“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” I John 4:7
Love is impossible.
As I sit here this morning, before work, with my coffee - I think back over these 18 days so far.
And I realize just how impossible love is.
Alone. On my own.
I need God to help me do this.
These challenges of learning to love are difficult.
These came easy to me with Rick.
Not so easy with myself.
I have dug deep in my own mind and heart to figure this out.
Crying out to God to help me understand.
Still not “there” yet.
But on my way.
I even fall.
But I am learning.
Never knew it was such a challenge to learn to love.
An old country song says that if it doesn’t come easy, then leave it alone.
That is so NOT right!
Everything good doesn't come easy.
This is a good thing, learning to love me.
I am worthy to be loved ... God decided that!
Rick lived it!
And now, I am learning to do it.
God tells us to love others as we love ourselves.
So, again, if we don’t love ourselves, then how do we love others?
This study so far has humbled me.
And already it has shown me ways to love others.
This is not about puffing myself up and out.
This is not about focusing on me, while ignoring those around me.
If you have not started this study in earnest, I challenge you today.
Go back to Day 1, and begin this.
With a little quiet time given to yourself each day.
Lord, I need You.
Oh how I need You.
Every hour I need You.
With every breath I take, I need You.
With every move I make, I need You.
I need You as my Great Savior, for I am a great sinner.
And I need You as my daily Strength, my Wisdom, my Comfort, and my Courage.
Learning to love me is a greater challenge than I expected it to be.
Already it has grown me, changed me.
Please dear Lord, do not let me forget these lessons learned.
But make them to take root and grow within me, helping me to understand more clearly how to love others.
I want to LIVE these lessons, Lord
To Honor You.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
I love You.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Proverbs 3:13
Love seeks to understand.
What is wisdom?
: the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, common sense, insight, and understanding.
: unbiased judgment
: knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it.
What is understanding?
: sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings
: having insight or good judgment
The challenge today is to seek to understand ME better.
No one is simple.
We are all complicated beings.
With thoughts, ideas, hopes, fears, dreams, and a whole host of emotions thrown in.
But re-reading the definition of “understanding”:
- I need to comprehend ME, what makes me think and feel the way I do.
- I need to pay attention to my feelings, what makes me smile? What makes me cry? What makes me angry? What makes me feel relaxed?
- I need to be more tolerant of my own shortcomings and failures, not in the way of making excuses ... but in realizing that I am but dust, I am only human.
- I need to be more forgiving of myself when I stumble or fall, when I open my big mouth, or when my feelings get all out of sorts.
- I need to exercise good judgment in where I go, what I do, who I am with.
Why do I say the things I do?
Why do I feel what I feel?
Yes, this is very introspective, and it requires some uncomfortable time.
But I need this.
Lord, You alone know how complicated I really am.
You understand me completely.
You can help me to understand myself.
I don’t ever want to lean on my own understanding
But I do want to “get” me more.
Like Rick did.
He didn’t always agree with me, but he could (and did) explain why I did or said certain things.
I ask You for that understanding.
And for the wisdom to do better. To be better.
In Jesus’ Name I ask
Thank You God
I love You
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9
Love promotes intimacy.
We all have moments, sometimes chapters, of our lives that while our minds scream to shout these from the mountaintops - we need to just be Quiet.
Some things are to be held in strict confidence.
Moments that belong to us and God alone.
This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn in these 6 years since becoming a widow.
I honestly cannot sit here and write that there were any moments kept from Rick or from me.
- probably were.
But if so, there were not many!
Because we shared everything.
We were each others’ confidante, whether good, bad, ugly or indifferent.
I remember a lot of nights that we did not sleep.
We simply talked till the morning light.
We shared everything under the cover of prayer.
Knowing that we were safe with one another before God.
In these 6 years as a widow, I have learned that I have a big mouth.
Not with intent of heart to hurt.
I was spoiled by a good man.
And in missing that intimacy, I have been oh so guilty of:
Saying the wrong things at the wrong times.
