Can it really be five years since I lost my husband?
Saturday morning, August 10, 2013, started off like any other Saturday morning. I woke up after a peaceful night’s sleep. We had spent the Friday evening before with our now grown girls and their families. We had dinner and then lay on the driveway with our granddaughters, watching the night sky, with Ken giving us his usual astronomy lesson.
I had no idea I would soon be calling my daughters to let them know their dad had suddenly gone to Heaven.
You see, Ken and I had met when I was fifteen and he was seventeen. He asked me to marry him on our first date, which was April 1. Neither of us ever dated anyone else. We married three and a half years later. We sort of just grew up together and enjoyed life together. We loved just being together every minute that we could.
And, with that history we had together, if it were up to me, I would never have thought it could be possible for me to be okay without him.
But God …
Ken and I served God, studied and taught the Word of God, and just “did life” together. We believed and taught—indeed, we knew—that death is just a part of life. We knew that eternity with our King was the best part. The moment that I realized I had lost my husband, as almost absurd as it may sound, I instantly felt the joy that he must be experiencing. I knew that God would be with me, through whatever He had ahead for me on this earth. And God gave me peace, comfort, and joy, right in that moment.
So, what have I learned in these last five years?
1. I am never alone.
For more than twenty years, Ken and I had gone to India again and again to teach in a Bible college there. In November 2013, I returned to India for the first time without him. As I was getting situated in my hotel room, I noticed that the slide chain lock on the door was broken. (It’s not exactly the Waldorf.) After asking the hotel staff about it a couple of times, I realized that either they did not understand my English, or that for some other reason, my lock was simply not going to be repaired. Standing there by myself in that unlocked room, I heard myself say aloud, “I don’t like being here alone.” The reply came in just as clear a voice from God: “You are never alone.” Peace fell over me, and throughout these past five years, any time I am tempted to feel alone, I remember that precious voice, and peace returns.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever …” John 14:16 KJV
2. God is the best Husband ever.
Now, that is saying a lot. I had a wonderful husband who loved me well—with a selfless, adoring, kind, funny, unconditional love. Life with Ken was always fun. We laughed, loved, played, worked, and served together. He set the bar pretty high.
But God …
“For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts …” Isaiah 54:5 NASB
For the past five years, I have found God to be the best Husband ever. He is faithful, compassionate, long-suffering, and kind. What a mighty God we serve!
3. God is a wonderful provider.
Again, I had a husband who worked, planned, and provided well for us. And again, he set the bar pretty high. Our family learned to be content with what we had, and Ken was always there to meet a variety of needs and wants.
But God …
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us …” Ephesians 3:20 ESV
When Ken left the earth, we were just one week from starting our fall classes for the school we had run together for the previous twenty-six years. We had everything ready to go, but Ken would not be there to do all the things he had always done. And he always made everything look so easy! Filling his shoes would be a challenge, but not for God. On the first day of school, a plethora of volunteers poured in, and our first school day without him went smoothly. My daughter reminded me of TobyMac’s song, “Steal My Show,” where he admits that what we all need is really for God to show up. She said, “You know, it never was Dad’s show. It’s always been God’s.” True to God’s Word, He has done more than we could ask or think.
4. One day at a time is all He asks of us.
I would surely have to say there have been many times in the past five years that I could have easily just sat down and quit. Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and things just seem too hard to go on. Thankfully for me, Ken and I had learned together that the only way to lose—is to quit.
But God …
“… In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV
Jesus has already won the battle. We get to simply walk out our victory, just taking one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. That first step is the hardest, but it’s always worth it. If you find you can’t make that next step forward, then ask for help. Call a friend who will walk it with you. I am so very thankful for my friends and family who have walked with me throughout these past five years.
5. The best is yet to come.
May 6, 2017, we celebrated 30 years of the school my husband and I founded. It was a glorious evening. We graduated our last class, and we celebrated 30 years of sowing into the lives of students, teachers, and families. As I was going through papers in Ken’s desk to prepare, I found a note in his handwriting. In his neat, meticulous, beautiful hand, he had written, “The rest of your life will be the best of your life.” As I read it through tears, I couldn’t help thinking, “But how? How could it be better without you here with me?”
But God …
Then the one sitting on the throne said: “I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:5 CEV
We can be grateful for all He has done for us on earth and know there is a glorious eternity awaiting us all. I lost my husband, but I didn’t lose my hope.