"When a wife has a good husband it is easily seen in her face."---Goethe
This has been a LONG week for me. Thanks to Saturday.
As I was telling someone earlier this week, I am so thankful to remain in a place where when I know that God has told me something, I do it. Irregardless of what the masses are doing. On this past Sabbath, while seemingly (most of) the world was watching Whitney Houston's funeral, I heard the Spirit say, "Go. Rest. And LIVE life." And so, I did. I only caught a couple of recaps on CNN later that night. And I'm more than fine with that.
Back to earlier on Saturday...after having an impromptu lunch with some friends, I came home to an email about my great-grandmother having congestive heart failure. Then I got a phone call about a "professional friend" (*very few* people in life are *all-purpose friends*) passing from a heart attack. He was 32. *Then* on my way back from the two-hour drive to see my grandmother, I received a text that one of my high school classmate's father *also on Saturday* died of a heart attack. On the year that is my 20-year reunion, the man that so many of us called, "Dad" and I saw just a few weeks ago, died.
Sometimes 37 feels...older. But when it comes to death, I still feel pretty young. Certainly too young to see the amount of death that I already have. But in times like these, I'm so grateful for a Comforter that provides appropriate Scriptures; ones that, to this day, I have not heard quoted in a funeral service *yet*:
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."---Psalm 116:15(NKJV)
"Those who are right with God may die, but no one pays attention. Good people are taken away, but no one understands. Those who do right are being taken away from evil and are given peace. Those who live as God wants find rest in death."---Isaiah 57:1-2(NCV)
We are not the final judge (I Corinthians 4:5) and it's *just as much playing God* to speak of people heading to heaven as presuming that they are not; once Christ returns (because if people in our lifetimes were already in heaven, why why would there be verses like, "the dead in Christ will rise first"?-I Thessalonians 4:15-17) the fate of people's afterlife will all be *just as Elohim believes it should be*. Oh, but in the meantime, it's nice to be comforted by the fact that there is mercy in death. And that there is rest there as well (Psalm 13:3).
I thought about that as I attended "Dad's" funeral on yesterday. Looking at the packed out room and hearing friends of his since childhood and adolescence speak of his quirky sense of humor, unbelievably huge and giving heart and his belief that the Church was *people* and not *buildings* (Selah! Amen!)...in hearing that one of his mottos was that "It's just as important to be behind the scenes as out in the front" (something more people could stand to be reminded of)...in listening to all of his many accomplishments, many that I didn't know about because he obviously took the Bible quite seriously including the verse, "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips" (Proverbs 27:2-NKJV), I thought about what I admired about him the most: his marriage of 42 years and the fact that Goethe is right: it *is* seen on a wife's face when she has a good husband. Alan Craig's wife beamed *every time* I saw her and honestly, I can't remember one time seeing them more than a few feet a part.
As I hugged her yesterday and she shared some vulnerable words about her feelings in this season, I heard myself say in her ear while hugging, "The Bible says that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. I'll be checking on you." And for the rest of the day, I thought about that statement. How, over the course of the past 10 or so years, I have come to develop my own network of widows and they are some of my most favorite of women in the entire world. The thing that they all have in common is that their marriages were stellar, in part because they were married to the complete and absolute love of their lives, and that while no union is perfect, they lived about as close to biblical textbook accurate as a marriage can get (when you follow *directions*, you get good results).
Therefore, you would think that these ladies would keel over and die from heartbreak once their beloveds transitioned in preparation for the next phase of their existence. Nope. They travel. They are active in ministries. Some have started businesses. I have stood back totally and utterly amazed at their resilience and even now I'm taken aback by the resolve that...
AS WIDOWS THEY HAVE SERVED AS MIRACULOUS ROLE MODELS OF WHAT A SINGLE WOMAN'S LIFE SHOULD LOOK LIKE.
With no man in their lives, *their life* has not ended; *their life* is quite full. If anything, I believe that losing their beloved reminds them that we are not to boast about tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1) and that yes, we are as vapor that appears for a little bit of time and vanishes away (James 4:13-15). As a testament to the life that they shared with another in a I Corinthians 13 existence, they carry on in tribute.
As I was sharing this with my mom last night, she put the final piece of the puzzle together with me; about why, more and more, I find myself sitting at the feet of these extraordinary women that we call, "widows".
"When you've had a great love that supports and nurtures you, you can live a full life because of it."
The widows that I know are in a good place *because of love*. They can be single and happy and whole and confident and prosperous *because of love*. The memory of their great loves plays a significant role in their new beginnings...even though those relationships have come to an end.
And wouldn't it be nice of we as single women *really got that*? That when the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), tells us that an unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord (I Corinthians 7:34), it's Adonai's way of encouraging us to enter into a *real and lasting love relationship* with a Spirit that loves us in an everlasting way (Jeremiah 31:3); a Spirit that will *never die*. A Spirit that, *because of love*, gives us the right to a full life as well.
THERE IS A GREAT LOVE, GRACE AND CARE THAT GOD HAS FOR US BY GRANTING US THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN WHAT MANY WIDOWS HAVE...BEFORE ACTUALLY BECOMING ONE.
It's a great wonder to behold: the love relationship we have with the Most High that gives us access to abundance even before we are united with our own beloveds. So that when our time comes, we too can have the beaming face of a happy wife; not just because of our husbands came, but because we knew what great love was like before they even arrived.
If you don't have a widow in your life, again, remember what the Word says; true religion tends to them. Therefore, it might be a good idea to get one. Personally, I love love and am learning more about the power of it with every passing day. And on the battlefield between good and evil, life and death, *marriage and divorce*, I must admit that the widows in my world, because of their love for God and love for life, in spite of what he gives *or takes away*...more and more, are becoming my heroes.
Showing me how to love. FULLY. No matter what.
Because life is worth living because God loves us. No matter what.
And indeed, it is.
And indeed, it is.