It’s been a wonderful week. I have loved hearing your enthusiastic well-wishes and praise to God concerning my engagement to my Boaz, Jim Turner. Thank you for praising God along with us and for your sweet prayers. We begin pre-marital counseling next week. Even though both of us were married before (our spouses now in heaven), Jim and I together (can you believe it?) have 60 plus years of marriage between us! I am not bragging about this, mind you—but just want to mention, we already know how to be married. But we want to be as prepared as we can for our lives together. It’s been an amazing journey; during our sixteen months of dating, God has taught us many truths about ourselves, our relationship with Him, and our relationships with others. Truly we are “better together.” We have much to learn.
Some of you are still waiting for your Boaz or your Ruth. As God prepares you in your waiting room, check out my past blogs (here and here) about how to wait on God. In the next few weeks, I will be talking about some of the lessons God taught me as I waited on Him to show me His will for my future. I sought the Lord for His direction on this decision. At times He seemed silent, but I kept waiting until He said, “Yes.”
This weekend, I am speaking to a group of senior citizens at Olive Drive Church called GEMS (God’s Energetic Members). Carol Cook, a fellow widow, asked me to share a message on preparing for widowhood. As I prepare, I thought I would share with you what God has laid on my heart for widows.
How can we prepare for the inevitable? Death—we are all one day closer to our death today than we were yesterday. Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” But how do we prepare for the death of those we love?
First, we must devote ourselves to God and go deeper with Him. Ask God for a rich, solid relationship with Him. You can increase your capacity for God as you make room in your life by giving up grudges, hurt, hate, disappointment, discouragement. If you haven’t already done it, acknowledge what He is doing in your life right now and invite Him into the circumstances of your life. This is a Latin term called: Capax Dei—increase my capacity for God.
Second, commit to spending time alone with God every day. Even fifteen minutes is better than nothing. Spend time in His word, in praise, prayer, confession, intercession. I have a One Year Bible that helps keep me focused; it takes about fifteen minutes to read an OT passage, a NT passage, a Psalm, and a Proverb. Reading Psalms helps with my praise. I claim God’s promises for myself, my family, my ministries. Love this from Psalm 145:13: “The Lord is faithful to all of His promises.” When you use scripture in your prayers, you are actually speaking God’s language, praying His words. Isaiah 54:13-15 says, “All your sons will be taught be the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; and you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come year you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever does attack you will surrender to you.”
One of the prayers I pray regularly for my family is: “Father, protect my family from everything but God’s glory.” Beth Moore talked about the healing balm God shared with me when I grasped for hope after losing Pastor Paul. Isaiah 17:1–2 says, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” So, I will read these again often to remind me of what God has done.
No one knows what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future. Our great God is able to be trusted. Remind yourself often of God’s character, His love for you, His presence in your life, and His grace in your time of need. Lamentations 3:32 says, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”
I am praying for you as you share in my joy, I am committed to share what He is teaching me. I hope it saves you from learning lessons the hard way. I pray it gives you a short-cut to experiencing more grace, more freedom, more hope as you prepare for eternity.