This group has been invaluable in my life for healing...and to create a sense of normalcy.
Right after Keith died, God was gracious enough to give me 5...yes 5...new friends who were widows. I met these ladies in a variety of ways: friend of friends. Meeting with them was wonderful in those first months of loneliness, pain, confusion, etc., etc., etc. They had only a few things in common: the Lord, me, and the 300-lb gorilla of widowhood.
Realizing what a joy this is...and being of a sort of Julie-the-Cruise-Director mentality, I organized them to start meeting together. Our times are mostly fellowship, but it is fellowship without the awkwardness. We get each other.
All of us have in our lives dear friends and family who want so badly to help, but are just not sure what to say, how to say it, how to be supportive. They are not sure how to deal with us on this grief path. And they have no idea how to lead us.
Sometimes you can almost see their inner turmoil. Do I laugh at the jokes? Will there be tears? What is the proper response both she...and I...should make here? What if she wants to talk about sex or dating?
It would be funny if it weren't so painful--for all involved.
Our group is called Travelers on a Different Journey. We did not choose to be here, but we rest in God to get us through, trust in Him for all things, and lean on each other to guide the way. The fellowship in the Lord is sweet, the people sweeter. We have around 25 involved in the ministry.
My sweet friend Theresa, widowed 14 months before me, puts it this way, "I may not be able to pave a smooth road for you, but I can tell you where the potholes are so you can avoid them, or at least slow down."
And this group works!
It is never more evident than on a light like last night.
We met for dinner at PF Changs (yum!). One of the gals brought a friend, Wanda, who was widowed not quite a year ago who had not yet met the group of us.
Well, Wanda fit right in! We gained a sister, and she gained a group of them. I know that my journey will be a little sweeter for my association with her, and pray that hers will be as well by association with us.
Life is hard. Sometimes it is harder. But God is good and He is there every step of the way, to provide paving stones to smooth our path.
I am so thankful for my pavers!!
I pray you see the pavers He has provided along your journey.
And of course, that you know and trust the ultimate Paving Stone...Jesus Christ!
I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
-- Psalm 118:21-23