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He Will Clean It Up

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

James 4:14 NASB

You owe me $20!

We used to say that all the time when my husband was alive.  We often ate dinner with my best friend, his best friend, and our kids.  Those people were also his sister and brother-in-law, our nieces and nephew, and our girls.  At almost every dinner, whether at home or out at a restaurant, someone knocked over a drink and it went everywhere.  My husband would call out, after the initial shock, “you owe me $20,” and we would all laugh and clean up the mess together.  For the longest time after his death, we didn’t say that anymore.

The other night, I was out with those same wonderful people.  The youngest kid is now 19 years old and we were celebrating our last dinner of the summer before the kids go back to college.  As we sat at our restaurant table, someone reached for something and, you guessed it, a drink was spilled.  Both me and my sister in law said in unison, “You owe me $20″.   For a moment, time stopped and we all looked at each other and almost simultaneously, we all smiled a secret smile as we each remembered the voice that was missing.

It has been almost six years since he left this place and went to Heaven with his Savior.  2,007 days to be exact.  This grief journey has been one of the hardest roads I have ever endured.  For some of the journey, I felt like my heart was missing.  For some of the journey, my heart was beating again, but to a different beat, not as loud or as strong on some days.  I’ve changed, evolved, grown…  This is a messy journey that changes moment by moment.

At the five year mark, I was hit in the face with a huge grief wave.  I am now starting to remember the sweet memories of him and how he made me laugh.  He made everything okay.  This makes me miss him even more some days.  I miss his ability to make me funnier, sweeter, less serious.

There are days when I long for Christ’s return.  I pray for it.  I look for it.  I weep for it.  I’m so tired of this endless journey.  I’m so tired of my heart hurting when I think about all the other family members who lost him too.

But then, I remember how he lived.  When a “catastrophe” hit – like 20 ounces of fruit punch tipped and spilled over an entire family’s dinner – he made it okay and put it into perspective.  From Christ’s view, it is all a vapor.  A moment that won’t be remembered in eternity.

So, I have to turn my view to my Savior.  I have to remember to view this journey from His point of view.  He would not ask me to take this road if it were not for His glory and His purpose.  On my very worst days, when I cry out to my Savior and ask for respite, He holds me in His arms and lets me rest there.  He walks with me through the mess of this journey, and sits with me on the side of the road when I need to take a breather.

It gets easier to live with the pain of loss.  I don’t hurt all the time like I used to.  I’m not broken.  I am a redeemed vessel.

Shattered into a million pieces and now glued back together with the Savior’s precious hands and love. 

I still laugh at the kids’ faces when they were younger and we said, “You owe me $20.”  We never collected.  After my husband said that with his serious face, he would break into a smile and say, “Help us clean up this mess before my dinner gets cold.”  And, together, we would make everything okay.

That’s how it is with Christ too!  He can make it better, if you’ll let Him, He will clean it up.

Dear Lord, Thank You for Your loving arms that wrap around me and comfort me.  I can’t imagine this journey without You.  Amen


 

Sherry LookSherry 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: Spring Cleaning Your Soul by Katie Hagen

 

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We believe—WE WILL WIN

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Do you have a battle cry?

Athletes understand a battle cry of confidence.

They also understand the struggles ahead, and if they are powerful competitors, they know what winning really means—it’s the joy of the battle, not merely a trophy.

Check out this battle cry from the 2014 World Cup:

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Crowds of Americans chanted “I believe that we will win” over and over, even though all odds were against the US winning a World Cup.

All odds against winning, but we Americans shouted it anyway.

Were we ignoring the odds, or did we understand what winning really meant?  Once I got into the routine of life without my husband, I asked myself the same question…Do I understand what winning in my journey as a widow means?

They tell us widows, young and old, “you’ve got to move forward”.

That’s hard when you have layers of grief, pain, denial, anger and self-pity to overcome.

So it’s tears and stumbles. It’s waking up alone and pushing your way out of bed, only to be faced with reality again – he’s gone.

What does God say to that? Are we moving towards victory or survival?

We believe that we will win. Maybe it should be “we believe that we HAVE WON.”

Because we aren’t living to win.  We are living based on winning.  He’s already won.  You’re just living out His victory!

Not to say you won’t have trouble.  But when you do have it, God’s there to kick trouble in the shins! 2 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV) says, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.”

