this good

I will.

The city is under siege, the enemy coming, and destruction is imminent. It has been foretold, and it is happening. The people have gone astray, wandering far from the God who brought them into the land. Wrath is impending. And you deserve it.

Jeremiah I want you to go buy a field. Your cousin will come and say, “Buy my field…for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.”  (Jeremiah 32:7)

So you buy the field. You sign the deed, seal it, find witnesses, and weigh out the coins.

“Put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in the land.” (Jeremiah 32:14-15)

But still you don’t understand. Lord, what you have spoken has come to pass, but you ask me to buy a field?

I completely get why Jeremiah was so baffled. Who in their right mind would take time to buy a field when his city was under attack? That’s crazy talk.

Ah, but here’s the twist.

“Behold I am the LORD, the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for me?”

In the midst of the destruction and judgment that God Himself brought (and rightly so, for His people were utterly rebellious), He again reiterates who He is and His unshakeable commitment to redeem and restore. 

Nothing is too hard for Him. This God promises to bring his people back. He promises the way of mercy and grace.

“Behold I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness with all my heart and soul. For thus says that Lord: just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I promise them. Fields shall be bought in this land.” (Jeremiah 32:37-43)

I WILL.

Woah. What a string of radical, extravagant, thoroughly overwhelming promises!

  • I will gather them.
  • I will bring them back.
  • I will make them dwell in safety.
  • I will be their God.
  • I will give them one heart.
  • I will make an everlasting covenant.
  • I will NOT turn away from doing them good.
  • I will rejoice in doing them good.
  • I will plant them.

“with all my heart and soul”

I will bring ALL the good that I promise! 

Believer this is for you. This is your God. He puts all the “I wills” on Himself.

He is THIS good.

As Jeremiah was kinsman redeemer, so would the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer come! The right of redemption belongs to Jesus. Praise God, redemption by purchase is His!

In Jesus we’ve been gathered, planted, and grafted in to His everlasting covenant. He makes us dwell in safety. He restores.

Doesn’t this just make your heart sing?

Jeremiah’s deed was sealed in an earthen jar, but now believers are sealed by the blood of Christ. We’re sealed by that which will never disintegrate, by something that lasts far longer than “a long time.”

I can’t help but see this passage through my “widow glasses.” The death of my husband was not God’s judgment, but my heart was surely under siege. My life felt ransacked, broken, and desolate. A thousand questions tumbled like laundry in a dryer, and I was more than baffled by what God was doing.

But my God is THIS good.

Even when life felt utterly shattered, it was not. For I will never know true destruction because Jesus was destroyed in my place.

He bought this “field.”

Therefore, no matter how deep the deep days were, I was kept, the deed already sealed. In Jesus, the exponential promises were already true.

“I WILL,” says your God.

He Has.


Ami is a Kindergarten teacher turned Developmental Therapist turned writer. Ami also assists the elders at her local church through counseling and ladies’ ministry. She began writing two weeks after her husband died in January 2013. The ramblings were her honest, raw, thoughts as a 30 year old, childless widow desperately trying to process the tsunami. She felt strongly that she needed to let others see the journey and let God use it to break down stereotypes of Christian grief. Now she writes to equip, encourage, and comfort those on similar paths.

 

If you would like to have Ami or one of our team members speak at your event, email us at: admin@anewseason.net

Check out more posts by this author at- Ami Atkins

Other posts with a similar theme by our team:  Goodness, How blind faith blind-sided (and blessed) me, or Choosing to Celebrate

 

Applying Peace A Widow's Might

Applying Peace

“You keep him in perfect peace,

whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts in You.”

Isaiah 26:3 ESV

My phone dinged with notice of a private facebook message.  A sweet friend had a question for me.  “How have you effectively applied the peace of God to your life?”   The question stopped me in my tracks and took my mind down memory lane as visions of the past four years began bombarding me.

Here is a portion of my response:

I guess for me, it all comes down to a choice. As a child of God, access to His perfect peace is constantly mine. It is my choice to rest in that peace or not.

