When I say the death of a spouse threatens our sense of identity, I mean we feel stripped, lonely, incomplete, and out of place.
Life losses are inevitable. If we live long enough, every person we currently know will die—if we live long enough. However, nothing in life causes us to question our identity as much as the death of a spouse. I have walked through grief with many men and women who have experienced the death of the person closest to them—their spouse.
When I say the death of a spouse threatens our sense of identity, I mean we feel stripped, lonely, incomplete, and out of place. Who am I when I am no longer a “we”? I’m sure you remember going through something like this as a teenager. You looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “Who am I?” Your parents, friends, and teachers were all giving messages about who you were, but you had not figured it all out yet. It’s a very unsettling stage in life.
Building a Lasting Family Legacy
Finally, in young adulthood, you started to understand your place in the world and God’s calling on your life. You got an education or experience. You found a career. Then you met a mate with whom you built a life. Things for you may not have gone in that exact order, but those are common experiences. Our understanding of our own identities is usually built around those to whom we are emotionally attached. I hope your spouse loved you sincerely and deeply, but even more I hope they constantly reminded you of your identity in Jesus Christ. That is the greatest gift they could have given to you.
Regardless of what you have thought about yourself up to this point in your life, I want to remind that you can know who you are in Christ by pointing you to three passages of Scripture. These messages from God’s Word assure us that we can know exactly who we are.
Romans 8:12–17. Paul writes that we can know we are sons of God because the Spirit tells us directly. The Holy Spirit confirms to us that we are heirs to all God’s promises.
Romans 12:1–3. In these verses, Paul tells believers that God has renewed their minds to understand who they are in relation to Him. He’s given all of us the faith to understand. Then in that same chapter, Paul tells us that we are all part of the Body of Christ, integral to its health, and we should serve with our gifts. We all belong.
Colossians 1:9–14. Paul says we can have knowledge—we can know God’s will. And we can know we are “partakers of the inheritance of the saints” (NKJV).
God always gave special attention to widows, and I would say He also has deep feelings for widowers. He wants you to know you are not without comfort (John 14:16), not abandoned (John 14:18), and not alone (Hebrews 13:5). Allow the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to confirm your identity. You are loved.
Allow the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to confirm your identity.