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

Don’t Count the Years!

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
…Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
Psalm 90:12-16 (ESV)

Years ago I would see widows farther along in their journeys and think, Wow, they’ve had time to overcome and heal. But part of me would worry. This could be a long journey. I was right. Here I stand at nine years.

Nine years.

But who’s counting? Not me. I’d rather make each year count.

It begins by making the most of each day and appreciating the process of life again—that ebb and flow of managing your household, your job, or your children, if you have them.

Next time you say to yourself, oh, I am counting off another year, stop and remember to MAKE this year count using these four “MAKE” tips!

Mash that reset button on your thinking.

Ask God to help you see your life differently. No one’s life is just toil and pain. Purpose and beauty is revealed when seeing your world through His eyes! I have found the words in Psalm 90 perfect for reawakening my spirit for a new day.

Act on it!

Put action to those ideas you’ve always wanted to do. For example, I always wanted to change my fitness habits. But each time I set out to run the course I had laid out in my neighborhood, I’d get winded and emotionally give up. It wasn’t a lack of ability keeping me from running.  It was lack of will.

One day I simply did it. No excuses. I knew for my fitness level, it was possible. My longing for ease was keeping me from action.  Once I broke that barrier, I never looked back. Two months later I haven’t missed a day in my routine, and most days, I run the loop twice!  Action brings on a can-do attitude!

Kindle the right picture in your mind.

Imagine yourself in the process of enjoying your routine rather than the routine being done. I come from a business world full of ten-year and five-year plans all focused on the bottom line, so this doesn’t come naturally for me.  For years I would envision a perfectly clean home. But after rushing around with my kids and keeping up with ministry obligations, I’d look at the kitchen and get overwhelmed.  How different it looked than the vision in my mind.

This is how most New Year’s resolutions end up broken.  Psychologically, when you imagine your goal achieved, your brain has already won a reward of satisfaction for having put it out there.  Once the hard work begins, a normal reaction is to get overwhelmed and give up.

So I changed my thinking in regards to my kitchen. Rather than imagining a clean kitchen all the time, I kindled the picture in my mind of my cleaning the kitchen and enjoying it.  As I pulled into the neighborhood after a long day of errands, I put the idea of escaping into my bedroom out of my mind and replaced it with an image of my moving straight to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher and wipe the counters.  Very soon I was living that image daily and voila! My goal was met!

Energize yourself with evidence!

Evidence of God’s glory in my life becomes fuel for my next day. Rather than praying, “God make this day different,” I now praise Him and ask Him to let me loose on this planet for yet another day to change lives for His Glory!

Lord Father, help this sister remember You love her. Keep her energized and kicking up a storm in this world! Prompt her to make this and every year count!  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 mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. 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:

He IS Here

Decisiveness

Amazed, Anew

Because I Said So!

“Because I said so!” 

It’s the line every kid swears they will NEVER grow up to use. Because, if you do…..it’s the day you “become” your mother.

The one line every child HATES to hear!

It offers no real explanation or hope of a negotiable outcome. Because I said so has a HUGE, FAT period or exclamation point at the end.

Done.

Finito!

No more conversation

Do you ever feel like this is what God said when you questioned why your love had to leave this place? Because He said so. No more conversation, His will is higher, His ways are better. Done. Finito!

It’s hard when we want to ask a million questions, and yet there are no answers we would be willing to accept. When we have tons of suggestions but the Father does not need a one of them. When all we really want, some days, is to go back in time-before it all unraveled. Before the sickness, the hospitals and ambulances, before the horror and tragedy, before we had to say it out loud to our children, families, friends, churches…..he’s gone. Before the visitations, and funerals, before the closets had to be cleaned out and belongings given away, before the houses and cars had to be sold, before the sleepless nights, the deafening silence and excruciating loneliness.

BEFORE seems like so long ago and yet it was just there yesterday.

The problem with always thinking of BEFORE is that it makes us miss the now and after.

After we found out we are stronger than we knew, after we realized we can do things we’ve never done before, after we found new friends and new interests, after we learned the depth and breadth of our Father’s love for us, after we let the petty of life go and better understood the importance of our legacies– after can be an incredibly powerful place, once we find our way there.

Why do mothers use, “Because I said so”? Because they KNOW it keeps children obedient even when it’s hard. It keeps kids safe when they don’t see danger. It comes from wisdom a child does not have. It come from experience and years of living. God had been doing this eternity thing for a lot longer than we have, maybe He does know better, maybe He is seeing things we do not, maybe He does want the best for us.

Dare to believe His promises are true…

But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NASB

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NASB

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NASB

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 NASB

because He says so

God, love us so deeply all we see is You through our tears and our laughter. In Jesus name, Amen.


 

Tcas1

Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

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

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

Posts similar to this one by other authors: Fear not tomorrow… & Run the Race

 

 

Bonnie’s Favorite

Please join us today as Bonnie shares her favorite post with us.

This post by my sweet sister, Sherry, is so valid in my place of life right now.  I have recently shed my role as a “caregiver” for over seven years and I can clearly see how that position put limitations on my “jumping.” I love how Sherry points out, that it is okay to stay in a beautiful spot or perhaps a comfortable spot, but encourages us to jump into the His arms and plans for our lives. This post opens my heart and mind to so many possibilities.   ~ Bonnie


 

No Jumping by Sherry Rickard

Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 

Joshua 1:9 KJV

I have just returned from a quick weekend trip to the beach.  It is November and I live on the East Coast, so a trip to the beach this time of year is not considered “in season”.  All of the arcades and ice cream shops are closed up tight.  The beach is mostly deserted, with lonely cold waves rolling into shore, but no one to jump in them.  The outdoor pool at the hotel has been winterized and covered for the cold winter months.  As I looked out onto the barren pool deck with the gray pool cover drawn tightly over the pool, I was drawn to a little oasis in the middle of the deck.  It was a beautiful spot of landscaping amidst the stark bleakness of the late fall landscaping and empty pool deck. 

As I looked at this landscape oasis complete with palm trees and bright flowers, I saw a sign which read, “No jumping”.  A quick glance around explained the sign–It makes sense that in-season, this oasis is very near the outdoor pool and an adventurer could probably envision a climb to the not-too-high-edge for a jump into the pool nearby.  A miss on this adventure would definitely result in injury.  However, as I looked at the sign and the beautiful landscaping that surrounds the sign, I started thinking about life and how this little oasis reminds me of life. Isn’t it common that we get to a beautiful place and just park ourselves to enjoy the view?  We erect a sign in our hearts that says, “No jumping”.  We have taken the adventure to arrive at the location and now we don’t want to move.

I think about the journey I’ve been on for going on five years.  I’m tired.  I have reached the other side – at least I think I have.  “No jumping!”  While at first, the self-imposed “no jumping” may seem okay.  I just want to sit back and relax.  Enjoy the view.  But, the “no jumping”  keeps me in the safe zone, not trying anything that stretches me.  Very comfortable.  When I am in this “no jumping” zone, I’m relying on me and what I can see and do for myself.  God isn’t required as much in the “no jumping” zone.

God wants us to enjoy the view and find joy in the journey, but He also wants us to keep going.  So, as much as I hate to leave this spot, I know God doesn’t want me to stay here.  He wants me to jump – into His arms, into His plan for me, into life, into joy.  He wants me to take Him on the journey.

So, if you find yourself in the little oasis, next to the “no jumping” sign.  Sit for a minute.  Have a spirit of thankfulness.  Rest. Rejuvenate.  Then, pick yourself up and “jump” into the plan the Master has for you.  It’s going to be great!  It always is!  Even in trials, God turns it to joy!

So, jump with me!  There are many sisters along the way to support you and encourage you.  Don’t be afraid to jump – it’s a good thing!

Dear Lord,  Thank You for allowing me moments in a beautiful oasis where I can rest and stay.  Thank You, also, for encouraging me to “jump” into Your arms and Your plan for my life.  Amen


Other posts in “Our Favorites” series: Teri’s Favorite, Erika’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, and Lori’s Favorite

He Will Clean It Up

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

James 4:14 NASB

You owe me $20!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Sherry LookSherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and just completed her freshman year at college.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like: Spring Cleaning Your Soul by Katie Hagen

 

We believe—WE WILL WIN

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

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Do you have a battle cry?

Athletes understand a battle cry of confidence.

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

Check out this battle cry from the 2014 World Cup:

ibelieve2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will no longer awake in your bed alone.

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

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

You will have companionship, love and fellowship.

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

We believe—WE WILL WIN!

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


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Be the Ant…but What Kind of Ant?

Full Victory

Perhaps

Battle Lines

“…thus says the LORD to you,

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

2 Chronicles 20:15b 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Tcas1

Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

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

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

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

Fear at 35,000 Feet

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

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

 Psalm 94: 18-19 NIV

It started out as an ordinary day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, it was all I needed.

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

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

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

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


Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about faith during illness from Lori and Sherry

Was God Surprised?

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Job 1:21 ESV

 

God gives and takes away.

It’s a harsh reality.

He GIVES

And

He TAKES away.

