Do You See Jesus?
Updated: Mar 28, 2022
When my husband Julian died two years ago, I was devastated. There is just no way around that.
Loss leaves emptiness.
I was left with a profound decision.
What would I let fill that emptiness?
How would I choose to live in the aftermath?
It was my choice.
Would I fill the emptiness with cherished memories or with loss?
Would I fill it with gratefulness for the beauty of the time I had been given with my husband or with comparison and jealousy for those who seemed to have the life I still wanted?
Would I fill it with the love we shared and carry that love forward; bringing life and hope to myself and to the world? Or would I fill it with anger, bitterness, and resentment?
On my darkest day, would I practice seeing God and recognizing God’s hand?
In my darkest moments, would I see God when others didn’t?
Would I make Jesus my singular focus?
My loss is wasted if I don’t let Jesus give me more of Him, more love, more grace, more wisdom, more compassion, more gratitude, more courage.
So, I made a decision.
I chose to see Jesus.
I chose to see Jesus and His glory, even in the darkest moments, even in the moments that others could not or would not see Him. I chose to believe that He had a plan and a purpose for me and that He could bring beauty from the ashes. I chose to see the blessings I had been so graciously given rather than focusing on the loss. I chose gratitude.
Was it easy? Absolutely not.
I cried out to Jesus and asked for His healing power… but I knew I had to participate, I had to do whatever He showed me to do, no matter the cost.
I began to rejoice in the truths of God’s word.
One such truth: my husband’s death was not a surprise to God. God knew long before we were married the day my husband would be called home.
God was equipping me along the way – equipping me for widowhood, equipping me to be without my husband.
It didn’t seem that I was equipped – but God knew – and anything that God calls me to do, He prepares me for it and He walks me through it. That includes widowhood.
So I surrendered to Jesus, to His will, to what He had for me… every single day. I walked with Him, listened for Him, did as He directed – and one day – I woke up and wondered how I got here…and how God turned something so very awful into something so very beautiful.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of my husband's Heavenly Homecoming. I could not have had a nicer day celebrating and honoring my husband Julian.
I woke excited about the day… and remembering my sweetheart with the fondest of memories.
My sister and my niece joined me at the Dallas Arboretum. It is a place that holds very special memories for Julian and me; such cherished memories of our visits there, taking family, and even where we enjoyed one of our very first dates.
It was an absolutely beautiful day. We celebrated. We celebrated my husband. We celebrated his life and our love. We celebrated that he has finished his race and is reaping his reward in the presence of Jesus.
I praise the Lord with thankfulness for every minute of the few short years we had together.
I celebrate with gratitude the amazing gift I was given rather than focusing on what I have lost.
At dinner, we shared a special toast to Julian and some beloved memories of him. We laughed, we cried, we rejoiced. What a blessing.
The Lord was all over the day. Yes, some tears were shed - tears of joy, tears of a lonely heart, and tears of gratitude... but there was incredible love for my husband.
I miss him beyond explanation… but I am so grateful for the many treasured memories I carry. I rejoice knowing he is safe in the arms of Jesus and I will see him again one day very soon.
Two years ago I would never have believed a day like this was possible.
But for Jesus. Jesus has been completely faithful to carry out His promises... promises that He would turn my mourning into dancing, that He would provide peace that passes understanding, and that in His presence there is fullness of joy even in the midst of my grief.
Friends, although I don’t always understand His ways, I find that I can always see His hand if I just take a moment to look.
He is giving us everything we need every day. When we reframe our thinking and we look for Him in everything, we will see Him.
He’s in that sunset that brought you a little comfort, that squirrel that made you smile, the shelter that provides safety, the food that nourishes you, the breath that sustains you, the encouraging word that you read, the warm embrace of a loved one. He is in it all.
Acts 17:28 says that in Him we live and move and have our being. It is in Him that we exist.
As we walk with Him each day and follow His direction, His plan unfolds right before our eyes.
May you recognize your blessings each day as you walk with Him and seek His face.
May you see Jesus when others don't.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
— Robyn Alsip Arce, © 2021
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