October 27, 2017
My life was forever changed less than a week after St. Patrick’s day 2015 when my husband, Tyre fell and hit his head. Three days after his fall he returned to the doctor to get a release to return to work the following Monday. I was relieved when he returned home with the good news of a clean bill of health. That same day was also my last day at my job, which was bitter sweet. I had the privilege of being part of a five member team that started a new state agency. It was work intensive, but after seven years I had the satisfaction of a job well done. It was now time to return to my passion – running political campaigns to get good people elected. So with good news from the doctor and looking forward to a new beginning we packed up and drove to Orlando where I attended campaign school on Saturday while Tyre enjoyed sitting by the pool at the hotel. Life couldn’t be any better until early Sunday morning when Tyre was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness in the hotel room. Once at the hospital I learned he had a brain bleed that pushed his brain to the side of his skull. After successful surgery to drain the blood in his brain, we thanked God and expected a full recovery.
Family and friends came to the hospital and we quoted scripture and believed God was going to heal him. After three weeks thinking his healing was just a slow process, I was shocked when the doctor came into his room and very nonchalantly said, “Your husband is brain dead.” I just looked at the doctor and then flew out of the room in disbelief. I started roaming the lobby and anger began to build inside me. I called my sister who had total confidence that God would heal Tyre and said, “Where is your God now?” I was so angry that God wasn’t true to his word, or so I thought. When I returned to the room where I had stayed for those three weeks I thought, if I don’t have God I have nobody. Right then I heard in my heart, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.” (Is 55:8-9) I didn’t understand it then but I knew He was all I had to cling to.
After Tyre’s memorial service, I was sitting alone in a very quiet house and started asking God why this had happened? “Who are you God to allow such heart ache?” For two years I was in spiritual boot camp where He gently and slowly taught me that He is so much greater than I ever imagined! He says that if you seek him you will find him, and that’s what I did. Although I had grown up in a Christian home and knew about God, I never spent time getting to know who he is to me.
By spending hours each day searching scripture and reading books by godly men and women I learned that we have an “inscrutable” God. He is impossible to understand. That brought me such comfort because to this point I had put Him on a high human pedestal so I could understand him from a human standpoint. The fact that He is inscrutable means I don’t have to understand everything, I just need to trust Him because He is has everything under control and He loves me with an unfailing love. That means, that no matter what I do He loves me and because he loves me he will take care of me.
I learned that God is my Maker, my Husband and my Redeemer (Isaiah 54:5). What else do I need? He made me so he knows all about me; he loves me and meets all my needs, and because He redeemed me I will be with him forever one day. That’s as good as it gets! Satan tried to get me to turn from God at my weakest moment, but instead God drew me closer to him.
So while I was excited to know that now my Heavenly Husband would take care of me, I did not understand what widowhood was all about, so I googled “widows” and came across Miriam Neff’s book “From One Widow to Another.” It has become my “widowhood bible” and I have her on my “board of directors” because she has taught me how to navigate through widowhood. It’s true that 75% of friends disappear, because I lost that many or more. But God even used that to give me a heart for widows. I understand their loss and loneliness on some level. Through Miriam’s website I learned about a widow’s retreat which I attended and learned that few churches obey God’s command to care for the widows and orphans. I knew it was true in my church because I had met other widows and we seemed to be on our own.
After much prayer and getting the Lord’s ok, I went to our pastor’s wife who understood the command but quite frankly didn’t know where to begin. I knew the Lord had given me a new passion to encourage widows, so I agreed to work with our church leadership to begin the ministry. Today we have a ministry at Parkview Baptist Church that is helping to meet the needs of over thirty widows.
Do I miss my husband? With all my heart, but he would be proud to know that his promotion to heaven didn’t stop me from developing a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Husband and being obedient to what His plan is for me today. What a mighty God we serve!
Note from Miriam: Nan has encouraged me so! Here we are at the widow’s conference.