i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart) …
e. e. cummings
When I heard Sarah Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls, speak in chapel at Olivet Nazarene University last week, I took one of her challenges as a question right to my heart:
“What stories do I carry with me in my heart today?”
I carry many stories in my heart that I’ve never written down. These are the stories I need to tell. And they are the stories that are hardest to tell.
Here’s one of them.
Early December. Just 3 weeks ago, my husband Gene died. On our front porch. In a small pile of dried oak leaves, blown onto the concrete by a casual breeze. We moved into this house just a year ago. Bought it from an estate. After the betrayal, divorce, and death of its owner. In this house.
Something besides me is unsettled in this place. There is a movement in the rooms not caused by the furnace or the fans. The weight of whatever is resting on me and beginning to press down. I begin to pray, asking God to take it away.
One afternoon, the weight begins to whir and shift, causing a cyclone in my soul. Fear and confusion are knocking on the windows and kicking on the doors.
I can’t go on like this.
I remember a song I know and begin to sing it, softly at first: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind …” I find the song on a CD and put it in to play. I turn it up LOUD and sing louder!
Soon, I open every window and every door. I light a candle in each room. I turn up the CD player as loud as it will go, and I keep singing the song as loudly as I can:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!”
I pace from room to room, banishing a presence I can’t identify. I claim the power of God in every corner of my house.
Finally, I stretch myself full length, face down in the middle of the living room floor. I pray and pray and pray until I begin to feel cold.
I rise slowly, trying to re-orient myself, trying to make sense out of what just occurred. Carefully and deliberately, I turn off the CD player, close each door and window, extinguish each candle.
From that day forward, for the next 5 years, I knew I was safe in that house. I knew God was present in that house. And I trusted God every step of the way.
I still do.
No matter what spiritual battle you are fighting, God is fighting with you. He gives you just what you need to fight.
“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:17-18).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2016 by Laura Warfel