Recently I went to the home-going service of a twenty-nine-year-old, mother of three: twenty-two months, three years, and five years. It was a very unexpected death. She woke up to a normal day, but didn’t feel well. At some point during the day, she lay down to take a nap with her youngest children, but never woke up.

God gave her parents twenty-nine years with her.

He gave her husband and her children far less.

She was a wonderful mom and a bright light for the world, with a smile for everyone. Yet, God gave and took away.

Many people might argue that it is not God who “takes away”, but the enemy. While the Bible is clear the enemy tries to kill, steal, and destroy, it is also clear that God knows our days. He numbered them and He ordains them. He is the giver of life and the one who sees from beginning to end, throughout the sands of time.

He knew the number of days I would be married, because He knew the exact day my husband had a divine appointment with Him. He was not surprised to see my beloved, since He ordained the very moment. Thus, I have a choice to make, to believe My Father chose it and all things will work together for the good, or to believe He was mean, mad at me, or wanted to punish me for some reason.

The Bible says, He is the giver of all good things.

                “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights

with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:7 ESV

God is not a cosmic bully, any more than He is a cosmic bellboy. He does not punish us, although He may correct us, as any good Father would. Nor is He at our beck and call, to bring us anything we ask for, although He longs to give us good gifts that serve Him and His will for us, instead of only serving our flesh and our own selfish desires.

He is a creator, a redeemer, a restorer. In the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, these things are sometimes hard to remember. No matter the level of difficulty, it is still the ultimate truth. God gives and takes away but He loves us more than we can ever imagine, and He is with us, always.

God, please be gentle with us, as we lean into You and seek Your face. Comfort us, and bring us hope, as we rest in Your arms and under the shadow of Your wings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

closeup teriDr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

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

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

More articles you might enjoy: Terminal by Danita and Beauty for Ashes by Kit

 

Go North!

And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir.  Then the Lord said to me, “You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough.  Turn northward and command the people.” 

Deuteronomy 2:1-4 KJV

My sister, Kathy, has been reading through the Bible using a journaling study.  This is where you read scripture and pray about what God is saying to you. Then using a special Bible with wide margins, you draw a piece of artwork to represent the scripture.  My sister is a very talented artist, amongst other things, and she has been posting on social media some of her beautifully inspired artwork.  The other day, she posted the artwork associated with this verse and God used her artwork to catapult me out of a rut.

I’ve been circling a mountain for a long time.  I’ve been wanting something for a long time and asking God for it and His answer has been, “Wait, my child, you’re not ready yet!”  So, I’ve been circling the mountain and re-asking, re-hashing, beseeching…over and over and over again.

I think as widows we often get stuck circling mountains and sometimes we need help moving north, so to speak.  We circle the mountains of anger, jealousy, hurt, longing and self-indulgence, to name just a few.  We fill our back packs with: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.” “I don’t want this.” “I shouldn’t have to do this.”  “I’m tired.” And of course, “Why?”

This week as I was scrolling through my social media account up popped my sister’s post and her beautiful artwork, which further and much more directly gave me the answer God has for me.  It is His sweet answer to my prayer!

Stop circling this mountain and move north!  God spoke to me and basically told me to pick myself up and move north – look to Him and move toward Him.

Do you sometimes find that when you want something and ask for it and don’t get it in your time, you float away from Christ in the process?  You don’t mean to, but you do.  It’s a gradual wearing down, a slow movement south.

I find it so interesting that God knows me, knows what I need, when I need it and sends the perfect message in the perfect person at the perfect time.  His answer always feeds my soul and sustains me.

I’m finding that when I start circling a mountain, it is often a man-made mountain.  And as I am wearing a trail around its base, I am adding to the height of the mountain I am circling.  I get caught up in the circling and looking at the mountain and I forget to look north…true north.

So, this girl is going through her backpack and I am leaving some of my stuff on this mountain trail – the stuff I’ve added.  I am lightening up my backpack and looking north…going north.  I’m still hiking, but I’m looking to my beacon- my true North – Christ, my Savior.

Who’s with me?  Let’s open our backpacks up and get rid of some of the stuff we’ve been carrying!  Let’s leave this trail and go north.  I’ll meet you on a new trail and we can encourage one another along the way.

Stop circling this mountain and move north!  Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your God-given talent and allowing God to work through you to encourage others!

Dear Lord, Thank You for Your scripture which is new every day!  Thank You for using people in my life to encourage me and to speak light and truth into my life!  I am moving north and leaving this mountain trail for a new trail being paved by You.  Amen 


sherrySherry 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:

Moving Forward by Teri

 Full Victory by Erika