healing; dating; learning to love again; putting away fears; stepping out on faith; Spring is here, why am I still blue?

Secret to Joy

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

James 4:14 (ESV)

I stood gripping the edge of the counter, steadying myself, the memory of Tom washing through me like a flash flood of warm splashes, both refreshing and threatening at the same time.

Refreshing, because Tom exuded joy in his life—a twinkle in his eye and a keen sense of how to look at every moment and see the irony in it, the joy in it.

Threatening, because like Tom himself, I knew that immediacy of feeling the warmth of those moments would be lost when the cold hard reality would set in again—he’s gone.  He’s gone.

Life made a certain sense to Tom more so than it did to others, and anyone around him wanted that.

Even I.

It was his secret to joy. And most of us walking about on this earth don’t have it.

What was Tom’s secret?

Was it Christ? Yes, that was part of it—Tom sought after Christ like no one I had ever seen.

But it was more than that.  It was a wisdom—a sense that nothing on this planet is permanent, and that truth is okay. Because there is more. There is permanence in the next life.

When Tom finally chased after the Truth in the Gospels, he did so with this burning desire to understand, what’s next, God?  He had raised kids from his first marriage, and they were now grown.  He had started businesses, watched some grow, and watch some close down.  We had gone through ups and downs in our marriage.  And he would notice one thing…

It all eventually vanishes.

Children grow up and leave.  Businesses are never the same.  Friendships shift and people’s lives can change on a dime.  There’s got to be something more.

There is, and Tom found it.

When you know you are eternally safe with God, you can stop clutching on to this life, hoping the sands will stop shifting beneath your feet.  You will begin to just enjoy the ride of the shifting sands—enjoy that little toddler who is creating havoc in your home. Enjoy the brooding teen for who he is, a wonderful mixed up ball of hormonal creation whom God placed in your care because He entrusted you. Enjoy each of these dinner dates in that crazy process called dating. Laugh at the moments when you discover incompatibilities, trusting that God has a plan for the rest of your life.

Grab hold of every moment with laughter and purpose.

Because each of us as widows have learned something.  Our precious husbands left this world too soon, and since then, our lives were never the same.  We’ve learned that everything changes in the end.

But we also know that our husbands still exist somewhere.  We have a connectedness in our souls, a relational memory of someone we know is behind that curtain we might call the gates of Heaven.

Like a window into Heaven.

It makes a tragic view of this world, a view that says, it all goes away in the end, okay.

Not just okay, but encouraging.

Because we can rise above the pain and sorrow of events around us, knowing Heaven awaits.

Lord Jesus, help us find Your perspective through our window into Heaven. Help us enjoy the ride of life and see more humor in each moment.  Teach us to grasp each moment and decide to impact those around us so they see a window into Heaven like the rest of us.


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:

Fill My Days with the Living

Daddyisms

Contentment as a Single Mom

 

Unexplainable Joy

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

1 Peter 1:8

How do I explain unexplainable joy?

It eases my pain.

It gives me strength to walk away every time something tries to take the place of God in my life.

Like when He gave me strength to say no to an insincere suitor. I felt a thousand angels trumpeting their horns as I chose genuine goodness over this man’s looks and prestige.

And when I closed the web browser before spending over my budget on designer clothes. At that moment I felt Him place on me a joyful royal robe. It was a peace more satisfying than any temporary buzz of the world’s acceptance.

Do know you can’t grab that joy yourself? When He decides to give it to you, He readies you for it.

It starts when you turn away from what the world has to offer and turn to Him for what He has to offer. Giving up the guy or the dress humbled my heart, making it ready to receive what the Scripture had to offer–a reminder that everything will be made right.

All of it. He’ll mend every broken heart, deal with every wrong and expose every lie.

Even my own.

Because I’m included in it all. When a friend lets me down, I forgive because He forgave me when I let Him down.

He will fix it all, heal it all, make it all whole. Knowing that brings me joy, and I need do nothing but rest in this unexplainable joy.

That joy didn’t just land in my heart. The Lord had to show it to me, and I had to accept it.

Years ago, even before I lost my husband, there was a time when I suffered a huge set back in life. My first husband was abandoning our marriage just as I was feeling pressure at work due to a corporate merger I had no control over. I felt shocked that my life had been flipped on its head.  Desperation set in as soon as the shock wore off. All I could ask was why me?

