fresh_surf_12

Fearless or Fearful?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22 ESV

 

Where do you feel the safest? Are there places in your life where you’ve settled? Do you want to be fearless? Since the beginning of January God has brought these three questions to my attention.

God’s been speaking to me about how I perceive safety. The place I feel the safest is at my bay. Steep sand dunes and towering cedar trees surround it to the east and Northwest. I know every inch of its coastline. Although, it’s a completely secure feeling to know what’s around the next curve, it’s putting trust in what I see and what I know, not in who I serve.

Christ wants me to move beyond the shores. Like the ships sailing beyond the safety of my bay, who hurl their sails and trust in the wind to move them forward. I want to be like the waves and live in freedom beyond the shore. Not afraid to test the depths and thrive in any storm. Freedom and healing are just beyond your sight, over the horizon. Lean your sails into the wind and let the Star maker guide you away from the safety of your own shores.

For the last seven months I have been working tirelessly on getting to know how Christ views me, it’s been an arduous journey, and worth every bit of it all. I haven’t arrived yet, but I’m moving through life more attuned to His leading and His voice than I’ve ever been.

As I move further up the dune, the word “settle” keeps whispering to me. The sand settles on the beach and it only moves in the midst of a storm or when the waves pick it up from the bottom of the lake and throw it to and fro. If there is no storm, then the sand settles on the beach layer upon layer or slowly sinks to the bottom. It needs a storm to help transform it into beach glass. It needs a storm to produce a path more narrow or wide.

Frequently, like the sand, I settle and it takes a storm to move me out into the depths of uncertainty. Uncertainty leaves me feeling helpless and out of control,  and as a woman who lost half her heart five years ago, I’m not comfortable ushering in more uncertainty. However, Christ continues to show me it may be uncertainty for me, but He is always certain. He knows in order to not settle, I must trust Him even when the way seems outrageously perilous and screams in my ear of danger.

With a gentle whisper, God has shown me how fearful I behave. Fearful has a mutual relationship with safety and settling and not venturing out beyond the shore. I don’t want to be fearful, I want to be fearless.

Fearless occurs when I’m leaning into Holy Spirit and relying on Him to fill every part of me. Fearless happens when I’m being a “doer of his word and not just a hearer.”

Dear Heavenly Father,  Please use our safe places as filling stations, where You fill us with more of You. Help us to take time to calibrate our hearts so we can remember Your vision, Your purpose and Your plan for our lives.  We thank you for the certainty You provide in our daily lives, but we need Your help to exercise our faith and be “doers of the word.” Help us to not settle like sand on the ocean floor. We want You to move us into all You have set aside for Your children. Lord, Thank you for calling us out beyond what we see, so we can catch of glimpse of what You see. In Your Mighty Name, amen.

 


 

Jill is a writer/contributor for A Widow’s Might and aNew Season Ministries. Jill is smitten by the northern shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is her sanctuary. She takes every opportunity to spend time sinking her toes in the sand or swimming in its crystal clear water. In the spring of 2010 she experienced the hardest time of her life when her husband died in a motorcycle accident. She’s spent the last five years learning about the importance of walking by faith and not sight. Jill is now the torchbearer of the legacy her and her husband started twenty-five years ago. She is a mom to three strong and independent girls. Her most important goals are to honor Christ in everything she does, and to live life to the fullest in honor of her husband.

Interested in having one of our team members speak at your event, email us at: admin@anewseason.net

All articles by this author: Jill Byard

Other related articles:Fear Not, Courage over Fear, and Faith vs Fear

 

boxf

Hello, my name is…

Hello, my name is your name and I am a ___________. How would you fill in the second blank?

Widow, single, mother, grandmother, housewife, stay at home mom, employee, etc.?

Oh how I hate labels. They can be so limiting! It doesn’t matter if they are something that we perceive as good like being a wife, mother, grandmother, or if it is something that we see as a negative like being a diabetic, a senior citizen, or a widow. All of them can limit our thinking. The label or role becomes a self-defining box and everything we say or do and even feel, gets stuck in that box.

