The end of the story?

“So we’re not giving up.  How could we?  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 

There’s far more here than meets the eye.  The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.

But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The MSG)

Have you ever felt like giving up?  Disconnecting the phones, crawling back into bed, pulling the covers over your head?  I bet we’ve all been there.  Some of us in this unimagined journey may be past this stage, while others may be right in the midst of it.  Even though I rarely follow through on those thoughts, I still have days where a part of me wants to give in to the pain of widowhood by giving up and giving in.

But for me, really giving up was never an option.  Although I had lost my husband, the rock in our family, the love of my life, our two young sons had lost their compass, their role model, their daddy.  They expectantly look to me to pick up the pieces and guide our family into the future.  A future filled with unknowns, what-ifs, and should’ve-beens.

So I did what any other mother in my position would do–I forged ahead.  There were days I did not have a clue as to what I was doing.  I made decisions based solely on prayer and intuition.  Slowly but surely I began to feel more confident in making head of household decisions, with only God to consult with.

On the outside, it may have seemed like life was falling apart all around us.  Plans and dreams that were in the works for the Howell family of four had to be reevaluated and re-assessed.  Some we had to let go of completely, and that was difficult.  Others we are continuing to follow.   The rest are in a state of flux and uncertainty as we await God for direction.  The Howell family of three is slowly regrouping, once again finding purpose in life.

For you see, even on the worst of days, God is still at work within us.  He quietly fills in the cracks of our brokenness, like a contractor spackling holes in sheetrock.

His grace and His love unfold in our souls, allowing us to begin to heal.  God is actively making all things new, in spite of the curve-ball life threw us almost two years ago.  He shows us time and time again that life is still worth living.

As I look back on the past twenty two months since becoming a widow, I see how far I have come.  I look ahead and realize I have far to go.  The one constant in the journey has been the steadfast love and grace of my God.

He’s been beside me on the rough days, days I didn’t think I could make it until the next minute.  He’s curled up beside me on nights where it seemed I could never go to sleep in my big bed alone, after sharing it with a spouse for almost 23 years.

He’s helped me make decisions for my family, for our future, by giving me counsel and guidance, the best I could ever hope to have.  He’s given me glimpses of joy and happiness, when I thought those were emotions I might never feel again.

Most importantly He has showed me that really bad circumstances can build character, empathy, and faith.  I never thought good could come from such bad, but thanks to God, it has.

The end of my husband’s life could’ve been the end of my story–and it would’ve been a pretty good one to tell.  But God tells me I still have purpose.  I have work to do for Him, joy to experience, sons to raise, songs to sing, books to write.

He is enough.  You, too, have a purpose.  Don’t give up.  Your story should not end with the death of your spouse.  There’s so much more that God wants to help you write.

Father God,

I pray that each widow reading this will feel the all-encompassing love and grace that You and only You can provide.  Fill in the cracks of their brokenness, let them see that their story hasn’t ended just because they’ve lost a spouse.  In many ways, it’s just beginning.  It is my prayer that each finds purpose in this new uncharted territory of widowhood, so that Your kingdom will be glorified.  Because You make all things new.  Amen

18 replies
  1. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Carol,

    I’ve had days much like the one you had yesterday. You just shake your head and say, “God, really? This had to happen on top of what’s already been a very trying day?” All you can do is cling to Him and to His word.
    I am a cat person, too, we got a young cat soon after my husband died. She sleeps with me, and listens without judging. Condolences to you on the loss of yours.
    Glad you found our blog. God bless you

  2. Carol
    Carol says:

    Thank you, Nancy. This is just what I needed today. I just passed the 2 year mark without my husband. We could not have children so I am a middle aged widow and alone. Since my husband passed away my mother has not been in the best of health and other family problems have just about gotten me down. Then last night I accidentally backed my car onto my much beloved cat and she did not survive. She has been a listener of my problems without judging me. I think God had provided her to be with me when I needed her most but last night and today I have just been overwhelmed with grief again. I am trusting God to help me with this as He has helped me all through my life. Thank you for being so open and transparent in your grief.

