Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Painful Conviction

If I could adopt a Duggar-size load of orphans...I'd do it faster than you blink! My heart has been for the orphan for many years, as God has clearly shown me their plight worldwide. My husband and I had even spoken of adoption and had seriously looked at the possibility. We already know how that story ended. Even so, my heart is still for the orphan.

I'll never forget being in Africa last summer and speaking with some native Liberians about many of the children that we met. I was shocked to see adults fighting children for the food that we were passing out. It sickened me actually. The explanation? The elderly are looked upon more highly than the children. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all about respecting our elders, etc. But, we witnessed people literally snatching food out of their visibly obvious protein-deficient, starving children's hands to give to a parent clearly in their last days on this earth. Again, my heart broke for these children, and I wanted to take them home with me.

Within days of my husband's death last month, I was lamenting in prayer to my sweet Lord the fact that my adoption/orphan care dreams were now dashed. Our conversation went something like this...

Me: You've been preparing my heart for adoption for so many years. You've given me a yearning to reach out and care for orphans. So, what am I to do now Lord? With Chris gone, this changes everything. You say in your word that, "Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I've tried to do that Lord. I feel like my means of trying to do that even more has just been taken from me.

God: Daughter, have you really tried or have you been selective? Do you see that I reference two specific groups of people in that verse?

Me: Yes. Orphans and widows. I see that.

God: Again, have you been selective my child? Have you been clinging to the orphan part of that verse and forgetting the widow?

Silence. Painful conviction had just entered my heart. He was right. I had done just that. I guess for me, I knew the verses in the scriptures that speak about God's COMMAND (not just a simple suggestion) to love and care for orphans and widows (and the alien too), but I've also focused on the orphan part of that, almost exclusively. It's just easier, I guess, to have your heart strings pulled for poor, defenseless children. All of my efforts had been directed to the plight of the orphan but what about the plight of the widow? Shamefully, I have to admit that I just wasn't "clued in" to that part of His command. I knew what it said, but was I doing anything about it? And yet, it's all over scripture:

Exodus 22:22 (NASB) You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.

Isaiah 1:17 (NASB) Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Zechariah 7:10 (NASB) ...and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Deuteronomy 24:21 (NCV) When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, don't pick the vines a second time. Leave what is left for foreigners, orphans, and widows.

This is just a brief sampling of verses. As noted before, the command to care for, love, not oppress, defend, etc. the orphan and widow is all over God's Word.

I was convicted. Sadly, the conviction came after I became THAT widow. My heart's been shattered a bit deeper now. I STILL long to serve the 143 million (and growing) orphans in this world, but my heart is now softened to the plight of the widow as well. Painfully, I now know her.

Forgive me, Lord, for seeing only part of the picture.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Eight Weeks of Grief

Eight weeks ago today (May 3)
…I heard my husband’s audible voice for the last time.
…He went “missing”.
…I was offered the job of my prayers but rather than celebrating with my husband, I sat in a police station filing a missing person’s report.
…I cried out to God to HELP US. El Roi sees all, and I prayed El Roi would lead us to Chris. He did on May 4.

Seven weeks ago
…I was still in shock over having just buried my husband on Mother’s Day.
…I still couldn’t sleep in my own bed and still had friends coming over to stay with me and my daughter at night.
…I was angry that my husband chose to take his own life.
…I remained in God’s Word daily, but could only absorb snippets of scripture. I prayed daily, but my prayers were mostly cries and groans seeking Abba’s help.

Six weeks ago
…I was back to sleeping in my own bed and no longer had to have overnight visitors
…I struggled to understand my husband’s suicide, but I was no longer angry, I was just very, very sad and remorseful over the fact that I didn’t notice his pain. How could I have not noticed his pain?
…I began weep less in public and lots more in private.
…The shock started to leave, and the reality set in.
…God’s Word began to comfort me more.

Five weeks ago
…I spent lots of time at the cemetery, for it brought me such peace and closeness to Abba.
…I began to experience brief moments of freedom in the grief process.
…I began my new job this week, and felt such agape love from my new co-workers.
…My daughter and I continued to be blessed with meals from our church family, and we still enjoyed daily cards in the mail or weekly flower deliveries.
…I continued to abide in the Word and in other books God led me to, often through other people.