And then we draw another box, a slightly larger box and we put God in it. We have to – because if we are limited – then by default He is limited. In essence, we have decided there is only so much He can do with us. We just put the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord Almighty in a box. Sounds crazy when we look at it that way doesn’t it?

When we first lose our husbands, it feels like our whole world has disappeared. The pain is unbearable and we can barely breathe. When the shock begins to wear off, we look around and we feel utterly exposed. We no longer know who we are or what our future holds. Becoming a widow is the most disorienting experience we will probably ever encounter.

But eventually it can also bring clarity. The purpose of our life wasn’t just to be a wife, even as wonderful as that might be. Being a wife is a role we fulfill, but it isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to glorify God and that happens in many different roles throughout our life: single, married, widowed, with children, without children, etc. As we begin to remember (or perhaps understand for the first time) our purpose is bigger than in any one role we fulfill, we begin to dismantle the box we’ve been living in and along with it, the box we put God in.

As our thinking shifts from the temporary roles we assume on this Earth to our eternal purpose we find ourselves planted on solid ground which can never be shaken or turned upside down. It redefines who we are in the most powerful way possible. With my eyes on my eternal purpose it is easier to see the many roles I fulfill as spelled out in scripture.

Hello, my name is your name and I am…

An heir of God                Galatians 4:7

A child of God                 John 1:12

A friend of God               John 15:15

God’s masterpiece         Ephesians 2:10

God’s dwelling place     Ephesians 2:22

Will you join me today in mediating on our eternal roles so we can be utilized to our full capacity for God’s glory?

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making us in Your image,  for Your purposes. Help us to see ourselves and each other through Your eyes. As we meditate on Your word today, please allow Your truth to pierce our hearts, eradicate the self defined boxes we have put on ourselves and You, and let us walk forward in freedom to live to our full capacity for Your Glory! We love You so! In Your Sons name. Amen.


 

SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her yellow lab, Super Duper Cooper, and spends time with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandson. 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 her speak, please contact her via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?   The Curtain is Torn

Want to read another article about your identity? Widow Card by Kit Hinkle

 

jehovah jireh1

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Will Provide

The GREATEST BLESSING in life we can ever have – is a close, personal relationship with our Lord. These are the days, when life is at its absolute hardest, that we live out our faith and draw closer to God. Now is the time, when others will see, our faith in action.

I am reminded of the story of Abraham on what surely had to be the darkest day in his life. God told Abraham to take his son – his only son, whom he loved – Isaac, to Mount Moriah and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. I cannot begin to imagine how Abraham’s heart ached, and yet despite being told to do the unthinkable, he walked in obedience.

God’s word goes on to tell us that after he bound his son, laid him on the altar, and pulled out the knife to slay him… God tells him to stop. And then, Abraham looks up and sees the ram caught by his horns that the Lord has provided for the sacrifice instead of Abraham’s son, Isaac. I can almost feel the overwhelming relief, perhaps to the point of giddiness, that must have exploded throughout Abraham’s heart, mind, and body. But although the story ends well, I cannot forget – He trusted God, He was going to obey, even if it cost him everything.

James 2:22 – 24 (NIV) says, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”

Faith and actions must go together.

Today ladies, we do the unthinkable. In the midst of our deepest pain and suffering, we worship our Lord.

We know Him. He is our provider.

He is our strength.

He is with us, so we are never alone.

He cares for us, so we are never forgotten.

 In exchange, we tell His story, as it unfolds in our lives.

We praise Him.

We sacrifice what once was, what our heart wants to cling to, and

We follow Him.

We glorify Him with our faith and our actions.

Like Abraham, we obey even when our heart is breaking. Like Abraham, our faith will be made complete as we walk in obedience. Just as He provided the ram that day for the sacrifice, He also provided His son Jesus, as the sacrifice for us, our sins, so that we could know Him and have a relationship with Him. He has, and always will, provide ALL that we need.

