The Firsts

stepping stonesIsaiah 40:31 -“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

I remember dreading the “firsts” after my husband died.  In the initial year as a significant date, emotion, or life event approached, I felt the ache in my heart, the uneasiness in my stomach, and a thousand thoughts flying around in my head.  I would have to take deep breaths and clear my mind because I was so fearful of the unknown.  After moving through and surviving the first year it dawned on me; I made it!  I reflected back as to why there was so much panic and fear in approaching and living through these events?  I believe it is all a process and is something each individual has to experience on their own grief journey.  It was important for me to experience the anxieties as each holiday drew near.  I was aware I could not live through the pain on my own and it allowed me to press into God for comfort and strength.

Shortly after my husband’s passing, I asked my friends and family who had lost someone how long would I feel this way?  I wanted someone to give me the magic answer, to make me feel better and in my mind, have a goal I could set my sights on.  Everyone’s answer varied, but a good average was somewhere between two and three years.  2-3 Years!  As I looked at my youngest, who was five and half months old, and realized he would turn three when I should start “feeling better”. Looking back I can see how God needed this time, to groom and grow me as one of His children.  The process continues through my life as I have been molded and shaped again and again with each one of my losses since 2001.  All of my “firsts” were stepping stones to equip me with patience, empathy, tolerance, and spiritual strength in supporting others in their grief journeys.  The first two to three years as a widow was a foggy memory and there are details I don’t remember.  What I do recall is the love, patience, and support of my family and friends during an extremely difficult time in my life.  I thank God for putting all of the right people in my path those first two to three years to support myself and my children as we experienced our “firsts”.  I look back and know I survived the “firsts” because of His grace and mercy.  Now it is my turn to share my story so others who have suffered a loss can experience hope and find strength in God’s love.

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