We all wish we could have more of it. But when you lose someone or something close to you, you might just wish for less.
When my husband was killed in action, I wanted time to stop. I wanted God to part the heavens and rescue me from living another day. I prayed for it. I pleaded. But of course, time went on.
And the world went on. I walked down the streets wondering why other people were laughing. If you know anything about me at all, it is that I have a distinctively loud laugh. “Nic,” people say, “I knew you were here, I heard your laugh.” But when my husband was killed I hated laughing and I hated hearing laughter. My world was falling apart and there were people laughing, grabbing a cup of coffee, reading the newspaper, talking to a friend. They were living.
I hated seeing life.
It was surreal, like I was living a dream, walking through someone elses nightmare. But when I woke up I was in a bed that wasn’t my own, living in a house that was borrowed, and realizing this was my new reality.
Sometimes I had to remind myself to breathe. I am serious. There were times I actually thought to myself. Nic, you have to breathe, you haven’t done so in a few minutes.
I breathed for my son. That is the only reason I breathed.
And when I breathed, I breathed out a prayer. “Daddy, help me.”
I knew God was there. I knew He had the answers. I knew He loved me. I knew He had a plan and that I was living it. I’m not saying God willed or wanted my husband to die, but I did know that when the world took Doug, God would make something good come from it.
Even though I trusted that, I still hated time.
But I learned to use it. When I heard the news about Doug, I knew I couldn’t live with anyone else. I needed to be alone. I needed what I dreaded most – I needed time.
I sat. I prayed. Then, when I was strong enough, I started to read the Word. I knew it had the answers and I knew I needed to listen.
And that took time.
So after days passed, and then weeks passed, and then months passed, time became something to cherish. Not because I was “healed,” but because when I sat and prayed and read the Word, I started to hear Daddy’s answers. And they gave me hope.
And hope is worth all the time in the world.
Now, six years later, I would still like the heavens to part. I would still like to hear the sound of the trumpet. I still yearn to run into my bedroom, fall on my knees and see my husband’s ashes take to the sky.
You never “move on” from a loss. You move forward. I learned that from another soldier’s widow. You will read about her soon, this Friday actually. Stay tuned. You will love her. So do I. “You move forward,” she said, “You don’t move on.”
And as time moves forward I would say it gets easier to cope. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t days where I find myself right back on the couch, crying my eyes out because I miss him so bad. They say that “time heals all wounds.” Time doesn’t heal anything. Time just makes it real.
Instead of waking up and wondering if I am living a nightmare, I wake up and know my husband isn’t coming home. My loss is now my reality. Time has made it real.
But here is the reason I can move forward: God.
If I hadn’t sat alone with God; if hadn’t uttered, “Daddy help me” over and over; if I hadn’t read the Word like it was life’s water, I wouldn’t be where I am today. God has filled my hole with grace, my life with hope, and my soul with His promises.
But that takes time.
So if you are suffering, know that you will start to move forward. And once you start moving forward, find Daddy. Find Him. He wants to help. He wants to fill your soul with hope. But you gotta seek Him – and that takes time – time to just sit and be alone with Him.
You gotta pray (see Hate God Because of a Loss, Pray Anyway ) and you gotta read His Word (see 8 Ways to Cope When Grieving ) and you gotta believe – even if the world robs you of your life, even if the world rips your heart out – Daddy can make it right.
Daddy can, and Daddy will. That is a promise He gives us. That is our hope.
Satan thought he won when the IED exploded in Bagdad. Satan thought he had won when those soldiers knocked on my door and told me about my husband. Satan thought he had won when I lay on the couch at 3 o’clock in the morning and cried my first true tears. He though the had won.
He also thought he had won when the nails went into our Savior’s hands. He also thought he had won when our King breathed His last breath. He also thought he had won when the stone was rolled over the tomb. He thought he had won.
And then came Sunday.
The sun’s rays kissed a tomb that was empty.
That empty tomb is our promise.
Death isn’t the end.
Time doesn’t win.
Believe it. Death is not the end. Daddy hasn’t had the final word.
And Daddy’s gonna win.
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