This is our fourth and final article from my friend, Gracious Chifamuna, who has agreed to share lessons she learned after she tragically lost her husband.
Her words are below: I want to end the series by looking at Ruth’s story and two things that have helped in my grief journey-of course there are several things that have helped me.
Ruth challenges me-she is a symbol of abiding loyalty and devotion. She was devoted to a God who had left her a widow at young age without a child, a God who had taken away her father-in-law and brother-in-law as well. A God who had left her empty.
I asked myself, what is it that she had seen in this God? The better option for Ruth was to go back to her own people, she had better chances to get married and start a new life. She had all her support system back home. Honestly why risk following an old mother-in-law who was poor after all?
Why carry the burden of working in the fields to look after Naomi? Clearly, Ruth had seen something unique in the God of Naomi. Ruth was known in the whole town as a woman of noble character. Imagine with all the pain, the transition, she was able to remain steadfast! Her life and how she responded to grief is a source of strength. Each time I reflect on her journey I find myself smiling.
She is my inspiration. In my grief journey, there are several things that have helped me mourn with hope-I will share two things- seeking answers from the word of God and seeking help from people.
There is a lot of information in today’s world and one can be left confused, bitter, and hopeless. Instead of focusing on what I can access on internet (nothing wrong please) I decided to seek more from God’s word- “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God,” John6 vs 68. Reading and reflecting on God stories in the Bible helped me mourn with hope. Realising that every man and woman who was used by God suffered deep pain has helped me in my grief journey hence the statement because it pains, because it hurts- it does not necessarily mean that it is from the devil.
God also convicted me on several things like:
• God is the ultimate giver of life—God ultimately protects and shields us. 1 Peter 2:25 says, “…the Shepherd and Overseer of your Soul!” I absolutely believe that if God wanted, He could have healed my husband.
• How God is glorified in our lives is
• The Holy Spirit is our greatest counsellor, teacher, comfort, peace, and advocate. The work He does in our lives is beyond description.! I call Him the best anti-depressant of all time. I say with humility and confidence because I have seen Him work in my life. He knows where it hurts the most! It has been a year plus I have not crushed, not because I am superhuman, or in denial - it is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit.
This is my personal journey, my personal convictions. I am also not saying that those who take antidepressants are weak Christians, or those who crush are weak-no, not at all.
Remember I said how God is glorified in our lives is entirely up to Him, God can use a professional counsellor, one can go through depression and be restored by God, He is still the same God. I will never reduce God to my personal experiences, convictions, and journey.
Not only did I just read stories from the Bible, but I also connected with other widows- I knew that there are other widows who had received comfort and I wanted to hear and learn from them. His word said, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God,” 2 Cor 1 vs 4. I have received comfort from others, and I am now able to give comfort to others (not that I have arrived-still a journey.)
I strongly encourage anyone going through grief to reach out to others, listen to podcasts, read books, join, or start support groups-God has given us the gift of each other.
Yes, as believers we can mourn but not just mourn, we mourn with hope. In our grief journey let us remain devoted to our God!
Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, team building facilitator, author and the Producer of a hit TV show offering practical advice to strengthen families and improve marriages! Episodes of her show can be downloaded from her website – www.ashleythaba.com.
You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books, Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants, on her website. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at: Talking with the Thabas