Last week I posted my first guest blog. The very first since I launched the blog in 2012. I invited my sister Julia to write regarding the sudden passing of her 60 year old husband, Loren, a bit over a year ago. There were so many powerful responses and shares on social media. My stat page showed it to be one of the highest reader count in months. So, I know a good thing when I see it. I asked her to write another blog post. Eventually, I’ll get her set up to have her own blog, I hope! And now, in her words…

 

When my husband lay deceased on our bedroom floor that Tuesday morning in March 2015, I lay beside him… stretched up against him, caressing his face and rubbing his chest while looking intently at him. Studying every detail of the face I loved. I ran my hands through his mustache, beard and hair. I massaged his hand and studied both beautiful hands I’d loved for 37 years. The hands that represented determination, hard work and sacrifice. And LOVE.

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Julia and Loren Wasson

I loved my husband in life. And I chose to love him in death. While laying beside him on that hard wood floor, the hymn “MY JESUS I LOVE THEE”, ran through my mind and breath. The 2nd verse says, “I’ll love thee in life, I will love thee in death. I’ll love thee as long as thou lendest me breathe…” I knew the lyrics were written to express a person’s love for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But somehow at that moment, my reverence and devotion was towards my husband, the man whom I grew to love as much as I loved my Lord and Savior. And having learned to love my husband that deeply, while honoring him, was pleasing to the Lord.

I had considered myself to be a woman of faith. I had considered myself to be a God-fearing woman. And most people would’ve considered me to be a strong woman. But my faith was shaken. As if an earthquake had occurred from the bowels of the earth, my core was disenegrated. The very God that I worshipped had allowed my husband to die far too early. How could I possibly exist without his companionship, his physical presence, the multiple texts, phone calls, funny pictures we’d send each other….you know, ALL of those things couples share? What was his passing going to do to our children? What was his passing going to do to our young grandchildren? These were mere firsts of the many “WHY’s?”

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Loren Wasson and Granddaughter

At week 20 after his passing, while driving to church one Sunday morning I had an “ah-ah” moment. I felt I actually heard Loren telling me that our goals and dreams for our 4 children were not over, that though he was in heaven with the Lord and I was still here on earth, I would be praying for them on earth while he was praying for them in heaven. Death could not separate us from the Love of Christ. Nor could death stop the love our family shared.

Since that Sunday morning, the scripture “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 and also check out 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14has fresher significance to me. I’m here. He’s there.

So my prayer today is, “God, I’m here with our children and grandchildren. All of our days are numbered and You have purpose for us, whether we are with You in heaven or down here on earth. Give me wisdom to live responsibly and honorably, because no matter what circumstance we are living in…You still reign.”  — Julia Gingerich Wasson

COMMENTS: I would love to hear your comments and any words you for how Julia’s writing has touched you. She would welcome your feedback. Thanks!

17 responses to Shaken Faith

  1. Pingback: Guest Blog: “I’m Not Available” | DENNIS GINGERICH

  2. Dorothy Maria on April 17, 2016 at 5:14 AM Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I am brought to tears as i am reminded of losing my mom. I did the same thing. I lay next to her caressing her face and hands. Holdin her close. Taking in the very last time i would feel her close to me physically. I too believe that she is alive with our Lord and Savior praying for her 6 children and 22 grandchildren and great grandchildren. The love she had for us here simply magnified as she went to be with her King. To be absent from the body is to truly be present with the Lord.

    Your journey reminds me to live, love, laugh and leave a legacy with my husband. To love him deeply and appreciate him more.

    He creates beauty from ashes. All to His glory. May the Lord continue to heal your heart in your journey.

    God bless you
    Dorothy

    • Julia Wasson on April 17, 2016 at 1:51 PM Reply

      Dorothy, thank you for your prayers. I’m just thrilled for you that you also had those wonderfully – sad – precious moments with your mother. It’s something that leaves an imprint forever. God bless you.

  3. Eileen Roth on April 16, 2016 at 6:28 PM Reply

    Very Beautiful words! Something the Lord comforted me with also that the separation from our spouse on earth is something we feel quite deeply but the eternal aspect of our lives together still go on!

    • Julia Wasson on April 17, 2016 at 1:48 PM Reply

      Eileen. I know you well understand losing your husband. And yes we will be with them again in heaven. What a treasure. Love you friend.

  4. Cookie short on April 16, 2016 at 10:28 AM Reply

    I have not reached that point while walking the path thru grief land but I am getting there!

