An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


God Is With You I Your Pain
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal

December 2012

 The holidays can often times be painful for those of us that have lost loved ones. Holidays can remind people of joyful times spent with those that are not with us anymore. Many can struggle with grief during the Christmas season that may have been swept under the carpet the rest of the year. 
     Grief  seems to barge in at the most unexpected times, I guess all the lights we have up in this season make grief think it too is invited to the celebration of the season. For example, last year I was planning a holiday party and  talking to a woman in a local restaurant. The conversation began to change after we finished preparations and she asked me a question about marriage. I answered with, “Early on in our relationship...but right before our relationship ended...” All of a sudden the words I spoke brought tears to my eyes. I looked at her with tears beginning to spill from my eyes and said, “ Give me a minute,I have never used the words “our relationship ended.”  “It really ended.” I said again.
      I had said numerous times, “ My husband died”, ”Joe is gone”, “I am a widow.” but never “our relationship ended.” The words I used hit me like a ton of bricks.The relationship we shared had ended. My friend did nothing wrong in asking a question but my response triggered the pain that still lingers and the reminder that he would not be my escort to the event I was planning.
     I have learned to just let the tears roll and I don’t mind crying in public although it is not my favorite thing to do. Grief is a personal process and not a one time event. It takes time and it is best to just keep walking through it and let the tears roll. 
      The best thing you can do as a friend to someone grieving is share their pain. Hold their hand until it passes. Let them talk. I sat next to a woman older than my mother  at a luncheon that lost her husband of 50 years. She just needed someone to understand her pain and the challenges she faced. She needed someones love to just help her thru the luncheon that was overwhelming.
     Often times grieving people can feel like God doesn’t care about their pain. This is not true. Numerous times in scripture God says He is near to the brokenhearted. Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” This life is full of pain and suffering but God did not leave us alone and knows exactly what we feel.
      Last holiday season, God allowed me to experience the truth of Psalms 34. I was shopping at Costco in San Antonio and was missing Joe that day as we frequently shopped together for the holidays. A wave of grief had come and and I was just trying to catch my breath again. I get tired of the waves...  Suddenly a woman walked up to me and said, “I think you are the prettiest woman in this store.” 
     Perhaps she had forgotten her glasses in the car but I smiled gratefully, thanked her and walked on. I had never had anyone say something  like that. 
    All of a sudden I realized that was God speaking to me. I love to encourage others to know God or see him in everyday life. I quickly turned around to find her down the next row of groceries and said, “I just want you to know God used you to bless me. I am a recent widow after 30 years of marriage and my husband frequently told me he thought I was pretty. I miss those words.” 
     She replied, “I am so sorry you lost him. You are so young.” “I lost my son years ago but that is not like loosing a spouse.” “I at least had my husband to share the pain.” she said.
      I can only imagine her the pain of loosing a child and would not want that experience. Then words came out of her mouth that again touched my heart. “The worst part is  most people don’t understand your pain because they can’t.”  “They haven’t been there.” 
     “Never let anyone minimize your pain either.” she said with a voice of authority. 
      “And you miss those hugs from your husband too don’t you?” she asked.
     Here I was just trying to shop and a total stranger read my mail! She reached out to hug me and I welcomed her arms. I knew God sent this woman to be His arms and voice of love to my weary soul. 
     We didn’t even exchange names. We didn’t need to. The most important thing was we shared the pain of not having someone with us to celebrate.
     I walked away from this precious lady knowing God knew where my heart was and that He would see me through this valley. Whatever the problem, God always has a provision for us.
     God sent Jesus to bind up the brokenhearted as he proclaims about Jesus coming in in Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives...” Binding up our broken hearts is part of Jesus job description. God has the power to heal in an instant but I find he often wants us to trust Him in our pain. Jesus suffered and in his suffering he learned obedience. He also learned how to walk with his father and trusting in God in his pain.

     There are many in our retirement community that are widowed. There are also parents that have lost children.  Men and women that have lost brothers, sisters, and friends. There are children that don’t have mommies or daddies around this holiday season. Maybe God wants to use you to be a gift to someone this Christmas. You never know how your kindness can be healing or encouraging to someone else just like the divine appointment I encountered.
      Personally, I am experiencing God holding my own broken heart as my mother passed away this morning and my father is hospitalized with a serious illness.
      I pray God would show you that He knows where your heart is this holiday season and reveal to you He is Emmanuel- God with us. Let’s be a community that seeks God and allows him to use us to bless others. Will you look for your divine appointment this Christmas season?
    

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. She can be heard on Sunday morning on the REV.FM 94.3 from 8-9 am.You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com
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