Obviously, many people experience grief, but only a widow (or widower) experiences widowhood. Do you think the grief of widowhood is different than grief in general?
I sure do! A major difference I've observed (and personally experienced) is that while people grieve over losing a loved one, and grieve deeply, when that loved one was your spouse you are left with the task of not only grieving but also the task of rebuilding your life in a major way.
I'm going to let that sink in a bit.
Do you agree? Do you face an unknown future? Have your plans and dreams pretty much turned to ash? Do you feel lost and like half of you is missing? Do you wonder what next step to take? When we have to deal with any of these questions, it's because we need to begin to rebuild.
Now that's a huge topic, and differs widely amongst widows, but I've found an Old Testament man who could show us a thing or two about starting over. If you feel far from home, surrounded by possible dangers, unwelcomed, or overwhelmed at times, read on about this guy named Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was far from home, exiled to the land of Babylon, employed as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. When he heard how Jerusalem was trampled and the walls needed to be rebuilt, his heart broke. He bravely requested leave of the king to serve his homeland.
Miraculously, the king granted leave to Nehemiah, and he traveled hundreds of miles to Jerusalem at great cost.
But did he receive a warm welcome when he arrived carrying his building supplies? No! Enemies of Jerusalem stirred up conspiracies of jealousy and murder threats. Nehemiah's every step became complicated, every move was subject to sabotage.
Do you ever have days like that? Some widows come close when employers try to weasel them out of due benefits, or relatives circle the estate like sharks. For others, health problems, bills, a washing machine overflow, car repairs, or the kids getting sassy and disrespectful are problems enough to relate to Nehemiah. Does it seem like the cares of life are cresting against you, too?
Here was Nehemiah’s solution: “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh. 4:9)
I’m reminded that whether we’re rebuilding walls, or rebuilding a life after loss, we, too, have enemies.
“Guard your hearts” says Proverbs 4:23 in agreement with Nehemiah.
When you are occupied and concentrating on the good work of rebuilding, like Nehemiah, you need to post a guard. Ask your family, church family, friends, neighbors, widows group, pastors, etc to help guard you with their prayers and watchfulness. You're not asking for rescue, you're only asking them to stay alert for you, to faithfully pray for you like they were your personal bodyguard, and to let you know when they see dangers, threats, and things that ought not to be in your life. Is that too much to ask? You have enough to do with rebuilding! But be a guard for your own widowed friends while they, too, rebuild.
Be alert and keep rebuilding. Do you have some examples, questions, ideas or suggestions about guarding and rebuilding? Let's talk about this more with your comments today.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1-3