The Blessing of Community

 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.

                                                                Proverbs  14:32

 This …is…so…hard!

I must have muttered that sentence a million times since my husband’s death. It’s been three years now and sometimes I still find myself struggling with how hard it is to walk this journey. But I walk in victory.

Picture if you will, a movie scene of an ancient Roman battle, but there is no sound. Everyone is dirty and covered with blood. Can you tell which side was victorious in the battle? Although the winners may be filthy and covered in blood, they are the ones who are gathered together, standing tall, interacting with each other, some even smiling, despite what they have endured. They walk together in victory.

As widows, we have endured a terrible battle with death. We have endured unspeakable pain and heartache. To us, nothing will ever be the same again. But as Christians, we walk together in victory. We have a refuge; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have Eternal life. We know that our suffering is only for a little while. We cannot be destroyed or brought down. We are the ones gathered together, standing tall, interacting with each other, maybe even smiling, despite what we have endured. We walk together in victory.

On February 26th – 28th we will be gathering for our conference in the Dallas area. Please don’t miss this opportunity to experience the blessing of being with other Christian women who are on the same journey. You will be strengthened, encouraged, loved, accepted, and refreshed by the Spirit.

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I will never forget how blessed I was when I attended our retreat last March. It seemed strange at first to fly half way across the U.S. to meet with a group of women I didn’t know. It was even a little overwhelming traveling for the first time without my husband. But I am extremely glad that I went. What I remember most is feeling loved, accepted and understood from the moment I walked into the group. I realized later, it was the first time I felt “normal” again. I didn’t have to work at helping people understand what I’d been through and what I needed. They all got it. They understood the pain. They encouraged me with their stories of His faithfulness. They listened as I shared His story of what He’s doing in my life. Together, we glorified Him. We were refreshed. It was the blessing of community.

Join us February 26 -28th in Dallas and share in the blessing of community with us! Be encouraged by hearing stories of God’s faithfulness. Get wise counsel on various topics that we have to deal with as widows. Experience the love and acceptance from others. Feel “normal” again.

 Register here: https://anewseason.net/?p=12963

 

 

 

 

aNew Season Ministry Widows Conference

What Season Are You In?

Thursday, February 26 – Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crossroads Bible Church – 8101 Justin Road, Double Oak, TX 75077

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  aNew Season Ministry is thrilled to be able to offer a widows conference February 26-28, 2015 at Crossroads Bible Church in the Dallas/Forth Worth area.  Our writing team members are looking forward to meeting you in person, sharing our insights and practical advice, worshiping together and building a stronger community amongst widows.  Both the team and participants have found it incredibly valuable to gather as widows, to share wisdom and encourage one another to continually focus on Christ during our journey.  Here are just  a few comments we received from our participants at the November conference in Myrtle Beach…

“I hated the word Widow, it did not fit me. When I thought of widow, I thought of a deadly spider, or a very old woman dressed in black with a black veil covering her face. I rarely spoke the word, and never used it to reference my status. Then I went to Myrtle Beach where I met a group of incredible women. What did they all have in common? They were women who were grieving, and heartbroken, but they were also strong, resilient, faithful, surviving, and yes widows! I was so anxious about this weekend, and not every moment was easy. However, I walked away knowing I had an army of women who had walked this walk before me, and that they were cheering and praying me forward. I still do not like the word widow, but now when I think of this word, I have thoughts and images of amazing women who are beside me as we walk down a path not of our choosing.”  ~Yolanda Mordue  

“Saturday night as we worshipped, I was reflecting on the journey of grief and the pain. I could hear His voice speaking to my heart very loudly this statement,” My love for you is greater than your pain.”  A powerful statement considering how great my pain is. I need to remind myself of His GREAT love on those days my heart aches. The struggle IS real, but so is God’s never failing love for me.” ~Carol Davis

Registration is currently open, so please register on our website – www.anewseason.net –  to make sure you reserve your seat. aNew Season Widows Conference is an event where our writing and speaking team will share the healing heart of Christ. We will come together as a community of women who have experienced loss and who understand and can minister to each other in a way that no one else can. The conference will be offering many topics designed to meet you in whatever season of this journey you may be in:

  • Managing early grief
  • Raising healthy children
  • Practical advice
  • Healing negative emotions
  • Physical and spiritual needs
  • Dating God’s way
  • Learning to forgive
  • Courage

We are very excited for a special event on Friday, our Love Lights – Because Love Remains service. We will share in a beautiful service of light and hope. Special commemorative votive candles can be ordered during the registration process, if you are interested in purchasing a keepsake. Registration for aNew Season Widows Conference includes the following:

Thursday:    Optional Preconference Sessions, Conference Opening Keynote Session and worship time, Small Group Sessions  (Registration begins at 2PM. Preconference Additional Worksession at 3PM)  

Friday:        Keynote addresses, small group sessions, worship time, Complimentary banquet dinner and Love Lights Votive Service 

Saturday:    Morning worship, opportunity to meet with aNew Season Team members, and closing session ending before lunch (12:30 PM).  Cost of registration is $379.

