The following is a guest post by my widow friend Tara Dickson as part of a blog series called “All Things New: Learning to Flourish After Loss.” After a 14-month battle with glioblastoma brain cancer, her husband went home to be with Jesus at the age of 46. She daily challenges me to lift my eyes to the new things God has for each one of us.
New beginnings and new seasons often begin with a new year. Just like clockwork ours did too. After a night of board games and egg nog, we found ourselves in a cold, sterile ER. What we thought was a stomach bug that was dehydrating my husband was a large mass pressing on his brain.
While everyone else was writing down their word for the year and making resolutions, we were resolving to fight for his life. We had four kids, three still in high school.
He did fight the good fight against cancer for 14 months, and I fought with him. Then, in the dark of night, the Lord woke me to lay my hand on his chest and feel his last exhale, and watch his triumphant entry into Heaven. It still feels like yesterday, but we are coming up on two years.
The word “new” sounds so inviting, full of possibility and expectation. Yet when you don’t choose that “new” it can be anything but. New can range from uncomfortable to paralyzing. For us, it was the latter.
Home wasn’t home anymore. He wasn’t there. Our lungs forgot how to pull in air and we felt disconnected and set apart. Overnight we had become members of this club that we didn’t ask to join. Change swirled around us and within. There was no getting away from it.
Everyone said, “You just have to find your new normal.” But, I have decided that normal is overrated. I don’t want normal. Life is not this tame predictable thing that I can plan and schedule or control.
I have found that there is comfort in abandonment. When I cling so tightly to my plans and my will, I start to fear they will be taken from me. They become something I must protect and manipulate.
When I abandon myself, all that I am and all that is mine to God, there is freedom in the releasing. It’s a laying down of my will so that I can pick up His. Though the plans we lay for ourselves might never come to pass, it doesn’t mean that God’s plans for us are over or that He isn’t good.
There must be an emptying and filling for our hearts to grow. It’s a bit like breathing.
Circumstances come to each of us that empty us. They wring our hearts dry. Then we try to fill them up again. We can fill them with the truth of God’s word, hope for tomorrow and trust that though the way seems dark, He promises to light the way. Or we can fill them with fear, anxiety and no hope for tomorrow.
I have wrestled with both and found when I “Lift Up My Eyes” to the faithful Father and allow him to renew my mind with His word, that is when the peace comes that anchors the soul.
So breathe, dear ones, and when the emptying comes and new seasons lie around the bend, abandon yourself to the one who longs to fill you with new hope for tomorrow!
“Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing his praise from the end of the earth!
Behold the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things.”
Isaiah 42:10,9 (NAS)
A former elementary school teacher, Tara has since then been following the calling the Lord placed on her heart to write, heal and connect with His body. She strives daily to remind herself and others to “lift up your eyes” and see that God is with us. She is also an agented children’s author and hopes to publish a series for children. You can read her encouraging words at www.taradickson.com or on Instagram or on Facebook @taraelizabethdickson
**This post is part of a January series called “All Things New.” Check out the other stories in the series and my new Bible study, Flourishing Together:
“All Things New: Learning to Flourish After Loss” – an introduction to the series by Dorina Lazo Gilmore, including why she chose “All Things New”
“All Things New: My New Normal” – a guest post by Danell teNyenhuis about finding a new life with her daughters after her husband’s tragic death
“All Things New: Life Beyond the Hospital Doors” – a guest post by Danielle Comer about life for a young widow after her husband died of cancer
“All Things New: Letting Dreams Die, Cultivating New Ones” – an essay about the hard work I had to do in my heart after my husband’s death to dream again
Flourishing Together is a new 6-week Bible study just released on Amazon. If you are interested in delving deeper into this topic of how God grows beautiful things out of the ashes and dirt of our life, please check out the study: