The Widow Painting

…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

When you see this painting, what do you see?

A widow?

A busy mom?

A hard life with purpose?

Or, perhaps a silly woman who took on too much?

This painting hung in my home since the 1990’s when it was handed down to me from my uncle’s collection. It always seemed to bring me thoughts of my grandmother, or of life’s sometimes difficult journey.

Until I lost my husband.

Then suddenly I only saw a widow. That lonely woman among the tall trees burdened with that pile of sticks on her back. I saw her bent over, no longer upright and proud like she must have been in her marriage.

Funny how I never thought of the woman as a widow until I became one. And then the painting became “the widow painting” in my mind. I found it more beautiful than ever because I identified with her quite more robustly than ever before.

It’s been years since I lost Tom, and I still find myself seeing “widow” in the painting. It’s like the illusionist sketch of the old lady and the young woman—once you see it one way, your brain wants to return to that image.

So I got curious. What if I asked four married women what they see in this painting? Their reactions helped me to begin seeing the woman without automatically thinking loss.

Reaction 1: The Beautiful Heart of a Mother

I LOVE this picture. What clever imagery it offers! God doesn’t want us to carry our burdens alone. She looks like a Russian woman going home through the beautiful birch woods after gathering the fuel needed to make her home warm and fix the meals to provide for her family. God never promised it would be easy, but He does promise to share the load and walk beside us!

Reaction 2: The Overly Busy Mother

She’s alone. I think of all the times women are faced with so much to do—kids, carpools, teenagers gone prodigal, bills that can’t get paid, stressful jobs, husbands we love but let us down. Where are the other women in the picture? Why aren’t they stepping in to help her? Did she push them away? Did they never help? Funny thing, I don’t imagine men coming in to help her, but sisters.

Reaction 3: The Hard Life is Worth it

Oh, that is so me!!! I work grueling hours, and I’m tired all the time! After putting everything into raising kids, we have no retirement savings and even share one car! This painting reminds me­ we aren’t promised ease, but we are promised joy. I wouldn’t trade my life nor the decisions I’ve made when they honored God, for anything! Thank you, Jesus!

Reaction 4: Silly Woman Works too Hard!

I see the woman and wonder why she would take so much on by herself. I simply don’t do that. I remarried after being widowed, and maybe I just recognized I needed a partner in life. I was fortunate enough to meet a godly Christian guy who does well with me. But if I hadn’t married, I would make sure I didn’t take on more than I could. This woman is taking on too much.

Why are their responses of interest to us? Because I want readers here to remember there is a whole world beyond widowhood, and while grief is a journey we must fully experience, eventually we must see ourselves outside the lens of widowhood.

These women aren’t widows, but they have their own life challenges like job loss, marital tension, a grown child who has completely gone prodigal, waning health or physical exhaustion.

Can you begin to imagine that woman in the woods representing these burdens rather than widowhood? When I began to look around me at so many burdens that so many carry, my heart went out to others. I felt a community of fellow Christians carrying each other’s burdens. And that’s a community that grows us all stronger!

Lord God,

You ask us to see our lives through Your eyes, not through the lens of our own limitations. Help us walk this journey honorably, knowing that others walk equally difficult journeys. Encourage us to hold our heads up with our gazes upon Christ and no longer feel the shame of our widowhood.  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:

The Widow Card

When the Shoe is on the Other Foot

Fake it Till You Make it–No!

 

What We Know To Be True

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

                                                   2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Have you ever been really, really, sure of something …only to find out you were completely wrong?

My funniest example happened when I was twelve. I lived in Okinawa, Japan and getting to go to the one movie theater on base was a Big deal. Here’s how the conversation with my Dad went:

Me: Daddy, can we go see this movie (rated X).

Dad : Why do you want to see that one?

Me:  Because it is rated X.

Dad: Why do you want to see an X rated movie?

Me:  Because it is excellent.

Dad:  Why do you think that?

Me:  Because it says so, X is for eXcellent, R is for Really Good, PG is for Pretty Good and G is for Good.

At which point my Dad broke into laughter and explained the ratings system to me. A funny little exchange but what I remember most was how sure I was that I was right. And I learned that just because I feel certain something is right does not mean that it is right.

