By Leah Gillen
It came. It went. The one year anniversary of my husband’s suicide. I had been preparing for last Friday (May 4) almost since May 4, 2011. I didn’t know what to expect. How would I feel? Would it be a day of tears? Would I feel a sense of relief that I completed a year of “the firsts”?
The first time I attended church without him
The first time I slept in our bed alone
My first wedding anniversary as a new widow
The first Thanksgiving
The first Easter
His first birthday in Heaven
The first Christmas
The first time I laid eyes on his gravestone after being placed in the ground
The first time I went to visit my in-laws, and he didn’t accompany me
My first birthday as a widow
The first Valentine’s Day
And…of course…the first anniversary of his death
The list is endless. The “firsts” could go on and on it seems. I had a year full of them. And, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that “the seconds” are often worse than the firsts. Seriously? That’s not what I expected to hear, but I’m trying to be wisely prepared emotionally, or as much as I reasonably can be.
For me, part of that attempt at wise preparation has been tackling my grief experience head-on. I haven’t hidden my grief (okay – maybe parts of it – the parts that need to be strictly between God and me). On the contrary, I’ve tackled it quite openly through any tool I can get my hands on. Prayer, God’s Word, books, people, other widows, counseling, GriefShare, blogging, and journaling have been many of the resources that I’ve employed to aid me through this first year as a suicide widow. I shudder to think the place that I would be emotionally if I had chosen to just sit down, curl up in a ball, and do nothing! That’s not what Chris would want me to do, and it’s certainly not where God wants to find me.
However, the enemy would love to find me there. The deceiver himself would want nothing more than to see me give up on life. If I give up, I’m ineffective for Kingdom work. That’s right were Satan wants me. But God…
God has better plans for me…
Plans to prosper me and not harm me (Jeremiah 29:11)
Plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
Plans to rescue me from the mire and not let me sink (Psalm 69:14)
Plans to deliver me from the deep waters (Psalm 69:14)
Plans to protect me with His love and truth (Psalm 40:11)
Plans to guide me and restore comfort to me (Isaiah 57:18)
Plans to make me strong, firm, and steadfast following suffering (1 Peter 5:10)
Friends…I choose to cling to God’s plans for me. I choose NOT to believe the lies of the father of lies. God has never failed me and survival with healing during year one of widowhood has been one of his greatest areas to showcase his timeless faithfulness, grace, and love!
Continue to cling to His truth! Even on the hardest days…even with sobs pouring down your face…cling to Him. Speak His name…Jesus…Jesus…Jesus…at the name of Jesus, the enemy must flee!