Others tried to share their stories of trusting God and feeling joy, but I wouldn’t listen. I thought, who wants to be one of those downtrodden people who had to ask for God’s comfort? I didn’t want comfort!  I wanted my old life back—the security and prestige.

I bumped and jostled through my self pity until it started to occur to me that sitting in self-pity for too long was everything but obedient to God, and wanting everything my way, the way it was before, was not accepting God’s will, and that was sin. Eventually my pride fell way, and I surrendered my self-pity, replacing it with hope. There had to be something better waiting out there than my old life.  With a new anticipation in my heart, I finally said it: “Give me what You have, Jesus—I WANT IT!”

Are you worn down by your loss?  Have you mourned for so long you don’t remember what it felt like to feel joy in your heart?  Can you reach back to that time as a child when you felt joy in your heart?

Do you want that now?

Then throw open your heart to Him.  Humble yourself.  Take what you’ve been using to replace God in your life and give it to Him. Let Him give you unexplainable joy.

Sometimes you feel like everything has been taken away from you. Maybe for you the word “everything” is reality. Maybe when you lost your husband, you also lost financial security, social networks and the leadership you needed for decision-making.

If you’ve lost what feels like everything, make HIM your everything!

In reality, He IS everything.  You can’t escape Him. You can only shrug Him off, and that hurts no one but you.

He wipes your tears. He can even find a way for your bills to be paid. He can bring you that fellowship when you need it.

And you need it. So ask for it.

That unexplainable joy.

Jesus,

If there is a sister out there stuck in her grief and has cried so many tears she doesn’t know how to get herself up, would You give her a peak at Your greatness to a point where she wants more of what she saw and begin demanding that unexplainable joy?  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 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:

Where’s your “brave”?

Why we Have Hope

Our Hope

Fake it Till You Make it? No!

aNew Season:  Your Heart

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Ephesians 6:16 (ESV)

“Fake it till you make it.”

This saying makes me cringe. It brings to mind beauty pageant contestants bearing plastic grins while high heels dig into blistered skin.

I like to be real with my feelings, and seriously, if something is hurting me, whether it’s the straps on unreasonably high heels or the pain of disappointment when a friend lets me down, I like to locate the source of the trouble and solve it.

It’s the word “Fake” that troubles me.  I would never encourage anyone to fake anything!

But what if the source of the pain is based on a lie? What if the anxiety you’re buried under–the belief  you’ve bought into, is in itself, a fake?  A counterfeit. Something being pitched at you by satan himself?  And what if you’re buying into it, hook, line, and, literally, sinker?

Paul tells the church at Ephesus to put on the armor of God to defend against the attacks of satan.  (Ephesians 6:16).  Christians in Ephesus had reason to feel attacked.  Before Christianity, Ephesus was known for the making and trading of silver idols. As more Ephesians put aside these silver idols for the one and only true God, silversmiths were losing business.

Paul wrote to these believers in Ephesus from his prison in Rome to encourage them to put on their shield of faith against satan’s flaming arrows.

Do these attacks come in the form of a direct whisper to your heart? Some think, as Paul suggests here, that satan operates through our situations to discourage us.

And we’re not talking about an uncomfortable pair of shoes.  We’re talking about huge pain in life–loss, insecurity, loneliness, betrayal.  When these arrows hit us, satan is waiting and hoping for us to believe lies.

  • I can’t do life without a husband.
  • I’ll never find companionship again.
  • I’ll never find joy in this life without him.

You know they are lies, but when you’re there in the valley, they feel real. I hope you don’t try  to “fake it till you make it”. You don’t have to because you know Truth.

  • You are cherished beyond the depths of love that your husband ever felt for you.
  • You are worthy – so worthy you are worth the most ultimate sacrifice.
  • Your worthiness has nothing to do with how pretty you are, how wealthy you are, how clean your house is, how well your kids are doing, or how quickly you’re able to rebound from the disaster that just struck down the life you had.

The Creator of the whole universe is all-perfect and all-knowing. He fashioned you exactly as He planned. He placed you here, knowing you would suffer. His Son suffered too. And He loves  you–faults and sins and all. In fact he lifts you high, washes you off with His love, with the sacrificial payment He paid by dying in your place.

He holds you high, and He holds you close. He makes you whole.