Accommodations and meals (other than the complimentary banquet) are NOT included as part of the registration cost. We have arranged for discounted hotel rates (link available on registration page) and we will have hostesses coordinating groups for dining together for additional fellowship opportunities. We anticipate that there will be many who will want to participate in this great conference so please make your arrangements early – space is limited.  We can’t wait to see you!

A Season of Sisterhood: Help Spread the Word!

Our team of writers and speakers just returned from A Widow’s Might Conference in Myrtle Beach where God brought healing and unity.

Do YOU know a widow; maybe someone in your church or community?  We don’t want the widows you know to miss the opportunity to experience fellowship and learning.  That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we are headed to DALLAS in FEBRUARY! We’re holding another conference for widows on February 26-28, 2015.

Would you be willing to pass this information on to them or potentially even help fund their registration fees?

You can click here to register them or to find more information:

register here

Here are a few comments from women who attended last week’s conference:

“I hated the word Widow, it did not fit me. When I thought of widow, I thought of a deadly spider, or a very old woman dressed in black with a black veil covering her face. I rarely spoke the word, and never used it to reference my status. Then I went to Myrtle Beach where I met a group of incredible women. What did they all have in common? They were women who were grieving, and heartbroken, but they were also strong, resilient, faithful, surviving, and yes widows! I was so anxious about this weekend, and not every moment was easy. However, I walked away knowing I had an army of women who had walked this walk before me, and that they were cheering and praying me forward. I still do not like the word widow, but now when I think of this word, I have thoughts and images of amazing women who are beside me as we walk down a path not of our choosing.”  ~Yolanda Murdue  

“Saturday night as we worshipped, I was reflecting on the journey of grief and the pain. I could hear His voice speaking to my heart very loudly this statement,” My love for you is greater than your pain.”  A powerful statement considering how great my pain is. I need to remind myself of His GREAT love on those days my heart aches. The struggle IS real, but so is God’s never failing love for me.” ~Carol Davis

What is A Widow’s Might Conference?

This is a conference put on BY widows FOR widows!  Each member of our writing and speaking team is walking this journey of widowhood.  We are here to share insights on a Christ-filled approach to healing from loss.

Who is A Widow’s Might Conference for?

Our conferences are for widows in any stage of grief and/or healing, regardless of age. We have found the ability to fellowship with many widows who have been exactly where you are in your season, transforms women’s hearts.

When/Where is the next A Widow’s Might Conference?

February 26-28, 2015 in Dallas, Texas

Please spread the word.  Early Bird Registrants receive a $20 discount through December 1, 2014.

https://anewseason.net/dallas-conference-2015-registration-information/

A Season of Sisterhood: Announcing our February 2015 Conference

 

 (click here to register or find out more information)

register here

Our team of writers and speakers just returned from A Widow’s Might Conference in Myrtle Beach where God brought healing and unity.

Here are a few comments from attendees:

“I hated the word Widow, it did not fit me. When I thought of widow, I thought of a deadly spider, or a very old woman dressed in black with a black veil covering her face. I rarely spoke the word, and never used it to reference my status. Then I went to Myrtle Beach where I met a group of incredible women. What did they all have in common? They were women who were grieving, and heartbroken, but they were also strong, resilient, faithful, surviving, and yes widows! I was so anxious about this weekend, and not every moment was easy. However, I walked away knowing I had an army of women who had walked this walk before me, and that they were cheering and praying me forward. I still do not like the word widow, but now when I think of this word, I have thoughts and images of amazing women who are beside me as we walk down a path not of our choosing.”  ~Yolanda Mordue  

“Saturday night as we worshipped, I was reflecting on the journey of grief and the pain. I could hear His voice speaking to my heart very loudly this statement,” My love for you is greater than your pain.”  A powerful statement considering how great my pain is. I need to remind myself of His GREAT love on those days my heart aches. The struggle IS real, but so is God’s never failing love for me.” ~Carol Davis

The Myrtle Beach conference was so amazing, ladies, we don’t want any of you to miss the opportunity to experience that fellowship and learning.  That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we are headed to DALLAS in FEBRUARY!

