Everything is hard after you lose your husband. Every stinking thing. It’s been 16 months for me, and still, almost everything is hard. It’s exhausting to have been a single mom for this long – to cart kids to various activities after teaching them all day and cleaning up after them all day and cooking and doing laundry for them and trying to make sure they’ve bathed recently. Listening to them complain about what I cook or how I cook it. They complain because I don’t know where their other sock is. They feel the need to tell me every little thing their siblings do that they don’t agree with. And you know what? Sometimes I just want to hide. Seriously.
There’s lots of big decisions that have to be made. And you no longer have your husband to lean on for those things. I took for granted that he was the one responsible for our family and the decisions made. With that responsibility now sitting on my shoulders, I don’t like it. Not one little bit. It’s hard to know that the buck stops with you. It’s hard to know that you’re responsible for the state of your family. He was so logical and wise. He had a special gift of discernment. I realize now that I do not. I pray for wisdom, and according to James 1, I will receive it. But what happens when you don’t? What happens when you pray and you still don’t know what to do? I don’t have any easy answers, but sister, I guess we just keep praying and asking and hoping for a word from the Lord. We also look to the past to see what God has done. He constantly pointed the Israelites back to his faithfulness to them in leading them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. So maybe the key to our season is this: while we’re in the wilderness, we keep looking back to what the Lord has done for us before, how he has been faithful to us in the past, and that will give us the courage to keep pressing on. He has been so faithful to me, so gracious, before. I can trust Him now.
I question myself a lot. I second guess a lot of what I do. This probably isn’t healthy; we would never hold a friend or fellow widow to this high of a standard. So why do we do it to ourselves? I think we have to realize that life is infinitely messier now than it was before and to stop comparing our current self to our former self. We can’t do everything we used to do. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes, lots of them. But then we get God’s grace and we keep moving forward. We keep fighting the good fight. We stay in the game. There are no easy answers to doing life on our own. There are no easy answers to parenting issues with your kids. There are no easy answers about all the big questions that are probably hanging over your head, and that’s Ok. We will do the best we can, and that will have to be enough. When we mess up, we can be honest with our kids and tell them we don’t have all the answers. We can tell them that life is hard. Maybe from us, they can learn how to keep moving forward and trusting the Lord, even when it’s hard, and even when it’s not the life we planned on. Because one thing is certain, life is always harder than anticipated and it’s never quite what we plan. So let’s do this. Let’s live out a life of grace and love and joy even in the midst of the struggle. And crank up the music and dance a little. We might as well have a little fun while we do it!