Sunday’s Recap

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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

Sunday’s Recap

Welcome to our “Sunday Recap”.

“This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Have a blessed week, sisters.


Join us here to see what we were up to this week.

 

 

Sunday’s Recap

We welcome you today to our Sunday Recap.  We pray you’ve had a blessed weekend and an even more blessed week ahead.

Please join us here for our recap from this week: Sunday’s Recap

Sunday’s Recap

Just a reminder as we step into fall, we are shifting gears a bit on Sundays.  We are now going to be sharing with you a weekly recap of everything that went on in our ministry.

We pray this blesses and encourages you, and helps better enable you to “keep up” with the encouragement we’ve offered you throughout the week.


 

Please join us today for our Sunday series here: “Sunday’s Recap”.

 

 

 

 

Sunday’s Recap

Sisters, we hope you were blessed by the “Our Favorites” series we ran throughout the summer.  If you missed any of those posts you can find them here: Teri’s Favorite, Erika’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Lori’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, Bonnie’s Favorite, Kit’s Favorite, & Sheryl’s Favorite


As we step into Fall, we are shifting gears a bit on Sundays.  We realize many of you lead busy lives or may not spend much time on social media. Sunday is the Lord’s day and we feel convicted that we need to honor the day of rest in our ministry as well.  So, on Sundays we are now going to be sharing with you a weekly recap of everything that went on that week in our ministry.

We pray this blesses and encourages you, and helps better enable you to “keep up” with the encouragement we’ve offered you throughout the week.

So, please join us today for our new series here: “Sunday’s Recap”.




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

Sheryl’s Favorite

Today, we join Sheryl as she shares her favorite post with us. 

“Grief Renegades is one of my favorite posts because God clearly gave me a vision of hope for my future and a vision to share with other widows. It answers the question: What is my purpose now?”

We hope this post blesses you!


Grief Renegades by Sheryl Pepple

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  

                                                                                                Luke 10:2 ESV

A few weeks ago marked the 4-year anniversary of the death of my husband. Just like many of you, I struggle with how to acknowledge those days. I finally settled upon a Facebook post describing our last day together:

Four years ago today I snuggled with my husband, giggled with him over lunch and then as he set off for his trip I sent my last text to him – “I love you more than you can imagine”. It is still true today. I am so grateful for Dave Pepple, the way he loved us and the wonderful lasting impact he had on our lives! Dave – I can’t wait to see you again one day!!!

My intention was to honor my husband and to let others know my grief has transitioned into healing. Anniversaries are now less about the sorrow and more about the wonderful memories of a great husband. Reading through the responses I was reminded how people have a tendency to focus on the sorrow. It is what our culture teaches.

If we aren’t careful, we can become enslaved by grief, sometimes because our thoughts get centered on the sorrow, and sometimes because other people’s thoughts get centered on their perception of our sorrow. While there is definitely a time to mourn, we must not get trapped into mourning as if we have no hope and no purpose. And we must educate others, so that they can move beyond seeing us as only someone who has experienced tremendous sorrow.

My purpose and yours is to tell the story of God’s grace in our lives. The grace He extended through His death on the cross. The grace which allows us to have Eternal Life. The grace that frees us from all of our sin. The grace that allows us to have a life of freedom so much larger than our sorrow for the temporary separation from our loved ones.

I want to be a Grief Renegade. Someone who rebels against society’s perception of what life looks like after the death of a spouse. I want them to see my mourning totally bathed in God’s grace. I want them to see the love, strength, and unflinching hope. I want them to see Him in me.

One of my greatest joys during this journey have been comments confirming that people do indeed see Him in me. And they see Him in my friends who are widows. At our first Widows conference in Myrtle Beach last year, we were so humbled when the praise band who lead worship for us, tried to describe the magnificent beauty they experienced in worshipping with widows. The band saw Him in us and they were forever changed. What a privilege and blessing!

My dear sisters, there is no doubt this is a difficult journey but we are in a unique position to let others see Him in us not, in spite of, but because of our circumstances. It is imperative we encourage and remind one another -we are the laborers sent out to harvest. Will you join me in becoming a “Grief Renegade” and let’s BRING IN THE HARVEST!


Other posts in this series: Erika’s Favorite, Teri’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Lori’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, Bonnie’s Favorite, and Kit’s Favorite

Kit’s Favorite

Today, we join Kit for her pick in “Our Favorites” series.   It’s perfect timing for this post at this time of year when so many are saying good-bye to their kids and launching them off into the world.  We hope this blesses and encourages any of you who are experiencing an empty nest in one form or another.


I Have Empty Nest Syndrome by Kit Hinkle

I have empty nest syndrome, and I still have three of my four boys at home! Only my first has moved out for college.

This empty feeling could be the loneliness of missing him already, but it’s more than that.

This past week we were in the family car—me driving, he asleep in the passenger seat. I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye—head bobbing, mouth open, slightly snoring.

I instantly flashed to the same image seventeen years earlier—a toddler in his car seat—head bobbing, mouth open, slightly snoring.

The same Joe. When you’ve raised a child for eighteen years, you feel him—at the core of your being, he’s part of you. You know his voice and anticipate every bold discovery he comes bounding in to announce. You close your eyes and see him at every age—infant—ten years old—fifteen—and now, an adult, saying goodbye.

It’s wonderful and it hurts all at the same time. Every fiber in you can’t believe he’s gone; yet you wouldn’t want to hold him back by asking him to stay.

So you step aside and continue your motherly obedience to the Lord. You’re like a mother eagle letting her eaglet fly.

