…falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:60 (ESV)
As we hung our ornaments on the tree, I studied one of my favorites, a figurine of baby Jesus marked with the shadow of a cross. That ornament always reminds me that even from infancy, Jesus was marked to become a sacrificial lamb.
I chose a dignified position on the tree for my treasure and discovered the hook on the top of this ornament had fallen off. I scrambled through the box and rummaged through my garage for hooks or wires. Finally I laid the ornament on the table.
As the other ornaments one-by-one found their places on the tree, I almost imagined that piece feeling lost and uncertain on the table.
Tom had some of those “ornaments” in his life. People who loved him dearly and had their own stories with him. Each story was a kind of a hook to him. Sometimes the “hook” that kept them connected with him involved an unresolved problem that caused him struggles with them. Struggles he willingly endured because he loved them, encouraged them, and hoped that time would bring healing between them.
But time wasn’t given.
In the wake of his death, these precious loved ones had double the scars—the loss of Tom and the loss of any opportunity for closure other than in their hearts. Tom was no longer available to work through whatever needed to be worked through.
And for a while, it seemed whatever couldn’t be worked out with him was taken up with me. Sometimes the widow becomes the physical representation of the loss, and therefore, a target.
Are you struggling with misplaced hostilities during the holidays? It’s not easy when you are already struggling to get through the season with grief. How do you handle it?
I’ve asked this question before while frustrated, and heard the Lord speak His answer in my heart loudly and clearly:
But this season is difficult enough to handle while grieving!
Again–same answer: Forgive.
But they do it again! Must I be subjected to offense over and over?
Jesus tells us to forgive your brother seventy times seven times. He forgave his attackers as He was dying on the cross. And if you think He gave Himself as He spoke forgiving words only as an ideal example, think again. Stephen, in the early church, was as human as you or I. And as he was being stoned to death, his last words held compassion for his attackers. “…falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:6 ESV).
Ask the loved ones around you to remember the tough walk you are on during this season. Then take extra compassion and care when it comes to dealing with their behaviors.
Forgive and maintain healthy boundaries with those who no longer have your husband to hook their troubles on. Tune in next week when I’ll offer suggestions for setting boundaries and keeping these relations in your life without letting them turn into “grinches” who steal your Christmas.
Lord Father, please remind my dear sisters on this widow journey that when You say Peace to All Men– you meant to all widows as well. Give her Your love and confidence so that she can identify where to set boundaries and how to be understanding of the grief in those around her who may not be on their best behaviors. Amen.
Kit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season. To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle
Friendship and Loss: Her Perspective by Kit Hinkle
Friendships by Erica Graham