Recipe for Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

 

Are you tired?

Are you worn out?

Does your grief exhaust you?

Is “burn out” looming ahead of you?

Do the holidays bring anxiety?

Rest. That seems to be what I want most right now in my life. This widow-life makes me weary. Every once in a while I will text a widow sister and say, “It was fun while it lasted (not really, and she knows it). Now can I have my life back?” I am just flat-out tired. Doing all I do as the only parent is exhausting.

Let’s look carefully at these words of Jesus as they pertain to us specifically.

  • Come to Me: Have you avoided spending time in God’s Word because you are angry with God?  Avoidance of Scripture doesn’t help your weary soul. Ask me, I know… Jesus opens His arms, saying, “Come back to Me, sweet daughter.”
  • Weary and burdened: Grief wears a person out. We understand weary. Add the burdens of life, and we have the perfect recipe for exhaustion. Burdens of caring for aging parents. Burdens of our own health or the health of our children. Burdens of relationships. We have burdens, right?
  • Take My yoke upon you: We need to remove the yokes we are currently wearing. The yokes I pile on are “image”, “sin”, “expectations”, “busyness”. What are yours? I imagine myself with all these yokes on my shoulders while Jesus stands there with a yoke made for me, fitting perfectly. I am weighed down under the yokes I have placed on my back. They don’t fit my shoulders, they rub sores, and they don’t provide any kind of relief for my weary soul. I can choose to keep piling on the yokes of my own making or receive the one made by my Creator for me specifically. That probably includes giving up control–such a challenge for me. What yokes are you wearing that are not from God?
  • Learn from Me:  I need to study His life. He is “gentle and humble”. Probably the two words we need most as a widow, when you think about it. Gentle with those thoughtless comments and lost relationships. Gentle with those who don’t understand grief and loss. Humble when needing help, and we do need help more than ever before.  Where do I need to use gentleness and humility so I can be more like Christ?
  • My yoke is easy and My burden is light: Yokes are heavy by their very nature, so how can Jesus say His is “easy” and “light”? I believe it goes back to taking His yoke on our shoulders. Perhaps it isn’t as heavy as it looks. The yokes I am wearing most days are not easy or light. They are heavy and wearisome. I want to shed these heavy ones and wear the easy, light one He has for me.
  • “And you will have rest for your souls.” Isn’t that what we all want anyway? What we are longing for? Especially during the holiday season.

Let’s follow the recipe He gave us and find the rest He offers. It isn’t merely jumping on a wagon of  “positive thinking” or just faking it. He PROMISES to give rest in exchange for taking His yoke upon our shoulders. Let’s shed the yokes we put on ourselves and take His.

Lord, You are our Creator. You promise rest if we follow Your guidelines. Help me stop looking everywhere else for rest. I want to be still and turn to You for rest. I hand over the cumbersome yokes I have been wearing for far too long. I need the rest You offer. Amen


 

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

 

 

Looking for another article on peace? Click here for an article titled Applying Peace by Lori Streller.

Looking for articles on dealing with the holidays? Click here 

 

Weary From the Journey

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.

Psalm 6:6 NIV

Do you ever have those days? I’ve been having a string of them. Close together. One after the other. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the journey. Just wiped out.

I had a moment the other day where I asked my Savior why I have to be the one who is strengthened through loss. Why do I have to be the one who glorifies Christ in my grief journey? I don’t want this. I didn’t think it would take this long. I don’t like the valley. I don’t like others seeing me in the valley. I’m tired.

What do I do with that? How do I walk out of that valley?

Well, sweet sisters, this is what the journey looks like. We’ve got sweet sisters ahead of us that are beckoning to us to catch up. We’ve got sisters on the mountaintops that are smiling and looking down at us in the valley saying, “You can do this! You’ve got it!” and pointing to the trail up the mountainside. And there are those that are right beside me. As I look up from my own hands and lap with tears streaming down my face, I see their faces smudged with tears looking back. There are sisters calling to us from behind, asking about the terrain of the path we are all on. All of these Saints put in different places along the journey by the Savior.

Intentional introductions orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe – my personal Savior.

So, as I take a moment from my own groaning and weeping, I see that God loves me – He intentionally loves me in a very intimate, specific way, that only a personal Savior can.