Please join us in worshiping Him today. He is and always will be  – Jehovah Jireh.


Read more in our Names of God series: El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, and El Shaddai

 

 

Israel Expirence 2/12/13 
Oskar Schindler  
Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2013 - http://www.ockenphotography.com/

I Choose You, Lord

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 

THE UGLY TRUTH: I HATE BEING ALONE.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be grateful and trust God for healing, while sitting alone.

Thankful is so much more than a word. It’s even more than an attitude, it is a choice. I’m trying to live out loud, with a grateful heart and be more thankful this year. In order to do that, there are some days when I have to choose a grateful heart, choose thankfulness.

Thankful is defined as pleased and relieved.

If we are honest, during widowhood, sometimes it is hard to be pleased or relieved.

It is hard to be pleased and/or relieved; when half of you is missing, when your heart is BROKEN, when your dreams are shattered, when daily life is a burden, when breathing and getting dressed are more effort than they have ever been before.

During those times, pleased and relieved are hard postures to come by and may require more energy or strength than we have.

Pleased is defined as feeling or showing satisfaction with an event or situation.

I’m sure I have never heard a widow say this, of losing her husband. Even the worst spouses in the most dysfunctional marriages are missed. In better or worse, we all miss companionship, identity as a wife, and a million other things.

Relieved is defined as no longer feeling distressed or anxious.

WELL NOW, THAT’S A LIE for all of us on this path. Distressed is how we live for months, at least, and anxiousness goes with the uncertainty of the territory for almost all of us, at some point.

We want to be thankful or become thankful, but it takes a heart willing to say, “Lord, even when I don’t get it, You are good. Even when I don’t like it, You are good. Even when I feel unloved, forgotten or lost, You are good. Even when all else is gone and I am left with nothing, You are still good Lord, and I choose You.”

It takes knowing that we choose to pick God, even when it doesn’t make sense to the world, and others laugh at us. We choose to say, “God You are good and Your mercies endure FOREVER.”  Lord, we choose YOU. Though we may stand alone, “WE PICK YOU, GOD!”

Thankful, is a way of life that keeps Christ at the center. It comes from a grateful heart full of His joy, no matter our circumstances. It takes a heart void of any allusion or lies that God wants less than the best for us. He is for us, not against us. God is good, even when….even if…

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15a 

Father, Rain down new mercies each day and help us to focus on You. We choose You, Lord, the God who sees, the God who loves, the God who carries, the God who knows, the God who supplies our needs, the God who lives. In Jesus name, Amen. 


 

Tcas1Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012; after she lost her best friend Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry; with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

For booking information, please contact her at admin@anewseason.net or call 501-438-9028

To read more articles by Teri, click here.

Other articles on this topic: Giving Thanks While Grieving  & I Choose…Do You?

ps621

Unanswered Questions

Please join us as we welcome our lovely friend, Janene Gaynor, today.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

Psalm 61:2 NASB

My husband of forty years received hundreds of prayers for healing from bladder cancer.  As, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Heb. 13:8 NASB), we looked to God for complete healing. Therefore, with my husband’s great vitality and passion to live, prayer continued over the course of his illness. We knew at the midpoint that we were really asking for a miracle. Medical treatment here could only do so much. Despite chemo and surgeries, he was considered “terminal”. The cancer was marching on.

I prayed for God alone to determine my husband’s future. God’s answer for healing proved to be, “Not here.” My beloved did not receive healing of his body here but received an imperishable body forever.  I have pondered the question, “Why did God not heal my husband here?”, and although I don’t have an answer, I did develop a strong conviction over the time he was ill.

I observed Christ drawing believers together in prayer for my husband and in service to our entire family. I witnessed how my husband’s life and the Spirit in which he endured the cancer, spoke to them. The body of Christ was evident and it was truly beautiful and a blessing to watch. From this I understood:

  1. God always has a big picture viewpoint and works beyond the one receiving prayer.
  2. God’s first priority is always eternal, not temporal.
  3. God’s character is revealed at Christ’s cross. When struggling with a question about what God did or didn’t do, revisiting Christ’s cross will refresh our vision of God’s character.  That knowledge is an anchor for our hearts regardless of circumstance.

