Breathing In Hope

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV

None of us envisioned THIS as our future.

We didn’t walk our wedding aisle gazing at the pure love and joy on our groom’s face with thoughts that we would one day be widowed.

But THIS is where we are.

It is our “current”.

The pain is real and the grief is raw.

We cannot alter the circumstances that have brought us here. No matter how much we wish we could.  Time doesn’t flow in reverse.

There is a time to grieve. We cannot skip out on this.  We only harm ourselves if we try to rush the process.

Our loss was life shattering. Every single aspect of our world is now changed; every one of them, new.  This compounded loss that exists in each layer of us can plant seeds of fear.  Oh, we don’t necessarily recognize the little nagging thoughts as fear.  But it is there.

Fear we can’t possibly navigate this earth without the leadership of our husband manifests itself in constant thoughts of failure. If we aren’t careful, we can almost convince ourselves we are incapable without even attempting to accomplish something new.

Our fear of repeating a walk through such great loss causes us to hesitate in loving again.

Fear of the unknown nestles deep worry into our thoughts. Worry can begin to influence all processing in our brains, turning each situation into something potentially negative.  But we of all people should remember that this life is full of unknowns.  After all, we didn’t plan on being here, right?

What if it is time to come out from under the heaviness and start living again? Not living without the pain, but living around it.  Not erasing the memories, but cherishing them in their rightful place and looking ahead with expectation.

If you are not at this place yet, that’s okay. Do the work inside of your grief for now.  But, if you can honestly evaluate, and you are one who knows you should begin taking those bold steps forward, this writing is for you!

So which is it? Are you working through a healthy phase of grief, or are you stuck in grief because of fear?  Have you quit doing the work of sorting through grief and just settled in tight?  Are you stagnant in this life?

Friends, our God is anything but stagnant.

He is mighty and active.

He is alive and working.

He is NOT in the fear.  No, He is in the hope!

If these thoughts ring true within you, will you take time today to pray through your fears? Hand each one to God.  Name them and give them to the One who calms fears and offers hope.  Call on His mighty name with expectation of what He will do with your life.

Will there be unknowns?

Will there be things that seem too hard?

Will the newness at times be awkward to walk through?

I answer all of these with a resounding YES. But that “yes” is where hope lives.  It lives in the light that is revealed when fears are brought out of their darkness and surrendered.

Hope lives in the increased breaths as you contemplate that first step toward newness.

It resides in the accelerated heartbeat as you bravely walk into your future.

It is the combination of not knowing what comes next and the excitement of trusting that God will walk whatever path lies in your future with you.

Years ago, we had only dreams of beauty when we eagerly gazed upon our groom. Now we have lived more.  Pain has tinged our hearts edges.  What has happened, we cannot change.  We can choose to let that pain grow fear and leave us stagnant, or we can allow God to move us into a place of hope.

Lord, Help me lift the ceiling of fears I have self-imposed on my life and teach me to soak in the view of Your magnificent, limitless sky. I trust You with my today and my tomorrow.  Amen


 

Lori Reynolds StrellerLori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood.  She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well.  She answers to Mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee.  Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers.  As a writer/speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others.  She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering.

Other articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller

Other articles on this topic include: The Hard Side of Hope by Katie, Is This MY Hope by Elizabeth, and Hope Intensified by Sheryl

2 replies
  1. Sylvia Fuller
    Sylvia Fuller says:

    Beautifully put…. in the 15 years since I lost my Bob, I have lost my mom, then my dad; each of those losses brought back my husband’s a little. I am at that point of “coming back up from underground”, so to speak; I am actually having spurts of anticipation about the future that I know are coming from the Lord. What a comfort this site has been!!

    • Lori Reynolds Streller
      Lori Reynolds Streller says:

      We are so thankful you have found us Sylvia and that God has used our writing and the fellowship of other widows to bring comfort to you. I am pausing now to praise God and celebrate the “coming back up from underground” occurring in your life. ~Lori

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