If I look at scripture:
-God writes to me of His great plans (Jeremiah 29:11);
-God reminds me to put my trust in Him (Psalm 7:1a);
-God tells me stories of great men and women who have come before and, by trusting in God, were blessed beyond measure (Abraham, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Moses, Job, Joseph)

I am reminded in scripture that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

I lean on the Lord’s promises. They are throughout scripture. They are true and you can rest in them. The Lord that led His people to the promised land, will lead me to my promised land and there will be joy.

For me, I have to give Him my plans, my fears, my wants, my dreams, my frustrations, all of it. I can’t hold on to anything or I won’t be in a place where my hands are open to receive what God has for me. In me giving up everything, I am empty of me and He fills that emptiness.

And, all of the stuff I’ve been holding onto – fear, doubt, my “it’s not fair” attitude, plans, dreams, wants, condemnation – I no longer have to carry. It all goes into the Father’s Hands for Him to deal with. And His conversation with me in love is, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”“No one, sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 (NIV)

I share all this with you so that you know that no matter where you are on this journey, your personal Savior has intentional introductions for you. He wants to walk this with you and has sent Saints to accompany you along the way. I’ve just finished resting for a moment. I changed my shoes and I’m ready to get up and walk some more. God’s not finished with me yet and He’s not finished with you either. So, get up and walk with me!

Dear Lord, I thank You for letting me rest in You! I thank You for being big enough to take my questions and disappointments and for still holding me close. I thank You for the intentional introductions you have orchestrated along the way. At just the perfect moment, You have provided a wonderful Saint to encourage me, carry me, pray with or for me. I do trust You and I do believe that my best is yet to come in You. Thank You, Lord!


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 active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and has just started her second year of 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: What’s in Your Eye? By Teri Cox

Unexplainable Joy

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

1 Peter 1:8

How do I explain unexplainable joy?

It eases my pain.

It gives me strength to walk away every time something tries to take the place of God in my life.

Like when He gave me strength to say no to an insincere suitor. I felt a thousand angels trumpeting their horns as I chose genuine goodness over this man’s looks and prestige.

And when I closed the web browser before spending over my budget on designer clothes. At that moment I felt Him place on me a joyful royal robe. It was a peace more satisfying than any temporary buzz of the world’s acceptance.

Do know you can’t grab that joy yourself? When He decides to give it to you, He readies you for it.

It starts when you turn away from what the world has to offer and turn to Him for what He has to offer. Giving up the guy or the dress humbled my heart, making it ready to receive what the Scripture had to offer–a reminder that everything will be made right.

All of it. He’ll mend every broken heart, deal with every wrong and expose every lie.

Even my own.

Because I’m included in it all. When a friend lets me down, I forgive because He forgave me when I let Him down.

He will fix it all, heal it all, make it all whole. Knowing that brings me joy, and I need do nothing but rest in this unexplainable joy.

That joy didn’t just land in my heart. The Lord had to show it to me, and I had to accept it.

Years ago, even before I lost my husband, there was a time when I suffered a huge set back in life. My first husband was abandoning our marriage just as I was feeling pressure at work due to a corporate merger I had no control over. I felt shocked that my life had been flipped on its head.  Desperation set in as soon as the shock wore off. All I could ask was why me?

Others tried to share their stories of trusting God and feeling joy, but I wouldn’t listen. I thought, who wants to be one of those downtrodden people who had to ask for God’s comfort? I didn’t want comfort!  I wanted my old life back—the security and prestige.

I bumped and jostled through my self pity until it started to occur to me that sitting in self-pity for too long was everything but obedient to God, and wanting everything my way, the way it was before, was not accepting God’s will, and that was sin. Eventually my pride fell way, and I surrendered my self-pity, replacing it with hope. There had to be something better waiting out there than my old life.  With a new anticipation in my heart, I finally said it: “Give me what You have, Jesus—I WANT IT!”

Are you worn down by your loss?  Have you mourned for so long you don’t remember what it felt like to feel joy in your heart?  Can you reach back to that time as a child when you felt joy in your heart?

Do you want that now?

Then throw open your heart to Him.  Humble yourself.  Take what you’ve been using to replace God in your life and give it to Him. Let Him give you unexplainable joy.

Sometimes you feel like everything has been taken away from you. Maybe for you the word “everything” is reality. Maybe when you lost your husband, you also lost financial security, social networks and the leadership you needed for decision-making.

If you’ve lost what feels like everything, make HIM your everything!

In reality, He IS everything.  You can’t escape Him. You can only shrug Him off, and that hurts no one but you.

