By Julie Wright
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
About two months ago I was approached at church to consider leading a GriefShare group at our church that would be starting up again. I had attended the classes when my husband had just passed away and I remember how the first time I went through the sessions, I didn’t utter a word. That’s right. I didn’t’ say anything. I was numb. I was in shock. I didn’t want to feel anything other than the overwhelming pain that I was in. As the thirteen weeks dragged on, some of the pain began to shift away, but I was still really struggling with the emotions and the questions surrounding my husband and father-in-law’s death that hounded me night and day.
By the time I had gone through the sessions for my second and third time, I had become more comfortable in my new “widow” skin. I was beginning to share and talk about the emotions of myself and my children. I was connecting with others in the group who had undergone similar feelings, experiences and questions that they never imagined would be a part of their lives. We were in a new league. A new team that was foreign to us.
Joining this league wasn’t a choice. There wasn’t a draft or a lottery held. I was a new rookie, thrust into the field and the stadium lights were shining brightly on me. I felt as if every eye in my world was on me. Waiting for me to mess up. To make a wrong decision. To fall apart in a pile of grief and tears. So many times I wanted to run from the field, tear off my uniform and never look back.
The truth is those things did happen to me. I did mess up sometimes. I had a difficult time making decisions whether about myself or our children. I did fall apart in a pile of grief and tears. Many times, to be honest. And you know what? I was still on the team. No matter how hard I wished I couldn’t be on the “widowhood” team, I was. No matter how many times I cried out and said it wasn’t fair or I couldn’t do this, the uniform was sewn into my being. Widowhood was a part of me, regardless of what I thought or felt about it.
I have a picture in our home with the scripture from Psalm 31:25. It is located right by our entry way and I pass it every time I leave our home. It says “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” As I prayed about the possibility of leading a GriefShare group three years after my husband’s death, this scripture reminded me of God’s truths.
I am clothed in strength. A strength that can only come from Him. From leaning into Him during those darkest moments and for continuing to lean on Him even if I am re-married and pushing forward.
I am clothed in dignity. As weird as it sounds, dignity means nobility. I am clothed in the honor of being a child of the King of Kings. My widowhood status does not change that status. When I asked Jesus into my heart, He made it a permanent home for His throne.
“She laughs without fear of the future.” That one is a bit of a stretch for me. I would say it is more of chuckle. Do I fear the future? Honestly, no. I know that God is with me each second of the day. Would I have been able to state that three years ago? No, I really did fear the future then. I was worried about where we would live. How I would take care of the kids? How could I provide for our future with laughter and not tears?
Again, my answer was and still is with Jesus.
So, as I facilitate my first GriefShare group and relive each painful moment of our losses, I do so with strength, dignity and laughter. Knowing that this league is one that no one chooses, but the stadium lights are on. I’m in my widow uniform. The crowd is eagerly waiting my first at bat. Here it goes….swing, batter.
If you find yourself wondering how you’ve made the team and what role you need to play. Look to the “coach”, read His playbook, and stay in the game. You too have the strength, dignity and even the laughter to make it. Batter, up.