The holiday season is fast approaching and this is always a difficult time for windows. Since I am not a widow, I began to research the writings of widows, as well as professionals who work with widows. I’m grateful for their insights.
Often the grieving dread the holiday season. Thoughts of family traditions, social gatherings, and tiring shopping can fill one with anxiety, leaving a widow feeling overwhelmed. Let me say upfront, your holiday season probably won’t be easy; your emotions may ambush you. Let me assure you that this is perfectly normal.
I looked into God’s Word for examples of strong women to see how they handled difficult, even life or death, situations. (While run-amuck-emotions at the holidays doesn’t equate with death, it may feel like it at the time.) Two women in the Old Testament stood out to me: Abigail and Esther. Let’s briefly look at the incidents in the lives of these two women and how they handled them, as they offer insights into how you can face the dreaded holidays.
|Abigail humbling herself before King David.|
The one strategy that stands out to me in these stories is the ability of these women to devise a plan and prepare for how it would be carried out. Every professional stated the same thing. Plan for how you will celebrate the holidays. Recognize that you will need support and set out a plan for getting it. Marta Felber in her book, Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, suggests that you visualize how it might be without your loved one. Play the scene several ways. Only after you have done this, begin to plan what you can handle and how. Try to have reasonable expectations. There are important ways in which celebrations will not and cannot ever be the same again. So it is okay to plan for them to be different. Be realistic about what you can handle and what you can’t, both emotionally and physically. Be kind to yourself and nurturing. Get plenty of rest and don’t attempt too much. Plan safe times and places to
I found the very practical suggestions by Feree Hardy on her Grief Share blog to be most helpful. Among them are these:
· Be gentle with yourself. If you’re grieving, you’re in a fragile stage – and that’s okay. You have nothing to prove.
· Don’t set your expectations too high. Don’t plan to do everything you used to do before your loss. Set mini goals for yourself and take it one hour at a time.
· Take time to be alone. Journaling may be a helpful and healing exercise during these reflection sessions.
· Try serving. While alone time can be useful and helpful, it’s also important to have an outward-looking outlet. Sometimes seeing the situations and needs of others is just what we need to tweak our perspective and see a glimmer of hope in our own story.
· Be flexible. Prepare your heart and mind in advance for the unexpected and commit to giving yourself grace.
· PRAY! God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). He is the father of compassion, the One who binds up the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Use this raw period in your life to acknowledge your complete and utter dependency on Him, and He will uphold you and carry you through. He will never leave or forsake you.
Always remember the words recorded in Psalm 31:3-5:
You are my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps,
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down.
May each of you have a peace-filled holiday season resting in God’s promises to always be your loving heavenly Father.
|Message by Shari Hervold|
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.
The following pictures are of ladies from the Florida chapter of FNF.
Dr. Geni Abraham was our teacher at our October meeting
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Dotti Ackerman Founder and Director of FNF
Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has madwe; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
"Through It All" By Lynda Randle