Saying too much to the wrong person.
Too trusting, too naïve for my own good.
Rick sheltered me.
No matter what he and I talked about, no matter how intimate or detailed we got ...
we loved, we cared.
And we knew that it would go no farther than from our ears to our cries before God
Sadly, most people are not like that.
Most are only too glad to hear the “juicy tidbits” of life, but not so that they can come along side and help pray you thru ...
- no, it’s because most want only to run to someone else and say, “Guess what I just heard?!?”
- and of course, embellish just enough to make it a bit more “juicy”.
Yeah, hard lessons learned.
I’ve spent countless hours arguing and wrestling with my own mind and heart -
Praying until I was literally physically exhausted,
And falling asleep with tears still running down my cheeks.
Waking up to more tears.
Wondering what I should say, who I should say it to, when to say it ...
- and then struggling when I have said too much, or at the wrong time, or to the wrong person.
More often than not feeling that urge to be a mute person.
- just not to talk at all.
At any time.
It’s too much for my heart to deal with.
Then, I remember when God made a donkey speak,
And would not allow a man to curse His people.
My Hope, my Comfort - God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
I find myself praying more and more that God would either open my mouth with the right words, at the right time, to the right people -
- or He would put His Hand on my mouth and make me be quiet!
He knows what lies within me
He knows what I should say, when, how and to whom.
Please God - do this today!
This verse brings me peace and quietness
With a renewed sense of being quiet, being still.
God has promised that He would give me the words to speak when I need them.
So, until then ... just breathe.
Lord, you know I have a big mouth.
Please, do not let me cause harm or pain.
Only to bring You the Glory.
Teach me to be this intimate with You, and with myself.
When to keep things close to my heart, and even when to allow You to simply read my tears.
In Jesus’ Name I ask
Thank You God
I love You
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 2
This verse makes both my heart smile, and a soft tear to roll down my cheek.
This is exactly something that Rick would pray over me ... that he HAS prayed over me.
I cannot tell you how many times that man has taken me into his arms, held me firm, with my head on his chest, and his chin resting on the top of my head ...
Even now I can hear his prayers over me, over whatever burden was weighing on my heart,
I can feel his breath upon my hair,
And on several occasions, feel his tears soaking thru to my scalp.
He had no shame, no hesitance, in praying with me, in praying over me.
He was very in-tune to my spirit, to my heart.
He knew when someone, or some situation, was bearing down on me.
And he would pray.
Even on the worst days, he would pray.
It’s been a little over 6 years since I heard his voice praying ...
And I don’t think I realized until this verse just how much I have missed him praying over me.
Over our lives together.
I know that others have, do, and will continue to pray for me.
But to be held.
To hear my name being called out to the God of Heaven and earth!
There’s just something about that.
And I miss it.
Lord, You alone know how much I miss this.
And You know that I pray for myself.
Yes, it took me a long while after Rick died for me to pray over myself.
But I do now.
You also know all that lies within me still, unspoken.
But not unheard.
Teach me to pray O Lord.
In Jesus’ Name I ask
Thank You God
I love You
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” I Peter 3:7
Love is honorable.
Lord, some of these days are more difficult than I ever expected, or thought they would be.
But thank You for the greater clarity on these more difficult days.
Just as I need it.
There is no question, no doubt - never was - Rick did this.
Oh he made his fair share of mistakes.
He had his own bad days where his humanity got in the way of his Christianity.
But he lived with me, his wife, in an understanding way, showing honor to me - that even on the bad days, in those worst moments, I still knew ... he loved me, he cherished me.
There were a hundred ways every day that he lived with me in an understanding way, and honored me.
We decided early in our marriage to really LISTEN to one another when the day was done.
He would go first, because he was head of the house. (That was at my insistence.)
He would tell me about his day - the good, the bad, the ugly, the indifferent ...
I would listen.
Then, he would take me by the hand, and say, “Now, tell me about your day” ...
and I knew he wanted to know.
He would listen to the most mundane points of my day, like it was an exciting adventure story I was telling.
