Last week in my time of reflection, I began to go over as much of the details I remembered from my husband's passing. I said to the Lord, " Lord, did I remember to tell you, Thank you? It was nobody but the LORD, that brought me out of so much confusion and pain.
There were so many things that had gone wrong in those days, weeks and months ahead. Storm Alfred itself was a TRIP! trying to plan a funeral when pretty much the entire state was without electricity was very difficult. Fortunately, my son had power at his apartment in EH. Pastor Massey lived in EH and was able to make it to his house to begin the discussion about the funeral. It didn't help any that I totaled my car the day before the funeral, or that I had a house full of mold in the basement to clean up, or that my only child left was getting married in three weeks and my sister-in-law passed on Thanksgiving day three weeks later, or that I was transitioning from a church I was a member of for 28 years and transitioning from a career that I had for over 35 years. What the What?
How in the world would I be able to get from under all these changes, difficulties, trials. Well, somebody asked a question once. How do you eat an elephant? The answer, "One Bite At A Time." That was the plan. I had to totally depend daily on the Lord, That was my diet for the ensuing year. 2011 ended on a sour note and I had to find strength to look up to embrace 2012.
When the Lord rearranges the landscape of your whole life, it is no joke. When you go through this type of trauma, mama can't help you, daddy can't help you, friends, Pastor, and church folk can't help you. Your soul, my soul needed Jesus! He was the only one who understood the source of my grief, disappointments and frustrations. Thank God, I did not wait until I got into trouble to reach out to him. I had a relationship with the Lord. I knew how to call on the name of Jesus. But this trial took me to a whole new level of intimacy and trust in Him. First I had to get over my anger with Him. And then I had to accept all of my own personal flaws, the pride and everything that He showed me about me.
I cannot tell exactly when I felt that I was not going to crawl up in a ball and die, but over a period of time, probably six months into 2012, I realized that I was on to something. I managed to complete my first book, get the repairs done on the house, I even got a modification in my mortgage and a few other financial issues were resolved so that I could retire from my job. That was none other than the supernatural hand of God. I was able to retire from two states, N.Y and C.T .
Sooner or later most grieving people reach a point when they begin to spend less and less energy on simply surviving the loss and begin to spend more and more time rebuilding their life. In most cases that life looks completely different from the previous one. Let me assure you that pastoring a church was not on the menu!!! Neither was retiring, but the passion that I once had for teaching was no longer there, so the Lord opened the door and I walked through, Praise the Lord.
In one sense we begin rebuilding our lives the moment our loved one dies. But rebuilding doesn't begin in earnest until we have sifted through the majority of the feelings, memories, and issues that resulted from our loss. Only then do we have the strength and footing to begin putting our whole self back into daily life and looking to the future. I came to realize that it was not just the death of Danie and Tom that needed to be healed, it was some of the memories of hurt from my past, rejection, depression, disappointment, frustration etc. And then I had to fast forward to deal with my failures in several areas of my life, the pain from some childhood experiences. the pain of seeing my child in so much agony, and both her dad and I completely helpless to do anything about it.
Forgiveness was essential in the healing process. Forgiveness of self and others who hurt me or I hurt them. When we can heal the turmoil in our soul or emotions, we can then begin to rebuild our future. Rebuilding doesn't mean you life goes back to exactly what it was before-life can never be the same because of the loss you have experienced. Rebuilding means picking up the pieces and putting them together again, but differently, because a significant piece of your life is missing and cannot be replaced.
Rebuilding for me happened slowly. Exactly when the transformation started had to do with the timing and circumstances of my life and the relationship I had with my loved ones. It also had to do with the amount of time I had to give to grieving. At the time of those deaths i was fully employed. Although I had days I could take off,eventually I had to go back to work. The other element is, how much support you can get from others.
Most people take two to three years rebuilding their lives. Again, I was fortunate to be at an age where I could retire, and start a whole new life. In fact, God was calling me to do that several years before my losses occurred. After Tom died I had no excuse but to follow the Lord and do what he had prepared me to do before the foundation of the world.
You may be approaching a period of transition or you may be smack dab in the middle of your storm. Don't be afraid, God is able to keep you in the midst of your storm. He will not let you drown. Trust me! You will begin rebuilding your life when the time is right for you. I did, and guess what? I don't look like all I have been through. God Bless and...
Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers!