In the beginning, the idea of accepting the death of my husband seemed totally impossible, mainly because I could give so many reasons why his death was unacceptable! God knows, I thrashed against acceptance, my heart broken, my life and future an alien place I never envisioned. Question marks dangled at the ends of my thoughts. If answers were the pathway to acceptance, I suspected it would forever elude me. However, the knowledge that God is good, no matter what, helped to gently usher me towards acceptance.
More deeply still I discovered that faith is anchored to the character of God in the storms of life.
GOD is ATTENTIVE
- “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jer. 33:3 (ESV)
- “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:15 (ESV)
- “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”- Matthew 6:31,32 (ESV)
GOD is COMPASSIONATE and FAITHFUL
- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 (ESV)
- ”But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” – Psalm 86:15 (ESV)
- “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV) (We are His kids!)
The knowledge of God’s character was a comfort as I wrestled to make sense of my finances, reconciled medical bills, and relocated to a new home, all within the first year. During that time, and well beyond, I toggled back and forth within the stages of grief but did not get close to accepting my husband’s absence. Ultimately, I flirted with acceptance before I could really exhale there.
I discovered acceptance isn’t the absence of missing or loving my sweetheart. Instead it is making peace with the loss, and learning how to integrate my husband’s death into my present life.
Once the initial numbness left, for a long while I felt I was going through the motions of living. A broken heart takes time to heal, and it was impossible to gather those broken pieces. God had them though. He cherished them and cared for them, while enabling me gradually to re-engage my heart in living. It was under the wing of God’s loving care, and with the anchor of knowing His goodness, that He knit together the broken pieces and I could fully engage in my altered life. Love, longing for my husband’s presence, and moments of sorrow remain. Yet, in making peace with the tremendous loss of my beloved, I have found a new peace in the present and am invested in living until I’m called home. I believe this is called “acceptance.”
“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:5 (ESV)
All-Present God, may our faith not be circumstantial but anchored by the eternal consistency of your character, confident in your steadfast love. Lord, please lead us to accept the healing of our hearts and lives for the future you have in your sights for each of us. Thank you that our futures are as unique for each as each is unique. We look to You and thank you that while we don’t see our path, You guide us step by step. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.
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.
For more reading on the topic of God’s anchoring us throughout the stages of grief, you may enjoy these: