Monday, January 18, 2016

Joy? Happiness? Contentment? But This Is Widowhood! Are They Allowed?

Dear Reader,
On Mondays we cover grief topics, and today is no different. Can you imagine that Joy, Happiness and Contentment could be a part and product of the grieving process? Maybe you can see that, or maybe you say, "No way." In any case, here's part of a fascinating conversation my friend, Carol, hosted on her Facebook group. I originally posted it in 2012, but the topic is so timely. Please chime in with your comments too.

CAROL OK my friends--- Here goes! I am going to throw this out to you. Some will embrace it, some will throw it back, some will let it lie there until they are ready. I've been in prayer and talks with a couple of widow friends about this topic, and I think today is the day ---are you ready for it? JOY. HAPPINESS. CONTENTMENT.
We can have all of these things, even on this journey!! I cannot tell you how excited I felt the moment I realized (just a couple of months ago) that there was more to this. That maybe God had a bigger purpose.
Now, let me just say-- everyone's situation is different. Keep that in mind. But losing my husband is not the worse thing that could happen to me. There, I said it. The worst thing I can think of is NOT having an intimate relationship with the Lord; the worst thing would be standing before Him and hearing, “I know you not. What did you do with the talents I gave you?” No way; I do NOT want to hear that!
So I've been wondering, what IF God called me to this journey? Yep----what IF He ALLOWED all of this to happen because He has great plans for me? I loved my husband very much. I STILL miss him. I STILL shed tears over certain situations, but I've "learned to be content in whatever state I'm in." (Philippians 4:11-paraphrased)
Deciding to surrender the situation to the Lord, letting Him do the work He has started in me, and learning to be content---that was the hardest 3-step process I've ever done. But it worked! I'm so thankful to be on this journey! I'm so thankful that my relationship with the Lord is the best its ever been and I'm EXCITED about what He has in store for me!!

 
KELLY YES YES YES!!! I am here to say "AMEN" to all of that. The joy of the Lord never really left me after John died - I could go to church and fully worship and feel blessed. Happiness was elusive, however, but has returned. Contentment... now THAT is a biggie. But it returned to me as well.
I am sure it sounds almost blasphemous to agree with Carol in saying the death of my husband was not the worst thing that could happen to me. And I also agree with her when she says the worst thing would have been to lose or walk away from my relationship with Christ. He has to be my everything now - He has to guide my choices and my path. And I have to let Him.

 
MYRA  Amen, sister! I have tried to explain this to other people that are in a different place in their journeys, but they are not yet ready to hear it. You've got it, girl!
 
SANDY AMEN! My daughter-in-law and I were just talking about this very subject this morning! God is AWESOME! I cannot image my life without Christ; not only when Steve was killed, but also 5 months later when losing my mom. How anyone goes through these trials without God I just don't know! He IS my Rock and my Redeemer, my Savior and my friend!
I had someone I love dearly say I couldn't have loved Steve because I went on with my life. This absolutely crushed me. But I KNOW I love Steve and my life was complete with him. But God had a different plan for me. And I have gone on and I am content. IF God ever brings someone into my life then so be it. But if He chooses for me to be alone that's ok too. It will be two years on March 5th that Steve went home. Yes, I've gone on with my life with Christ by my side. And that is what I'll continue to do till He takes me home!
Well, my friend, what would you add to this conversation? Let's keep it rolling by adding your comments below. If you receive this by email please click the title at the top of the email to get to the blog where you can comment, and be sure to use your computer, not your phone. Do you agree? Disagree? We want to hear from YOU. Check back on Wednesday for Part 2.
ferree


14 comments:

  1. My husband, Kevin, just recently went home on Dec 3, 2915, and I will agree without Christ I could not goon. I have been engulfing myself in God's word and that alone has got me this far. I know one day I'll "feel" Joy and contentment again in His loving embrace. Even now I have moments of contentment. I miss Kevin so much my stomach is in knots, but I know God is right by my side to help me through. When Kevin was with me our lives were lived trying to follow the great commission of winning souls to Christ. That commission has not changed. I just have to go on the journey without Kevin now, but I am not alone, Christ is with me.

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  2. This is a beautiful post, Ferree! I say amen and amen to every word. I miss my husband, and there is loneliness and life challenges which I must face as a widow. Yet an intimate relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in my life. I know that intimate relationship has grown BECAUSE of my care-giving days for my husband and as a widow Psalm 73:25 says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You." I believe God has a sovereign plan for me, and I believe He loves me deeply and intimately. Knowing that has indeed given me joy and contentment even though I don't always understand His ways, and I sometimes falter and struggle.

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  3. PAM - Yes, this is a universal, spiritual truth...without Christ, we are without hope and lost. It most certainly does take time to reach to this point of feeling whole again and feeling that joy in spite of outward circumstances, but when we get there it is an incredible place to be! I know that my first love has always needed to be Jesus Christ...Lloyd and I both knew that was a truth based on the Word. There is no shame in that whatsoever., and we lived out our marriage and our ministry together with that foundation. Now as I continue on without him this side of heaven, I know that our work together here on earth will continue as I surrender to God's will and am open to His leading. I truly believe the best way to get to this point of joy and contentment is honest, tear-filled conversations with the Father daily (if not more often!). It has brought me through the storm to a place of comfort, hope, and peace.

