Caring What Others Think

Losing your husband and everything that comes with that loss is horrific enough, but when others pass judgment on our lives and decisions it can be extremely difficult. As human beings, it’s tough to ignore what others think of us because no matter how much we say we don’t, we care.

Because my husband died of Depression and suicide, the judgment began immediately. No one understood that it was a shock to me, too. No one understood that he was the last person on this earth I ever thought this could happen to. No one understood, including me, that many people who are suffering from Depression try to protect the ones they love by only showing what they want them to see, even to their spouse and best friend.

In the beginning, I paid little attention to that judgment. I was just trying to survive. But as time passed, the thoughts about my family, especially my husband, began to really impact me. And, as the months went on and I unexpectedly found love again – many could not understand, passed judgment and made comments of what they would do in the same situation.

However, here’s the thing and one of the many things I have learned – you have absolutely no idea what you will do until you face that situation and, even then, specific circumstances could be different.

From the beginning of this journey of widowhood to today, I remind myself that I cannot make life decisions for my son and myself only to make others comfortable. I have to follow where the Lord is leading. His grace is sufficient for any problem, struggle or judgment we may face.

I prayed for the Lord’s guidance and tried to turn my defensive thoughts over to Him. He knows my heart, and I knew those who loved me and really knew me would eventually come to a place of understanding. And, most of them have.

When worry of what others think and my own defensive mindset attempt to consume me, I cling to this verse.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

Caring too much about what others think can stop us from doing God’s will. When we base our lives on the thoughts of others, we could miss out on all He has in store for us. Lean into Christ. If we are confident in Him, we can be confident in every area of our lives.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Lord, You know our hearts. As we walk this journey of widowhood, we can sometimes care too much of what others think. Help remind us that what you know about our hearts is more important than what others think they know. Guide us through, and open our hearts to Your calling for our lives. Amen.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

 

Want to read another article by Jennifer? This Isn’t What I had Planned

Want to read another article on judgment? Get Over It by Erika

 

No Longer a Slave to Fear

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

Fear – it’s one of the many emotions we experience in grief. Fear gripped me tightly early on. The darkness wrapped its arms around me and tried to take control, like a relentless evil that would not stop pursuing me. I felt alone and afraid of anything and everything.

The fear was so strong, it nearly paralyzed me. I could not walk into a room alone. I could not drive. I constantly felt like someone or something was after me and felt evil was following me at every turn. I was at war and wondered how I would ever live my life.

Though the feelings of fear are not as heavy, it is the feeling that continues to try and take hold of me.

Most recently I was planning to attend a concert in Texas a day after a terrorist attack took place during a concert in England, where 22 perished. The next morning, without any evidence of something happening at the concert I was going to attend, I hesitated to go. There are other days when fear’s lies tell me I may lose my son or my second husband. Fear can make us afraid and convince us we cannot step forward after the loss of our husbands. But that is what Satan does … he sees vulnerability and uses fear to attack. Don’t let him. During those moments, let your knees hit the floor and pray.

When we lean on Jesus, that all-consuming fear won’t last forever. I chose to attend the concert, and I choose to continue stepping forward in my life after loss, because I know who is in control. The Lord never intended for his children to live in fear.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

From those first few days, after the shock subsided some, I remember feeling the Holy Spirit at work. Though my life was full of chaos and devastation, I found peace and strength in knowing the Lord is sovereign, and though I did not understand, I trusted Him. But the darkness and fear didn’t go away without a fight. I’ve mentioned this before, night after night, for months, I clung to a wooden cross whispering the words, “Jesus, help me.”

And, He did. His faithfulness protected me. He has rescued me from the all-consuming fear. Today, when fear tries to pursue me and feels too strong, I lean on the One who is stronger.

Lord, We need you. Protect us from fear and anxiety and from the evil one. You are in control, and you will give us Your strength when we turn to You. Help us step forward, without fear, to share Your story of strength and faithfulness. There will not be a day when we do not miss our husbands, but we know there is still joy to be found on this earth. Help each of us to find it. In Your precious name, we pray. Amen.

______________________________________________________________________

Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

Want to read another article by Jennifer? Two Years and Trusting in Him

Want to read another article about fear? Fear at 35,000 Feet

 

Always of Good Courage – Day 1,826


Always of good courage

1,826 days since my husband took his final breath.

 

Please indulge me as I take time to ponder. How would he see us on this five year anniversary?

There are certain things I know without a doubt. You may recognize some of them in your own circumstance.

