Ask any widow and they will tell you that there is a sometimes subtle change that starts happening after they lose their spouse. They grow and adapt and learn new skills, and while it doesn’t change the heart of who they are, there is definitely a transition that takes place. And those changes can be for the better.
This week in my Bible study I was asked to reflect back on who I was a year or two ago and how I have changed since then… and what is so significant about that change. I sat down with a pen and paper to start thinking about the me of today compared to the me of two years ago. And this is what I came up with:
- I’m more independent then I have ever been before. I have learned that I can do many things on my own, and whenever possible, I choose to do them alone, even when I don’t have to.
- I’m more of an overachiever than I have ever been before. I set high goals and I strive to achieve them. I want to be successful at whatever I undertake and I want to do it all, and do it well.
- I’m less focused then I have ever been before. It takes me twice as long to complete anything these days. Call it mom brain, widow brain, or whatever you want, but I have the hardest time sitting down to complete any task on time and without distractions.
- I’m more outspoken then I have ever been in my life. While you won’t get me on a soapbox about politics and my other strongly held beliefs in the public realm, you will definitely see them if we are friends. If I’m not happy about the way you are treating someone or handling something, I am way more likely to tell you then I have ever been before… but I will try to tell you kindly.
- I’m less of a people pleaser than I ever was before. I still want to please people, but I am not going to sacrifice what I think or believe in order to make you like me. Instead, I have learned to stand up for myself and refuse to be treated badly. I have learned that being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to repeatedly let others hurt you just so you can be friends!
- I have learned to say no. If there is something that I don’t want to do, I am more likely then ever to just say no. I have turned down opportunities for higher paying jobs and better benefits, because it wasn’t something that I thought was best for my family in the long run. If it isn’t going to bring me joy and peace, chances are I am going to walk away from it!
- I have learned to do a lot of hard things. Burying my husband and raising my kids alone is just the start. Navigating being a mom and making all the hard choices for my family and myself in the midst of grief is still a struggle.
- I have learned that the only person who can measure my success is ME. And if I am happy and living the life that God has called me to live, then I don’t have to answer to the masses of people who surround me. All I have to know is that He holds me in the palm of His hand and He guides me.
As an educator, I have always argued that we never stop learning. That once we become satisfied with where we are in life, we should keep looking for new ways to grow. I am excited to see what the me of two years from now looks like, and how the Lord will continue to grow and change me in light of all life sends our way. What about you? Have you gone thought something that has changed you over the last few years? Are there ways that you are praying you will keep growing and changing?