Heart Specialist

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exalt over you with loud singing.”   Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

I got to hear my babies’ heartbeats today!

And it brought me back…Back to eight years ago when they were tucked safely in my belly, that whirring sound during my many ultrasounds, telling me they were strong and healthy, that everything was right in the world.

Today was the day!  I got to see and hear those beating hearts on the monitor just as I did so long ago.  It hit hard, listening to that beautiful sound again.

Memories flooded my mind as I watched each of them climb up on the table…as I watched and listened to their strong hearts beat on the screen.  Memories of my husband and me crying childless tears… Memories of the sweet sound of the heartbeat on the ultrasound when we finally became pregnant with our daughter…Memories of struggles with infertility again.  The memories of the doubly sweet sound of two little heartbeats going strong inside me, when we became pregnant with twin boys.

I realized only my husband would love and appreciate that sound and all those memories as much as me.

Reality hit yet AGAIN!
My husband, my story keeper, my partner in all this life stuff, is not here.

I choked back tears as I tried to focus on this sweet specialist and all she was sharing with me about my boys’ precious hearts.  But, my mind wandered.  It wandered off into the place my widow brain takes me at any given moment; memories, regrets, sorrows, nostalgia, melancholy, jealousy, fear, loneliness…You name it, it’s all there.

As I drove home from the appointment, getting the all clear (Praise God) nod from the cardiologist, I cried tears of relief and tears of sadness.

I felt a sense of relief because the trip to the heart specialist for my boys was complete. I could now release the worry I carried for the last few weeks, from the moment the pediatrician said she heard something and was sending them to a cardiologist, through to our appointment today. I felt sadness because I had to do this all alone, that Scott missed this day.  And I really missed him!

I was grateful that I could cry out to my own cardiologist, my heart specialist:
Lord I need you now.  I miss Scott, today especially!  I don’t have the one person who was in the trenches all those years with me, who remembers the years of infertility and the elation that came later as we heard those monitors whir with strong healthy heartbeats.  He’s not here to rejoice with me when the doctor gave the all clear.  Give me peace, give me comfort, let me savor in the good news and not wallow in the missing piece.

This day that is hard!

I am so thankful for my heart specialist and that I can turn to Him on days like today.  He softens the blow by whispering sweet words in my ears. He reassures me.  He searches out my heart. He hears me.  He cares.  His love draws me in and comforts me.

Today was hard even though it ended with good news.   So grateful for the good news!

The good news!

“Remember no more the reproach (disappointment) of your widowhood.  For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, He is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5 NIV

Lord, thank you for being there to be my heart specialist and my husband every day.  Today You rejoiced with me, encouraged me, and comforted me when I really ached for my earthly husband.

Father God, I lift up to You anyone who’s missing their husband more today than normal.  We certainly have these days Lord.  I ask Father that Your love and comfort can be enough for them right now.  Enter their hearts and their minds, whisper to them, assure them now.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.

A Cry In The Night

I cried out to God for help. Psalm 77:1 (NIV)

 An Entry from my journal one very dark, lonely night two years ago:

Crying in the night, silently screaming “why?”.

Where are You in the midst of this pain I have?

My soul is desolate.

My heart is crushed.

I cannot understand why this has come upon me.

All through the sleepless nights I moan as I remember when there was joy here.

Will this forever be my lot now?

Will I forever be in sorrow with no laughter for my grieving heart?

Have You, Oh God, left me here in this dark, lonely, barren place and forgotten me?

What is it that my heart needs?

It is You – only You.

You who have gone before me into the days ahead.

You who have sat with me through all the dark nights.

It is You who gently whispers to my wounded heart “I am here, I know, I understand”.

You have always been faithful to rescue Your people.

You have always provided refreshing and renewing.

Even in the times of the great darkness, You have walked alongside giving light and guidance.

It is You who makes a way where no way seems to be.

It is You who will part the sea of my grief and give cause for dancing again.

It is You – only You.

My hope is in You alone.

My dear sisters, I wanted to share this with you today in order to give you a glimpse of where my heart was two years ago. I still hurt so very much, and the nights were so very long. Since my husband passed, I no longer had my “sounding board” – you know what I mean – that one person I could “unload” on, who would listen and love me through it.

I found myself turning to my journal every day, sometimes several times a day, and pouring out my heart to God – because I found HE did listen – to every word I wrote.