He would be:

SURPRISED how much has changed in the world since he was alive, even small things like changes to our city roadways.

I had one of those irrational moments that makes sense only to those who experience grief. One day as I viewed massive changes to the interstate close to our home I began to panic. I worried he wouldn’t recognize how to get home. I then remembered he would never need that information again.

 

PROUD of the accomplishments of our children.

His coworkers mentioned repeatedly during visitation how often he talked about his family. They spoke of how he hurried to get back home to us when he traveled. One sorrow that never fades is that he cannot be physically present for milestones with our children now. However, they can be assured he would be bursting with pride and giving big hugs if he could be there.

 

THRILLED to know his grandson and future grandchildren!

He looked forward to spoiling grands. Though none of them will ever meet him here on earth they will still know who he was and what he loved. Papa G is present in photos and videos. He is mentioned often with love and laughter — he will not be forgotten.

 

PLEASED that I have been always of good courage from the day of his death to the present, have walked by faith, drawn strength from God’s word, and encouraged other widows to do the same.

He loved to serve. He supported anything I pursued, and it made him happy when we helped others. During our last prayer together, he asked God,  “Please shine Your light through my family and through me”. God has done that abundantly and the prayer continues to be answered.

 

HAPPY to know God provided a wonderful man to be my new husband.

Before his first military deployment we argued. He had the nerve to suggest that he would want me to marry again if he died. I adamantly stated it was NOT going to happen! He gently took my face, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You have too much love to give to be alone for the rest of your life. I would want you to remarry.”

I don’t think either of us believed it would become a reality; even twenty years later I did not. I had no intention of obeying his wishes when I found myself alone. But God’s timing is perfect and after almost three years as a widow, He opened my heart to the possibility of new love, then brought an incredible man into my life in a way that was clearly from Him. My first husband got his wish.

 

CONTENT to be exactly where he is right now.

 

Without a doubt,

nothing would entice him to return to this life.

 

He has been in the presence of the Lord every day for the past 1,826 days.

Why would he want to be anywhere else?

 

The Apostle Paul says,

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV)

 

Lord, while we remain here please help us to walk by faith and not by sight. We want to be always of good courage as we rely on Your direction in our daily lives, through Your word and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please make us to continue to shine as a reflection of Your love. Amen.


   Terri Oxner Sharp is a wife, mother, grandmother, homeschool teacher, and a writer for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. Her first husband passed away suddenly in 2012. She gives God all the glory for how He has grown her spiritually on her widow journey, in preparation for her new journey into a blended family. Terri and her second husband live in Arkansas with the final child still living at home from their combined family of seven children, two son-in-loves, and two grandsons. She loves to be with people who love to laugh, enjoys spending time with their grandchildren, who know her as “GiGi”, and feels called to minister to other women who find themselves bewildered to be on a widow’s path as well.

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

Articles with a similar theme:   Piece By Piece  or Walk This

I am not Equipped.

Some days are just hard. Some days my patience wears thin, and I feel like I’ve had enough. From the grief of losing my husband Michael to the challenges of blending a family and raising three boys, along with normal life stressors – emotions can TRY to take control – making us feel unqualified and unequipped for this journey. But as many of us have learned, emotions can be misleading.

There are many things I’ve learned since my husband Michael passed more than two years ago, but one thing continues to stand out:

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

We were not equipped for the emotions that come with losing our husbands … on our own. I was not equipped for January 15, 2015, and everything following that day.

On my own, I could not handle my husband and the father of my child dying by suicide. I was not prepared for my entire world and future to fall apart in just one moment.

On my own, I was not prepared to be a widow at thirty one.

On my own, I couldn’t fathom doing all of the things that come with being a widow and sole parent.

On my own, the fear felt suffocating.

On my own, I could not have faced another day.

No human being is equipped to deal with that kind of trauma, ON OUR OWN.

Though I may not have been equipped to face those horrific circumstances or the challenges of blending a family and becoming a step mom on my own, the Lord equipped me to lean on Him – to lean into His strength, comfort and peace to make it through the unbearable days and even the impatient ones. He knows none of us are equipped to handle trials of this magnitude alone. That’s why He stands by our side and never leaves us, equipping us with His strength. He tells us this time and time again.

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him …” Hebrews 13:20-21

I was not prepared to lose my husband, but the Lord did equip me to lean on Him for strength. His faithfulness is the reason I stand strong today. Sisters, He wants you to lean in, too. His strength will get you through.