In those moments when your struggles bring despair, take heart.  Everything will get better.

Those moments humble you and tear you open like a seed which must be broken open to germinate. Out of brokenness you grow into a new woman in a new season.

While you sit in your brokenness, don’t let anything replace real Truth. New romance, shopping with inheritance money, drugs, wine.  None of that will heal.  God’s Truth is the only thing that lasts in the end.

That Truth is we are not just broken because we experienced loss.  All in this world are broken and filled with the weight of our sins.  And it’s only through recognizing just how awful that sin is that we win. We take the weight of sin off and hand it over to Christ, who paid for it once and for all by shedding His blood on the cross so you can now walk free.  Is this new to you?

Don’t let Truth pass you by, sister, because it’s in that Truth that you will finally believe, from the heart that YOU WILL WIN!  Read more about His Truth and how you can be saved here, and if you need one of our writers to pray with you to accept Christ in your life, please contact us here.

Trust God on this–there will be an end to the sorrow.  Things will become new for you—that’s a promise straight from God’s Word:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

That new is here, and you can experience it in this life through the impact you make, and through God’s blessings of a new abundant life. Ultimately, God will make all things new in Heaven. You will be redeemed from this widowhood!

You will no longer awake in your bed alone.

You will no longer walk through life without your best friend.

You will no longer carry the burdens of your household alone.

You will have companionship, love and fellowship.

What He doesn’t heal in this life, He will completely redeem in the next!

We believe—WE WILL WIN!

Dear God, we’ve won. Already.  Help us remember that You’ve already brought victory to us by dying on the cross. You’ve defeated sin. All of our tears will be wiped away–here, or when we stand before You.  Please give all of my sisters here strength and knowledge of your Truth.  Amen.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a 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:

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Lori’s Favorite

This week’s favorite is one that Lori wrote earlier in her journey.  It addresses one of those big questions we all face as widows, “Who am I now?”

Please join us today for this truth-filled and encouraging post.


Who He Says I Am by Lori Streller

My eyes flutter open.  It is a rare day when no alarm clock is needed and the morning calendar is void of events.  A few months into the newness of widowhood, I lie in bed realizing that I am different.

I ask myself, “Who am I now?”

I’m one of those old-fashioned girls who always wanted to be a wife and mother.  There is no shame in that.  I enjoyed my career too, but role of wife and mother was my dream “job”.  I thrived being under the loving leadership of my husband.

He is gone now.

It is clear who I am not.  I was my husband’s primary caregiver during his cancer battle.  Suddenly, I am no longer the charter and giver of all medications, the guider of his walker as he navigates his way out of his home hospital bed, no longer the overseer of changing his clothing, the administer of nourishment through his feeding tube, no longer the helper for his personal care, nor the one reading to him as his eyes fail.

As I stretch my memory past the illness, to the beautiful years of our marriage, I find that I have lost many other pieces of myself as well.  I am without my best-friend, the Spiritual leader of our home, my parenting partner, my lover, and my biggest fan.  (Wow.  That’s a huge loss in one single blink of an eye.)

Thankfully, I am still Mom to our two children.  But even that role has changed.  I have new responsibilities as the only parent in this home.  I am the sole overseer of homework, sports schedules, chores, and nutrition.  I am the lone chauffeur for all road trips, long or short.  I am the one to guide our children, emotionally and physically as they navigate grief and the early teen years.

To be honest, it’s a lot, but you already know this, because you too are walking the lonely road of the widow.  Some of you are also raising children during this transition.  Some aren’t, but whether we have that common thread or not, I am guessing you feel like you’ve lost a chunk of who you are also.

So much has changed. 

WHO are we now?

I have a rule that I have implemented in my life to keep my train of thought positive when life is topsy-turvy.

 When you are unsure of something, go back to what you KNOW is true.

So, what is true about who we are?

We are children of the most high God {Acts 17:28}. 

We are forever His treasured possession {Deuteronomy 7:6}. 

We are guided by Truth {John 16:13}

We are forgiven {Ephesians 1:7}.

We are fully complete, strengthened in His might, lacking nothing {Colossians 1:11 & 2:10}.

We are holy and dearly loved {Colossians 3:12}.

