I am more aware of the value of love than ever before. God created us in love and His love flows in us and through us. Love was the foundation of my life with my husband. Love is the infrastructure I can use as my catalyst to find healing and live with purpose moving forward.
I was blessed with a very special gift when my husband chose to make me his wife. He chose to love me in spite of my flaws, shortcomings, ignorance, and endless mistakes. We entered a sacred covenant when we married. We chose to say I love you to each other every day… every day for nearly 37 years. We made the choice to honor our commitment to each other.
We worked hard to learn to find ways to communicate with each other until we could hear with our hearts and understand even if the words we were trying to express fell short. I didn’t need to choose my words carefully in fear of giving offence or being misunderstood. I knew he would listen and respond, giving his attention and time as long as necessary to ensure we both understood whatever the concern was. When we disagreed on something, we took time to discuss it until we could find a mutually agreeable solution… whether it was making a compromise or one of us choosing to come in alignment with the other and give up our own way.
Obviously, this required a lot of effort on both our parts. It took time to learn, and we made plenty of mistakes along the way. Most of the time, even after we found a rhythm to finesse this difficult dance, there would still be situations where we might need to broach a subject and then step back and each process it alone for a time before coming together again to see if we could make some progress together. This process might need to repeat multiple times before we reached a solution. We continued to choose to invest the time and effort because we loved each other very much. It was worth whatever sacrifice because the end result was beyond measure, and we cherished the blessings we reaped.
Our willingness to invest our time and effort as long as necessary because we loved each other so much was special. Love was the key ingredient that fueled our commitment. Love was the lifeblood of a relationship that was able to withstand and overcome life’s hardships, tragedies, challenges, and seemingly impossible situations. Love was also the salve of healing, the spark that ignited exploding joy and celebration, and the comforting and peaceful tenderness of feeling secure and accepted in each other’s arms. It was a deep love I now wish I had to help me heal as I am forced to mourn this loss… a cavernous hole in my heart where his love, presence and ability to see and hear me suddenly disappeared.
This is what I miss. It is so hard to explain to someone who doesn’t understand what being a widow is. It is why I cringe when someone tells me I just need to move on. It’s why it hurts so much when someone tells me I’m just being selfish because the tears escape down my cheeks when memories and special days trigger emotions without warning. It’s a huge part of the loss that can’t be captured and encapsulated so it can be put in an appropriate place out of sight from the world that doesn’t want to remember.
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 The Passion Translation
God created us so we could be in relationship with Him and with each other. The Bible teaches us the importance of love. God is love. He loves us completely and desires us to love each other. His essence and a core aspect of God’s character is love. He created us in His image, and this means we can let love be the foundation of our character and the guide we use to direct the way we choose to live. In fact, the laws God gave us are to help us love the way He intends us to and to love Him.
For all the law can be summarized in one grand statement: “Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.”
Where would we be without the love of God? I know for me I would not be able to navigate this season of my life. I need God’s love and care more than ever. Since my husband went home to heaven I’ve been inundated with challenges and trials that seek to utterly destroy my life. God keeps meeting me and standing with me in each battle. He keeps showing up and patiently reminds me I am not alone… no matter what I feel. He doesn’t get offended at my doubts, shortcomings, or failures. He is gentle and consistently kind to me, sending blessings in unexpected ways when He knows I need them the most. He is teaching me love still exists even though my earthly love is no longer here with me. God is my safe place of shelter no matter what is happening in this world.
God continues to teach me even more aspects of love. It’s like a diamond cut with a myriad of facets where each facet reflects another dimension and attribute of real love. He is teaching me we all have infinite worth and value. He created us with our own unique purpose and when we pursue and fulfill our God-given purpose, we are demonstrating our love for Him and each other.
Living a Christian life is not primarily about an escape plan into an amazing afterlife, where we receive a reward for trudging through an earthly life of drudgery. Yes, heaven is our glorious hope, the confidence we have knowing we are only separated from our husband and loved ones who go before us as long as we remain alive here on earth.
God created us to live an abundant and fulfilling life in Christ right now. The eternal life our heart longs for begins here. In Jesus, we are empowered to discover daily life is meaningful. Do you remember what it was like when you first fell in love with your husband? The world felt fresh and fragrant, filled with wonders and delights we may have overlooked before. Love magnifies the essence of the small things, revealing hidden beauty and meaning. Love is the core of God’s creation. It’s like a flower we cultivate and nourish that produces a miraculous and glorious bloom that sparks delight and hope that in turn feeds new love blossoms in its wake.
The power to move forward and live a satisfying and productive life after a deep personal loss can only be found in Jesus. We choose to keep loving God and each other. We remember to be thankful, find the motivation to be generous, and the enthusiasm to love our family and friends we still have here who need us. In Jesus, we find purpose behind our pain and significance for even the mundane tasks of daily living. We choose life and that more abundantly.
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
Even though the Lord may allow me to go through a season of hardship and difficulty, He Himself will be there with me. He will not hide Himself from me, for my eyes will constantly see Him as my Teacher. When I turn to the right or turn to the left, I will hear His voice behind me to guide me, saying, “This is the right path; follow it.
Isaiah 30: 20-21
I pray with great faith, because I’m fully convinced the One who began this gracious work in me will faithfully continue the process of maturing me until the unveiling of my Lord Jesus Christ!
Philippians 1: 6