The Hope of Spring…and More

My most recent posts on this site and on my ministry site have been a bit dark lately.  And while it is important to be honest and transparent about this whole ugly grieving thing, I wanted to find a more hopeful “bent” for this next post.

Let’s face it – this was an awful winter for so many of us, no matter where we live.  Here in the Midwest, we were enticed into a hopeful expectation of a mild winter with our uneventful November and December.  And then, WHAM!  The rest of the winter was just so full of record lows, record low highs, record monthly snowfall, record days without sunshine and probably a lot of other nasty records that I can’t recall.

That is hard on even the most Pollyanna-ish of us all.

For me, I also struggled with the second winter season without snow blowing equipment that worked.  So, lots of hand shoveling – at one point with a broken shovel because I couldn’t find any new ones in Des Moines.  More than one “melt-down” out on my driveway…

Add to that the difficulty of second year widowhood and it resulted in the worst winter of my life.

“Gee, Lynne, if this is your idea of a more hopeful blog post, you might want to work on your approach a bit.”

Admit it – you were thinking that, right!?

Don’t worry, it’s coming!

The past few days here in central Iowa have finally brought us a taste of what we hope lies ahead.  Spring weather!  I just finished walking my dog, Miss Daisy, and I was so encouraged by the sunshine, the kids out playing in the yards or riding their bikes, lots of dog-walkers, people in cars with their windows down, birds singing, a few brave flowers peeking out.  That’s a decent list, isn’t it?

Spring flowers.jpg

And it absolutely lifted my spirit out of that dark, winter hole.  I hope you’ve all been able to experience that as well.  To me, that’s part of what this Spring season is about.  New growth, new life, new hope, new season.

Because my brain is almost always in “blog mode,” I look for lessons in the simplicity of life.  I believe one of the lessons learned as we get ready to turn the calendar to April is that, eventually, the winter ends.  Oh sure, I know we could get a bit more snow, but we know it won’t last.

We don’t hope IN VAIN for Spring to arrive.  God will undeniably usher it into our lives soon.  And Spring arrival is such a perfect example of how God also ushers comfort, peace, healing, relief, and reprieve into our lives after a winter season in our soul.

I’m not saying God will always eliminate our heartaches.  I know from personal experience that He does not.  But I do believe He understands our limits and brings relief when we need it most.

Dale and I experienced a very difficult 2013.  He suffered through one illness after another after another.  So many trips to the ER and to hospitals across the state – with the associated bureaucratic headaches.  I struggled to juggle work and household responsibilities with all the time and energy expended on his health needs. Add to that a couple of deaths in our family and we were both at the end of our ropes.

And then… the calm.  I kept waiting for another shoe to drop, but it did not.  You might expect me to have learned a deep, theological lesson from that horrible year.  THIS was my lesson – eventually it all came to an end.

Yep, that’s all I got.  I was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn’t more profound.  But then I realized that it was!  God DOES bring our difficult seasons to an end.  Maybe the difficulty is actually removed or resolved.

But maybe, the relief comes in the form of a new perspective.  Maybe a scripture text, or a devotional, or a sermon, or a kind friend’s words have caused you to see even your most difficult season a little differently.

Ultimately, the best way for us to view our difficulties is in light of eternity.  If you’re a believer, your hope lies not in the arrival of Spring, but in the promise of heaven where there is no more pain, suffering or tears.  Where we reunite FOREVER with our Savior – and with the loved ones we so long to see.  I can’t imagine a hope more glorious than that!


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13




The Therapist’s Couch

When I began writing this blog over a year ago, the main purpose was to help me process through my grief after losing Dale.  It was essentially my therapist’s couch!  But I was hopeful that I would find little nuggets of wisdom to pass along to the readers as well, so that God could use this blog to help others along their own journey.  And honestly, finding that nugget was a goal for each and every post.

Well, today I am deeply entrenched on that therapist couch because today’s post is, unfortunately, just me processing some very difficult days.  You may get nothing out of this.  And for that, I apologize.  But I decided last night after another grief-filled day that I needed to pour out my heart, not only to God (as I often do), but to this cyber page.

