Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Choices Are The Key To Getting Through This

Dear Readers,
When Bruce died, part of me died, too.

I don't think people realize that when God declared in Gen. 2:24 that "the two will become one," God meant it! But if two become one, what happens when half of that body is cut off?

Widowhood is one of life's hardest challenges. To me it felt like I was cut in half; like I was laying on an ambulance gurney, in shock, helpless and bleeding to death. "Oh God, how could you do this to me?" I cried.

But today as I look back I can honestly say with the writer of "Amazing Grace," . . . I once was lost, but now am found . . . So let me assure of you this: the pain won't last forever. I'm not writing this blog because I'm still grieving; I write it as a sacred privilege and trust God has given me to serve and touch you, to tell you that God loves you and tenderly intends for your immense beauty, strength, resilience and character to push up from these ashes, to grow and bloom in a unique and wonderful way. When you're ready, as God gently nudges you along in your own time, I think you'll learn what I've learned about survival and happiness: it's all about choices, even though they're very hard choices.

So as I lay on that figurative gurney, feeling like a person cut in half, I had to work through a difficult decision: it could either be a gurney where I was a trauma victim, or it could be an altar of sacrifice as in Romans 12:1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

There was no changing the fact that I was a widow, but as a new widow, I could choose to be a helpless victim or--perhaps scarier-- I could choose to present myself to God as a living sacrifice, according to Ro. 12:1. The problem with a living sacrifice, however, was my ability to scramble off the altar! It was hard to allow God to have His way! But over and over again, that's what it boiled down to. I would have preferred my own death, but God was asking me to live; to live without my husband. I finally made the choice to say "OK." That's the best I could muster--OK. Not a single hip hip hooray. But that's all God asks--simple surrender.

Have you made that choice yet? It's a huge struggle, and a long wrestling match made up of many rounds. But sooner or later, in my opinion, there comes a day when you score enough little victories--enough little OK Lord's-- that the outcome is clearly in your favor. Life gets a little easier because you've become a little stronger; you grow, you become whole, a new life begins. It's pretty amazing!

Today I still make choices. The past few years have brought me days of huge grief, struggles, and challenges I never thought imaginable even though I'm now remarried. On those days I always have the choice of crumpling, of giving up in despair, of kicking myself and saying "if only I'd done this or that," or "if only Bruce hadn't died . . ." but I've learned some techniques that I fall back on to help with my choices.

1. When I'm broken, crippled or paralyzed I ask my friends to carry me to Jesus (Luke 2:4,5). I don't expect them to read my mind or sense my pain, I let them know; and they do the same with me.
2. When I can't pray, I do it anyway. But not with my own words because when I can't pray, I literally can't pray-- I have no words. At times like that you're down to the bone and the simplest becomes the most profound: I read the Lords Prayer (Mt. 6:9-13 KJV)-- out loud if I have to-- thinking about each word and phrase; I do so until I understand that the Spirit intercedes for me with groanings (Romans 8:26) that are beyond words.
3. I ask myself a series of questions that bring me back to reality:
  • does God love me?
  • does God know about this horrible situation?
  • is God in control?
  • is God with me?
No matter what my says to the contrary, the true answer to each of those questions is yes.
  • Yes, God loves me.
  • Yes, God knows.
  • Yes, God is in control.
  • Yes, God is with me.
The reality is this: Jesus wins, God is an expert at resurrections and raising new life, and my life story isn't finished yet.

And then I take a big breath, take a look at my story in light of eternity, and you know what? It's a pretty cool ride. Bruce is safe and secure, he still loves me. I think he cheers me on. And I'm not on a hospital guerney, it's altar and it has wheels; God's the driver, He never fails or makes mistakes.
I wanted to die, but He's made me whole. ferree


  1. Beautiful, Ferree! Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Hi, Ferree,

    Your post today on Choices really spoke to me. I appreciate your honesty, your transparency, and you sharing your journey from ashes to beauty after widowhood. The scriptures, the metaphorical examples, and the techniques will be most valuable as I begin my second year after losing my dear husband. Sandy E.

  3. Ferree, your words are beautiful and your message so very helpful for me to take in and think about. Scriptures provide comfort and direction during times of feeling alone.

  4. Thank you all for your kind words, and I'm so thankful to God for His wonderful and all sufficient guidebook for life. hugs to you all!


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