Loneliness, Get Out!

“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26 (ESV)

Loneliness kept me up at night and woke me each morning.

I would get so mad at him. But he was relentless.

He’d poke at my gut and mess with my bedding until I’d roll, and toss and turn myself awake.

I’d tell him get out of my bed!

And he would.

Only to leave me with a cold metal laptop sleeping beside me.

Then I would rub my eyes and recognize the pointlessness of pounding my pillow. I’d pull open that laptop and occupy those wasted hours of no sleep by trying to accomplish some task.

At first I’d think, I’ve done it! Kicked him out for good! I’d hammered out an article for the ministry.  I’d tell myself how grateful I am for modern technology. With just an arm-reach beside me, I could have the right tools to capture my inspiration and put my ideas to work!

But once the article was done, something else awaited me on that laptop: social media–facebook photos of married couples, that friend who hasn’t come around lately, or twitter tweets of people living the life I lived when I had my husband. Loneliness returned to feed on my thoughts, and this time he brought with him yet another poor bedfellow–Anxiety.

I’d cry out to God , “why won’t You take these feelings away?”

He answered by bringing Scripture to my heart.

In the eleventh chapter of Luke (Luke 11:24-26 above), Jesus explains it’s not enough to clean your heart of evil spirits by taking action on your own.  If you rid yourself of bad thoughts and attitudes, but don’t fill your heart with Christ, those thoughts will return and compound themselves with other vices.

By taking the edge off my loneliness with being busy, was I not sweeping my heart clean from Loneliness without guarding my heart from his return?

Taking God at His word, I changed my nighttime habits. I intentionally place all electronics on the other side of the room and leave my sleeping to just that–sleeping.

The only reading material I keep at my bedside now is Scripture.

That way God is there with me whenever I need Him.  When I drift to sleep and when I wake.

On the first morning after making this change, I awoke again before the sun came up and considered how different it felt without that computer right there to grab.

That lonely feeling was there, but I reached for God, not busyness.  I grabbed the Bible right there on my nightstand and let God’s words cradle me, relax me and lull me back to sleep.

And when the sun rose, I felt energized, wanting to pull back the covers and get started with my day.

The result?  My home is cleaner.  My bills are paid earlier.  My kids get a cooked breakfast more often, and I’m exercising more.

And most of all, I’ve kicked loneliness out of my bed and invited in the true Comforter.

How about you?  How do you awake in the morning?

Precious Father God, for years grief took over my nights and mornings, slowing my progress through the day. But You are good to heal, Lord.  Thank you.  Please lift my sister out of her loneliness and give her Your Holy Spirit and carry her through this day.  Amen.


 

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker, and was one of the original writers of A Widow’s Might in 2008.  After four years with that ministry, she expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she stepped back from the leadership role, 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 Kit or another team member speak, please email us at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author: Kit Hinkle

Would you like to read more about sleeplessness?  Here are some articles you might try:

A Cry in the Night by Linda Lint

Miscellaneous ramblings of a tired mommy by Nancy Howell

He Still Whispers

 “And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” 

                                                                                                      I Kings 19:12b ESV        

I truly love the hope a new year can bring.  My daughters always give me a new wall calendar every Christmas and I love writing in upcoming events and important days to remember.  A new year brings in goals and dreams, wishes and desires, hopes and plans.  But, thus far, this year has stretched demands to a point where I am being tested and I must confess that the new year and I have not started on a very positive note.  Quite honestly, several challenges have me feeling a bit like being backed into a deep dark cave.

Have you ever felt this way?  I think we all have at one point.  We are bombarded with the demands of life and often times those demands can begin to suffocate. They arrive in many forms; loneliness, financial strain, single parenting, household upkeep, employment, health concerns, aging parents.  These are but a few factors that can cause a desire for us to want to slip into a cave. They can arrive as a single challenge or can rear an ugly head and come in multiple doses.  They are loud, they are frightening and they demand our attention.

It is so easy to get caught up in the “troubles” of our lives.  We let them captivate our thoughts and often times we try and run away thinking we can hide from the ugliness they place in our heart. Day after day, night after night, we feel the pressure of these pesky concerns.

We want to run and hide.