Christ had us yesterday.

He has us today.

He will have us tomorrow.

God is faithful.

When my husband died, every relationship changed—even my relationship with myself. However, our God never changes. That is why He is my Rock.  No other security exists on this earth. He is the Alpha and the Omega and my ever-present refuge.  If we know our God’s character, our unanswered questions can wait. The knowledge of the Holy One is our daily anchor whatever may come.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and the One who lived and died so we could know You always!  We do have questions and surely don’t understand the mysteries that occupy Your Lordship over the earth. However, we know You are good, loving, faithful, worthy of trust, and abounding in loving-kindness and grace toward us! Thank You for not burdening us as individuals with all you see, which likely would explain so much. You are God and we are not and this is where we lay aside the will to know answers and focus on the privilege of knowing YOU! Love to You now and forever, Jesus, because You loved us first. In Jesus Name.


 

Janene @ Myrtle Beach

Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her three 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.

 

It's not about being happy

If I’m Being Honest….

I’m not sure how to say this. Maybe it’s a little risky or maybe you won’t agree. Perhaps you’ll want to place me in a different category since I recently remarried. Will you think I’m not a widow like you? Will you disregard my messages because you feel I’m not walking alongside you in loss?

Or maybe those are just my own fears, my own assumptions still causing me to ache with your pain, a pain I still feel but from a different perspective. It’s a pain I place in a special place in my heart so I can live freely inside a new love.

You see, I never really wanted to remarry. I was content, comfortable…to the point of a bit complacent…in my widowhood walk. I’d even found a certain kind of quiet happiness living alone with my two little girls as I cradled my life in comfortable grief.

Yeah, I carried my grief with care and treasured its comfort in a life I’d become a bit too comfortable in. I treasured the tears. Because if I ever relinquished my reality, would I lose sight of the love of my life? Would I forget to linger in my beautiful memory’s of love and loss?

God did this. He changed my life. He took my heart and held it in His hand until I was willing to walk away from my comfortable little complacent life. And here’s the thing: It didn’t make me happy. He didn’t show me how a new man with an entirely new life plan would transform my quiet kind of happiness into the crazy, giddy honeymoon kind of happiness.

Instead, He showed me how changing my life YET AGAIN is all about Him, not happiness. Sure, eventually the call into a new relationship rattled me from heart to bones! It was nerve-rackingly exciting at times. I fell in love with my new man with all my heart! He’s a man I can easily honor, love and respect. He tenderly cares for my girls and I in a way I could have never imagined. I am blessed beyond measure to hold his love in my heart. Today, sisters, he is the one my soul loves. (Saying it out loud awkwardly surprises me…it’s a strange kind of tender truth.)

So, it’s good…but it’s not all about happiness. I walked away from ‘content’ because it’s so much more about building Christ’s kingdom! The crazy happy only came after I realized my uncomfortable call to another kind of kingdom work.

So, no. I would have never married again unless I knew the call was closer to Him. I never would have followed my human heart to a home with a new man unless God gave me the plan. 

And, yes. I do feel crazy happy on this other side of calm and content. But, believe me, it’s not always bliss! I mean, who wants to marry a widow who’s self-proclaimed a bit messy and over-thinks everything?

But you know what? I’m no further away from the past love of my life. I linger there, I treasure the lessons and even I long for aspects of him. So, it’s complicated. But it’s all about His kingdom!

My sisters, I’m still one of you. I remain on the walk of widowhood, but in a remarried sort of way. My hearts and prayers are with you and that’s why I’m still here!

Here’s more of ‘If I’m Being Honest‘ on my blog, Happily Whole. Click Here: If I’m Being Honest. 

 

 

a widows might lori reynolds streller

El – The Strong One

El Shaddai.  El Roi.  El Elyon.

The names of God usually start with El because El means God.