What is A Widow’s Might Conference?

This is a conference put on BY widows FOR widows!  Each member of our writing and speaking team is walking this journey of widowhood.  We are here to share insights on a Christ-filled approach to healing from loss.

Who is A Widow’s Might Conference for?

Our conferences are for widows in any stage of grief and/or healing, regardless of age. We have found the ability to fellowship with many widows who have been exactly where you are in your season, transforms women’s hearts.

When/Where is the next A Widow’s Might Conference?

February 26-28, 2015 in Dallas, Texas

Please make plans now to join us.  Early Bird Registrants receive a $20 discount through December 1, 2014.

https://anewseason.net/dallas-conference-2015-registration-information/

The Blessing of Community

 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.

                                                                Proverbs  14:32

  This …is…so…hard! I must have muttered that sentence a million times since my husband’s death. It’s been three years now and sometimes I still find myself struggling with how hard it is to walk this journey. But I walk in victory. Picture if you will, a movie scene of an ancient Roman battle, but there is no sound. Everyone is dirty and covered with blood. Can you tell which side was victorious in the battle? Although the winners may be filthy and covered in blood, they are the ones who are gathered together, standing tall, interacting with each other, some even smiling, despite what they have endured. They walk together in victory. As widows, we have endured a terrible battle with death. We have endured unspeakable pain and heartache. To us, nothing will ever be the same again. But as Christians, we walk together in victory. We have a refuge; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have Eternal life. We know that our suffering is only for a little while. We cannot be destroyed or brought down. We are the ones gathered together, standing tall, interacting with each other, maybe even smiling, despite what we have endured. We walk together in victory. On November 7-9th, we will be gathering for our conference in Myrtle Beach. Please don’t miss this opportunity to experience the blessing of being with other Christian women who are on the same journey. You will be strengthened, encouraged, loved, accepted, and refreshed by the Spirit. I will never forget how blessed I was when I attended our retreat last March. It seemed strange at first to fly half way across the U.S. to meet with a group of women I didn’t know. It was even a little overwhelming traveling for the first time without my husband. But I am extremely glad that I went. What I remember most is feeling loved, accepted and understood from the moment I walked into the group. I realized later, it was the first time I felt “normal” again. I didn’t have to work at helping people understand what I’d been through and what I needed. They all got it. They understood the pain. They encouraged me with their stories of His faithfulness. They listened as I shared His story of what He’s doing in my life. Together, we glorified Him. We were refreshed. It was the blessing of community. Join us November. 7-9th in Myrtle Beach and share in the blessing of community with us! Be encouraged by hearing stories of God’s faithfulness. Get wise counsel on various topics that we have to deal with as widows. Experience the love and acceptance from others. Feel “normal” again.   Register today!  We have several spots left, and they are quickly being taken. Tomorrow we will have all hotel room and memorial votive registrations closing, but will still be able to take registrations for the few remaining spots for the conference over the coming weeks.

Your Financial Future? A Conference Worksession

Why is it hard to talk to a group of widows about their financial future?  Perhaps it’s because everyone has a different set of circumstances, and we don’t want to pry about anyone’s finances.

But isn’t this one of the biggest worries for a widow?

Whether you were left with a load of debt with no life insurance, or you’ve been put in charge of a large estate, the enormity of considering your financial future by yourself can worsen the stress of grieving. That’s why we’ve decided to invite Shane Snively, a financial advisor, to come to the conference.  Shane plays a key role with our ministry in that he provides strategic planning and acts as an advisor to the ministry itself.  In this work session, Shane will be a sounding board for questions, ideas, and concerns.

He will answer some of those tough questions that many of us have when we’re faced with fending for ourselves and planning for our future.

While we can’t possibly give you a detailed financial road map taylored for you in the one hour workshop time, Shane can answer questions that plague us all.  Questions like:

  • Can I make it on my own financially?
  • Where do I start and how do I get organized?
  • How do I know when my house has gotten too expensive for me and I need to move?
  • How much do I have to earn on my money to make it?
  • Do I need to have a plan for my family in case something happens to me?
  • What are some do’s and don’ts to consider with my money?
  • How can I avoid getting taken advantage of financially?
  • Will inflation take away my nest egg?

We would love to have you join us November 7-9 in Myrtle Beach, SC to not only sit in on this session but to be loved on by other widows that have gone before you in this journey. For more information, click HERE!

We are praying for each one of you ladies in advance of seeing you face-to-face in November!