Losing the role of wife has shaken me to my core.  It has left me feeling lonely, awkward and lost.  Can you relate?  I am so thankful that God reminds us of our worth, regardless of what our earthly “titles” are.  We are still precious and beautiful in His sight.  He wants us to see the beauty that remains within us.  Let’s rest in the knowledge of who He says we are!

Lord, thank you for staying with us right in the messy middle of our lives {Hebrews 13:5b}.  This life gets ugly and it is so easy to lose sight of our true identity.  You call us “loved”, “accepted”, and “friend”.  Wow.  Remind us when we forget, Lord.  Let us feel the saturation of who You say we are from the inside out.  Amen.        


Other post in “Our Favorites” series: Teri’s Favorite, Erika’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, & Sherry’s Favorite

 

 

Israel Expirence 2/18/13 
Mount Carmel  
Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2013 - http://www.ockenphotography.com/

I Cry Out

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LordAt an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.  Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Psalm 69:13-16 ESV

 

“I cry out!”

How often I have said or written those words in my journals since my husband’s death. Yet, there are times when I still feel alone and unimportant.

Grief is like being attacked by a bear.  You may simply be trying to make it back to civilization, but out of the thicket you are ambushed, mauled. You never know when it will attack, how hungry it is, how long it will stay, what made it rear its ugly head to begin with, how fierce the fight will be, or how wounded and bloodied you will be when the ambush stops.

SCREAMS GO UP

THE PAIN IS INDESCRIBABLE 

WOUNDS ARE DEEP AND WIDE

Then…….there is silence and it’s finally over.

The silence is so loud it’s deafening and you feel alone, perhaps afraid, or unloved. Did anyone hear your cries? Does anyone care? Will these attacks ever stop? Am I forgotten? Is he forgotten?

Those are difficult questions. The truth is, we don’t want people to forget our loved ones. We don’t want his death to be in vain. We want to protect and honor his legacy. But, no other person on the planet will grieve his loss like we do. Our grief is unique, because our relationship was unique. Yet others do grieve, and we must afford them grace when their grief looks and sounds different from ours, just as we ask them for grace during our journey and just as God grants His grace to us. Even if we feel alone or forgotten, when we cry out, we are always heard.

It is a promise of God. Psalm 50:15 NASB says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” I know what you may be thinking, “I did that and God did not answer. He did not save my husband.” No matter what we feel, the truth is God did rescue us. He may not have answered our prayers the way we wanted, but He did rescue us, because He still has a purpose and a plan for us. Our time here is not complete.

I often have to remind myself that my “I think, I feel, and I want” will try to get in the way of my I AM! I have to live out of the truth of my spirit and not my flesh. Grieving minds, emotions, and desires are not dependable, but God is. I must KNOW that when I cry out, I am heard. The Lord is with me and He will carry me through. His steadfast love is good.

Lord, Here our cries, dry our tears, heal our hearts and help us be all You created us to be. In Jesus name, 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:Alone but not lonely & God is Faithful

 

 

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Get Over It

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.

Psalm 25:4

“Get over it!”

Yep that’s me in one of my finer parenting moments.

My son was upset about something that in the moment mattered to him, but to me it was not important.  So out came those lovely words. My son needed love and empathy, but all I gave him were harsh words with no thought for how much they might hurt him.

As a widow of over six years, I’m sure there are those who think I should “get over it” too. Because they see me in a ministry for widows, or hear me boldly claim that I will always love and miss Scott, or that he’s still a big part of who we are, they may believe I’m stuck or living in an unhealthy way.

I’ve never directly been told to get over it.  But, I’ve been sent veiled messages and received comments that certainly intended to say those words.  Things like “if you just try harder to meet someone”, or “it’s uncomfortable and hard to see you and the kids or have you say his name so much.”   Then there’s my favorite, “He’s in such a better place and that must make you happy now.”

Empathy isn’t easy!   It’s hard to go into those deep uncomfortable places with someone.  I too, have stood in judgement and sent veiled messages to others I thought were in a place they shouldn’t be.

Even as a widow, I sometimes judge other widows.

In my first few years, I looked at those years ahead of me and thought, “I won’t be like them at that stage.” Because I had put God in a box and predetermined how I thought this journey should go. I thought grief and loss was a skin I would shed, or a place I would move away from. I thought that at some point God would just “magically” make it all go away.