Much like Elijah.  The 19th chapter of I Kings speaks about Elijah running from Jezebel whose desire was to kill Elijah.  The Lord ministered to Elijah and encouraged him to eat.  He then traveled to the Mount of Horeb where he entered into a cave feeling lonely and defeated.  It is here that the Lord instructs Elijah to leave the cave and stand in the presence of the Lord who is about to pass by.  A great and powerful wind passed by, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  After the fire came a still small voice.

A whisper.

God wanted to show Elijah where He was, by first showing him where He was not. He did not arrive in a dramatic manifestation; instead, He chose to get Elijah’s attention by a whisper.

These challenges that have forced stress and fear upon me are like the wind, earthquake and fire. They make me want to tell Elijah “Move over, I am coming into the cave.”  They are loud and frightful.

But, God is not in them.

Oh that I may have the heart of Elijah.  May I humbly heed the words of the psalmist; “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”  (Psalm 37:7)

He whispers to me, “I Am”.  I am bigger than all of these “problems”.  I am with you.

Yes, Lord.  I hear you.

This passage is a plea for us to listen closely to God.  Be humble.  Be obedient.  Be attentive.  Be prepared for surprises.

It is my prayer that you hear His still, small voice as you go forward in this journey.  He is bigger than any problem or challenge you face.  I pray you can hear His whisper in the midst of any battle you are facing.

He is near.

He hears you.

Listen.

Precious Lord, I am so blessed that you love me and can get my attention with just a still small voice in the midst of any challenge I face.  My prayer is that all these dear widows can hear the whisper of your love in the journey of widowhood and the obstacles it can bring.  Thank you, Lord,  for the whisper.  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 preparing yourself to hear God’s whispers, Growing God Roots by Terry Cox- Growing God Roots

Why Am I Doing This?

S H E E R   P A N I C !

I have absolutely nothing left to give. Why am I doing this? 

These words can grip my soul as tenaciously as the many fears that gripped my heart in those first few months of widowhood.

These words, I have battled with often. They creep in unexpectedly and can overwhelm me for days. Sometimes they even immobilize me – especially when it is time to write to you. And as the battle rages on, once again, I ask, “why am I doing this?”

Because I was created to glorify Him!

Our purpose is explicitly spelled out in Isaiah:

 

                                                                “everyone who is called by my name,

                                                                  whom I created for my glory,

                                                                   whom I formed and made.”

                                                                                                    Isaiah 43:7  ESV                        

We are created for His glory!

The task before me today is not by chance. God knows what I am struggling with, He knows what I am thinking. He knows my shortcomings. And long ago He wrote me a love letter to encourage my heart. In His letter, He reminded me I was created for His glory. He also wrote a story about another widow, who out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. She thought she had nothing left to give…He saw so much more. He saw her sacrifice and her heart. In that one small act, she glorified Him. Can you imagine? With a simple act of sacrifice today we can glorify our Lord – the great I Am!

So it matters not, if I feel totally inadequate, or if I panic about the words to write so you will be encouraged. It matters not, if my heart continually breaks for your pain until I feel like I have nothing left to give. What does matter is today I will give everything I have to give. Tomorrow I hope to do the same. The trials I have faced have worked much like the refiner’s fire. My greatest desire is to do what I was created to do – glorify Him!

What is your heart’s greatest desire?

Sisters, my prayer for you today is that you will live today to its fullest. You will not let fear or grief or insecurities or just everyday distractions stop you from giving all that you have. It may be a simple smile or a thank you when you are at your lowest. It may be a prayer of praise acknowledging He is your Lord and Savior. It may be trusting Him to get you through one more day. It may be taking on a new challenge or forgiving someone that really doesn’t deserve forgiveness. It may be sharing your story and testifying about the magnificence of His grace. Whatever He puts before you, may your sacrifice and your heart glorify Him!

Let these words from the hymn “Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling” inspire you to continue running the race as the faithful servant you are:

Let none hear you idly saying,

There is nothing I can do.

While the lost of earth are dying,

And the Master calls for you;

Take the task He gives you gladly;

Let His work your pleasure be;

Answer quickly when He calls you,

Here am I, send me, send me.

       Words by Daniel March, 1868 in the hymn “Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling”

 

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

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

Want to read another great article by Sheryl    Grief Renegades

Want to read another article about your purpose? Worship the Lord Our Maker by Jill

 

When You Just Want to be Mad!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”

James 1:2 (ESV)

I chatted with a widow who will spend her first Christmas alone after losing her husband just five months ago.