 

 

Healing Our Hearts

…In a Whirlwind of Negative Emotions

Most of you have heard the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” but we are not sure yet whether we agree with it or not.  The jury is still out on that one. But as we thought about the phrase, we decided we could come up with some similar phrases that might be more accurate.  At our November conference, Erika Graham and Elizabeth Dyer will be sharing these new phrases along with some Bible characters as examples plus circumstances from their own lives.  

Negative Emotions.

They drag me down and tear me up.  Do you ever experience them?

  • Anger at God when life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, when those storms hit unexpectedly.
  • Fear of what others will do to us or how they will react to us when they find out the “truth”.
  • Anger at someone who has made a large “pit” for you to try to get out of.
  • Rejection from friends or family members.
  • Apathy at spiritual matters.
  • Guilt over what should have been said.
  • Disappointment over lost dreams or lost love.
  • Loneliness in a crowd of people.
  • Panic at what the future holds.
  • Embarrassment at having to explain your loss.

As I have been preparing for this session, I have found so many good passages of Scripture where people were in really difficult situations. Many times their difficulties were not of their own making.

I felt like that.  All the bad things that were going wrong in my life were not my fault.  I still fight that negative emotion.  Just this weekend I fell apart on the phone with my neighbor.  Talk about awkward.  He just called because he wanted to help out, and I began to cry about all the things going wrong.  To make matters worse, besides being my neighbor and friend, he is my pastor!  I got all ugly, right there on the phone.  I screamed at no one in particular, “Haven’t I had enough HARD?  I want some EASY!”

When all those emotions are swirling around you, you feel like you are drowning.  I will not make it look better than it is!  I cried in the shower, I cried on the phone with college son, I cried at the pastor/friend.  I had had it!

How do you handle those whirlwinds?  Sometimes we might be so thrilled when we weather one of those whirlwinds, only to turn around to collapse in the next storm.  But that is life, I believe.  Three steps forward, one step back, two steps sideways.  Life is full of storms, and we have to figure out how to weather them.

Dig into Scripture, and see what you can find about weathering storms.  You will surprise yourself with all the passages you find.  Send us an email if you find one that really speaks to your heart.

Practical Advice for Living Without a Man in the Home

The idea of living alone is daunting, isn’t it?  Come join Kit Hinkle, Karen Emberlin, and Ferree Hardy at our November 7-9 retreat as we open up our toolbox of tips and tricks to give Practical Advice for the Victorious.

After you’ve lost your husband, there comes this moment. The guests have gone home, the meals have stopped coming, and yet there you sit–alone.  That’s when it hits you–this is you’re new life. You’ll have to adjust to a house without a man in it, and you might feel a bit frightened.

Many pieces lead to that frightened feeling.  I remember tackling them, one at a time.

First, the garbage disposer. I remember it locking up.  I looked at the sink full of murky water clogged with bits of beef, rice, and broccoli.  There was a spoon in there somewhere, right?  Or maybe this time it’s broken… really broken!  What do I do?

I thought back to the many times it had locked up before.  I’d stand there like a frail kitten, shrinking away from the smelly water and the frightening blades of a garbage disposal while my husband reached down into the drain and pulled out whatever caused the blockage.  “Don’t.”  I’d say.  “There are blades in there.”  I don’t know why I couldn’t trust that the safety switches and design of the disposer made it nearly impossible for my husband to lose a finger. For years I just thought:  blades=danger and husband=not-my-job.

Neither were true, but having a hubby who was willing had me hiding from my fear.  Now I had no choice.

So, did I reach my hand in with courage?  No way?  I called my best friend’s husband!  He came over and reached his hand in.

That time.

But when it happened again, I was convicted.  I couldn’t keep calling on men in my community.  I had to solve some problems on my own.

We aren’t going to show you how to fix a garbage disposer, but we are going to give you practical tools based on God’s Word. We want you to tackle those menacing obstacles to peace in your mind by offering helpful hints by women who have gone before you in this journey.

We’ll cover topics like learning to be okay in the house by yourself, considering safety in and around your home, managing maintenance and repairs, dealing with the in-laws, making sure you have a reliable car, picking the right church community, and taking care of your fitness and nutrition.

We would love to have you join us November 7-9 in Myrtle Beach, SC to not only sit in on this session but to be loved on by other widows that have gone before you in this journey. For more information, click HERE!

We are praying for each one of you ladies in advance of seeing you face-to-face in November!