He would remember.
Often he would, days or months later, recall the tiniest of details about a particular day that I had forgotten.
Or when circumstances of a bad day were reappearing, he would become even more attentive.
He would call me, before cell phones were a “thing”, at least twice a day.
- which required him to find a pay phone, or ask to borrow one from a customer.
He didn’t talk long.
Just asking how my day was going.
Making sure did I need anything.
Letting me know that he was ok, and where he was.
Not because he felt like he had to “check in” ... but he said often, “I don’t want you to worry, I want you to be free of that worry so that you can enjoy your day!”
He would leave me notes hidden in the house, so that I would find them as I cleaned, or cooked, or took care of the kids.
He would nearly always bring me something when he returned from work.
- it might just be a pen he had “stolen” from someone ... which come to find out, his “stealing” a pen, was to say, “Oh how my wife would love this pen! May I buy it?” To which 99% of the time - they would say, “You can have it!” and he would tell them, “Oh this will make her smile! Thank you!”
- or it might be a flower he picked. I wonder now how many times he stopped in the road on a busy day, picked me a wildflower, wrapped it in a wet paper towel, and took care of it the rest of that day just so he could bring it to me.
He demanded absolute honor and respect from everyone in our life for me.
Whether it was our own kids, family or friends, or the neighbors, or just someone in the store.
He allowed NO rude behavior towards me, NO ugly words in my hearing.
He defended me, even in the times when he thought I was wrong.
He lived this verse ... every day.
It is a treasure to my heart to remember these things.
It’s also like a knife to my soul.
Because I miss him so much.
I miss the way he lived with me in an understanding way.
Even when he didn’t understand me.
He gave me tolerance and acceptance - just to be ME.
I miss the way he honored me.
So, today, I read this verse and I wonder - how do I do this for me now?
How do I love me like God loves me?
So that I can learn how to love others like I love me?
1. To live with myself in an understanding way.
Do not ask or expect more of myself than I can give or do.
Wow. How many times do I do the exact opposite of that?
- how many days do I lay off more on a to-do list than what is reasonable to get done?
- how many times do I beat myself up for not getting more accomplished than what time, strength and energy will allow?
While I am a Christian, seeking God with all my heart, it does not negate the facts of this life.
: I am a human. I am but dust.
: I have weaknesses.
: I am going thru struggles I have never known before in being Rick’s widow.
: And, Yes, I am healING. With the emphasis being on the “ING”.
Which means this is a JOURNEY.
Not a particular destination.
It is a JOURNEY that I will be on for the rest of my life.
So, I need to cut myself some slack!
Yes, even after 6 years.
Give myself a break.
There are days that I will simply breathe in and breathe out.
And that’s ok.
2. To show honor to the woman I am. The weaker vessel.
While God’s Promise is true and real - “I can do all things thru Christ Who gives me strength”, I still need to accept with serenity that there are things I cannot change or do.
Some things ... well, they just ARE.
Either that’s the way things are ... and they aren’t going to change.
Or, there are things I just cannot do ... and will never be able to do.
And that’s ok.
What does HONOR mean?
Absence of deceit.
A soundness of moral principle that no power or influence can impair.
Considering the definition of honor does 3 things:
1. It absolutely solidifies my memories that yes, Rick really did honor me!
2. And that I have not completely honored myself in these years since Rick died.
3. It also confirms the reason for doing this study, writing these words.
Lord, You have opened my eyes and made me see more clearly.
Please, help me trust You on this.
And teach me Your ways of being obedient to Your Word by honoring ME.
So much in our world today is geared towards removing my identity as a woman.
I am tired of them all messing with my blessing!
I am a woman!
I am the weaker vessel!
I do deserve the honor of being a woman, just because I are one - by God’s plan and design.
Lord, it’s time that I treat myself, as a woman, as the weaker vessel, with high respect and sincerity.
It’s not about being full of pride or vanity.
This is about me being humbled before You, God, at the realization of me being Your workmanship, Your creation.
