I’ve never heard anyone say they long to someday be a widow. While I was married, I envisioned a lifetime together with my spouse, growing older, enjoying family times, taking trips, and spending quiet times…
But married couples rarely leave this earthly life together, and my marriage, like most, left me widowed and alone.
I didn’t feel adequately prepared to do life without my spouse. Almost as if I had been left behind, I found myself suddenly without my beloved mate while my world turned upside down. I faced overwhelming grief and loneliness, unable to think clearly or make decisions. Eating, sleeping and going places alone often brought feelings of despondency or depression. The trauma of my loss even triggered physical ailments. Nothing about being a widow was fun, but God enabled me to endure through the dark clouds and led me into the new light He graciously gave me as I learned to cope by clinging to Him in the darkness.
Little did I realize how much my on-going walk with God would sustain me when I encountered the darkest experience of my life. Years before this most pivotal and challenging time of losing my husband I had asked Jesus to come into my life, surrendering my all to Him. I knew I needed Him and He willingly adopted me into His family. God knew of my brokenness, yet paid the penalty for my every sin by shedding His own blood to pay the price for it. Long before this day of loss, I had admitted and repented of my sin and believed on Jesus to forgive me as my Savior and the Lord of my life. God had walked with me every step of the way prior to the day my husband died.
But that same Savior and Lord was also with me on the fateful day I lost my beloved earthly companion and although I had lost my best friend in the world, it was God Himself who walked me through the dark days that followed.
The moment I received the news that my husband was gone, God immediately reminded me that He would always be with me. I was His child and He would never leave or forsake me. (Heb. 13:5, et al.)
As I moved forward in my new season of life, for which I never longed for or prepared, I was sure that GOD was right there with me. I was free to cry out to Him at any moment, day or night…
…and cry out to Him, I did!
There was no time I was more desperately in need of God’s strength, comfort, companionship, peace, and ultimate joy, then while I navigated the waters of widowhood.”
My God was the God of all comfort, and He was comforting me so that I could also comfort others (2 Cor 1:3-5). This truth greatly helped me, not only in dealing with my own pain as I grieved, but also to help draw my focus gradually away from myself, to notice and be willing to comfort others who were suffering.
As a new widow, I found an article by Elisabeth Elliot which prompted me to read her book, Loneliness. It helped me immensley, allowing me to also help other widows.
My most helpful book was the Bible itself! Years earlier I had formed a habit of reading a few Psalms every day, along with the other Bible reading for my daily devotions and prayer time. Never before had I realized how many Psalms perfectly express a hurting, bleeding heart. I began praying those Psalms as my own personal prayers to God day after day, and often again at night before bed. What great comfort came as I prayed God’s own written words back to Him!
As days became weeks, months and years, I have continued to reach out to God as my refuge, my strength and my constant companion in every situation. I pray daily that He will continue to teach me how to draw near to Him so that He can draw ever nearer to me (James 4:8). His nearness grows stronger and more evident even now, as the years tick on.
This year I’m a widow for 20 years. Looking back, the Lord has carried me all the way. I frequently thank Him for that. Today I can pray from Psalm 30, “O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me…You have turned…my mourning into dancing…clothed me with gladness…(to) sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God I will give thanks to you forever!”
This article was written by Christina Marie’s mother, Alice E. Zuiderveen. Alice’s husband passed away of a sudden heart attack in 2001 when Alice was 59 years old.
Alice is an author and regular contributor for Chera Fellowship, a magazine for widows. She serves as a mentor to widows and others who are hurting through her church’s Biblical Soul Care ministry. As a gifted piano player and musician, Alice loves to serve churches in the quad-cities area of Iowa as a hymn-sing pianist.