widow
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Every woman must come to realize that true happiness comes not from a relationship with a man but from an intimate relationship with God.

It was 4:10 a.m., and the phone was ringing. I knew it was "the call." A dispassionate female voice announced mechanically, "Mr. LeSourd expired shortly after 4 a.m. I'm very sorry."

I lay in our bed, stunned at what I'd just learned. Len had been very ill for several weeks. But he wasn't supposed to die so soon—or at all.

We'd been blessed with 10 beautiful years of marriage and an extraordinary partnership as editor-author, conference speakers and prayer ministers. We were a team, working and playing together. A friend's remark about us never failed to rouse a chuckle: "Len taught Sandy how to work, and Sandy taught Len how to play."

Our world started to crumble in late summer of 1995 when a routine colonoscopy revealed a large, cancerous tumor in Len's intestines. He had ignored all the symptoms. The cancer had spread to his liver.

We prayed and believed for a healing miracle. Chemo was to no avail. The cancer continued to ravage Len's increasingly fragile body. Through it all, Len remained unflappable. "We're going to beat this, Sweetheart, with God's help," he'd say.

But we hadn't beat it. My beloved husband who was everything to me had been called home. My body felt like a shell of smoldering embers.

Intellectually I knew the Scripture that says, "Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name" (Is. 54:5, NKJV). I had read Isaiah 54 countless times, but never as a widow. It wasn't a reality to me—yet.

Unable to face being alone in our bed, I spent many months sleeping on the living room couch wearing Len's pajamas and eating an entire pint of ice cream each evening.

I gained 20 pounds. The Scriptures were as dry as dust. My prayer life was nonexistent. I couldn't concentrate on anything or anyone but Len.

Slowly I began to realize that I had come to depend on my husband to give me advice and answers instead of God. I had unknowingly put Len on the throne of my life, a place only God should occupy. After Len's death I had to rebuild my relationship with the Lord.

Happiness Comes From God

Recovery from an agonizing loss is not an event. It is a journey that takes time, prayer, soaking in the Word and a sense of humor. When I was able to fill my home with praise and worship music and sincerely praise God, I made dramatic progress.

I made still more when I began setting a place for Him at my kitchen table. It was a constant reminder that I had come home to my "first love." From that point on, I turned an important corner—then another and another.

Many widows wrestle, as I did, through dark nights of grief and loneliness. But when they emerge into the light of a new day, they find that God never left them. Neither did He forsake them. God cares about what happens to us and has made provision for all our needs in the person of Jesus Christ.

This is a message for women everywhere, whether married or single—the same message given to Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany and Jesus' own mother. Our happiness does not stem from a relationship with a man but from a relationship with the living God. He alone loves us completely and offers us everlasting union with Him.

Sarah, a dear friend of mine, discovered this truth after she became widowed. Married more than 50 years to her high school sweetheart, John, she found herself adrift in paralyzing grief. She'd lost her best friend.

But Sarah had a strong faith that carried her through the agonizing time of readjustment to life without John. She felt prompted to make a "Love Diary" of God's promises of love and encouragement.

Carefully she went through the Word and recorded each scripture that pertained to God's great love for His people or to His provision for and faithfulness to widows. Whenever she was overcome by insomnia, she propped herself up in bed and read from her "Love Diary" aloud.

As she poured out her gratitude and thanksgiving, her heart found peace and rest. Sleep's healing blessings bathed her, night after night. She is now comforting others with the comfort with which she was comforted by God (1 Cor. 1:4).

Another friend, Marie, didn't develop a close relationship with the Lord until 14 years after a bitter divorce. She had always known about God but wasn't sure how to get to know Him personally. As she sought Him, He began to reveal Himself to her through His Word.

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