Jeremiah 18:3–4 (NRSV) “So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.”
Naturally, when my husband died I began searching and praying for answers and understanding of what it all meant. When I married, I envisioned my future and the future of my ministry with him. I feel called to pastor, but I never saw myself pastoring without my husband. I wanted to be his co-pastor, his assistant. I never wanted to be a lead pastor. So when he died suddenly, I wanted to know what all of it meant for me and the future of my ministry.
Well, one of the first things that the Lord spoke to me was that He was using the death of my husband to shape me into a vessel suitable for His use. Of course, in my humanness, I struggled with how going through such a heartbreaking and devastating loss could make me into a better person or vessel. However, as the days turn into weeks and the weeks, months, I’m beginning to see how God is reshaping me. One of the first ways that I see God changing me is He is making me a much more patient and compassionate person. My husband is the first person close to me that I have ever lost, so I had no idea of how grief could grip a person. I had no idea of the questions and the rollercoaster of emotions that a person experiences when in mourning. So, when people would come into the church for counseling or when I would hear people close to me talk about loved ones they lost many years ago, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t pick themselves up and “get over it.” Yes, those were my very thoughts and words. However, now that I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death myself, I understand. I understand the inner turmoil and spiritual wrestling that takes place. I understand the sorrow and the lack of desire to do anything. I understand what it’s like to look up at a clear, blue sky on a sunny day and still feel the storm raging on the inside. I don’t think that I will ever “get over” my husband. I’m just learning how to live with the loss. I’m learning how to still find joy in what I still have left such as my children, my life and my purpose in God. I’m learning how to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to keep going and pressing on. I’m learning how to hold fast to my faith in God, in that He has my best interest at heart and that He will work all things together for my good.
I know that God is using this to make me a much more patient and compassionate person. He’s allowed me to experience this to chip away at the hardness of my heart. I know that He will replace it with a heart of flesh. I’ve learned that the Lord wants all of us to have a heart that is malleable—a heart that is more in tune with the sufferings of others. I don’t want to grieve forever, but I definitely want to remember these feelings, so that when someone walks into my office in the future, I won’t be so quick to give them a formula or instant fix for healing. Instead, I hope I will be able to provide a listening ear and be able to genuinely empathize with them and the pain they are experiencing.
I know that I have a long road ahead, but I’m on the path towards healing, and I’m thankful that God has counted me worthy to be shaped and molded by Him. As the song says, “The road gets rough. The going gets tough, and the hills are hard to climb.” However, I’m so happy—I’m still happy—that I’ve decided to make Jesus my choice.
Linking up with…