This sweet sister wondered if those of us writing these posts ever get angry with God, or are we just filled with God’s euphoria all the time.

“Kit, I have seen many graces that He has given me, but I wouldn’t need those graces if He hadn’t chosen to allow this in the first place. His love for me is of no comfort to me right now because it seems … He gets to do whatever it is He wants with my life and I am still suppose to take comfort in His love. So I am guessing this means that I am in the anger phase of my grief journey!

“I know this anger will pass, but I sometimes get fed up with reading encouragement when I’m just not ready for it—not just yet. I just want to be mad!”

I suppose it can be easy to read our encouragement as an unnatural joy.  But in fact, each of us had and continue to have our moments when we too cry out in pain, in anger, in self pity..

Here are a few points from the article I wrote called Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?  In it I get real about how even though we encourage with joy, we too, on this team have our moments of grief, and I explain what James means when he describes our struggles as joy.

If you are angry right now and unwilling to accept your circumstances, take heart in knowing all of us have been where you are.  Know that these feelings will pass and that there is beauty all around you.

Father God, guide that sister out there who is struggling with where she is.  Lead her to peaceful waters on this road less traveled, and give her the confidence of knowing she is completely in Your hands.  Amen.

Find the article Kit refers to about the road less travel and finding joy in your grief here:  Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?

Kit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Would you like to read more about anger?  Here are some articles you might try:

I am Mara by Sherry Rickard

New Paint by Bonnie Vickers

Confused and Overwhelmed

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

                                                                                                                          Psalm 119:133 ESV

Headlines covering the recent terrorist attacks remind us of the devastating feelings that engulf us when death occurs. Like an explosion, death destroys in an instant. What once was – is gone. We are instantly immersed in excruciating grief. Eventually, as the smoke begins to clear, we start to move again, only to find ourselves intensely confused and overwhelmed. And so the daily battle begins.

As widows, we find ourselves, faced with hundreds, possibly thousands of decisions, when all we want to do is curl up in a ball. Do you want your loved one buried or cremated? What type of service do you want? Who is going to call so and so? Where are they going to stay? Are you going to sell the house?  What are you going to do with his car? Are you going to work (or continue working)? How are the kids doing? Do you have enough money? What can we do to help? Are you going to get rid of his clothes? When are you going to get rid of his clothes? What are you going to do for the holidays? How are the legal issues going? Have you talked to his family? Are you going to date? And the list goes on and on. And new questions and challenges continue to face us as the journey continues. Have you filed the taxes yet? Are you going to make a memorial quilt or scrapbook? Are you sure you are not ready to date yet? How are you going to fix the car, the fan, the dryer?

No wonder we are confused and overwhelmed.

One of the biggest blessings in my early stages of grief was having one friend that met with me each week to listen as I processed all the decisions I had to make. The most valuable thing she taught me was when I started to get overwhelmed, she would remind me of the things I had already overcome. It was like sticking my nose in God’s faithfulness repeatedly because it clearly was not because of my strength that I had overcome those obstacles, it was because of His strength and provision. He is the one who makes my steps steady. Every time she reminded me of God’s faithfulness, I was able to take one more step. And slowly, but surely, the discipline of remembering God’s faithfulness became more ingrained in my daily thinking. And eventually I could not only walk again, but I could run. Run straight into God’s arms with complete trust, because she had shown me the way, because she knew the way. A few years before, my friend’s incredibly precious seven-year-old son had died because of a tragic accident. She understood firsthand the absolute devastation of grief. She knew how to trust God during the worst of times and how to conquer being confused and overwhelmed. She taught me. And now it is my turn to teach others. He is the one who makes my steps steady.

Dear Sister, you belong to Him! He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He cares about each tear. And He has a purpose for you! Each and every day, He is adding to your portion of faith. You may not see it immediately, you may not feel it. But He is faithful. He is with you. He will keep your steps steady. And soon it will be your turn to teach others. To show them the way, just as my friend showed me. Remember His Faithfulness! 

 

 

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

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

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?  Heartwarming Conclusion

Want to read another article about God’s faithfulness? Moving Forward by Teri Cox

Fear Not

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.     

