The First Year...
Today marks the first year of Jon's death. The first year of being a widow. The year of all the firsts without Jon. I have been giving this blog so much thought over the last few weeks. I wasn't sure in what direction to take it or go, as my mind had so many thoughts on what to write. Then I began to consider why I started this blog, the reason behind why I would share so many personal thoughts and feelings. It was to hopefully help someone who is and just starting a similar journey. To let you know that you are not alone, as there are many days that feel that way. For you to see that the Lord is always there and how faithful He will be.
As I look back over this last year it is amazing what 365 days will do. The first few months were filled with so much pain, so many tears, and such heartache. It's as if my life stood still while the world around me was spinning with activity and moving on, clueless to the widow behind the closed door. I woke everyday to the same empty house, the stillness and quietness sometimes almost unbearable. The days of crying and sobbing until no more tears would flow and I could barely catch my breath. Feelings of being so alone, unlike anything I had ever known. The mailbox became empty, while the text and phone calls began to taper off. My adult children went back to their normal routines, although my heart carried extra weight knowing they were doing their own grieving, and as a mom I could do nothing to ease their pain.
I had read some about grieving and I think the best advice that I read and took to heart was to let the grief out. No matter how long, how ugly, or how intense it is, you have to let it go and not bottle it up inside of you. Through those first few months I did just that and at times it was pretty ugly. But as life kept going on, a couple more months had passed, and I realized that those times became further apart and did not last as long. I listened to lots of praise and worship music. I would be in awe at times of how perfect certain song lyrics would speak to me when I needed it most. Knowing in my heart it was from the Lord and His way of speaking to and comforting me. I would get a call or a random text from a friend asking how I was doing or that they were thinking of me. Those were so welcomed and came at such needed times. I can't express to you how important it is for those texts and calls, and if the Lord puts it on your heart to reach out to someone, please don't ignore it. It is so important and means so much to those who are hurting!
Before long six months had passed. Most of the big 'firsts' were over. Thanksgiving - Jon's favorite holiday, Christmas, and his birthday. I had survived. Our family had survived. We passed through each one with the grace of God. On Thanksgiving and Christmas I received texts from people saying they knew this day would be difficult and they were thinking of and praying for me. How blessed I am to have such caring friends and family. I know those prayers were heard and answered!
Late spring came and I was able to create a new routine that renewed my soul. My front porch, facing the East, became my sanctuary early in the mornings. There is nothing like quiet time with the Lord early in the morning and watching the sun come up with a cup of hot coffee. Many soul searching moments and pouring my heart out to the Lord, with tears of pain and of praise, occurred during that time. Soaking in His mercy and grace as it washed over me and began healing my hurts and pains. So much comfort and compassion falls from heaven during times like that. Our Father is so good, so loving, and so kind. I look forward to my mornings every day now.
Then in August, God spoke to me in a very real and special way. While traveling home one evening, the song "Tell your heart to beat again" by Danny Gokey came on. As I sat there listening to the lyrics there was an amazing presence flooding over me. At that moment I could sense the presence of the Lord telling me "it's okay to let your heart beat again". I can't explain that feeling except that It has been a defining moment in my life. It spoke to my heart in such a deeper area than just grief. Maybe it is what you need to hear as well.
Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
'Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun
Tell your heart to beat again...
I look at everyday now as a choice. I can choose to be overtaken with grief or I can choose to move on with life. The life that God still has planned for me. The Lord chose to take Jon home on September 25th, 2020 - not me. That means there are still things He wants for me to do, areas of my life to grow in, and even life for me to enjoy. Until my time has come, I will choose to move forward. I will allow Him to work in my life and let Him create me as He sees fit. Yes, grief still surfaces. Memories still come that cause me to pause and remember my life with Jon. Sadness still pings my heart, but I can't let it consume me. I lost a part of my heart that day, but I have come to discover that the Lord created the heart to be an amazing thing. I have found that it can grow and it can hold love again.
I am no longer the woman I was just 365 days ago. I long to be a woman after God's own heart. A woman who others see being changed by the Father who loves her more than anything. A woman who has been through fire and came out for the better by allowing God to use the hurt and pain to mold and shape her. And if you read my previous blog....a woman being created into a beautiful masterpiece!