So you don’t “fake it till you make it”.  You be real.  You look at the Truth.  YOU. ARE. WORTHY. Not because you have done things to be worthy or you look worthy or your life looks worthy, but because He made you, and He washed you clean and placed you right where you are, to smile and shine and radiate Who He is!

And you may not feel like it. You’re lonely. Overwhelmed. In pain. But you know who you are.  You know the Truth.

So try this.

Don’t fake it till you make it. Act as if you feel what you already know to be true.

If you felt worthy.  If you felt cherished and loved and accepted and not alone.  If you had that adoring set of eyes following you from room to room saying, “Yeah, baby–she’s awesome!” or “I’m so glad to be spending every evening with you!” Wouldn’t you have a better skip in your step?

But you do.  You have God’s adoring love, and He is the Almighty. Few women are forced to deal with walking alone and leaning on the Lord to be her husband. But you are, so respond to that call.

Even if you don’t feel it, act as if you feel it. And it’s not faking, because it’s true–you have His adoring love. Get that kick back in your step. Act as if, and the truth will begin to take hold in your heart.

Lord Father, all of us go through our losses differently.  Many LOVE being motivated by ideas of how to move forward.  Others need time to just grieve and be loved on. Please help each sister find that point in her journey when she can know it’s time to step out in faith, using the shield of that faith to stop satan’s arrows of defeat. Amen.

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 dealing with anxiety? Try reading “A Bout with Doubt”. It’s a five part series, and if you struggle with trying to get yourself out of a pattern of discouraging thoughts day after day, please try reading it.  The five parts have an introduction, and four steps to fighting your self-doubt: recognizing habitual tears, observing the habit, replacing the habit with truth, and giving yourself freedom to grieve honestly. Reading through them might bring you something to help you bring yourself into brighter days.

 

Bad Days 3: Movie Makeover

On Sunday evenings this month, we’ve been walking through how to handle a bad day.  We first gave simple distractions that can sometimes help (read it here). But there are times when you need to ask God to redirect your heart. (read about that here).  Today, we lighten it up a bit and offer some suggestions to make you laugh. Sometimes the secret to eliminating bad days is learning to be comfortable with alone time.

You’ve turned it over to God, and you’ve done the hard work in your heart to work through what’s getting you down. Perhaps you’re needing a day of rest. Why not relax with a movie? Here are some from my collection! Curl up with these and you might find your heavy burdens lifted with the gift of laughter…

What’s Up Doc  –  This Barbara Streisand/Ryan O’Neil/Madeleine Kahn classic has no slow scenes—the comedy is brilliant, light, unexpected, and keeps you in stitches.  It’s the kind of movie you can watch over and over and it never gets old!  It’s the typical mix up of identical traveling cases (one with jewels, one with top secret spy papers, one with igneous rocks, and one with clothing), along with a quirky beautiful young woman who just loves to make life complicated for poor Howard Banister.  Try these links for clips that will make you smile.

Who’s really Eunice? 

Here’s Eunice! 

Party Scene with Mixed up Cases

The Best Chase Scene

Frazier – I like the episode where the whole cast is
in an RV in Canada, about to cross the border, when they realize that Daphne (from England) doesn’t have her papers to prove she’s allowed in the US.  They’re trying to cover up her obvious Brittishness, and all she can say to sound American is “Sure”.   Here’s a clip from the Frasier show

Seinfield’s Kramer.  Who can resist laughing at this guy?  Do you remember the scene when he went to the dentist? Or how about the episode where Elaine takes to the dance floor at a wedding reception with her horribly uncoordinated moves?

Singing in the Rain – You might still be sad, but watching Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Conner will at least bring momentary smiles while you’re recovering.  My favorite scene is this one, where Donald O’Conner tries to make Gene Kelly laugh.  I dare you to get through this performance without laughing!

The Party –  Peter Sellers at his best.  He plays a Hollywood awkward outcast who gets accidentally invited to a high society party.  If you’ve every enjoyed Seller’s way of showing comedy of errors, try watching the trailer – and see if it strikes you silly.

Viral Youtube Videos–  If you have’t already accidentally stumbled on these, check them out.  At least one of them might cross you as hysterical!

Mean Little Kitty.  With over sixty-nine million views, it must have some entertainment value! Watch this guy and his kitten, Sparta, bond like two little bad boys.

Baby’s Got Book.  Funny and sweet. It’ll make you feel good about reading the Word!

If you’re a mom who struggles with keeping the minivan presentable, this Mom My Ride video might just make you feel normal!

How about the happy rapping flight attendant from Southwest Airlines. Don’t you wish everyone could approach the routine business of life with such zest?

Did any of these at least get a smile out of you?  Let me know which one! Good entertainment can lift you on a bad day.

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 brightening your day?  Here are some articles you might try:

My Best Friend by Karen Emberlin

Be Aware of the Self Pity Pit by Guest Blogger Angela Key

Bad Days 2: When Nothing Works

aNew Season:  Your Heart

Last Sunday I started a conversation about dealing with those “bad days”.  You can read about it here. The way the world tells you to fix a bad day can fall short. When what’s bothering you goes deeper than any diversion can fix, it’s time to pull out the big guns against the enemy of joy.  It’s time to lean on the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes we try everything else and fail before getting to the end of ourselves and admitting we need Him.

I remember such a time several years after losing my husband.  I believed at the time that the kids and I were in a good place in our healing to allow for a move out of state.  I couldn’t wait! I love adventure and meeting new people. Nothing but hope and a fresh start seemed to await us. Then just before the move, new insights had me deciding to stay right where I was and instead, focus on keeping things status quo for the kids.

It was the right choice, but for weeks, this awful feeling of disappointment lingered around me, keeping me in a funk.

I tried to brighten my attitude by exercising, spending time with friends, and getting rewards out of setting goals for myself.  Still the cloud hovered.

Then, one morning, during my quiet time, I got real with God.  I was done bearing that physical ache in my soul, and I asked Him,  Can You remove it?  Can You just fill me with hope and joy and gratitude?

And that’s exactly what happened that morning. A surge of peace blew through me so instantaneously it knocked me to my knees and lifted the cloud that darkened my day.

That ache was gone.

Not minimized. Not set aside for the moment.

Gone.

Just moments earlier, and the entire day before that moment, I couldn’t shake the ache of disappointment. I had been believing a lie–that the move would have been a benefit to me worth the risk of what it might do to the kids.

It felt like a veil lifted. Even my home looked different to me. Rather than a lonely structure, my house suddenly looked like a beacon of refuge for my kids. Here in my house I can choose to show my kids how to walk their faith and know how much Christ loves us.  I realized how unbelievably blessed I really am, and my energy level soared—for real, because it was based on truth.  God’s truth!

Sisters, do you do this?  Do you actually ask God to change your attitudes and rework the agitations of your heart?  By His will, and by the power of His Holy Spirit, He will work in your heart so that it conforms with His will. You know that gnawing thought you feel about something? Don’t squirm under it. Give it to God and feel His healing so that you can finally be a peace and bully your bad day once and for all.

Here’s the prayer I used to ask God to show me His truth. I hope it inspires you to do the same!

Father God, I’m a wreck.  I don’t get it—I’m not always like this, but somehow I’ve gotten myself so focused on what I wanted to happen which didn’t.  I’ve taken my eyes off of You, and I’m feeling the result.  I’m so sorry.  I’ve tried everything to get this ache out of my heart—everything but ask for Your help.  Maybe I needed to do everything else first, just to begin this heartfelt prayer and really mean it.  But I do, Lord.  I sincerely want Your Holy Spirit guiding me, pulling me out of my wrong thinking, replenishing me with Truth.  You’re so good, Father God, and I know You love me.  Can you please just rid me of this awful obsession over what didn’t go right for me and put me on Your solid ground?   Amen.

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 feeling overwhelmed?  Here are some articles you might try:

I Needed a Hug by Linda Lint

Pressed by Julie Reed

 

Bad Days 1: Why Google Couldn’t Fix My Bad Day

aNew Season:  Definition of Family 

Try remembering something. An ache in your heart can sometimes be a lie from the enemy…

It was one of those dog days of the summer of 2012, and I was tired.  Tired of widowhood.  Tired of handling all the responsibilities of the four children with no spouse to help. One had a vision therapy appointment. Two had to be at swim team. The fourth was sick with the flu.  I had all but given up on working out, and my hair hadn’t had a decent cut or color in months.  And what was that knocking noise I was hearing in my engine?