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

Is today one of those intense grief days?  Are you struggling with the fear of the unknowns in your life without your husband?

I remember clearly the feeling of fear gripping my entire being the morning I awoke realizing my husband was not in a “deep sleep”, but had journeyed to his heavenly home.  I could not imagine how I was ever going to face another tomorrow without him.  For forty-eight years he was my constant companion, best friend, lover, father to our children, working partner, protector and so much more.  We truly had become “one” and depended on each other all of the time.  Many people said they rarely saw one of us without the other!

“Tomorrow” is a word often filled with promise and hope.  With the challenges I faced, the thought of tomorrow left me feeling anxious, inadequate, and overpowered.  I knew in order to conquer the fear of tomorrow I had to trust God to be my constant companion and my ultimate caretaker.  I needed to focus on Him, who He is, His promises, and His plan for me.

The following words were written in one of the devotionals I use “ I am with you continually, so don’t be intimidated by fear.  Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand.  Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence.”

Music has always touched my heart allowing me to communicate with God when I cannot focus as I should.  A few weeks before my husband’s passing we had the privilege of attending the first performance of  “Fear Not Tomorrow – A Worship Experience” at our church.  The music and the message it brought seemed so timely – we were facing uncertain tomorrows relating to our business.  Little did I know how my tomorrows would change in just a short time – but God did – He was already there and preparing me through the ministry of this music.

I have spent many hours listening and absorbing the message of this music in the past few months.  My husband fulfilled many roles and took care of me during the time I was allowed to spend with him.  It is hard to imagine that anyone else would care that much for me -but God does!   His love is never ending, His arms are there to hold and embrace me, and He’s in control of every tomorrow I will face.

I’d like to share the words from one of the songs:

Come all who are broken
Come if you’re afraid
Come taste His sweet water
Come feel His embrace
There’s more than existing
There’s more He will give
The future is waiting
This time is yours to live
His arms always open
They’re aching to hold
The bounties of heaven
Are waiting to flow
Let go what restrains you
Let God fill your soul
You don’t know tomorrow
But you know Who’s in control 
Fear not tomorrow
God is already there
Through your joy or in sorrow
Every moment is in His care
Let the song of His love
Sing over you and declare
Fear not tomorrow
God is already there *

My dear sisters, I continually need to ask the Lord’s help to face tomorrow, and what it might bring, without fear.  In the midst of my heartache I forget and take my eyes off of Jesus.  And that’s whenever the fear creeps back in!  I pray He will continue to remind each of us of His greatness and love for us, and His presence in all of our tomorrows as we walk this unwanted journey of widowhood. ~Karen

 

 *Fear Not Tomorrow by:

Sarah Mentzer, Brandee Vandergriff, and Tim Paul

Used by Permission – Copyright © 2011 Risen Music Publishing

Coop Chaos

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

 A friend of mine has a flock of young chickens.  These biddies free-range during the day, but go back into the coop for their grain in the evening.  Late one afternoon, I helped open the coop and put out the grain.

Cackling as they came, the flock descended upon the coop.  Most ran straight for the coop door, bolted inside, and attacked the food trough.  A couple, however, could not find the entrance.  Poor babies, they beat themselves against the side of the coop, clucking madly, in their confusion.  Finally, we took pity on them, picked them up, and set them in front of the open door.  They immediately ran excitedly into the coop with the rest, enjoying their grain.

I thought, How silly these chickens are! 

And then I realized, disconcertedly, that at times I am as silly as the chickens!

Sometimes I squawk about my widow status…all the things I have to do without Keith here.  The broken car, the broken dishwasher, the broken dryer, the broken microwave…an endless list needs my time and attention.  I feel overwhelmed at times, beating my head against the never-ending problems, seeing no solutions…feeling like I have no way to get into the coop of safety, security and calmness.

And yet…there is a solution…a way into the door….right from the scripture.

Trust God – acknowledge Him – don’t lean on myself.

When I take a moment to get quiet with God, distraction-free, I feel His hand lifting me out of the situation and into His greater glory and to His better plan.  The peace I seek becomes less elusive.  I can feed on it, and my Savior’s love, just as the chicks who finally find the door.