The truth is, grief and loss go with us. They become a part of who we are until we move onto heaven.

And each of us have a unique journey.  A big part of who we were now resides in heaven.  I may not be in love with my husband or married to him anymore.  But I’ll always love him.  He’ll always be a part of who I am.  My relationship with him and our marriage together has certainly molded who I am now.  My kids are his legacy.  And they want to know him, remember him, and take him with them as they grow up.

So no, I won’t ever get over this.  I won’t be driven by what others think.  I’ll walk my journey.  I’ll keep my eyes on Christ.  But, I’ll remember Scott, and honor him and my Savior every single day. I’ll heal. I will change and grow. I will trust God. But, Scott will always be with us even as we choose to live life to the fullest.


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika Graham is Vice President, 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 related to this: Will We Be Married in Heaven?,  Moving Forward, & Moving Toward or Away

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Sherry’s Favorite

Sometimes our favorite articles are written by our own hand.  God speaks to us mightily as we pray over what He wants us to say to you.  Often, He moves deeply in our hearts and minds as we root out the words to share.  Today is a perfect instance of that truth. Please join us as Sherry shares her favorite post.


Bittersweet by Sherry Rickard

“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea…and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah for they were bitter…And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?  And he [Moses] cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the water, the waters were made sweet.” 

Exodus 15:22 -25 (KJV)

As I sat down to write the words for this post, I intended to write about memorials and markers.  As I prayed about what the Lord would have me share, this passage of scripture came to my mind so clearly and the words poured out of me.  I remember leaning on this passage so heavily when my husband was ill.  Every doctor visit was bad news and disappointment.  At home, it was so painful to watch my husband suffer the effects of his illness and to be so helpless.  My husband was unable to work for a time period due to his illness so our comfortable life became very uncomfortable…or should I say very quickly unaffordable.  Every aspect of our once carefree life became hard and heavy.

My husband in his most quiet moments, when it was just the two of us and, even when I wandered into a room in which he was alone, was the definition of peace.  He didn’t rail at God and ask why.  He wasn’t mad at his diagnosis.  He was the definition of peace and contented joy, even in our darkest hour.   He would often say that he had the golden ticket.  If he was called Home, he got to start eternity in the presence of his Savior; and if his body was miraculously cured here on earth, he got to spend more time with us.  He would always end with,  “Either way, I’m a big winner!”

Me, on the other hand, I was a quiet Mara.  I knew that God would be glorified in whatever happened and that He would sustain me, but I was growing quietly bitter the longer our journey took.  It wasn’t something that was apparent, it was a quiet background noise to my everyday life.

Then, February 14, 2011, the Lord lovingly allowed me to realize that He was going to bring Bill Home.  That was my most bitter moment of all.  As I put my lips to my husband’s lips in the ICU at Duke Hospital and we kissed for the last time this side of eternity, God gently loosened my grasp on my husband and took him Home.  At that moment, my heart wasn’t broken, it was ripped from my chest and there was complete emptiness in its place.   How could my heart heal when it had been removed from my body?  How could God ask this of me?

As each minute; hour; day; week; month; year and now years passed…God sent me experiences;  one by glorious one that were filled with sweetness.  Slowly, the pain (that never completely goes away)was insulated by sweet memories to the point that I could bear the journey God asked me to take.  I am to the point now that I can bear the pain because of the sweetness that surrounds it; if that makes sense.  I laugh more days than I cry.  I can remember fun times spent with my husband and not feel the heaviness of him not being here.

Just as in the scripture above, the water was too bitter to drink and the Lord had to show Moses God’s hand-crafted tree.  Once it was dipped into the water, the water was made sweet and the Israelites were able to drink it.  In much the same way, God has taken my bitterness and He has dipped His beautiful hand into it and, in doing so, has made it turn to sweetness.  And with this change, I am able to bear the journey and, as hard as it is to believe, there have been many points on the journey that were very sweet.

Dear Lord, Help me to remember that if Your hand is in it, it will be sweet.  Help me to remember to lean in and feel Your presence in everything.  Help me to surrender to You and to allow Your love to sustain me.  Thank You for turning the bitter and unbearable into bearable sweetness.  In Your Precious Son’s Name, Amen


Other posts in “Our Favorites” Series: Erika’s Favorite, Teri’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite

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BLT and a Cup of Soup

              And after you have suffered a little while, the God all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 

1 Peter 5:10  ESV

Anniversary announcements. Date night photos. Social media “love my spouse” challenges.

