Photo by Shala Gean
I stood uncomfortably in front of the glass window that was open halfway. I shivered from the cold air circulating the waiting area. The lady behind the window shuffled paperwork and sighed in frustration at her slow computer. “Thank you for your patience, we’re starting a brand new system and we will have to do all of the paperwork from the computer.” I nodded, my hand holding my throat that was on fire, I managed to mutter, “It’s okay.”
I am blessed with rarely getting sick, but not that morning. I woke up swallowing what felt like needles and guessed immediately I had strep. So here I was.
The receptionist muttered in a semi excited tone telling me the system was loaded and we could proceed. She began asking me a series of questions. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then the question came that pierced my soul like a knife. Her tone unchanging, so normal… “So are ya married, single, divorced?” Such a normal question. A question that undoubtedly is asked on paperwork. I stuttered, both from my burning throat, and because I was forcing the hot tears down.
She just stared at me waiting for an answer. I managed to mutter, “Uhh, I guess widowed”. Her eyes studied me up and down. There were three others in the small area behind her who had been lost in conversation, but they must have heard my quiet answer and all eyes shifted to me. I wondered what was going through their minds. I could tell I was younger than all of them by at least two decades. I noticed all of their hands wore wedding bands.
The rest of the questions were a blur. I made my way back to my seat to wait for the doctor. That question still ringing in my ears. I hate the term ‘widowed’. My whole life anytime I’ve heard that title I immediately thought of an elder who got to spend the better part of their life with their spouse, but the one no longer here just beat them home. I didn’t think of a young person, barely into adulthood with a small child/children to raise alone.
This scene was weeks ago, but it keeps dwelling in my heart. I find myself asking God why? And He’s showing me how much I have always put my worth into titles in my life. Wife, Mother, Daughter, Journalist…
I have struggled with feeling like I have lost parts of my identity in many areas of my life this past year.
I mourn the loss of the title, Wife.
I don’t want to claim the title of widow. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin.
Though I believe the Lord honors us when we are the best sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers here on this earth. But the Lord has been revealing a deep truth in my spirit. Those titles are but a blink of an eye. They do not define us. If we put our entire worth and value into those titles, into our careers, into something that we’re known for on earth, when tragedy strikes, when the rug is pulled out from under us, when life happens, we would crumble on the inside. When our eyes are on the titles of this world they are not on Who Jesus is and who He says we are in Him.
This is the journey the Lord is taking me on. He is showing me through loss and other deep hurts just who I am in Him. He is showing me His strength that permeates through a broken and shattered soul. It hurts, but I see the beauty of Christ’s sovereignty shining through the darkness and the unknown.
Last week I had the opportunity to go camping with some great friends. As I lay alone in my small tent in the middle of the night listening to the wind, and the hundreds of overlapping chirps and screeches of insects and animals, my thoughts circled on just how BIG our God is. I thought of my life. I thought of all the events that led me to this still moment in that tent. I was alone. But I could literally feel the God of the universe surrounding me with His presence. I began to talk to Him. I asked Him,” Who am I, Lord?” I told Him how lost I have felt lately. I shared my fears with Him (though He knew all of this already) I just wanted to speak it. In my spirit I could feel the words, You are Mine encamp around my heart.
Those three words wrecked my heart. Though many parts of my life feel so messy and in shambles, I am where I am supposed to be because no matter how things appear through the flesh—I am His. And His plans are far greater than I could ever dream of for myself. His ways, His character, His love, and grace, are things I would not understand without experiencing my plans and dreams being shattered overnight.
One of my favorite songs is Lauren Daigle’s ‘Trust in You’. The opening words have been my hearts cry, “Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet. Every moment of my wandering never changes what you see…No matter what I face You’re by my side.”
I’m finding myself daily taking to heart His words for me, You are Mine. With that truth—It compels us to want to lay down our dreams at His feet. I don’t want anything that is not from Him. I don’t want a life where He is not the center. I refuse to live a life of complacency and wandering aimlessly with no real vision of being in the center of Gods sovereign will for my life. All other options are just not options at all anymore. Period.
“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
The Lord is showing me that no title is greater than being called His. I am protected by the Creator of the Universe. I am loved by Him, I am set a part. So are YOU.
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16
I Trust my God, I Trust my God, I Trust my God.