By Christina Rich
Seventeen months ago, my husband went to be with Jesus. All the sudden, I was no longer a pampered, spoiled wife who was treated like a queen. All the sudden, I found myself… alone.
Not completely alone. The kids were around. My parents were around. My closest friends were around. But they had their lives and their own grief to deal with. I know the Lord says He’ll never leave us nor forsake us, but knowing scripture and trusting in it fully in the middle of losing the man you’d spent over half your life with is much easier said than done. I tried. Some days I succeeded, others I did not.
The March and April before my husband went to Glory, we were in one of the greatest seasons of our lives. We were in the middle of an on-fire ministry, ministering to the lost and broken. Looking back, it seemed as if we were at the beginning of doing great and mighty things for God. Little did we know it would come to a halt a few months later. The end of May he was diagnosed with cancer, by June 19th he abandoned his earthly tent.
During the few days he was in the hospital people came in to pray for us, but my husband always ended up praying for them, and on the occasion, he ended up ministering to them.
The few weeks we were home, people brought us things, like rocks with scriptures and flowers and meals.
The night before he was to meet Jesus face to face, many gathered around our bed and prayed over him until the ambulance showed up to whisk him away to the emergency room.
The next day, that last morning as his breathing became noticeably different, I prayed for strength. I asked God to send me help as we transitioned. I knew my husband was either going to be healed, in which we would need a support system as we declared God’s goodness, or he was going home, in which I would need a support system as I declared God’s goodness. I knew I couldn’t do what needed to be done alone.
A little after lunch, the hospital sent us to hospice and his room was flooded with family and friends. The few short hours we were there people came in and out. There were tears and lots of mourning. I wasn’t comfortable with the mourning. I don’t cry easy. I don’t like emotion, not from me. Although, as my husband said during his last sermon, “tears are good, they’re healing.” Anyway, a young couple we knew from a former church came in, having lost their newborn son a year and a half prior, they knew grief. They were my answered prayer. They rallied us to worship. They encouraged my husband to fight. I watched my husband’s demeanor change. It’s hard to explain, but he was ready to battle and to not except defeat. What I mean by that is that he wasn’t entering heaven sorrowful, he was going in victory.
The young couple left and a few minutes later my husband took his final breaths.
I’m not going to lie. This is hard to write, but each of those people, and the multitudes of people around the world that I don’t even know about, saw their ‘doing’ as a small thing. The visiting, the hours of praying, the fasting, the food, the gifts, the hand-holding… it wasn’t small. Not to me. Not to my kids. Not to God. It was huge.
My hope is this, if you feel the need to visit someone in the hospital, do. If you feel the nudge to send a thoughtful note, do. If you feel the urge to make a meal for a single mother, do. If you feel like taking a widow out for coffee, do. If you feel the Spirit moving you to pray, do. Those small things may mean the world to the very person on the receiving end, and you’ll be blessed too.
Bernadette Chambers has one last assignment before graduating Harris-Spotchnet’s Finishing School of the Peculiar Kind, and unfortunately, she’ll need more than her training has prepared her for when it comes to being a governess to a small child who witnessed her father’s kidnapping, but her lack of preparedness with the child is nothing compared to the sparks ignited by the child’s uncle and his desperate desire to keep his niece safe.
Retired Society Agent Isaac Clanton Willoughby, knew his brother was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough to cure a disease that took his late wife when he disappeared days before the cure was to be unveiled at Andropogon’s World Fair. Now it’s up to him to discern his brother’s secret codes, find out who took him, and ensure his niece’s well-being by hiring the perfect governess without becoming distracted by her beauty and intelligence. But when he discovers nothing is as it seems, can he push past his reservations and trust the woman to help him unravel the mystery left by his brother before it is too late?
A mother of four children and a grandmother of one, Christina Rich is a romance author with Love Inspired Historical and Forget Me Not Romances, a speaker, a photographer, and painter.