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

I can see the milestone on the near horizon. One year. A whole year. Where I used to count up—one week, one month, six months—now I’ve been counting down. Saturday will be 365 days since Craig passed. One year since my world changed. A year of transition, revelation, deep sorrow, and occasional joy.

One year.

Others have been counting, too. Friends and acquaintances have reached out this past week with words of comfort and concern. “How are you doing with the big day coming up?” “Do you have anything planned that day?” Their questions are rooted in sincerity and deep compassion. Yet, I found myself texting a fellow widow to ask, “Is it normal to want to punch them in the throat?”

I am an ingrate. But, grief is not logical. My friend affirmed my mudpuddle of emotions and shared from her own journey. The end of her message summarized so perfectly my feelings as I watch the days and hours tick by.

“There’s no such thing as an easy answer to these types of questions. If I say I’m doing well, then I’m lying. But, there’s no way for me to succinctly explain to you something you just can’t understand if you haven’t experienced it,” she wrote.

Yes. That.

Truthfully, though, I am doing well. Last week was marked by two days of crippling grief and brain fog. But, yesterday was brilliant. I watched a friend’s son get baptized. A mid-day video shoot for a long-time client went exceptionally well. In the evening, nearly 20 people gathered at my home for food and fellowship, healing prayer and a time of teaching in God’s Word. The day was a series of successes and cause for celebration. I cried briefly as I said goodnight to my absent husband, but I went to bed grateful. I dare say, I felt content.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

HEBREWS 10:24-25 NIV

Life is a series of mile markers. Some bring great joy—graduations and weddings, new homes, new jobs, new birth. Others mark times of sadness and loss. The death of a parent. The death of a spouse. The death of a dream. But, the journey does not stop at the milestones. They are simply indicators of the profound events that we’ve experienced along the way, and point to the road ahead. They shape our perspective as we look back and look forward while helping us to find our place in the present.

And so, I face the road boldly, and encourage myself with the promises in God’s Word. He gives us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of despair. Yes, this is my temporary home. But, who knows what milestones lie beyond the next hill?

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

ISAIAH 61:1-3 NIV

July 1, 2019   2 Comments

A Kiss From My Husband

God speaks to me in numbers. It started a couple of years ago with the 444s. I wouldn’t have paid them much attention, except that my pastor’s wife Tara Seidman used to post them on Facebook once in a while. A picture of the license plate with 444, the time on the clock at 4:44 PM. She called it a “God kiss.” His way of letting her know that he was right there, that he sees her, and that he loves her.

A couple of years ago, I started getting them, too. At first just one every once in a while, and then more and more, like a flood. Undeniable. And I wasn’t looking — they would always catch me by surprise. Later, I started to get 333. I heard more than once that this points to Jeremiah 33:3.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.“

Other translations say “great and indescribable things,” “hidden things,” or “unsearchable things.” The 3s in triplicate is God’s way of calling us into deeper relationship. I started to get them all the time, and I was encouraged to press in.

In the last year, our conversations around the numbers have expanded. He shows me times on the clock and calls me to look up Scriptures. Triplicates on license plates speak of his presence. I get 555 all the time, reminding me of his abiding grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. This Spring, Craig started to get them, too. 333 and 444, all the time. It actually miffed him at first — he claimed that he didn’t believe in the numbers. But they showed up with such regularity, he was beginning to doubt his own doubts. He would take screenshots of his phone and text me the picture. 3:33 PM. 4:44 AM. He, too, said he was never looking. He would just glance at the clock, and there would be God, waving hello.

I was delighted at this new turn of events, and told him that the Father sees him and loves him! That God is revealing something magnificent to him, great and mighty things that he does not know. We were both listening attentively, with hope and anticipation. Especially, as the season grew dark.

I slept soundly last night, but awoke briefly a couple hours after going to bed. I glanced at the clock. 1:13am. I made a mental note and fell back asleep.

This morning, I eased into the day with Bible reading and scrolls through social media. Then the grief came, marked by a torrent of tears and heartache. I miss my husband. I feel lost. I journaled at length about how Craig taught me to love better. How we had both learned and grown so much these last several years. We discovered the joy in sacrifice — in trying to out-give one another by putting the other’s needs and wants first. I still failed more times than I care to admit, but I was so much better. We were better. And, we were happy.

I showered and got dressed. Sat on the floor of the closet holding one of Craig’s T-shirts and sobbed. Took the dog for the walk and made breakfast. God reminded me to look up the time on the clock from last night, so I asked Google to find “Scripture 1:13.” The answer brought more tears, and also great comfort.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

***

God is faithful. And I have no doubt that He is showing Craig great and mighty things. Hidden things that are unsearchable unless we are in His presence. What He is showing me is that I am still loved — loved more than I can ever fathom. And, in the same way that I discovered the delight in learning to love my husband, there is joy in loving others. In putting others’ needs first. There is joy in loving God and putting His desires first.

Isaiah 54:5 begins:

“For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name…”

My husband gave me a kiss last night, and I am grateful.

August 20, 2018   No Comments