Partnering with God to Find New Life
By Susan Oxley of Renton, WA, USA
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. -John 14:27 NRSV
When a loved one dies, a part of you dies, too. Identity, purpose, daily routine-all fall under the shadow of death. Returning to days of light and joy is a long, slow process. God gives new life, but acknowledging and embracing it takes intentional effort.
After my second husband Ron died, I moved around in a fog of sadness and purposelessness for a time. Many days I didn’t want to complete even simple tasks of caring for my body, mind, and spirit. I recognized in myself the signs of grief and depression, and knew I had to put out some effort to combat it. I began seeing a grief counselor and joined a grief support group. I established a discipline that helped me start the day: 15 minutes of exercise, breakfast, shower, and dress. Then I would spend time in prayer and spiritual formation. There were days when I didn’t want to face the regimen I had set for myself. I made myself complete each task, but something more was needed.
God made us to be in relationship with one another. Intentionally I began to move out of my isolation. Time spent with family members was healing. The joy, laughter, and imaginative play of grandchildren were especially helpful. I experienced the immediacy of their world, the wonder of learning new skills, the excitement of exploration. After several months, I wanted to return to substitute teaching again, and I became more involved in my evangelist ministry. Resurrection occurs when we no longer turn inward, but outward, involved in the lives of others.
My story of resurrection is not unique, nor is it complete. Everyone who mourns for a loved one must journey through the valley of the shadow of death, and learn all over again to “fear no evil, for Thou art with me” (Psalm 23). Each person finds his own path in time. And God walks the journey with us-loving us, coaxing us back into new life, and calling us once again to serve.
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.