Tears brimmed as I pushed through it all, but at some point I had to hit the reset button and deal with the deep troubling sadness that gurgled in my gut.

Have you had bad days?  What do you do about them?

I’ll tell you what I tried that day. I googled, “how to fix a bad day”.

What I found was great advice! At least it seemed all great. All sorts of ideas that sometimes work—exercise, eat chocolate, call a friend, meditate, count your blessings, help someone in need.

I read them, knowing deep inside I could do them all, but I’d still feel this knot in my stomach. I’d been there before. Truth is, while the world’s answers might offer temporary help, there’s only one complete healing answer to turning a bad day around, and it’s Christ.

  1. If you exercise, those endorphins will kick in and pick you up for a bit, and perhaps you’ll feel a bit better about your body, but eventually the endorphins fade, and if you’ve then eaten the chocolate, you’ll feel like you’ve undone what you accomplished for your body in the workout!
  2. Calling a friend sometimes helps, but I’ve found I’ve had to be careful about the friends I call. Will she want to stew with you on your problem?  Will she try to complain about hers? The question isn’t really will she help you up or keep you down, but is she wise enough to direct you where you should be turning—to Christ?
  3. Then there is meditation. If you interpret meditation as prayer and concentration on Scripture, that’s great, but please, sisters, be careful if you have fallen into the ill-advice of others who’ve guided you into transcendental meditation, a practice started by the Hindus and Buddhists where you empty your mind.  Christ is clear (in Luke 11:24-26) that a mind emptied can invite demonic spirits to hop in and upset you more.  In meditation, don’t empty—fill your mind and heart with the Holy Spirit—then let Him clean house in your brain.
  4. Counting your blessings. I do it every day, beginning with the four smiles that greet me every day and thank me for being their mom!  Sometimes, I want more.  I just get in that funk where yes, I’m happy they are healthy and happy and life is good, but something has gotten under my craw. How do I get that thorn out of there?
  5. Even helping someone else—be careful.  Is your motivation to feel self-satisfied?  It works, believe me, even on that dog day in summer, I helped myself to a dose of soup kitchen duty and found myself briefly lifted.  But even as I ministered to the homeless, the nagging ache just wouldn’t go away.

Sometimes these simple tips works.  But sometimes what’s getting you down is the enemy. He’s a bully, digging at you in a way that needs Someone big enough to bully him out of your day. The New Testament says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1Peter 5:8 ESV)

Tune in next Sunday when I tell the rest of the story– how He was finally big enough to bully away my bad day.

Father God, if there is a sister out there struggling in the middle of overwhelming tugs and pulls at her life to where she feels there is no way out, come into her world. Fill her with Your joy so that she sees it all with humor and joy. How blessed she is.  Take her bad day away!  Amen.

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 feeling overwhelmed?  Here are some articles you might try:

I Needed a Hug by Linda Lint

Pressed by Julie Reed

 

Whose Control

aNew Season: Your Heart

We were in a little Cessna flying over Rio de Janeiro.  It was breathtaking—the hillsides, the boats on the blue water with snow white beaches, the little villas, the Catholic churches with ornate steeples, the Christi Redeemer, and the lush green forests.  It was picture-perfect clear visibility, and then…

A bank of clouds. We were cloaked in white, and it was only my sister and I in a single engine plane.  We hardly knew how to operate the thing, much less without visual flight rules. Panic rose inside me.

Enough panic to wake me from my dream. I wasn’t in Brazil.  I might visit a close friend there soon, but I’m not crazy enough to fly around in a Cessna with my sister!

So why did the dream leave me uneasy?  I thought about two women in my life, both undergoing scary procedures today.

One had an outpatient procedure to figure out why her throat kept closing. This left her with scary episodes of blocked breathing. Another had a inflammation in her lymph nodes embedded around her lungs.  Both women were mothers with beautiful children who needed them just as my children needed me.

Illness can hit anyone out of the blue like the bank of clouds in my dream. That’s scary in itself, but imagine these women having to trust doctors while they are put under. It’s like turning off your visual controls in an airplane and trusting the air traffic controllers.

4:30 AM.  Their surgeries would be in a few hours. I wondered. Maybe my dream was a call to pray!

I stopped and prayed for the Lord to carry my two friends through their tests and surgeries.

