He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. – Isaiah 40:29 ESV
It had been three weeks since my husband’s passing.
Our church was having a workday. Keith would have gone. He would have worked with the men, told jokes, and talked about life. Wanting my boys to be in relationship with these same godly men, we packed up the car and headed to church.
We were quiet on the way there, still a bit in shock from the events of the past month. I was holding it together, but barely.
Then I heard a voice pipe up from the backseat…my two and a half year old, Jackson.
Will some of the men hug me?
My vision blurred. This is the child who was Daddy’s shadow…and right now he was hurting.
They probably will, buddy.
At church, I explained the situation to one of the sweetest guys I have ever known…our worship leader, TJ. He invited Jackson to help him shovel gravel.
Jackson was so little that he could not really manage the shovel, much less a shovelful. TJ had to have his hand on each load, carrying much of the weight, guiding it into the correct place. A job that would have been fairly quick to do on his own, TJ patiently endured. My little boy had male bonding time, and felt the joy of doing man’s work.
Jackson came to me a while later, big smile on his face, telling me, “I helped Mr. TJ, Mom! He needed me to shovel the rocks!”
Wow. What a gift! When I had asked TJ to help, I had not imagined the way he would lavish his love on my son. My vision had been limited to a simple hug. TJ took it far beyond that, building a little piece of character into my sweet boy’s soul.
What a metaphor for how God has held me during this entire widow journey!
I am often told what a great job I am doing running our family. Nothing is farther from the truth! Just like Jackson and the gravel, I am not strong enough to keep track of four growing boys, homeschooling, household tasks, etc., etc. — on my own. But…I have a Father who keeps His hand on the plans I make, the steps I take…and He is strong enough to handle what I cannot…and takes us far beyond where my limited vision would take us. Patiently, He guides me into being a better me – not just in spite of my circumstances, but because of them.
Sisters, this journey is hard…very, very hard. But…God has each of us in the palm of His hand, holding the back of the shovel as we slog through the layers of grief, and the rebuilding of a new life. Trust Him, Sisters. Take what He has to offer. And keep shoveling!
Father, thank You for being exceedingly, abundantly more that I can ask or imagine. Thank You for constantly having Your guiding hand on me. Thank You for loving me through this time, and helping me to find strength and peace in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Liz Anne is a homeschooling mom of four boys who enjoys meeting new people, walking, and reading. Since losing her husband in November of 2007, she has felt led to reach out to the grieving. With the help of friends, she started a local widows’ ministry to connect widows in her local area. She is very thankful that, while she is very ordinary, the God she serves is extraordinary. Because of that, she is able to rebuild after her loss. She is not just surviving, but thriving! To Him be the glory!
Want to read more about hope? He Goes Before Me by Sheryl Pepple
Or another article by Liz Anne? Who Will He Use?