On Faith And Our Fears

There is an advertisement airing now on TV in which a woman says you cannot be full of fear if you are full of faith. It is supposed to be uplifting and positive but I think that is incorrect and misleading. I think it is possible to have fears despite having faith. I also think it is normal to have doubts and fears.

I do have doubts, insecurities, and fears. I had many of them after my husband unexpectedly passed away.  At the time, I was worried that the other shoe was going to drop, or that something was going to happen to me or our son. I wasn’t trying to live without faith. However, when your entire world is rocked, it is normal to have doubts and not know when all be again be okay.

Throughout my grief journey, I have developed a stronger faith. For me, without it and our loved ones, I don’t think we would have made it. I remember the struggles of the early days, of feeling like I was in a fog and couldn’t think. I couldn’t answer a question in the first few days when asked. Part of me was broken. Part of me was lost that day.

Now, two years later, those broken pieces are healing. The light is coming back in. The part of me that was his wife is gone and I am a widow. However, I am blessed with memories, photos, and a son who has a lot of his dad in him. I expected to grow old with my spouse so those expectations have had to change.  It has been a challenge, but I am feeling more positive and hopeful.  That is a blessing.

Another thing I have heard that troubles me is when preachers say you can just claim what you want and the Lord will give it to you.  Also, that if you are truly in God’s will, no harm will come to you.  These are not always the case. The expectation that all will be right if you desire it enough can be very painful when reality sometimes sets in.

As my husband went to the hospital and the paramedics, doctors, and nurses worked on him, I prayed that he would survive. I didn’t want to lose him.  I didn’t want to say goodbye and I wasn’t ready to do so. Despite my earnest prayers, that was not the answer. Instead, my husband passed away.  I did get to say goodbye, but he was already gone. He was already in Heaven.

I don’t always understand the ways of God, but I truly believe that He is loving. I believe that He cares for us. I believe that He will be there for us. He promised to be with us during the trying times in our lives. Like the Marines, He is always faithful. Despite my questions, that helps comfort me. 

Speaking of faith, let’s remember Job from the Bible. He believed in God but lost everything — his wife, his children, his property, his animals, his vocation. Even in his loss, Job still worshipped the Lord and believed that he would be okay. He had questions and doubts. He also had faith and knew that despite all the losses, the Lord would stand by him.  His life certainly was full of tragedy yet he still believed. Job’s faith is a comfort to me.

Have you noticed that there are quite a few scriptures about not being afraid, not worrying, not doubting, but instead putting our faith and hope in God? It seems that He knew we would have struggles, fears, questions, and doubts. He knew we’d need Him. (Graphic and fear image are from Power Point clip art)

Here are a few of the scriptures that have helped me:

  • “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” — Isaiah 43:1
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:10
  • “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” — Romans 8:38-29
  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

Our Hardest Weeks

Over the past few weeks, my son and I have been trying to deal with the passing of my husband. It was sudden and unexpected but just how he would have wanted it just not for at least 20 years or more. (picture from Power Point clip art)

Since I am a writer, I realized that I needed to take some time and write down my feelings in order to start dealing with them. In the first week, I was up in the middle of the night for several nights in a row. During that time, I have been thinking of what I wanted to say. So here goes.

These have been the hardest several weeks for me and for our son but they have not been hard for my loving and sweet husband. He is in glory and there is comfort in that. My family and friends have also been an amazing comfort. So many people have reached out and have come through for us and we really and truly appreciate that.

But for me it hurts like hell. Parts of the day I am okay since he traveled a lot. I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. Other parts when it hits me that he is never coming back as we knew him, I want to scream. And, in fact, one of my friends whose husband died two years ago told me to do so. She said to wail when you need to. So recently while in the shower I did. I will again.

A few friends have mentioned that they are amazed at my strength. I feel I have to be strong right now for our son. There are times when I am strong but there are also times when I am very weak and ready to fall apart. So, I am taking it one day at a time, and sometimes, one hour at a time and even minutes at a time. And I am crying in front of our son and he is too. We are in this together.

The first week, my brain was in a fog and it was hard to do the normal things. I kept making mistakes and forgetting things or staring at someone. That is the pain and grief and perhaps a coping mechanism. I have worked as an editor so it is odd to not see mistakes that I could always see. It is frustrating but you know what, I don’t care right now.

I have several friends who have also lost their husbands. They have reached out to me. A few of them had a sudden loss, others have dealt with a longer term situation. No matter how the loss happens, it hurts so much. Some have younger children and others have children who are grown adults. No matter the time in life, it is still very hard to lose your soul mate and life partner.

With all of the pain we are going through, we are clinging to our faith in Jesus. That is a great comfort, as are our family, friends, church, school, neighborhood, and community. Imagining Kirk walking the streets of Heaven and making new friends makes me smile with tears in my eyes. There are so many who I imagine he is chatting with. That helps on the worst days.

My husband and I had talked about our plans and what he wanted when he died. He took care of us and did all he could so we would be okay. I will do my best to honor his legacy. Still, I am bumbling through all of the paperwork and things that have to be taken care of and people who have to be notified.

We had a celebration of life that was attended by both family and friends. We all cried and laughed as we remembered my dear sweet love. The outpouring from our loved ones has been amazing and has helped sustain us and helped us carry on. They say it takes a village, and that seems to especially be true in times of great loss and grief.

My advice is to talk with your loved ones about all of this hard stuff, arrangements, words for an obituary, your finances, and names of your relatives. It is just so hard to do immediately after the loss. Be sure that you both know what the other wants, and how and where to find the important papers.

There is a song that Tim McGraw sings that says to live like you are dying. I don’t like those exact words but he is onto something. I have learned the hard way how important it is to savor each moment with our loved ones and not take them for granted. We do often do that and get stuck in our own little ruts. My husband and I did that as well.

We had a great life together but it was by no means perfect. We would argue and annoy each other and sometimes fight, but we would make up. We made a point to do that. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing that is to me right now. And, with it all was love. I know he loved us and he knew we loved him.

We met when we were both a bit older than many people who get married and we knew it was right from the start. We had a wonderful 20 years together and a sweet son. Still, I want more. The fact he wasn’t here for any of December hit me last night and hurt again. I feel that I should have done more for him at the end but did all that I could.

I don’t like thinking of him in the past tense. I remember how vibrant and full of life he was. He lived his life full of love and laughter and also worked hard. We had our inside jokes and traditions that I want to keep alive for our son. We had annoyances with one another as all couples do. We complemented each other with our skills and abilities and we supported each other. We also had such a rich and treasured history that I will cherish and tell our son about when the time is right.

There are many of us who are grieving. My husband was also a father, a brother, a son, an in-law, a nephew, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, and a teacher and friend to his students. The people who had these relationship with him are also grieving and in shock.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of a song “I Can Only Imagine,” that brought me to tears before all of this happened. This summer, the three of us watched the movie of the same name. We all cried and hugged one another. What a memory. It is one I will cherish for a long time.

Amazingly, now my love is experiencing all of this. After I cry some ugly tears, I try to imagine what he did when he arrived in Heaven. I then smile and cry some more. My love, you are missed and loved.

I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me (most of the words)

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When you face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I would do is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine