On October 10, my friend Betty Wells joined the fellowship of widows. It is a fellowship familiar to many. But to Avienu Habashamayim (Our Father in Heaven), it is a precious fellowship. For our Father, Abba, holds a beloved and unique place in His heart for widows.
I will never forget the words He spoke audibly to me in the days after John’s passing: “From now on you will call me ‘My husband.’” I wasn’t looking for it, the words were simply there.
In the soft quiet of that still early morning, I replied with trembling voice “I can do that. I can’t do anything else right now, but I can do that.”
Betty, your journey along this new path has only just begun. Your life will be different now. You will be in a bubble for the first several days, weeks or even months and will wonder why you aren’t feeling it all the way you think you should, but it is a protective bubble provided just for you by Abba, to cushion you from the full reality of grief. People will ask you how you are doing and you may smile and say that you are fine. You may find yourself laughing and smiling and carrying on, because in that protective bubble, you will know that he is gone, but there is a place in the back of your mind that refuses to really believe it. For you especially, Mike’s travels took him from you for many long months at a time and you have been accustomed to busying yourself with his absence.
When I think of you, I am reminded of another of my cherished mentors and his wife, Oswald Chambers and Biddy (Gertrude). You, like her, have dedicated your life’s work to recording Mike’s words, editing his books, managing his affairs at home while he was about his Father’s business. And Mike’s work, like Oswald’s, will travel down through the generations, mentoring believers in the deeper life, the abiding life in Christ Jesus, due in no small part to your behind the scenes dedication.
The Abiding Life! Those words echo into a very deep place in my soul. I will never forget that evening as my own husband had begun to move away from me into a place in his mind where I could not follow. Crammed into that meeting room in our Church with John and with my son and his wife, waiting to hear this speaker who had been invited by a couple in our Church, Guy and Diane Naus; I hadn’t wanted to go. I was busy. But my husband wanted to go, so I went. Within the first minutes after Mike Wells stood up to speak, I was riveted; these were words I had read from my favorite authors of by-gone days—the words of Andrew Murray, Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer, E.M. Bounds, F.B. Meyer, and others who had mentored me for so many years, but as I had often wondered—Where are these men today? Where is this message today? And here, speaking to that crowded room, was one of those men. I did not know that evening how divine an appointment God had arranged for me, as I left that meeting, arms filled with books and DVD’s, for this message urged me along, brought untold treasure to my soul as I entered into the most painful four years of my life. Mike said that Jesus is coming soon and He is raising up the lesser man for the greater day—and whether Mike realized it or not, he was included among those men.
The Abiding Life!
For the next four years I absorbed every book and teaching on the Abiding Life; shared it with my Bible studies, incorporated it into every teaching and wrestled through it in the dark nights as I fought the “terror that flies by night” (Psalm 91:5), which had entered into and taken over my home. Eventually it found its way into my own book, which found its way into Betty’s hands and we became “online” friends. Her first email to me began with “I feel like I know you a lot better now; too bad you don’t know me at all!.” To which I humorously replied “You said you felt you knew me now but I don’t know you and I have to chuckle at this. After going to Mike’s seminars and doing all of the Abiding Life DVD’s with my women’s groups, we all at some point in time say the same thing: ‘We want to meet Betty!’ Since Mike refers to you so often and oftentimes in such an affectionately humorous way, we all have wanted to meet you!” Betty’s reply: “Well, I almost wrote that you didn’t know me at all, and the examples Mike uses of me in conferences do not count!”
So now, my friend, my sister in Christ, we are yoked together in the fellowship of widows, yet not for eternity, only as we sojourn on this earth and finish the race, as Mike did and as John did. We are yoked together to the Shepherd of our souls, clinging tightly to the hem of His garment as He gathers us up under His great wings and folds us into Himself. When John moved to Heaven, I heard myself asking Jesus to please “manage my grief,” because I knew I would not be able to. And, He has. Like a pressure cooker, He sometimes opens up the valve and allows the pent up tears to escape, but only as much as He allows, not so much that it overwhelms, and then He gently closes the valve and I move on and take the next step and breathe the next breath, as my Husband leads the way. The tears He puts in His bottle will be retrieved again and again as you meet up with others in this fellowship, and as they spill out, fresh as the day they were cried, they offer healing to another soul, as they did to yours. My own tears fall freely this morning for you, and I offer up the sacrifice of praise to Jesus, for He knows the way that you take; He will manage your affairs; He will enfold you into Himself and He will bring your through.
I love you Betty.