Sisters, are you feeling this kind of stress today?  Are you seeking that peace that has become elusive?  Are you squawking instead of listening, just as I was?  Turn to the One who can lift you out of this confusion and onto His path for you, providing you with the sustaining “grain” of His peace!  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Father, forgive me for when I lose my perspective – on You, on my troubles, on my life.  It is not easy on planet Earth for anyone!  I sometimes lose my focus, forgetting to look for You working in my life.  Help me to see You clearly, and the path You have set before me.  Help me to put my hand in Yours as I continue this journey of widowhood.  Help me to feed on You and You alone for my strength and comfort.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

I Delight Myself in You

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord”

I was “that” girl.

The wife and mother, who kept an immaculate home, had a homemade dinner on the table every night, volunteered at the kids’ school and taught Bible study at church.  It was truly a beautiful life.

Then my husband became terminally ill.

Two years later, he died.

My house may never have everything clean all on the same day again!  My kids eat cereal for dinner at least once a week.  I am juggling full time employment (thankfully with a flexible schedule), ministry work, solo parenting and grief management.

It’s not such a pretty thing from the outside anymore.  There is dust and there are sticky places on countertops.  There is clutter and there are unmade beds {gasp}.  Sometimes I’m not even sure if the pile of clothes on the laundry room counter just came out of the dryer or is supposed to go in the washer!

Believe it or not, this type “A” girl is laughing as I write.  (I’m also envisioning the granola crumbs in the door handle of my car and the mud from the barn in the floor mat of the passenger seat.  I should probably be vacuuming that instead of typing this!)

Oh what a crazy ride this life is.  Sometimes I am traveling so fast I don’t know whether to throw my hands up and scream in delight or grab the roller coaster handlebar tightly and yell for it all to stop.  Guess what?  Neither will slow the motion.

So I am going to choose delight!

I like clean and orderly, my house will never get “gross” to the point a full crew will be needed to scrub away the filth, but it tends to stay a bit cluttered these days.  I am letting go of my standards of perfection and am learning to accept that my best effort is good enough.

Trying to do it all and constantly failing just makes me grumpy.  My kids deserve better than a grumpy mom.  I deserve better than a grumpy self!  Grumpy doesn’t solve anything.

So I laugh and choose delight.  I give each day the best of me and I let the rest land on tomorrow’s to do list.  I spend time with God, soaking up His wisdom.

What is the more important lesson here for my children?  That we keep everything pristine or that we love this life we have been given?  Don’t get me wrong, we respect and appreciate our property, taking good care of it.  We simply no longer fret over perfection.

I delight in the Lord.  Taking delight in Him is finding my worth in Him.  My worth doesn’t come from an immaculate home that is always “show ready”.  Would I like to be able to one day keep a spotless home again?  Truthfully, yes.  Am I going to beat myself up because it isn’t possible at this phase in my life?  No.  I’m not.

What I am going to do is continue to lean heavily into my Savior for His strength and power, and I am going to throw my hands in the air and scream delight in my Lord.

Father God, I delight myself in You!  You see past my mess and see into my heart.  I know I have young eyes watching me on this journey, seeing if I will respond grumpy or with laughter to the chaos.  When I allow myself to not expect perfection from me, it frees my children to do their best and then let the rest go.  That’s the true life lesson I want them to learn.  Our best is good enough because of Your grace and mercy.  Amen.     

 

Lori Reynolds Streller

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

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

Other articles written by this author: http://anewseason.net/author/loris/

More articles on this topic:

A Mess by Erika Graham

Who He Says I Am by Lori Reynolds Streller

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 ESV

Why is moving forward challenging, at best?

In all honesty, it has been a painfully difficult, yet entirely God-filled, couple of weeks for me. I am three and a half years out from my beloved’s going home date. Nonetheless, I was struck by a grief wave that knocked me to my face and threatened to drown me in shallow waters, as I was moving forward.

For me, it began to become more and more trying, to come home to an empty house and silence. At first, I longed to stay in our home, with our things and our memories, the more time went by, the harder it became. I tried many ways to break the silence: leaving Christian music on each time I left my home; having  God’s Word open, in various rooms, to my favorite scriptures; and making sure I framed my mind for coming home to “empty” each evening, by walking in with God before me. Yet, it began to tug at my spirit….it was time to let go of our home and move forward.