Two years later I can say He is faithful. He has parted the sea of grief. He has sat with me through the long, lonely nights. He has given refreshing and renewal. He is making a way for me to begin rebuilding. He took my wounded, hurting heart in His loving hands and held it tenderly. Yes, there are still tears at times. Yes, there is still loneliness. Yes, there is still “the missing”.

And yes, now there are pleasant memories coming; there are more nights when I sleep peacefully; there are times when I find joy on arising in the morning; and there is peace.

 I placed my hope in Him – He did not disappoint.

Dear Father: This is a long walk – this path of grief. Sometimes we do get so very weary in it all. Help us to place our hope in You – for it is in doing so that we will find the healing we need.

 

 

 

 

Empty Corner?

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 NIV)

He was so special – that man I loved. It seemed that in his eyes I could do nothing wrong. Even when the broccoli was “overdone”, he sprinkled it with some salt, added some butter and convinced the girls that this was a “special” recipe. And when the biscuits were a little too brown on the bottom he patiently took a sharp knife and shaved off the offending parts.

At times when I said, “I don’t think I can do that,” he said “Yes, you can. You’re my wife.”

He was ever-present, with a strong shoulder to lean upon and fortifying words of encouragement.  Even in the care center in the last weeks of his life, when a staff member was less than pleasant with me, he quickly took her to task. He was always on my side.

He was in my corner.

And, having that assurance, I was able to move confidently through the days of motherhood at 42, rebellious teenagers, my job with special needs students, adjusting to winters in the Midwest, and so much more.

As I wandered through those early months of widowhood, the emptiness of that corner was so very painful. Making decisions was daunting. Learning something new was unthinkable. I longed to hear an “atta girl” – you’re doing good”.  Yes, my children and friends were present with their encouragement and love – but it wasn’t the same. Nothing could replace the words I heard from him.

Then I came upon Romans 8:31 in the Message Bible: “With God on our side, how can we lose?”  Making it more personal I rephrase it, “Linda, with God on your side, how can you lose?”

God is on my side! (And yours too!)

“He defends the cause of the widow” Deuteronomy 10:18 NIV

“The Lord sets the widow’s boundary stones in place” Proverbs 15:25 NIV

“I will contend with those who contend with you” Isaiah 49:25 NIV

God has always been on my side; ever-present with a strong shoulder, sending messages of encouragement throughout the scriptures, defending me against all the “enemies” of loneliness and uncertainty.

God is in my corner.

Now, as I quietly move into the fourth year of widowhood, I will remember what He promised in Jeremiah 29:13, “When you come looking for Me, you will find Me.” (I’ll be in your corner)

Dear Father – learning to live without the encouragement of our husbands is so very difficult for us. I ask You, please, to gently lead us into a place of understanding how much You love us. Teach us how to listen for Your voice in the quiet, encouraging us and letting us know You are always on our side and in our corner.

Forgotten….?

I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15 (Amplified)

There was no paper handy and I really needed to remember that phone number – so, I grabbed the handiest writing instrument and wrote it on the palm of my hand. Well, the instrument that I grabbed happened to be a black permanent marker; and traces of that phone number were visible for several days! That number was not likely to be forgotten!

There’s a word that comes to our minds frequently doesn’t it –“ forgotten”? After the phone calls and the cards stop coming, we begin to feel forgotten. And as time goes on, there are days we wonder if God has forgotten us as well. These are normal feelings, and I will admit to experiencing them at times. It is difficult to feel loved and “remembered” when the one person who always reinforced our existence is no longer with us. No matter what was going on in our lives, we always knew there was that one “special” person who loved us and always “remembered” us. I miss that, and I know you do as well.

But, dear sisters, are we really forgotten?  There is ONE who thinks of us constantly! This is what He says to us in Isaiah 49:15-16: I will not forget you! Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) YOU on the palm of each of My hands. (Amplified)

After much scrubbing for two or three days, that black permanent marker eventually faded from my hand. But God says He has permanently imprinted a picture of us on the palm of His hands – there forever, indelible – a picture of you – and me. He is telling us He has a picture of us before Him at all times – it can’t be scrubbed away. No grief, fear, loneliness, or anxiety can remove our picture from His hands! We are ever before Him.

Yes, He knows our loneliness, and how difficult these times are. And so many, many years ago through His prophet Isaiah He gave us an incredible picture of how He remembers us daily. It is a message of love and comfort sent to hurting hearts like yours and mine, as we travel through these days. Truly it is a message of His love and care.

