use creatively and providentially just anybody: the likely ones and the less likely ones, the close ones and the distant ones, to show me your love in tangible ways.” I opened the curtains of my bedroom and sunlight rushed in, making everything look different.
“Do you remember all the messages of love and comfort I keep sending you every day? I give your soul the food it needs to stay strong and endure this grief journey. Every day I pack carefully prepared and selected words of hope and encouragement and send them through different channels: on social media, in your inbox, and through the words of your friends and relatives. I sing over you with the breathtaking beauty of the evening sky, the blossoms of the trees, and the joyful sounds of the birds.”
“Yes, Lord. Thank you for your constant presence and reassurance. I am thankful for the messages of love and encouragement that sustain me every day.” I breathed deeply, and as the air filled my lungs with fresh oxygen, the fog of despair covering my soul dispersed.
The Lord continued to whisper to my heart.
“You can rest in my eternal arms. They will never drop you, nor lose their grip on you. You are not alone on this journey of loss and grief. I am your faithful companion and the ultimate listener who listens to your heart. This is not the end of your life, nor the end of your story. It is just a season. I have a future for you. And we will walk into it together.”
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“Yes, Lord. Thank you for always being with me, and never leaving my side. Knowing you and resting in your love is truly the greatest blessing. Your plans are always good and your ways are always higher. Even when I don’t understand, I choose to trust you with my loss and grief. Open my eyes to see all the blessings you put on my way every day and enable me to take hold of them.” With surprise, I felt my lips curl into a smile and my shoulders lift.
The loss I experienced will forever change me. I will never be the same person again. But I choose to believe that this loss will shake me into new, more positive ways of thinking, relating, and living.