He wipes your tears. He can even find a way for your bills to be paid. He can bring you that fellowship when you need it.

And you need it. So ask for it.

That unexplainable joy.

Jesus,

If there is a sister out there stuck in her grief and has cried so many tears she doesn’t know how to get herself up, would You give her a peak at Your greatness to a point where she wants more of what she saw and begin demanding that unexplainable joy?  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:

Where’s your “brave”?

Why we Have Hope

Our Hope

Forgetting…And Remembering!

Tears were streaming down my face in the shower. I was forgetting things about my late husband. It has been nearly four years but seems like much longer. We now live in a home I purchased, drive a car I purchased, and eat dinner whenever I choose (actually, whenever the kids can fit it in their busy schedules!). Our lives no longer revolve around a dad who works a nine-to-five job, helps with homework, or involves us in his hobbies or sports interests.

Every birthday of my children is a reminder. My husband and I made the choice to do the birth of our kids alone (without an “audience” of friends or family) and now I have no one to discuss the details of their births. I miss that. Was it a hard birth? Were there funny events that happened there? I can’t remember and that makes me sad.

The other day the “forgetting” hit me hard. I quickly shot off a text to several friends. “Please send me a memory of Mark – like the first thing that comes to mind. I  need some help remembering him. Thanks.”

Most of my friends reacted quickly. One sent a funny memory from youth group when he was a sponsor and she was a student, another sent a more recent memory, and a husband and wife each sent separately the same memory! One memory was something I didn’t even know about. They were each such refreshment to my soul.

It was like a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.

Remembering is important. God told the Israelites to do it often. Remember the Egyptians. Remember the Sabbath. Remember the commandments. Remember the past. They were to talk about it often. It isn’t unhealthy to talk about the past.

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:19 ESV

Sometimes when I am forgetting God’s faithfulness in my life, I need to turn to Scripture and say, “God, point me to Your faithfulness in this passage today.” I want to be reminded of His goodness and faithfulness. I want to care as much and even more about remembering God’s faithfulness–as I do about remembering my late husband.

Some memories of my husband are floating away like a party balloon on a ribbon, up, up, into the vast sky, never to be remembered again. But God has given us His Word, written by forty people over 1500 years, that NEVER fades away. We can remember His faithfulness, His promises, His grace and mercy, and His compassions which are new every morning. God’s Word has stood the test of time. We can count on it to be true, reliable, convicting, and encouraging.

Our memories of our husbands may begin to fade but–

The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35 ESV

Lord, help us spend time in Your Word so we can share these words with someone who needs encouragement today. And remind us of a sweet memory of our husbands since those memories seem to fade so quickly. Thank You that Your Word never fades away. Amen

 


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

 

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

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

There are over ONE HUNDRED articles on our website about MEMORIES. Want to read them? Click here!

 

A God Focused Perspective

God is my strong fortress and He makes my way perfect. 

                                                                                           2 Samuel 22:33 NLT

OVERWHELMED. I have a confession to make. I have felt overwhelmed more days than not since I lost my husband five years ago. This week I finally had a major breakthrough. Or so I thought.

Day after day I struggled with feeling overwhelmed:

  • Overwhelmed with grief from my husband’s death
  • Overwhelmed by the two years of court cases related to his death that followed
  • Overwhelmed in trying to do my job and manage a household by myself
  • Overwhelmed by a call into a new ministry
  • Overwhelmed by a move to a new city
  • Overwhelmed by my father’s death and handling his estate
  • Overwhelmed by caring for my grandchildren two days a week. 
  • Overwhelmed by household repairs, paying taxes, managing finances and finding the time needed to get things done

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. 

Despair was starting to sink in last week as more and more things piled up. Something had to change! I finally decided to try a new approach to handling my time. I am an avid technology user, chronically addicted to my electronic calendar and to do list for over thirty years. But my system didn’t seem to be working in this new season of life. I finally decided to add a new step in my process. I am now using a paper weekly calendar to prioritize and to schedule time to complete each task, carefully crossing them off when finished. Trust me I have read all the time management books –this is definitely not a revolutionary change. But to my surprise, I soon discovered it had an amazing impact on my week. Not only did I accomplish more things but also for the first time in five years, I felt the feelings of being overwhelmed begin to subside. I could breathe again. I could relax. There are still a daunting number of tasks ahead of me. Let’s face it – it is much harder to do life without a partner. But my whole attitude shifted as I recognized the progress I had made.

