Grief is messy and confusing and filled with raw emotions we can’t prepare for. Debbie Smith and her daughter, Hillary, know first hand what it’s like to walk through unexpected loss. When Debbie’s husband and Hillary’s dad, George, died suddenly from a heart attack last year, they found themselves in a place where life was unrecognizable.
But how do we do that? Move into an future without someone we love? Because we have unseen hope. The hope which comes from faith in Christ and knowing, even in the hardest days, He is with us. Debbie and Hillary have encouragement for you today. Grab and box of Kleenex and get to know these amazing women of God.
Sometimes events take place in our lives that can provide us the opportunity to either run away from God or to Him. The sudden death of my wonderful husband George on January 10, 2013 was definitely one such event. We had been married for 30 years and in no way was I prepared to let go that day.
By the grace of God I have been blessed with a firm foundation of faith. I felt as if the Lord was saying to me “You have talked the talk, and now is the time to walk the walk. I will be there with you every step of the way. And on those days when you don’t feel as if you can stand I will carry you.”
Please don’t misunderstand me – having a firm faith does not mean the journey is easy. I’ve had many days when doubt, fear and anxiety have tried to take root in my life. That is where I have had to lean on the prayers of my family and friends. It is difficult to do spiritual battle when you are at your weakest and most vulnerable.
One of the Scriptures sent to me time and time again was 2 Corinthians 1:3,4. It says that we serve the God of all comfort and in the same way He has comforted me, I can reach out and be a comfort to others. As I am able to reach out to other women who may be experiencing grief, it somehow helps me to make some sense of losing George.
So as I continue to walk this journey, I am looking to discover my identity not apart from George but beyond him (From One Widow to Another by Miriam Neff). It is certainly not a club that I ever wanted to be a member of.
But I have made a choice to try and walk in such a way that would bring honor to George and glory to my God.
No matter what you may be going through today or where you may be in a grief journey, I would like to encourage you with two Scriptures. Psalm 30:5 says that “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Then the Scripture that I have chosen to stand on on a daily basis is Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
As someone who has always struggled with anxiety my life verse has been Philippians 4:4-7. In these verses we are told to rejoice in the Lord and to not be anxious in any situation. Sometimes that is easier said than done because on January 10, 2013 I suddenly lost my dad and my life was forever changed.
In those moments at the hospital I was forced to comprehend life in a way that I never expected. The anxiety of no longer having him was one of the most overwhelming feelings that I have ever had to deal with. Though I had major support from friends and family I would now have to live with a void in my life that nothing could fill.
In the days that followed I experienced an anger at God that terrified me. Knowing God’s truth and accepting my new reality did not mesh in my mind or in my heart. Accepting that God’s timing is perfect was a hard pill to swallow. So hard in fact that a few months into my journey I recognized my need for godly counsel. This was one of the most humbling decisions that I have had to make because of my “I can fix it “attitude. My pride was quickly relinquished in my counselor’s office. The Lord really loved on me through her. She helped me to understand that everything I had been feeling was normal even though I felt far from normal. After several months of counseling, I was able to take her advice and forgive God for being sovereign, as ridiculous as that sounds.
I am thankful to say that I have “graduated” from counseling and God is helping me with the anxiety that has plagued me for years. Lamentations 3:19-24 tells us that His compassion never fails and great is His faithfulness. And verse 32 says,
“For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.”
So as I continue on my journey, I leave you with the encouragement that receiving help is not a sign of weakness and anxiety can be overcome. Thank God for each day and never forget to tell those whom you love that you love them.
If you know someone who would be encouraged by this, please share. Debbie and Hillary want to be used to give others hope beyond the hurt.