Episode #12-Living in the Land of the Missing
Walking with God through Widowhood with Laurel “Crackers”Miller
This beautiful woman sitting next to me is my sweet, “Crackers”. She is my Grandmother and this is the sweet name we call her. She has been walking with God through Widowhood for the past 4 years.
Her name is Laurel Miller, her husband my sweet Tim “Happy” Miller, (yes, our families are big on nicknames) were married for nearly 50 years when he suddenly went to be with Jesus just 4 years ago.
I can tell you this topic isn’t easy, and it wasn’t an easy interview for me to do, but I knew God called me to let her share her story. She was already a wise woman of God and I think you can glean some wisdom here. Wether you are walking with God through widowhood, know someone else who is or know one day you will face it yourself, please give this a read and the episode a watch or a listen.
God’s priceless woman
Crackers is an incredible woman of God, not because she does things perfectly but because she leans on Him for absolutely everything. I have had the joy of being mentored by her throughout my life, and having watched her walk through this season of widowhood has been both gut wrenching and inspiring. Knowing that one day most or all of us will also walk this path wether when we are young or old. I’ve been paying close attention because she has been walking this grief with the kind of grace that only comes from already walking hand in hand with Jesus.
How do you prepare yourself for the death of a spouse or loved one?
The answer I’m sorry to say is, you can’t. Nobody can truly be prepared for such a day. That being said God gives you what you need right when you need it.
Is it still sad? Yes. Will you still be grieving your entire life? Yes. Will the grieving change? Yes. Will God ever leave your side? No. Will you ever understand His reasons this side of heaven? Probably not.
In the Episode Crackers shares the details of Happy’s sudden brain aneurysm and the events that led up to it. We all believed and hoped for a miraculous recovery (this isn’t the first time Happy died, we talk about that too). The people surrounding him walk with a faith that moves mountains, as did he and it came as such a shock to all of us when we realized, he would be entering eternity.
His entrance into eternity was incredible to say the least. You can hear the full story in the interview.
I could talk more about my experience and how I felt but I really want this focused on my Crackers and how she has walked with such grace and dependency on Jesus through this time.
The initial fog
From my point of view I was floored at how my Crackers was so concerned for all of us and how we were doing, she was kind and considerate. I always thought if I lost my sweet hubby suddenly I would have permission to be a horrible person to everyone around me. Watching her challenged my heart in the kind of woman of God I want to be even in my darkest hour.
She says it all felt like such a fog in that first little bit, just moving through life talking to God but almost even forgetting the reality. Maybe that is God’s kindness to us as we move through that first stage of grief.
Living in the land of the missing
She said this in our interview, “I had to learn how to live in the land of the missing”.
I think so many times in our society we just want to make people feel better, or we want to feel better. We aren’t great at sitting with those walking through grief, or even properly grieving ourselves.
When will I be done grieving? When will it be over? She assures that it changes over time but never really leaves. I think this is important, scripture says in Romans 12:15:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
When you have loved great or been loved greatly loss is painful. Thankfully our sweet Jesus knows our pain, He became human and loved deeply and lost deeply, and mourned deeply. (Hebrews 4:15 John 11:35 )
What does the Bible say about how we should approach widows in our own lives?
Scripture calls us to care for widows
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.Isaiah 1:17
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.James 1:27
It doesn’t just fall on us though, the Bible says:
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.Psalms 68:5
How to care for widows in your life
- Widowhood is not contagious, don’t treat them as if they are. My Crackers has had people turn and walk the other way when they saw her.
- Remember them and reach out when you do. Don’t worry when you don’t know what to say, just say hi, at least.
- Invite them to life stuff, even if they decline or aren’t ready yet. Let them tell you, if they aren’t ready and don’t judge them for it.
- Make sure they have someone on holidays
- Remind them how much they have to give and how much you appreciate them.
From drowning to walking at the shore
Crackers likens walking with God through widowhood to at first feeling like the water was splashing over her head at times, slowly by slowly the level has gone down and she now feels like the water is still there but now she is walking at the shore.
Everyone will experience grief different. Even she feels unsure how to best reach out to other widows at times.
If you are currently walking with God through widowood
- Get in a support group like the “Grief Share ministry” she mentioned was so helpful.
- Give yourself grace to grieve, it’s ok to not be ok.
- Find a rhythm that helps you keep the memory of the one you love near your heart in a healthy way. Crackers talked about how going to grave site with a cup of coffee and chair is helpful. Even though we know as believers, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”(1 Corinthians 5:8) it is still a comfort to her.
- Tell people when you aren’t ok. Reach out when you need to hear someone’s voice. Let someone you know in your life who has offered to help in anyway be someone you can call.
- Spend time in the Word and talking to God, lean on His strength
- Reading books like “Widowhood the definitive turning point“.
Even if you aren’t currently walking with God through widowhood, or you don’t know anyone who is, this is important. Paying attention to those who are going before us through hard times, especially the ones who lean on God for strength can give you some good insight.
This shouldn’t scare us.
If you are a believer and have asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior we know we have eternity waiting for us. The Bible even talks about those who have gone before being part of a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on here.
If you don’t already trust Jesus today, start. If you haven’t read your Bible or at least not in a long time, start. If you haven’t prayed in a while, start. Begin a daily conversation and relationship with Jesus. Getting to know Him personally, His character and who He is will help you to trust Him. It’s hard to trust someone you don’t really know.
Think of widows in your life who might benefit from hearing this interview or from your presence in their lives. Let’s step out today and be the hands and feet of Jesus.