It has turned out to be a very valuable lesson in my life. Something I have reflected on often as a widow; particularly when I am feeling depressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed. I have learned to “test” my feelings to see if they line up with God’s truth. Here are a few examples:

 

My Feeling: God’s truth:
My life is over. Ps 139:16  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
I have no purpose anymore. Acts 20:24  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
God doesn’t love me / no one loves me. 1 John 2:5  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him.
I am not “good” enough. Titus 3:4-7  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
God doesn’t care about this… Matt 6:31-33  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I have nothing more to give. Phil 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I will never be happy again. James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

These are just some of the feelings that I have experienced on this journey. I am so thankful for His word, His truth that is so useful in correcting my thinking and feelings.

Dear sisters, I pray that you will be immersed in Him, in His truth so that you may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. You are precious, because you are His. And nothing can ever change that truth. Much love to each of you!

SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.

If you are interested in having Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Want to read another article by this author? Stay Connected

Want to read another article? It’s Okay To Be Real!

 

 

All the Pieces of My Life

Please join us today as we welcome guest blogger Julia Wasson.  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I entered my boss’s office at the elementary school, no longer wanting to be the music teacher.  I quit! The principal listened as I explained the changes that have taken place in the past twenty-five months. Becoming a widow has altered my life and thought processes, even my trust in God at the beginning.   My ability to happily manage seven music classes a day has been challenged.  

A new season.  I was thrown into a new season twenty-five months ago.

In those first twelve months after his passing, I was surprised at the physical toll his death took on my fifty-six year old body.  My body felt beaten. Every move, every action, took double the thought and focus. The blow of his sudden death shook me to my core while knocking the wind out of me.  

Within three months of his passing I didn’t see how I could return to teaching music.  That “creative flow,” that we musicians count on, had dried up inside of me.  I was functioning in rote.  As a professional singer and musician, my husband had been my greatest fan for over thirty-eight years. Whenever I sang a special in church, or lead worship on Sunday mornings…he was there.  Not having him present at the school children’s concerts  felt like a knife was inserted in my heart.  He had always sat on the front row, loving the experience of watching children perform.  He was there to catch my eye between songs and give me a big hug after a concert. There.  Simply there. 

Since his passing I have taught music for two additional years.  Teaching those music classes has somehow helped me stay connected with him…keeping one more memory alive…of us.    

But sometimes a person must say goodbye. As of yesterday, I’ve added yet one more goodbye.  Necessary goodbyes because of unrequested life circumstances.

I’m blessed that I don’t have to say goodbye to the ranch and the home he and I had built together. But I have had to say goodbye to the expectations, those projects that he and I did together on our fifty acres, for I am just now facing my limitations.  Recognizing what is reasonable for me to physically accomplish by myself and what is not.

I’m blessed I’ll still have a job in the school district.  My new placement is still unknown. My income will drop some.  But I am caring for myself.  Now that I no longer live in the daily tumultuous storm of grief it is time to rejuvenate my physical body while focusing on my spiritual growth. It’s time to focus more attention on my four children and six grandchildren.

I’m no longer frozen in grief and can once again sing words of hope, trust and faith.

Through the pieces of my life without my husband, through the goodbyes I may continue to face, and throughout the new season I am starting to walk in…..God, I know I can trust You.

 


If you are interested in guest blogging for us please email us admin@anewseason.net or visit our website www.awidowsmight.org

 

 

 

 

When Things Aren’t What They Seemed

Secrets.

What do we do with hurtful information we find out about our late husbands?

Recently we received a private message from one of our readers about a very difficult subject. She had discovered some damaging information about her husband after his death. How should she handle this situation?

I had a similar discussion with a friend a while back. She had discovered some information about her late husband that was quite disturbing. It colored everything. Totally shocking.

Her children were young adults when their father passed away after a lengthy illness. The couple had fallen in love in college and had weathered the storms of church disappointments, addiction, job loss, raising children, and moving across country. But now that he was gone, one of her children shared some information about Dad. Her stomach felt sick thinking her husband could have been so horrible to their child, thinking about her child living with the secret pain for many years. She asked me what she should do.

Praying fervently in my heart before proceeding, I said,  “Lord, I don’t even know what to say. Guide my words, please.” 

As widows, what do we do with information about our husbands after they are gone? Mysterious credit card receipts. Suspicious or even pornographic websites on his computer. Surprise allegations he physically abused one of the grandchildren or other children. Could he have been involved in something illegal? Life insurance never purchased after years of pestering, and now bankruptcy? Some of our widows were separated from their husbands at the time of their sudden deaths. 

