Just Give Me A Sign!

August 30, 2017

There are moments when I am desperate to feel my husband with me. I just need to know he’s with me. “Give me a sign!” I think. This deep longing is human nature I suppose, but it’s also potentially dangerous for me. During these times, I am extra vulnerable to deception and untruths, which aren’t from God.

For instance, when my husband first died, I would sob in the shower. It was the kind of cry that makes it hard to breathe. As I cried out with grief, I drew a heart on the fogged up mirror in the shower. Sometimes I wrote his name on the mirror. And then I’d wait, longing for a Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze “Ghost” moment to happen. I was longing to feel him with me.

I got over this fairly quickly, realizing he wasn’t going to be writing me back on the fogged up mirror. However, occasionally this feeling resurfaces. Maybe it’s a human desire of the broken-hearted to not want any of this to be real. Maybe it’s normal to desperately seek a sign, a symbol – something – anything to reassure myself that he wasn’t actually gone from me.

The way we comfort people grieving further complicates things. “He’s always with you.” “He’s looking out for you.” “You have a guardian angel now.” Is that really true? The Bible is vague on all of this really. I’m just not sure about it. I mean, I love the notion, but I believe He’s in heaven with God. And if he’s in heaven with God, wouldn’t being so intertwined with life on earth be a real bummer for him? And isn’t heaven supposed to be bummer-free? I don’t know. All I know is God didn’t give us nearly enough info on heaven. This frustrates me. Faith sometimes frustrates me. But I guess that’s what faith is, right? It’s trusting what we can’t see and in what we don’t know because we haven’t actually experienced it. It boils down to do I believe or do I not believe? (For the record, I believe. I just sometimes grumble because I’d like more information and all the answers, please).

Anyway, recently I hung a decoration on the wall. It fell off the wall four times when I wasn’t looking, yet every time I checked on it, the hook was still affixed to the wall. I closely examined this several times and could not figure out how this was happening! I started to allow my mind to trick me. For over an hour I wondered if it was my husband letting me know he’s here with me. Or maybe he was trying to warn me of something? I have to admit, I liked this idea. I wanted it to be true in the worst way. I wanted evidence he was still with me.

Upon further examination, I learned the cause of the falling wall décor. It wasn’t Mark, but rather gravity and physics causing the decor to fall. Debunked. (Yes, I admit I watch those shows sometimes). Talk about feeling duped by my own brain!

I know I’m not alone, based on the popularity of psychics, mediums and TV shows about the paranormal. But as a believer in Christ, I need to be careful. I mean I suppose it’s normal to soothe myself with the comforting reassurances we all say. I mean in grief, I think whatever works (within reason) to get through the moment, right? But in time, I’m going to need more than this. I’m going to need the real truth.

So I dig deep into the Bible because I know that’s where my truth lives. I sometimes have to work hard not only at grieving, but also at seeking truth. Because in my grief, I am sometimes so vulnerable to deception, I need to have the full armor on so when my mind tries to sway me away from truth I can stop myself from believing it.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (MSG)

9-12 When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t take on the abominable ways of life of the nations there. Don’t you dare sacrifice your son or daughter in the fire. Don’t practice divination, sorcery, fortunetelling, witchery, casting spells, holding séances, or channeling with the dead. People who do these things are an abomination to God. It’s because of just such abominable practices that God, your God, is driving these nations out before you.

I guess in the moments where I’m weak with grief and find myself wishing for a sign of some sort, I’m actually looking for help, comfort and reassurance. Except sometimes I’m looking in all the wrong places. You see, my help and comfort does not come from a decoration that has fallen from the wall. It doesn’t come from my husband, even if I believed he could actually communicate with me. My help, my comfort, my reassurance and my strength?….it comes from God alone.

When I beg for a sign, I’m actually longing for more faith. I’m seeking reassurance, comfort, peace and HOPE. These things don’t come from “signs,” they come from faith. I’d be better off praying for more of that instead of wishing my husband were a ghost or something. It’s almost embarrassing for me to admit I’ve done these things. Truthfully, I need to stop in these moments. Instead of asking for a sign, I need to pray, “help me overcome my unbelief!”

Mark 9:23-24 (NIV)

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

So, does this mean that when I see a butterfly, a cardinal or a rainbow that it’s not actually a sign given directly to me by my husband? What about when the clock reads 12:04 (our anniversary) or 11:11 (make a wish?).

