Honesty, September 2015
Last week I returned from a wonderful beach vacation with four of my dearest friends....and their husbands. Last year we did it as a girl’s trip and this year they thought it would be nice to bring their husbands.
At first I readily agreed because I love these ladies and I want to encourage their marriages. As it drew closer, I must admit I became apprehensive about it and had moments I wanted to back out. I prayed that God would give me the strength for the week. I'm writing this to share what happened because it was so special.
The first couple days were just my best friend and her second husband. She was widowed ten years before I was and is now remarried. Her husband graciously allowed us a day to revisit many places we had visited together with our families fifteen years ago when life seemed carefree and neither of us could have imagined how much life would change.
Later, when the other three couples arrived, I could feel myself sinking. I cried myself to sleep that night and got up the next morning thinking I had made a huge mistake. When dinner plans were discussed they decided on a restaurant that has very scenic sunsets in what I would call a "romantic setting". Every cell in my body did not want to go there.
I pictured them taking couples photos with the sunset and just didn't think I could handle it. I decided I would just say I wasn't feeling well and skip it. But God had other plans. While I was crying out to him and praying about what to do I felt him telling me this: just be honest. I walked down to the beach where my friends were and told them I needed to be honest with them and shared why I felt I couldn't go.
I begged them to please go on without me. I knew I would be ok and didn't want to take that romantic time away from them. They were so grateful for my honesty, but then, they were honest with me. They said they would all rather not go than to have me miss it; the group wouldn't be the same without me.
Up until this point I really think I just saw myself as a 5th wheel and not a valued part of our group. We continued with a beautiful, heartfelt conversation, and in the end talking it through took the power out of it. I agreed to go. They said we would only do group pictures.
|Colleen (in blue) and friends|
I want to share what an amazing way God blessed all of us that night. We ate dinner to one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. It was simply breathtaking! We shared great conversation and lots of laughter. I went to bed that night feeling more loved than I have in a very long time.
I only share this to encourage you to be honest with the people that love you and to be honest with God about the hard places. Don't necessarily avoid being with couples but ask God to reveal himself to you and help you in those times.
Sadly, I hear from many widows that their couple relationships have all but disappeared. I think this is in part because couples don’t know how to handle a widow in their midst, but also because as widows it is a painful place to be and we often avoid those situations. Early on this avoidance is probably necessary for survival. However, as time goes on, spending time with couples can be a healthy thing.
Men can bring a helpful perspective to some areas of our life and couples can be a good example to us if we ever enter into a new relationship. It’s a 2-way street--
- couples have to choose to step into the trenches and be with us
- and we have to choose to sometimes put ourselves in painful situations.
The rest of the week went beautifully and that could have only been by the grace of God. I realized that the desire of my heart is to one-day remarry but that is in God's hand. I do know if God ever brings anyone into my life they will have to be approved by this precious group of friends.
I know there will still be hard moments ahead as I spend time with them: sometimes I'll still experience those painful little stabs to the heart as I long for what they have. But that is where I hang onto God tighter and enjoy the blessing of these friendships.