It is easier to write the words, than to put them into practice.

My choice to sit still in the midst of chaotic suffering

and let His peace wash over me is one of acceptance and surrender.

I’ve had to accept that God is good. His ways are higher and His plans are better. His promises are of an eternal perspective. These facts do not change. My circumstances do not hold the power to alter the character of who God is. His goodness is not dependent on whether He answers my prayers the way I desire.

I have come to terms with pain and difficulty always being a part of this life. They have a purpose for being allowed to touch us. Nothing touches me that God hasn’t first stood upon. He knows. He allows; partially because we live in a fallen world and partially because He wants to draw us closer to His side through the difficult times. It is during hardships that we have the ability to see His character, strength, peace, and majesty magnified.

The losses, the sufferings, the sorrows I have faced in this life leave me with a choice.  I can choose to surrender it all to the One who comforts, consoles, and loves. I can surrender the hurts and exchange them for His peace.

For me, being filled with His peace does not mean everything will work out while on this earth. It means, regardless of what occurs here, I have eternity with Him. That knowledge doesn’t necessarily lessen the pain. My heart is literally broken. I’ve felt the physical breaking of it as well as the emotional. It stinks. I won’t lie about that.

But what His peace does is stand beside my faith and fills in the cracks and gaps of my brokenness.

It reminds me that my life is only a vapor.

It assures me that eternity in the presence of God will be grander than my wildest imagination.

It sustains me when I cannot catch my breath.

So the application, in my opinion, comes in the CHOICE to accept and surrender. Through these deliberate actions, I am able to apply His peace to each area of my life.

His peace is where I choose to collapse when my parenting skills are lacking and I feel like a failure doing this solo. His Word tells me He is a father to the fatherless. I trust Him to help me parent these children He blessed us with.

His peace is what comforts me when I am lonely. Doing this life as a single wasn’t my plan. I still want Tim by my side. But I trust that God goes ahead of me, walks beside me, and hems me in from behind. His peace gives me confidence to hold my head high and not be ashamed of my singleness nor be desperate for a mate. My worth and value are found in my relationship with Him.

His peace is where I surrender my financial fears. I work hard with the skill set He has given me and I try to be prudent in my spending habits. I trust that seeking His wisdom and the counsel of those He has placed around me will help me thrive with less.

The foot of the cross is where I exchange my frustrations for His peace.

It is a daily occurrence.

Lord, I lay it all down at the foot of the cross in exchange for Your peace that passes all understanding.  Give me the strength to leave it there, surrendered to You and not pick it back up again piece by piece.  And when I do start trying to carry the burdens of worry, fear, and frustration again, guide me back to You where You are always willing to take my burden in exchange for the gift of Your perfect peace.  Amen.


 

Lori meet usLori 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.

If you would like Lori or another team member to speak at your event, email us at admin@anewseason.net

Click  here for more articles written by Lori. 

For other articles on the topic of peace, see Lonely? Exchange it for Peace by Ami Atikins or It Brought Me to My Knees by Teri Cox

me at podium

Totally Blessed but Still so Broken

Recently I’ve felt all broken, like a puzzle pulled apart right in the middle of plotting my new life portrait. I mean, when God gives us a second chance aren’t we supposed to focus our eyes in front of us, hearts overflowing with unheralded hope? But instead, I feel like I’m betraying Him with blinders on my eyes and hurt in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you know you’re blessed but still you feel broken in pieces. So instead of praising Him you’re imploring Him.

Maybe we can work through this together.  Widowhood’s puzzle comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, colors and contours. So even though my picture may look a lot different than yours, we all begin with one piece: death, loss of a large part in the puzzle we once knew.

Right now, I’m in the first year of putting pieces of the ‘remarried widow’ portrait together. I’m blessed because of my sweet second chance! The colors, contours, truths, type of love and fears of another loss create an entirely new appearance. It’s exciting, awesome and downright wonderful….really, it’s also very scary.

