when mercy found me ami atkins a widows might a new season widowhood support

Teri’s Favorite

 

Over the last few months we’ve shared how we know that God is Good: even if, even when, even still.  We pray you’ve been as blessed as we have in this series. If you missed any of those posts you can catch up here: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, …5, …6, …7, …8, God is Good-9, God is Good-10, & God is Good-11

Today, we begin a new series called “Our Favorites“.  Each week we will share a post with you that touched our writing team and spoke to our hearts in a deep and meaningful way.  We hope these posts will touch your heart and God will use them mightily as you walk this journey as well.

We start today with Teri’s favorite pick…


A Time to Leap  by Ami Atkins

I’ve never been a “dip a toe in the water” kind of girl. I’d much rather jump right off the diving board and embrace the chilly jolt.

Everyone knows it’s easier to acclimate if you go all in, right?

I tend to face life this way also. Decisions are all or nothing. Likewise, indifference and apathy aren’t prominent character traits. I’ve been known to rush in, yet most decisions are actually preceded by intense thought and prayer.

But when I jump, I jump.

My husband and I had dated about a month when I told him I wanted to marry him. Indeed it was a bold statement, but I knew he wanted the same.

I like taking risks. Recently, however, a latent fear rose to the surface; I didn’t realize I was still afraid of future suffering. I thought I’d dealt with that one long ago.

Apparently it crept up again.

Sitting across from a man who wants to date me and has embraced my widowhood with immense grace, I finally confronted the sin lurking in the shadows.

“What if I have to walk through death again? If I let this guy in, I could suffer more.” 

Through tears I admitted the fear. Pulling me close, he spoke life giving truth.

“You know God is good. You know He does all things well. He sovereignly leads and plans the best things for your life. You may be a widow again. But you may not ever be. Because of the gospel we don’t have to fear. There is so much joy.”

He’s right.

And just like that I decided to leap. I don’t know what God plans for this man and me, but it’s time to take a risk and see what could be. I need not fear future suffering or future blessing.

For “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18.

God loves me perfectly. Jesus loved perfectly, even to death on the cross. Therefore, I don’t have to fear.

In How People Change, Tripp calls all the pressures of this life “heat.” The trials, blessings, responsibilities, sufferings, joys, and challenges, temptations—all are heat that produce either thorns or fruit.

At the potential of something new, my thorny response was fear. And in this scenario, fear is sin.

It is a result of

  • forgetting who God is.
  • forgetting what He has done.
  • forgetting who He says I am.
  • forgetting that He has provided everything for a God-honoring life.
  • forgetting that He’s committed to making me holy.

Sometimes I cherish things more than I cherish Christ—

My comfort.

My expectations for a well-ordered life.

My temptations to compare a new relationship with the old.

Therefore, I turn from fear. However, to merely change my behavior would be counterfeit and superficial at best. I need radical heart change.

“At the cross God meets us in our sin and struggle with His heart transforming grace.” -Paul Tripp.

So, I ask. “Who is God and what does He say and do in Christ?’

God is good. He is working all things out for my joy and His glory. (Romans 8) Because Jesus had joy in suffering, when suffering comes I can meet it with a settled confidence— with joy, peace, rest, and even cheerfulness.

He gives Himself.

He provides.

As I view the transforming grace of Christ at the cross, thorns become fruit, and I trust my unknown future to a known God.

As for this guy?

Well, I’m a little giddy. I can’t wait to see what God does next.

Here’s to the diving board.


 Please join us next week as we share more of “Our Favorites”. 

 

 

Storytotell

Partnering With Us

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that we all have stories of His love and faithfulness. We believe we need to tell those stories so others can run with endurance. We need to be like the marathon runners, and come back to run with those behind us and cheer them on so they can run the race with endurance.

We believe that God’s word is clear… ministering to widows is an important and worthy calling.

We are looking for those who feel called to partner with us.

If you are called to turn back and help others.

If you feel God prompting you to share your story through writing.

If you have a ministry or book you think would benefit our audience.

If God is prompting you to support us financially.

Then, we want to hear from you!

Please follow this link to find out more: Partner With Us

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing how God can use you to bless others!