You designed and created me to be a woman.
The weaker vessel.
One to be highly favored and greatly blessed & honored.
Thru Christ alone, I can do all things.
But all things are not meant for me to do ;)
I am no longer a woman to be shamed by the world.
I am no longer a woman to cower in fear.
I am a child of God.
I am a woman of God.
It’s time to wear being a woman with honor!
Lord, please, show me the way, in very way, in every day.
Beginning in this heartbeat, right now.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
Thank You, Lord
I love You.
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all that days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”
Love takes delight.
As I read this verse, it was actually a struggle to read, and even more to write it out.
I was that wife who was loved.
A wife who was not ready to be a widow instead.
Then, I read the note in my Bible about the word “vain” - In Hebrew, it means “a vapor” or “a breath”.
I think how blessed I was to be loved by Rick all the days of his breath.
I had always wanted us to live to a ripe old age, loving one another, and dying together in peace.
But life didn’t do that.
Yet, I know without doubt or question, that he loved me till his final breath.
I also know without doubt or question that he knew I loved him, until his final breath.
I wonder sometimes now if he knows that I still love him.
That I will always love him.
But how does this apply to me now?
I am a widow. Not a wife.
How do I “enjoy life with the wife you love”?
My heart actually threw up its hands in that frustrating “UGH” moment!
Sure am glad and thankful that God understands me so completely!
And that He allows me to just be “ME”.
These words feel like salt burning in a wound.
That literal gut punch of being a widow comes around all over again.
Do I love ME?
Do I enjoy ME?
That’s the question.
That’s what this study is about.
Learning to love ME as God loves me, so that I can love others like I love myself.
So ... this would be about spending quality time with ME.
And actually, literally, enjoying that time.
As a widow who lives alone, I have a LOT of time alone.
A lot of time with just ME.
But I admit, it’s not all enjoyed.
Lately it seems the loneliness and “oofies” have overwhelmed any amount of enjoyment.
(Oofies: not being sick, but not being well ... not feeling depressed, but not feeling joy ... not feeling good, but not feeling bad ... just that “off center”, “off kilter”, nothing wrong but nothing right ... Oofie.)
Lord, You alone know how lonely I have been feeling lately.
And how very lonesome, blue and oofie it makes me.
I need to enjoy ME more.
I need to spend more quality time with ME.
How do I make the time more about quality?
How do I get out of this rut of survival and LIVE? Really LIVE?
- thinking about the movie, Secondhand Lions
Please, teach me Your Way for me in this.
In Jesus’ Name I ask
Thank You God for understanding me so completely
I love You.
“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:25
Love fights fair.
How many times have I found myself fighting ME?
Whether with my weight, my age, my eyesight, or any number of other things that I don’t like about this body.
Then, there’s the arguments I have with me over a thought, a word spoken, maybe something not done.
If there was an award for second-guessing, and for arguing with yourself?
I would so get that award.
And how many times does one thought lead to a thousand others, until I am off chasing some kind of rabbit in a hole?
Momma always said that it’s ok to talk to yourself ...
But if you ever start answering yourself, then that’s trouble.
Well, Momma ... I’m in trouble!
I not only talk to myself, and answer myself ...
But I have these knock-down-drag-out arguments with myself.
What does that say about my sanity? Lol
Paul said it best when he said - I know to do what’s right, but I don’t.
I know what not to do, and I do it anyway.
Wretched man that I am!
Oh how I know those words!
I feel those words today ... so many times!
Over and over and over again.
How do I fight fair with my self?
Thru reading the Word.
Believing God’s Promises.
Holding on to Him in the fight.
What good does it do for me to continue spending time and energy on these arguments, and I don’t see the change from them?
How many of these arguments with myself have taken me out of prayer?
How many have interrupted the reading of God’s Word?
How many arguments with myself have taken my focus from God?
Yeah, I’m seeing the change ...
I think I’m getting this part.
My body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price.
It is no longer I who lives, but Christ Who lives in me.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood.