Someday I’ll tell the full story of how it all happened, how God was the One working against me as I resisted remarriage. He went ahead without my consent (as if He needed it!) and put it all together so beautifully that I had to welcome His blessing!

But now I’m here with all this newfound hope somehow feeling broken in the midst of my blessing.

You see, saying ‘I do’ for a second time did not put me all back together again. The loss of my first love sometimes lingers. I’ll say it straightforward: Grief doesn’t just go away, replaced by remarriage. Past puzzle pieces remain intact because God gave them purpose. And for me, they occasionally resurface although fewer and further between.

When I celebrated my first love’s birthday last week at the memorial given by his comrades, his fellow firefighters, I fell flat. The puzzle of my new life portrait came apart like a sudden pressing pause, then quick rewind to raw loss.

I was reminded this journey is much too complicated to reconcile with a walk down the aisle. Of course, in my mind I knew remnants of grief over Kevin would always remain. But it wasn’t until I couldn’t catch my breath that I realized how paradoxical it would feel. My new husband holding my heart listening intently about my lost love. He sweetly saw my struggle as I poured out my heart.

Listen, ladies. Don’t get me wrong! New love is amazing, fresh, a God-given gift if it arises on your widowhood walk. It adds depth and opportunity to fill new dreams. It’s been an awesome display of God’s love in my life! But we have to remember: it’s not all about happiness and healing….although both are byproducts of any relationship done right. (Here’s more about that on Happily Whole: It’s Not All About Being Happy)

I’d never steer you away from another man if your puzzle pieces are put together with prayer and God’s purpose. But, as widows, we have to be real. New love sometimes underlines what we’ve lost. I’m pretty sure, as God continues putting my puzzle together, I’ll always feel a little unmade.

And, you know what? That’s okay with me. Because one thing I can say I have learned without a doubt as I continue to reconcile my past and present puzzles is that God is my number ONE. He is my ONLY constant, my first Comforter and my life’s Creator! I will follow Him wherever He leads!

So, I suppose it’s also alright the way we sometimes know we’re blessed but still feel all broken, pulled apart and pieces missing. He leaves some pieces out of our puzzles so our constant, our Comforter, our Creator has space to fill us in.

No matter how broken we feel, the blessing is still always real!

If you were wondering about more of my second chapter struggles, here’s one on Happily Whole all about the blessing of blending… families and buttercream: Buttercream Blending and Messy Motherhood

Now, with you all in my heart and in my prayers, I’m headed back over to Happily Whole to continue writing a new recipe!

Live Well and Be Blessed,

Katie

god is good 8

God is Good- 6

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

  Romans 8:28

 

There was a time in my life when so much was going “wrong” that I felt like God had dumped a truck load of manure on my head.  Have you ever felt that way?  Prayers were unanswered.  Peace could not be found.  Pain grew with each breath.  How was I supposed to believe God was still “good”?

My faith was shaken to its very core.  I finally came face-to-face with Scripture and had a choice to make.  Either God was still the God of the Old Testament whose name is Elohim, Strong One, who says to me, “Don’t be afraid.  I am with you.”  Either He was the God of the New Testament who silenced the storms and promises to always work our life’s events out to His glory.  Or He wasn’t any of this- He was a fraud and a destroyer.  I couldn’t accept that He was my enemy so I had to accept the other.  I clung to Him as my Creator and Lover of my soul.  It was all I had to hang on to.

When I had only God to cling to, I changed the focus of my prayers.  Previously, my prayers had been really good, but really mine.  I was convicted to change my prayers to simply, “Not my will, but Yours.”  I wanted all kinds of great things, but I dropped all that baggage at the foot of the cross.  I walked away with only those five words. And they were proof whether I really did trust God fully with my life.

This is where I return every time things seem to point to God’s not being good. We would never put these horrific events of death, loss, and grief in our testimonies, but God has chosen to trust us with these circumstances so we must trust Him with them too.

So do I trust Him or not?  That is what it boils down to.  Sometimes I fight with myself over the answer.  I trust, but… No, that isn’t true trust.  I have to trust completely.  God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.

