“We love because He first loved us.”
– 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
My love for my husband did not die with him. I bet you can say the same thing about your husband, and there is a good reason for that!
Real love, the giving kind, reflects the nature of God.
“God is Love,” and He created us in His image. (1 John 4:8, Gen. 1:27)
Love has an eternal origin. The very fact we grieve mirrors the love we carry beyond our husband’s deaths.
We miss. We regret. We long.
We grieve because LOVE acutely feels death’s forced separation. My husband was my better half. It would not be an exaggeration to say for a good while I felt amputated, incomplete, and my life a dismembered place. I experienced the conflict of hating that my beloved was gone but also not wanting him with me to continue suffering.
No wonder Jesus came because the agony of separation from a loved one is abhorrent—totally unacceptable and an offense to love. God did not want that eternal distance—like a vast ocean of darkness to get between us. He wanted us close and that’s what love wants… to be close.
Because of love’s eternal origin, death separated me from my husband but cannot separate me from my love for him. While the eternal origin of love shines in this, grieving is incredibly painful, complex, and layered. Triggers, like land mines, lay in wait for us.
While, “never again” thoughts are triggered by countless associations, very intensely at first, acknowledging and talking with God about them helped. What didn’t help was dwelling on them. If I did, it was like digging a pit and jumping in. Grieving is difficult enough without that!
Despite the pain and sorrow now, never would I have missed the love and tapestry of our lives together.
You and I know who and what we miss, but what future good do we anticipate? Future plans with my husband were banished in the instant he exhaled his last breath. However, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corin. 5;7 (ESV). Eyes of FAITH are crucial to move forward and faith needs to nestle into Truth.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rms. 8:35, 37-39 (ESV)
As widows, we share an experience and understanding. Life as we knew it changed instantly. Yet, while life has altered so much, it is comforting that:
The future holds the promise of God’s love, tomorrow and always. God’s love is never-ending, never-changing, and forever true. Faith is our secure anchor into His love and a sacred place to exhale.
Lord God, thank You that we love because You first loved us. Whether our hearts feel battered, parched, numb, or tentative, meet us there and refuel us with Your love. We are created to love You and one another. Use us still, for the world needs nothing more than Your healing love. Thank You, that we are able to cherish love for our husbands as a true gift from You, Lord Jesus.
Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends. Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.