  3. Calli
    Calli says:

    Wow, such encouraging words. I thought that I was doing better and then the tears have started up again, so easily they fall. The latter part of this month Ken will be gone 6 mths, 2 days after that would have been our 37th anniversary. During my devotion time this morning. . . God met me where I was Thru your post, Nancy, and all the responses, He confirmed His never ending presence. “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold: I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8 How anyone struggles thru such great loss without the Lord, its beyond me. Blessings to you all!

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Calli,

      The tears will come from out of nowhere, triggered sometimes by the strangest things. So so glad that you found the post this morning and it was what you needed to read. I don’t believe in coincidences, one of my widow friends calls them “God winks”….WIll be praying for you as these two anniversaries come up…God bless you…

  4. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thanks, My Friend, for the encouraging words. Since I am a “grandma” and do not have the daily responsibility of a family to raise, it is often easy to question what my purpose is. When those times come, I remind myself of the words in Jeremiah 29:11 where the Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you – plans to give you hope and a future”…Over the past 16 months God has opened doors I never would have considered before I became a widow – I continue to trust Him to guide me and walk with me each day.

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Karen, You know that we all have a purpose. Keep holding to that verse of scripture. It’s the very one my husband’s ICU nurse showed me on the day that he was going to pass away. Hugs to you….

  5. Marisol
    Marisol says:

    It’s been a tough week. I was having a pity part last night after my kids had gone to bed. Then I read your post. Thank you you for your encouraging words. I’m a year into this journey and this past Tuesday would have been our 19 th wedding anniversary. I was praying, talking to The Lord asking him so many questions last night. Especially, how am I to continue raising 5 boys/young men and 1 little princess. His answer was to be still, trust in Him and continue having faith that He will take care of the rest. I’m trying so hard to cling to this.

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Marisol,

      My heart goes out to you, it’s okay to have a pity party, I have had my share…the latest was the day before my 50th birthday (the day before my 25th was the day my sweetie proposed marriage)…continue to lean on God, and don’t worry, He’ll never go to sleep on you nor tire of your questions.
      Blessings to you and your family, sister,

      Nancy

  6. Alison
    Alison says:

    I am also exactly 22 months in my widow journey. I was 5 months pregnant with our 5th son. I feel like you wrote those words expecially for me (although I know it will encourage so many!) So beautifully written Nancy, thank you so much for such encouragement from God’s word.

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Alison,
      My heart aches for you and your children. How wonderful to have God walking alongside you through this journey. I wonder how widows who don’t lean on God ever get out of bed in the morning. So glad you found this site. Blessings to you and your family…Nancy

  7. FlowerLady Lorraine
    FlowerLady Lorraine says:

    What an encouraging and uplifting post. It is reading posts like yours and others, that gives me hope, in living my life and in trusting Jesus for His continual love, peace, and care in all areas of my life.

    May you continue to feel God’s love and peace and strength flowing through and surrounding you as you take care of your boys.

    FlowerLady

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Thank you, Lorraine. We are all in this together, and it’s from our commonality that we can draw strength to face each new day. God bless! Nancy

  8. Janna Morrison
    Janna Morrison says:

    Thank you Nancy. I’m nine months into the journey and apathy has struck hard in my spirit. Thankfully, The Lord always gives me the faith and strength to hop out of bed and forge ahead. It helps so much to see other widows who trust in God are strengthened when they want to throw in the towel. Thanks for the encouragement today!

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Janna,

      Apathy and indifference in a widow’s life is too common. I think it’s Satan’s way of trying to wriggle in when we are at our most exposed and vulnerable. But with God for us, literally, who can be against us? Use that power and strength that only God can provide. Life is still oh so sweet and worth living. Blessings!
      Nancy

  9. Kit
    Kit says:

    I love your spirit, Nancy. It’s my prayer that every widow grabs hold of that same confidence–the one given by the Lord Jesus Christ!

    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Thank you sweet friend and sister in Christ. I thank God every day for you and the positive influence you continue to have in my life. Hugs 🙂 Nancy

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