Oh how I love to take credit for my “great” ideas. Was it that simple? Had I finally figured out the system that would solve all of my problems? Fortunately I was reminded how quickly I fall for that lie every time. If I just had the “magic” pill or “miracle” system, everything would be all right. If I just worked harder or smarter, life would be easier. And then I get trapped into thinking “this” is finally the answer. What a limited perspective we have. But all along the way God was working on me and eventually I began to see with His eyes. You see this week isn’t when I finally figured it out. It wasn’t this week and it wasn’t me. God is the one who puts order in my steps and makes my way perfect. He is the one who has provided every blessing over the last five years that has helped me continue to move forward. It took Him to get me to where I am today. He is the One who deserves the praise and the glory. Not me. When I remember it’s Him not me, the feelings of being overwhelmed disappear completely – because He is God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Great I Am, Our Redeemer, Our Savior, the Lord Almighty. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is sovereign over everything. He is not, and never will be, overwhelmed. What a difference it makes to have a God-focused perspective


 

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

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

Want to read another great articles by Sheryl? The Heartwarming Conclusion

Want to read other  articles about feeling overwhelmed? Coop Chaos by Liz Anne Wright

I Am Made New

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold , all things are become new.  

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

It’s been five years and seven months since my husband, Bill, got promoted to Heaven.  When he let go of my hand and took the Savior’s hand and walked into Glory, I was a different person than I am now.

I was a planner and organizer then.  I planned everything and had a back-up plan for the plan.  I researched everything and made lists.  I was goal oriented – results based.  I was a rule follower; a goodie-two-shoes, if you will.  A loyal person who dug in when the going got tough.  I was bitter sometimes; judgmental, at times.

Then, as my life with Bill was snatched away, I felt at times I was left with nothing…no one…empty…alone…

As I wandered the beginning of this grief journey, I was adrift.  I was numb.  I was so empty and aimless.

I remembered how my Bill always got back up.  He always took the next step.  There might be a lot of time between steps, but he always took the next step.  He also always looked to the Savior.  I wanted to honor him and the brave life he lived and, in an effort to gain focus, I thought about what made him so special and that’s what came to me.  So, because I didn’t know what else to do, I just tried to live each day in an honoring way to Bill.  Step by step; minute by minute; moment by moment , I walked this path looking up at the Savior and thinking about how Bill would have reacted in my situation.

Then days turned into months and months turned into years and I continued this step by step, the looking up approach.  I started to breathe on my own.  I found myself laughing more.  I cut my hair.  I started buying new clothes.  I changed my makeup brand.  I started trying to do things that challenged me and pulled me from comfortable to uncomfortable.

I am not a singer…so, I signed up to sing a solo at church.   I (with the help of my friend, Eileen) pulled out a rock garden and put in a mulch bed with plantings.  I installed a four foot by fifteen foot backyard above-ground pool.  I put together an 8-drawer dresser, nightstand, desk, and two chairs for my daughter’s apartment.  I raked my front yard tree leaves (21 bags).  I scraped and painted a spot on the wall that was damaged.  I replaced a door knob.

All of these things are new things I’m doing and learning, and they are adding to me and changing me.  This “planner” was just a few days ago called spontaneous and impulsive. People say I’m “funny and must not have a care in the world”.

I share all of this to tell you that on this journey I have changed.  At first, I thought I was doing what Bill would do.  But, now, I see that it was Christ the whole time.  Refining me.  Loving me.  Still working on and in me.  Christ made this journey possible and needed me to take it in order to mold me into who I am today.

In Christ, I am a new creature.  The old has passed away and the new is here.  I’m enjoying getting to know the new person I am in Christ.

Dear Lord, I am so grateful for this journey.  I am so grateful for Your ability to mold me into a new creature.  Thank You!  


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:

 New Paint by Bonnie Vickers

Stuck

Please join us today as we share a post, our dear sister Leah wrote, about trusting God as He transitions us to new seasons.


Stuck in Last Season by Leah Stirewalt

I suddenly woke up! Sweating profusely! My heart was racing, and I could feel panic creeping in.
                         
Thankfully, I realized fairly quickly that it was just a dream or, rather, a nightmare.
 
What possibly could have caused such a frightening reaction first thing in the morning?
 
Stickers! 
 
Yes…you read that correctly! I had a nightmare about stickers.
 
Now, before you run off laughing hysterically about something so seemingly ridiculous, allow me to explain.
 
