“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
Does envy ever creep up on you and tell you God has not been as faithful and good to you as He has to others?
As a widow I certainly envy.
I envy my married friends, because I know how good life is as a couple. I know how wonderful it is to have a partner, a best friend, to travel this life road together.
I envy my widowed friends. I envy if their husband passed from a long-term illness and they had time to say goodbye, or if their husband passed in their arms. I envy if they died “heroically”. I envy if they got to grow old with their husband or have more time than I did. I envy if they got to raise their kids up together.
I even envy other suicide widows whose husband left a note or didn’t pass right away.
That’s the nature of this journey for me.
As I sit confessing how wrong this really is, I’m reminded that God’s faithfulness is never measured by the good or bad in me or my life. Yet, I wonder why it’s so easy to envy.
Honestly, I think it’s because I just want more. I want more than what I “got”. Sometimes, dare I say it, I even feel like I am entitled to more.
I want more time.
I want more love.
I want more memories.
I want more words.
I want more moments.
I want my husband back.
I just want more!
I deserve more, right?
I envy what my married friends have with their husbands now, knowing full well what I’m missing. I even envy widows whose stories “sound” better than mine. Because if I am totally honest, I am not content with where God has me.
But, how do I keep envy at bay? How do I keep that sin from creeping in?
God gives me the incredible ability to see and know even though things are bad, of course they could always be better, BUT they could always be worse.
Having perspective helps me to appreciate my story and my journey. In turn, as God heals me and moves me forward I can see His mercy and I can appreciate what He’s called me to.
I am a suicide widow whose husband took his life in a public manner, and he left no note or explanation. We were both thirty-five years old and had been married for almost thirteen years. We had three very young children, I now have to raise alone.
I appreciate each of these significant things much more when I look at them as a privilege and a blessing, and not entitlements which were taken from me.
Whether other stories are “better” or “worse” than mine, I can find value in my story for what it is and not what it’s not. I can accept that God chose me for this specific journey. I can trust Him as I move forward and stand victoriously in Christ over it all.
Today, I relinquish my envy to God’s plan and a perspective that stands firmly in Him. I lay my envy at the Cross and I ask God to continue to reveal to me His plan for my life.
Heavenly Father, I trust You and I know Your plans are perfect, even when I don’t like or understand them. Defeat my envy and help me to find the courage to embrace the plan You have for me. Help me to step forward courageously and stand victorious in You over all You have given me. Use me and my story , even my children, for Your glory. In Your Matchless Name, Amen.
Erika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.
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/erikag