“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Philippians 1:3 (ESV)
A day that triggers a variety of “images” as we recognize and observe this national holiday. To some, it simply means the beginning of summer. To others, it marks a notable day of remembrance to those who selflessly served this great country in a branch of the Armed Forces.
My husband was grateful to serve in the US Navy. He deeply revered those who served and made certain to express his gratitude. Although he did not lose his life during his service, I am proud to remember his dedication to our country. Today, I will proudly display the “red, white and blue” in remembrance of him and his fellow veterans. I will attend the Memorial Day service at the National Cemetery where my husband’s remains are placed. And I will reflect with a grateful heart for his safe keeping, while remembering those who gave ALL.
This day also brings a different kind of remembrance to my mind. Thirty-one years ago today is the eve of what was undoubtedly one of the most precious days of my life. It was the eve of our wedding day. I was a young twenty-four year old girl, in love, preparing to spend the rest of my life with my good looking Navy guy. I could only see blue skies ahead as we looked forward to growing old together. But God had different plans.
I can not help but to think of all the widows I have met this past year. I have heard numerous stories of “how” they came to be a part of widowhood. And I can’t help but believe, the last day their husbands took their final earthly breaths to be a day of remembrance for them; a “personal memorial day”, if I may say so. These stories are raw, gut-wrenching and sad. The lives of their beloved husbands hold pride, history, meaning, sacrifice and purpose. Much like the way we hold dear the remembrance of veterans on this holiday, the day of our husband’s passing is a day to reflect and revere as well.
But can we remember joyously?
It will take some time, my sisters. And a lot of trust. There will come a day when remembering is not as painful. When Paul writes to Philippi, he frequently uses the words “joy” and “rejoicing” even while chained and imprisoned. Paul speaks in great confidence of “He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). God has begun a good work in all of us, my Christian friends. It did not end when our beloved spouse’s work here on earth ended. We must carry on to complete what He has begun in us. Just like our nation prevails through turmoil and we take time to remember how far we have come. We as widows carry on alone, by the grace of God, and remember the way our husbands’ lives have shaped our own.
I encourage you to meditate on His Word and cry out for His guidance. I am grateful that I can now remember the twenty-six years I shared with my husband with joy. I push on, as we all must, in honor of my husband.
Today, Father God, I remember the countless lives who have selflessly served our great country. I pray You will bless the families of these service men and women. I lift up my fellow widows, Lord, who also reflect on their days of remembrance of their precious husbands. Comfort them, as only You can, Lord. I pray as they seek Your guidance for their work, You will open the window of trust. Amen.
Want to read another great article from our team on Memorial Day? Click here! (by Liz Anne Wright)