The break-up letter every widow wishes she could send - Renew | Repurpose

1 September 2019

The break-up letter every widow wishes she could send

Stepping into a new season of life can be exciting and breath-taking and dream-engineering: Graduation. That job you’ve always wanted. A new love. Your first house. A much-anticipated baby.


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

But there are seasons that are devastating and overwhelming.

Like, widowhood.

And divorce.

And being single when all you’ve ever really wanted was to be a wife and mom as you watch the tide of time roll back out to sea.

I started to write how I suspect the most challenging aspect of singleness—at least for women—is fear. And then I did an online search to see what the experts have to say about women and singleness and fear.

Karen Arndt, Ph.D. says this:

I see this fear of aloneness in my female patients far more than my male patients, and I believe this mirrors a reality in the larger culture.

Fear of doing life alone. Because we were created to be relational.

Which begs the question: Isn’t it time we break up with fear?

If you’ve been navigating widowhood—or any unwanted singleness—and haven’t yet written the break-up letter, here’s a start:

Hey, fear, I’m breaking up with you.

You’re not welcome here anymore.

It’s not me. It’s you.

Now what?

You’ve sent the letter. But what do you do when fear starts calling and texting again?

There are several things that worked for me. And it begins with list-making (pretty sure writing lists is a cure for most things).

Go ahead … draft a list of:

1. Things you’ve always wanted to do. Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro. Rock babies in the NICU. Teach English in Mongolia. Swim with sharks.

2. Places you’d like to visit. Or re-visit. The Galapagos Islands. The place where you and your beloved spent your honeymoon. The nearby phenomenon in nature that you’ve taken for granted but people come from miles around to see.

3. New habits you’d like to develop. Adding to your gratitude journal on a regular basis. Buckling your seatbelt before actually driving away. A few minutes of daily physical activity — preferably outdoors.

4. Stuff you’ve been putting off. Sorting through your deceased husband’s belongings. A road trip to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Updating all your accounts to reflect singleness.

5. Things you’ve always wanted to learn. Martial arts. Fluent Russian. Guitar. Tight-rope walking (you never know when that might come in handy).

Now present your list to God and ask Him to help you face down fear with His strength and courage.

What if?

What if, as an active step of breaking up with fear, you accomplished one or two items on your list each month? (And oh, the pleasure of crossing things off lists!)

Would that send the message to fear to quit calling and texting?

Speaking from experience: Absolutely, as you watch your brave self grow, as you stand up and blind fear with all your brilliance.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. — 2 Timothy 1:7

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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life’s challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

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