Lord, We are all broken and in need of Your strength. Equip us accordingly to step forward in this new life, ready to do Your will. Protect us from the evil one and from self doubt that can sometimes overwhelm us. You have placed us on this path, and we know you will stand by us today and every day. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

 Here’s another article you might like about battling Satan by Elizabeth, Catch the Foxes! 

Several members of our team have written on the experiences of losing a spouse to suicide. You can read the articles here.

Might as Well Do Something

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job 6:10 (ESV)

How does he do it? The enemy, I mean.

How does satan take a beautiful heart and twist it into his shape, convincing her to reject God and His promises?

He gives her a “fur-lined pity-pot”–that’s how. God-knows where that little phrase came from, but I’ve heard it kicked around in recovery circles. It’s that cozy spot where she curls up like a cat and licks her wounds.

He tells her it’s the safest spot to park herself.

But it’s not!

How many of us have spent at least a season of our time as widows spinning over our painful circumstances, wanting a better life for ourselves, but stuck in a pit of despondency.

There’s a better way. Kick the devil in the rear by rejecting self-pity.

Oh, the joy you will feel when you reject satan.

The impact you will make!  The reward – the everlasting reward to be secure in your place with God and in Heaven!

And while we know there are rewards in stopping the self-pity, we can’t just rid ourselves from it without replacing it with a new mindset.

Try this one: Remember this world–this life–these struggles that seem unending–are but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

And what feels like a curse to have to suffer in this life has its rewards. Because with discomfort, you are never lulled into leaning on the luxuries of this world for security. Rather, you look to the eternal security of your precious loving Abba Father to walk you through every dark valley.

Job in the Old Testament saw this Truth, even in his misery.  After losing ten children, all his material possessions, and the support of his wife and friends, he sat alone, covered in painful boils. And in his misery he did something remarkable.  He praised God. Just listen to his words: “This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10 ESV).

Job had it right. Sitting idle for too long doesn’t get you any further out of your misery. Do something. If you can’t seem to do anything, start like Job did by praising God.

And if you can’t seem to use words to praise God, try action.

Think of it this way: You are miserable anyway.  Might as well get something done while you’re at it! Take action! Here’s why:

  • Actions before feelings – Our culture screams for you to give in to feelings.  Don’t!  Move your body and use your mind as if you were hopeful and joyful, and your heart will resonate with those actions and feel joy again!
  • It honors your Maker – It screams to the enemy, I will not let my loss render me useless, and draws you closer to God and His purpose!
  • Results – You grieve whether you remain idle or start cleaning, but a week later, your house is uncluttered. Accomplishing a task puts a lift in your step.

Abba Father,

Give my sister that small nudge to step out of her fur-lined pity-party. Help her at least get up and begin tidying the world around her as a way of acknowledging You are there and she loves You and knows You love her. Embrace her as she takes small steps and please grow that security in her heart. Thank You, Jesus. 


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:

The Upward Kick

Just One Step

Stepping Outside the Boat

What Can I Do?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

                                                                                                                   Isaiah 26:3 ESV

 

My whole world is upside down. Why am I still here?

These thoughts and many like them can run through our minds time and time again.

We often question our purpose when our lives, and what we thought our futures would be, have changed so drastically. But the truth is, the purpose of our lives, the reason we have been created, hasn’t changed. We are created by Him, for His glory.

I am so broken. How could I possibly bring Him glory?

Today in all your brokenness, can you imagine doing something so powerful, so significant that it would be worthy of being included in God’s Word? Every day you choose to trust God, you are doing something that worthy, powerful and significant. You are following Christ, just like the woman in the crowd who reached out and grabbed His cloak – because she trusted He was who He said He was. (story told in Mark 5:25 -34) Trusting Him brings Him glory and it brings you peace.

I have nothing left to give. What can I give?

I love that Jesus used a widow to teach the world what it means to give. (story told in Luke 21:1-4) The world teaches us to give when we have extra. Jesus teaches us that to truly love someone means you are willing to give everything. He demonstrated this when He gave His Son to die on the Cross for us. As widows, worldly things no longer seem as important and we find ourselves able to focus more on the eternal. As we focus on God, giving everything -all of us – becomes our goal and our actions can become the example for the world. We are perfectly positioned to teach the world how to give.

I’m just a widow. What can I do?

Unfortunately, the title widow usually conjures up the image of someone who is washed up and needs to be taken care of, with nothing to give. And if we allow it, that can happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have Christ living in us. He is our strength. And in many ways, because of our circumstances we are in a better position than ever to do what God has called us to do.

