Love for the Bereaved

Losing a loved one is nothing shy of being punched in the face. By someone bigger than you. Repeatedly. It’s a pain that strikes fast and hard and weighs heavy. Under the wrong circumstances, it can weigh a person down like an anchor and drag them to the depths of the bottomless ocean that is grief. In years past, I would have said that only “time” could heal the scar left by the death of a loved one. I know now, that while it certainly takes time, it also requires an insurmountable amount of Love and just as much Faith.

I met Armina in the summer of 2012. We worked for the same company, and coincidentally had a mutual friend. It was only a few months later that Armina told me that she wasn’t happy in California and that she and her husband: Kenny; would be relocating back to Philadelphia. I was a little shocked, but I wished her well and told her to stay in contact. We were soon Facebook friends, able to interact from a cyber distance. I don’t know exactly how long after we became Facebook friends, that Armina’s Facebook took me by surprise. I hadn’t been stalking her well enough and was confused by what I was seeing. It appeared that she was in grief, someone had passed away. I clicked onto her page directly and was immediately crushed by what I was reading. It brought tears to my eyes and I sobbed as I scrolled her timeline. Armina’s husband had died. Three weeks prior. I was devastated. I was devastated for her. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or how I was supposed to respond.

Armina is a woman of faith. A Godly woman; who reads and follows the Good Book to the best of her ability. Each week after her husband passed away, Armina wrote a very eloquent homage to her husband, to her pain, about her Journey into and through grief. I am certain that her unabashed love for God himself manifested itself in her weekly updates. Sometimes it hurt to read, but it was insightful, inspiring, and lovely. With her permission I will share a post or two so that can read for yourself just how amazing she is.

• Armina Johnson
January 08, 2013 • Philadelphia, PA
It’s been one week since I lost the love of my heart. My heart is bleeding but I find comfort in God and his tender love for me. I have been blessed by so many ppl who have been by to sit with me for a while, bring me food, do my laundry, make sure I fall asleep and have been in the same spot when I wake. Have bought groceries for my fridge, and brought ingredients and cooked while talking to me about how much they loved Ken McElveen and the great memories that [they] have of him. These days are hard because I have come to the realization that he is truly asleep in the Lord and that this is not a dream. I have read all of your condolences over and over. I want to thank you all for such kind words of encouragement. I am asking that you continue to pray for me and my family. It is not easy loving a husband, son, brother and friend. Ken was loved by EVERYONE who knew him. Be blessed…

• Armina Johnson
February 18, 2013 • Blue Bell, PA
Week 7- Not getting better but placing my hand in the Master’s hand as I express how angry I am with Him. As I take a walk through this journey, my emotions are occurring spontaneously, and sometimes two or three at the same time. I’m learning that whatever my emotions lead me to feel, it’s okay to feel how I’m feeling. I think there are several emotions that I’m going to go through that are beyond my control. — with Ken McElveen.

• Armina Johnson
February 28, 2013 • Norristown, PA
Woke up this morning with a heavy heart. Going through grief is like going through a tunnel. The bad news is the tunnel is dark. I can appreciate that the good news is that once you enter into that tunnel, you are already on your way out. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:2). How long, Lord, how long? This tunnel is so dark. My prayer today is for God to show me His light.

• Armina Johnson
March 6, 2013 • Norristown, PA
“Just give it time,” people say. That is misleading. Time alone will not heal my grief. God is the source of all healing. Making the decision to remain close to Him despite my emotional struggles is critical in my journey. Are you still praying with me? “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).

• Armina Johnson
March 25, 2013 • Norristown, PA
Week 12: In the 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul said he felt great pressure and confusion, but God set a limit as to how far this would go: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). 12 weeks late…the pressure continues to seems unbearable at times but it has not crushed me. I am utterly confused and overwhelmed, but I have not given up. My distress is constant, but so is God. I have been forcefully struck down, but I am not destroyed. Keep praying. — with Ken McElveen.

• Armina Johnson
May 20, 2013 • Philadelphia, PA
Week 20: Ken McElveen This has been an AMAZING week thus far in this process. Seven straight days with constant HAPPINESS. However, depression is real and is a part of the process of grief. It is a normal feeling in a chaotic situation. Knowing when to seek help is key.

I understand that therapy is not for everyone but we have to, at some point, come to grips [when] this feeling is too much and I need to share it with someone. If one’s depression persists for months and becomes a way of life, it is no longer normal grieving. You do not have to live with this. If it goes on and on, get help. Talk to a Christian counselor or your pastor or a doctor. This type of depression is what doctors would call clinical depression, and there is help for that.

