About 2 years into widowhood, 1997, I began to accept the fact, that my husband was no longer my husband, and the dreams and goals I had for us no longer existed. So I had to formulate new goals. These were my top 3:
1) Raising my daughters (Completed)
2) Going back to school for a second career (Completed)
3) Writing a book that there's more to life than grief (In Process)
I enjoyed being a hairdresser, but the job required more nights and weekends than I was willing to work as a single parent. As I healed from grief, I realized that I wanted to help others with their struggles so I went back to school to become a social worker. I completed my first pursuit in 2010. Yes, it took 13 yrs to complete my master's degree and pass my LMSW exam! This past year in 2011, I began my social work career as a medical social worker in a home health agency. I love it!
Now for raising my daughters!! I'm not sure which pursuit required more sacrifices! I read that children took on the average, 4 and a half years to grieve the loss of a parent. In our 3rd year, when my daughters were 8 and 9 years old, we moved to Puerto Rico and lived with my in-laws for a year. I wanted them to have a strong bond with their father's family. I moved for them. Not that I didn't enjoy living on an island for a year, but I had to place other goals on hold that I wanted to pursue.
Then there were the rebellious and teenage years! Ahhh!! On several occasions my oldest daughter ran away from home. And on several occasions I threatened her that I would send her back to live in Puerto Rico. Many times, I counted the days until my youngest would turn 18 years old. I thought on that magic day, my parental responsibilities would end. My friends told me this wasn't true. They were right. It took my girls to be 22 and 24 years old, before I could say I was done!
I believe that one of my purposes here on earth, having been blessed to have children, is to raise them and prepare them for God's kingdom. It took until last week, January 8, 2012, for the last of my 2 children to go to church, ON THEIR OWN, and finally realize the importance of a relationship with Jesus. My second pursuit completed! Whew! That wasn't an easy one!!
Now I'm working on my last pursuit. I have the desire to share my story with other widows. It hasn't been an easy journey, but with God's help and guidance, there was so much more hope for my future. I've written my book, now I'm in the publication process. Our sermon last week, from Andy Stanley, pastor from North Point Community Church couldn't have said it better. He asked us what our "One Thing in 2012" was, that we should not be distracted from completing. A verse he quoted from the Bible to help us focus was from Nehemiah 6:3..."I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down."