The word that follows “El”  describes something distinctive about God which sets Him apart from all the false gods people invent. A tribal group in a country far away might believe in a rain god who gives them enough rain, but El Shaddai is the God who is ALL suffient, providing ALL needs.

So what about when “El” is written just by iteself? Ancient text used “el” to describe any god, but as time went on, by itself, “El” referred to the one and only God–emphasis on the fact that no other god exists!

El means the One God–all powerful, all good, all knowing.

El is our strong tower.  And like a refuge for those seeking safety, He is Whom we run to.

Isn’t that what we long for? Don’t you sometimes wish you had that covering of a husband–someone you could run to and snuggle up to when the world around you gets rough?  Don’t you long to run for that strong tower where you can go inside, close the door and be safe?

The politically correct in this world like to say women are just like men. As for me–this woman needs her El, her strong tower.

And she has Him.  Looking back on eight years without that husband in the flesh, I see miraculous moments when El was my strength in Whom I completely trust for my future.

Let Him be your strength sister.  Shout His name out loud– “El!”  “El!”

El Adonnai  – not just sufficient but ALL sufficient!

El Roi – not just one who sees, but THE one who sees!

El Elyon – not just high, but The MOST High!

Sing and worship and praise your El, sister.  He IS your strong tower!


Other Names of God articles in our series: El Shaddai, El Roi, Adonai,

a widows might widowhood support erika graham

Marital Bed

“And the two shall become one flesh…”

Mark 10:8 

I’m gonna say it.

The thing widows all think, but as Christians we don’t say.

I.  Miss.  My.  Marital.  Bed.

I miss the warmth and unity experienced there.  I miss the ease and selflessness that happened so perfectly there.  THE ONENESS.  The warm welcoming body that lay beside me.  The unison we experienced.  The desire we had for one another.  The deep intimacy and trust I felt in giving my entire body over to another.  The care and love found there.

As Christians, in a world that has perverted and twisted sex, it’s hard to say these things.  We are shamed into thinking that talking about sex is sinful.  Sex is certainly not something the widowed or Christian community talks about openly or comfortably.

But God didn’t make sex “dirty”, man did.  God created in us a desire towards one another.  He defined that desire, in Genesis, to be a good thing within the confines of His creation of marriage.  He tells us that in marriage we can experience the full glory of Him through our sexual intimacy. We can sacrificially give ourselves to another the way Christ gave Himself up for us. (Romans 5:22-32)

Yes, God ordains sex…when it’s under His authority and we obey Him.

We know because we experienced that God ordained oneness in our marriages.

But what happens when our husbands are gone?

My marital bed is now cold and harsh.  I roll over to an empty space. I have no husband to hold me, to make me feel beautiful, to desire me, or to even warm my feet and hands up when they’re freezing!

Sometimes I go back.  I have such deep meaningful memories of that bed and our years and nights spent there.  Babies were created there.  Pleasure and love was found there.  Deep trust and utter selflessness were solidified there.  Many prayers, and both happy and sad tears flowed there.  I miss it greatly.

Recently a reader asked our team if it was okay for her to pleasure herself to those memories.

Yes, I am going there!

Because, it’s something we all experience.  We all have desires in some facet or another.

As Christian widows we believe God is now our spiritual husband, but we are still human.. and we are all still alive!

As I’ve prayed over this myself and sought answers, I can tell you Scripture doesn’t give a definitive yes or no answer to this deep question.

Yet, I did find these important truths:

~ Scripture is clear that I’m no longer married and when I get to heaven I won’t be married again to my husband.  Matthew 22:30, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39 (read more here: Heaven and Marriage)

~ Scripture is clear that if I lust after another man outside of marriage in my mind and heart, whether I act on it or not, it is sin.  Matthew 5:28

And the two keys that apply to us now…

~ Scripture is clear that I am not to conform to this world.  But, I am to transform my mind by renewing it with God’s Word and His will for me now.  Romans 12:2

~ Scripture is clear I’m to seek to honor and obey God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in every area of my life.  Romans 2:6-8

So, what does this mean for us in this area?