Lord, please help me to remember these Promises of Truth today.
This warrior woman is but a child.
A very weak and heart weary child.
But Your child.
I no longer want to argue with myself.
When it comes time for confrontation and combat with my self -
Please, stand me firm in the Lord, and in the power of Your Might.
Sometimes I will need to just breathe and be still, be quiet.
And then, the times when I will need to do more.
Please, show me what to do.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
I love You.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”
Love lets the other win.
Rick and I had this saying that we used to let the other one know that "you win" ...
We would say, "Yours is the blackest" ...
Then the one to whom it was said, would say (with a smirk of the lips, and a twinkle in the eyes) - "How did that taste?"
And the correct response?
"Like vinegar!" 😉
And of course, this was followed by the best hug and forehead kiss ever ;) !!! 💓
Sometimes we need to let the human side of who we are “win”.
Now as a Christian, that goes against everything we have been taught thru the years!
How many sermons, songs and lessons have you heard about “deny yourself”?
Yeah, me too!
So, when I heard that still small voice of God telling me to just let the human side of my emotions “win” - it was a radical thought, and at first, rejected.
But the more I thought about it, and prayed over it, the more I was accepting of this concept.
Reading this verse today confirms it within my soul.
Now to explain ;) - -
If done in the boundaries of prayer, while seeking HIM, it is not only allowed, but encouraged.
And it is not only healing, but freeing.
This morning in my prayer time, as I thought about being a widow, I wrote some difficult things to Rick. There were many hot, sticky and heavy tears that fell with every stroke of the letters:
God, here I am, Rick’s widow and my heart is hurting, feels like it is broken and fallen to the floor of my chest in a million pieces
It’s been 6 years, but time means nothing to me this morning.
I sure am missing You Rick.
Just as much, maybe even more, than I did that first year ... or the 5th ... as well as all those in between.
I am so acutely aware of all that I don’t have these days, because I don’t have You.
I was so much better with You than what I am alone.
Why did You have to die?
Why didn’t You take better care of yourself when You could have?
Why didn’t You face the truth of Your body changing, and just deal with it?
You might still have died, but at least then, there would have been that confidence that You really did do Your best, that You left it all on the field.
As it is,
I sit here with memories and thoughts
- frustrations, and anger at times
And a whole long list of questions.
I just miss You so much, Rick.
It physically hurts
It mentally hurts
It emotionally hurts
It financially hurts
There is no area of my life where it does not hurt without You.
Because there is no area of my life where You were not
Rick, this is not like some dreaded disease struck out of nowhere
Nor is it like an accident that happened
So much of Your health was in Your hands.
And You blew it.
You got out of this world, with all it’s problems, burdens and troubles
But You also left me here alone.
And You are missing seeing Your kids and grandkids grow up, live their lives
We were supposed to grow old together!
And You cheated me out of that.
It’s almost like You chose the sweet drinks and sweet foods, the over eating, the fried foods ... You chose food and drink over ME.
- You chose to have a momentary pleasure instead of living out Your life with me.
Was I so bad, Rick?
Was I so bad that it was worth it?
Was I so bad that food and drink was better?
What was wrong with me Rick?
What made life with me where You didn’t want it any more?
Rick, I’m sorry.
I’m praying to forgive you.
And I really already have.
But the living alone, Rick.
It’s so hard.
I am reminded day after day of the choices you made
Of how those choices changed my world.
I’m sorry for being angry.
I’m told that it helps to just admit it.
So far, not feeling much better
Because I’m still alone
I wish You could forgive me
- and we could do like we used to do, after our arguments ... just go on together.
But even if You do forgive me
I’m still here
Not Your wife.
It’s not fair.
God, forgive me
It’s just more than I can do
- on my own.
I need You God.
This was letting the human side of my emotions as a widow “win” for that time.
I willingly gave in to the the struggle with these thoughts and emotions.
I allowed the anger, the tears, the frustrations - all of it - to rage within me, within the boundaries, the sanctity and safety, of prayer.
