I love that, Teresa! Your example will be a relief to many widows who are dreading Christmas this year. It's OK to take a break from tradition; what's important is to do what works for you. What else can you tell us about this path? What advice do you have for widows in general, or especially for new widows?
I'd have to say, Get connected with other widows through your church or other organization as soon as possible. There is something comforting and healing about being surrounded by those who have suffered in the same manner. Those experiencing grief need to see that others have experienced similar things and have lived through it. In fact, people go on to thrive, not just survive. The Scripture says very plainly, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). In other words, any situation you find yourself in is not only experienced by others, but it is a common experience.
Let me gently say this: It takes a life time. You never stop loving your husband and even in his absence, he never stops being a part of your life (or who you are) whether or not you remarry. But the good news is that as time goes by the sting of death becomes less harsh and the happy memories bring peace and wash away the pain.
How did you begin to grow through your own grief, Teresa?
I used to think that it was when I finally discovered the widows before me who survived it. Not only the widows of the Bible, but rather, real life, modern day widows who were brave enough to write books about their journeys and to even start blogs and support groups on the Internet. Before then I was just making it by. But now, I see how that was just the beginning and that the real growth began when I launched The Widows’ Voice in April (just seven short months ago).
The Widows' Voice is a wonderful example of how God works. Sort of like how when we lose our life we find it; when we give of ourselves God restores us over and over again. I'm so glad you were able to begin that broadcast, and I'm so thankful for the church, your guest-hosts Elease Patterson and Cleora Fortson, and the many other people behind the scenes who make it a reality each week.
As you minister to widows through your church and through your radio show, what steps have you found are effective for a widow to begin to rebuild her life?
- First and foremost, focus on what matters; taking care of yourself and making sure you stay healthy.
- Don’t worry so much about who calls and who doesn’t, who visits and who doesn’t. I believe that is nothing more than a distraction engineered to keep you from healing through your grief.
- Let go of those old relationships and create new ones (I had to do that twice; after the accident and after he died). Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
- Instead of waiting around for someone to invite you out, meet new people and invite them out; be assertive (even if it hurts)!
- Every week, make it a point to try something new, something you have never tried before or something you have always wanted to do but never got around to it.
In five years from now, if anything were possible, what would you like to be doing?
I would love to be in full-time ministry and remarried.
That's so cool! A measurable goal! :) May the Lord grant you favor and the desires of your heart Teresa! I hope you'll keep me posted with the good things He brings along your way in the next few years. God bless you for all you've shared with us today, and I hope you have a very special Christmas Day full of rest and relaxation and that famous mac n' cheese.
Everyone, please tune in today:
This week on The Widows' Voice -