We can’t confront them now, so what do we do with the information?

Forgiving might be hardest when the recipient isn’t alive.

You have probably heard many quotes about forgiveness -like holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We are killing ourselves when we don’t extend forgiveness to someone.

If we look at Scripture, we can start with a well-known passage like the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  Here in the Amplified Version, we find these words in verse 12.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

In my experience, I have more joy in my life when I release the other person from the debt I have placed on them. The past is the past, and we can’t change what happened. We can change how we go forward from this point. We are all sinners. And extending the same forgiveness to a spouse, even after his death, opens up the pathway for God’s forgiveness toward us. (Colossians 3:13)

And since RELEASE is my word for 2017, I keep my eyes open for ways to use it in every situation.

Is there a debt you are carrying that needs to be released? Let’s not wait another day to release someone from the chains of unforgiveness. It ISN’T easy – sometimes we need to meet with a trained counselor, pastor, or even an attorney. But it IS possible.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  Matthew 6 :11-12 ESV

When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. Mark 11:25 NCV

Forgiveness isn’t something we do for someone else, especially when they aren’t around any more. Forgiveness is something we do for OURSELVES.

Father God, help us be quick to forgive. Release us from the bondage of grudges and unforgiveness. Thank You for Your example of forgiveness in our lives. Help us to be aware of Your Holy Spirit moving in our hearts to forgive someone. Amen


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, and a noisy cat named after a German race car driver!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here. 

Here’s another article from Kit and a guest blogger about betrayal and forgiveness. 

 

 

 

 

No Longer a Slave to Fear

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

Fear – it’s one of the many emotions we experience in grief. Fear gripped me tightly early on. The darkness wrapped its arms around me and tried to take control, like a relentless evil that would not stop pursuing me. I felt alone and afraid of anything and everything.

The fear was so strong, it nearly paralyzed me. I could not walk into a room alone. I could not drive. I constantly felt like someone or something was after me and felt evil was following me at every turn. I was at war and wondered how I would ever live my life.

Though the feelings of fear are not as heavy, it is the feeling that continues to try and take hold of me.

Most recently I was planning to attend a concert in Texas a day after a terrorist attack took place during a concert in England, where 22 perished. The next morning, without any evidence of something happening at the concert I was going to attend, I hesitated to go. There are other days when fear’s lies tell me I may lose my son or my second husband. Fear can make us afraid and convince us we cannot step forward after the loss of our husbands. But that is what Satan does … he sees vulnerability and uses fear to attack. Don’t let him. During those moments, let your knees hit the floor and pray.

When we lean on Jesus, that all-consuming fear won’t last forever. I chose to attend the concert, and I choose to continue stepping forward in my life after loss, because I know who is in control. The Lord never intended for his children to live in fear.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

From those first few days, after the shock subsided some, I remember feeling the Holy Spirit at work. Though my life was full of chaos and devastation, I found peace and strength in knowing the Lord is sovereign, and though I did not understand, I trusted Him. But the darkness and fear didn’t go away without a fight. I’ve mentioned this before, night after night, for months, I clung to a wooden cross whispering the words, “Jesus, help me.”

And, He did. His faithfulness protected me. He has rescued me from the all-consuming fear. Today, when fear tries to pursue me and feels too strong, I lean on the One who is stronger.

Lord, We need you. Protect us from fear and anxiety and from the evil one. You are in control, and you will give us Your strength when we turn to You. Help us step forward, without fear, to share Your story of strength and faithfulness. There will not be a day when we do not miss our husbands, but we know there is still joy to be found on this earth. Help each of us to find it. In Your precious name, we pray. Amen.

______________________________________________________________________

Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Want to read another article by Jennifer? Two Years and Trusting in Him

Want to read another article about fear? Fear at 35,000 Feet

 

Love’s Eternal Origin

“We love because He first loved us.”

– 1 John 4:19 (ESV)

My love for my husband did not die with him. I bet you can say the same thing about your husband, and there is a good reason for that!

Real love, the giving kind, reflects the nature of God.

“God is Love,” and He created us in His image. (1 John 4:8, Gen. 1:27)

Love has an eternal origin. The very fact we grieve mirrors the love we carry beyond our husband’s deaths.

