“I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” Isaiah 41:18
It takes a very long time after you’ve lost your other half to get any sort of clarity about your situation. For so long, you’re just in pure survival mode. The way of life you had and the way you looked at life…it’s all stolen from you the moment your spouse dies. You have to evaluate everything because everything’s changed. In the middle of the dark valley, we can’t expect to have clarity. We wander around, trying to get out of the valley. Sometimes, we think we’re making progress only to find out we’re just stumbling in circles. Eventually, we do make it out of the valley, but we’re beaten, broken, and bruised from our journey. Why do I say this? To let you know that even once you’ve survived the loss of your heart, you will still hurt. Always. An actress in a recent TV show I watched said, “My dad always said that loss is the price you pay for love.” She didn’t know if the pain was worth it. It’s nice to know that there’s been multiple TV shows made about the plight of a young widow. There’s something sad yet humorous about the fact that your life has been made into multiple TV shows.
I used to be so angry with Trevor. I would yell at him, “I hope you’re enjoying sitting by the river of life while I’m dealing with your wayward, stubborn children down here!” I would also yell things like this at God and ask him to pass the message along to him. It seems a little ridiculous, a little disrespectful, but that’s the way I’ve felt at times, especially when my boys are displaying Trevor’s genes. It doesn’t seem fair that I should have to deal with his personality quirks. However, with time comes clarity. I can see a different perspective sometimes. When I see our son land a three-point shot in basketball or see our daughter dance so gracefully or watch my two youngest snuggling or hear our son recite a whole Bible passage from memory…at these times I am grateful. I feel sorry for Trevor because I get to see these things, and he doesn’t. I realize then that I am deeply blessed because he never got the opportunity to see these things. I will see the people our children become…and he won’t. There are still days I get angry; this life is exhausting and frustrating, but I can also clearly see now that I am also blessed.
Life is still really hard. However, I now have the clarity to look back and see that God has never left us. While others have let us down and left us on our own, God never has. He has carried us through the valley, and he will continue to carry us. Losing Trevor has also given me clarity on the things in life that are truly important and the things that aren’t. You can’t have your life turned upside down without gaining a completely new perspective.
In Hebrews, God tells us that hope is an anchor for our soul. It keeps us from drifting off-course. It keeps us grounded in the storms. With clarity, we gain hope because we can see what God has done for us and will continue to do for us. Cling to this hope. For this new year, hold fast to hope. Let it be the focus of your year.
There are going to be days that are rough. It’s hard to spend your days chauffeuring kids around to activities and cooking and cleaning and tucking in kids and waking them up and waking them up again and tucking them in again. It never ends. And children are not grateful people; they are selfish little creatures. After you’ve stood up and cooked a healthy meal for them, instead of thanking you, they will most likely complain. Instead of being grateful you drug your tired self to another practice, they will be upset because they weren’t there early enough to play with their friends before practice started. Just know that God sees everything you do. It’s not without purpose. God sees, and He knows. He will give you the strength you need to keep going.
This year, worry less. Give yourself grace. Some days, instead of cleaning or making a gourmet meal, you just need to snuggle with your kids and watch a movie. Allow yourself to have these moments. They are what keep you going. Do things that refresh your soul. Find joy in the little things and rest in the promises of God.