I put my house on the market believing it would sell quickly and allow me to become debt free. After, eight months on the market and two realtors, it finally sold, with a total of less than two-hundred dollars profit. As we all know, things do not always go as planned. Yet, I had prayed through, time-and-time again, and I knew it was what God was asking me to do. He is an on-time God, but His time is not always our time and His ways are definitely not our ways.

If I did not understand God’s economy, I would not get this AT ALL! Yet, I have a beautiful story of an EPIC rescue by a Father who loves me more than I deserve and gives me glimpses of Him, when I need them most. As I was preparing for the estate sale, I went “over the edge”. I was not even aware the edge was close, I thought I was fine. As we priced almost all of my worldly possessions, I lost it.

Mind you, stuff is just stuff, so even though I was going from 2,600 square feet into a 700 square feet, tiny house, I was letting it go. However, as I had my back turned and heard behind me, “How much would you like to sell this for?” I turned and saw a beautifully crafted wall mounted plate, with a blessing of love for all who enter, written on it. I strained for, “NO, no, you can’t sell that! It’s the last Christmas present Daryl ever bought me.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. Tears flowed and my memories overtook me. I was done, face-down, flat out, under the water of the wave that hit me from behind. I was just standing there on my feet, moving forward, toward the beach and dry land, out of the deep waters, and then….then, I wasn’t. All I could breathe in was salt; the salt of a thousand tears. They flowed for five days, before I could stand up again and breathe in fresh air.

God has revealed Himself to me during this time, in awe inspiring ways over the past twenty plus days. I could tell you many but one, one, is a life memory of an epic rescue from my Abba Father. [Abba, it is as close as we can get to the word daddy in English.] As I was walking through my home, preparing for movers, on my next to the last day there, The Spirit pressed me to pray while I was walking through the room where I found Daryl after his stroke. I dropped to my knees and then went prostrate onto the floor over the spot where he had lain. God’s Spirit washed over me and said, “You remember this as where it all changed and TODAY, I’m telling you this is where it will all be restored, and you will move forward.”

There was much more to this story, more than a blog can hold, but my heart HOLDS onto it! Knowing that my Abba is with me, He is watching over me, He does love me, He sees my tears, He directs my paths, and He has a plan for my days.

I made it through, again, and I did not drown, not even in shallow waters. And I AM moving forward, NEVER forgetting what is behind, but honoring it as I move to press on toward the prize which is Christ Jesus.

God, Help us to remember with confidence, You are ALWAYS with us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Why Did This Happen, God?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

“Content” ?
In any and every situation?

“Really, Lord”?
How can this be!

A few months ago, God’s timing was to take my husband “home” to heaven to be with Him. We were “aging” and had issues we dealt with on a daily basis, but had not given consideration that any of them were at a point of taking us “home”! So needless to say, my husband’s unexpected “journey” to his heavenly home was a total surprise to me.

Oh, what a tough time! I was sure God did not really understand what He was doing. I was sure it was not my husband’s time to go “home”. In a matter of seconds, all of my hopes and dreams were gone! I could not understand how God thought I was going to be able to continue living! So many questions entered in my mind. Why did this happen? Why would God take my husband, now….

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever had a situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow something like this to happen!

As I have had time to work at making changes in my life and think about many things, I realize asking “why” is perfectly normal and isn’t unspiritual.

In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing for me?

What maturity could God be building into me?

If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have
all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
I Peter 5: 6-7

Sisters, I must admit to you, this journey of “widowhood” has not been an easy one for me. My life changed completely in a matter of a few seconds. In just a couple of weeks after losing my husband, I disposed of most of our personal possessions, left my friends, my church, and moved to another state to be with family.

Was it easy?  No!  But, it was a way for me to find a perspective beyond situations where I felt God had allowed something in my life I didn’t understand.

I will be the first to tell you how much I still miss my husband of 48 years, but I will also tell you that time has allowed many changes in my life too! I am so thankful for my family and dear friends who walk with me, but most of all for my God who is there for every step I take! He has certainly given me an increased desire to draw closer to Him  than I ever did before!

God is there for you too …. just trust Him and ask Him to walk with you, too!

Lord, help me to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love.  Sometimes it’s hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You.  Please help me to trust you, completely – thank you!