I prayed He would walk them through every moment of the procedures and move the hands that worked on them with such delicate balance. I prayed the procedures would give them answers they needed and leave them free from pain once completed.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)  You may not be undergoing surgery today. Unlike these women, you may not be literally putting yourself in the hands of a surgeon, but ultimately, to really have freedom of all the pulls of your heart, you need to truly surrender to trusting His will in your life.

It was amazing how I could then go back to sleep, having accomplished what He woke me to do.  Praying for others relaxes your own heart gives you rest in Him. We are carried in His hands, and our protection is ultimately with Him, not in this world.

Can we have that same confidence in our own lives?  What’s stopping us from turning the controls over to God and trusting that He has it? We only need to look at the path in front of us and how it’s lit.  And simply walk. Relaxed. In His control.

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 trust?  Here are some articles you might try:

Trusting God by Angela Key

Don’t Test the Lord, Trust the Lord: Sree’s Story by Kit Hinkle

Worship The Lord Our Maker

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95:6 (NIV)

We are fast approaching the summertime in my part of the country. Our lake is finally free of ice, and the apple blossoms and lilac bushes are beginning to bloom. Trees, bushes and fields are exploding into lush varieties of green. All of it calls to come and linger in the beauty of His creation.

When I am feeling empty and overwhelmed I have learned the best place to get renewed, filled and balanced is in the great outdoors. His creation cries out with testimony about the faithfulness of the Lord our Maker.

On my morning walk I always smell the beautiful aroma of the apple trees and honeysuckle bushes on both sides of the beaten-down path in our fields. It reminds me of Ephesians chapter five verse two, when we walk in love, just as Christ did, it is a fragrant aroma to God.

Often I have the privilege of encountering some kind of wildlife, while walking on the beach or in the woods. It never fails to leave me in awe of His handiwork. The most recent encounter was with two eagles flying over my yard and over my west field. They were low to the ground and moving fast. They would shoot straight up in the air like fighter pilots, screech and then fly back over us. They were so low to the ground I could hear the power in their wings, and it reminded me in Isaiah when I put my hope in Him I will “soar on wings like eagles; I will run and not grow weary”.

I stand in awe and worship Christ in my sanctuary– it reminds me I am His beloved. He had me in mind when He carved out the depths of Sturgeon Bay and rounded out the curves of the shore. I am mesmerized by every sunset, see His strength in the power of the waves and catch a glimpse of his unending love while looking out across the vastness of the open water. I find peace when I sink my toes in the warm sand, swim in the crystal clear water, and discover the treasures of Petoskey stones and beach glass.

Dear Lord, We bow down and worship You. Help us to see the power of Your truth as it cries out in every corner of Your creation. Guide us to seek You in the stillness and give us a desire to unplug from the noise of this world. In Your Mighty Name, Amen.

 

 

Not Intimidated!

aNew Season: Your Heart

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;

be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;

for you will forget the shame of your youth,

and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

Isaiah 54:4 (ESV)

When I used to work in the corporate world, I had a friend who was a mover and a shaker.  By now, I’m quite sure Ed is a CEO somewhere in this universe.

Ed’s motto was don’t ask permission.  Do what you’ve got to do and apologize for it later!  He wasn’t a rule breaker, but Ed found success at every corner because people knew whatever he touched was going to get done and in a big way.

When my youngest was eight, he had the same motto. He asked me to take him to a local theme park to ride a roller coaster called The Intimidator.  Never mind that he was about four inches shy of the height requirement!

Here’s a photo of him standing as tall as he could with every trick in the book—tall Healey roller shoes that add about an inch, and two hats stacked tall on his head. The park official who measured him sadly shook his head while choking back his laugh.

But Christian didn’t give up. He went to Top Gun next, and then the BORG Assimilator—two of the biggest coasters in the park.  Every time a park official with a big measuring stick shook his head, Christian smiled and stepped away, undaunted.

“You’ll just have to eat your green vegetables,” I said.

Christian became a connoisseur of snap peas and carrots.  “I’ll keep trying,” he said.  “If I keep trying, someone will think I’m tall enough.”

I thought about Christian and Ed.

Then I thought about us ladies who have to take on life with unexpected challenges, like doing it alone when you thought you’d always have your husband by your side.

