by Leah Gillen
As I read her email, I honestly thought it was some sort of spam message sent under my friend’s name. Certainly this couldn’t be real. I re-read it. The words simply stunned me. She simply said, “I really, really need you to pray for me. My husband died yesterday.”
Before going any further, I need to give you a little background here. I “met” my friend Robin via Facebook last year when she read a post from a mutual friend about my “missing” husband who was later discoveredin the arms of Jesus. Robin has been caring for me over the last 13 months through cards, a Christmas ornament, and most especially TONS of prayer! While we never officially met, we got to “know” each other first through Facebook and then through my grief journey I subsequently blogged about.
A few weeks ago, her physically and mentally handicapped 29-year-old son entered the hospital a very sick young man. He has cerebral palsy and had developed a pretty severe case of pneumonia. Robin had been faithful to keep a group of us up-to-date on her son and how we could pray for him. So, when I got that message a little over a week ago, I – at first – thought it would be an update on Matthew. Instead, the shocking words informed me that Robin had just said goodbye to her precious Larry. I cried…for her. I remember – all too well – the pain of those initial days of grief following the death of a spouse.
On May 4, 2011, I had no idea the journey I was about to embark upon, but I was blessed with love from other widows from all over the world that I had never met. They heard “my story”, and they flooded me with comfort. I never dreamed that one day I’d be in a position to offer comfort back to another, but God has brought me to that very place. I have come full circle. While on Grief Road, I have encountered many other widows. I have heard countless stories – many similar to my own. Many were widowed before me. Some were directed to my website following their own encounter with widowhood. However, Robin is the only one (to my knowledge) that has walked Grief Road alongside me from my first day and is now experiencing much of the same pain having just joined our beloved sisterhood of widows. Robin has watched my walk down this path and has now stepped on the path with me. I prayed,
Lord, please let me live out 2 Corinthians 1 with Robin. Please help me to comfort her with the comfort I’ve received from You and from those You’ve sent to me. Please send her an entourage of people to support her during this difficult first year, especially.
I feel so inadequate, at times, but it’s not about my abilities. God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called! I went to visit Robin, the day after her husband’s memorial service. I visited with her and her precious Matthew in the hospital (so much for one woman to have to endure right now). We hugged…we talked…we prayed. And, Robin shared this with me… “When I first heard that your husband was missing through (our mutual friend) and then later learned that he had been found in the arms of Jesus, my heart broke for you. I have been drawn to pray for you in ways that I really didn’t understand. I never knew you, but the Lord kept drawing me to you. Now…I know. He was preparing me for the widow’s journey too. He knew that I would need you.” WOW! As tears filled my eyes, I silently praised God.
Thank you, Father, for not letting Chris’ suicide be in vain. Thank you for bringing beauty from ashes. Thank you for bringing me full circle!
My sweet sisters…you never know the fruit that God will bring from your tragedy. But, it’s ALL for His Glory! May each of us strive to walk out our difficult days with our eyes toward Heaven and our hearts toward those grieving around us. May we be more sensitive to the pain of others. May we be “Jesus with skin on” to those He places in our circles of influence.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)