We look forward to partnering together for HIS GLORY!

july three 12

A Story to Tell

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

                                                                                                                             Hebrews 12:1 ESV

Years ago, my pastor started one of his sermons by bringing up five marathon runners on stage. He proceeded to ask them what they had learned about running marathons. One of the runners is a dear friend of mine, and I will never forget something she said. Her favorite thing about running a marathon was when they were in the home stretch (so exhausted they weren’t sure if they were going to make it) runners who had already crossed the finish line would come back, run with them and cheer them on to help them finish strong. She said, “As Christians we should be doing the same thing.” I pray this ministry is doing just that.

I hope the stories we tell, encourage you to endure and run a strong race. Our dream is you will tell your stories for others when you are able. You may not realize it, but all of us have something in common with the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. We all have a story to tell of God’s love and faithfulness.

Our story is not about how tragically we lost our husbands, or how devastating grief is. All of us can remember days, weeks, months, where our loss is all we can see, hear and feel. But our story is much, much bigger. It’s about the God of all Creation, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, and who He is. Our story leads people to see Him and who He is -His goodness, His faithfulness, His love.

Over the last four years, I have seen God’s love and faithfulness woven through the details of my life time and time again. Allow me a moment to share one from just this week.

This week, my first granddaughter (second grandchild) was born. One of my most treasured dreams was to share being a grandparent with my husband. When he was killed, the death of that dream was one of the things I struggled with the most. But God knew the desires of my heart. You can read about the extraordinary way He provided for me with my grandson in The Gospel of His Grace. I was remembering that story this week as I was driving to the hospital to visit my granddaughter. One moment I was celebrating God’s goodness and in the very next moment I was missing my husband and sad that this grandchild would never have a story like that. My heart hurt.

Yesterday my daughter and granddaughter came home from the hospital. I helped them settle in and returned to my empty house. My mind kept thinking about how my grandson had a “story” to connect him to his grandfather Dave, but our sweet new little Cora didn’t. Her beautiful name was chosen months before her birth, but it wasn’t after my husband Dave like we had hoped if she had been a boy. The phone rang. My daughter was on the phone, crying. “Are you okay?” My daughter was in utter amazed excitement. A relative of my husband Dave had contacted her through social media to let her know that, unbeknownst to us, “Cora” was the name of Dave’s grandmother! We had no idea – but God did. God knew my daughter’s desire to give her child a name to honor Dave, and He knew my sadness in thinking she had no “story” to connect her to her grandfather. As God has done time and again, He showed us His love in this amazing way. Her special name carries a special story.  

We all have stories of His love and faithfulness. We need to tell those stories so others can run with endurance. We need to be like the marathon runners, and come back to run with those behind us and cheer them on so they can run the race with endurance. Do you have a story to tell?


 

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 a team member speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Want to read another great article by Sheryl? Read He Makes My Way Perfect

Want to read another article about endurance? Endurance and Encouragement by Elizabeth

katieo

A Dare to Live Well Differently

Lately my life feels a little like it’s teetering on a tight to a tight rope I’m nearly falling from. Is it just me or are you just barely balancing in the act of daily obligations, striving to find fulfillment in even just one moment of the day? It’s easy to miss the meaning in a stormy sea of stress and struggles. Even the ever-present joy of Jesus can drown in long to-do lists or loud yet lonely moments.

But that’s not what living well is all about!

In times like these, attempts at living well feel more like dipping into an empty well. Maybe it’s because our soul’s sick and we’re seeking inspiration from the wrong sources. Ladies, we’ve got to dig a little deeper. We need to sink our teeth into something more soothing than what’s found in the world’s remedies. Our society’s solutions will never solve our soul problems!

Let’s look through a heavenly lens. READ MORE here on Happily Whole: Dare to Live Well Differently 

seaf

The Lord is Good!

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

                                                                                                                  Psalm 34:8 ESV

 

Over the last couple of months, we have dedicated our Sunday posts to our God is Good; even if, even when, even still series. Today, as we wrap up the series, I pray you will have time to meditate on His goodness, and let your spirit be refreshed and renewed.

As I walk through this journey, three truths about God’s character have been essential to my well-being.

  1. God is sovereign over everything and everyone.
  2. God is Good. There is no evil in Him.
  3. God loves me.

These three truths allow me to see I am standing on unshakeable ground. With God for me, there is absolutely no way I can lose! His Goodness is the healing balm for my weary and tortured soul.