Sometimes, I think the world expects us to fold, to ask permission for steps we have to take to move forward.  I experienced this when I chose to build a sun porch for the boys and me.

I had a close friend question me on it. She worried over my decision to spend the money, and took it upon herself to discuss it among our circle of friends. It shook me up for a bit, not because I wondered whether my decision was sound, but because I wondered whether our friendship could endure her criticism.  It’s a sad reality but some friendships don’t survive when you lose your husband.  When you move forward as head of the household, you might find friends and loved ones unaccustomed to seeing you take on that role.  But you can’t hide behind a husband anymore. You have to become your own mover and shaker.

So I built the sun porch without anyone’s permission but God’s.  And guess what?  He blessed it. I didn’t even have to apologize for it later!  I’ve had it for years now and the boys love it.  We have it wired with a flat screen and a DVD player, and it becomes movie central for the kids in the neighborhood on summer nights.  I consider it one of the best decisions we made in these years without Tom.

Lord, Please help every woman having to step into that role as head of household, that she know she has You to turn to in all things.  Amen

017_HinkleKit 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, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  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 conquering fear?  Here are some articles you might try:

Amazed Anew by Teri Cox

Decisiveness by Kit Hinkle

 

Joy Brings Generosity

2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV

In the midst of a very severe trial,

their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty

welled up in rich generosity.

I know about trials. How about you? I’ve had a few in my life. Not just the small ones, like my manicurist retired. No, real trials. Loss of income, loss of security, loss of spouse, loss of identity, loss of love.

Here is a passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, bragging on the behavior of the Macedonians.  Paul said the Macedonians were in the middle of severe trials. What was it? I didn’t find a clear answer to that question, but with the words “extreme poverty” in the verse, I have a little guess about their trial.

Do we really know what “extreme poverty” is? We see pictures of third world countries, and we might be moved to tears by the pictures and stories. “Extreme poverty” isn’t doing without cable or cutting out my hair color appointments. It isn’t even reducing our meals to beans and rice or downsizing to an apartment. “Extreme poverty” is something I cannot even “wrap my brain around”, something much more severe than many will ever experience.

On a recent weekend trip to St Louis with some of my children and my mother, we had to take an emergency bathroom stop in a tiny town near the highway. Literally, a one-bathroom town.  My kids were shell-shocked, I think. Looking around them, they wondered aloud if they even had internet here! My children definitely can’t fathom  “extreme poverty”.  I now threaten to move our family to this town whenever they act entitled to certain benefits or abusing the privileges they do have. It would be cruel and most harsh, according to the kids!

But it is curious how Paul commended this church. They were a model to the rich Corinthians. They didn’t just have joy, they were “overflowing” with joy! I stopped reading and found myself looking inward. During my most difficult trial, was my life overflowing with joy? When the Macedonians were in much worse difficulties than I can even imagine, their joy was contagious! Is that as convicting to you as it is to me?

This hits home in my life. I remember a situation at church one evening when things were falling apart for me emotionally. How different it would have been if, during this rough period, I overflowed with JOY  instead of anger and frustration.

Besides joy, these Macedonians were richly generous.  How could Paul use such opposites in his sentence? Wealth and poverty? Do you look at your checkbook, like I do, and decide there isn’t much left for anything generous? I have to continually remind myself to give first to God’s work (for me, it is my local church and its missionaries) and then make the rest work.

This verse really encourages me to dig deep to define “generous”. Don’t stop at money—explore other ways and pray for creativity. Maybe you could pull some weeds in order to make a certain area at the church look a little more “loved”. Maybe you could volunteer time to help with children or babies. Maybe it could be visiting the hospital rounds with one of the pastors – you perhaps remember the feelings there better than most.

Pray for creativity in your generosity.

I believe God is wanting all of us to be more like the Macedonians– to be the example of overflowing joy and generosity.

Even in difficulty, we can have joy.

Joy is not dependent on a full bank account or  marriage or health or income.

Father God, show me where I can be more generous. I want the joy of my salvation to be evident to everyone I come in contact with today. I am reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength, not so many other things I try. Amen

 

 

elizabeth 325x325

Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with  A Widow’s Might/A New Season Ministries, Inc.. She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, and guinea pigs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend.  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

 

 

Want to read more about JOY? Pursuing Joy by Lori

Finding Joy in Trials by Nancy