By Kitty Hinkle
“I’ve been here before, and these lies have been exposed before. These are only feelings, not truth. I know the Truth.” … Push through it. Get up and get something done. … The enemy packs his bag and leaves your mind. You’re better.
If you’re coming to us for the first time this week, begin with the part one of our posting on The Bout with Doubt- Part One: Occasional Wallow or Habit? After reading the introduction to the series, follow through each part of the series as we walk through the steps of eliminating the habit of unhealthy anxiety.
Step Three: Replacing a habit with Truth (Thursday’s posting)
Step Four: Freedom to grieve honestly (Friday’s posting)
Sometimes for me, even after three years of going it alone, a bout of tears will hit. I think it hits everyone. Widowed or not, life can be tough. My typical weak moment comes occasionally and unexpectedly. When it does, it’s usually at about three in the afternoon when all points of stress converge on a single mother with four kids and no living parents to help raise them.
Let me describe it to you and see if you relate. Feel free to skip on down past this description because it’s quite a pity party (smile)—one I don’t like to share because I hate complaining. Here it goes… I’m tired. All four kids pull me in four directions—someone needs to be picked up from school, another has a huge project due, and the younger two keep climbing that tree in the front yard that’s not meant to hold their weight (as the neighbor has so “politely” told me)! The dog just swallowed another sock and the laundry needs folding before it wrinkles. The microwave’s broken and the countertop has a crack in it.
If that isn’t enough to tear my hair out, the longing for the life before widowhood creeps in. It hits in the form of rejection. It’s in the air, something in the change of the weather that triggers some memories. Maybe it’s the certain time of the year when one of those couple friends my hubby and I hung with has a party. We used to go every year to it. Without a husband, the invitations stopped coming. I glance at the calendar and my blood pressure goes up. Why can’t they at least invite me? Let me decide if I don’t want to be a fifth wheel? I feel alone and abandoned. I start grasping to remember who’s called recently. The phone only rang today with routine stuff—nothing social. But then I tell myself, who needs the social? There are kids to raise, work to do. I don’t have time for social, and the last time I went to one of those gatherings where everyone had a husband but me the fellowship with others didn’t satisfy me in the way I long for. It doesn’t wake up every morning by my side and make life plans with me. Oh how alone. My life is just work. Toil. Kids. Repairs. Why does everyone else get to have a companion? Why am I stuck being alone? The pain. The void. It’s so ugly.
Okay, I’ll stop. This is embarrassing! Perhaps I’m hard on myself, but I think I sound ridiculous! I do go through those bouts of wallowing, but here’s where I’ve changed. I’ve learned to recognize how ungodly and full of lies those thoughts are. And having already observed those thoughts as a habit, I can take a further step to eliminate them.
What I do is remember the last time I felt this way. I remember how it blew over and I looked back and realized what a lie it was. I know the truth. I’m not alone. Not abandoned. My friends and I connect a lot and like me, they have busy days. That couple didn’t invite me because they didn’t want me to be uncomfortable at a gathering of couples—it’s not rejection. My life isn’t just toil. It has huge significance and purpose and I laugh a lot. I do get breaks from the kids. And as far as a companion, if it’s a longing in my heart, God will give me a companion. I’ll trust.
So what to do with the pity party? I stand on Truth.
I’ve learned to sing one of my favorite hymns and focus on the words “Morning by morning new mercies I see.” Yes, it’s “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. Don’t you just love that song? Click on the link I’ve made and listen to three young a capella singers’ casual, but gorgeous rendition. When Thomas Chisholm wrote the lyrics in the mid 1900’s, he was inspired by Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
When we are at our darkest hour, we remember that the sun will come up and His mercies are new and the Truth will obliterate the self-pitying lies we are so susceptible to.
A few weeks ago when we all shared honestly the moments of wallowing, I loved that post and its realness. I thought about this song because it’s the rejuvenation through new mercies every day that reminds me I will survive even those dark moments.
One final word and then I’ll close here with the chorus to that hymn. Come back tomorrow to hear how driving out the enemy allows you to cry the kind of tears of grief that brings restoration and comfort.
Here’s the final thought. God loves you. He will bring you joy and love and companionship to fill your needs. When you’ve had a good wallow and you get to that point when you ready to get up from the tears, repeat that truth written in bold face above out loud. If it doesn’t pull you out, repeat it again. Then, begin to “Act as if”. It’s a great trick. Try it. It tricks Satan—foils his ploy. You look at the feelings you have and you simply state, “I’ve been here before, and these lies have been exposed before. These are only feelings, not truth. I know the Truth.” Then move forward. In spite of the pain. You “act as if” you weren’t in pain even though you feel it. Push through it. Get up and get something done. Wash the dishes. Get those clothes put away. Play monopoly with the kids. God smiles on that. The enemy packs his bag and leaves your mind. You’re better.
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!