These occurrences are not husband. But when they happen they are blessed reminders. They remind me that GOD is with me. And He’s with me ALL THE TIME – not just when there’s a butterfly or when I lose an eyelash or find a penny on the sidewalk. These little “signs” remind me I’m not alone – that God is with me and that Mark is with God. Sometimes it’s just something that makes me pause and remember how much I loved my husband. They can be beautiful memory triggers as long as I’m not putting my hope in them.

I don’t believe my husband is now a butterfly or a bird and I don’t believe he is making things fall off the walls. I don’t believe he can speak to me through a psychic medium either. I believe he’s with God, and so that’s where I try to turn my thoughts. That’s whom I want to seek – especially when I’m desperate for “a sign.” My hope isn’t in a message from Mark. My hope is in Christ.

When I see a butterfly in my memory garden, you bet I’ll be thinking of Mark though. I’ll be thinking about what Heaven must be like. I’ll be thinking about the transformation from this life to eternal life and what it will be like when we’re together again. I’ll be thinking about hope and where mine comes from. And sometimes I’ll be doing all of that while bawling my eyes out. And that’s ok too.

Extra grace,

Jodi

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** Friends, we have EGR readers in Texas and Louisiana. They need our prayers and our help. It’s times like this I especially wish I had some sort of big empire so I could send lots of help in the form of money and necessary things. That’s not where I am, so I will pray. Will you join me in praying for our EGR-reading brothers & sisters affected by Hurricane Harvey? Thank you!!

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21 Comments

  • Reply Marcy August 30, 2017 at 9:43 am

    You are ministering so much to my heart right now. Thank you.

  • Reply Heather August 30, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Thank you so much for pouring out your heart to us. I sit and read your posts nodding my head in agreement, because I too say/do the same things. Thank you for making me not feel alone and helping confirm my faith. Hugs!

  • Reply Gail August 30, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Thank you, you say what I’m feeling but can’t put into words. I lost my husband of 47 years suddenly on 9/14/17 and you’ve been a great help to me. I pray for you and your family.

  • Reply Chari Yandek August 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Jodi-
    This hit me so hard today, this is where I am at right now, totally. I look for my husband in everything. The butterfly, the gentle breeze, but you’re right, those are reminders that I am not alone, that God is with me and that Doug is with God. I often wonder if he can see me and our sons, but then I think, why would he want to look down here to this earth when he resides in heaven with God? I was meant to read this today and I thank you for writing what the Holy Spirit prompted you to write. My husband’s birthday is Friday, September 1st, the first one since he passed away (6/15) and then comes my birthday, our youngest son’s wedding, our 31st anniversary and so on, a whole lot of “firsts” coming up. But I am not alone, God is with me. I have to keep reminding myself and be aware of God’s reminders too.

  • Reply Mary Lynne August 30, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I love this post and need it, especially today! I’m getting ready to build a new house in Dallas near a lake. But now I’m questioning my move and looking for a sign that I should.but especially after going through Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, I did not have any flood damage. I want to move to be closer to my young adult children and it was part of our long term retirement plan. Maybe Harvey was my sign????

    I found pennies frequently after my husband John died last year. Funny enough though, I always found them at the nearby outlet mall when I was shopping and it made me tear up and then laugh! I figured he was telling me to not buy so much! But I haven’t found one in quite some time so it makes me sad.

    The sun came out today so I’ll take that as a sign that today will be a good day!

    Hugs to you!

  • Reply Robin murphy August 30, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I can totally relate to this. I want signs!!! And early on I think I thought the flickering light in the bathroom was a sign. The pheasant that was always “talking” . Of course the selfish side wants him with me. But that is not what I wanted for him. I want him to be in that wonderful place in heaven and not see me and my kids struggling. It will be 3 years at Christmas and this last year almost seems harder. I’m trying to be a good mom and survive each day if chaos. thank goodness for my 3 kids. They keep me going but I feel my faith has been lacking and I often feel overwhelmed and defeated.

  • Reply Deanna August 30, 2017 at 10:44 am

    My husband went to be with Jesus just this last March. I don’t say I lost him because I know where he is. He is with the Lord Jesus. The Scripture says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and I claim that. It wouldn’t be heaven if they could see what was going on down here !

