Overcoming Life's Challenges: A Widow's Testimony - Christian Grief Book By Kenyan Author Rahab Gatura

Overcoming Life’s Challenges | Chapter 5: Forgiveness

The devil is a liar. As God was making a way for me, the enemy was not happy.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV

I had a friend who was well known to some of my in-laws. She regularly came to our house after we buried my husband to reveal what my in-laws were saying about me. Every time she visited, I would be left devastated.

Widows have to be careful with friends or relatives who pretend to care for them by telling them what their in-laws are saying about them, which in most cases is negative. When you are bereaved, you are emotionally vulnerable and negative talk makes it worse.

One day I prayed to God to stop her from coming to my house. Since I could not tell her directly, I told God to separate us. I stood at the gate of my house when my children were sleeping and I told God to block that friend from coming to my house. I went to the main door to my house and said the same prayer.

I could not tell my children some of the challenges I was going through because I did not want them to lose hope or hate people.

Be careful what you pray for. God separated me with this friend for five years yet we were all living in Nairobi. We never even met on the road.

After five years, the Spirit of God told me I had to forgive this friend. He showed me all the great and mighty things He had done in my life since the death of my husband. I had no reason to hold onto any grudges I had. I thank God for His love and mercy. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. Just as He forgave us, we too must forgive others.

Forgiveness is a very sensitive and difficult topic. However, when you surrender to God, He is able to give you the power to forgive.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

The word of God is very powerful. After much prayer, I decided to visit this particular friend. She was shocked to see me. I hugged her and we both cried. I told her why I had come and she was very receptive. From that day, we became very good friends.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Ephesians 1:7 NIV

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Romans 3:23 NIV

The Lord gave me the grace to forgive those people I felt were not good to me after my husband’s death.

Widowhood without forgiveness can lead you to death. There are so many forces against you. Many widows have died after their husbands, simply because they could not forgive, leading to illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, cancer and depression.

Many in-laws and friends cause havoc to widows. The only way to overcome this challenge is to surrender everything to God and forgive.

Love those who hate you and you will see God’s faithfulness in your life and that of your children. Some people known to me, including my relatives, find me crazy because of my ability to forgive. Some think it is foolish. There is no one I cannot forgive. I have experienced God’s love and mercy upon my life.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

You cannot experience the grace of God without forgiveness. I thank God for delivering me from the spirit of unforgiveness. I have learnt to forgive over and over again. God cannot answer our prayers when we cannot forgive those who have wronged us.

Over the years, as I have continued to heal, I have learnt that one of the major challenges facing widows is bitterness. Forgiveness is not an instant action. You have to seek God and obey His instructions.

Forgiveness is the key to unlocking God’s miracle power.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Widows are very special to God and I am one of them. God expects us to live holy lives. To serve Him in truth and in spirit. I don’t think I would have survived as a widow if I did not have a close relationship with the Lord. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. He is all I have. My life and that of my children depends on Him. I cannot make it without God.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Psalm 37:25 NIV

There is a song called “TRY JESUS” by the Booth Brothers.

If you ever need a friend closer than your brother, try Jesus And if you ever need a counselor better than your mother, try Jesus

And if you ever need a someone to draw you closer to the Father, try Jesus

And if you ever need a hand to help you step out on the water, try Jesus He alone knows your condition, He alone knows your heart’s intention If you ever needed someone to lay down their life for you, try Jesus

If you ever need a healer when the doctor walks away, Friend, try Jesus And if you never thought you’d have the strength to face another day, try Jesus

If you ever needed someone to walk with you to the end, try My Jesus And if you ever need to hear the words “I forgive you” again, try Jesus Try Jesus, He never fails

Try Jesus when the doubts assail

Try Jesus, He never fails

If you ever need a friend, try Jesus.


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 NIV

I have ministered to many widows and the main emphasis of my message to them is living a holy life and forgiveness. Those who have taken my advice have testified of the many miracles God has performed in their lives after forgiving those who had hurt them.

I once preached forgiveness to widows in my church and I requested those who had severed relationships with their in-laws to visit them. I advised them to use occasions like the Christmas holidays to show love and make sure they go with their children. The main connection between you and your in-laws once your husband is dead is your children. Your children belong to you and your late husband. It is important to remember that while your husband died, your children still have the blood of his family.

I also advised the ladies to go with a kikapu (basket with gifts/home shopping) as it is a tradition in our culture. The value of the kikapu does not matter. What is important is the motive behind it, which should be sincere.

One of the widows took my advice and visited her in-laws that Christmas. She had not seen them since the day she buried her husband several years prior due to some disagreement. Her in-laws were very happy to see her and the children who were now grown up. They told her that they had been waiting for her for so long because they wanted to transfer to her name five acres of land which they intended to give their son before he died. She returned to Nairobi as a land owner all because of forgiveness. Her children were also able to restore a good relationship with their father’s relatives.

With God all things are possible. God commands us to forgive. It is not a choice.

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV

If you are reading this book and you have not forgiven those who hurt you, I have one special request: please STOP, kneel down and ask God to give you the grace to forgive. God is able. Surrender to Him and you will see what He will do.

In my context, I decided to continue doing what my husband was doing for his mother. Every Christmas holiday, I would take the children upcountry to visit her. The sight of my children would make my mother- in-law break into tears every time. I clearly understood her grief. My children reminded her of her baby, their father. She was also very concerned with their academic performance, and it was always a great joy for her when I updated her on their good performance.

I remember when Carol, who is named after her, was admitted to one of the best high schools in Nyeri County, Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls. My mother-in-law danced and sang thanking God for His faithfulness. She liked this school very much because three of her daughters were Ngandu alumni.

It is important for widows to understand that the people who experience the great loss of your husband are you, your children and his family. Therefore, no matter how difficult in-laws can be, especially mothers-in-law, just embrace them.

Your mother in-law has to deal with the pain of losing her own child. I always ask widows to think for a moment how they would feel if one of their children died. This ought to give you grace to forgive your in-laws.

Whatever the situation, sow love where there is none. God is love. Without surrendering to God, this is a tall order.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:8-12 NIV


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