My husband and I just finished having a mammoth yard sale! This wasn’t just your average yard sale. We’re in the process of adopting and raising funds for that adoption through every means possible. In researching ideas, I came across the thought of having a yard/bake sale in which we invite others to donate their unwanted “treasures”. We spent over a month driving all over our region gathering items for the yard sale donated by family, friends, and even strangers.
 
Exactly one week, to the day, we pulled out the stickers and tags, and the pricing marathon began. We ended up with enough donations to fill a 10′ x 30′ storage unit, so you can only imagine how many late night hours were spent that final week simply placing stickers on things.

Throughout that last stretch, there were many times I thought we wouldn’t make it…we wouldn’t be ready…the sale would be a flop. But, I kept those thoughts to myself, because I didn’t want to discourage my husband, as he was working so hard alongside me as well.
 
God brought us to the day of the sale. The night before we only had about two hours of sleep. It took everything we had to load up the truck to move it to the location of the sale. We then had to be ready before dawn to set up tables, unload the truck, put out signs, etc. By God’s grace, we made it! The shoppers arrived. The clouds remained above us (keeping the temps down), and the rain never came during the hours of the sale. By the end of the day, the Lord had allowed us to raise just under $4000! Yes! A yard sale that raised $4000…hard for my finite mind to even imagine, but I was there and saw it happen right before my eyes. And, with that, the season of yard sale fundraising ended!
 
But, as it turned out, it was still in the forefront of my mind. It had become such a part of me for so many weeks that I found myself even dreaming about those silly stickers. While God had already moved me into the next season of our adoption journey, part of me still remained stuck in the old season. As a result, it began to unsettle me a bit.
 
I find that’s actually happened in other areas of my life too.
 
After regaining weight I had worked so hard to lose, I found myself struggling to move forward, because I remained stuck in a season of regret over the mistakes I made leading me to gain the weight back.
 
After losing my late husband to suicide, I found myself repeatedly revisiting the season right before his death to try to determine if I had done anything differently, would he still be here?
 
After deciding in college to abandon my dream of nursing school, I found myself returning to that season numerous times by reapplying to nursing school, only to realize much later that it was never God’s plan for me to begin with.
 
In each of these cases, God had already ushered me into the next season of my life, but I never allowed myself to go there…completely, that is. 
 
I couldn’t quit thinking about the days, months, or years prior. I replayed those times over and over in my mind. And just like after my sticker nightmare, God had to sweetly remind me…
 
It’s time to move on, dear daughter. Trust My plans for you. Trust Me in this next season. Don’t look back, questioning everything. Don’t look back with regret. I’ve got this! I want nothing but the best for you. Trust Me.
 
And…I’ve so sweetly discovered that only then do I flourish. Only then am I capable of living out His plans for me and in His perfect timing!
 
LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. ~Psalm 84:12 (NIV)

If you would like to read other articles by Leah, you can click here.
If you want to read more articles on dealing with suicide, click here.

Widow Out, Widow In!

There it was, staring down at us from its perfectly formed web…

A spider, complete with — what appeared to the non-trained eye– a sack of babies.

The house I had recently signed a contract on, upon further investigation, had a long-term “resident” who did not have plans on leaving anytime soon. It was the most beautiful web, large, detailed, undisturbed for what looked to us as months.

My realtor probably grew weary of my frequent text messages: “…And you did mention to the seller to have the house sprayed by the bug company, right?”

It was a big concern to me, to say the least. Of all the things, millions of tiny spiders, really creeped me out. It gave me the “willies” on a new level.

My moving was testing my trust in God. Daily. Some days I “passed” the test of trust, and many days I was filled with doubts. How would we fit? Who will help us? How much more do I need to get rid of? It seemed every time I turned around, God was prying one more thing from my grip.

The spider was just one of the many little details God was orchestrating and I was having trouble allowing Him. So many details of this move were NOT the way I would have done it – but actually turned out far BETTER the way God worked it out! Imagine that! For example, the week of the closing, all the day’s details came crashing down like plates, spinning out of control. The mortgage lender and my realtor were frantically emailing and calling each other. I was on the phone constantly changing plans. I had movers, I didn’t have movers, then I had completely different movers. I didn’t have help with some painting, I did have help, then I didn’t have help. Closing day was rearranged. So much changed EVERY DAY. Yet, one of my greatest surprises came at the closing when I questioned one of the forms I was signing. The employee stated that the date of the first mortgage payment was correct, because of the change of closing, I now had an EXTRA MONTH without a house payment!

