But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
2 Timothy 4:17 ESV
I miss the joy of being Dave’s wife. He loved me unconditionally and he encouraged me to be the woman God created me to be. He was my advocate always. He made me feel beautiful, smart, strong, courageous, adventuresome, and funny as his wife. I don’t feel like that person any more.
It is so hard to admit my feelings. I don’t want to feel like this. I love God and I desperately want to represent Him well. It’s been four years and I feel the pressure to be “back to normal.” I struggle with striving to meet, what I perceive, to be other peoples’ expectations. In the past my husband, my advocate and cheerleader, kept me grounded. But without his support and encouragement, I find myself entangled in striving again and again. Striving is a devastating sin, borne out of pride. It robs me of my peace and joy, and it does not glorify God.
Last week, I went to Haiti on a mission trip to work with several orphanages. I set out for the trip with eager anticipation hoping God would revive my spirit by serving others. Instead, I found myself in the lion’s den, a dark abyss. I was not prepared for the widespread devastation and poverty in Haiti.
The circumstances the people and children of Haiti endure is beyond heartbreaking. I found myself using every coping skill I developed as a widow to keep my emotions in check. I tried to minister to them while secretly being overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair.
I struggled the entire trip. I continued to struggle when I came home. I broke down and cried when I walked into my grandson’s “Mom’s Day Out” program. The stark contrast of how differently our children live finally brought the grieving for the Haitian children to the surface.
Where was the revival of my spirit from serving others? I wanted to feel fulfilled, instead I felt broken and lost, much like I felt in the early days of widowhood. But just like the early days of being a widow, the brokeness became a catalyst…
To move forward. To seek Him. Not to my earthly husband as I might have done in the past, but to the Lord who is my bridegroom for now and for all eternity. Just like the Apostle Paul taught us from his trials, The Lord is the One who gives me strength. He is the One who proclaims His message through me so that others might hear it. He is the One who rescued me from the lion’s mouth.
In my case, the lion’s mouth is filled with hopelessness, striving, and pride. God paid the ultimate price so I could be freed from these sins. He fills me with His love and compassion. He gently reminds me it is He who strengthens me.
I may no longer feel like the person I once was but I am so much more. I am more like the One who lives in me.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you Lord for rescuing us from the lion’s mouth. We are so undeserving. Help us to seek You for strength in all circumstances. Comfort us as we grieve the loss of our husbands and the life that was so familiar. Help us decrease so that Your presence in our lives increases. Please give us the privilege of proclaiming Your truth so that others may come to know You. We love you Lord!
In Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.
Sheryl Pepple is an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her yellow lab, Super Duper Cooper, and spends time with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandson. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.
If you are interested in having her or any of our team speak, please contact us via email at: email@example.com
Want to read another great article by Sheryl? Remembering to Rest
Want to read another article about God as your Husband? Heart Specialist by Erika