Just the Right Portion

Posted: June 26, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,


It’s been 2 and a half years since I had my husband by my side. With Patrick, I had a life partner who shared the responsibilities, burdens, and daily grind of life. Likewise, we also shared smiles, laughter and joy. As each year of our marriage progressed, our history become more combined as a couple which made our single lives before marriage less and less significant. Essentially, as our oneness grew, we couldn’t really remember life without the other. I was 23 when we married. Yes I had a life and a personality before Patrick, along with some very good memories, but the majority of my life has been with him by my side. I am who I am in large part due to our years spent together. Although to some it may seem it’s been a long time since Patrick died, it’s really quite short compared to the length of time we were married.

Without Patrick, life has lost a lot of its color; I so miss his laughter, perspective, leadership and even having disagreements. What I wouldn’t do to have him here to try to convince I’m right about something. Funny, now looking back, it never bothered him if we didn’t see eye to eye on a topic, but it drove me crazy! I was the one trying to persuade him to agree with me 100%. He would laugh and say it’s fine we don’t agree on this, but I never gave up trying. Even in that, I see that once again, he was right. I think when I see him in Heaven, one of the first things I’m going to tell him is that he was right about everything!

Recently in another low time in my grief, I found myself turning to one of my favorite passages in Lamentations 3. As I was reading and praying through the chapter, my eyes kept going back to verse 24. “The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”

I like to pray verses out loud, so the process went something like this:

Reading the verse backwards, I said: “I will hope in the Lord because He is my portion.”

I wondered: “What exactly does “portion” mean? If I’m putting my hope in it, I really should know.”

So I googled the word and found several Old Testament references where it’s used. I looked them up, wrote them out and read some online commentaries. What I discovered was fascinating.

Originally, the word was used when the Lord was telling Aaron how the tribe of Levites was going to be treated differently than the rest of the Israeli tribes. While the other 11 tribes were given specific pieces of property wherein to raise their families and support themselves, the Levites were not given any land. They were in full time service to the Lord, which meant they worked in the tabernacle. They were not given an inheritance with land, but instead were to trust the Lord to provide for them regularly. God would use other means to have their needs met.

Essentially, God was telling Aaron that the Levites’ inheritance was Himself and He would be their portion and they would have Him (God) provide their needs in every way.

Several times throughout the book of Psalms, the word portion is also used. The various authors in Psalms often cry out in anguish to God about their problems, but then they come back and state something true about God’s character. It’s like our mind telling ourselves to see the positive in an otherwise negative situation. Except this isn’t just the power of positive thinking. It’s so much more when it’s based on God and His Word.

For example, in Psalm 16:5, the author states, “the Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” Again, in reference to an inheritance, he knows that he is choosing his inheritance to be God and not what the world offers. It is enough to have the Lord’s favor and comfort, regardless of the difficulties this life brings. This earth is neither my final home nor where I was created to be forever.

Probably one of the most famous uses of this word is found in Psalm 73:26, which reads, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” In the early parts of this chapter, the author is bemoaning about how much better everyone else has it than he does. He feels like following God has not benefited him at all. However, he changes his tune in verse 16 when he begins to remember that here on earth the whole story won’t be told. The end of those who don’t follow God is not the same as those who do. Verse 26 may be the climax of the text when the author basically sighs and admits that regardless of how weak his flesh is, God is his strength and portion.

As I contemplated this, I realize it’s the same for me today as it was in the OT days. God gives me just what I need when I need it. It’s not about tangible blessings or a carefree life. It’s about looking to Him to fill the void that is innate to all of us. He is the only inheritance that we need.

In the past few months, I’ve made some bigger decisions that have solidified my singlehood. I am no longer part of a couple and I can’t function like I am. Life is different. I am moving forward, even though it’s far from easy. Even in the joys, there is a constant ache. I will always be wishing Patrick were here to share life with, especially when it comes to our children and watching them continue to grow into adulthood. It’s strange how I miss my husband every day, but special occasions heighten the awareness. The entire week of our wedding anniversary, I was acutely aware of my loneliness. Longing for what I had lost and wondering how I will ever survive on my own.

Once again, I found myself starving for more of the Lord. Once again, I was on my knees sobbing and pouring out my heart to Him. Once again, the Word was the only thing that would satisfy.

And once again, He came through…with just the right portion…of Himself!

I can’t put my hope in my circumstances changing. Being impatient with the grief process doesn’t help at all. There’s no way to go back to my previous life and I shouldn’t worry about my future. All I need to focus on is right now, this moment, and how God is taking care of me. I have everything I need in Him and I trust Him implicitly with my life.

Psalm 119:57 “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.”

By the way, next month at this time I will be on my mission trip to Hungary. I am so thankful that all my funds came in! I am now working hard at preparing lesson plans for adult advanced ESL learners. If you think about it, please pray for me July 22 – August 4th. Pray I will adjust well to the time difference and be open to whatever opportunities God has for me.


  1. kgeshay says:

    I love watching your journey thru your grief. I hate that you hurt but love seeing you learn and grow through it all. It’s great to be right where God wants us to be-even though we don’t always want to be there. You are an inspiration, Dena. Patrick’s life, death and your journey have fingers that reach to all corners of this world. Love you!

  2. Joy Root says:

    I always benefit from your posts…also serves as a good way to pray for you. You’ll always be one of my special cheerleaders!

  3. mrsdziurman says:

    I think your writing helps so many people that you don’t even know about. The grief and joy you express in your writing undoubtedly touches many lives. Definitely keep the writing coming; the comfort that you must feel from the words touches others as well. ❤

  4. Sherry Boyle says:

    You write so eloquently and from the heart. Thank you for the instruction about God being our portion. I’m currently reading Psalms in my study Bible, so your post is especially helpful to me. I will be praying for you on your trip. The starting and ending dates are significant ones for me and family members, so they are easy to remember! May God continue to bless you and keep you in His care.

  5. Amy Hudson says:

    Dena Just wanted to tell you what a gifted writer you are! I so enjoy reading your posts and want you to know the Lord is using your words to Rory in my life and speak to me. Thank you for that and for being so willing to share your experience and be so honest. Sending love to you and will be thinking of you and praying for a successful mission trip. Amy

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Amy Ayers says:

    When you publish your journal, I’d like a copy. These thoughts are SO helpful to me and would benefit others as well. Will pray for you while you are on your trip,

  7. laurieeller says:

    You don’t know me but I have followed your blog for several years. My husband was the youth pastor at TCA in Fairfield Ohio (my home church), we met, fell in love and got married there while he was on staff. I found Patrick’s blog not through ALS but through a sermon he gave that was uploaded to you tube. The sermon where he uses the stools. Such fantastic stuff!

    You and your family have been in my prayers and I wish the very best for you. Your writings after Patrick’s home-going to me, have been the hardest. I have felt such sorrow but there’s absolutely no way I can even begin to understand the depths of the grief you’ve gone through since he passed.

    Please know there are those of us, people you may never meet, that love and care for you, and lift you up in prayer. Thank you for continuing to write from your heart. It is heard.

    With much love.
    Laurie Eller
    Versailles, Kentucky.

  8. Phyllis says:

    Dena, Peggy Tucker would like you to know how very much she enjoyed reading this blog. She didn’t know quite how to leave a reply, so I’m trying to deliver it for her.

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