If I haven’t shared with you or you didn’t know, I became a young widow at 25. A bright eyed, excited newly wed only for only 3 months, it got cut short when my biggest nightmare hit me. I lost my husband. A wave of grief, confusion, pain, sadness and every single emotion you could feel that comes with trauma, I felt it. I became numb, had zero appetite and fell into a deep sorrow that I only knew time could fix, a TON of faith and support from family and friends.
It took me about a year in, to even laugh for the first time which was on a getaway trip to the Carolina mountains. I prayed hard for God to give me something to look forward to again, to smile again. The thought of dating gave me anxiety, I wasn’t ready to meet anyone. In my mind and heart, I was still married, still wore my ring and wasn’t even close to saying yes to a date, let alone who would want me and this baggage of mine? Lord no. I was stuck, or at least felt like it.
If you have found yourself in my shoes, no matter what age, I want to share with you some advice since now I can say, I have happily met my best friend and current husband! Praise Jesus. But it took a ton of crying, mess ups, finding myself and obstacles to get where I am.
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Grief is a strong monster, it fills your heart with guilt that isn’t true, it tells you “you’re not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough”…and a list of lies the devil likes to put in your mind while he knows you’re weak and vulnerable. Be patient with yourself, you’re human and what you’re feeling is completely normal in the human sense. I tried so much to be superwoman and found that it just made me worse. If you want to cry, share your story, write in a journal, whatever your outlet is, use it.
Questioning yourself will drive you crazy and slow down the natural healing process if you get stuck in a spot and cant move forward. Moving forward is the key, not moving on. Very different. So many people gave me terrible advice too, saying things like “Thank God you didn’t have kids, Thank God you’re still young and can date again”…yup and those are the nice ones. I hardcore rolled my eyes when I heard this ( in my head of course ) and would tell myself Lord Jesus give me strength before I lose it. When I say be patient, not only with yourself but with others.
To think about dating again seemed alien to me. I had to warm up to the idea first, so I suggest chatting to your mother, girlfriends, aunt, grandma, therapist or whoever you feel close to about the concept of dating, what you feel about it, what you’re scared of and more. This way, the reality may set in better and you may get some great advice and support when moving into this new chapter of considering to find a new life long partner. Slowly attend social settings with friends, grab wine with your girlfriends, don’t entirely throw yourself into the “scene”. Baby steps my friends! This isn’t a sprint to the alter!
When I lost my husband, I thought when I was ready to get back into the field of dating, I would most likely share my story and surely they would be understanding, sympathetic, fragile with my feelings and gosh, they were older and more mature…men were READY. Boy was I wrong! Dating wasn’t anything different than it was before I got married. It was the same ordeal, same games, same text messages. SAME.
Now I don’t want to disappoint you, I want you to put yourself out there. But be cautious and guard your heart. You will make mistakes along the way, this is a learning process. You’re still very fragile, vulnerable and most likely confused on what you exactly need and want. I wish someone would have told me this while I was starting to get my feet wet again. Lord knows I made so many mistakes, I was broken, lost and not myself at all. But God is amazing, and gives you grace every single mistake along the way. Don’t eat yourself up, you’re only human.
Don’t forget you’re allowed to have fun, laugh and smile. When grief hits you, it seems like the default emotion is to feel down, which by no means is your fault but when you’re ready, slowly allow yourself to listen to music again and act silly. Surround yourself with positive people, stay close to them. You deserve to find someone and to fall in love again, and it’s not disrespectful to your passed loved one, they would want you to be happy and live a fulfilled life that God wants for you. As much as we can idolize our deceased loved ones, the true promise and hope lies in the love that Jesus Christ gives us. Nobody is perfect or shielded from bad things happening in life. Its about how we get through the storm and come out of it. Are you going to stay down forever or give the opportunity for yourself to re-create a new chapter, with wisdom and a new beautiful life ahead.
I want to leave you with some encouraging bible verses I read through the beginning of this journey:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight – Proverbs 3:5-6