~Elizabeth


Other posts in this series: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, & God is Good-5

may alternate

I Got Dumped

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

I didn’t go to my junior prom!

I was dumped just a few days before it. Yep.  Dumped.

Fast forward six years…

There I stood saying “I do” to the man who had dumped me.

You see, Scott wasn’t perfect.  We met very young. We sowed wild oats.  He had a few more than me to sow though, and he did!

We were high school sweethearts.  On again off again, tumultuous impulsive teenagers.  Imperfect.

It wasn’t until college, where we were captured by our love for one another; and pursued by a relentless God, that we surrendered.

God didn’t want either of us to be perfect.  He wanted us in our imperfection. Once He captured our hearts we were all His, and one another’s too.

We got married just two months after our college graduations.  I’d love to tell you we were perfectly happy.  We weren’t.  Life was messy and hard from the word go. We struggled to manage two very strong personalities and to find our groove.  Then we had infertility issues that almost broke our passion for one another.

Yet, our love and commitment for each other and God ran deep.  It saved and guided us many days.

We blended two very different extended families.  Eventually, we were extremely blessed to have three kids.

Then life took a sharp turn, and I went from being a wife to a widow.  It’s an unwelcomed journey I have been on for almost six years now.

Earlier in my journey, a valuable piece of advice I received was not to put my husband on a pedestal, by remembering our life in its entirety. You see, in the pain, I wanted to just remember the good.  I wanted to glamorize our life together.  I even wanted to make my husband an idol.  Setting standards that he didn’t actually achieve.

The “pedestal” advice came from a widower friend who had made that mistake.  Once God healed him, and opened his heart and mind to the future it was a very tough road for him to remove the “god” his late wife had become. He struggled to step forward and embrace life because he had clung so tightly for so long to the past, he created idols in his heart and mind that were hard to relinquish.

So, my internal motto became: Once God opens my heart to anything new it would be extremely hard to lug that pedestal along too!

My husband was imperfectly amazing.  Our love was deep and our commitment firm.  I wish he were here with us now, but he’s not.  He’s not here on a pedestal either.  He’s a part of who we are. He is loved and missed. He goes along with us, still, but in his proper place.  Second to our great God and our “new” life!

Sisters, be careful.  Your marriage might’ve been amazing.  Your love deep.  Memories vast. But, don’t idolize it. Don’t get stuck thinking you can’t step forward or heal, that you can’t live again, because you might dishonor something that no longer exists. Turn to God and put Him alone on the pedestal.  Embrace the new and walk this journey well, by loving God the most.

Father God, thank You for sending me someone who spoke such important truth to me early on.  Thank You for balancing my grief and love for my husband with how much more You love me.  I lift up any sister to You now that might be struggling with this right now.  Help her to see You, and know and love You deeper than she ever did anyone else.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika 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 Erika or any of our writing team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

Articles with a similar theme:

More Vast, God Sent a Sparrow, & Fear Not

Kathy mountain framed

Go North!

And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir.  Then the Lord said to me, “You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough.  Turn northward and command the people.” 

Deuteronomy 2:1-4 KJV

My sister, Kathy, has been reading through the Bible using a journaling study.  This is where you read scripture and pray about what God is saying to you. Then using a special Bible with wide margins, you draw a piece of artwork to represent the scripture.  My sister is a very talented artist, amongst other things, and she has been posting on social media some of her beautifully inspired artwork.  The other day, she posted the artwork associated with this verse and God used her artwork to catapult me out of a rut.

I’ve been circling a mountain for a long time.  I’ve been wanting something for a long time and asking God for it and His answer has been, “Wait, my child, you’re not ready yet!”  So, I’ve been circling the mountain and re-asking, re-hashing, beseeching…over and over and over again.

I think as widows we often get stuck circling mountains and sometimes we need help moving north, so to speak.  We circle the mountains of anger, jealousy, hurt, longing and self-indulgence, to name just a few.  We fill our back packs with: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.” “I don’t want this.” “I shouldn’t have to do this.”  “I’m tired.” And of course, “Why?”