As we read the scriptures, it becomes apparent that God didn’t just ask us to believe that He is good. He has proven it in the lives of His people, time and time again.

He proved His goodness in the beginning through His creation, and in Old Testament times through the rescue of His people (Israel from Egypt). Ultimately, He demonstrated His goodness through the death of His Son on the cross providing us all personal deliverance from sin. But He didn’t stop there.

His goodness is now dwelling within us, starting the moment we accept the gift of salvation. His goodness is now able to flow from us when we yield to His leading. It’s evident when we love others in a way that supersedes any illustration of love the world can offer. It’s evident when we forgive the unforgivable. It’s evident when we persevere. It’s evident when we give, even when we feel like we have nothing left to give. It is all a reflection of what He did, of who He is. His Goodness is evident in our lives, even on the toughest of days, even when our hearts are breaking; even when we think, “I can’t take one more step.” Our tears may temporarily blur our vision, but His Goodness is still evident. He lives in us.

Often as widows, we struggle with our identity. We wonder if we still have a purpose. Because He loves us and because He is good, He created us for so much more than being either a wife or a widow. He created us, our entire being to be an image of Him. Our minds can’t even begin to comprehend the magnificence of our purpose in bearing His image.

We are blessed because we have cried out. We know we cannot do this alone. We have seen His love and His provision through His word but also up close and personally through our experiences. We know He lives in us. We know He created us for so much more than this. We have sought refuge in Him, time and time again. We are blessed because we know the Lord is Good!

Lord, we thank You today for leading us to meditate on Your Goodness in our lives. We love You and thank You for loving us! Help us to seek You first – always! Let Your Goodness be abundantly evident in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~ Sheryl


To read all the other posts in this series: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, God is Good-5, God is Good-6, God is Good-7, God is Good-8, God is Good-9, God is Good-10, & God is Good-11

 

waiting july

The Waiting

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”

Lamentations 3:25

Waiting rooms are no fun!  I am not a fan of sitting or waiting for my name to be called.

In general I don’t like to wait.  I am not a very patient person.

Yet, I find myself in a season of waiting right now.

I am in the, “God has me waiting room.”

But, this “waiting room” has many doors.  As I stand and look around at all the doors, I see just one that’s locked.  There are many more that SEEM inviting and they’re not locked!

When I open the unlocked doors I see my past.  Some doors open wide, and inside the images are vast, deep and extremely meaningful.  Many of those doors are from my life with my late husband. Precious memories and longings that still exist from the life I had.

There are other unlocked doors too.  They’re glimpses of smaller parts of my life.  Some contain images of broken or lost friendships.  Others reveal men that I’ve met over the last six years; men I thought might be my “next chapter”.  Others are glimpses of past sins I know I’ve laid at the Cross, but they seem to still be there when I open that door.

Sometimes, I stand staring at the ONE locked door.  See, that door is my future.  But unlike my past, I don’t get glimpses behind it.  I can’t crack it open or even open it wide and check out what’s going on behind there.

Lately, I find myself opening lots of the unlocked doors. Looking back with longing, bitterness or even regret.  I’m in a season of “waiting” right now. And as I wait for that big beautiful door of the future to be unlocked I get impatient.  Instead of trusting, believing and seeking, I go back and open the other doors.  When I do, I start to lose sight of what is and try to cling tightly to what was or what might have been.  I start to doubt and question God, because He’s had me waiting in this season “too long”.

As I was studying and doing some research recently, I came across an article that outlined all the great faithful people from the Bible that God made wait.  The list was impressive and humbling.

Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Noah, David, Abraham, and yes… even Jesus.

If He made these great, influential, faithful people wait, then why in the world would little ‘ole me think I’m too good to wait?

I was reminded there’s great purpose in the wait.  God can grow me, transform me, teach me, protect me, and prepare me if I’m willing to trust Him, focus on Him and serve Him while I wait.

I was also reminded that I’ll never get the key to unlock that future door if I’m still clinging too tightly to all the keys of the doors of my past.

So, today as I sit in the ‘God has me waiting’ room I am convicted to shift my focus to the One who’s brought me this far. I will strive to keep my eyes on Him.  I’m choosing to let go of the desire to get a few last peeks at the past. He’s convicted me I can’t prepare for what’s ahead if I’m trying to carry or focus on what’s behind me.

