As we learn to live our lives in a new role of being just one, we will learn how to love ourselves as one and not as a couple. This sort of sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Yet, the reality is, as we remember what we had as a couple, we may learn to live uniquely by ourselves. Even though some days may be tough, with God’s help, we can do this!
I just finished reading a book called, The Inner Voice of Love – A Journey through Anguish to Freedom by Henry J. M. Nouwen. There was a period in his life where he journaled while he was struggling with who he was. He decided to put his writings into print. How often have you felt this way and wondered if you were truly loved Do you truly love yourself? What are you truly feeling about yourself? Proverbs 19:8 reads: To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. At what point do you believe this?!
I’m not saying that by being married or in a relationship you always felt loved. But once you are alone, one realizes that you were loved most of the time. Every relationship has its days, but just knowing you have someone to come home to is such a big relief. We often get lost in who we really are, until we are alone.
What do we do now? Many have moved with their husbands and families to a new area at some time in their life. Then they became widows and have moved from where they raised their children or were married and left family and friends behind. When they move, they were looking for new adventure and ideas of how they would get involved with others to help with the process of meeting new friends. This happens more times than not! My heart aches for those who do not have close family or friends near them at this time in their lives!
So how do we do this? Scripture reads: Luke 21:28 (NIV) When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” When I first read this, I thought there is no way this applies to widowhood. But it applies to all things in life that we go through. It is so important to stand tall. However, it is easier to complain, have self-pity or be overwhelmed. I am not saying this is wrong, but it is easy to go down that path. There are many days, it is easier to feel sorry for ourselves no matter how long we have been it has been.
Let’s take this a step closer to who we are. Yes, God is our healer and totally understands who we are and what we are going thru. For those of us who have friends and family close by, we know we have support. Perhaps many of you have a strong faith and that helps. However, when we go through something traumatic, our emotions go way out of whack! Many of you have received information from the funeral home you went through for a list of what to do. If you need to check to see how you are doing, go to: https://www.widowmight.org/where-to-start/.
If you are new to this journey, I would suggest you become involved in a grief group. You can check out where there are locations close to you by going to: https://www.griefshare.org/. Or go to Brighter Days Grief Share at: https://brighterdaysgriefcenter.org/about-us/. This facility has grief groups for children that are very good.
Please connect to someone who has gone down this journey. No one knows how to handle this better than one that has gone through it. The Widow Might Organization has several groups around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. They also have a lot of information on there web site.
Please take time for yourself! Evaluate what stage you are at. No matter how long you have been on this journey, it is important to take a look at ourselves to stay on track. Deciding on what you want to do with your life going forward may be difficult to do, but it helps to take a look at where you are at, to move forward. Reading Ephesians 5:2, it says: And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Live a life filled with love …
Perhaps remembering the love, you have had with your spouse or significant other, the love of God helps you through this and meeting new friends will help you also. My goal for each of you would be to get connected with a group of widows who understand what you are going through. They will be there to hold your hand that first year and help you get through it. With in time, you will become the widow that is holding a new widow’s hand to help her through it. This happens time and time again. For some, the change is in six months to a year. For others it is two or three years, but it does indeed happen with support of others.
Within time and with God’s help, you will find you have become confident and truly love yourself! I remind you that it takes time, one step at a time and having someone walk with you down this journey.
May you feel the love of God’s arms wrapped around you. He is there for each step of the way. Blessings to each of you reading this. God does love you and is there for you!