To be honest the words are not flowing as I wanted today. I am in a battle. I see casualties strewn across this vast field of grief. My knees worn from praying for peace and my armor is dented from so many blows to the heart. Today my standing looks more like laying flat on the floor, huddled in the mud and wondering if the sun will come out.
We widows have many battles in this journey, and as many victories if we look at even the small steps we take each day. Though I struggle with words today I am feeing compelled to write through this battle and hope you don’t mind joining me on the front. It could get ugly, but I pray its victories are like a light cutting through the darkness.
There’s not one of us untouched by battle. We all have them and we all receive terribly painful wounds and wear deep scars. The widow’s battle fronts are vast and many. You and I often walk the battlefield with careful steps, wanting our strength to be what others see… not our weakness. So… we put on our armor each morning and pray we have the strength to be super heroes to our kids, super women to our friends and sisters. But in our heart, we feel like small children wishing someone would be our super hero instead. Though we are never alone, we sure do feel that we are on these devastatingly painful battlefields.
Here we are, armed to the gills, sword raised and knees knocking…. facing down the darkest night and all manner of pain in our primary loss as well as our many secondary losses. I hope you don’t mind this walking tour of my battlefront.
My front today…. being single mama. I walk a fine line between what is grief and what must be parented as I always did. I have come to this conclusion… is it something they were characterized by before their dad’s passing, then I must handle as such. Or is it new behavior? Then I handle with extra care. Is it hurting them or others, then handle it as I once did. Or is it crying out in the depth of loss? Then I must be tender and make healthy boundaries. Sigh… such a hard battlefield. It often seems as if they are the enemy, as they come at you in hatred and anger, in defiance and disrespect and in words that are sharp as a sword’s well- sharpened blade. This mama stands fully armed, at first I took the hits as I felt they needed to express their grief, it was so powerfully deep. As my sword took another hit and my armor was becoming so heavy, I sat on my bathroom floor, locked in, crying out to the God I have come to lean upon. As a temper’s storm raged in a room above me, I sat and reached out to a widow sister and asked for her prayers. Today… there is a shift in strategy. This warrior mama needed a fellow warrior widow sister to point out the hits were not necessary, the undue wounding was not healthy and their manner of expression was plain wrong. I now stand on the edge of this battlefield looking out across the vast expanse, wondering at the outcome. We all do I suppose, wonder where these many steps and all the battles will take us.
As a mama, I am here to tell you the victories may be invisible, but they are there. Look at one minute at a time. I took a stand today. That is a victory. I can love my girls and be firm even in their grief and it’s not wrong. My love for them is without question, so much so I would take the blows when I shouldn’t have. I stepped out and made this battle less private. A victory in itself. I invited you to look in to the rawest place I currently have… to walk with and help and even battle with, at times, grieving rebellious children. Another victory, as I am usually so very inward and private in such things. Though their grief is lashing out it’s ok to stand and say “enough.” I listened to wise counsel. These are my victories on the battle field. I didn’t want you to just think I’d bring you here to observe the ugliness of widowhood parenting battles. I wanted to also share the victories. I battled this morning as I sat at the computer to write and share here. I wasn’t sure if a battlefield was the place to take you all. But as I came to my knees last night in the greatest battle for my sweet girls yet, I felt God standing behind me. And when I looked into my child’s eyes it was as if I saw her anger back off. She wasn’t looking at me, but God in me. I had to share. In my weakness God was my strength. It is my belief that God promises to fight our battles, collect and treasure our tears, be our husband and our children’s Father. He is proving that to me on this battlefield. There was peace and and perspective as I sat upon the cold bathroom tiles. I stood and one day my sweet girl will see through the fog of her unhealthy battle strategies.
I wanted to share by way of encouragement. You’re not alone. You are strongest in the weakness you take to God. Don’t stop looking for victory.