June is a tough month for many widows because it marks so many of life's significant events from
ORDINARY... a change of season and start of school vacations---so many memories! Picnics and last-day-of-school parties, sunshine and freedom, packing for vacation, picking strawberries, running through the garden hose as a child, catching fireflies....
to the EXTRAORDINARY...
- weddings! June has always been the traditional month for weddings and is still a popular time to get married. Perhaps your own wedding was in June and you're anticipating your anniversary alone, or you've been invited to attend a wedding---alone. Most people don't realize what a struggle these days present.
- graduations! Highschool, college and even pre-school graduations bring a grand finale to the school year and mark the start of a new chapter of life. Getting through these without your husband/their dad is a challenge.
- Babies and birthdays! It's kind of odd---so many families find their birthdays tend to cluster around certain months. Is June a birthday month for you and yours?
- and last but not least---Father's Day. Why don't they just stab us and get it over with, right? I don't know of a more dreaded day for widows. In the weeks ahead we will talk about it and hear some tips from others on how they survived.
Read the book of Philippians over and over this month. You might read it 20 or 30 times and that's good! But at least read it once---it only takes about 15 minutes for the entire book. Grab a pen and mark up your Bible. Underline and take notes. Circle the words that repeat and pop out at you. The author writes from prison, having lost all, but choosing to rejoice in the Lord. You'll find much hope, confidence and joy woven throughout this piece of Scripture that will refill and restore your own soul.
Pray about everything (Phil. 4:6)
Rejoice always (Phil 4:4) This isn't asking you to rejoice that your husband is gone, but rather to open your eyes to the life going on around you. For example, if you have to attend a wedding lock your thoughts on the young couple and being happy for them. Also, concentrate on telling yourself thoughts like "I'm so thankful I had ___years of marriage," rather than, "Why can't I still be married?" Don't give in to self-pity but you must replace it with strong-willed gratitude to God---that's the only way this widowhood student and veteran has found.
Think about praiseworthy, excellent things (Phil 4:8) You can't stop negative thinking, you can only replace it with right thoughts. Phil 4:8 tells us how. Consider each word and collect thoughts and pictures for it. For example: for "whatever is true" you can picture and state in your mind all the true things you know about God and His love for you. Do the same with the words noble, right, pure, etc.
Press on to the prize (Phil. 3:13,14)
These tips will work for you! How do I know? How can I say that?
Not only have I done all this myself, but also, here's why I'm so confident--Phil 1:6 in my own words:
Because God, who began a good work in you when you became a Christian will carry it on to the day you are complete and whole.
This chapter in your life is mighty sad, but your story isn't finished yet, and in the strength of the Lord it will have one glorious and happy ending. Keep on keeping on my friend! We will get through June together and with God's good help from the Bible!