Sigh.

Sometimes it is hard escaping the “I am no longer married” syndrome.

While I am happy for friends celebrating their spouses and wish them the absolute best, I have to admit I can’t always shake the sadness of this single status I am now part of. It creates a deep yearning for what I no longer have.  I am ambushed when I see couples holding hands or a husband slip his arm around the waist of his wife. I hunger for those touches. I miss the ease of conversation we shared.

Now, daily challenges of running a household, raising children, and always being the responsible adult can certainly be a mood crusher.

This past Sunday, I was sitting at home when one of these “ambush moments” hit me.

You know those moments, when there may be no specific reason why, but something triggers the emptiness, the void, the missing? 

This particular moment opened the floodgates of  just how much I miss being a wife. Sunday evenings were always special in my marriage. After church and relaxing, I would always prepare a light dinner. One of my husband’s favorite Sunday night meals was a BLT sandwich and a cup of soup. On this specific evening, I was craving one of those BLT’s. And as I prepared it, that’s when the ambush hit. The cloud of hollowness set in.

I retreated to my back patio where, yes, tears came streaming down my face. Questions flooded my thoughts: WHEN will this ache of missing my husband go away? WHY do I still struggle with being alone? WHAT can I do to avoid these attacks? WHERE can I go to escape these feelings? HOW MUCH longer will I struggle?

And then, the answer came in form of a WHO.  Who will help me release these struggles?

Number one is God. Without Him, we are simply not able to conquer the invasions of the loneliness and trials we now face as a single woman.

The second answer to the WHO is ourselves. It is absolutely crucial  to make the decision to be a contributor of our own accord to move through these ambushes.  Sisters, these attacks will happen. Even at five years out, as I have shared, they arrive unwelcome and unannounced. We must put on our boxing gloves to fight them off. These moments of pain will arrive, but we have choices to make.

1: We can choose to look around us with hope for a life with possibilities or a life of limitations. How we look at things is what drives us.

2: We must let go of the sadness of our loss. Not forget it. However, we cannot let our loss create  bitterness in our heart.

3: Get moving. Make the decision to try something new. It can be something as simple as an art class or something as big as sky-diving. The important thing is to keep looking for ways to occupy your thoughts. Fill your life with new joys, before the Deceiver comes to fill your heart with heaviness.

4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is good to lean on family and friends. Oftentimes, they want to help but are just timid about asking. Use them to ease the burdens and support you on days when you are really low.

5: Continue to seek God. There will be some days when words, music, friends, family, or activities just do not cut it! That is the day when you just move forward in trusting. We are covered by His grace, His love and His mercy. On the days when it is just too hard, fall into His arms and let Him carry you.

My recent ambush prompted me to go buy a bike. I haven’t been on a bike in over fifteen years! But, now, my evenings are spent enjoying a ride through the neighborhood. It is a punch at fighting the lonely moments and exercise is an added bonus! I am praying you can find the punch needed to conquer your attacks.

Father, please draw near when the aches of this solo life creep upon us. We miss the comfort we shared with our beloved husbands. Help us to keep our minds focused on You.  Amen


bonnieBonnie 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 fighting episodes of despair from Linda and Sheryl

widowhood support a widows might erika graham

God of All Comfort

We are excited to welcome today our friend Rebecca Ramsey! Rebecca came to our conference in 2016. Join us in welcoming her!


