God’s been writing our story from the beginning. He knew who we are when He created us. Our story doesn’t end when we fall in the potholes of life that seem to manage to deflate our tires, wreak havoc on the alignment system, or even when they manage to break the axle. Even when the pothole is more like a crater that seems to swallow us whole, the key to healing and success is trusting God to fix it.
It is the Lord who directs your life, for each step you take is ordained by God to bring you closer to your destiny. So much of your life, then, remains a mystery! Proverbs 20: 24
When we let God tend the garden of our heart, He gently plants the seeds of His gifts to equip us to stand strong in the storms. We all face different kinds of storms in this life. We can absorb the water we need and hold on to Him as He holds us so we don’t get blown away or blown apart. No matter how shattered our heart feels when we lose our beloved husband, God is not only able… He loves us so much He desires to come in… to repair and heal our brokenness through and after the storm.
This war is a battle for the control of your heart, and whatever functionally rules your heart will then shape the way you see life and your desires, and it will control your words and behavior. ― Paul David Tripp
Widows suffered a loss that eventually leads us to examine our lives as we try to figure out what life is going to look like without our husband. Especially when we spent a significant part of our life with our husband, it can be really hard to see and understand what this new life alone is going to be like.
I argue that moments of suffering are always transformational in some way. No one ever comes out of the unexpected, the unwanted, the difficult and the discouraging unchanged. What you suffer will change you. You will not rise out of tragedy the way you were before it overtook you. – Paul David Tripp
How you think about grief or suffering will impact how you deal with it. It’s important to know you have a choice here. How do you want this emotional and unpredictable challenge to impact you?
Will you allow it to leave you angry, doubtful, self-protective, cynical, or bitter? Your feelings are very powerful when you have your life turned upside down and inside out. You might feel forsaken and cheated. Your dreams are dashed to pieces and the most important person in your life is no longer here to help you through this crisis.
We take spiritual and emotional scars into every situation and relationship as we continue our life journey. We may not see it or be willing to admit it, but tragedies, failures, adversity and hardship forever change us. For many the results are tragic.
Your suffering is not a sign that you’ve been forsaken; rather, it’s a sign that you live in a world that doesn’t function the way God intended and is in need of complete renewal. ― Paul David Tripp
This is why we need to lean in to our relationship with Father God… especially in the difficult seasons we go through in this life. We live in a fallen and broken world. The suffering we see here is a result of sin. The good news is we don’t have to give in to the suffering.
If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, He will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in His hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure. And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who called you to share in His eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, He will set you firmly in place and build you up. And He has all the power needed to do this —forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5: 6-11
What would a better choice be? We can choose to let our suffering form in us new and beautiful things, things that grow only from the soil of difficulty. Our garden can bring forth beautiful wildflowers that stand up to adversity and blossom with such beautiful colors, fragrances and diversity they can encourage a smile from the grumpiest Scrooge.
We can choose to let suffering empower us. We can let our grief be a catalyst to not only to renew our hope but to transform it. It can give us a fresh type of strength unrelated to our gifts, health, power, or position. How can that be, you might ask? Let’s look at it with a new lens.
There’s gold in every piece of your story.
The Japanese use an art technique called kintsugi to repair something broken with gold. A gold lacquer is mixed with a few scoops of rice flour to make an adhesive. The broken shards of the bowl are carefully attached together with the glue. They believe when broken items are repaired with gold like this, the flaw makes the piece special because there is nothing else like it. The uniqueness adds to its beauty. They comprehend a deeper understanding how the object is more beautiful because it has been broken.
Like the art of kintsugi, God repairs the brokenness in our lives and makes us more beautiful through the process. The gold He pours into the broken spaces and uses to glue back together the shattered pieces of our hearts creates a beautiful mosaic. You can emerge from the trials that can break us, standing tall and strong and let your light shine as a beacon of hope to other widows. Finding your gold becomes part of your story moving forward.
He heals the wounds of every shattered heart. Psalm 147: 3
Suffering has the power to help us see things we were completely blind to but didn’t know it. Struggling through difficult situations can bless us with a deep joy unrelated to what we felt when life was easy and old relationships were intact. The anguish of heartache has the potential to turn our timidity into courage and doubt into certainty. Hardship can turn envy into contentment and complaint into praise. It can transform us to be tender and approachable, to replace subtle rebellion with joyful surrender. Brokenness can motivate us to form beautiful things in our heart to reform the way we live. It has incredible power to be a tool of transforming grace.
Yes, there will be hills to climb, and it will take as much time as it takes. We all go through times when we take a few steps forward only to sometimes take a step or two back. That’s perfectly alright. Each journey is unique and special. Keep pressing forward and remember every step is part of a wonderful destiny to fulfill, not a journey to endure. The higher we climb the more magnificent the view before us becomes. Be patient and kind to yourself.
I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.
Philippians 3: 13-16
Patience is having the courage to endure waiting without losing hope. The gold and the silver are God’s. You are more precious to God than gold. As you stand in the midst of great pressure and uncertainty, let it awaken a desire to be ready to let go of the old to pick up the new. Let God pour out a fresh vision to move forward in. Allow your heart that once felt numb and broken begin to feel the fresh sunrise breaking through. May God help us all find new strength and vision moving forward as we lean on God to show us how to turn the grunting of grief into living with passion and purpose.
Refining: process to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing and make it elegant or cultured.
Our husband is gone, and little parts of us are gone too. We can’t change that, and we don’t want to. He is precious to us and always will be. Again, we can adjust our vision and realize the opposite is also true: as long as we are here, he remains. He lives in us in our heart. He exists in all of our little everyday habits that were once his and became ours. We remember him in the whiffs of fragrance, the lyrics and melodies of music, the sounds and celebrations of life we shared.
Let this be a comfort to you as you can. It does take time. In the meanwhile, don’t let anyone or anything pressure you to move on. That is not possible. Choose to move forward, knowing you will be carrying him with you all the way.
We always have a choice. Choices have consequences, both good and bad. There are always treasures to find when we look for the gold even in the hard things life throws at us. Let’s take responsibility for our lives. Looking at a pearl in a museum is not the same as going out and finding it yourself. It takes faith to believe it is out there and go find it. It’s only when we quest with an open heart, and allow God to lead us safely forward, we find treasures more precious than gold and pearls. Trusting Him with every need and hurt strengthens us to overcome the difficulties of the world and thrive.