In God’s Loving Presence.
It wasn’t easy.
Because for all this time (6 years now) of being a widow, I have fought against these thoughts, these emotions, these words.
- oh they raged within me at times, but I would push them down, beat them back.
And like a wound that has only scabbed over without healing the infection within ... it all festered.
Once I chose to let it all “win”, there was much peace, and healing.
It was much like handing over my broken toy after throwing the worst two-year-old temper tantrum.
How many times have we allowed our children, our grandchildren, to throw their fits of anger and tears, while we waited a time with patience and with love?
Then when they were spent, and could only snub those tears, we would take whatever was broken or wrong, and we either fixed it, or gave them something else.
We would hold them, wash their face. Maybe sing over them. Quiet them with our love.
Perhaps even talk things out, calmly.
Yeah ... we get that from God 😉
Lord, thank You for teaching me to let the 2 year old human side of me win ever so often.
And thank You for loving me when I do.
In Jesus' Name
Sure am glad that You are my Father 😊
“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:28
It was not hard for me to cherish Rick.
Even now, I cherish his memory.
The memories of the love we made, the laughter we shared, and the life we lived.
He cherished me.
I only need to look at the pictures of us thru the years, see the look on his face as he looked upon me.
To recall the touch of his hand to my face, the way he would gather my face before he kissed me.
Feel again the way he would wrap his arms around me, hold me close to himself, and pray over me.
It’s a more difficult lesson to learn - to cherish myself.
- to hold dear
- to keep with care
- to harbor in the mind with resolution
- a deep appreciation
- to love, to protect
- to treasure
Anyone who was around Rick and me for longer than one minute knew without question or doubt that we cherished one another.
I’ve heard from many who did not know him in this life, see our pictures and comment on how much he loved me - because they can see it, even now.
But how do I cherish myself?
When thinking about the definition of “cherish”, I must admit, that I have not cherished myself.
- I left that to Rick.
Today, I resolve:
To hold myself dear, with care, with kindness. Without negativity. But with appreciation.
I will protect not only my heart and my body, but my mind as well.
I will accept me for who I am - a child of God.
And I will love me too much to leave me as I am this morning.
I will work to improve me - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I will learn and grow.
I will keep that teachable spirit within me.
I will build on the good and cast away that which is not good.
Lord, help me.
I am sorry that I have not cherished me as You do.
I realize that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
And that I am Your workmanship, created for good works in Christ Jesus.
May that realization become my way of life.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
Thank You Lord.
I love You.
And I will love me, because You do.
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “ Romans 5:8
Love is unconditional.
Rick was an example to me of God’s great love.
He loved me thru it all.
No matter how bad his day was, no matter how bad my day was - he loved me.
No matter how intense our argument might be - he loved me.
Rick and I married young.
I was 19, he was almost 21.
We were immature in dealing with marriage.
Those first 4 years or so we would disagree about something trivial, and it would escalate quickly into a full blown argument.
And the word of “divorce” was spoken more than I care to admit.
We had agreed before we ever got married that when we would argue, we would NOT be running to a family member or a friend.
Not calling them on the phone, not “going home to Mother”, either.
Nor would we go out of the room from one another until we had worked our way thru the disagreement/argument.
I’m glad that we made that decision.
Those first years, that decision proved to be our anchor at the worst of times.
One day we were having a very heated argument, and one of us (I don’t remember which one) said something to the effect of, “Maybe it’s time to get that divorce!”
Suddenly Rick sat down in his big easy chair, and became very quiet.
I stood at the arm of his chair, and felt like I had been kicked in the gut.
Everything in me knew this was it.
Our life together was going to be over now.
Rick, looked up at me slowly, and my heart stopped.
He had tears in his eyes, that had already leaked down his face.
He slowly and quietly reached out and took me by the hand.
He pulled me into his lap, and turned my face to look into his eyes.
“Do you love me?”, he asked.
“You know I do”, I responded.
Tears now falling down my cheeks, too.