This week as I was scrolling through my social media account up popped my sister’s post and her beautiful artwork, which further and much more directly gave me the answer God has for me.  It is His sweet answer to my prayer!

Stop circling this mountain and move north!  God spoke to me and basically told me to pick myself up and move north – look to Him and move toward Him.

Do you sometimes find that when you want something and ask for it and don’t get it in your time, you float away from Christ in the process?  You don’t mean to, but you do.  It’s a gradual wearing down, a slow movement south.

I find it so interesting that God knows me, knows what I need, when I need it and sends the perfect message in the perfect person at the perfect time.  His answer always feeds my soul and sustains me.

I’m finding that when I start circling a mountain, it is often a man-made mountain.  And as I am wearing a trail around its base, I am adding to the height of the mountain I am circling.  I get caught up in the circling and looking at the mountain and I forget to look north…true north.

So, this girl is going through her backpack and I am leaving some of my stuff on this mountain trail – the stuff I’ve added.  I am lightening up my backpack and looking north…going north.  I’m still hiking, but I’m looking to my beacon- my true North – Christ, my Savior.

Who’s with me?  Let’s open our backpacks up and get rid of some of the stuff we’ve been carrying!  Let’s leave this trail and go north.  I’ll meet you on a new trail and we can encourage one another along the way.

Stop circling this mountain and move north!  Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your God-given talent and allowing God to work through you to encourage others!

Dear Lord, Thank You for Your scripture which is new every day!  Thank You for using people in my life to encourage me and to speak light and truth into my life!  I am moving north and leaving this mountain trail for a new trail being paved by You.  Amen 


sherrySherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and just completed her freshman year at college.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like:

Moving Forward by Teri

 Full Victory by Erika

MarthatoMary ans

SOS (Sudden Onset Sleepies)

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)

Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed you suddenly felt sleepy?

I hadn’t felt that reaction to stress since those early days after the funeral, but I felt it again recently.

It was one of those weeks with tax returns, senior graduation planning, family summer scheduling and promised ministry duties. I simply had to meet all of these deadlines.

So, I hunkered down and began drilling through the mound of paperwork on my desk.

I was chugging along when something stopped my progress dead in its tracks—a drawn-out phone call with automated voice menus, hold times and customer service reps who kept forwarding me along to another, giving me plenty of time to think about all the tasks building up like a logjam.

While on hold, I found myself fighting a sort of shut-down dance. It started with a buzz of tension that crawled up my spine and bounced about in my head, and quickly turned into an overwhelming urge to do one thing, and only one thing—sleep. It were as though my eyelids would have to be propped up with toothpicks just to get through that phone call. And as soon as I hung up, boom! I collapsed into a twenty minute snooze.

The nap was easy to manage in my life as a homeschool mom with no office job to stop me.

But I wondered, once I step back into the work world, won’t I need a better way to handle stress?

God created in us an ability to manage our emotions in so many ways. Growing sleepy as a reaction to my mound of papers was a red flag telling me to work through the underlying problem—-stress.

What can I learn from Martha?

She rushed about preparing the home for her guests and grew anxious when Mary let go of those hospitality duties enough to relax and relate to Jesus.

I pictured Martha outside of the kitchen, then warped into modern times—sitting in front of a laptop with a cell phone to her ear, pressing hard to get all that work done. If Jesus kindly called Martha out on her misplaced priorities in the kitchen, doesn’t He also call us out when we let the whirlwind of today’s information age tie us up in knots? Was my sleepy reaction a wake up call to slow down and stop being a Martha?

God calls us to remember what’s important. Romans 12:2 tells us “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

I prayed. God, how can I change my routines so that this overwhelmed feeling doesn’t escalate again?

Then I sat, breathed and took in what He had to say. Enjoy what I’ve put on your plate!

Exactly. The reason logjams happen is that I’m piling responsibility after responsibility on my plate and then rushing about bopping down every deadline that pops up its annoying head. In the process, I’ve set aside precious daily routines that kept me in Mary’s world—exercising and getting in His word each morning, keeping my home tidy, spending time each day writing, having relaxed and spontaneous connections with my friends, keeping a handle on my finances, eating right and taking time to enjoy my time in the kitchen.

