Jesus got angry at times. Being fully human, and yet, fully God, He dealt with every human emotion imaginable. How else can He know and feel what we are going through as we travel the road God sets before us? I feel wonderfully comforted, knowing I have a Saviour whose human feet walked this terra firma, who ate freshly caught fish, who enjoyed a good glass of wine, and loved me enough to go to the cross. It blows my mind to think of a love that profound and deep!
It makes me feel a bit better to know that like me, sometimes Jesus got angry. If you think of Jesus angry, you think of Him in the temple….overturning the tables of the moneychangers, who were cheating honest people out of their hard-earned money. Inflating prices of sacrificial offerings, such as doves for widows.
Widows. I am now a member of that demographic. I’ll never forget crawling into my car, at 3 a.m. on July 31, 2011, with my mom after my husband had died just a few hours before. I looked at her and woefully blurted out, “Well, we’re both widows now.” And we cried.
A widow is not the same as a divorced woman. A widower is not the same as a divorced man. Losing a parent is not the same as losing your spouse. A spouse leaves a marriage? That’s a terrible terrible thing—but the person left behind is not a widow or a widower. Don’t try to put them all into one tidy little box and say it’s the same.
I was told today that I am angry. That my blog entries show my anger, my “inability” to move forward. I was told that someone was praying for me to “get past the anger phase” of Mark dying, so I could get “on with life.” It, along with many other portions of the email, was condescending. It was from a friend.
I think back, again, to Kitty Hinkle’s entry in A Widow’s Might….a widow will lose 75% of the friends she had before becoming a widow. She was right. The person in question is divorced and has had more than her share of bad luck.
In months past, the person in question tried to equate her sons not having their father around (he lives halfway across the country) with my boys’ father being “gone.” That caused some righteous anger and indignation on my part. I’m sorry your sons have an absentee father, but at least he’s still alive. They can pick up the phone and call him. They can visit him. My boys? Well, you know the answer to that. It’s apples and oranges.
Still her words today planted a little seed of doubt in my heart. For about two seconds. Do I deserve all the grace and good things that God has seen fit to bless my family with, after losing my husband? Am I worthy to be a writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries? Maybe she’s right….am I angry? Do I write angrily, begrudgingly? Because that has certainly never been my intention.
I responded. I ended the relationship. It had been toxic for quite awhile, and I felt used up. In my almost year of counseling, I’ve learned there’s a time to fish and a time to cut bait. All the little things that have been done over the past 2 years added up to a pretty big thing that I could no longer gloss over.
You outgrow friendships. Needs change. Your circle of friends change as you hit different demographics of the population. Mark and I were “dinks” for years (double income no kids). After having the boys, we had a whole new segment of the population open up to us as friends. You have friends at church, friends you’ve had since childhood, neighbors that are friends. Work friends, sports-related friends, friends that have children that are friends with your children….you get the idea.
But any of my friends, my real friends? They see that there is still joy in my life, that I am still embracing my world, and know that I am doing my best to remain positive, upbeat, and keep my focus on raising my sons. They can read it in my writings. They know my innermost feelings and thoughts. They know that I am closer to my God than I have ever been in my life. He is my everything.
They also realize that I cannot “get past the anger phase” of grief. Grief cannot be given a deadline. There’s no timeline, no bulleted chart to follow, especially in the loss of a spouse. For someone who thinks otherwise? All I can respond is that they never really knew me or my husband at all to begin with.
I followed my heart, and it was in the best interest of my family. I will continue to lift her and her sons up in prayer.
The naysayer didn’t cause my faith to waver. She didn’t win. It’s not about her. And it’s not about me. It’s about a God that can look down upon a family, even after losing a husband and father, and still give them reason to laugh–a lot! And love. And be excited about what the future holds for us. We will never be “over” losing Mark. We never need to be. We are making that loss a part of who we now are. It’s making my boys more faithful, more considerate, more empathetic, and more mindful of what’s truly important. I hope it’s doing the same for me.
It has caused me to reevaluate what truly is important in my life. I’m a bit like Jesus in the temple–only I’m turning the tables upside down on relationships that are causing harm and stress to my family.
Only then can we focus on what’s truly important. Serving God, and living a life pleasing to Him. Because His opinion of me is really the only one that matters 🙂