“I love you, too”, he answered. “I have loved you for so long, even before I knew I did. And I want to love you for the rest of my life here on this earth, and into eternity.”
Barely able to whisper, I said, “I do, too. I want to love you, and I want you to love me.”
For what seemed like hours we just sat there looking into each others’ eyes, watching the tears fall.
Finally, he took my hand and laid it against his cheek, then with his other hand, he laid it on my cheek.
And these words he said, softly, quietly, but oh so firmly:
“Then this is the way it is going to be. I choose to love you even on the bad days. You choose to love me even on the bad days. We are going to love one another and stay with one another thru it all until the end of life. NO MORE forever will we speak the “D” word. It is forever banned from our vocabulary, from our home. It will NOT be threatened, it will NOT be mentioned. It is NOT an option. We are in this together. For better. For worse. For richer. For poorer. In sickness and in health. Do you hear me? Do you agree with me?”
I could not speak.
I simply nodded my head.
And he pulled me down against him.
I remember sitting there in his lap crying into his shoulder, while he held me, and chose to love me.
Love is a choice.
It is an act of will.
It doesn’t come easy.
Emotions come easy.
Emotions also sway back and forth.
Even on the worst of days, in the most nightmarish times - Love stays.
Today, with these memories flooding my heart, and knowing how that God chose to love me before the foundations of the world -
I face the challenge of proving to myself that I love ME - and that I willingly make that CHOICE.
My question is how do I demonstrate that choice of love to me?
The demonstration of love between Rick and I after that momentous day came easier than ever.
It’s hard to describe in words.
But we looked for ways to say, to show, to demonstrate, our love choice for one another.
We challenged ourselves to go beyond the emotions.
We proved to one another thru it all - I choose to love you.
Sometimes it was a note written - whether given to the other, or hidden where it would be found.
Maybe a small gift bought for no reason, other than because we found joy in surprising one another.
A foot rub after a long and tiring day.
A cold glass of tea on a hot afternoon of working.
There were literally hundreds of things that we did and said in those years of life together ... I wonder now how many times we did something with the letters SHMILY written or said?
SHMILY - See How Much I Love You.
Acts of choice and will.
Trying to find those out of the ordinary acts that would make SHMILY come shining thru.
In these 6 years of being a widow, I have felt the loss of SHMILY with great magnitude.
I often find myself remembering these things he did, that I did.
And realizing the emptiness and loneliness of not having that in my life these days.
Someone has said that “grief is just love with no place to go”.
I have tried, oh how I have tried, to show this love and care to others.
Mostly to have it cast aside, or totally rejected.
Or to be told “It’s not enough”.
So, as I sit here today, with a glass of ice water, feeling the breeze blowing thru my hair, listening to the birds singing their songs ... I resolve to choose to love ME.
And to prove to myself SHMILY!
How can I love others as I love myself, if I don’t love myself?
(that question that started me on this journey ;) )
And again, how do I demonstrate that choosing to love ME?
God chose to love me.
Rick chose to love me.
It’s high time that I choose to love me, too.
I cannot surprise myself with a note, or with a small gift.
Unless there really is a way for the left hand to not know what the right hand is doing ;) - I haven’t figured that one out yet, just saying.
But, I can be more kind - without judgment, without criticism, without condemnation or guilt.
I can make the time to read a good book ...
... play a few minutes of a game on my phone
... enjoy a movie
... take a nap
... get my nails “did”
... “surprise” myself with a yogurt cone from Braum’s ever so often
And I can look for those little treasures that God has hidden for me in my days.
... really listen to the song of the birds
... feel the sun upon my face
... enjoy the breeze blowing my hair and tickling my nose
... take notice of the wildflowers that bloom, even the smallest ones
... really taste the cold water, feel it go down a dry throat
Maybe choosing to love ME isn’t as hard as I first thought.
My thoughts are whirling with ways to make this choice.
Lord, teach me Your ways for me in this.
Thank You for my husband who loved me the most, even on the bad days.
In Jesus’ Name
Life goes on -