It’s nearly 6 weeks since my husband passed away and a month since the service we held to celebrate his life and in many ways I’m finding the process of grief and adjusting to life without him harder now than it was at first. For the first few weeks there was so much to do planning the services and sorting out the legal and financial practicalities. I then moved into a very busy 2 weeks as my eldest daughter moved house and my youngest daughter was preparing to leave home and move to London to work as a children’s intern in a church there and my focus was on supporting them both.
After I had driven the 250 miles to take my daughter to London I drove across to Suffolk for a week’s break and some support in starting to adjust to my new life. It was an enjoyable and very valuable week though at times very difficult because for the first time I had to start to face the reality of my loss and the grief that has brought and also start to look at who I am without the roles I’ve had for so many years.
I’ve learnt from attending the ‘Understanding Yourself’ weekends at this church that the foundations of self-worth, security and significance need to be built into our lives in our early years. I realise that, for the past 30 years, my significance has come from the roles I’ve fulfilled – as wife and mother, in my career and in leadership roles at church - but that much of my self-worth and security has also been based on those roles. Obviously I’m still a mother but both of my girls are now living independently and at the moment I don’t have any of the other roles. I know that during this time of grieving and readjusting the Lord is securing my foundations in him and teaching me that my self-worth and security are based solely on who I am in Christ and his unconditional love for me.
At times it feels an exciting journey because I am confident that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for my future and he’s preparing me for that but it is also a very difficult and scary journey. At times I feel so lost and so sad that the bigger picture could get obscured by the strength of my emotions and at times it does. It’s at those times that I know how important it is to understand my feelings and to be able to see a bigger and different perspective than the one my emotions are telling me. That understanding means that I’m free to grieve for my husband and experience the understandable and necessary sadness at his loss but still retain my confidence in the Lord and awareness of his leading rather than becoming totally overwhelmed by my feelings.
I know that I will always live with the sadness of my husband’s illness and death but that alongside that the Lord still has a plan and purpose for my life as he promises in scripture. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) Those words contain the truth of God’s word and that doesn’t change with, nor is dependent on, my feelings.