I wait. Yet, I will no longer look around at the many unlocked doors or even focus on the one locked door.  Instead, I’ll look up and seek God in my waiting.

Father God, waiting is hard stuff.  I am so impatient.  Thank You for knowing me and still loving me.  Help me to trust You in this waiting room.  Grow me and draw me nearer to You.  Reveal to me all You have for me, prepare my heart and mind, so I am ready for what You have next for me.  Lord, thank You for being right with me while I wait.  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.

Other articles written by our team with a similar theme: The Waiting Room & Lady in Waiting

 


 

battlelines

Battle Lines

“…thus says the LORD to you,

‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”

2 Chronicles 20:15b 

 

Some days, I have a need to cry out and yet I know people are tired of listening. How many hundreds of times have I asked people to pray for me? How many phone calls have I made saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”? Thousands of two word texts……pray please!

As a writer for this team and a member of a church staff, I pray for others. I war for people on the front lines of loss and grief. People who have no training, no “expertise” or experience with the devastation loss and grief can bring.  People who are being tossed about, like a rag-doll in the middle of a hurricane. I get on bended knee and war in the heavenly realms for them. I lay in the night watches and pray. I get in my quiet prayer closet, along with God, and lift them up. It’s my honor, my privilege, my duty.

There are days though, days when I question, “Lord, is anyone warring for me anymore?” “I’m IN the battle, Lord; is someone covering me? I NEED cover!”

“GOD, ARE YOU LISTENING? I don’t want to do this alone, Lord. I can’t do this alone. I’m tired!”

Moses cried out. Samuel cried out. David cried out. Jesus cried out. I cry out too.  In my spirit, I KNOW He listens. It’s when my mind-I think, my will-I want, and my emotions-I feel, get in the way of my spirit’s ability to listen to the Holy Spirit when things get twisted. When I begin to think about, or worry about things more than I’m praying about them, I’m upside down. 

I’m thankful God is still a God of redemption stories! I am thankful that when I cry out He sends me reminders. He has people text me to say, “I woke up thinking about you today. Praying for you.” Oh, what a sweet text to receive early in the morning. I’m thankful He prompts other prayer warriors to send a message or a word of encouragement at just the right time.

I’m thankful I’m not as broken as I was four years ago. I’m thankful I am growing deep and wide roots into Christ. I’m thankful to have more days now when I war for others, than days when I need to be carried off or through the battle field.

I am thankful God allows me to see those who are wounded around me, find healing though Him. I am thankful for ones who seek me out to war for and with them, even when it’s hard. Why? Because, I have fewer years on this side of Heaven than I have already lived, and I want to live a life of impact. I want to live a life worthy of my calling.

Ephesians 4:1 says, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Widows by nature have to be warriors or give up. We have to be strong and resilient or quit. We become strong or we choose to give up and let death defeat us. I’m thankful I know the real story.

I’m thankful when Jesus cried out, He cried out on the Cross and there He defeated death and while it may feel like death has stolen from us here on Earth, it can never steal Eternity. We are strong, but He is stronger and the war has already been won.

God, give us grateful hearts in the middle of the battle. Please send us reminders,  renew our  strength, and remind us others war with us. Help us to live in victory and remember the battle has been won! In Jesus name, we pray. Amen!


 

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Dr. 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 losing 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.

Would you like to schedule Teri or another team member to speak at your next church event? Contact her at admin@anewseason.net

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

Posts similar to this one by other authors: Applying Peace & Thankful Hearts

psalm 34 8 aNew Season Ministries A Widow's Might

God is Good-11

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:8 ESV

She stands and shares how her faithful God has answered her prayers with “yes” and life is great and God is good.  People smile and encourage her.

I sit in silence, aware that my prayers were not answered with the “yes” I desired, my life is not the “great” I dreamed it would be; but my God is still faithful and good.

Bless it.  My mind can’t help but wonder what her picture perfect life must be like.  If I think back, I realize I used to be her.  Shame on me, I sin in my frustration over her “easy life”.  I confess my jealousy to God.

Widowhood is ugly.

God is beauty.

The longing for our departed is overwhelming.

