It’s been six months since Linda’s passing into glory. In some ways it’s been a blur and in other ways time has crept at snail’s pace. My life is changing constantly as I continue to press on. I miss her with every waking moment of time. I was talking with a long time friend a while ago, who brought to my attention that they felt that I may not like them any longer. That our friendship was strained and maybe over. My friend said that they felt like they lost two friends when Linda passed. While I certainly never intended for that to happen, I was blessed that they brought that to my attention. I told my friend that I a broken man. I think that was the first time I was able to say those words. While I’ve been honest in sharing that I’ve been hurting and healing at the same time, it was strange as I heard those words coming from my mouth. I’m broken. I believe that when I said that, God started healing me even deeper. I’m now trying to figure out, I told my friend, who I am. I’m different now. I’m changed forever.

There are three times of my life where I believe my personality has been majorly changed. The first time is when Linda and I were married. I left my family and started my life with her. Who I was in our new marriage was being redefined and of course that was true for her as well. We were learning to live together in marriage and mesh our personalities. It wasn’t always successful! We struggled and sometimes fought. But little by little we began to build our “married” personality. And all the while keeping our own pieces of personality. Fast forward eight years. The second time of personality change is when we came to the saving knowledge of Christ. Both of us surrendered our hearts and lives in commitment to serve Jesus. God then began a work of changing us. Once again our personalities began to develop not only in relationship to each other but in relationship to Christ. We still kept the bits and pieces of our old selves but allowed them to be changed and redefined. We set a course to serve God together and we did. We ministered as a team for around 30 years. While our relationship wasn’t perfect it was good. Really good. We grew together spiritually and emotionally. Yes, we were connected and intertwined. At Linda’s celebration people mentioned that it was always Jim ‘n Linda.  Then six months ago things changed again. Linda was gone. No longer by my side. No longer growing together. Our personalities no longer melding together in life. She is gone and I’m still here. I’m still here and yes, broken. As I told my friend, I’m now trying to figure out just who I am. Who am I? Linda and I were so close and “grafted” together that I’m somewhat lost. I’m sure my personality will change yet again for the third time. God will continue to work in me to make me who He wants me to be. He will continue to heal me, fix me and basically put me back together again.

I know I’m not alone in this journey. I have the greatest support from my family and my church family and friends. I’m surrounded by people who I know love me and want to help me come through this. My pain often creeps up on me at the oddest of moments. Sometimes sadness sweeps over me at an unusual moment. I may say something through my pain or sadness that may not sound like the old Jim. For that I apologize in advance and ask for grace. In one since, the old Jim is gone. He went with Linda. The new Jim is here being worked on and changed, redefining just who I am. But right now, I’m broken. I will get through this but I’m sure I will always limp. At least until that day when I’m reunited with my love of 47 years and that brokenness is completely healed.

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