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  4. PAM - Yes, this is a universal, spiritual truth...without Christ, we are without hope and lost. It most certainly does take time to reach to this point of feeling whole again and feeling that joy in spite of outward circumstances, but when we get there it is an incredible place to be! I know that my first love has always needed to be Jesus Christ...Lloyd and I both knew that was a truth based on the Word. There is no shame in that whatsoever., and we lived out our marriage and our ministry together with that foundation. Now as I continue on without him this side of heaven, I know that our work together here on earth will continue as I surrender to God's will and am open to His leading. I truly believe the best way to get to this point of joy and contentment is honest, tear-filled conversations with the Father daily (if not more often!). It has brought me through the storm to a place of comfort, hope, and peace.

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  5. Absolutely, agree!! When I realized that my identity was NOT in being Rick's wife, but in being a child of the King, I found contentment and peace. Not to say that I had everything all tied up neatly, by any means, but spiritually, I was content and growing in my faithwalk. Joy runs deep.

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  6. I am slowly getting to that point and it's been almost 5 years. God has brought joy through new grandchildren, the part I'm struggling with is knowI got what God wants me to do with the rest of my life . I sometimes feel like I'm hanging on by a thread, but thank goodness I am still hanging on. I continue to seek him everyday for what He wants me to do for Him

    Kelly

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  7. I am so thankful for this post. For a while, I felt guilty for being content and for thinking that nothing about my life has caught God off guard or by surprise, that Eddie's transition was part of God's plan for my life in the very beginning. I thought that I had arrived at this place too soon in the grief process. I finally have come to the conclusion that this my journey, orchestrated by my loving Father and yes I love my Eddie very much and his death rocked my world for a while, but I survived it all because of my relationship with the Father. I told God on the day of his death, that I would be alright, just as long as He did not leave me and He has not. He has been and continues to be here with me every step of the way. So I make the choice everyday to enjoy my journey in Him and to soar in His purpose.

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  8. I believe that every widow processes through grief at her own pace. For some that process may seem quicker or slower than others and that is okay. I would have to say that I am one of those slow ones.

    The best book I have read on this subject is SINGLED OUT FOR GOD'S ASSIGNMENT written by Leona Choy.

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  9. It has taken me a little over two years to get to this contentment stage. I feel guilty that it has taken this long. Ironically, when dad died, it took mom two years to grieve. Everyone is different. In some ways, you almost feel guilty because you no longer carry that heavy rope of grief around your neck. Contentment is when you get past the awful hurting and pain and realize that God has something else for your life. He is not through with you...what a wonderful feeling!

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  10. It made me happy to read this this morning....to know I'm not alone. It's been 3 years for me but I too felt early on in my grief journey that I was okay. I could still feel joy and contentment. I remember sharing this on a secular widow forum I was on and feeling frustrated that other widows would 'poo poo' my experience by saying that it was just that grief had not hit me yet. The reality would hit next month or the month after or in a year. I didn't feel 'permission' to feel my feelings if that makes sense. In these 3 years I have stayed engaged in life, I have travelled, continued to volunteer in my church, learned that I can love again and am about to embark on an exciting journey, volunteering in the prison system.

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  11. My Dear Ferree-I think I am finally am content but then reading this article I just don't know. I try real hard to be brave and not cry. It's been over 4 years since I lost Leonard after 61 years of marriage. I've always believed in God and have put everything into Jesus's hands when anything happened. That is what has kept me going. I know there was and is a reason Leonard went first to be with our Lord. But sometimes I just miss him so much. Seventeen hours he was gone. Not able to talk to each other, say goodbye and how much I loved him and enjoyed all our times together. Raising 3 children, Having 6 grandchildren and since then, we/I have 4 great grandchildren-1 girl & 3 boys. A set of twin boys included in the 3 boys. I/we had twin boys and another set due in May 2016 except one has died by the same granddaughter. Another boy due Jan 30, 2016, so will have 1 girl and 5 boys. Only 1 girl & boy live local.
    I guess I am just not really ready and just rambled on. Sorry. I just don't know how to heal my broken heart and move on. I love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I talk with them all the time and thank them for all my blessings.
    I enjoy reading all your posts. Thank you for being there. God Bless you and Karla..

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  12. Yes, this is so true. My husband passed on to Glory in 2012. The surrender part was not a problem, the let go and let God was awesome. Seeing Him going before me and preparing my way has been a wonderful amazing journey for me and others who are observing my journey. Now the contentment part...Gee it's difficult. I too miss him everyday several times a day. Finding this me and being content is still my battle. Knowing the miracles he has done going before me helps but the loneliness when all is quiet is overwhelming. Needless to say, God is an incredible listener. Thanks for the blog.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this today. Your blog is always a blessing and encouragement. Since I became a widow (Nov 2013), I have been clinging strongly to my life verse which is Psalm 16:11. I often wonder what path the Lord has for me and just keep taking the next step. There are joyful times and I think I am content but sometimes there is still a lot of sadness and loneliness.

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  14. One thing for sure, dear ladies, is that contentment doesn't mean we never cry again. Those grief storms can still hit, but they are not our constant state. Crying spells simply mean that we are made in the Lord's image---He was known as The Man of Sorrows yet His joy and love were abundant. Joy and pain can co-exist, isn't that amazing? It takes some soul stretching, but that's also called growth.
    And, as mentioned, we are all different and on different time tables. Flowers bloom for different times and seasons, and so do these chapters of our lives. This post isn't meant to draw comparisons or measures of how long it should take, but rather to give everyone hope that joy, happiness, and contentment are truly possible.

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