Four weeks ago
…I started to go through Chris’ things a little…starting with a pile of dirty laundry I found on our closet floor.
…The post-death paperwork started to mount, and I began to feel very overwhelmed.
…I continued to struggle with decision making, and everything I did took massive amounts of energy.
…I was exhausted all the time, as I’ve been since this journey began.
…I finally started talking with more people about how my husband died. Suicide no longer was my shame.
…God’s Word – still my lifeline.

Three weeks ago
…I started to realize that there would be many “firsts” that I would be experiencing following Chris’ death.
…I continually longed for heaven and for Jesus to return quickly.
…The meals stopped, so my daughter and I began to have to figure out nutrition on our own again. Something that should be simple…not so easy it seemed.
…The cards stopped coming, as I knew they would. By they were a bright spot in my day while they lasted…just like my husband, in a similar way.
…I begged God to take me deeper in His Word.

Two weeks ago
…I began to realize the emotional roller coaster of grief. I just never realized what a truly “wild ride” it would be.
…God began to connect me with other women that have walked similar journeys.
…I started to understand that, with God, I can make it through this. He’s just going to have to give me the “want to”.
…I craved God…literally craved Him. I began to lean on scripture’s teaching of God as Husband of the widow.

One week ago
…I continued riding the emotional grief pendulum. Some days would be good but would turn sour before the day ended. Sometimes the reverse would be true.
…I only visited the cemetery once this week, and I felt like I cheated Chris. I know he’s not there…really I do, but I still feel like I need to be out there more often than that.
…I experienced my best day since Chris died during a day trip to Atlanta with my daughter and her friend.
…I seek to know God…really know God through His Word.

And today (June 28)
…It's still early yet, but I pray I do something today to glorify the GREATNESS of God!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Blessing of the Calla Lilies

A couple of weeks ago in my Kissed By Heaven post, I noted how God had directed someone to bring cut flowers from her garden to me at work. I won't repeat the entire store here (if you haven't read it...just click on the link above to do so), but I can't stress enough how SIGNIFICANT those flowers were to receive on that day - June 9th! Each month on the 9th, Chris would bring me flowers to celebrate our wedding anniversary (August 9). We weren't once a year celebraters, we celebrated constantly. But, we always made a point to remember our wedding on the 9th of each month.

Well, I'm here to say...those flowers are STILL alive and well.

This pic was taken by my phone, so it's not the best. However, these are my beautiful calla lilies.

Just within the last week...I've done a little further study on them.

1. I've learned that they are a native flower to the southern parts of Africa (most of you know that a piece of my heart lives in Africa).

2. They are a very popular wedding flower! That really made me smile.

When a friend and I were talking about them at work the other day, we noticed a couple of things...

1. There are 3 stems. I see them as representing Chris, Anna (the shorter one - ha!), and me. The lady that brought them never even thought about that. (Oh...but God did.)

2. Interestingly, we were married two full years and almost another full year. Hmmm...again 2 full stems and a shorter 3rd stem.

I know these are trivial, but right now...I'm looking for significance and "God winks" any place I can find them. These flowers amaze me! And, I honestly believe this sweet lady, who I met for the first time on June 9, has no idea how greatly God used her on that day! Praising Him for blessing us both...through calla lilies!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Struggle

As the battle with grief continues to rage within me, I find I still struggle...

I struggle with suppressing my joyous memories of Chris, because they always end in heartbreaking tears. But, I also know that bottling my emotions isn't healthy. I'm just so tired of crying.

I struggle with doubt. I so often doubt that I can be used by God anymore. I often feel like a "used up" woman that can never be effective in ministry again. I know that's a lie from the father of lies, but I still feel that way more times that I can count.

I struggle with where to go from here. All the plans Chris and I made together for our future seem to have died as well. Sure there are some things that I can still do without him. But, the question now I even want to?

I struggle with words. I don't know what to say much of the people...on this my journal. I'm void of words and seem to just go through the motions of the day never really reaching a place of purpose.

I struggle with relationships. I feel like I'm being held and lifted up by so many and yet have very little to offer in return right now. That hurts, because I want to love each of you back the way you're loving on me. And yet...I'm struggling with how to do that right now.

I struggle with energy. I have none. The basic things in life seem to zap me...preparing a meal, getting ready for work, paying bills, cleaning house, and sometimes...even reading a book. It all takes energy, and I don't seem to have much right now.