We miss. We regret. We long.

We grieve because LOVE acutely feels death’s forced separation. My husband was my better half. It would not be an exaggeration to say for a good while I felt amputated, incomplete, and my life a dismembered place. I experienced the conflict of hating that my beloved was gone but also not wanting him with me to continue suffering.

No wonder Jesus came because the agony of separation from a loved one is abhorrent—totally unacceptable and an offense to love. God did not want that eternal distance—like a vast ocean of darkness to get between us. He wanted us close and that’s what love wants… to be close.

Because of love’s eternal origin, death separated me from my husband but cannot separate me from my love for him. While the eternal origin of love shines in this, grieving is incredibly painful, complex, and layered. Triggers, like land mines, lay in wait for us.

While, “never again” thoughts are triggered by countless associations, very intensely at first, acknowledging and talking with God about them helped. What didn’t help was dwelling on them. If I did, it was like digging a pit and jumping in. Grieving is difficult enough without that!

Despite the pain and sorrow now, never would I have missed the love and tapestry of our lives together.

You and I know who and what we miss, but what future good do we anticipate? Future plans with my husband were banished in the instant he exhaled his last breath. However, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corin. 5;7 (ESV). Eyes of FAITH are crucial to move forward and faith needs to nestle into Truth.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rms. 8:35, 37-39 (ESV)

As widows, we share an experience and understanding. Life as we knew it changed instantly. Yet, while life has altered so much, it is comforting that:

The future holds the promise of God’s love, tomorrow and always. God’s love is never-ending, never-changing, and forever true.  Faith is our secure anchor into His love and a sacred place to exhale.

Lord God, thank You that we love because You first loved us. Whether our hearts feel battered, parched, numb, or tentative, meet us there and refuel us with Your love. We are created to love You and one another. Use us still,  for the world needs nothing more than Your healing love. Thank You, that we are able to cherish love for our husbands as a true gift from You, Lord Jesus.


Janene @ Myrtle Beach

Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends.  Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.

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Living Water

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

                                                                     John 7:38 ESV

 

No one ever said it would be this hard or last this long.

A vivid memory from my younger days sometimes floods my mind. I remember a story on the national news of a woman running a marathon brilliantly but in the final stretch, her body started to give out. There on television for the entire world to see, her bowels released.  Horrified, I thought about her humiliation and her struggle. Incredibly, she managed to finish.

There are days this grief journey feels just as hard as her race.

Twenty plus years later and I am still inspired by her perseverance. It was a ninety-second news story that taught me a profound lesson about never giving up. I wonder how many others were impacted by her story. I have no idea who technically won the race that day, but sometimes winning isn’t about crossing the finish line first– it’s about enduring what seems like insurmountable obstacles.

Many, many times on this journey, I feel like I have nothing more to give. I become convinced I can’t take one more step. When I look at the years I could have left on this earth, living alone, I want to give up. I want the pain to stop. I want the emptiness and loneliness to end.

But each step is possible because I believe Jesus is who He says He is. And because I believe in Him, I will never have to do this alone. The Holy Spirit is living in me. As a vessel for the Holy Spirit there is no doubt that my life has purpose and meaning. His word tells me in John 7:38 that from my heart will flow rivers of living water.

Not stale, stagnate, murky water but living water. This reminds me that no matter how hard or how long this journey feels, no matter how much I feel like giving up or feel like my body is going to give out, something precious is still flowing through me to others.

Through all the tears, exhaustion, and heartache, it is hard to imagine we can possibly be of value to anyone else. What can we possibly give to others when we face so many challenges just in trying to accomplish our daily activities?

The living water is flowing from our hearts. We have God’s love and mercy to share with others. Our journey strengthens our faith. We become better at keeping our focus on God, living with a peace that transcends all understanding, and caring for others more deeply. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the more we seek Him, the more we are transformed into His likeness.

Day by day our faith becomes more evident to those around us. They are watching because they know this is the most difficult trial anyone can ever face. God uses our circumstances to strengthen our faith and theirs. I’ll never forget how at our first conference our praise team comprised of musicians, worship leaders and pastors, expressed how impactful it was to them to worship with widows. To know what we had lost and to see how faithfully we responded in worshipping our Lord was incredibly inspiring to them. Like the runner who inspired me so long ago with her perseverance, now we are the ones inspiring others.