God is un-overwhelm-able.

When you have been traumatized by medical treatments and procedures yet still known the comfort of God in the midst of endless hospital stays;

when you have experienced loss and truly felt the peace that passes all understanding;

when you have stood flanked by your children, with your arms lifted high in praise, singing “Blessed Be the Name” at your husband’s service, then you know the extent of full surrender.

You will know the goodness of your Lord on a whole new level when you have crawled through the darkest of valleys and thrilled at the tiniest sliver of His light reaching through the darkness to you.

You will comprehend a love so deep, a faith so intense, a truth so piercing.

The goodness of the Lord is not dependent on how He answers my prayers or if my life is going the way I want it to.  The goodness of the Lord is just that:  HIS GOODNESS.  It does not waiver.

On my good days, God is good.  On my bad days, God is good.  He just is.

Widowhood is lonely.

God is ever-present.

Our shattered pieces seem irreparable.

God is a God of redemption and restoration.

I know a depth of my God’s character that I didn’t know before this journey.  He has revealed facets of Himself that I cannot begin to put into words.  His presence has carried me through horrendous events and His goodness has been constant.

Lord, I marvel at You.  Eternity is not enough time to explore Your goodness.  Thank You for revealing more of Yourself to us in the depths of despair.  Amen.

~Lori


Other posts in this series: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, …5, …6, …7, …8, …9, & God is Good-10

Airplane, sky and clouds 02

Fear at 35,000 Feet

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

 Psalm 94: 18-19 NIV

It started out as an ordinary day.

Little did I know that evening I would face a brush with death 35,000 feet in the air; arriving in a far away city, surrounded by unfamiliar faces.  And in my despair and anguish, all I had was my faith and my Lord.

The morning of May 29th, my mind was focused on the trip I would be taking that afternoon. Employed as a flight attendant for 32 years, I have been on many trips. Thankfully, most have been uneventful and there was no reason to think this day would be any different. It was a quick one hour flight up to Charlottesville, Virginia from Atlanta. Nine hours in a hotel and a quick flight back to Atlanta the next morning. Sure seemed easy enough. This day, however, easy was not part of God’s plan.

We departed from Atlanta on time. As we took off and began our climb, I made the welcome announcement to our passengers. We leveled off and the captain signaled that it was safe for us to be up in the cabin and begin our service. I went into the aisle and leaned over to offer our snack basket to a passenger seated by the window when a sudden and severe pain wrecked havoc in my chest. It was searing and debilitating, but I did my best to keep my smile and continue the service.

Returning to the galley area, I doubled over from the physical pain and from the mental fear that was entering my thoughts. Lord, what is this, what is wrong here? I was pleading to Him to allow it to pass. Struggling, I was able to make the requested drinks and deliver them to the passengers.

By now the pain had gravitated between my shoulder blades and it was all I could do to stand. I went to sit on my jumpseat away from the view of passengers and leaned over in intense pain. Fear grabbed me. I knew I was in trouble and needed immediate medical attention. I instructed another flight attendant to call the cockpit and request paramedics meet our flight.

I have done that many times in my thirty-two years of flying for passengers – BUT, never for myself. I was blessed to have two gentlemen on the flight with medical backgrounds to assist, and I was fortunate that we were already on our descent into Charlottesville and on the ground in less than twenty minutes. Once at the hospital, it was immediately determined that I was having a heart attack and I was prepped for surgery.

Wait. This can’t be happening, Lord. No. Please. My girls have already lost their daddy. Please, spare me, Lord. They still need me. 

Pleading. Frightened. Hurting. Questioning. I was rolled into the surgery area. One of my main arteries was 90% blocked and a stent was placed. Five hours after the onset of this nightmare, I was finally placed in the ICU.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.  Psalm 94:19

During those five hours of uncertainties in my life, I could hear the words of the medical staff explaining the diagnosis and the procedure to repair my heart. Most of those words were jumbled in my head. But, the words that I did hear loud and clear came from the great I Am. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Our mind is a complex machine. It can digest a multitude of thoughts in a matter of minutes. Many of those thoughts come and go with no aim or purpose. Yet, in a crisis, there is only one area that gives us comfort; those pertaining to God. It is here we find rest and peace. It is here where calmness can control our anxieties. It is here where God is our refuge, an ever helping presence. No matter how many thoughts cross our mind, there are thoughts of God, of Heaven, of hope, of faith, of love.

