How do you do Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years; Gratitude; Taking some from the old and adding new; Merging traditions; emotions surrounding these holidays and moving forward

Don’t Count the Years!

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
…Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
Psalm 90:12-16 (ESV)

Years ago I would see widows farther along in their journeys and think, Wow, they’ve had time to overcome and heal. But part of me would worry. This could be a long journey. I was right. Here I stand at nine years.

Nine years.

But who’s counting? Not me. I’d rather make each year count.

It begins by making the most of each day and appreciating the process of life again—that ebb and flow of managing your household, your job, or your children, if you have them.

Next time you say to yourself, oh, I am counting off another year, stop and remember to MAKE this year count using these four “MAKE” tips!

Mash that reset button on your thinking.

Ask God to help you see your life differently. No one’s life is just toil and pain. Purpose and beauty is revealed when seeing your world through His eyes! I have found the words in Psalm 90 perfect for reawakening my spirit for a new day.

Act on it!

Put action to those ideas you’ve always wanted to do. For example, I always wanted to change my fitness habits. But each time I set out to run the course I had laid out in my neighborhood, I’d get winded and emotionally give up. It wasn’t a lack of ability keeping me from running.  It was lack of will.

One day I simply did it. No excuses. I knew for my fitness level, it was possible. My longing for ease was keeping me from action.  Once I broke that barrier, I never looked back. Two months later I haven’t missed a day in my routine, and most days, I run the loop twice!  Action brings on a can-do attitude!

Kindle the right picture in your mind.

Imagine yourself in the process of enjoying your routine rather than the routine being done. I come from a business world full of ten-year and five-year plans all focused on the bottom line, so this doesn’t come naturally for me.  For years I would envision a perfectly clean home. But after rushing around with my kids and keeping up with ministry obligations, I’d look at the kitchen and get overwhelmed.  How different it looked than the vision in my mind.

This is how most New Year’s resolutions end up broken.  Psychologically, when you imagine your goal achieved, your brain has already won a reward of satisfaction for having put it out there.  Once the hard work begins, a normal reaction is to get overwhelmed and give up.

So I changed my thinking in regards to my kitchen. Rather than imagining a clean kitchen all the time, I kindled the picture in my mind of my cleaning the kitchen and enjoying it.  As I pulled into the neighborhood after a long day of errands, I put the idea of escaping into my bedroom out of my mind and replaced it with an image of my moving straight to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher and wipe the counters.  Very soon I was living that image daily and voila! My goal was met!

Energize yourself with evidence!

Evidence of God’s glory in my life becomes fuel for my next day. Rather than praying, “God make this day different,” I now praise Him and ask Him to let me loose on this planet for yet another day to change lives for His Glory!

Lord Father, help this sister remember You love her. Keep her energized and kicking up a storm in this world! Prompt her to make this and every year count!  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:

He IS Here

Decisiveness

Amazed, Anew

Blended and Bonded

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV) 

I often write about raising my four boys without their father.

Sometimes their episodes of grief shake me to the core, and I wonder how I’ll parent them through it, only to find I don’t need to know how—God walks me through the “how” every time.

Sometimes I want to hug every young widowed mother struggling to see hope in her children’s lives, and remind her of the power in letting God set her vision for her children’s future.

I write a lot about my boys because they are my purpose for now. I’m it for them—no other parent except their Heavenly Father. It’s up to me and Him to show them who their real Father is—God.

Occasionally I’ll write about my two children from Tom’s first marriage. Raising them in our home was one of the biggest honors in my life.

What a different grief journey it has been as their stepmother. These two live in other states, and emotional separations that often come with blended families add to our spotty connections.

As a grieving, healing mother of a passel of boys, I chose to hone in on the ones still there in my home while waiting for my older stepson and stepdaughter to heal over unresolved loyalties that often happen with children who endure their parents’ divorce.

This week, as I write, that healing is happening.

Tom’s six children reunited for the first time since they were small.

My older daughter (I recently decided to drop the step reference—after all, as children who grew up in my home, they are considered whole parts, not just step parts, of our family) asked me to bring us all together. This was a huge breakthrough for her, as she had been on an emotional roller coaster of love for me and anger over her losses.

You are not going to believe how that came about. Had you spoken with me years ago you would have found me wondering if we could ever restore any connection between our once-blended family. We didn’t have to.  God did it.  Unable to find answers for her anger and pain, she finally turned to a local church and began her walk with Christ.

And one place He led her was to bring back the family of her youth.

Now today we gather in a cute cabin on the teeny little resort island of Put-in-Bay in the middle of Lake Erie.

