Monday, May 22, 2017

Spring Planting

Plowed fields and freshly planted gardens remind me that in the midst of sorrow life goes on. All those seeds buried underground picture how overwhelmed, buried, and in the dark I felt as a widow. Now what would I do? How was I to carry on? What was next? 

Grief is different for each individual, and widowhood is a particular challenge. There's no formula or prescription cure-all, but as I’ve talked and listened to widows over the years I know there comes a point in time when they need to see some steps to take to grow out of that darkness. It’s like a
planting season. Here are five “seeds,” so to speak, that I encourage them to plant. These “seeds” will bring a harvest of better days ahead and glean hope and wisdom in the here and now.

Read one or two good resources about grief to understand the process and avoid pitfalls. Beware of misinformation! There’s a lot of it, so don’t believe everything. Just learn enough to know that this sad time does not have to last forever. My favorite book on the basics of grief is still the one I was given a few days after my husband died—Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace by James R. White. It’s short and concise, compassionate and biblical.
Talk or write
Talk about your husband, your life together, his death, and your feelings. If you have children at home it’s good to get them to talk too. Among adults, most will kindly wait for you to speak first. Others will not ever be comfortable talking about death! But speaking up will help you find friends who understand and they’re the ones you need. If you can’t find someone to talk to, write down what you'd like to say in a notebook or diary. This is helpful because when you hear yourself tell what happened, even though it’s hard to talk or write about, you begin to get over the shock.
Find role models.  
You can get to know other widows in person or through reading about them. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two. Get to know many widows. Positive widows light a spark in you to keep pressing on, even if it’s a hard day. They help you learn that you don't have to like this experience, but you can still be thankful. You can be honest about your heartaches, but you can still hope. Good role models help you see examples of good choices. 
Start to rebuild your life. 
Most people do not understand the huge adjustments a widow has forced upon her and the rebuilding that must take place. Many widows have not only lost their husband, they've lost their identity and structure to their day. Little things have fractured, like no longer having another person to share in supper or chores. Adding to that are the far more complicated threats of losing finances, home, health, and family relationships. But slowly and surely the widow can arise from this rubble one brick at a time. The “to do” list will always be longer than the “did and done,” but accomplishing one thing, one step at a time, is excellent progress. Simply start wherever you’re at and do the next thing in front of you, breaking it down to smaller duties.

Relax and rest in the Lord. 
I know this is easier said than done. I too have felt the heavy load, the burden of a broken heart, the fatigue, sleeplessness, constant adrenal drain, and utter exhaustion. I desperately wanted my garden to be done! I wanted my questions to cease! Now what would I do? How could I go on? What was next? But the secret I learned was this: to relax; to let grief and widowhood run their course, but not rule my life. Desperation didn’t accomplish anything. I had seeds to plant, but I also had to rest—to wait for and look to God for the growth.

Start planting these seeds today, dear widow, even just one or two. Water them with your tears, and just like the fields and gardens in the earth around us, in the proper time the sun will shine, life will sprout and God will grant a good harvest. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5  


  1. Thank you so much for this.

    I have cucumber seeds to plant. Each time I enter the greenhouse, I cry so much I leave without accomplishing anything. You see, the greenhouse was my husband's hobby. He loved growing things. But he hated cucumbers!Planting them each year was a labor of love.

    Oh how I miss him. It's seven months now since he's been gone.


    1. Wow, Susan, this must have really hit home for you. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your husband sounds like he was a very sweet and caring man (even if he did hate cucumbers). Seven months probably seems like only seven days on some days, and seven forevers on others. This takes time but the grief will slowly become more bearable so hang in there. Please let me know how you are doing as the seasons change. May the Lord rain blessings and grace on you...

    2. Oh Ferree, He has! After reading this earlier, I ordered a used copy of the book you suggested. Then I went back out to the greenhouse, stepped in, and experienced peace. I gathered the seeds, gloves, and the very last bag of potting soil I purchased for my husband a year ago. I now have several hills of cucumbers!

      I am so thankful for God's tender mercies and for the prayers of His children. Thank you friend!

      Yes, my husband was a very sweet and caring man.


    3. The Lord's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3) and it's a joy to hear what you've experienced! We never know what a day might hold, and although we've experienced the worst of days, there are still some mighty good ones to come. Thanks for sharing what happened when
      you went out to the greenhouse this afternoon, that's awesome! I'm so grateful to hear how God's at work in your life!


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