I urge you today to grab hold of that message – see yourself indelibly imprinted on the palm of God’s hands – and be at peace, knowing you are so very loved by Him.

Dear Father, sometimes we feel so very lonely and forgotten. When these feelings overtake us, please remind us of our picture carved on the palms of Your hands.

 

 

 

 

I Am Here

By Sarah Rodriguez

A month after the loss of my husband the new IPhone came out. I was eligible for an upgrade so I decided I would go ahead and make the purchase. I was a little daunted by this task but I decided to make the leap. The long awaited phone finally came in the mail. I spent the next 2 hours in tears of frustration trying to make sure that all of my old text messages from my husband were backed up so they wouldn’t be lost. I was finally able to figure it out much to my relief. I plugged my phone into my computer to transfer all of my files only to get the error message I didn’t have enough space on my new phone. How was that possible? I finally realized I had purchased a phone with the wrong amount of storage space. I transferred back all of my old files, loaded the phone in the box and off to the local cell phone store I went. Upon arrival I was told they were sold out of my particular phone and wouldn’t have any more for months which wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t already given my old phone to someone else. I was able to go home, call the cell phone company and explain my situation to them. An hour and a half later they had resolved the situation and a new phone was on its way. By the end of this ordeal I had lost a few hours of my life and a few hairs I had pulled from my head.

Why was this all such a big deal, you ask? Because my husband was the one who normally handled all of the electronic issues in our home. He would mention the new phone was coming out and next thing I knew I had it in the palm of my hand with all of the files neatly transferred over. It took me hours upon hours to do something that was so effortless for him. I was so embarrassingly bad at something so simple for him that it frustrated me.

I must admit out of my frustration I started to get angry. I was angry my husband wasn’t here to help when I needed him. I was angry the littlest things were such a big hassle due to my inadequacy. I was angry I felt so helpless and I was angry I was alone. All in all I was just angry.

In my frustration I cried out to God and told Him how unfair my life was. I told him how hard and lonely it was to do life without my best friend. On and on I went until I had depleted myself of every frustration I felt. At the end of my rant I felt The Lord say simply “I am here.”

He is was there the day that my husband left this earth. He was there the day I held my son in my arms knowing his Father would never return. He was there when I laid in bed at night crying lonely tears. And believe it or not He was there when I was frustrated about a silly phone. Whatever I am feeling be it big or small He is there and He cares.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7

That day I gave every emotion to The Lord. I told Him how I felt and left it at His feet knowing how deeply He cares about all of my pain. I am sure it won’t be the last frustrating situation I endure but one things for sure-I know I won’t ever face it alone.

Dear God-I thank you that You care about every little thing that concerns me. I thank You that in every fear and frustration You are there for me. I pray for Your help to get me through the difficult moments ahead no matter how big or small and to feel You ever near to me. Amen.

The Empty Chair

by Karen Emberlin

 

“Fear not, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed.  I am your God.  I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 (The Living Bible)

 

Have you been faced with an “empty chair” beside you?

During the past nineteen months there have been many times I have experienced the empty chair syndrome.  For quite some time it seemed almost everywhere I would go, the empty chair was there too!  Meal times, church services, family gatherings, and just a relaxing evening at home were all reminders that I was alone.

I thought I was doing much better until a few days ago when the empty chair appeared in another “first” situation.   In a ten day period I faced two surgical procedures, the first ones since the loss of my husband.   In the past few years, I have experienced some tough medical issues, but my husband was always sitting in the chair beside me as we talked with doctors, went though tests and tried to make the best decisions for my care.   He was always at my bedside helping in any way he could to reassure me and make me comfortable.  I knew he would always be there when I woke up, making sure I was cared for in the best possible way.

This time as I checked in for surgery, the empty chair brought back so many memories!  It seemed to represent the pain and emptiness that wanted to consume me.  Please understand, I am so thankful for a wonderful circle of family and friends who cared about me, prayed for me, and made sure I was not alone, but it just was not the same.  No one could take the place of my husband!

While waiting in a small quiet room prior to surgery, I stared at the empty chair remembering what it used to be like when my husband was there to hold my hand and reassure me.  As I prayed and focused on verses from His Word, I realized that instead of my husband, God was sitting in the empty chair, loving, listening, and waiting for me to hear Him.

A devotional from Jesus Calling says, “Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction.  I am with you continually, so don’t be intimidated by fear.  Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand.  Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence.”