I struggle in so many other areas that don't even need to have space dedicated to them within this post.

But, one thing I do NOT struggle with...God is still God! God is still Good! God is still in control! And...God will be faithful to bring me through this!

But, in my flesh, I still struggle...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Memory Lane in Virginia

I experienced more "firsts" this past weekend that led to quite a few tears, but I do believe they were healing tears.

I went to visit my in-laws in Virginia. This was my first trip back to my husband's homeland since he died last month (outside of a memorial service that was held for him there). I knew it would be a painful visit, but I'm not sure I realized just how painful it would be.

Arriving on Friday night, "our bed" was turned down like my mother-in-law always did for us prior to our arrival in the past. However, this time...only one side of the bed was turned down...only one set of pillows awaited the sleepy traveler. I think my heart literally stopped for just a second...long enough for me to catch my breath in view of my new reality.

Saturday morning brought another ritual...breakfast at the local diner. In a small town, you can imagine...everyone knows everyone else. And, this day was no exception. Before, we even sat down, we were greeted with more condolences and introductions of me as Chris' wife to those I had never met. Finally seated at the table, the waitress proceeds to tell me she used to work with my husband years and years ago and how he always put a smile on everyone's face. I smiled too, but then came the tears. She felt so bad for "causing me to cry". But, I quickly reassured her that these days, you could say "boo" to me, and the tears might still flow. I have no warning of their arrival.

Later in the morning, I went with my sister-in-law to the local state park to check out the festivities going on in light of the 75th anniversary of Virginia's state parks. We walked around for a bit and then just sat down to talk and process things some. More tears. I did share with her that I had this huge need to relive many of the memories Chris and I shared but to do it alone or with other friends and family this time. It's kind of strange, because I know reenacting those memories without him will only bring sadness, but it also seems to bring closure and healing.

So, we set out for a quick excursion to another area of the park that Chris, Anna, and I had just visited a few months prior. That was such a fun day, and we took lots and lots of pictures of each other. Actually, it was the exact location for a picture I took of Chris that would one day be his obituary picture. How quickly life changes...

So, I asked my sister-in-law if she'd take a picture of me in that same location. Again...another moment aimed at healing.

Another memory from this same state park: my first trip to Virginia to visit Chris and meet his family after we started dating took us on a steep hike to the top of what's called "Molly's Knob". Lisa (my sis-in-law) agreed to help me tackle that again this October (same month Chris and I hiked it).

We later went back to my mother-in-law's house for a special family meal (that she prepared whenever Chris and I came to visit). This time - lasagna, salad, and Chris' favorite...pineapple upside-down cake.

Shortly after lunch, the thunderstorms started barreling through town and actually were hitting home pretty hard as well. But, the thunderstorms in my healing (yet still broken heart) were also hitting pretty hard at this point. And...I was spent.

Laying down for about 45 minutes seemed to do the trick. The storms outside were over...and, the aching storms of my heart were tempered for the moment, as well. It was time to say goodbye and head home.

The drive home consisted of listening to praise music and simply talking to God about...well, about anything on my heart. He's the best listener, and since He created me...He already knows the inner workings of my heart. He also knew how hard this visit was going to be for me, and He knows how hard each of the "firsts" will continue to be as I move through them. But, He gives me just enough grace for that moment or that hour or that day.'s always just enough...just enough grace.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three Things

This week has been dark. Very, very dark. I re-entered the crevices of the caves of grief in places I haven’t been since the immediate days following Chris’ death. The darkness was literally suffocating me. I wanted to curl up in a ball…but, I still had to function…if for nobody else…for my sweet girl!

I sent out a few urgent prayer requests and then virtually “shut up” for several days. It took immense amounts of energy to even have a conversation…whether in person or virtually through social media.

I’ve had so many people wanting to help me. But, I honestly haven’t known what to say. I didn’t know how to ask for help, and I didn’t know how they could help. I didn’t even understand what was happening to me, so how could I possibly convey that to others? When I had to be around people, I put on a fake smile (whenever the tears weren’t pouring) and functioned robotically. But, I continued to sink deeper and deeper into the dark crevices.

But…late Wednesday evening…things started to change. I started to sense I was being lifted out of the pit of despair, and I attribute it to 3 very distinct things:

1. Prayers of the faithful. I’ve had many people tell me they are praying for me. I realize that sometimes that’s simply a response when you don’t know what else to say. But, there are the others…the praying faithful…that literally lift my name before the Father’s throne. Without your prayers…I shudder to think what I would be like. Thank you for your faithfulness on behalf of a grieving sister!