The Old Testament describes the mother eagle well in Deuteronomy 32:11-12 when Moses commissions Joshua to take over and lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. It’s time for Joshua to fly, and Moses turns him over to God’s care.

The verse is part of a song that Moses sings: “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.”

To best understand these verses, it’s important to know how eagles learn to fly. The mother encourages them out of the nest. Either she’ll perch herself nearby and ignore them, or she’ll rattle the nest a bit to make them uncomfortable. Both are attempts to let her young know it’s all right to leave.

I imagine how a mother eagle must feel, watching her little chicks complain when she won’t visit them. She still wants to be with them and care for them. Her heart aches and feels pain when she hears their calls for her.

Yet this is part of their training. She knows—and they know—she is there for them. When an eaglet first tries to fly away from the nest, it can’t master its wings quickly enough and it falls. The mother swoops down and catches it on her pinions. She brings her child back to the nest for another try.

Oh, how I’ve been that mother eagle so much this last year. As a senior, Joe applied to half a dozen colleges. He was hoping for a scholarship at one so that this single mom won’t have to worry about how he’ll pay for his education. How many times did I step back and watch him start the applications, but not complete them as the deadline approached? How many times did I swoop down and nag him, “Write the essay … don’t forget the deadline”? How many times did I let him miss a few deadlines and fall a little? Every time, I depended on the Lord to guide me if I should stir the nest or swoop in to help. Just like verse 12 tells us He will do.

The Lord alone guides us—us mamas and our children. When our kids leave our nest, in a sense, we leave a familiar place too. Do you trust the Lord with the child you just launched? Are you waiting on His ‘go-ahead’ of when to save the day for your child? Or are you disregarding His instructions and swooping in too frequently? If you take your eyes off of the Lord and try to own this launch process with your child, you’ll feel the pain of separation more than you need to.

Sister mother eagles, when your eaglets finally start to fly, listen for the Lord. He’ll tell you when to stir the nest and encourage them to leave. He’ll also tell you when to swoop in and catch them. Trust that your Heavenly Father won’t let you down in this new season either. Keep your focus on Him, not on your child. Your heart will be happier in your empty nest.


Other Posts in this series: Erika’s Favorite, Teri’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Lori’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, & Bonnie’s Favorite

 

 

 

Bonnie’s Favorite

Please join us today as Bonnie shares her favorite post with us.

This post by my sweet sister, Sherry, is so valid in my place of life right now.  I have recently shed my role as a “caregiver” for over seven years and I can clearly see how that position put limitations on my “jumping.” I love how Sherry points out, that it is okay to stay in a beautiful spot or perhaps a comfortable spot, but encourages us to jump into the His arms and plans for our lives. This post opens my heart and mind to so many possibilities.   ~ Bonnie


 

No Jumping by Sherry Rickard

Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 

Joshua 1:9 KJV

I have just returned from a quick weekend trip to the beach.  It is November and I live on the East Coast, so a trip to the beach this time of year is not considered “in season”.  All of the arcades and ice cream shops are closed up tight.  The beach is mostly deserted, with lonely cold waves rolling into shore, but no one to jump in them.  The outdoor pool at the hotel has been winterized and covered for the cold winter months.  As I looked out onto the barren pool deck with the gray pool cover drawn tightly over the pool, I was drawn to a little oasis in the middle of the deck.  It was a beautiful spot of landscaping amidst the stark bleakness of the late fall landscaping and empty pool deck. 

As I looked at this landscape oasis complete with palm trees and bright flowers, I saw a sign which read, “No jumping”.  A quick glance around explained the sign–It makes sense that in-season, this oasis is very near the outdoor pool and an adventurer could probably envision a climb to the not-too-high-edge for a jump into the pool nearby.  A miss on this adventure would definitely result in injury.  However, as I looked at the sign and the beautiful landscaping that surrounds the sign, I started thinking about life and how this little oasis reminds me of life. Isn’t it common that we get to a beautiful place and just park ourselves to enjoy the view?  We erect a sign in our hearts that says, “No jumping”.  We have taken the adventure to arrive at the location and now we don’t want to move.

I think about the journey I’ve been on for going on five years.  I’m tired.  I have reached the other side – at least I think I have.  “No jumping!”  While at first, the self-imposed “no jumping” may seem okay.  I just want to sit back and relax.  Enjoy the view.  But, the “no jumping”  keeps me in the safe zone, not trying anything that stretches me.  Very comfortable.  When I am in this “no jumping” zone, I’m relying on me and what I can see and do for myself.  God isn’t required as much in the “no jumping” zone.

God wants us to enjoy the view and find joy in the journey, but He also wants us to keep going.  So, as much as I hate to leave this spot, I know God doesn’t want me to stay here.  He wants me to jump – into His arms, into His plan for me, into life, into joy.  He wants me to take Him on the journey.

So, if you find yourself in the little oasis, next to the “no jumping” sign.  Sit for a minute.  Have a spirit of thankfulness.  Rest. Rejuvenate.  Then, pick yourself up and “jump” into the plan the Master has for you.  It’s going to be great!  It always is!  Even in trials, God turns it to joy!

So, jump with me!  There are many sisters along the way to support you and encourage you.  Don’t be afraid to jump – it’s a good thing!

Dear Lord,  Thank You for allowing me moments in a beautiful oasis where I can rest and stay.  Thank You, also, for encouraging me to “jump” into Your arms and Your plan for my life.  Amen


Other posts in “Our Favorites” series: Teri’s Favorite, Erika’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, and Lori’s Favorite