Mark and our boys, on Kansas family land
I. miss. my. husband.
There, I said it. It stinks to be a widow (or widower) at this time of the year, maybe more so than at any other time during the year, except for the dreaded calendar date of my husband’s death.
Everyone’s seemingly happy, hustling and bustling around, in stores where piped-in Christmas music plays lovely carols and old standards.
Last year, at this time, with the gaping wound of the loss of my husband still fresh, I walked through the stores (and life) in a bit of a trance, much like a survivor in a war zone. The carols blasting from every corner and in every building in which I entered made me feel like I was ready to jump through my own skin. It was maddening.
Only by the grace of God did I make it through. My boys and I even found some joy in the holiday season, keeping old traditions while starting a few new ones, for just us three.
But I still miss him. He was a force of nature, a man’s man, a 6’3″ lanky handsome dude. He was an outdoorsman, a wonderful provider, a Godly man who was the best, most patient, hands-on daddy that I had ever witnessed first-hand.
I ache for that physical presence, his strong hand linked in mine. My boys miss the almost-nightly wrestling matches, held in our den, where giggling and laughter filled our home.
I’ve learned how to get along without him. But it hasn’t been easy. I have to keep reminding myself that we all are on a journey–I like to call mine “unimagined”–and that everyone has trials, heartaches, and folks they miss physically in their lives. I have to keep myself immersed in God’s word and in His music.
I found out the hard way a few weeks back that I cannot venture too far ahead of God in this journey, nor let go of His hand. “Self” got in the way, I was feeling pretty good, and I depended on me and me alone. Let’s just say I tripped and skinned my knee spiritually.
Like a small child, I cried, ran to my heavenly Daddy, crawled back up in His lap, and was instantly soothed. I learned my lesson, at least this time. I won’t walk too far ahead again, and will keep within an arm’s length of God, so I can quickly grasp onto His hand if needed
As Isaiah so beautifully writes:
Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
I’d never forget you–NEVER.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.
ISAIAH 49:15-16 (the Message)
God won’t forget us. He can’t, He has our names written/carved/emblazoned/tattooed on the backs of His hands! And in this journey, this unimagined-unspeakable-sometimes seemingly unbearable life that we each have been blessed with, God will give us the endurance we need to keep walking the path.
Some days will be better than others. I will always miss my husband. His physical presence may be gone, but spiritually, I feel him nearby.
I see him in the long, lanky frame of our 10 year old, as we hunt pheasant and quail on the land he loved so much.
I hear him in the voice of our 9 year old, who has his laid-back personality and his wicked sense of humor.
I feel him hugging me, right alongside God, as I cuddle up in our bed, soothiing myself to sleep with scripture and positive thoughts.
Sisters, it is a long way home, but we are most definitely not alone. Take your “bag of regrets, should’ve beens, and not-yets”, put them aside for a minute, and enjoy this song from another native Kentuckian, Steven Curtis Chapman.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” JOHN 16:33 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, we come to you this day asking for wisdom and strength for our journeys. Help us to see the good, even whenever the bad seems to be overwhelming. We know that You and You alone have the means to turn the bad into something beautiful. Let us never walk too far ahead without Your hand in ours. Keep reminding us of our purpose this side of heaven. Thank you for the sisters in Christ that come to this forum. Grant each peace and patience, whether they may be walking in the valley, or climbing up a mountain. For those who may be on a mountaintop today, we praise You, and we expectantly await that chance in each of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.