2. Devastating news from a friend. I had a call from a friend on Wednesday night that shared with me that she just received the news that she has breast cancer. I was stunned! I noticed, however, that as I shifted my prayers from my own pitiful state to interceding for my friend…the crevices of despair started to open a little wider, and I could now see hints of light.

3. Kathy. The Lord sent me a special sister in the faith, who also experienced the death of her husband by suicide less than a year ago. She spent several hours pouring into me last night, and the Holy Spirit revealed Himself to me in perhaps deeper ways than I’ve ever known before. To quote my new friend, “Suicide is a BEAST.” Grief over this type of death is like no other. And, for God to send me this special lady to pour life back into me continues to reveal to me that I have NOT been abandoned (as much as the enemy would love for me to believe that).

This is only the beginning, friends. If you choose to continue to travel Grief Road with me, please know that it twists and turns quite often, and it might even cause a little motion sickness. But, I’m humbled to have you along on the journey. And…as many of you have already discovered…I’m not good at asking for help (in any way, shape, or form). So, if the Lord directs you…just obey Him. I honestly don’t know what I need. He’s my Husband now…so, He’ll have to make those decisions for me. Love you all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

40 Days of Desert Wandering

Today marks the 40th day of my grief walk through a difficult desert. May 3 was the day my beloved Chris went to be with the Lord. May 4 is the day he was "declared dead", because his body was found that day. May 4 is the day that his death certificate and his grave marker declare as his death date. But, May 3...will always be the day I know he entered the land of the living...our true home...our forever home. And...May 3 is when I began the most arduous walk I've ever endured...through a dry and dusty desert, and I find myself parched and searching for an oasis most of the time.

Biblically speaking, whenever God uses the number 40...something transformational always takes place. I've actually blogged about this fact before, so I won't repeat it here, but I challenge you to study some of those examples yourself...

Noah - 40 days & nights of rain
The Israelites - 40 years of wandering in the desert
Moses - 40 days on the mountain with God
Jesus - 40 days of fasting in the wilderness
Ninevah - a warning of 40 days until their city was overthrown - repentance followed

For me, I guess I've been more like a desert wandering Israelite these last 40 days. I'm still looking back to see what transformation has taken place in me these last 40 days. I've had days of questioning, days of complaining, days of deep worship, days of obedience, and many days of wondering when I'll get to my Promised Land! I've had such sweet fellowship with my Lord during these 40 days, because I've been clinging to Him like He's all I have...and, honestly He is. Nothing else is sure in this world but Him! But, I've also had many, many days of deep, deep today. So, here I 40...and, I ask, "God what transformation has taken place in me this time?" I don't feel like I've come very far. Oh, how I ache to feel my husband once again. Oh, I crave his touch. I long for his hand in mind. throat has lumps in it all over again. The tears continue to pour. And, I continue to look for something...anything...that resembles transformation.

I continue walking...wandering...and, I begin a new 40 days. Interestingly, I see an oasis in my future, as I'll be at She Speaks 40 days from today. Maybe I'll finally get a refreshing drink of water then, as I'm surrounded by hundreds of sisters. Maybe then I'll see a glimpse of something transformational. But, if not...I'll continue walking...wandering...and waiting with 40 day anticipation!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kissed By Heaven

After a very difficult 24-36 hours, today has been...well...pretty amazing and saturated with the goodness of God.

I've been praying since Chris went to be with Jesus last month that God would allow me to dream a sweet dream about him at night (and then be able to remember the dream the next morning). Last night was the night! I was elated this morning as I woke up remembering that I actually got to see Chris in heaven in my dream, and he was so happy and at peace. Thank you God for answering my prayer! Now praying for dream #2!

Later this afternoon, after returning to the office from lunch, I was so suprised to find the most beautiful cut flowers sitting in a vase on my desk. One of my co-workers quickly shared that they were from a volunteer that had been praying for me ever since she learned of Chris' death. We had never met...until today. This sweet sister said that God clearly told her to bring me those flowers today, and she said she's learned through the years that when God says to do something...she best do it! I just love her obedience!'s the amazing part of this...

