"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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14 Months

I let the dog out this morning and looked up at the waning stars. The day was still quiet, but dawn was fast approaching. Another milestone. 

“I never would have imagined,” I said out loud to no one. A brief sense of defeat washed over me as I watched our Jack Russell go about her routine. She turned toward the door, ready for a treat. And I counted my blessings. 

Today marks 14 months since Craig crossed over to a world we cannot see. Rather than mourn, I reflected on what God has done. In 14 months, I have been to Nicaragua and Guatemala, to Florida and Oregon and Kentucky. I have celebrated family gatherings in the summer and the fall, eaten pizza on the beach, and discovered the beauty of Lake Michigan. I have helped a long-time friend get back on her feet while I learned to walk again myself, hosted small group meetings in my home, and sponsored a table in Craig’s honor at a benefit dinner. I have stayed engaged in Women’s Bible Study, prison ministry, and the Rotary Club, and soaked up buckets of love and support from friends old and new in each of those realms. I have reconnected with former classmates and coworkers, prayed over the sick, painted the bedroom, and celebrated Passover. 

I have cried more in 14 months than in the 14 years prior. But those tears watered the roots of my faith. Losing my earthly husband spurred a deeper intimacy with my Creator and a hunger for His Word. And as I have pressed into Him, I have experienced His boundless love in surprising new ways. He whispers to my heart, shows me special signs, and sweetly demonstrates His care through all of those who continue to rally around me when I fear I’ve been forgotten. 

Yesterday, I received a letter from an inmate whom I met through prison ministry. His name is Hezekiah, and he is 85 years old. I admired the beautiful cursive penmanship as I read his words of encouragement. “Since your husband Craig has been summoned by the Lord to another area of glory, the Lord has challenged me to check on you,” he wrote. He reminded me that some days may feel more burdensome than others, but God will never leave me or forsake me. The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner.” How could my heart not leap at his note? This precious man, who has spent decades behind bars, knew the danger of being bound by grief and self-pity, and he remembered me. HE remembered ME. 

I still count the days, but I also count my blessings. I have walked 14 months without my husband, but I had 14 years of marriage with him. I am so grateful for the adventures and laughter and lessons we learned. If it weren’t for Craig, I never would have met Hezekiah or all the other brothers in Christ behind bars, or all my friends at Rotary, or everyone I know through Quest and Fellowship of the Sword, or even our neighbors next door. Craig had an unwavering passion for people and lived to love others. Today, I will honor him by doing the same.

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

…a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance…
ECCLESIASTES 3:4

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