My Musings—From My Heart
It has been 135 Fridays since I sat on the bench in our front entrance listening to our youngest daughter-in-law tell me that my husband of forty-six years was never coming home again.
My heart broke as I struggled to comprehend her words. Earlier that morning I had kissed him goodbye, as I always did, and told him to “have a good day, and I’ll see you tonight.”
Mr Van was a residential framer, and he was currently working on an addition to the home of our oldest son. Sometime that morning God had whisked him away to heaven as he suffered a heart attack. He died instantly.
As I listened to her words explaining to me that Dick, our dear husband, Dad, and Grandpa, had died, I knew, deep down, that I would never be the same again. She finished speaking and waited for my response, but I had slipped into crisis mode, thinking of a thousand things at once, trying to face reality head-on.
How could I lose someone so close to me so suddenly and not feel as if half of myself had just disappeared in one swoop? Even though I didn’t know it at the time, that is what had transpired in those minutes. I have no idea how long that conversation took.
I only know I stood up to a different life.
Today, I marvel at how God has led me forward into that life. He has gently and gloriously unfolded every detail, teaching me to know Him in deeper ways, as He displays the same kindness and faithfulness that He has always shown to me over the years.
Prior to the loss of my husband, God had developed within me a passion to see the women in my sphere of influence following hard after Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. I longed to see them living life with more intention, in the way that He had planned for each of them individually; to know and to understand His love for them and His desire for His best for them at their age and stage of life.
My Faith Walk
We all experience times in our faith walk where God teaches us to know Him more deeply by bringing us to places of surrender to His ways for us. My life has often radically changed as I have responded to Him and made those difficult choices. The foundation of those important “stakes in the ground” that were planted in me over the years led me to strategize, write and teach a course based on them called Heart2Heart, Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
Unexpectedly, in God’s sovereign will, after four years of this ministry, I found myself entering my next stage of life, Widowhood.
All the lessons that God had taught me over my lifetime, those “stakes in the ground,” had to pull together to give me the strength and dignity to survive each day that has followed. I lost my best friend and husband, and my life turned upside-down, and inside-out in an instant.
God was asking me to faithfully continue to live out what I had been teaching through this course—
- Learning to live life with intention
- Deepening my walk with God as I discovered more of who He is, and
- Believing Who I am in Him
- Believing that He is enough in every season
My Life Experience
So, what are these “stakes in the ground” that created the foundation in my life that has held fast in the hardest days I have ever walked through? They are based in five specific areas:
- I can BEGIN and be more intentional.
- I can BELIEVE and have deeper intimacy with God.
- I can BECOME a woman of purpose and character as I am secure in Jesus.
- I can BELONG and create my life as I love my people.
- I can go BEYOND and leave a legacy that counts for eternity as I serve my people.
This specific focus has kept me steady even as I have enjoyed and struggled through success and loss in my life, and I expect these core principles to continue to be necessary as the rest of my days unfold before me.
- I believe that I am held fast by God. I still fall down and I fail and I ask God to pick me up and to help me to carry on. And He does.
- I believe that He is Who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do.
While I long for heaven, to be with Jesus, and to see Dick again, I am also able to begin to look ahead and see what purpose God might have for me here on earth as I continue to follow His leading and to live out the rest of my part in His Big Story.
I have learned a lot about how joy and sorrow can reside together in my life. My motto for each day has been “Stay in the day” and “Just do the next right thing in love.” It has been survival mode, but I have held fast to God and He has held fast to me.
These words from Psalm 91, verses fourteen to sixteen, have become very precious to me over this time.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”Psalm 91:14-16
Moving from surviving the day to being able to look ahead in small ways and so to begin to plan for the immediate future has brought praise to my God and comfort to my soul.
Your Musings—Your Future
I don’t know where you are coming from today.
- Perhaps you would love to be more intentional in your life, but don’t know where to start.
- Perhaps you know about God, but don’t know Him.
- Perhaps you feel you could grow in the areas of becoming more secure, more purposed and in more godly character.
- Perhaps you want to know more about how to love and serve your people and others.
I would like to invite you to come and walk with us as we explore all that God has to offer us.
Another passage of Scripture that has become so meaningful to me over this time is Psalm 16. In Verse 11 the Psalmist David expresses his acknowledgement of God by writing
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”Psalm 16:11
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