Today would have been my 34 month wedding anniversary. We ALWAYS celebrated our anniversary every month on the 9th. And...Chris always brought me flowers! ALWAYS!

I started crying when I realized how sweet my precious Lord has been to me today. He has saturated me with His love. I don't deserve such love and attention, but He gave it to me! I knew I had to share this story with my new flower-giving friend. But, I also knew I would cry a flood of tears as I did. Up the stairs I went, and pulled Sheila (my flower-giving friend) aside and simply uttered these words...

"There's something I need to tell you about those flowers. would have been my 34-month wedding anniversary. We celebrated on the 9th of each month (because we were married on August 9), and my husband ALWAYS brought me flowers. God used you to bring me a kiss from heaven today with these flowers."

Her hands flew to her eyes, and then she looked up towards heaven and whispered a word of thanks. Then she grabbed me and we embraced as we both balled our eyes out.

God is in ALL the details, my friends. ALL the details.'ve been sweetly kissed by heaven!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Firsts

Anytime a loved one dies, there always seems to be a multitude of "lasts" that are grieved. In the case of my husband, I've rehearsed the "lasts" more times than I can count...the last time I heard his voice, the last time I felt his lips on mine, the last time we sat beside each other in church, the last time I woke up beside him, the last time we went to the beach together, and the list seems endless.

Over the last month, I've also learned that the firsts are almost just as difficult - actually harder than the lasts. mind has gone there so often, as tomorrow will be the first month anniversary of the day I buried Chris. For some reason, this first was harder than the first month anniversary of his death a few days ago. This first has been so much more difficult than...

the first time I realized he wasn't coming back home...

the first time I slept in our bed without him...

the first time I went to the cemetery by myself...

the first time I went back to our favorite restaurant...

the first time I went to a church service without him...

the first time I went back to our Sunday School class...

the first time I had to share with someone that hadn't heard the news of his death...

the first time I received a hug from someone after he died...

the first time I walked into our closet and got a glimpse of his never-to-be-worn again clothes.

That's just a few of the firsts, but for some reason...knowing that tomorrow brings the first month anniversary since he was buried, I'm suffocating with grief again. I've had such a blessed day today with many laughs, many hugs, many smiles, and now this? This avalanche of sorrow all over again? I'm simply worn out from this pain...again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nothing Else Matters

First of all, thank you so much for all of your prayers, kind words, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and blog comments - especially after my last post, The S Word. Yes, it was probably one of the most transparent blogs I've ever written. I had no idea what to expect when I wrote of the way my husband went to be with the Lord, but I knew I had to write those words regardless of the outcome. It was healing...for me. And, I pray that it was healing...for some of you as well. I know that several asked me via Facebook or Twitter for my email address to be able to communicate a little more at length, and I'm happy for any of you to email me anytime the Lord directs you to: Just remember...I'm still grieving and still healing and still very much hurting. Thank you for all of the precious comments about how much my grief has been ministering to you. Please know I feel your love during these difficult days more than you can imagine.

This past weekend, some very close friends of mine came to town to help with several projects, including fixing my car and helping me clean out the garage in advance of our community yard sale this weekend. Can I tell you that cleaning out the garage was significant? I mean significant!

The garage was always Chris' "chore area" in our home, because most of the things were his gadgets, tools, play toys, and things that I had no idea what to do with. Ever since we moved into this home last Thanksgiving weekend, he's been working on it a little bit at a time. But, honestly, everything that was left seemed like a pile of mysterious "man gadgets". I knew I would have to tackle this eventually and had already asked a couple of Chris' friends if they would be willing to help me with it, because I wouldn't have a clue what to do with some of the stuff. They were more than willing to help, but then I got word that our community was having the big annual yard sale this upcoming Saturday. Even if I wasn't at a place of selling any of Chris' items...I knew the garage had to be cleaned out to make room for all of the other items I had been planning to sell. Either way - it had to be dealt with.

Before Chris died, we agreed that we were going to start getting rid of our "stuff". We have rooms full of "stuff" and we can't take any of it with us anyway. Honestly...I am so sick of excess...and, we have so much of it in this country. I think I was spoiled by going to Africa last summer (I set foot on African soil one year ago today actually).