We are in the refiner’s fire and we have a better grasp of what is truly important, so we can encourage others to have an eternal focus.

We are persevering through many trials and God is making us mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2) so we can disciple others with what God is teaching us.

We are drawing closer to God and He is drawing closer to us so we can teach others about God’s character.

We can pray more intimately because our faith has grown and we know our God cares.

We can speak God’s truth into others lives, because we have lived it and we have seen the fruit that obedience brings.

We can face the giants of this world because we know where our strength comes from.

We can change the world by telling the story of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

We can love as God loves, giving everything we have.

We can trust Him in all circumstances which will bring Him glory!

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for loving us the way You do. Thank You for creating us for a purpose – to glorify You so that we can encourage others to come to know You. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lives in us and gives us the strength we need. Please give us opportunities to pray more faithfully, speak Your truth more boldly, love more deeply, give more completely and share the story of Your faithfulness in our lives, all for Your Glory.   Amen.


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 article by this author? Draw Closer

Want to read another article about trust? Two Years and Trusting in Him

Unpacking the Memories

“What is it like, Sherry?”

Have you been asked this question about your widowhood? I am at the point on this road that people feel more comfortable asking me.

What is it like to lose your husband, friend, soulmate?  I have given a lot of thought to this, and the best description I can give that others can understand follows:

Think about when you plan and take the vacation of a lifetime — sometimes it turns out better than you expected.  You plan for it, save money, buy tickets, purchase special clothing, pack.

When you arrive at your destination, you begin to experience wonderful things.  You take pictures, drinking in the experience.  No matter how long your vacation is, you have to return home eventually.  You pull out your suitcase to start packing the clothes and souvenirs you know you won’t need for the rest of the trip.  Finally  you pack everything away for the trip home.

There you unpack once more.  As you pull out the clothes, some go in a pile for laundry and others go straight into your closet, unworn.  You find a place for your souvenirs.  Your pictures are printed. Seeing the photos allows wonderful memories to flood through you.  This unpacking brings both good and not-so-good memories and feelings with it.  You often long to return to your vacation, but must stay in your day-to-day world, perhaps saving money for your next vacation.

Grieving the loss of my husband has been like what I described above.  We had a wonderful life – full of memories.  With his death, I had to start packing away parts of that life.  It’s a slow process, because I have kept my “suitcase” on the floor of my bedroom, unlatched– I couldn’t bear to finish unpacking.  Once you totally unpack, the vacation is really over.  I still go to the “suitcase” to take out the souvenirs, handling them carefully, letting them flood my heart with memories.  Wonderful memories.

Each time I unpack and pack this virtual “suitcase”, the sharp pain of my loss lessens.  It doesn’t hurt as much each time I ponder our life together.  There are memories that I would say should go in the laundry pile – hospital visions, bandages, tears.  Then there are the memories that remind me of the breath-taking life we had – his smile, our laughter, shared meals, snuggling.  My heart has a tug of pain when I think of these things, but then it swells with happiness at having been the recipient of such a wonderful love, even if it ended too soon.

As I prepare to commemorate the sixth year since his death, I look back on our wonderful life and do not feel the sharp pain I once felt.  I thank God that He allowed me such a sweet time with my husband and that my memories of that time are still fresh.  I ponder them in my heart, like Mary, the mother of Jesus.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 KJV

I encourage you to go to your “suitcase” and allow yourself to experience the wonderful memories of a life well-lived.  Ponder these memories in your heart, and let the pain be replaced by the sweetness of a wonderful time remembered.

Dear Lord, Thank You for the gift of love and for the wonderful memories we hold in our hearts of time spent with loved ones. Amen


 

Sherry 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 20 years old and is in 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 

A great article about healing is here by Linda.

 

Choosing

I Choose… do you?  By Leah Gillen-Stirewalt

I heard a comic once say that it’s not people who kill the squirrel as it scurries across the street in front of a car, only to suddenly make a faulty decision to reverse and go the other way. Suddenly, it chooses to reverse again, turning right back in the direction it was running to begin with to face the ultimate…SMACK!

No – it’s not the person or the car that killed the squirrel. It was indecision. If the squirrel would have just kept running forward, it might have evaded the coming car and its ultimate death. Or maybe if the squirrel had stopped in its tracks, the car could have straddled it or veered around it. Instead…it scampered back and forth trying to decide what to do until it was too late.