Was I still concerned – certainly!  Did I still miss my husband – I sure did!  However, I knew God was sitting there with me providing a peace that passeth all understanding.

The loss of my husband leaves an empty chair but God is sitting there waiting for me to spend time with Him.  The relationship my husband and I enjoyed happened because we spent time together and shared our joys and sorrows with each other.   God wants me to talk to Him and share my feelings just like I did with my husband.  He also wants me to be still and listen to what He has to say to me.  Sometimes it is hard to talk to an “unseen body” – I would feel much more comfortable talking to someone I could see and touch.  However, He promises that He will be with us always.

In faith I can see Jesus in the empty chair!

Lord, help us begin each day believing You are all we need to continue this journey of widowhood.  May we accept Your plan knowing that You have allowed this pain and loss in our lives.  Help us take the pain and hurt to a chair that is never empty and allow healing in Your time.  May we discover the purpose you have for us.         Amen

How Do You Hold Thoughts Captive?

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

bracelet   We all have those days–when you are trying to give it your all.  You know you’re blessed.  Yes, you’ve lost your best friend, but God has blessed you in so many ways.  Maybe with your children.  Maybe with friends.  Maybe He’s provided for you, or given you options for a new life. Maybe it’s simply the peace of knowing He is in control and that your salvation is safe with Him.  Be sure that’s there, because knowing He died for you helps you remember that this grief is only but a moment in the short time we have on this earth, and the reality is the everlasting joy He will give us in eternity! Here’s a tip my boy gave me–place a bracelet on one arm.  Every time wrong thinking creeps in your head, stop what you are doing and move the bracelet to the other arm, meanwhile shifting your thoughts to God’s thoughts–remembering His purpose for you, the work He has for you, the goodness in your life, and your thankfulness. When you start to think, “wow–I lost so much when I lost my husband,” try to remember the Gospel.  It’s all about surrender.  In order to have salvation and everlasting life, there is only one requirement–that we die to all we think we’re entitled to here.  We surrender it all the Christ, Who Himself surrendered all to the cross for our sake. If you think you’ve lost, think for a moment all what Christ lost.  His friends, his supporters, His popularity, His comfort–to the point of suffering a more grueling torture than any of us can imagine.  And then finally, His life. And as you move that bracelet, shift your thoughts from what you have lost, to what He gave up, to finally what He gave you in exchange–salvation, new life–including a new life here with purpose! Meanwhile, to fulfill His purpose, we need to bend our minds to obey God’s thoughts not the enemy’s. My older son took the bracelet a step further. “Mom,” he said.  Try putting the bracelet on your ankle– that will really make you stop and rethink your thinking!” Ha Ha!  Now there’s a thought! What works for you, sisters? Hey, God. Can you help out my sister who is struggling today?  Can you give her some techniques for how to actually take Your suggestion to hold every thought captive?  Perhaps some of us in the community of widows have more ideas that can help her and she’ll come across them in these comments.  I give this request to You, knowing You have each of us sisters in the palm of Your hand.  Amen.

Chosen

by Rene Zonner

“…He has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure”

Deuteronomy 14:2

imagesCAUF0IX1Do you know what I miss most about my husband? I miss hugs for no reason—catching his eye across a crowded room and knowing exactly what he is thinking. I miss the inside jokes we shared and “that” look from him. I miss knowing out of all the people on this planet, he chose me to spend the rest of his life with, and it was me he came home to everyday. I miss feeling special, set apart…

I miss being chosen.

For the sixteen years before my husband John died suddenly of a heart attack in August 2010, I had something I really craved. Someone here, in the flesh, who had chosen me above all others. I took great comfort in this fact and being a wife was very important to me. Until he died, I never realized just how important being chosen was to me.

Truth is, most of my self-worth and identity came from knowing I was enough for someone, a physical flesh and blood person. My feeling of security depended on John choosing me daily. And now that I’m single again, not having this daily affirmation for almost three years now has brought my insecurities to the surface.

Oh sure, my parents love me but they have to, right?. They didn’t choose me—I was just given to them. My three young children love me (OK, some days more than others) but again, they didn’t ask to be my children, so what choice did they have? My friends choose to love me, but the reality is I am lower on the totem pole than their own spouses and families.

So who chooses me?