  • Reply Tricia Hanson August 30, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I haven’t lost a husband yet……………..he is on dialysis and has had lung cancer. I have lost parents, grandparents, siblings. I have often had the same thoughts. Thank you so much for these encouraging words. Reminding me where my faith lies.

  • Reply Krista August 30, 2017 at 11:08 am

    It seems to me that these reminders may be from God, and intricate way of saying that he loves you, and his love was Mark’s love and Mark loves you. And you’re reminded by his reminders of ALL HIS LOVE THAT FINDS YOU.

  • Reply Maryellen August 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Prayers coming their way to those Th Houston & Louisiana!

  • Reply Jeanie Martin August 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Shower example, wall hanging explanation, and sign revelations are all so beautifully poignant. Making progress and a difference every day………

  • Reply Dorothy J Wright August 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    This post sure is giving me a lot to think about! Thanks you. I have a strong faith also and I know Jack is with God but I still want to feel him around me.

  • Reply Linda Walker August 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    My husband of 24 years died May 1st of this year in my arms. Sometimes I scream his name and hope and pray he will answer me and this is all a bad nightmare. I am all alone now as all my family is dead and my husband’s family dropped me like a hot potato the day he died. I have his ashes beside my bed in a beautiful wooden box and when I die, we will be buried together. The loneliness right now,is palpable. He was all I lived for 24 years and now I’m lost and alone. Yes, I contemplated ending my life but I know that is a sin. I prayed for God to grant him a miracle and heal him. I don’t understand why people like Charles Manson are still alive and good people die. But, I still love God and I still pray and give thanks for every day he gets me through and every night he gets me through.

  • Reply Marjorie Higginbotham August 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    My husband and I loved the Smoky mountains and went there often. He smoked a pipe and we found a tobacco and cigar shop. He chose a pipe tobacco that was very distinctive and pleasant. He continued to order it from them. He passed away in December,2008. Every now and then I smell his tobacco for 3-4 minutes and I breathe deeply and smile.

  • Reply Gail Davis August 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    September 9 of this year marks 3 years since he went home. EVERY morning, when I get up I can “feel” him in the bed beside me.

  • Reply Deane Smith August 30, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I can relate to everything you are saying. I lost my husband August. 13, 2016. It just don’t get any easier. The only thing we can do is keep our faith and know we will see each other again one day! Still miss him so much. We were married 55 years.

  • Reply Jocelyn Griffith August 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    God called my husband home on August 7, 2016. This past year has been the most difficult of my life. I look for him in so many things. I know that I have struggled with my faith in God, however; I overcome those struggles and look to God to get me through those hard times, and to help me into the next chapter of my life. I know that I will be with my husband again, when my journey on this earth is complete, but until that day, I wake each morning determined to make the most of every day. I will not give up. When my time comes to be called home to God, I will be able to stand tall and proud that my faith and I stayed strong.

  • Reply chad August 30, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Jodi, well done! That evolved nicely. And can I say that “I believe, help my unbelief” is the most honest thing in the whole bible. And because it is so honest, we can slip right into the context of the story and have it be alive and real for us. We need that too, because in protecting our children, or grieving our loved ones, its a pretty funky dance of belief and unbelief, right? Don’t matter, Jesus still loves us, and does his thing anyway.

    Grace and peace to you my sister.

  • Reply Machell August 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I live in Houston, my husband died last October. During the past few days I too was looking for signs. I needed reassurance that he was watching over us. He was my rock. I miss him so much. But I know that the lord is the one I have to turn to.

  • Reply Linda Pryce September 1, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I’ve gone through very similar things since my husband died June 26, 2016. In fact, just yesterday I was on my way to an anxiety laden trip to have a root canal. I was dreading it so much plus I’m a country girl and was having to drive in 3-4 lane traffic in Tulsa to get to the endodontist! Then “our song” came on the radio and I immediately felt peace, smiled and said “Thanks, Don, you knew I needed you”. Now I know Don did not make that song come on the radio but it soothed me anyway and I know my Lord understands my needs better than I do. The Lord loves me and wants me to turn to him and I do every day. You have a gift, Jodi, and I appreciate you sharing it with us. You put into words what I cannot. I’m so glad I found Extra Grace. Thanks!

  • Reply Kristin L Flanders September 5, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Yes, yes and YES!!! Thank you for your words that remind me where I truly must turn to for the peace and comfort I seek.

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