"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."
These opening words from C.S. Lewis in his book, A Grief Observed, seem so fitting to describe my thoughts lately. The one-year mark of my husband's passing has somehow come and gone. Many prayers and encouragements from friends and loved ones helped carry me through the holidays, and I am eternally grateful. But the thought of a New Year is overwhelming and heavy. I couldn't put my feelings into words until I remembered that quote.
It's not the word I want to use to describe any of my feelings. I want to be only filled with faith. I want to trust the perfect love that casts out fear. I want to be strong like people try to tell me I am when I know better. Or really I want to see Christ's strength in it instead of just seeing my weakness. But sometimes it takes naming the fears to let their grip loosen and let faith take prominence again. So here are a few...
- I'm afraid of forgetting. How can it all feel like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago all at once? There already seem to be so many things I can't quite remember like I want to.
- I'm afraid others will forget and not want to remember with me.
- I'm afraid of new, because every "new" is without him.
- I'm afraid this will be my loneliest year ever.
- I'm afraid I'm typing way too much here and need to re-write it to be more vague and less exposed!
But the truth is we all have fears we don't really want to admit. And the truth is that behind every fear, there is a lie we are believing, that somehow God's provision won't be enough.
So I turn my heart to remember truth.
I look back and remember how God has provided, even in some of the hardest times imaginable. I keep a list so I don't forget, and my heart swells with faith as I recount His faithfulness. Really, it blows me away afresh to think specifically of the tenderness God has shown me over and over. The truth of these song lyrics rings in my heart: "Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me / You've never failed, and You won't start now." (from Oceans by Hillsong United)
I don't have to figure out how to face an entire New Year. I can remember and know that God's mercies are new every morning. I can rely on His presence day by day, moment by moment. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I can take each step in faith, just one at a time.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Even if the laughing is with tears...
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.
Truly it is my desire to trust in Him at all times. So I will trust Him in this New Year, day by day. My prayer is that you will trust Him, too. He is faithful.