By Kitty Hinkle
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. (1 Chronicles 11:22)
Years ago, long before I was widowed, before I was even married to Tom, life threw a huge dose of pain my way. A marriage I thought was going to last me a lifetime went into a tailspin when an anonymous caller tipped me off to my first husband’s affair.
At that horrible moment, I would never have imagined how the Lord was preparing the way for a new life, a new marriage, and strengthening me for a far deeper loss by teaching me never to fear being alone.
My first reaction was to drop the receiver and dash out of my office into the cool October air to catch my breath.
I didn’t stop there. I got in my car and drove away, beating back tears. With nowhere to go, I stopped at a phone booth and called Joyce—my no-nonsense, stay cool through any storm friend.
I sobbed over the betrayal. “This is my worst fear and now it’s happened!”
There was a pause on the other end while I knew Joyce prayed over what words to use. The ones that slipped off her tongue might strike you as uncaring or rude, but they were perfect. “Well, I guess you’ll just have to find something else to be afraid of.”
I wiped my tears and let her words sink in. All those years I tried to be the best wife to that man, but secretly harbored a sense that he had one foot out the door. Was I making every decision to please him out of faith or fear? What wasted time and effort! Had I faced my fear and stopped placating to him, he might have respected me more and considered changing his heart towards making a strong marriage. Or maybe not, but at least I would have been operating as the complete woman God made me to be and not have a nagging feeling that my jellyfish spine had something to do with my marriage falling apart.
But how about now, as we find ourselves widowed? Are we avoiding our worst fears and setting ourselves up for future regret?
When people ask “what’s your worst fear?” Some of us think of loss or trauma, but if we’re honest, sometimes it isn’t the big stuff that we fear the most. After all, as widows, we’ve already experienced some of the worst. Our real fears are rooted in insecurity, wondering if we’re good enough or accepted.
When Joyce told me I need to find something else to be afraid of, I chose God. I never wanted anything in life to shake me to the core like the betrayal from my first husband did. I wanted to be absolutely positive that I knew who I was at the core of my being so that whatever is going on around me, I still feel accepted, cherished, powerful.
And I do. Oh, the deceiver tries to scare that sense of confidence away, but I know the signs of his presence. It’s that gnawing anxiety…. I’m alone, I’m overwhelmed, my kids don’t have a father, I can’t do this, are the kids getting what they need? Am I messing up? Will I ever find another companion to grow old with?
In my bible lessons this week I learned about a great soldier of David’s named Benaiah. He was courageous. Courage means doing what needs to be done in spite of your fears.
So back to the anxieties. They whirl and whirl, and then I say…
These are feelings. They aren’t truth. I stop, and I refocus on Scripture. On truth. I am incredible and loved in the Lord. Through Him, I’m unstoppable, because He does all I can’t. He will be the father of my boys, my husband. He cherishes me and loves me and I will respond with obedience. I will ignore the anxious thoughts—endure them as a sort of pain like a steady leg cramp and get to work… one foot in front of the other. I will act accordingly to His grace. I will do all those things I would do as if I were loved and cherished, not because I feel loved or cherished but because I know I am loved and cherished. It’s truth, and I believe it, so my feet and hands and mouth follow my beliefs, in spite of any lingering anxiety the deceiver tosses at me.
I stop pacing the house and grab a deck of cards and hang out with the boys. I pull out five bibles—one for each of us, put on some Christian music, and have quiet reading time in the Word with the boys followed by prayers.
And guess what, the boys LOVE it. “Thanks, Mom. Can we do this every day?” My heart fills with centered clean joy. I’m back. I remembered who I am.
The world sees widow, but when I remember who I am, in that moment, I’m not the pitiful widow. I’m Kitty, a woman of God.
Lord, I ask you to lift each and every one of these women up and show them how powerful they are in the cover of their obedience to You. Walk them through their fear, and teach them that complete potential to display Your glory lies on the other side when they face and conquer their anxieties. In Your Son’s Heavenly Name I pray.