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A Widow's Pain

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I heard from a dear woman who has been in such deep spiritual pain since her husband died 7 years ago.  She has very graciously allowed me to share my correspondence with her.  God has been at work this past week mightily in her life.  It is the most amazing thing to watch Him lift her chin to see His eyes blazing with love for her – and to see the hope and faith begin to flood her soul again after years of barren spiritual drought and grief.

PART OF HER EMAIL TO ME:

Does God really talk to his people? Does he really care?  I lost my husband and had to put my (disabled) child in a home and my family literally broke apart.  I am lifeless, I have no joy and no desires for anything.  I am not depressed, I have been like this for years. My light died.  I function but without a purpose.  I would like to have God restore my life, have a mate to enjoy life with, I try my best to have a great attitude, try by best to be obedient, submit to His will but what is that?
When I try to move forward in faith, it is met with disappointments and it puts me further into darkness, how can I trust God?  I truly thought that a family was a Bible-based thing only to find that it has been destroyed.

I hear so many people say, “God has a plan for your life.” So what’s the plan? If I am breathing right now, why doesn’t God reveal the plan? Are we to wait until the plan unfolds to begin living?  I’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for God to answer for the past seven years.  Isn’t that a long time?

PART OF MY RESPONSE:

You have obviously been through an incredibly difficult situation in losing your husband.  I am SO, SO sorry for your loss. 🙁   I  don’t have the answers about all the reasons why God allowed that to happen and why you are still here and why you haven’t found another man yet.
I can tell you that God showed me some things in my life about when I didn’t have joy that may be helpful here.
Galatians 5:22 is the fruit of the Spirit.  This is what we will have in our lives automatically when the Spirit of God has full reign in our lives.
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control.
 
What I didn’t fully appreciate years ago was that if the Spirit is in control, I will have ALL of these in increasing measure on a daily basis – with a few exceptions when I stumble.
 
Galatians 5:19-20 describes the fruit of the sinful nature.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

What I didn’t get about this list years ago – was that if I am doing ANY of these things frequently – I am controlled by the sinful nature, not God’s Spirit.  I easily looked at the things like witchcraft, drunkenness and orgies and said, “I don’t do those things!  So I’m fine.”  But I ignored the fact that I had resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, selfishness, idolatry, discord, gossip, PRIDE and other sins listed as heinous in God’s sight on a daily basis. 🙁

 
I know that Joseph had to suffer as a slave and in prison undeservedly for 14 years before he got to see God’s ultimate plans for him materialize.  But God was at work the whole time, planning things perfectly.  God’s timing is often MUCH, MUCH, MUCH slower than ours.  Moses waited until he was 80 years old to lead the people out of Israel.  God was preparing him that whole time – 40 years in Egypt with royalty and 40 years in the dessert as a shepherd.  Abraham waited until he was 100  years old to have the child of the promise- Isaac.  The people of Israel waited in captivity for 480 years or so before God delivered them in His perfect timing, by His power, for His glory to accomplish His purposes. He used Egypt as an incubator to grow the baby nation into a huge nation of millions.
God’s ways are not are ways.  His wisdom is much higher than ours.  We can’t see what He is doing or what His plans are – but I do know He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11-14.)  I don’t know if His plans include another husband for you or not.  Only He knows that.  But His plans DEFINITELY include you being VERY close to Him, trusting Him, living by faith, being full of His Spirit, peace, joy and abundant life as you bring glory to His Name.
I think you need God to open your eyes to whatever it is that has His Spirit bottlenecked and is keeping it from flowing like Niagra Falls in your life.  He can help you see it.  I can’t.  And when you do, and you are broken before Him – THAT is when things will start to happen.  He will change YOU.  He will change your heart and mind.  He will change your desires.  And then you will be able to lay all that You want before Him and sacrifice your dreams, wisdom, pain, goals, plans and purposes to Him and be willing to pick up His purposes, His will, His wisdom, His strength, His desires – no matter what they might be – sight unseen.  Then I believe that the joy and peace will begin to flood your soul again.
A BIT OF HER EMAIL:

I realize it now, you nailed it. I do have an idol. I do put the want of a mate in front of God.

MY RESPONSE:

You know – desiring a husband is a good thing.  Desiring to feel loved is good.  Desiring to be in a family is good.  It is not the desire in and of itself that is a problem.  I think it is even a God-given desire.  The issue comes when I set my heart on that thing instead of on Jesus.  Then it is an idol  -and then I will NEVER find contentment.

God will not allow me to find contentment and the fruit of His Spirit through idols.  He will force me to come to Him alone to find my greatest purpose, love, strength and joy to find His spiritual abundant life.