It means since there’s no clear cut answer, we must take it before The Lord, Sister.  Allowing Him to reveal His will to us.  Allowing Him to work and move us.  Allowing Him to convict our hearts and minds here.

Allowing Him to then rule our heart, mind, and yes even our sexual desires.

Personally, I have been convicted to ask God to remove those desires from me, until (or if) He calls me to remarry.  It’s been a process and I still have to lay it before Him.  But He is helping me hold steadfast to my conviction.

Yet, maybe that’s not exactly where He will lead you. This is deeply intimate and personal, and something only God can clearly reveal, through His Spirit and His Word, what He wants you to do.

I have some questions for your personal reflection that will help you discern this:

~ What is my motive here, in other words, why do I think I need to do this?
~ Afterwards, how will it actually make me feel?
~ Is what I am doing honoring God and conveying that I trust Him to fill me up and meet ALL my needs?

God wants no idol before Him.  That means even the sexual memories (or any other memory) of our late husbands!

Sisters, widowhood is tough stuff with lots of layers. Walking this journey is not for the faint of heart.  It’s messy.  It’s painful.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s hard.

But God is so much bigger and He’s got even this deeply personal and tough topic.  Take it before the Cross and watch Him grow you, help you, and convict you.

Father God, I am a woman with desires. Please help those desires to honor You still in every way.  Lord, block me from creating any idols in my mind and heart that would distract me from You.  Show me where I have sinned.  And protect me from those areas.  I lay even my physical desires and memories before You now.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.

{If you missed it, earlier this week Lori talked about the loss of physical touch. Read it here: The Physical Loss}

 


295163_1927953164696_1418199297_31839733_2097799_nErika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.

If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

Other articles on a similar topic:  The Physical Loss, Missing Pieces and The Two Shall be One

 

a widows might widowhood support

The Physical Loss

This article begins a two-part series over the loss of the physical relationship in marriage.

The air is brisk.  The leaves have begun their release and are cascading down from the highest branches, pooling in puddles of vibrant color on the ground.  I am sitting at a high school football game in the chilly Oklahoma wind the first time I notice it.  I am holding my own hand.

Possibly it is a nervous reaction to the close ball game and a certain young quarterback I have grown to love as my own.  It is definitely a self-soothing, subconscious effort.  I am literally sitting with my hands clasped together in my lap rubbing one thumb along the top of another.  Maybe it is out of habit?  Were my husband still here, we absolutely would have been holding hands and snuggling close as we cheered on the team.  I chuckle to myself, shake my head, and deliberately place each hand on its respective knee.

A few months later, another evening, this time I am sitting in a movie theater…suddenly aware that I am once again holding my own hand.  This time it saddens me as the acute loneliness nestles deep within my soul.

We lost many aspects of our relationships when our husbands left.  Rarely is the subject of physical touch addressed publicly amongst widows.

Why is this?  It seems silly for us to dance around it as though it doesn’t exist; this loss of physical touch in our lives.  God created us with favorable responses to positive touch.  It is how we are made and it is an enormous portion of our loss.

We didn’t just lose the intimate touch of our lover, we lost the casual touch too; the arm around our shoulder as we walk side by side; the hand held during prayer; the welcome home hug at the end of each day.

They are all missing.  And they are all missed.

Missed to the point, that two years out from the freshness of loss, I am catching myself holding my own hands at times when they would have naturally been encompassed by the strong grasp of my husband.

Just yesterday I texted one of my best friends the following message:

“Cold weather makes me miss the physical side of marriage a bit more than normal.

There. I said it.

So I guess it is inappropriate to just ask a random man if he could walk with me outside for an hour or so and hold my hand.  Maybe even have an adult conversation.  Then go our separate ways.  That’s a “no”, right?”

Ever the funny and helpful friend, she replied:

“Random men may think you are crazy…”

All joking aside, she is right.  Outsiders may think the admittance of missing even the most innocent of physical contact appears pathetic.  People will judge.  I don’t care.  It is something that the widowed community faces and it needs to be openly discussed.