Blessed be the God and Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV
 Have you ever met someone seemingly at a random moment in time, not thinking that anything would ever come of it, only to have God bring that meeting full circle a year or more later?
I met a lady in the grocery store over a year ago; she saw me using coupons and asked me a question about them. I remember telling her I would add her to the coupon group I was a part of on our social media page.
Somehow the fact that my Dave had passed away the week prior had come out in conversation. She literally gasped and asked me how I was even standing, much less shopping. I simply said, “My kids still have to eat.”
We became “friends” on social media but I never heard from her personally again until last month…a year after our “chance” meeting.
She posted about her losing her husband and my heart just broke for her instantly. I commented (still not remembering who she was) by explaining that I totally understood how she was feeling, and to message me privately if she needed an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.
When she messaged me, she told me part of her story and asked how I’ve done it…I told her, “One day at a time, one step at a time, even one breath and prayer at a time.”
I have messaged her every few days since then to check on her– I don’t want her to feel invisible like I have so many times in the last year. Over the last few weeks I’ve tried to figure out where I knew her from and how we became “friends” on social media but I just couldn’t figure it out. Until last week when she messaged me, telling me how I had touched her heart IN THE GROCERY STORE  last year! WOW!! It all came back to me, and then I saw how God’s plan through meeting that day had come full circle!
God has held me, walked with me, and comforted me in so many ways through my grief journey. He brought me to this point so HE would be able to use me to speak to my friend’s heart through her own grief journey. Am I still broken? Yes…Do I still miss Dave so much it hurts sometimes? Yes…Do I have it all figured out? No…BUT GOD DOES and HE can still use me as a cracked vessel and, oh! the flowers that will grow because of Him using our cracks to water the seeds that had been planted before we got there…because He knows and prepared the way ahead of time!
Father God, You give us comfort through Yourself but also through other people we come in contact with. Sometimes we receive comfort from others and sometimes we are able to give comfort to others. Show us divine appointments today in what might seem like coincidences. And give us boldness to proclaim Your strength through us. Amen

 

Rebecr Ramseyca Ramsey is a 36 year old mother of 3 children; 2 sons and 1 daughter. The two oldest of those children she recently adopted. Dave, her husband of nearly 10 years, passed away 13 months ago after just a few months battle with cancer.  In the last year and a half, her strength and faith has been tried but God has brought her through and continues to bless her and her children just as He promised He would. She feels led and hopes to work more closely with other widows and those grieving a loss in the near future.

 

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Elizabeth’s Favorite

Please join us for our third post in “Our Favorites” series.  We hope today’s post is a blessing!

“I picked this one because I miss so much the deep spiritual conversations I had with my husband Mark. This article has been like a worm in my brain since the day I read it…I keep thinking about it, not letting it go, even years later.”  ~Elizabeth


Saloon Door Theology  by Jo King

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3 ESV

Saloon Door Theology is a term I first heard from Dr. David Bishop during a theology seminar. It is a way of teaching a biblical concept which may not be perceived the same way by all who are listening. A saloon door is most welcoming to the first individual entering through the door. Yet, the person following may get slapped in the face as the door swings back.

A great example of saloon door theology is a pastor stating our loving Father is there for us all. Sounds great to most, right? But what about the individual who has suffered abuse at the hand of her own father? Can that person relate to the analogy? The entire concept may be lost on that person.

Suddenly I realized there are also Saloon Door Situations. I encountered a situation such as this recently. Let me take the long way around to explain.

Church has been difficult for me since my husband’s death nearly a year ago. You see, Bruce was instrumental in my returning to church and again trusting God. Therefore, every time I go, I am overwhelmed with reminders of him.

This morning, for the first time since his sudden death, I am in a good mood, eager to join together with God’s people in worship. An easy light banter with friends before the service has me smiling as I enter the choir loft, and as I sang through the first two songs. I was so ready to worship God joyfully!

Our adult education minister stands to welcome the congregation, congratulating a couple on their sixty-ninth wedding anniversary. Wow! Sixty-nine years married! And all I can think of is my Bruce. Why did we only get twenty-two years? Why was he taken from me so young?

I feel the saloon door slap me in the face. My joy is gone. Grief crashes into me, rushing over me yet again. I struggle through the rest of the music, hiding my feelings through the sermon as I sit facing the whole church in the choir loft.

The pastor begins to preach on Proverbs 15:3. The Lord is with us even when we try to hide from him or when we think he isn’t there. Even though we may perceive God is not present, the reality is God is with us at all times and in all places. That message drives home for me personally. God knows my situation. He knows I am hurting. He knows I miss my husband, and how those feelings cut like a knife into my chest. He knows that I’m just struggling to breathe and not cry in front of all these people.

The Lord is here to comfort me, holding my hand through this entire process. He will not forsake me. He has blessed me in a thousand small ways. I need only to concentrate on the blessings and not on the loss.