Image result for free image woman on therapist couch

If you do decide to keep reading, let me preface this with a few disclaimers.  This season does NOT mean that my faith in a good God has wavered.  I still trust Him, still believe in His sovereignty over everything, still turn to Him in prayer during my dark moments.  And I still cling to His promise of eternal life with Him when this life is past – and for my reunion with Dale.

I also still live a pretty normal-looking life on the outside.  Most of the time I don’t have public break-downs.  I don’t walk around with my head down crying, “Woe is me!”  I’ve learned how to function in this new “normal.”  And yes, that new normal does have times of joy and blessing for which I am truly grateful.  Many (most?) people might even think I’ve healed and moved on.  My grieving season must be over.

But, the reality is that every single day is overwhelmingly marked by sadness and loneliness.  I feel bombarded with memories of my good times with Dale.  Not just a couple of times a day, but too many times to even count.  I would go so far as to say they are almost a constant presence in my day.  It might be a specific memory of something we enjoyed together.  But so often, it’s the memory of how much I loved him and how much he loved me.

I seem to have no influence over this bombardment.  I’m not sitting around for most of the day, trying to conjure up these memories so that I can have a good cry.  They can hit me at any time of the day or night – whether I’m sitting quietly or in the middle of an activity with a group of people.  Sometimes I know what triggered the memory or the emotion.  Other times, they just stab my heart with no warning whatsoever.

It’s exhausting.  I’m exhausted.  I’ve tried to be a glass-half-full kind of gal most of my life, so it’s incomprehensible to me that I’ve been so sad for 514 days.  And to have no idea when the sun will come out again.

You might wonder why those good memories bring me to tears.  Clearly, they are bittersweet.  I’m grateful beyond words for the life we had together before his dementia stole that from us.  But, the larger-than-life reality is that those times are over and I long for them…and him…like nothing I have ever experienced before.  And the depth of the pain and heartache is also like nothing I have ever experienced before.

You might also wonder if there’s something fundamentally wrong with me to be grieving this deeply 17 months after his death.  Harder now than a year ago.  And maybe you silently want me to start taking some meds.  I won’t rehash my thoughts on that subject here, but feel free to visit a previous post about that!

Over this past year, I have had lots of conversations with other widows or friends who have experienced a deep loss.  And either purposefully or accidentally, I’ve landed on many articles or blog posts written by those suffering a loss.

Almost universally, they talk about how much harder the grieving is 2-3 years after the loss.  Some are still deeply grieving DECADES after the loss.  That does not encourage me!

But it does tell me that the reality of this season I’m in is not “just me.”  I find myself nodding through almost all of these articles, relating to their pain and their wonderment at how long it’s lasting.

So, no, I don’t think what I’m going through is unique.  What IS unique is the sharing of it.  I believe so many people suffer in silence, not wanting to be an emotional burden on their friends.  Or they may share within a grief support group.  Those can be extremely healing for anyone grieving a loss, but often the experiences shared there, stay there.  And sometimes, just maybe, those experiences need to be shared with the grieving person’s circle of support.

Well, I think that’s enough gloom and doom for today.  Thank you for listening!  Since I cried through this whole post-writing, I do feel better!  And putting it out there as transparently as I can is healthy and helpful for me.

Do I expect this post to change your interactions with me?  Not really.  It was never about that.  I absolutely understand that people aren’t going to be following up with me on a daily basis as some did in those early days.  And that’s how it should be.  We do most of the hard work of grieving alone.  (Stay tuned for the April 2nd post on my ministry site for more on that!)

So this post is not a call to action for any of you.  At the most, maybe it gives you a little perspective.  Maybe it busts a myth or two about the length and depth of grieving.  Maybe it reminds you to keep praying for me.  THAT I will take!

This was just me trying to articulate, mostly for my own benefit, the difficulty of this path I’m on.  I will still look for blessings in each day – and I know they will be there.  And I will continue to witness God’s refinement of me and my faith through this trial.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18