But, my spoiling was not for more spoiling was for more of Christ with LESS things. You see, I was privileged to witness some of the most authentic worship of our sweet Savior my eyes had ever seen...and to think it was done in one of the most poverty stricken countries in this world. But, it was authentic. They didn't need material things to get closer to God. They didn't need "stuff" for their prayers to be heard. They simply offered all they had, and all they had was enough. Nothing else matters to God. He just wants us...authentic us...all of us.

I digressed a bit, but that leads me back to this upcoming yard sale. In preparing for it, I'm thinking about Africa...I'm thinking about heaven...I'm thinking about my purpose on this earth...and, I'm thinking that NONE of it needs me to have loads of "stuff". It just doesn't. God wants me. All of me. Broken me. Grieving me. Nothing else matters.

So, even as I cleaned out the "stuff" with my friends yesterday, I still found myself getting angry...angry that Chris left me to have to do this, left me with a mess to go through, left me to have "man" the yard sale and answer questions about all the "man toys" that I won't have a clue about. No, I'm not going to sell most of his stuff at this point, but there will be some things in our "piles" that I know will be worth something to somebody. the day went on, the garage got more and more organized, and God diffused my angry spirit, and kept whispering to my heart...

Nothing else matters.

Nothing else matters.

Nothing else matters.

Yes, Lord. I know...I really do know that. I want all of you, so I must give you all of me. Take whatever you want Lord. Continue this refinement, even as I ache. Everything I have...everything I am...everything I all belongs to you. I live and breathe to serve you. And, if you need to...take it all. Nothing else matters.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The S Word

Our love story was very unique.

Chris and I fell in love very quickly...after only about 2 months actually (he would tell you a few weeks for him...sweet man). We married 11 months after we started dating, and this August would have marked our 3rd wedding anniversary.

You can ask anybody that knows me well (and even some that don't know me that well), God had not only blessed our marriage, but He blessed the type of love we had for each other. We were crazy about each other, and our love never weakened after getting actually grew stronger. We couldn't stand to be apart for very long, and we acted like a bunch of lovesick teenagers most of the time. We never had a single argument, and I can count on one hand the number of times we had what I would classify as a "disagreement". It almost always seemed to be about time. Chris couldn't tell time very well. Ha! Ha!

I know he loved me. He told me...all the time. He sent me a love email every morning and love texts throughout the day. He told everybody how much he loved me, and I know I was blessed beyond belief to have somebody love me like that. And...even be given a second chance at such an amazing love after such a heartbreaking divorce many years ago. God truly redeemed the years the locusts had eaten in my marriage to Chris.

So, how could a man that loves me that much end his own life? Yes...he committed the S word. Suicide.

Many have asked how my husband died, and many of you already know. But, I honestly had to write this post not to answer the question, but simply...for me. Every word I write is part of the healing process it seems.

But, the answer to the question of "why" will never be fully understood this side of heaven. There was no note. There was no obvious reason. But, in talking with professionals, and in putting together some pieces of the puzzle with a little hindsight (only about 3-4 days worth of hindsight actually) appears to have been mental illness. It appears that Chris may have been mentally sick, and it may have even been his first "episode". It's possible he had no idea what was happening to him. But these things I do know...

Chris was a believer!

Chris was cleansed of all sin through the blood of Jesus!

Chris loved God!

Chris loved God's word!

Chris is now completely healed in heaven!

While I can type these words, and while I know them to be has been a difficult road to walk. Within minutes of my receiving this tragic and life-altering news, Satan was already working on me. With thoughts like...

Leah, how could you have let him do this?

Leah, you could have stopped this.

Leah, you are not worthy of love like this.

Leah, you always fail at marriage.

Leah, you're alone again.

Leah, you are nothing.

Leah, God can never use you now. This is shaming to Him.

My mind was going crazy with these stupid thoughts. And, I actually remember uttering some of them out loud, because I also remember my friend, Lorie, looking me in the eye (while I was still in a state of shock) and boldly reminding me these were all lies of the enemy.

In the 4 weeks that have followed Chris' death, God has also been reminding me of a few things. Interestingly, these were the same words that I shared with a precious group of women in Kentucky just a few months ago...

Daughter, remember I am the only One that determines your worth. Your circumstances do not determine your worth. Your family does not determine your worth. Your friends do not determine your worth. I made are Mine...and I love you! And...My love is complete!

My earthly love affair with Chris may have ended abruptly because of the S word, but my love affair with Christ is only heating up more and more intensely. And...He calls me worthy.