Sheryl Sandberg, widow of Facebook CEO Dave Sandberg, posted on Facebook after 30 days of mourning the loss of her husband, “A friend is filling in for Dave, attending activities with our children. He is Option B. But I want Option A. I will always mourn Option A.”
At an event at New Life Community, we celebrate Speed Friending. Similar to speed dating, we change chairs every two minutes and take turns asking questions of the gals across the table from us. One question I asked recently: “What is your greatest fear?” I was surprised to hear from several women at the table: “Losing my husband.”
It surprised me, but the fear wasn’t new to me. I, too, experienced this fear when my husband and I were in the hottest season of parenting—that season when it takes both helpmates about 23 hours a day to get everything done. Who needs sleep, right? But, admittedly, when I voiced it, it was more as a threat to him: “Don’t you dare leave me alone with all these kids!”
Of course, it was about this time in our lives when he was working a lot—on freight trains—often 80 hours a week. He came home, too often, announcing, “I was almost killed at work today.”
That’ll make your heart skip a beat!
Why does this fear nag us?
In Psalm 121, the second half of verse one poses a question: “Where does my help come from?” In verse two, it answers: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Further on, in the third verse, it promises, “He who watches over you will not slumber.” And finally, in the eighth verse: “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
What these verses don’t say? That the Lord will only watch over you until your husband is gone.
I know, I know. We can hear those words with our ears, but it’s another thing entirely to feel that assurance in our hearts.
Elizabeth Elliot lost two husbands. The very people her first husband, a missionary, was trying to minister to killed him, but she didn’t move back to America to raise her daughter. She stayed. She found the strength and courage to carry on. She ultimately became an international pillar in the Christian community. God honored her determination to seek Him—to converse with Him and read His word daily—and do His will rather than retreat once wounded. Oh, how I admire her strength!
And she didn’t acquire that strength immediately. She got it one day at a time, building from one day to the next, while reading her Bible and praying to her Lord.
We can do this, ladies!
Nicole C. Mullen sings a song, Redeemer, that I have been drawn to since it first came out. In it, a few lines stand out to me:
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
The very same God that spins things in orbit
runs to the weary, the worn and the weak.
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken,
they conquer death to bring me victory.
I know my Redeemer lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
He lives. I know.
He lives. I spoke with Him this morning.
This singer knows Him. She knows that He who taught the ocean to only come so far is a powerful God. He has all things in control.
I know my God is also the One who does not sleep. He is the One who watches over me forevermore—never “until.”
My husband is my helpmate until death. But he should never be put in the position of “Option A.” My Lord should always be my “Option A.” He is my Father, my Comforter, my Redeemer, and my Protector forever. The one I go to first. Whether I’m married or not, it shouldn’t change.
And God is there for you, too. I know because I spoke with Him this morning.