That, my friends, is just like God!

I whined and cried and spit nails about the closing being delayed. All the while, God was whispering, “Trust Me, Daughter. Trust Me.” Verses came to mind, but I tried to put them out! They would return:

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV

In those times when it SEEMS God is not paying attention to me, and I want to bang my cymbals to get Him to look at me, I have to be reminded of TRUTH. He IS an everlasting rock. He IS an eternal stronghold. He IS a comfort.

Yes, the bug company came to spray the spider and her “family members” from my garage, and all the other “residents” from the home, the day before we moved into our new house. But it was the “widow humor” at the closing table that put the “bow” on the whole situation — after many, many months of holding my hand through this weary process, my realtor made a “widow” joke!  We realized that one “widow” (a creature) was kicked out of  the house so another “widow” (me) could move in! “Widow humor”–I love to find the humor especially in those stressful circumstances of life.

So God kept whispering, “Trust Me,” and He made me laugh. Those are the moments I love most about God. It seems He knows my laughter “love language” and speaks it when I most desperately need it.

When I am having my trust tested, I need to hear stories of God’s faithfulness to encourage me. I hope this has encouraged you today. God IS faithful. Cling to the TRUTH today.

Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness. Give me vision to see Your hand at work in my life today, even in the little things and the funny things. Please give us the strength to cling to the truth of Scripture and forgive our lack of trust when we can’t see beyond our current circumstances. Amen


 

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

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

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

Want to read another article about facing trials? Erika wrote one called Superstorm

Moving is a popular topic for widows. You can read about our sweet Karen’s move here called Change of Plans.

 

 

 

 

 

Pushed Hard

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

Psalm 118:13 (ESV)

My cousin came to visit.  She amazes me.  She eats a gluten-free diet, cooking and preparing everything without prepackaged short-cuts.  She exercises every morning and plans her daily activity to make the most of her now limited abilities. You see—she suffers from a chronic joint pain caused by thyroid issues.  It cropped up out of nowhere five years ago and threatened to turn her into a sidelined victim unless she pulled herself together and pressed through her chronic pain.

Then I visited my dear friend in Colorado.  She equally amazes me.  She took me hiking up steep cliffs and biking dozens of miles, outpacing me no matter how hard I peddled.  She eats a completely organic diet and never complains.  Truth is—she suffers from arthritis so severe she’ll need serious surgery soon to reduce the throbbing constant pain she endures with each step.

You would never know these women suffer as deeply as they do. They’ve learned to push–to persist through their pain and find joy in God’s glory shown through their achievements.

You find this often among athletes and successful career persons.  That competitive edge causes them to see their pain as a part of their challenge.

But with grief it’s different.

Or is it?

Oh, the suffering is different—it’s emotional, mental, and spiritual. It’s wondering if we can ever be happy again, or even content with our lives, now that the rug has been pulled out from under us.

But at about year four I began to wonder if it’s so different. I was over the initial grief and ready to move forward. I had four boys in my home, all too rambunctious for the average new husband candidate, and all too demanding of my attention for me to give a man the attention he would deserve. I knew I was in for more years of missing a man in my life, and so I was marked for a life of solitude at least for the time being.

I began to see my pain of loneliness as just that – pain.  Not unlike physical pain.  Chronic pain, because it never goes away. It’s there when I cook without a man in mind.  It’s there when I wake alone in my bed.  It’s there when I sit in the sanctuary at church and see all the other ladies with their best friend hubbies at their sides.

I can rationalize about it—I don’t need a man, I’m doing great.  I can indulge it—This hurts! Let me tell you about it!  I can try to escape from it—Hey, a glass of wine tonight sounds good!

But the bottom line is – that pain is always there.  Always.

Okay, have I hit a nerve?  Have I pained you enough?  Please accept my apologies.  I just want you to go with me around one more corner.

It’s always there, but so is my cousin’s pain from her thyroid condition.  So is my Colorado friend’s pain as she hikes with arthritis 1000 feet straight up a mountain in the Vail Valley.  So how do they smile?  How do they accept it?

They each made a choice: industry over idleness.

Those in pain who continue remaining idle focus on their pain and begin to wither.

