|photo from FaceBook|
A Christian ministry sent me a note of condolence this week. This one sentence hit the nail squarely on the head and blessed me so much that I've pulled the letter out every day this week to re-read it:
"Even though you know your loved one is with the Lord, that does not lessen the pain."
The loss of Beloved's presence here in the house is getting a little easier but I'm not over it. I look at rooms and furniture where memories bombard me of where he liked to sit, what he liked to talk about, routines we had, our shared jokes, how he would reach out to me.....
Remaining in our house is both the biggest comfort and at times the most hurtful heartache. In the early months I wanted so much to escape this place due to the pain, but family urged me to not rush into it and as time has passed, I see the wisdom in that. No matter where I go, the grief is with me and I have to face it head-on so it can get better.
Time spent alone in God's Word is my biggest and most dependable comfort as I wade through these days (nearly 10 months now) of grief over the loss of my husband. There is genuine power in Holy Scripture that reaches into the deepest part of me to calm, rest, and counsel my injured soul.
When I was a very little girl, I watched my father use a red pencil to underline words and verses in his Bible. As I grew older I picked up on that habit and now it's an essential aspect of my study times.
Since the death of Beloved, I have wanted to be reminded even more of God's character. I began using a purple pencil to underline and hi-lite words, phrases, verses that describe God, Who He is, what He does, how He relates to people. I did this so that when in the depths of a grief-stricken time, I can just pick up my Bible and let my eyes fall on those purple markings, reminding me of God's love and care for me.
This is especially easy to do in the book of Psalms, but I carry out this habit when reading scripture in any book of the Bible. Sometimes grief can feel so suffocating that concentration on true study is impossible. Letting my eyes fall onto the purple pencil markings is like road signs directing my attention to where I need it most at that moment.
|a page from Charles Stanley's |
God's Purpose for Your Life, 365 Devotions
Another habit I've picked up over the past ten months has been to mark up the pages of books I read (books I own, you understand 😉) with a special color code that is meaningful to me.
I started out with the red pencil for anything I wanted to emphasize. But then I added the purple for what relates to God's character and activity. Blue is used to denote sin, or negative behaviors, things to be avoided. And green is used to indicate what my response should be. Many of my books now have these colored markings and because I maintain this same code of colors consistently, it's easy to review salient points.
Small scribble-type drawings are occasionally added for various reasons, along with a lot of arrows and notes written in the margins and dates when those pages were read.
These methods have helped me greatly as I study and later go back to review the most important points I wanted to remember.
Another habit that has been strengthened now that I have more time on my hands, home alone, is to watch sermons on Youtube. I have my favorites. While watching them, I bring up an application on my computer where I can type in notes while watching the sermon, often pausing the speaker so I can get it all down, and then continuing on. It is time well-spent.
I've said before that my hobby of cross stitch just dissolved and has not come back since this sadness came into my life. The concentration required to count the stitches just wasn't there. As I said earlier, sometimes focusing on study has been lacking, too, with "brain fog", as they call it in GriefShare.
Coloring books have been a great help me to me during those times. My favorite is the one Sue sent to me while Beloved was still in ICU. It is the Psalms with many illustrations to color in. I like to turn on a sermon or music and just color like a kid with abandon, feeling the tension slip away.
Yes, I do get out of the house to have coffee and meals with friends, to attend book club and Bible study, to attend and serve at church, to walk, and of course to grocery shop and pull weeds. These activities help me to get through the days, too, and I am thankful to be able to enjoy them.
O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,
thou understandest my thought afar off...
If I ascend up into heaven,
thou art there;
If I make my bed in hell,
behold, thou are there...
... thy hand [shall] lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me...
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me,
O God! how great is the sum of them!
(phrases from Psalm 139)
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, grace and peace to you.