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Transformation: life with — and without Alan: a reflection

I think the LORD revealed to me this morning where I was in my spiritual journey a few months ago by giving me a glimpse of life before Alan died, so I could see how much in these few months since his illness, I have grown.

I woke up this morning and for just a second, I forgot my husband was dead. It gave me the opportunity to recognise how much GOD has been transforming me, as well as the gift of experiencing once again, however briefly, life with Alan.

And when I remembered life with Alan, I felt whole. 

I’m able to contrast how different the feeling inside of me is, from what I used to live. No matter how much courage the LORD provides, no matter how much assurance I feel, no matter how safe I am, there is a hole. By his grace, I have avoided self pity. By his grace, I do not wake in the morning in floods of tears or weighed down with a sense of grief. Supernaturally, the LORD has covered me and through the prayers of brothers and sisters in Christ, for which I am hugely grateful, I am okay:) But there is a hole where Alan was in my life and life for just a second this morning did not have that hole. I was freer, lighter and more assured, just for a split second. Thank you LORD for revealing the contrast, because in the contrast, I can see a little of the pathway you are carving out for me…

Processing life

I have a tendency to process my thoughts and feelings. By process I mean “to put into context who I am in Jesus”, where I am going, and where I came from.  What I’m about to write is candid, earnest, and a reflection of my innermost thoughts. I do this because I hope it will be useful to someone else, and because I’m lacking people to talk to who have known me for much of my life. My husband of 28 years is gone, my family is far away, my parents passed away some time ago, and friends and Christian family around me have not known me very long. This is partly because we moved around quite a bit and so roots are shallow — because of the relatively short space of time I’ve lived where I am now, and partly because like most people, I don’t reveal myself completely, I’m not surrounded by people who know me really well. I hide, or try to hide, the imperfections, and put on my kindest, warmest persona in public.


But like so many of us, I am deeply imperfect. 

Yesterday I had a conversation with a sister in Christ. Apparently, I had spoken a couple of things in a prayer meeting that jarred with others. It’s really good that this sister came forward to share with me, and also really good that we could have an honest conversation. There was no defensiveness in me, and no blame from her. Hallelujah! GOD was present in us both. To describe the conversation will take me on a tangent but it is important to the point I am seeking to make in this post which is that GOD is available in every moment, every encounter.

We chatted as women do… Then she said that a couple of people had come to her after our most recent online meeting, unsettled by a couple of things I’d said. Would I mind if she told me what was was their concern?

I like honesty, however, history reared its head and I thought of gossip and hearsay and the pain that these has caused in my life. So I said that I prefer when someone speaks to me directly.

But in the end we both clarified and she went ahead to say that by my encouraging a two people in the meeting, in fact I had therefore discouraged those whom I hadn’t encouraged. I never saw encouragement/discouragement in that light before. 

Secondly, I had made a theological point in the meeting which is that when we overcome something, we gain in the Spirit, an authority over it. I used Covid as an example, which I have had and have overcome (and I suppose I should have used back aches or something less inflammatory). I suspect like the first example, the others took me to mean I have authority in something others haven’t, which is not what I said, nor what I meant, but nevertheless my words carry responsibility and I had spoken somewhat carelessly.

My sister knew I did not intend to hurt and she was gracious. She wondered if I might be feeling a strain after Alan had passed away. I also shared that in the last few weeks I had felt pushed in busyness beyond my comfort zone, and had spent relatively little time to be still with the LORD, which I craved.

Busyness

I have noticed for a few weeks, maybe up to four, that I have had far less time to sit with the LORD, and have been drawing on my inner resources to do some work that needs to be done. Today I noticed I was a little short-tempered with a customer service person who had rung me for information on a kitchen delivery*. Oh, fortunately, I didn’t lose my temper, but internally, I was tense and I know that reflected onto our conversation.

I have been making a lot of decisions lately: the paperwork mostly finished as the executor to Alan’s estate, the result is income coming in and responsibility for decision-making going out, and a little arrogance at my ability to manage has likely crept in.

Manage is a relative term of course. Firstly, if our temperament is affected or our character hampered, we are not really coping or managing. I firmly believe that to the degree we are in our own strength rather than moving with the Holy Spirit, that is a degree of failure. We all are failed and that’s why we need Jeshua / Jesus. I assure you dear reader, that am not being hard on myself. By his grace, I have come a long way in the 35+ years walking with Him, Hallelujah! But with Alan’s passing, a huge anointing/covering/blessing has been put into, over or upon me, and some of that has receded in recent weeks, largely due to a lack of time spent being still with GOD.

I think the LORD revealed to me this morning where I was in my spiritual journey a few months ago by giving me a glimpse of life before Alan died, so I could see how much in these few months since his illness, I have grown.

And I think the phone call from a dear sister give me a glimpse of how I’d fallen a little out of that growth in recent days.

Always thanking GOD

Every encounter, every moment, we are graced by GOD. Sometimes I wonder, have we been over-trained in spiritual warfare and do we sometimes look at discomfort in our lives as an attack, rather than as a lesson or warning? We can embrace the moments of discomfort as part of our learning, and when we do, we gain self discovery and a deepening of Jesus within us.

A fine balance between confidence and humility, arrogance and inner strength

What I have learned is that all goodness, all good gifts, truly do come from GOD. I am not a good person without Him. I am not a kind person without Him. I am not a wise person without Him.

By His grace and His grace alone, I am living without feeling miserable today — or any day. By his love, I am loving. Through His joy, I laugh. By His mercy I am able to cry — to release sadness — and then to feel alive again.

I need the grace of GOD

I need the grace of GOD in my life more than I’ve ever needed it before, because I have more decisions, more encounters, more responsibility than I have ever had before. His grace has been carrying me, and I ask LORD, please fill me with continually with your grace.

Apology


To anyone I’ve grieved recently, I’m truly sorry. To anyone I’ve been abrupt with or impatient with, I apologise. To anyone I’ve not expressed gratitude at a kindness, please forgive me. To anyone to whom my words have brought confusion, I am sorry, for GOD is not the author of confusion.

I am not my normal self. Folks will give me a lot of latitude for that, because out of compassion they recognise I am a recent widow and I am going through a difficult time; I fully appreciate their grace. But also, by His grace, and only His grace, I hope I never will be the same again, because I hope He will continue to improve me and grow me.

I want to continue with “The Life is in the Blood” journey of Alan’s battle with Covid and his hospitalisation because, in a way, it speaks for Alan. I’ve not posted anything of it in the last few weeks. I hope you’ll bear with me when there are breaks. 

Every blessing.

* Alan and I purchased some rental flats which I’ve been managing for fourteen years; one of them has needed a new kitchen for some time and a recent vacancy has allowed me the opportunity to have one installed.

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