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

A Better Day

After a very hard week last week, today is looking better for me. And yesterday was a pretty good day as well. I am thankful to be able to have some light with all of the darkness.  It is very welcome after these last four months/19 weeks that have changed our lives so much.

Yesterday, it poured rain for a while, and then the sun came out. And, it is out again today. Well, with clouds right now, but it is still peaking through.  And that is how I feel today — more happiness seems to be peaking through as well.

After dropping off Ian at school, I walked around our neighborhood for a little while. It was so helpful to do that.  During my walk, I heard birds chirping, saw the flowers in bloom, and noticed trees continuing to bud. I have to be careful with all of this since I have quite a few outdoor allergies, but it was nice to be in nature that is coming back to life again.

I too am trying to do that for myself and for our son. I still have bad days and expect to for quite a while, but I am also having some good ones.  And, I am trying to not feel guilty for that.  Sometimes, I do feel guilty and other times I do not.

I still miss my love with every fiber of my being but it has been sinking in that I have to continue on without him. That has been a very hard realization to come to and then try to live with.  After 20 years together, his absence has gutted me in many ways.  But, since we have our son who is still a boy, I have to use all of my strength, cling to my faith, and carry on.

Both of us still want him here with us.  Both of us loved to laugh with him, to listen to him tell jokes and be silly, to share meals, to pray together, and to have our long weekend chats before starting the day.  But for reasons I still do not understand, that wasn’t to be.

Ian and I both are finding things to keep us busy and keep us motivated. That is helping as well. Still that grief and loss are always there.  I just suppose we are trying to find a way each day to live with it, deal with whatever our feelings are, feel them, and figure out a way to carry on.

As you know from my writings last week, I didn’t know how to move on last week.  I just couldn’t.  And I was okay with that.  At the time, I had to wallow and be sad.  I had to write about it, cry tears, scream, and let it out.  And, surprisingly, that day actually helped me.

Right now I feel like I have little control over my emotions and how I am feeling.  Some days are awful and some days are really good and others are a combination. This morning I woke up thinking, I wonder what we will be doing today.  So that was a sign to me that today would be a good day.

But tomorrow could be awful again.  Thus the waves continue of grief, of pain, of loss, of sorrow, of sadness, of anger, and of life never being the same again.  Along with these are waves of happiness, of a special memory, of a favorite quote or joke that was told, of a picture with smiles and hugs, and special chats with our boy.

The Lenten season was very special to the two of us.  We met each other during that time frame and fell in love. It was a quick courtship but one that both of us knew was destined to be.  We were married later that year and had a wonderful life together.  So, this time is bittersweet.

Easter too has always been very special. I know this year will be hard but I am trying to remember the previous Easter celebrations, look at our photos, and be thankful for the time that we had together.

I know I will cry some but I hope to also laugh and enjoy the time with my family and friends who are still with us.  And I hope that we can take time to remember those we lost. For they enriched our lives and were quite special.

A few things I am thankful for today:

  • A lovely sunrise through the clouds
  • Chatting with Ian on the way to school
  • A quick walk around our neighborhood
  • The loud chirping of birds
  • The vibrant colors of tulips
  • The hundreds of photos that I have taken over the years
  • Our family vacation last summer
  • Books that occupy my mind for a while
  • Favorite songs
  • My coloring book of Bible verses
  • My family and friends
  • My faith

And, this verse which has been hard to read recently.  Deep down though, I know it to be a promise from the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11 was in a Michael W. Smith song that Kirk and I used to listen to — a lot.  Each time I heard it, it touched me and made me realize that all will be okay.

“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.” 

May this comfort all of us who are grieving and lost.  May it encourage us.  May we have good days along with the bad.