Having grown up in the church, I know the answer to that intellectually—God. But when I became a widow, this fact did not provide the comfort it probably should have. God loved me enough to take care of me and my children. He promised He would redeem my future, and He would use the loss to my good and to glorify Him. After all, He has provided for me in countless ways both materially and spiritually, stamping His fingerprint on my life throughout this season of widowhood

So why wasn’t He enough for me? What was missing? Why did I feel unloved and unwanted?

Only recently did I get an inkling to why.

See, when I heard “God loves the world”, all I could think was “great, He loves everyone just the same” and “I’m nothing special, just another face in the crowd”.

And that is not what I desire. I want to be special! I want to be chosen! John’s gone, and now, because of my circumstances, I just wasn’t feeling special. I was allowing my circumstances to tell me I wasn’t chosen.

But, those were my feelings—not Truth.

I am chosen! In Deuteronomy 14:2 God tells me I am His own special treasure. Isaiah 41:3 exclaims I am precious to God. Psalm 139:17-18 shouts God thinks of me all the time. Isaiah 49:16 reminds me God has engraved my name on His hand. Rene Zonner is engraved on the same hand that made the stars!

He’s speaking to me!

But not just to me! These verses are for you as well. God is not limited to human constraints of only being able to do or think of one or even a few things at a time. He can love each of us as like there is no one else to love. He can think of me all the time and still think of you all the time. I am not just some face in the crowd, and neither are you. Psalm 139:13 tells us God knit us together in our mother’s womb. He knows you and me intimately. He knows us better than our husbands ever could, and he still chooses us. I know this is hard to grasp for some of you, and I am still trying to wrap my brain around it myself. But we must hold onto this truth about God. It is vital that we find our security, our value and our self-worth in the God who loves us personally.

Let’s not depend on others to provide what only God can.

Heavenly Father,
I pray for my sisters in Christ to understand the personal and intimate love You have for each of us. Help us to see that even though our loved ones are not here to make us feel special, it’s okay because we are treasured by the God of the universe. I ask you to make real to us just how wide and deep your love for us is. I pray for us to know that we are truly chosen.
Amen

Supporting One Another

by guest blogger Liz Anne Wright

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

– Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

These verses were read at my wedding and are written on the inside of my wedding band, now lying in a box in my closet.  They are some of my favorites.

But what if you don’t have the cord of three strands anymore?  What if you have to lie down alone?  How are you going to keep warm?

Right after my husband Keith died 5 ½ years ago, I had some of those questions.  Maybe not consciously, but at least subconsciously, right from the beginning, I knew things would be changing for me significantly.  Understatement of the year.

God, however, knew my needs, even before I did…and provided!

Within a few months of Keith’s death, I made five new friends…who were all widows!

Through a variety of ways, and in a variety of situations, God brought me what I needed even before I truly knew that I needed it….new friends who truly understood.

These precious ladies had, all but one, been on the path of widowhood longer than I.  And they were a tremendous help to me in how to navigate the journey.  As one of these dear ladies put it, she may not be able to fill all the potholes in this road for me, but she could at least tell me they were coming so that I could slow down or steer around them.

The only thing that was a little odd was that they did not know each other…yet.

We decided that meeting together was beneficial to all of us.  So, we started having coffee and dinner, going to plays and movies.  We prayed for each other and shared our lives in person and on our group Facebook page.  And we have developed a closeness quickly and easily as we rely on God, and each other, on this journey.

Today, nearly four years later, we have grown to a group of women (and even a few men) of about 24.  We call ourselves Travelers on a Different Journey.  It was not the journey we chose, by any means, but one upon which we find ourselves.  And we have found that having others who “get it” and have “been there” breaks down barriers and creates no awkward silences that sometimes happen with our other friends.  We laugh together more than we cry.  We talk freely about our spouses now gone and our future and what it could be.  And we are blessed to know each other and be in contact with each other.

We have determined goals and a mission statement for our group, and I will share these, should they be of help to any others out there:

  1. To provide fellowship:  a safe environment in which we can enjoy adult fellowship with others who have felt the loss we have.  Through monthly outings, dinners, and coffees, we strive to give opportunities to get to know others on the same journey, and to laugh or cry as needed.
  2. To provide prayer support for the concerns within the members of our group, and for new widows/widowers we come in contact with.
  3. To provide practical support in the form of lectures/classes on new areas of responsibility that we have that are outside of our comfort zone, such a finances, home repair, etc.
  4. To provide outreach to widows and widowers who come to the attention of the members of the group through friends or other organizations to which we belong.