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How to Gain and Lose Friendships

Maybe you can relate…the initial part of losing your spouse has subsided (maybe just a teensy weensy bit). The services have ended, the frequent offerings of meals have ceased, the estate paperwork might have begun, and now you are in a whirlwind of confusion. You finally get up the courage to call a friend, but it suddenly dawns on you! The friendships you maintained “pre-widow status” now suddenly may look a little different. Maybe you decide not to bother your bestie, for fear of interrupting her time with her husband this evening. You thought about calling your single girlfriend, but she seems to be avoiding you lately. Oh…what to do?

Sadly, studies show 75% of widows lose 75% of their friendships during the grieving process. How can we find reasons to laugh and make new friendships in the midst of these staggering statistics?

Leah and Liz are excited to lead a session at our November 7-9 retreat that will address this very topic: How to Gain and Lose Friendships with Grace and Trust.

They will focus on debunking the myths about friendship after the loss of a spouse. Yes – there are many myths that we so often take at face-value, but what if you found hope in not only gaining new friendship but actually losing a few (yes – that could be a good thing too).

Using a poignant passage from John 5, Liz and Leah will not only debunk those myths, but they will also teach you to navigate these difficult waters through two distinct avenues…grace…and trust. Both are essential in finding healing in the area of friendships. And healing IS possible!

We would love to have you join us November 7-9 in Myrtle Beach, SC to not only sit in on this session but to be loved on by other widows that have gone before you in this journey. For more information, click HERE!

We are praying for each one of you ladies in advance of seeing you face-to-face in November!

Leah & Liz

Parenting 101

“Parenting 101”- you know, the class for dummies.  That was a running joke between my husband and me.

We always thought we had the parenting thing figured out.

Then we had kids!

We struggled with infertility, so our focus was mostly on having kids, we really didn’t think much about after they arrived.  When we struggled with this thing called parenting or had a difference of “opinion”, we would call out a sort of truce… “Parenting 101”.

It was our little inside joke.  It helped make light of heavy stuff.  Because let’s be honest this parenting thing is really heavy, serious stuff, especially now.

We were in the throngs of parenting our seven year old daughter and twin three year old sons, when my husband committed suicide.  And just like that I was doing “Parenting 101” all alone.

Questions swirled!  How would that look?  What do I do now?  Who’s going to relieve me every evening when the “witching” hours start?  Who can I vent to?  Who will be my go to when I have no clue how to do this?  When I need a back-up?  When I need a break?  How will my kids get through this?  How will they make it without a dad?

After the initial shock I knew I needed help!  I was blessed to have the help of family.  I also sought out a counseling team.  I sat down that first day in my counselor’s office and proclaimed forcefully my sole purpose in being there… he needed to tell me how to get my kids through this, to tell me what I needed to know to help them heal and move forward, to help me figure out how to make sure they were “okay”.

He looked me square in the eye and said “You’re called to give all your worries and cares over to God… even in this difficult, seemingly impossible situation; do you think He didn’t really mean ALL of them?”

It was like a weight was lifted.  Yes!  I know they are HIS.  I know I won’t be perfect.  I know I will mess up at times.  But they are HIS.  He will be all they need.  He will heal them and move them forward.  He will be their Father.  He will make provision for them, because He called their earthly father home.  I can certainly give ALL my cares, ALL my worries and concerns over them to HIM.

Fast forward four years…riding in the car home from school in June.  Five minutes into the ride I told my now seven year old son for the tenth time to stop and then this came out… or “I will beat your  a–.”  Yep that’s me in a nutshell…fallible, sinful and a mess on many days.  I often say I have the mother of the year award all locked up until I get out of bed…

But that’s just it.  Where I fail, God is.  Where I lose my temper, God is.  Where I mess up, God is.  Where I say the wrong thing, God is.  Where my kids hurt, God is.  Where my kids lack, God is.  Where our fear lies, God is.

I pray constantly that God will continue to give me the strength and the wisdom to be all He is calling me to be on this new journey.  I vowed before Him from the very start that my kids would never believe that I got stuck…or that they would say “Our mom never got over our dad’s death.”  I want them to see that moving forward, healing and honoring God would also honor Scott.

I am working hard now to steer my kids toward Christ every day, to lead my home deeply rooted in God’s Word, and most importantly placing Him at the helm.  Parenting 101 for me is now letting go and letting God.  Turning it all over to Him and seeking Him at every twist and turn.

Our November conference is a wonderful chance for us to glean from one another all God is doing in and through us and our children.   We can examine His word together, looking at His charge to us as parents.

And I pray since I am four years down the road I can use my failures and my successes to help give you some insight on all that lies ahead.  I so look forward to seeing each of you and seeing all God has in store for us.

Much Love,

Erika

parenting kids through the loss of their father liz anne nay wright erika graham kit hinkle a new season a widows might widow conference god in my grief