We’re all struggling with something. It could be your marriage or your kids or your finances or your health or the political divisiveness that is separating longtime friends! Often when we’re in the middle of a big challenge, we can feel very alone, even if we’re surrounded by people. It seems like no one really understands what we’re going through. We feel all alone in the battle.
But we’re not alone! And this is not just a Christian bumper sticker or a warm and fuzzy saying on a Christian greeting card. As some of you know, I lost my husband Raul to covid in November of 2021. He was the love of my life, my companion, my best friend, my encourager, my partner in ministry, and so much more. Talk about feeling alone when he departed this earth!
For several months, I grieved, and that is totally appropriate and necessary. That grief turned even more heavy when I realized I was all alone. I might have family and friends, but I had lost my constant companion and best friend and partner in life. But then I sensed God bringing to mind some of Jesus’ final words to his disciples. In Matthew 28:20 he told his disciples something HUGE! “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
God was reminding me that Jesus is truly with me…every day…in every struggle…during my reflective morning coffee time to my search for guidance during the middle of a struggle. He is my constant companion. Yes, I have since remarried, but we will ALL still feel alone in life’s challenges from time to time. I’m finding that in the middle of every challenge, the question has changed from “What should I do?” to “What should WE do, Jesus?” I’m even inviting Jesus to join me during mundane tasks and grocery shopping and an afternoon walk. He is always with me. I’m not alone. Is it time to invite Jesus to be your constant companion?
If you’re like me, sometimes you desperately need to sense God’s presence. When my relationships are challenged and I’m not “feeling the love” from people in my life, I so need to sense God’s love and his comfort. The good news is that God promises to hold us when we cry out to Him! In Isaiah 51:12, God says “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals?”
However, it’s not like I can literally see him or reach out and grab his hand, so how can I take advantage of the comfort that He promises me? Well, I take a clue from King David. In Psalm 63:2, he says to God “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” I believe David is talking about God giving David a vision of himself as David was worshipping.
I’ve tried this and it is a marvelous thing! I enter a time of praising God, with or without music, and then I ask God to help me envision myself being in His presence in perhaps his throne room or maybe in a beautiful mountain meadow beside a pristine brook. Why don’t you try this right now? Close your eyes, voice thankfulness and praise to God, and then ask Him to allow you to see yourself with Him in a particular setting. Can you sense His presence? Do you sense His great love for you? Can you feel His comfort? Do you sense the warmth of His love? If possible, actually try to get out into his beautiful creation and saturate your senses with the beauty he designed!
If you’re struggling to experience God’s comfort, let me just say that you MUST believe that God will indeed reveal his comfort to you. Have faith that you will sense God’s comfort. Remember, your faith that God will fulfill his promises is vital. James 1:6-7 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”
I became very familiar with deep grief back in the fall of 2021. That’s when I unexpectedly lost my amazing husband Raul to the monster of Covid. I had never experienced that kind of gut-wrenching grief before. It was debilitating. In a single moment, my world tipped upside down. I lost my daily companion, my ministry partner, and the man who worked relentlessly to make me feel cherished. What a loss! It took me quite a few months to get my equilibrium back, but God graciously led me out of the valley of deep grief and into a new chapter of life. The source of your grief may be different than mine. Perhaps you lost a parent, or maybe your marriage ended. We will all experience grief at some point. The question is how do we navigate through it and come out intact on the other side? Allow me to share 3 big things I learned along my journey.
Grief is handled differently by everyone and there is no “right” way to grieve. Some people will mourn for a very short time and then choose to stop dwelling on the loss and move forward. Others will surround themselves with reminders of the loss and find comfort in remembering all the good times shared with the person they have lost. Don’t judge someone for grieving differently than you! No one else can truly understand your pain or your joy. Proverbs 14:10 Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.
Don’t allow yourself to wallow in grief forever! That’s unbiblical and a plan of the enemy to oppress you! God does not intend for his children to stay stuck in perpetual grief. He desires to heal our broken hearts and guide us back into a place of peace, and yes, even joy. Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ask God to reveal the new plans he has for you in this new season, and then boldly follow his promptings because you will find fulfillment and joy in doing so. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Are you often really disappointed in your husband because he doesn’t seem to have a lot of empathy in your times of stress or sadness? Do you find yourself longing for him to comfort you during times of discouragement or heartbreak, but he doesn’t seem to notice your distress or understand what you need? Well, join the club!
For most of my marriage to Raul, I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated that he didn’t comfort me when I needed comfort or even seem to notice that I needed empathy! Then one day about 2 years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and say, “He doesn’t know what you need unless you spell it out to him.” What?! I remember thinking that if I have to tell him exactly what I need in those moments of despair or frustration, then his attempt to comfort wouldn’t be meaningful. You might think the same thing. However, I was wrong.
When I finally spelled out to my husband EXACTLY what I needed in moments of heartbreak, discouragement, or stress, he followed through. He actually thanked me for TELLING him what I needed. And guess what? Even though I told him what I needed, it was still very comforting when he did what I instructed him to do. Just in case you’re wondering what I asked him to do. I said “Come up to me and wrap me in your arms and hold me tight. Then pat my back gently 3 times and say ‘I can understand how that would make you feel and it’s going to be okay’.” It was amazing! I was comforted!
Husbands are not mind-readers! If you need something, tell them! Otherwise, your husband will sense that he’s failing you but be unsure of what to do. Explaining exactly what you need is actually an act of compassion toward your husband. This reminds me of the verse in Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
We all inevitably go through stretches in our marriages (or with kids, finances, health, etc!) that are pretty rough on our hearts. Yes, we can persevere, pray, and trust in God during those times, and all those things are super important. But sometimes, we just plain need comfort. We need to sit in the lap of our heavenly father and have Him hold us tight.
Here is what I have discovered. Reading the Psalms slowly and out loud is like a warm embrace from my heavenly Father. As those words roll off my lips, I can almost feel His love and compassion flow over me. I sense the tenderness of His heart toward me. I gain hope once again.
Try it for yourself. I would suggest some of these Psalms: Psalm 103, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, and Psalm 37. God longs to comfort you. He loves you. As Psalm 103 says, “Our Father is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
All wives inevitably hit a rough patch or two in their marriage. In fact, there will likely be moments when you think “Why did I even marry this man?!” He may break a little piece of your heart when he forgets your anniversary, or is overly harsh with the kids, or develops a habit of satisfying himself while viewing pornography instead of making love to you. At these moments, you need comfort for your broken heart.
It’s our tendency to reach for something easy and tangible as a source of comfort. You might try to find some joy in buying lots of new clothes. YouI might turn to excessive food. But neither one of those choices truly comforts us. They actually lead to additional grief in the long run! Instead, we need to train ourselves to run to God at those heart-breaking moments. He is waiting with open arms. Plus, Jesus knows what it feels like to suffer grief, betrayal, and a broken heart.
I love these two verses of comfort. Psalm 103:2-4 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”. And Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Meditate on those 2 verses and ask God to come close to you. He will, and I believe you will experience the warmth of his love!
One additional tip: I’ve found it especially helpful to find a quiet place of solitude (no cell phone, no noise!) where I can just sit with the Lord in stillness for 5 or 10 minutes, letting his peace and comfort wash over me.