Dear sisters, please be encouraged today that regardless of how you feel or what you accomplish today, the living water will continue to flow from your heart!  You are persevering and God is using you!


SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.

If you are interested in having Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Want to read another article by this author? Stay Connected

Want to read another article? It’s Okay To Be Real!

 

Share Your Story-Guest Post For Us!

You have a story. A story penned by God Himself. What is it?

You may be a newer widow or a seasoned one. Whichever the case, God might just be prompting YOU to share part of your journey with other widows through our ministry by guest blogging for us.

If you keep a journal, turn back a few pages and read your thoughts that you scribbled down that day you were frustrated at how life had turned out. Read a chapter in Psalms and share what God is teaching you.

Some topics you might write on could be widowhood after a long wonderful marriage,  your widow group at church, dealing with the finances now, something God showed you in Scripture about heaven, a funny situation, or maybe the day your husband passed away and how you got through it with scripture and God. Keep your words centered on God’s Word while letting your creativity flow! (Please keep in mind the generally accepted rules of grammar.)

We would love to help you with the process of writing, so read the guidelines here and email your article to us right away.

Pray about the words God wants YOU to share with others. All of our team of writers began by submitting guest blogs here. We felt the tug of the Holy Spirit on our lives, to write about our widow journey. We are not professional writers. We are just every day women, letting God use our words to advance His Kingdom.

Golly Gee!

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

Golly gee, can people just remember to say one standard line to a widow like, “This is hard. I’m here if you need me.”

And can we widows try to remember how hard it is to say the right thing? Maybe even coach people on what to say to a grieving widow.

With ten years since my loss, I look back with a lighter heart at the ways people fumbled, bumbled and stumbled over just what to say to a widow.

Here is my “Golly Gee, they didn’t just say that!” list of the botched approaches:

Good grief approach –
“You poor thing. Bless your heart! Let me take care of you!”

I’m not a poor thing. Give me some credit for not going over the cliff right now.

OMG approach –
“Oh my gosh! That’s so awful! I couldn’t handle that! You must be so strong!”

I gulped and thought, Guess what, sister, we don’t get a choice on what we have to handle, so excuse me for not accepting that compliment. How about God chooses you to be strong instead of me?

Lucky dog approach –
“Wow you’re so lucky. I’d far rather have the insurance payout than my husband sticking around.”

No kidding, this happened! I found myself quietly shunning the woman. I now regret that. She could have used a friend to help her see the good in her married life. She finally left her husband and has regretted her lonely walk ever since.

Lazy husband approach –
“I know exactly how you feel. My husband doesn’t lift a finger at home.”

I reacted, “at least you get to wake up next to the lazy jerk every morning!” Needless to say, the blunt retort didn’t do much to encourage this woman.

You’re young approach –
“don’t worry, you’re young. You’ll find somebody.”

I said nothing and fumed over the comment until I realized she only wanted to encourage and meant absolutely nothing ill by it, just needed a little coaching on what to say.

Get on with it approach –
“Get to work. Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself.”

I felt guilty for spinning my wheels in that first year and recalled the conversation every time we bumped into each other. What a mistake! She didn’t even remember it because what she really meant was she felt compassion for me.

Evading approach –
“ “

The person simply stays away. My reaction ranged from not registering their disappearance to being deeply hurt. I now know I wasted too much emotion here. Many AWOL friends either didn’t want to crowd me or had their own emotional issues about death.

Endlessly dedicated approach—
“There’s got to be something I can do. Anything. Just give me a task, now. You don’t have anything? Well, let me follow you around until I figure out a task.”

My reaction to this type of friend was to begin accommodating her need to help. It was sweet at first but soon became a burden for me as I ran out of things to give her and found her “help” to be an albatross around my neck.

Reacting offensively to an offense does nothing to repair the damage. And if you can learn to see the person through the eyes of Christ, you can have grace and respond to them gently as in Proverbs 15:1.

I now try to understand the heart behind the person’s comment and thank people for trying to help. If I’m ever in that place again, I’ll just let people know that it’s okay to just sit quietly with me or say a simple “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Because the truth is, we all can use grace with one another.

Golly gee, Lord,
I’ve learned something here—I will never judge another for trying to say the right thing because God knows I’ve missed the mark many times! I only pray that my lesson can be learned from someone going through these very conversations today. 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.

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