It is when His promises meet us face to face and the prospect of eternity with Him is revealed, that our hearts are warmed and our souls experience joy.

And in that five hour crisis of the unknown, it was only Christ that could offer me this peace. It was only Christ that assured me of His love for me and all that He still has planned for me. It was all I had.

And, it was all I needed.

So, while I could look at this bump in the road as another trial, another headache, another annoyance, I choose to look at it as another moment to glorify God for His graciousness in my life. We are each called to walk individual journeys. And along these journeys we may face obstacles and trials. Some of us may get bigger challenges and some of us may get more frequent challenges. As widows, we have certainly walked and continue to walk many trials. It really does not matter what they are or how many there are; what matters is how we respond to them.

What matters is that we claim His truths for us and allow Him to work through these rough spots so His glory may shine.

As I recover from this physical challenge, I am grateful for life. I am grateful I can go forward tending to the business God still has in store for me. And while I tremendously miss the support of my husband walking this challenge with me, I will lean even more on God to see me through. Yes, sisters, He is all I need.

Sweet Father, Thank you for every moment, every challenge and every blessing in our lives. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You and Your plans for us. I am so grateful You were with me during this moment of crisis. It is such a blessing to know You are with us in any situation. Amen


Bonnie 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 faith during illness from Lori and Sherry

10-5-15

What It’s Not

But He gives more grace…

James 4:6a ESV

Are you dating anyone?

Why haven’t you dated?

How do you feel about dating?

Ah. The endless questions. And no one seems to understand…some days, least of all me…why nearly eight years later, it is still not a priority to find an answer to these questions.

For me, it’s not a simple thing to put into words. Just like this journey, it’s complicated. It is almost easier to tell what are not the reasons than what are. So here goes.

  • It’s not improperly mourning Keith…holding a torch for him that I should not hold, not willing to give my heart to anyone else, should God bring the right guy to me.
  • It’s not feeling there are no good men out there…I have seen God bring great guys to several of my widow friends.
  • It’s not a fear of losing someone else: while I cannot imagine going through this journey again, it does not scare me to the point that I would be unwilling to trust in love again.
  • It’s not worrying how my kids will accept someone else, how a blended family will work, or parenting other children if he should happen to have some…God is bigger than that.
  • It’s not that I don’t miss being married, or don’t get lonely, or don’t miss companionship…I do, just like anyone else.

What it is:

  • It’s being on the path of singleness that God has for me right now…a path I may always be on.
  • It’s concentrating on running the race that God has put before me to run, even if I run that alone—taking care of the tasks at home, school, and church that I must handle at this time.
  • It’s putting my Lord first as my Husband, regardless of the fact that He is not flesh-and-blood…and being confident in that place.
  • It’s being groomed for a future that I cannot see at this moment…trusting a Lord who can.

Maybe you are there, too, sister…tiring of explaining, working on rebuilding pieces of this torn life, trying to live the life God has now laid before you. My words for you are the same ones I tell myself in the mirror every day (and they come from Jesus Himself):

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

I must view any and all questions and struggles on this journey through the lens of His love and His Word…regardless of what well-meaning others may say or do, regardless of how I am feeling at the particular moment.

And…I must give grace…to them and to myself…whether any of us understand or not.

Father, You are the Giver of all good gifts. Thank You for the gift of my life as it is now. Help me to see You in it, even if it hurts like the dickens sometimes, even if it confusing and complicated. You love me. You love me! I rest in that knowledge. And that is enough. Thank You, Father. Amen.


 

liz325Liz Anne Wright is a homeschooling mom of four boys who enjoys meeting new people, walking, and reading. Since losing her husband in November of 2007, she has felt led to reach out to the grieving. With the help of friends, she started a local widows’ ministry to connect widows in her local area. She also renewed her childhood passion for writing and began her own blog, and a book about her widow experience. In all that she has been able to accomplish since the death of her husband, she gives full credit to her Lord and Savior. She is very thankful that, while she is very ordinary, the God she serves is extraordinary. Because of that, she is able to rebuild after her loss. She is not just surviving, but thriving! To Him be the glory!
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