I am the squirrel. No, I’m not growing a fuzzy tail and eating acorns. But, I find myself very indecisive these days – or unable to make decisions at all sometimes. In studying up on this journey of grief, I realize that’s perfectly normal for us widows. I realize this particular dilemma will also fade some in time, and my ability to make decisions (or make them more quickly) will return. Until then, I need help…from friends, my pastor, family, those that have traveled Grief Road before me, counselors, books, and most importantly God and His Word.

There are many choices that are unwise for us to make right now. But, there is one choice that I have decisively chosen to make, in spite of my pain…I choose to get well!

Much like the invalid of 38 years in the book of John, when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

And how did the invalid respond? With an excuse, “Sir…I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

But, Jesus didn’t simply stop there. He didn’t say, “I’m so sorry. That’s such a shame. Maybe I can ‘stop traffic’ long enough for you to get down into the water.” Rather, Jesus the Healer said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And what happened next? Scripture tells us, “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

The man made a decision. He chose to do what Jesus asked him to do – without hesitation – and, he found his healing.

What does that look like for a widow in desperate need of healing from a broken heart, among other things?

In the early days…it might look like this…

When we feel like we can’t get out of bed…we CHOOSE to move locations, maybe just to the couch.

When we don’t feel like praying…we CHOOSE to utter one simple prayer, “Lord, please help me!”

When we don’t want to read the Word…we CHOOSE to open up the book of Psalms and simply read the first one.

When we don’t feel like socializing…we CHOOSE to return to church to allow God to love on us through other people. And, if we’re not loved on in that church, we CHOOSE another.

When we don’t think we can eat even a morsel…we CHOOSE to make and eat a piece of dry toast.

A few months or weeks down the road…it might look like this…

When we feel that we need more help processing our grief…we CHOOSE to seek the advice of a grief counselor or attend a program like Grief Share.

When the shock is wearing off, and the pain intensifies and we find we can’t cope at all…we CHOOSE to see a doctor about how we’re feeling.

When we can’t seem to muster up enough energy to do the basics around the house…we CHOOSE to share our struggle with a close friend or family member who can help us.

When we began to express anger towards our beloved husband…we CHOOSE to write him a letter expressing the pain, anger, and full emotion completely. That brings healing, in and of itself (I know firsthand).

When we don’t know the next step to take with all of the legal and financial decisions that must be made…we CHOOSE to make our needs known and let someone help us.

In the later months or years…it might look like this…

When our healing seems to be in full swing…we CHOOSE to open our hearts to another grieving widow that needs to know she’s not alone.

When we feel the lonely set in again…we CHOOSE to spend time with friends and not live as a hermit.

If/when we ever feel the desire to date once again…we CHOOSE to take the matter to the Lord for His decision to be made for us.

Making the decision to be well is the first step. It may takes us months or years to get there, but admitting that we want to be well, and then opening our hearts to allow God to work on us from the inside out is one of the most decisive choices we can make for ourselves as widows. Not only will we benefit from that choice, but our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, closest friends, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone else we interact with will also reap huge blessings from that initial decision for healing.

And most importantly…when we realize all that God has done for us through this most difficult journey…we CHOOSE to give Him glory!

And so…my sweet widow friends, what choice is God asking you to make today?


Please visit our website to see more encouraging posts by our team: www.awidowsmight.org

Checking That Box

Today we share a post written several years ago by a dear sister, Danita.  We pray her words will encourage you.  Even though we are in this hard place, God is here and He gives us His Word to remind us of His faithfulness.  Join us as we share Danita’s encouragement.


A Box I Did Not Choose by Danita Hiles

When my husband Dave died – the hardest thing for me to get used to was the ‘box marked widow’. I must have filled out 500 forms during the paperwork process, and on every one had to check that box for marital status. Widow. Widow. WIDOW!!! Ugh. This word was (is) hard for me to embrace.

The government had decided this was my label. My bank. My doctor’s office. My kid’s school. My tax returns. Over and over again I was forced to check the box marked widow.

I wanted to scream – this is not me! This is not who I want to be. I want to be wife. Partner. Helpmate. Sister. Daughter. Mother . Friend.

Instead I was in a box. A box I didn’t like. A box I didn’t choose. A box marked ‘widow’. Ugh.

In those early desperate days I asked God for something to hold onto from His word. I opened a devotional to a reading about Psalm 16 and the words literally jumped off the page at me. ‘This is my portion and my cup’ (vs. 5) . Essentially, in today’s language – ‘it is what it is’.