I begin to count those blessings. Wow! God is so great, so magnificent…and yet he is also in every small detail. I see His work appear in seemingly trivial times, as well.  I want to burst into song again. The song Count Your Blessings streams through my mind! The grief is pushed back, and joy slowly pushes through again. I feel a quiet, simple peace, joy fueled by God’s love and empowered through His Word.

Then I realize…God has done it again. He has blessed me with this pastor and his words, with music I have sung in the past, by friends who smile and give quick hugs…God is so good!

God, I pray that You continue to make me and others who are suffering aware of the many blessings You shower on each of us continuously. Thank You for Scripture which pops into our minds as we struggle. Thank You for the music streaming unbidden through our subconscious, which is always just the right song for a particular time and situation.  Thank You for the pastors who bring the honest and truthful messages of Your word, who don’t apologize when the sermon steps on toes, and who are always there when we need a human hand. Thank You, Lord, for Your love!  Amen.


Other posts in this series: Teri’s Favorite  &  Erika’s Favorite

karen emberlin kit hinkle a new season a widows might

Words by Our Care Bear

Please join us today as we share a post by our beloved team member Karen Emberlin.  She is no longer with us, but she is still loved and remembered daily.  Her words still resonate and are a blessing!


Why Now- What If by Karen Emberlin

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

 A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.

Job 14:5 (NIV)

Have you ever asked, “Why, Lord, did you take my husband now?”

or

“Could I have done something to prevent his passing?”

These two questions are clearly etched in my mind, they’ve been there for many months. My seemingly-healthy husband and I had no reason to believe anything serious was on the horizon. We spent New Years Day 2012 together with no signs of any problems. We retired for the night.  I, unfortunately, could not get comfortable, ending up tossing and turning.

Around  2 a.m. my husband and I agreed on my relocating to a recliner for the remainder of the night.  I would be more comfy, and hopefully he would get some rest.   Sleep finally came to me there in my chair.  Mere words will never be able to completely describe my shock to find, upon awaking at 8 a.m., that he had passed away at some point in his sleep!

Even though I have been told time and time again that remaining next to him in our bed all night wouldn’t have changed the sad outcome, I still wonder “what if” and “why”.  I most likely always will.  It’s human nature.

I do know this:  the Lord has been with me every day of this “journey” which began that sad morning sixteen months ago. Without a doubt He has given me strength to move forward.  I have the promise and hope that I will see my husband again. However……the “why” and “what if” questions and thoughts still lurk  in the back of my mind–no matter how much I want them to leave.

Last weekend I  attended a retreat with eight ladies from a Bible study group of which I am a member.

One of our discussion subjects was “Grief.”  It focused on the key verse  Psalm 139:16,  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (NIV)

I have read this verse countless times.  But this time, it was like God turned on a light bulb in my soul, helping me understand that in no circumstance can we either add or take from the days which are ordained for each of us (my husband)! January 2, 2012 was my beloved spouse’s time to go to heaven.  I could not have done anything to prevent it.

But even with this new understanding, my feelings of grief are not gone. I’ve made a lot of progress, but it will take more time, more tears, copious prayers, and letting go of the search for answers to these “why” and “what if” questions.  To continue my healing process, I must  choose to look at what plans the Lord has in store for me with a renewed perspective.

I anxiously await the time when my deep sense of loneliness will lessen, when guilt-free laughter returns to my life, and I can look forward with great anticipation to the future God has planned for me.

Our lives are like a piece of rich beautiful tapestry woven by the Lord. We cannot choose the colors and often times He weaves sorrow into the pattern.  In my foolish pride I sometimes forget He sees the upper side, and I, only the underside.

In time God will unroll the finished textile,  explaining the reason dark threads of sadness and sorrow are as necessary as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has woven.  I’d like to think that the sadness and sorrow, seen in the dark stitching, adds depth and a subtle beauty, in contrast to the bright and sunny threads.  God knows we have to experience both.

Lord, please help me and my dear Sisters to replace our questions of “why” and “what if” with truth from Your Word. I pray  Your presence will be with us, helping us to see that good can come and will come in You and through You. You are such an awesome God – We love you!  Amen


Our sweet Karen went home to be with her Lord and Savior and beloved husband last year.  She continues to be loved, cherished, and missed deeply.