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When a spouse dies

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by As told to Alake Pilgrim

Irvin Lara shares the story of his marriage, its tragic ending and the process of healing and growth.  

Meeting My Wife

I was raised in a Christian home but I wasn't always a Christian. I accepted Christ at the age of 16 or 17, but was only baptized in 1996. I am now 37 years old. You do the math.  

Morvant Pentecostal, where I grew up, was always packed. You never knew everyone who was there. One day my cousin said, "You know what, I know somebody to set you up with! Her name is Candace." I responded, "You know I don't like set ups!" and left it at that. Some days later the young people from church were going to hike over Maracas. That morning my twin sisters introduced me to Candace. Now that I had met her I started seeing her at church every Sunday! One Old Year's Night my mum, who knew her, came across and said, "I'll get my son to drop you home." 

Over time we became friends. One afternoon we were going around the savannah and, just to keep talking with her, I asked if she wanted to go to the zoo. While we were there I asked, "What would you think about a relationship between us?" And she said, "Yes!" I was surprised because I didn't realise that she had been praying about this before. She was a very prayerful person. When she said yes, I realised that I had made that step before I did what I was supposed to do. So at that point we both sought the Lord to see if this was a relationship we should go into. 

After two years of courting we decided to get married. It had taken me that length of time to get more serious with God. Candace had been saved when she was nine. She was worship leader, a Sunday School teacher and involved with counseling. Through her I got closer to Christ. Sometimes as believers, we pray about a situation and want a particular outcome, so we act before God really answers. Neither of us wanted this to happen. But even when we knew that this was God's will for us, there were issues.  

Family Feud

At one point in time my family began to feel like I was neglecting them for my fiancée. Work also became really hectic and in reality I wasn't spending time with her or my family. When she spoke to me about how little we had been seeing each other, I took the next day off from work to pray about the situation. The following evening I wrote a resignation letter. When I told her what I had done, she was in shock. I said, "Look, I'm trusting God because I went to Him before I made the decision. If I'm saying that I need you as my wife, then I need to do what it takes." Everyone in our families thought I was crazy, but I wasn't afraid, even though I had to give up two of the cars I was using in my business. I worked taxi and did contract work for the six months before we got married.  

In my three to four years of marriage I never had an argument with my wife. I thank God because He allowed us to go through what we did before marriage, to know that we could get through anything afterward. And I'll tell you something: nothing works without prayer and fasting.  

Learning to love

My father is my mentor. Right up to my mother's death from cancer last Christmas Eve, I've always admired the way he treated his wife and family. And he is not saved. So I said, "I want to do greater!" One time Candace was sick. That week I said, "Girl I will handle everything." Saturday came and I was washing, mowing the lawn and cooking, all at the same time. When she was well, you know that lady went up and testified about it in church!

I remember at my bachelor party some of the brethren asked what stood out for me in Candace and I said, "Believe it or not, I like her toes." Everybody started laughing but then I explained to them that you don't build a house from the roof down. You start at the foundation. I saw the foundation her parents and she herself put into being a virtuous woman. I saw the Bible, the values, what she stood for and disapproved of. She was not a girl. She was a woman of substance. Her mannerisms, the way she dressed, the way she carried herself - all captivated me. Yes she was a beautiful lady, but I had to go in-depth to see not just the outward appearance but her inner beauty.  

A New Life

Thankfully the relationship between our two families got better after we were married. That's really when the healing began. When we found out that she was pregnant, there was rejoicing down the line! After an ultrasound, they told us that we were having a boy and even though I wanted a girl, I was happy. Because of a former medical condition, they advised us to have the baby at Mt. Hope Hospital. I arranged for a nurse - the wife of a deacon in our church - to be at her side throughout the delivery. She had the baby by Caesarian in December 2002. To everyone's surprise, it turned out to be a baby girl. They teased me about getting my heart's desire.   

I went in to see my wife. When she had an operation while we were courting, I was the first person she saw when she opened her eyes. And this time it was the same. She smiled and said, "You will never leave my side eh boy?" We chatted and they brought the baby in and put her next to her mother because she couldn't lift her. My sister-in-law took her picture even though my wife didn't think she was looking too good at the time! In that picture we got part of my wife's face and the baby and then a nurse stopped us. This is the only picture I have of the two of them.  

Shocking News

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Comments

2009-10-05
Ann Ross

Awesome testimony my brother. What a firm foundation! Thank you.

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Life In The Windies



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