Is it possible you may be bitter at God?  A little root of bitterness can be extremely destructive.  And it can also shut out God’s Spirit from your heart.
I believe that God wants to change you before He can take you another step.  I think you are going to sit right here in the wilderness, if necessary, for 40 years – until you are able to trust Him again – regardless of the results.
Our God most certainly CAN and DOES heal.  He can heal you!  I don’t know the reasons why He has chosen certain things to happen in your life or mine.  But I do know that this is not His choice – for you to live in misery, fear and hopelessness.
God’s peace, love, joy, hope, gentleness, goodness… all of His spiritual riches are completely available to you, my precious sister.  It is a Niagra Falls rushing beside you, and you don’t believe that He can fill up your little tea cup.  But He CAN and He will.  It all depends on you.  YOU are the one that has the controls over how much of the Holy Spirit can flow into your life.  Right now it is a tiny trickle.  But it can be a huge flood.  That is up to  you and your faith.  You can’t afford not to trust God.  Not trusting him only leads to death.  His perfect love will drive out all fear.
I KNOW I will be tested.  That is a guarantee.   I used to live in constant fear and worry, trying to figure out how I was going to make everything work out and keep bad things from happening.  But it was me picturing everything WITHOUT God’s Spirit helping me because I didn’t have Him in control of my life and didn’t even realize it.
I decided a few years ago that I trusted God’s sovereignty and that IF He decided to allow something to happen, He would surely use it for His greatest glory and my ultimate good and He might use it to bring many to Himself.  Who am I to say that if God thinks a tragedy might bring glory to Him that I won’t cooperate with that?  Why am I exempt from difficulties or suffering?  God uses suffering to test our faith and show us what we are truly made of.   God even counts suffering for Him to be a blessing.
Untested faith is not faith.
I expect trials.  I expect tragedy at times.  And I am at peace about it.  I decided that I wanted God’s glory in my life more than anything else.  At any cost.  And I trust Him to provide for me and my family. And I hold all things loosely except for Jesus – knowing that He can give and take away at any time.  Now I am able to really live –  because I am not afraid.  If something bad happens, I know I can trust God’s loving hands and that He will be with me and His Spirit will support me.  If I have Him, I know I will be ok.
PART OF HER EMAIL:
I was on the train today. As I looked out of the window, I saw a tall chimney stack, blowing out dirty dark steam. I wondered if that’s how I look and smell to God. Still on the train, I past a park. I remembered how on one hot summer day, the spinklers were on and no one was under it. I was remindered that the blessings of God are there, one just needs to be under it.  I recalled a sermon, actually, the only thing I remembered was one line. That line was “so do you plan to miss God’s plan for your life” that minister grinned and shook his head. That line has been ebedded into my mind and has haunted me for years and it still does.
Who wants to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, Am I insane?  Do I really want to throw my life away?  Of course not. 
April, I love God, not because I want something from Him but because I do.   I asked God, to make me relentless until I find Him, ( Not a man, but God, Ha!)  Pray for me so that this journey won’t flip flop.
Pray for me, For God did tell me to look for him after my husband died but I allowed the bitterness to settle in. I have gone thru a process, a cleaning process of other things but the trace of bitterness still lingers. Help me extinguish it.
Pray for me as I will pray for you.  For God has given you a gift, to speak the truth to people’s heart, don’t ever stop. Let the Spirit of the Lord guide you to help others.
So let’s see where MY Journey begins.
 

4 thoughts on “A Widow's Pain

  1. Oh. My. This really touched me. I’m praying for you dear sister; I really am! I love how God has led you to read the wise words of a sister. I see how His hand is on you and led you on that train ride; the smoke stack and the park and just that one sentence from that sermon. That was Him! His Spirit calls to you!
    April, thank you again for being open the the Holy Spirit, for being truthful and oh, so kind and gentle in your truthfulness! Thank you for sharing the gifts that the Lord has given you with your sisters and for your humbleness in sharing your walk.
    Diana

  2. Wow. I’ve only read 3 of your blogs so far but I had to comment because it’s been a long time since I’ve heard studio much wisdom in one person, let alone a fellow woman! I say that with the utmost of respect for our gender. I just find it heartbreaking that many women struggle to find God’s balanced calling for us. We either, as you wrote in your post on femininity, try to be masculine and aggressive to inappropriately make up for any lack in the men in our lives- or we melt away assuming it is feminine to have no opinions or voice, to not seek out knowledge because it might intimidate men. From what I’ve read so far you combine beautifully the gentleness and quest for sound biblical knowledge that is fitting for a Christian woman. I want to read more!! I hope what I’m saying makes sense and doesn’t sound sexist or weird, lol. As a fellow blogger I wanted to encourage you that I love your style and message! God bless!

    1. erikchelle,

      It’s great to hear from you! I’m so glad that the blog has blessed you so far. May God and His Word be greatly exalted in this place. 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement.

      Much love in Christ!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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