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

 

Our Earthly Treasures

Our ministry has seen many sweet, wonderful and gifted sisters move onto other life callings.  But only one left us to join her Savior, and her beloved husband Don in heaven.  There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of our sister, our Care Bear, and miss her.  So, today we thought we would share some of Karen’s special and valuable words with you.  We pray this blesses you as much as she truly blessed us. 


Earthly Treasures by Karen Emberlin

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

For fifteen months my husband and I lived in a suburban neighborhood in the comfort of a three bedroom home with a finished basement, double car garage, and attic.

We were normal.  In other words, like most Americans, our home was “filled” with all of the “stuff” we had collected over forty-eight years of marriage. Even after moving several times during those years, we always took our “stuff” with us, sure we would eventually need it.

Things changed! Once I lost my husband, that “stuff” we thought was so valuable no longer seemed valuable, and I realized the only real value it ever had was because it was “ours”.  What good would that do me now?

Overnight all of my “stuff” became a real burden.

The unexpected loss had my relatives and me scratching our heads–where would I go?  And what would I  do with all these things?

First I relocated to another state to be with our daughter and family. With no room for a house full of my stuff, my daughter asked me to downsize. And I did–from a three bedroom house to the twenty-two foot trailer I used to move to Florida.

In order to reduce my treasure to what fit in that twenty-two foot trailer, I sorted. I don’t remember where it all ended up, but I was always happy when someone I knew took an item I may have had a hard time letting go of.  At least I knew where its new home would be!

As my son and I pulled away from my home, I thought about the trailer we were towing behind us. My husband  had bought it a few years earlier for  a “local” move, so we could take our time. I had always thought it to be in the way. “Let’s  sell it,” I’d say.  “Naw,” he’d say, ‘Someday we might need it!”

In God’s perfect plan, He knew I’d be the one who would need it. That trailer “housed” my treasures for a whole year.

While living with less at my daughter’s home. I discovered how comfortable with just a very small amount of my belongings around me.

But God wasn’t done pruning my earthly treasures.

A few months ago I moved yet again–this time over a thousand miles away, to a community with an even smaller space to fit my belongings.  Faced again with the decisions of getting my “stuff” there, I began again the process of sorting and deciding what was really important, this time placing my “stuff’ in a 5×8 Uhaul trailer.

From a house to a twenty-two footer to a 5×8 trailer–God’s forcing me to adjust my definition of success.

It was not easy to “let go” of things that I once thought were so important, especially some of the things that my husband enjoyed so much (like the cargo trailer)!

However, as I made those choices, I was reminded that my husband left this world with none of our “stuff”, and I too will leave without it. He has so much more in his heavenly home than we ever had here!!

Yes, I miss my husband so much, and I want to be comfortable and have some of the things we enjoyed together near me.  I have been able to do that.  Best of all, I have a heart full of memories, and I love that I do not ever have to “give up”!

I realize that by not having the burden of moving, storing, or caring for so many things, I am freeing myself to be all I can for the Lord and can prepare myself for the plans He has for me.

He promises to give me hope and a future (even without my husband). I want to be ready to follow wherever He takes me, and am excited to see what is next!

Lord, I pray that you will be with all of us on this journey who are finding it difficult to give up “earthly treasures”. Help us to find contentment in You and to store up “heavenly treasures” that will be waiting for us when we get to our home with You.  Amen

Finding Your Brave

Please join us today as we share a post written by our dear sister, Nancy, on finding our “brave” so we can keep stepping forward, even when it’s scary and hard.


Where’s Your Brave? by Nancy Howell

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

Where’s your brave?

Is it buried deep inside you, where no one else can see?

When was the last time you pulled it out and used it?

You know what I’m talking about, sisters–the confidence, the boldness, the fearlessness–of stepping out in faith.  Many times stepping out into uncharted territory, murky waters.

 Being brave doesn’t come easy for most….certainly not for me.  I spent most of my adolescent years conforming to what society dictated.  I just wanted to “fit in”.  Going along with the crowd is much easier than taking a stand and pulling out your “brave” from deep within.  Or so I thought.

But life isn’t always perfect, and circumstances change.  Death, divorce, loss of job, sickness, or a myriad of other bad things happen–hopefully not all at the same time.

When you find yourself in less-than-perfect surroundings, it may be hard to find your brave.

“It’s easy to be a Christian when everything’s going your way.”

In good times, brave is an asterisk on the great happenings in your life.

In not-so-good times, it’s the hope we cling to.

In all times, we are told to approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Grace is unmerited favor–meaning God gives it to us, even when and if we don’t deserve it.  By doing so, we are given compassion, forgiveness, and strength to carry us through our times of need.

Fitting in, going with the flow, conforming with society?  I’ve found it to be over-rated.  Many times it’s 180 degrees from God’s plan for us.

To fulfill God’s specific, meticulous plan He has just for you, you must find your brave.

Step out in faith.  Use your brave.  Come boldly before Him.

And watch what happens.

Father God,  Help us to have confidence, to approach Your throne of grace with boldness, finding our “brave” as we mature and live out the purpose You have in each of our lives.  Sometimes the first step is the hardest.  Let us always know we are not alone–ever.  Thank You for the unmerited favor You give, and give, and give.  Remind us it never runs out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.

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