Can you imagine the joy this brings me? To see Tom’s six kids reunited?  God redeems everything, if you let Him.

I watch them frolic—like Tom did.  They are so alike! My grown son from Tom’s first marriage looks exactly like Tom, and very much like my youngest.  He and my college-aged son share their father’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for software development.  They spent an evening collaborating on ideas for their next projects.

We gathered at an island resort restaurant, watching their Cleveland team in the playoffs—my daughter laughing with my middle two sons.  She has their same lips—the full round lips of their father.  She also has their free spirit—that relaxed nature and quick wit.

With God’s love, blended families can keep blending, even when unexpected loss had once separated.  Healing does happen.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 not to allow the grudges between brothers go unresolved while you go offer gifts at His alter. Sometimes you go about life handling just what’s on your plate because it’s all you can do.  For years, I lived out my purpose in raising my four boys obediently, knowing that there were two more children who needed to be reconciled to these brothers.

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing our family full circle, and together.  May You bring that joy and connection to the young widowed mother reading this and to her children, whether just her own or from blended situations.  And may your love grow in my own six children and spread to my older children’s mother as she and her two children draw closer to each other and to You.  Amen.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was one of the original writers 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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. 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:

Child Whisperer

Triggers (Part Two)

He Calls Me His Own (an article about step-parenting and grief)

Garden Delight

 

They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8 NIV

I love to sit out on my patio doing a morning devotion and take in all the wonderful creations from God. I can see all the new growth on the trees, bulbs peeking up from the earth, and hear the birds singing melodic tunes through the air and the feeling evoked from all this “newness” is a happy, content feeling, that life is just good.

Since we have moved to our new home, we have been so busy fixing things and trying to organize box after box that I haven’t had time to think about the state of our yard much. My daughter has been faithfully nagging me about our garden. At our “old” house, we gardened together all the time. We planted sunflower seeds each fall and we wrote out the word “LOVE” for Christmas in impatiens. I love to garden with her. She notices all the little things that I sometimes take for granted. The sprout of carrot that is just barely peeking through the soil. The tiny worm wiggling around and helping our plants get “really big.” So, after a few weeks of hearing her wishing about our new garden, we went shopping. We decided to tackle a small veggie and herb garden first.

We hit the store and got all the veggies and herbs that we liked the best and a few for brother too. We prepped our soil. We made sure all the rocks were gone and we added in a really nice brick border. We carefully mapped out our plan and then we started putting in our plants and seeds. Sheer delight was across both of our faces as we stood back and enjoyed our hard work after giving our new garden a good, long drink of cool water.

The next morning, she was the first one up and headed out to see how things were “growing.” She watered everything again. She informed me that things were looking good and I needed to be patient. God would take care of it for us.

She was right. Within a few short days our green beans peeked out along with some lettuce, carrots and cucumbers. The tomatoes and herbs were happily stretching up toward the warm sun as well.

It has now been a little while since we planted our garden and blooms are everywhere. We have blossoms on our peppers, blueberries, cucumbers and beans. Our tomatoes have nice green fruit on almost every branch. We can’t wait to partake.

We are all like the seeds or small plantings that we so carefully took care of and watched over. We need to be sure that our “roots” remain close to God and planted in good soil (His Word) so that we will have a firm and deep foundation when the thunderstorms come our way.

I think of our tears as the rain water that the plants need for growth.

It says in Revelations that He will wipe every tear from us. He knows our sorrow. He understands our sorrow. He allows those tears to flow as part of the healing and growth that we need to keep drawing ourselves closer to Him.

I think of the fertilizer used to help bring some strength and extra nutrients to the new growth and plants as our friends. Those people who have come along side of us and prayed with us. Held our hands. Brought us meals. Provided for us monetarily or through gifts. Those who have just sat and listened with us or offered that hug or smile that we desperately craved in those long, lonely days, weeks or months.

And finally the sun. Plants need the sun for warmth and growth and quite frankly, we need the Son, for the exact same reasons. The Son comforts us in those deep, dark valleys and reminds us that the Sonlight, ALWAYS overcomes the darkness. The Son helps us grow in our faith and in our beliefs that there is more to this life here on earth. The Son makes us look up. In order to see that goodness and feel that warmth, our faces need to be turned to Him, just like the leaves in our garden.

My prayer is that you will plant your roots deep in His Word. Cry the tears of healing and growth whenever you need to. Reach out to your friends and allow them to be the fertilizer that you need them to be. But, most importantly, don’t take your eyes off of the Son. He’s always “tending” to you, whether you feel Him or not, He’s our ultimate gardener.