When the miracle doesn’t happen and the doctor’s news is grim and the relationship isn’t restored and you are standing in a cemetery, sometimes it simply ‘is what it is’. But oh, the sweet words of the next verse: ‘He will make the boundaries fall for me in pleasant places…’ In spite of today’s ugly reality, we have His word on it that He alone is charge of the boundaries of our life. Nothing happens to us out of reach of His loving hand.

So then how do we walk through this valley ? The next few verses of Psalm 16 are pretty clear with three ‘I wills’ to guide us; I will always set the Lord before me… I will praise the LORD, who counsels me. And finally, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Even on difficult days like this early journal entry depicts:

Sometimes the feelings of grief and loneliness are so strong that I feel as though

I am drowning.

The impossibility of this day-to-day reality without Dave

Makes it even hard to breathe.

today it is a never ending frustration with things.

things that break.

things that cost money.

things that can’t be fixed.

things that i am the only one responsible for cleaning and organizing and remembering.

There’s only one grown-up in the house now
and she’s really tired.

mommy, mommy, mommy,

can you? did you? would you?

thoughts of the future spiral ahead

will it be any different

one month

one year

five years from now?

will there be more mommy to go around?

will I finally have gotten a handle on this reality and become organized

and be the mature woman of God I have admired in others?

Will I ever come to grips with the word widow.

And single mother.

And always having leftovers because most recipes are designed to feed a family of four.

And we are no longer that.

God knows.

Tonight there is just me and these words
and His words to me

And when all else fails, and the world is crumbling,

I can stand on His word….

Years later…I’m still standing!

Psalm 16 ends with this promise:

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Precious friends – we may never know the answer to life’s hard questions, especially the whys of God’s timing surrounding those we love. But He has promised us His joy on this earth and eternity with Him. My box still says widow , but my Bible says He is with me, and my future is in His hands. I choose to praise Him. I choose to set Him before me. I choose to allow him to fill me with joy in his presence and live out loud as long as I have breath!


Other articles with a similar theme: It Is What It Is & God is Faithful

To learn more about our ministry visit us at www.awidowsmight.org

 

Being Present in Our Now

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

Matthew 6:.34 ESV

Breathe deeply.

Smile genuinely.

Find beauty in every single day.

Be grateful.

Laugh.

Start living in the now.

I know how some days this comes easier than others.  I am walking this very same road myself.

And I am raising children on it.  I recently shed tears with my teenage daughter over how she won’t have her Daddy to walk her down the wedding aisle.  She is fifteen and she shared that she almost dreads her wedding day because of what has been lost and who will be missing.

My heart splinters in new places I didn’t even know had not previously been shattered.

Life changes suddenly.

We have faced catastrophic loss. We know deep hurt and unrelenting sorrow.

We can choose to remain in the pain, being paralyzed by the fear of nothing ever being good again, focusing on all the events he will be missing from, that are yet to come.  Wallowing in the exhaustion of facing these future moments as our sadness steals their joy before they even have a chance to occur. 

OR

We can start taking steps towards BEING PRESENT IN OUR NOW.

Because, dreading the future without him won’t bring him back. It won’t make the days to come any easier.  What it is guaranteed to do though, is steal us from our now.  It will suffocate the current right out of us as the days will pile upon themselves until we have missed living.

We’ve lost enough. Let’s not choose to give more to death than it has already taken.

So together, let’s pause.

Breathe deeply.

{The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ~Job 33:4}

Smile genuinely.

{A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. ~Proverbs 15:30a NLT}

Find beauty in this day that is before us.

{This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24}

Be grateful.

{Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~1Thessalonians 5:18}

Laugh.

{She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. ~Proverbs 31:25}

Let’s make the choice to start being present in our now.

My daughter’s wedding day will arrive sometime in the next decade or so.  And yes, her Daddy will be missing from the day.  And yes, we will be achingly aware of that missing.  But dreading it now isn’t going to change his lack of presence, it will only steal peace from today.  We will find a way to honor his place in her life and heart, and it will be a beautiful celebration.  He will have the best seat in the house, from heaven above.

Father God, You alone are our strength and in You alone will we be able to pause and truly experience the “now” in our lives.  Show us the positives of our present day and fill us with Your peace.  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.

Email our ministry at admin@anewseason.net to have a team member speak at your church or event.

Other articles written by Lori can be found here.

For more on the topic of focusing on the present see Thankful Hearts by Elizabeth or God Sent a Sparrow by Linda