God is a husband to the widow and never leaves us alone.  That is a truth I am thankful for; but sometimes knowing the “right answer” doesn’t curb my longing to simply have my hand held or to be embraced in a strong hug.  I am called to this ministry of sharing how God is carrying me through my loss, but I am also simply a widow who misses the physical presence of her husband.  I don’t have all the answers.

As I sort my way through this topic, I find myself thinking it would benefit me to be more deliberate in ensuring I receive physical touch.

And on the heels of that thought comes the one asking “What ways accomplish this while still maintaining the level of purity God calls me to?”

Tell me, how do you fill the void of casual physical touch in your life?

Lord, You created us to be relational people.  We miss the casual, physical touch of our husbands.  Help show us ways we can cope with this loss.  Amen.

{Don’t forget to  join us later this week as Erika discusses the loss of  intimate touch.}

 

2012-09-28 16.35.24-3Lori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood.  She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well.  She answers to Mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee.  Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers.  As a writer/speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others.  She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering.

Other articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller, A Widow’s Might 

See also: Missing the Little Things, or Unexpected Hugs 

If you are interested in having Lori or other team members speak at your church or function, email admin@anewseason.net.

 

 

1 Samuel 14:6 Kit Hinkle

Perhaps

When I approach unknown territory, I bring with me a known. I stick to the Lord and trust His wisdom.

“…Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.”

1 Samuel 14:6 (ESV)

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone, sister? Are you making bold steps with your life as you progress out of the early grief? I want to encourage you to be obedient to the calling God places on this new season in your life.

Every great action in the Bible starts with an idea followed by a hope to win.

But winning isn’t the point. There’s a bit of letting go of the result—a “perhaps”. Every success, from Gates saying “perhaps the world wants an operating system” to Phelp’s mother saying “perhaps I should let my son train for the Olympics” to your husband saying “perhaps that sweet woman might want to have coffee with me”, has an element of risk.

Jonathan accomplished great things simply by being obedient to a calling from God. His father was King Saul—not a very good king because instead of confronting the Philistines (remember Goliath?), Saul hung out with 600 of his best fighters in the hillside. Jonathan didn’t agree with his father’s inaction, but what could he do?

Remember, as son of the king, he was protected by staying with his father among the 600. The Philistines would have to go through all of those soldiers before getting to him. If he decided to fight alone, he’d risk his life.

Isn’t that how some of us are? Comfortable, but with a lingering sense something isn’t right? Hanging out in our own worlds with our girlfriends, career, church or children? Maybe that’s easier than confronting that dating world or a new calling such as a career or ministry?

It’s tempting to stay where you are. It’s what you know, and for the time being, it’s safe.

But Jonathan knew he couldn’t sit. He knew what would happen if no one faced the Philistines. So he left the comfort of the entourage and struck out with his armor bearer to face the enemy.

Maybe you know you need to do a new thing. Maybe God’s telling you, “your surroundings will change–kids will grow up, and I don’t want you to miss the new horizons and new people I might have for your future.”

Enter the “new” obediently, trusting the Lord, Who is your husband and will guide you in every step. When you accept whatever the Lord has for you, you open possibilities for gaining more than you ever expected– You will learn about who you are and make some wonderful new friendships.

When Jonathan stepped out with the right attitude, he and his armor bearer killed twenty Philistines. The rest turned on their heels and ran, all because Jonathan was willing to act on a calling and a “perhaps”.

Who knows what will happen if you go on a calling and a “perhaps”?

Father in Heaven, each woman enters a new calling, knowing the pitfalls and the joys.  Help her know that the insecurities she feels are completely normal and that You have her in the palm of Your Hand.  Help her walk forward with the “perhaps” of a widow’s mite.  Amen.

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was one of the original writers of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over to Sheryl Pepple and 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 her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle
Other articles like this one: Dancing Through Tears and The Big Picture