Meeting new friends; Mourning the loss of old friendships; Friends for a reason, season, lifetime; Toxic relationships; Bible friendships; Social Media

Pick Up Your Mat

Then Jesus said…, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

John 5:8 (NIV)

And just like that—one of my closest friends stepped out of my life.

I thought I would be the only widow to say that until I heard it from about a zillion other widows—many here on our pages.

The break happened years ago, and I can happily say she and I have reconciled and forgiven each other. Who knows if we’ll ever restore the trust we had before, but at least we’re able to laugh and share memories.

But those feelings of betrayal and abandonment–goodness, they hit me like a second grief.  I stopped everything and cried my eyes out while she went on with her happy life, surrounded by her entourage of friends I no longer had time to hang with.  While she held her girls-night-outings without me, I was busy raising my boys by myself. At the time I didn’t know why it bothered me—it wasn’t like I had time to socialize anyway.

On the other hand, I now know why it bothered me–old scars from high school.  I was one of those independent types who wondered why I seemed to avoid the deemed “in-crowd” while my sister pranced about in her cheerleading outfit–near the center of attention from that same crowd. I would have been fine with my own nature, academics, if it weren’t for subtle comparisons made between us by well-meaning folks. It takes time and maturity to see standing apart from the crowd as a good thing. Seeing it now doesn’t erase the memory of that feeling I had as a girl wondering why I simply didn’t run with the popular crowd like my sister did.

That feeling got triggered many times during those early days as a single mom. Without a social life and without a husband to boost my confidence, I would sit and mutter over my queen-bee friend’s abandonment.  How dare she?  Why do I care? Why can’t I be the queen-bee? Why does being the lonely widow feel like the one who chose not to hang with the cheerleaders?

When you’ve been kicked in the shins and you’re down and lonely, you start to think and reflect.  Sometimes Satan has a heyday with that thinking and you come up with some ridiculous notion that you’ll always be stuck with whatever hardship life threw at you as a child.

I was taking those feelings of the academic kid not hanging with the popular crowd and applying it to the single mom not running about with my queen-bee’s friends crowd.

This is called victim mentality, and the enemy loves digging this knife in you.  You’ll twist about, taking that pattern of whatever seems to have happened yet again and applying it to every example in your life you can think about.

Unless you pick up your mat and walk.

When Jesus heeled a paralyzed man, he didn’t dwell on why he was paralyzed.  He didn’t have the man lay on the mat for a while and reflect on how much it hurt.  He commanded the man to pick up the mat and walk.

And that’s exactly how I was able to forgive and redeem at least a light friendship with my queen-bee friend. I stopped laying on my “mat” of abandonment and sorrow. My friend did something unkind, but I didn’t need to be unkind back. I could even forgive.  And I could get up and start anew.  Once I freed myself from any bitterness, I could even relax and enjoy her.  I choose not to engage too much with her because I’ve learned where her limits are. And besides, since then I’ve made many new friends who are far more faithful and trustworthy.

Be healed. Walk healed. Christ calls us to be redeemed.  To be born again. To begin anew.

Staring at your mat only holds you back.

Abba Father,

All it takes is a word from You, and the widow reading this can be healed.  Point her forward, not backwards.  Show her what You have in store for her, and give her the healing and strength to pick up her mat and walk.  Amen


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

If you are interested in having our team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Into the Great Unknown   Finding Your Pearl   Blended and Bonded

The Ornament Without a Hook

…falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:60 (ESV)

As we hung our ornaments on the tree, I studied one of my favorites, a figurine of baby Jesus marked with the shadow of a cross. That ornament always reminds me that even from infancy, Jesus was marked to become a sacrificial lamb.

I chose a dignified position on the tree for my treasure and discovered the hook on the top of this ornament had fallen off. I scrambled through the box and rummaged through my garage for hooks or wires. Finally I laid the ornament on the table.

As the other ornaments one-by-one found their places on the tree, I almost imagined that piece feeling lost and uncertain on the table.

Tom had some of those “ornaments” in his life. People who loved him dearly and had their own stories with him. Each story was a kind of a hook to him.  Sometimes the “hook” that kept them connected with him involved an unresolved problem that caused him struggles with them. Struggles he willingly endured because he loved them, encouraged them, and hoped that time would bring healing between them.

But time wasn’t given.

In the wake of his death, these precious loved ones had double the scars—the loss of Tom and the loss of any opportunity for closure other than in their hearts.  Tom was no longer available to work through whatever needed to be worked through.

And for a while, it seemed  whatever couldn’t be worked out with him was taken up with me. Sometimes the widow becomes the physical representation of the loss, and therefore, a target.

ornament

Are you struggling with misplaced hostilities during the holidays? It’s not easy when you are already struggling to get through the season with grief.  How do you handle it?

I’ve asked this question before while frustrated, and heard the Lord speak His answer in my heart loudly and clearly:

Forgive.

But this season is difficult enough to handle while grieving!

Again–same answer:  Forgive.

But they do it again! Must I be subjected to offense over and over?

Jesus tells us to forgive your brother seventy times seven times.  He forgave his attackers as He was dying on the cross. And if you think He gave Himself as He spoke forgiving words only as an ideal example, think again. Stephen, in the early church, was as human as you or I. And as he was being stoned to death, his last words held compassion for his attackers.  “…falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:6 ESV).

Ask the loved ones around you to remember the tough walk you are on during this season.  Then take extra compassion and care when it comes to dealing with their behaviors.

Forgive and maintain healthy boundaries with those who no longer have your husband to hook their troubles on. Tune in next week when I’ll offer suggestions for setting boundaries and keeping these relations in your life without letting them turn into “grinches” who steal your Christmas.

Lord Father, please remind my dear sisters on this widow journey that when You say Peace to All Men– you meant to all widows as well.  Give her Your love and confidence so that she can identify where to set boundaries and how to be understanding of the grief in those around her who may not be on their best behaviors.  Amen.

Kit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Would you like to read more about Christmas or Friendship?  Here are some articles you might try:

Friendship and Loss: Her Perspective by Kit Hinkle

Friendships by Erica Graham