I began this blog a mere six weeks after becoming a widow. I dove in, headfirst, blogging several times a week for months. Putting my emotions and feelings in print has definitely been a factor in my family of three's healing. It's a big reason the boys and I are doing as well as we are now. I've been made fun of by former acquaintances who accused me of putting myself up on a pedestal, of using this forum as a bullying stance, of touting my supposed "holier than thou" attitude. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have had nothing but the most genuine of motives for this blog, to use it as a diary of sorts, a documentation of our unimagined journey. Looking back now, I see those rumblings were the best thing to happen to my little family. It showed me who my true friends are. And like my fellow blogger, Kitty Hinkle, at A Widow's Might, I have had to end relationships since becoming a widow that were toxic for my family. It is my prayer that those folks find happiness somewhere in their lives.
My declaration for today is this: God is healing me. And I will shout it from the rooftops, if need be. Andrew, Ben, and I are doing fine. We still cry and wonder "what if," and Mark Harold Howell left a big imprint on our lives and in our hearts. We will never "be over" losing him, but we see our lives in a new light now, as the Great Restorer is working in all three of us. It is an active, on-going process. As I talked to Mark during the 16 hours I was given to tell him goodbye, I told him many things. Private things, of a love so enormous and full and nothing but non-stop fun for almost 25 years. One of the last things I whispered in his ear before God took him home was this: "If you have to go, then go. Your body's tired and you have put up an unbelievable fight. The boys and I will be okay. We won't be "fine" for a long time, but we will be okay." I knew deep within my heart that God could reach down at any moment and heal him. But I also saw the handwriting on the wall. And not 30 minutes later, his heart stopped--he was released from a body that just flat gave out on him.
That's why I want you to re-read the first three sentences in the previous paragraph. We. Are. Fine. As the tears flow yet again, this is the first time in 18 months (yes, we've been without Mark now for a whole year and a half) that I have written the word "fine" when describing my boys and me. And it feels so good, like a burden has been lifted off of our shoulders.
I am open to new possibilities, new relationships, as God sees fit to bring them into my life. I have a clear focus now, I know what I am supposed to do for me. And while doing what I am supposed to do for me, I will glorify God. Because without Him, I am nothing.
So, I turn the page. I may have been heading a certain way, but I've done a 180. No more whining. No more excuses. No more putting off tomorrow what God needs me to do today.
My new favorite song to get me going?
“What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands."
Luke 10:2 (The Message)
"And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever."
1 Peter 5:10 (NCV)
The restoration is actively underway. Thanks be to God.