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Not an Afterthought

"I am the Lord Your God, and because you are precious in my eyes, you are honored,

and I love you.” -Isaiah 43:4



On a beautiful Saturday, the day started with my daily quiet time with God. The coffee was especially good, and the light breeze on the screened in porch gave promise and possibility to this day.


It would be perfect for a bike ride, a leisurely stroll around the farmer’s market, a hike in the woods or kayaking on a local lake. So I started making phone calls, certain I would find someone who would want to join me for an outdoor adventure.


Sadly, I found that no one was available. Friends and family already had their plans made for the day, and I was out of luck


The song “Alone Again, Naturally” came to mind. Once again, I would spend the whole day by myself, and it was beginning to really wear on me. Oh how I longed to spend it with somebody, yet it was not meant to be.


Sometimes I feel like an afterthought in people's lives. As a single person, the rest of the world appears to go on without me. In the years since my husband’s death, I have come to realize it’s a couples world, and I am living my life on the edge of it.


While I cherish my alone time, there are moments when life really feels lonely. It’s not that the people in my life forget about me, it just seems like they forget to remember about me. Get caught up in their own lives. It causes me to feel like I am an afterthought for others.


I’ve done the online dating thing. It’s not for the faint of heart because of the many “toads” out there. To further combat the loneliness, I have gotten involved in community activities and volunteering. It is a great way to spend my time. But those activities do come to an end, and often so do the short-term relationships that accompany them.


Yet I am a person of hope, and I know at the heart level that I am not just an afterthought. That I was created by God to love others and to be loved. Even in my lowest times, I am reminded of my worth in God’s eyes.


I know that I am not an afterthought with God. In fact, scripture tells me that God cares about me. Thinks of me first. Values who I am. Knows the number of hairs on my head. Reminds me I am precious in God’s eyes. Created me to do good things.


Here are some scriptures that speak about this:

Matthew 10: 29-31 (CEB) “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a small coin? But not one of them will fall to the ground without God knowing about it already. Even the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”


Isaiah 43: 1-4 (CEB) “But now, says the Lord—Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and the flame won’t burn you. I am the Lord Your God, and because you are precious in my eyes, you are honored, and I love you.”


Ephesians 2:10 (CEB) “Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.”

Even though these passages were written for people living in a different time; people facing different situations; God is still speaking to me (and to you) through these words. I am not an afterthought for God. I am beloved and cherished. I am worthy of God’s unconditional love.


FURTHER THOUGHT

In the first couple of years after my husband’s death, I struggled with moving forward in my life. Found myself standing at a crossroads.


Perhaps you have come to a crossroads in your life, as well. Job changes. Divorce. Retirement. Becoming an empty nester. Loss of a spouse or significant other. Downsizing your life.


How will you manage it? Whom will you take along for the journey? How can God guide you in this new phase of life? Reaching out to God in prayer, and sitting in silence for God to speak, can guide you through the crossroads. You do not have to do life alone; God will always be there, especially when you regularly invite God along.


Now that I have decided to move into a new phase, a time of hoping to find a new life partner, it has been a roller coaster ride. I have found it quite challenging to find someone who measures up. Who doesn’t treat me like an afterthought. Who values me as a companion. Who wants a life partner with whom to journey.


In order to navigate in this unsettled space, I continue to trust that God will steer me toward someone special who also loves God. Some man who will value who I am. Who will cherish and love me as I deserve to be loved. Someone who will think of me first, not just as an afterthought.


This poem was written in the first six months after my husband’s death. I have revisited it many times since, especially as I have been dating others. It speaks to me in different ways depending where I am in my journey of life. I pray you may find you can also soar as you search for your dreams.












She Soars

A Poem by Jenny Seylar


With confidence in her soul,

She takes flight in search of her dreams.


With a broken heart,

She soars ever upward,

Burdened by the heavy sorrow

Dripping from her wings.


Still, higher she climbs,

Criss-crossing the clouds of cotton.


Warmed by the sun,

And gaining strength with each whoosh of her wings,

She rides the jetstream

Allowing it to take her

To new and wondrous places.


As the light begins to fade

To subtle hues of purple and orange,

She seeks a place to land for the night.


Perched on an outcropping of stone,

High above the treeline,

She tucks in her aching wings,

Closes her stinging,

Tear-filled eyes,

And rests,

Weary from the journey among the heights.


Sleep comes easy

When the body is drained from such activity.


Dreams of a quilt-patterned landscape

Give way to the endless blue horizon yet to come.


As a new day dawns in silent wonder,

She shakes off the weight of the previous day,

Ready to embrace the possibilities yet unfolding.


With neck stretched long,

She gazes as far as the eye can see.


Eager to go higher than the day before,

With joy permeating her soul,

She once again takes flight,

Rising with the morning sun.


With newfound independence in her being,

She continues searching and seeking,

Growing stronger as a new day presents itself.


She looks down from above,

Catching glimpses of the world below.


Stripes of road and ribbons of river

Point the way ever onward

Pulling her into the great beyond.


With strength in her soul,

She explores the new terrain,

Ever searching for her dreams.



As I continue to reach for and live into my dreams, I do not go alone. I have chosen to take God on this journey. Who better to guide me than the One who created me?


The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us of God’s promises:


Jeremiah 29: 11-13 (CEB) speaks so boldly to me about God’s amazing promises for all of us. “‘I know the plans I have in mind for you,’ declares the Lord; ‘They are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me.’”


PRAYER

Creator God, thank You for guiding my steps, clarifying my relationships, and always coming alongside me no matter what is going on in my life. I know that in Your eyes I am beloved and will NEVER be an afterthought. Still, there are lonely times when I am tempted to find love in all the wrong places. Guide me, Lord, as You have been doing since the moment I put my trust in You. Amen.


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