Dr. Ray Pritchard says, “Don’t give up. Pick up the phone. Call a friend. If that friend can’t help you, call another friend. If the people at one church cannot help you, call another Christian church.” Take action to find help for your depression. And if that fails, try again.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Father, it is only by Your grace that I can stand through this trial. Open the doors of help for me and strengthen me to walk through them. Amen.

Don’t you want to just hug her? Having shared that, it’s imperative that you understand that Armina took a very deliberate approach to dealing with the loss of her husband. She felt her feelings, she shared her feelings, and she made no excuses for her bad days. She walked her walk and invited all of us to hold her hand. I was so very appreciative, but more, I was amazed. And through it all, she never took her eye off the Lord. Her Love of the Lord reigned supreme. At a time when most people question and forsake the Lord, Armina held fast and strong. A most commendable gesture, indeed. The kicker is that she meant it. She wasn’t going through the motions, or adhering to what she thought she was supposed to do. God is her Savior, and she held on to Him in her time of need. He didn’t let her down.

Someone else was equally amazed with her and his name is Evince. From their introduction, Evince was aware of Armina’s emotional state and he gave her what she needed. Whether it was an ear to bend, a hug to support her, words of encouragement or space; if she asked for it, he gave it to her. Their relationship started with a date to Cracker Barrel and has blossomed into a beautiful romance. Their courtship grew and matured before our Facebook eyes as it appeared that he not only swept her off her feet, but that she was open, receptive, and accepting.

• Armina Johnson
May 21, 2014
I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.— with Evince Domingue.

• Armina Johnson
May 29, 2014
Good morning. I am Armina. I am not “the woman who lost her husband.” I refuse to allow my situation to determine”WHO” I am. Enjoy your day FB. ‪#‎100daysofhappiness‬

In September of 2014 Evince surprised Armina with a marriage proposal in front of close friends and family. Armina and Evince are now engaged and due to marry in August of this year!  What a testimony!!

• Armina Johnson
September 21, 2014
A few days ago my mom: Jontarr, challenged me to 3 days of thanksgiving…on the last day of the challenge, he asked and I said YES!— with Evince Domingue and 13 others.

Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo.
Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo.
You, Rolanda, Imelda, Kenya and 325 others like this.

• Armina Johnson
September 22, 2014
Good morning. When I woke this morning, I had to triple check my finger. It seemed like a fairy tale that ends well. I was so over joyed to wake up to all these well wishes(and they are still coming). Thank you all for the warm wishes and your continue support. We are elated! Looking fwd to every moment. Our God is hmm hmm good. ‪#‎wontHedoit‬ ‪#‎prayerworks‬ ‪#‎thereishopefortheweary‬ ‪#‎Helovesmeenoughtoblessme‬ ‪#‎teamdj2015‬

Armina and Evince Forward

• Armina Johnson
November 27, 2014 • Philadelphia, PA
Good morning. If it is not a daily practice to express your gratitude, let today be the start of something new. I am a witness that it will change your life. Be safe today, and enjoy great fellowship with family and friends. IF you have nowhere to go today…let me know…we have plenty of food and love to share…NY see you soon.

Armina and Evince Future

• Armina Johnson
December 25, 2014
It’s been a bumpy road this week. Evince Domingue I am the pen and you are the highlighter. I draw the world, you make it brighter…Thanks for being my BFF and making my world brighter. ‪#‎iamcornyinlovewithhim‬‪ #‎teamdj2015‬ ‪#‎dare2loveIdid

imageArmina and Evince Stuntin
If you’ve never stepped out on faith, take it from me, now is the time to do it. if you’ve never believed, never trusted or never felt the hand of God in your life, now is the time to change your thoughts and feel His power. If He can do all of this for Armina, He can do it for you too. And if you need a bit of inspiration, read over Armina’s Facebook posts and see for yourself that she not only kept her eye on the Lord, she continued to remind us all to be blessed, to be grateful, and thankful. And she always wished us well.
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Armina, you are a walking testament to the mercy and power of the Lord! I know you don’t need to hear it from me to know, but honey, YOU. ARE. BLESSED. Thank you for blessing me with your friendship, your vision for our coincidental futures, and most importantly, thank you for entrusting me with your beautiful story. Congratulations on having the will to share, the power to struggle through, the discernment to open and receptive to God and His love allowing Evince and his love into your life and heart. Cheers!!! To a scintillating future.
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4 thoughts on “Love for the Bereaved

  1. God is so faithful and so good. A friend recommended this post because it encouraged her so. Thank you for sharing your faith, your testimony, your hope, and your honesty. All glory, honor, power, and praise truly goes to Jesus! Blessings! Happy New Year!

    • You are so right, Celita. God is so faithful and so good. I am so elated that you and your confidant found encouragement in my words. I merely relayed the grace and tenacity within my friend’s most beautiful story. It is she, who has shown us all that faith in God and Jesus is paramount, at all times. Thank you for stopping by.

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