These women do not wither.  They thrive.  They recognize their pain as real, and they lean on their Lord Jesus Christ to help them push through it.  When asked how they endure, one answered “obedience”.  Christ calls her to act out the duties of a Proverbs 31 woman and push through the temptation to remain idle. “Once I push through it, the pain continues, but I don’t notice it so much because there is so much joy in my life.”  She reminded me she doesn’t do it alone. God helps her as He promises in Psalm 118:13:  I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

God knows we all suffer in the world.  But He reminds us that the suffering will give birth to new life if we endure and continue to give Him glory.  “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:9 ESV)

Are you pushed hard? Let Him help you push back!

Dear Father,

Lift my sisters and bring them joy, even in their loneliness.  Help them know they will not be lonely forever.  You will bring them fellowship here in this abundant life, and You will bring an end to all suffering when You come again.  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:

Loneliness, Get Out!

Solitude vs Loneliness

Where Does My Help Come From

 

When There’s Nothing Left

 

In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

2 Corinthians 7:4 ESV

 

God’s ‘economy’ often makes NO SENSE.

Have you thought that?

This verse from the Apostle Paul is case in point. Affliction and joy, together, in the same sentence? How is that even possible?

Living in a relationship with Christ has shown me that sometimes, the impossible becomes possible.

Since the day before widowhood began, when a relative mentioned in passing that I would probably need to sell the house, I have done just the opposite- I have held on to my home. I had no peace about selling it and uprooting my six children. That is, until about nine months ago. A house popped up on my social media page for sale in our school district that seemed like a place we could make a home. It was even in my price range.

That began the fast track of decluttering my home – with the help of lots of friends and all my kids. In five days, we put our house on the market. I was fully expecting God to bring buyers quickly, and we would be moved by Christmas. We all know the stories –

“I put the sign out and 2 hours later it was sold!”

“I only had my house on the market for 2 days so I just KNEW God wanted me to move!”

Well, nine months went by. No buyers. Not even an offer. Lots and lots of showings every week. Some days spent driving around with a sick kid during the showings. Dog hair floating around the car. Slobber. You get the idea. It was rough keeping the house show-ready week after week. In my “affliction”, I wasn’t exactly “overflowing” with joy. I complained, I fussed, I was cranky.

Did God really tell me to sell? Did I truly believe God wanted me to uproot these children to move to a home about half the size? What was I thinking? What if it wasn’t God telling me to sell? What if it was just indigestion that I misinterpreted as God speaking?

I was beginning to feel similar to the widow in one of Elijah’s encounters. This story is found in 1 Kings 17.

Elijah asked the widow to make him a small cake of bread, but she informed him she had only enough left in her home to make something for herself and her son, and then they would die. It made no sense to her to do what he asked. He seemed to be asking something too hard of her. Wow, does THAT ever resonate with me!

“I only have one drop of oil left,” the widow spoke to Elijah in desperation. She had her son to feed and nothing left to live on. Elijah told her not to be afraid but go ahead and make his food before she made the food for her son.

“Don’t be afraid?” She knew the end of the bottle of oil. She knew the bottom of the flour bucket. “Don’t be afraid…” Sometimes following God doesn’t make earthly sense. She had her son to take care of! She had her life to get in order before dying!

Did God want to ‘take away’ her last drop of oil? It sure seemed like it. But maybe that isn’t the right perspective. Maybe instead of “taking away”…

He wanted to multiply her gift. Her gift of oil. But she had to let go of it first.

I am having to let go of some things from married life. My home is only one of many things. So. Much. Stuff. Can you relate? God has been saying to me to let it go. He keeps telling me He isn’t taking away my house, but is multiplying something far better. Maybe I won’t even know what the gift He is multiplying until I let go of what I am holding on to so tightly.

When the widow in the passage gave the last of her oil to Elijah, she found God multiplied the oil so it never ran out before there was another harvest. What a miracle that must have been to experience! I want to trust God enough with this move, knowing that He will provide a perfect place for us. I want to have that “overflowing joy” in this “affliction” known as moving and packing.

Lord God, Thank You for the overflowing joy You offer through the Holy Spirit. Help us to LET GO of whatever we are holding too tightly to so You can have it. We want the fruit of the Spirit multiplied in our lives and we want Your love multiplied in our lives. Do whatever You need to in our hearts to mold us and shape us into the women You want us to be. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was! Widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

Would you like to have a team member speak at your event? Contact us at admin@anewseason.net

Want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here.

Another good article is The Waiting Room by Sherry and Earthly Treasures by Karen