I am so thankful to God that in His infinite wisdom and grace, He provided us with each other in order to face this journey.  The moments are hard, to be sure, but the journey is sweeter, knowing that I always have someone I can call for advice, a hug, and a prayer.

In a different way, I still have a cord of three strands to help give me strength…God Himself, me, and my fellow Travelers.  Were I without any of these pieces, this journey would be unimaginably hard.  And I pray that you, fellow traveler, have these three cords as well.

Dear Lord, 

I pray that as we journey along this path on which You have placed us, we can find the joy of community and fellowship with others who understand our journey.  I pray that we can be a support to each other for the tough days, and a cheering section for the joyous days.  Mostly, Lord, I pray that we can grow ever closer to You, to glean from this journey what You would have us glean in each moment, happy or sad.  I pray that we can see You as our Husband and our Best Friend above all others.  Thank You for giving us opportunities to be in community with fellow travelers on this journey.  Thank You even more for allowing us the privilege of having fellowship with You.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

Thou changest not…

by Nancy Howell

“I the LORD do not change.”  Malachi 3:6 (NCV)

Life is full of changes.  Maybe that’s the understatement of the year, especially considering the audience reading this post.  Those of us who have lost loved ones, beloved spouses, know this all too well.  Life is static, constantly in flux and in motion. 

What you once thought would last a lifetime ended way too soon.

Circumstances beyond your control–accidents, sickness, cancer, heart attack, infection after surgery–changed your perfect world in an instance.  You are alone, in a daze, struggling to make sense of your situation.  You feel like there’s a piece missing from your body, an integral one that you need to keep going.

Down is up, up is down.  Chaos swirls around you.  You put yourself on automatic pilot, and get through the immediate hours and days of widowhood, numbed beyond belief.

Your home is full of food, flowers, well-intentioned family and friends, but is missing the one thing you want and cannot have–your husband.   You are on a path you didn’t choose, one you wouldn’t wish on anyone else.  But it’s what you have been given.

Family and friends have lives of their own.  They slip back into their daily routines, leaving you behind, in a house that seems way too big, too quiet, and too lonely.  The flowers wither, and you hate to throw them out.  The funeral plants?  You struggle to keep them alive, and as they die off, you feel a twinge of guilt, as something else associated with your husband dies.

Everything that you know and love has changed.

Or has it?

One of my late husband’s favorite hymns is “Great is thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisolm.  The beautiful words are based on the passage from Lamentations:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.” 

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV)

But my favorite phrase of that hymn?  “Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not”

I lost the love of my life, but “Thou changest not.”

I have so much now on my plate, so many more responsibilities as a single woman, but “Thou changest not.”

My world has been turned upside down, but “Thou changest not.”

Happiness and purpose in my life seem oh-so-far away, but “Thou changest not.”

In all that flux, constant change, entropy, chaos of your world, God doesn’t change.

He is the one and only constant in your life.

I needed reminding of this simple fact just this week.  Dealing with household repairs and remodels, the sad reality set in–I was changing “our” house, remodeling “our” bathrooms, repainting “our” bedroom.  Life had moved on, and I had moved with it.

Down came the prints and portraits from the bedroom walls, holes were spackled and filled.  The blank walls were repainted a soft yellow.  It wasn’t “our” room anymore, but solely “mine.”

As I took stock of which items to re-display on the walls, the past 19 months replayed through my mind.  In all of the changes in my world, God was there.  He didn’t change.

And though I have moved on in many respects, I will never forget the quarter century of life and laughs and love I was lucky enough to have with my spouse.

In whatever phase of change you find yourself in today, remember you are never alone.  Whether you are newly widowed, struggling with chaos and loneliness, or just beginning to find a new “normal”, God has a plan.  He has a glorious plan for you, just for you, wherever you are in your journey.

Never ever forget–His mercies are new each morning, His compassion never fails, He is faithful, and He doesn’t change.

Heavenly Father,  Thank you for never changing, for being the great “I AM”, the one constant in a world full of confusion and chaos. 

I pray blessings on each sister here today, and it is my prayer that each and every one of them feel You close by.  Keep reminding us that we have purpose, and we pray that through immersing ourselves in Your word, we will discover the plans that You have for us. 

Help us to be patient for grief is such a complex difficult process.  We want to come through the grief stronger, more closely aligned with Your will,  and ready for whatever the future holds. 

Thou changest not….hallelujah!  Amen