I’m truly blessed and honored to be featuring Jessica from A Widow’s Promise at my blog today. From the moment I met her I knew that the Lord would use her mightily for His Kingdom. I pray that you receive just as much as I have from reading this post. Jessica sheds light on how to find hope during grief by sharing her personal story. It is gripping, heart-wrenching, and powerful.
“I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy.”
Job 29:13 NLT
If you had told me a year ago that I would find hope through my grief I would have snarled at you and screamed “There is no hope!”
You see I had just lost my husband, my best friend and the love of my life.
Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” But how could I be expectant of anything in a situation like this? What use was it desiring a certain outcome when I knew I couldn’t change what had happened. I could do nothing…. absolutely nothing to bring my husband back.
It’s easy to say there is hope in tomorrow but what happens when tomorrow you’re faced with the same haunting reality that your loved one is gone?
Is There Hope?
I read somewhere that H.O.P.E. is an abbreviation for “Hold on Pain Ends.” But when you’ve experienced a traumatic loss like the loss of a spouse or child it’s hard to see an end to the pain. Even now I don’t believe that pain ends, or at least not in this life anyways. So how did I find hope in a situation that seemed so hopeless? A situation that was so final….
For a while my grief consumed me and my relationship with God took a turn for the worst. I ripped my Bible to shreds, cursed God up and down and was beginning to think the whole religion thing was just something people put together to make us “feel good”. I didn’t believe anymore in Heaven and Hell, but that death was the end and there was nothing after it.
Never in my life had I felt Satans grip on my soul like I did in that moment. I remember screaming out at God like I wasn’t the same person. I didn’t even feel like Jessica anymore. Something inside of me was changing. I was becoming cold, numb and full of hate. I wouldn’t say it was “demon possession” but I could definitely feel a dark spirit hovering over me. Cheering me on as I took another blow at my creator.
And yet in a moment of complete and utter despair I fell on the floor sobbing uncontrollably as I cried out to God. “God I don’t want to be here anymore. I can’t handle this pain. I want to be with my husband. Please just let me be with my husband. Just take me God… Please just take me….. There’s no light inside of me anymore, just darkness…. Please Lord just take me before all the light that is left in me is gone.”
Hope During Grief
Like the people of Egypt, I felt abandoned by God. I was broken in every way and I just wanted the pain to end. In that moment I was pleading with God to take my life but that’s not what happened. What happened is still hard for me to explain, but somewhere deep inside of me something changed. I could hear someone speaking to me from deep within my spirit but not in an audible kind of way. Yet it sounded very similar to the words spoken to Moses years ago…
“I have indeed seen the misery you are going through Jessica. I have heard you crying out because of your grief and I am concerned about your suffering. So I have come down to rescue you from your hopelessness and lead you out of your grief. Into a place filled with love and an unshakeable faith. This place I am calling you to will bring you temporary peace, until I call you to me in the final promised land… a land of unspeakable joy….. a land filled with milk and honey. I will be with you Jessica and this is your sign that I am the one who has delivered you: When you have been freed from the chains of grief you will worship me through this very pain.”
And God did just what he said he would. He began to lead me out of this place of despair but the journey wasn’t easy. There were moments when like the Israelites I was tired, I wanted to give up, and just turn back. I couldn’t see past the horizon….. I couldn’t see past my grief….. At one point I thought it would be easier to just continue living with my grief then facing the unknown and dealing with the pain head on. I wanted to turn back more times then I can count.
God is Faithful
God could have easily given up on both me and the Israelites. He could have looked down and said “Enough is enough. I’m tired of this. Your promised land is only days away and it’s taking you forever to claim my promise!!!! You have such little faith!” But he didn’t up on me and he didn’t give up on the Israelites no matter how many times we walked around in circles…. no matter how many times we took a step backwards. You see when God promises something, he makes sure it happens.
But how did I break free from my slavery to grief? Well the first step to leaving your Egypt is going to be the same step that carries you into your Canaan . . . you have to trust in God’s faithfulness. I did this by carrying my Bible with me everywhere, in the car, to work, to the grocery store, to pick my kids up from school. Everywhere I went my Bible came with me. It became my weapon in fighting the lies Satan was whispering to me. Lies that would creep up when I least expected. Lies that I was able to shut down as soon as I opened my Bible.
When Satan was screaming GIVE UP, it was the hope I found in God’s word that said keep going.
Through constantly reading his word and focusing on his promises I was beginning to call Satan out on his lies. But I had to make a conscious effort to take every thought, every doubt, every disbelief captive and then turn it around and apply it to God’s word.
When Satan said: “You can’t trust your God”
My Bible said: “No word of God will ever fail.”
When Satan said: “Your God has abandoned you”
My God said: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When Satan taunted: “You will never see your husband again”
My God said: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice and no one will be able to take away your joy!”
For every lie God kept me focused on his promises. But he also kept me focused on the ultimate promised land, Heaven. The place where there will be no more crying, mourning or pain. The place where one day I will be reunited with my husband.
Jesus said that only 3 things in this life will remain…
and the greatest of these is Love….
You see love never dies because it wasn’t meant to. Adam and Eve were created to live in the Garden of Eden together forever in the continual presence of God.
So when you are facing the most hopeless situation of all…. DEATH…. choose to have FAITH in God’s promises. Choose to have the HOPE that those promises will come to light, and choose to believe in the power of LOVE. That love can do anything and overcome anything. That God can and will bring hope from the most hopeless of situations. And here are three tiny words that are proof of that “He is Risen”!
God Has the Victory
Victory over death has already been won! And while it’s hard to be separated, even if it is just temporary know that this life is like a mist compared to eternity in Heaven. God has promised to restore everything in a world more real than the one you know. Hold on to that truth and never let it go!
It is my fervent hope and prayer that Jesus would pour out His abundant love and grace upon all of us who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I pray that our Father in Heaven would give you an eternal hope, encourage and strengthen you during this time, and that he would lead you out from the oppression and captivity of grief and into your own promised land. I pray that like me, you would keep your eyes lifted up towards Heaven.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Jessica Loncareivc is the widow behind “A Widows Promise”. After becoming a widow at 28, God put a calling on her heart to create a Christ centered blog and community that would offer grief support for both widows and their families. Jessica offers multiple tools and resources designed specifically for widows ranging from grief support groups, online book clubs, Bible Studies, and so much more. All of her programs focus on Gods promises and aid in the emotional healing necessary to grieve with hope.
I am ever so grateful that Jessica agreed to Guest Post for me today and I’m in awe of what God is doing through her. Please make sure you show her some encouragement by either commenting and/or visiting her at her blog A Widow’s Promise.