    • Julia Wasson on April 16, 2016 at 11:36 AM Reply

      Cookie, I still weep and miss him horribly. But thankfully I have days where I feel peace. Praying for you. ~ Julia

    • Janelle Stockham on April 16, 2016 at 2:24 PM Reply

      As Julie’s sister, who lives 600 miles away, I have never felt so helpless as I did this past year. Knowing that you were hurting in a way that was unimaginable was heart wrenching. I even felt guilty as I was able to go to bed with my husband every night, hear his “I love you’s” throughout each day and feel his big strong arms envelop me. Grieving the loss of my brother-n-law from afar and imagining the pain you and the kids were in was something I had never experienced before. Other than the numerous texts and IM’ing we shared, praying seemed to be all I could do. It didn’t seem like it was enough. It felt hollow and like my words were just that, words, nothing more. But I continued to pray despite it not “feeling” like it was doing any good. One day God reminded me of 1 Thes. 5:16-18, where it says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. This reminder that the Lord faithfully gave me, strengthened me to keep on praying no matter what. It reminded me that He is working on our behalf and that I was to remain obedient despite the whirlwind of circumstances and that I was to to pray on my sister’s behalf when she could not even pray herself.

      Last, I want to challenge fellow Christians as I challenge myself in this one area, and that is when we say to someone “I am praying for you”. Sometimes we say it because we know it is what we are supposed to say in times when others are hurting or suffering. But are we really praying? Do we really stop and pray or do we just say it and then go about our busy day? Do we take the time to write their name on our prayer list so we will remember? I know I have been guilty of this but this past year during this painful loss, God has taught me to do what I say. To stop and pray.To pray without ceasing. It is not about what we feel. It is about obedience to the Word and standing in the gap for others as we bring our petitions to Christ. I learned that praying truly was the most important thing that I did and still do on the behalf of my sister and her kids. We cannot fathom or conceive the power of our prayers, but we know that they do not fall on deaf ears. Pray without ceasing!

      Love you Julie and I love that you are sharing your story of your unwanted journey. It is powerful and it truly brings glory to God. It is a testament of God’s unending faithfulness.

      • Julia Wasson on April 17, 2016 at 1:56 PM Reply

        Thank you sis for your friendship, constant communication. It’s been needed and valued. I’ve known my siblings, parents, and Lorens siblings have had my back while they’ve been navigating their own journey of loss. When a family member dies it trickles down to everyone. We’re still discovering that, aren’t we. Love you sis!

  5. Linda Gingerich on April 16, 2016 at 9:43 AM Reply

    Thank you Julia for sharing such intimate details of your grief journey through Loren’s death. I hardly know what to say….you opened a river of tears in me this morning and a deep appreciation for life and family. As a pastor and wife, Dennis and I are often close to families who are walking through the grief of losing a loved one. It is a constant reminder to us, that either one of us could at any moment say “I love you” for the last time. But sharing your raw experience makes me love and appreciate Dennis even more! And thank you for the reminder that Loren is still alive!! How awesome to know he is praying for your sweet family while in the very presence of Jesus himself! I love you my sweet sister-in-law!!

    • Julia Wasson on April 16, 2016 at 11:39 AM Reply

      Love you Linda! With him passing on I have a much greater understanding that he did not stop existing. He’s THERE in glory and the peace of grasping we will be reunited with loved ones brings deep joy. ~ Julia

  6. Terry L Frith on April 16, 2016 at 9:11 AM Reply

    Julia becomes very vulnerable as she shares her deepest wounds with such raw emotion. I have not lost a husband, or child, which could cut us so deeply. I think the words she writes could be so helpful for those in her situation so my prayer is for her to be able to use her words and beautiful message to heal the hurting now and that those people find this message and more that she may write in the future or grief “counseling”. God Bless!

    • Julia Wasson on April 16, 2016 at 11:40 AM Reply

      Thank you Terry.

  7. June Vermeersch on April 16, 2016 at 8:34 AM Reply

    How very inspirational and comforting to those who still have their life-love and also those whose life-love is in Heaven!

    • Julia Wasson on April 16, 2016 at 11:43 AM Reply

      June, I’m so thankful I started cherishing my husband before he passed. God bless. ~ Julia

  8. Charmé on April 16, 2016 at 6:53 AM Reply

    I woke up early this morning and found this blog entry in my email. I am reminded, this earthly life is not my home. Your dear sister woke up with this reminder as she caressed her dear husband one last time, this side of Heaven. Too often I take my dear husband (now for 41 years), for granted. I pray that I will love him as I did the first day we said “I do,” and honor and cherish the gift God gave to me. Life is a vapor…let us love like Christ in all our relationships. May comfort and peace be with your sister.

    • Julia Wasson on April 16, 2016 at 11:46 AM Reply

      Thank you for your prayer. At times I was a wife who was caught up in the good busyness of marriage and forgot to cherish my husband. I understand your determination to cherish in a deeper capacity. God bless. ~ Julia

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