I’m now unpacking what needs to change in my life to bring Mary back. Would you pray with me? I bet you have a Mary in you just waiting to come out.

Dear Lord, I thank You for the mechanisms You’ve built in each and every one of us to warn us when we’ve flown too close to the sun and need to slow down. Would you guide me through the steps I need to take to open up time and joy in my schedule? 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, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Lead Me- Guide Me, Walk Beside Me

The Bout with Doubt

The Bout with Doubt Part Two:  Recognizing Habitual Tears

 

god is good 7

God is Good- 5

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

  Romans 8:28

Trusting in God’s goodness, it’s what I always seem to come back to when everything flips topsy-turvy and I find myself disoriented and unsure of things in this life.

Sometimes it is hard to see goodness around me in the midst of tragedy.

It is then that I must trust in the unchanging character of our God. 

He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-sufficient.  He is always good, even when all around me seems bad.

Even in death.

That’s not an easy thing to process when the life of a loved one ends, when pleas for healing seem to go unanswered.  But He is always good.  And you know what else?  He always heals His children.  ALWAYS!  The healing may not come on this earth, but our loved ones are healed in the presence of their Savior.  The trumpet will sound. The dead in Christ will rise. Every ailment will be no more. Every disease will be vanquished. And that my sisters, is a healing that can never be erased or marred by death again.

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

1 Corinthians 15:26

God doesn’t need my life to go smoothly for His goodness to be true.  He is the very essence of good.  I can lean hard into Him during tragedy because He is faithful.  His goodness isn’t defined by our standards and it isn’t confined to this world.  Often, His goodness isn’t even realized here.  We can’t see the full extent of what He has planned for us.  Suffering and sorrow are part of life’s journey.  They were unavoidable, even for Christ as he walked this earth.  God’s plans are for eternity.  The fullness of His goodness will be revealed there.

God restores and He redeems.  He is in the work of making good from bad.

“The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His work.”

Psalm 145:9 KJV

His focus is on the eternal.  Cling to His goodness.  When all in this life is ripped out from underneath you and you are free falling into a dark abyss, know that He is with you.  He never leaves us, He never forsakes us.  No matter how dismal this life gets…we win in the end.  Because, God is good!

~Lori


Other posts is our God is Good series:God is Good, God is Good- 2, God is Good- 3, God is Good- 4

John 10-10

I AM Near

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Three. Two. One. Smile! Snap. A moment caught in time.

Memories flash. A picture from the past can flood a mountain of thoughts, memories and emotions. Often times, they cause us to smile. But sometimes, they cause pain to arise.

Such was the case when I stumbled upon a picture of my husband the other day. A picture taken by his mother in the last weeks of his time here on earth. A picture revealing the throes of a battle with cancer. A picture I had forgotten, until I stumbled upon it. A moment caught in time that caused me to catch my breath.

It is not how I wanted to remember him. That picture is not who he was. I threw it on the floor, willing the image out of my mind. Try as I might, the image sat there, boring it’s unpleasant memories in my thinking process, penetrating and reminding me of a time that was anything but pleasant. It was like a thief coming to plunder through my being and to steal my joy.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that I acknowledged it and let it drop more quickly. But, I can not. Thieves are just like that. They linger. They rob. They seek to destroy. And sometimes it is so hard to shake them off, which was the case on this day. And not only did it sear my vision of the once robust guy I had married, it conjured many images of that last month we spent together. Most, not pleasant. Thoughts and memories I had toiled through, packed down and placed in a secure part of me. Things that were blurred in my memory were now perfectly clear again, as if called up for a “white-glove inspection”. What followed was an avalanche of moments that bore my tender heart to more painful reminders. Our wedding day. Big events where his absence was felt so deeply. I closed my eyes to shut out the images and thoughts.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

As I cried out in anguish, seeking answers, God arrived. He did not tell me why this was my lot in life. He did not tell me that the pain would go away. He did not tell me that life would be free of troubles. But, He did come to me.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We can boldly dismiss these joy robbers as we stand firm in biblical teachings. God came to Moses as he hesitantly led thousands into the desert, to Daniel in the lion’s den, to Job in his suffering and loss, and to Mary and Martha for their brother, Lazarus.

God showed up and He showed up BIG.

If we allow Him, He will show up for us as well. We can shake off those bothersome moments that seek to crush our spirit. We don’t have to remain stuck in a life marred by circumstances and struggles. Those moments from times past do not have to determine the purpose and plan for our future. There is a voice that whispers love and hope. “Remember who you are in Me, you belong to Me.”  His love over us is permanent. His plan for us is to live victoriously. He is the key. He will walk with us as we confront the sadness, the loneliness, the fear, the brokenness and the confusion.

But He said to me. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)    ESV

When these moments appear (and they surely will), I encourage you to call out to Him and allow Him to sit with you. When sorrow overwhelms our spirits, God wants us to come to Him. Our sensitive and anxious souls need the truth and we can quiet our souls with truths from Scripture. As I gave Him my tears and heartache triggered by that picture, I heard His words – “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

Let Him come to you and give you rest.

Lord, I ask as we struggle with life’s struggles and pain, that You will please come near. It can be lonesome and hard for the widow’s heart; may they feel Your presence in these moments that tear at our hearts. Thank You, Lord, for loving us and giving us rest. Amen.


IMG_2758Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

 Read more about finding a new joy by Lori and Sherry

rev 320

We Are Not Alone

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

                                                                                         Revelation 3:20 NIV

 

We. Are. Not. Alone. can be words that elicit terror or jubilation. Which is it for you?

God has created us in His image, which means we were created to be in community just like Him: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we accept Him as Lord of our lives, we are given a seat at the table. It is a choice we can make that means we never have to dine alone again.

I hate eating alone. There’s no one to share the highs and lows of the day. No one to listen to, no one to laugh with. It doesn’t seem worth cooking a good meal just for me. My most common dinner companion is the television. Eating has become a task stripped of the beauty of companionship and community with others. I was not made to dine alone.

As widows, we can find ourselves feeling very cut off from others. Activities we once enjoyed becoming painful tasks, a mockery of the beautiful companionship that once was.

But we are not alone.

My heart is still so full from our conference a few weeks ago. Something so beautiful happens when we gather. I feel like God’s presence is magnified ten-fold when we are with others who are walking so closely with Him. An incredible joy bubbles up with seeing His faithfulness being demonstrated in each of the ladies’ lives. Every time we gather, I experience God’s love and provision in an intense way.

I am reminded of the difference between sharing a feast with others instead of dining on scraps alone.

It wasn’t easy for the women who came– choosing to go to the conference, working out many logistics including transportation, arranging childcare, etc. But for most, the biggest hurdle was overcoming the fear– “Do I have the emotional strength and energy to connect with new people?” They stepped out in faith, and God blessed them with everything they needed, plus so much more.

God’s word is clear from beginning to the end. We are not created to be alone. The world we live in sends the message the only way to fill the void in our lives is with a man. Having a spouse to share our lives with is just one of the ways God created for us to be with others. He created within us an intense need for being in community so that first and foremost, we would seek to satisfy our need with a relationship with Him. Nothing can or will ever fill the void, except being with Him. And as an extension of our relationship with Him, we are created to be in community with His church, the body of Christ.

Our call to action: 

So let us pray for one another to overcome our fears and the obstacles depriving us from gathering at the table. Let us pray for one another to first and foremost, fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May our fears, our anger, and our sadness decrease as we are continually filled with His love. May each of us let His love flow through us to build up and encourage others. Let us say “I hear you knocking at the door, Lord. Please come in and I will dine with you and you will dine with me!”

We are not alone.


 

SherylPeppletb

Sheryl 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?  Hello, my name is

Want to read another article about how to deal with loneliness?  Loneliness, Get Out!