In the Silence

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5:16 NIV

I sat on the tarmac filled with thoughts of our recent conference in Dallas. Grateful for the opportunity to lead worship and meet several of you, our readers. It was a God-filled time of healing, tears and laughter. During my teaching time, I encouraged our participants to journal their grief journeys. As I sat on the plane, the following day, I knew it was time for me to begin journaling, in order to process and prepare for this post. The following is an excerpt from my entry:

Father,

I look to You. You are where my help comes from; Your Word says so. You are the keeper of the pen that narrates, designs, and illustrates the scenes of my life. YOU SCRIBE MY STORY.

What do You want me to share? What do You want me to reflect upon?

What is it that You long to say to us?

God is not dead.

God is not gone.

God is not silent.

GOD SPEAKS…

But, do we listen?

Listening….. for widows, it is HARD!

There is SO MUCH for us to attend to and manage.

SO MUCH to be done.

SO MUCH to be thought out and gone through.

LISTEN?

How can we hear when the noise is SO LOUD?

How can we hear when the SILENCE is deafening?

How can we hear You Lord?

“Be still and know that I am God”

That’s it. It’s where I landed, on Psalm 46:10. God’s reminder that He is “in it” with us.

So, let’s break this verse down.

“Be still”

How good are widows at being still?  Are we good at it, or are we uncomfortable in it? Unless stillness leads to sleep, which is desperately sought after but often elusive for us, perhaps we are not good at it. To be still means we pause our responsibilities, and stop our dialogue (in ALL ways, be they in person or electronically). It means we put aside distractions-whatever they may be for us,  then we sit before the Lord and soak up His goodness. In stillness we pray, study, journal, meditate on His Word and hide it in our hearts. In stillness, we REST in Him.

“and know”

This could read, “and KNOW.”  KNOWING is radically different from thinking, feeling, or wanting. Thinking is using our brains and reasoning skills, but knowing is fully trusting.  Knowing is different from feeling, which is based on our emotions. Our emotions will often play tricks on us; thus, they are unstable.  Wanting is rooted in our desires, but knowing is not dependent upon how I feel or what I want.

KNOWING is unshakable.

We KNOW the sun is HOT. We’ve seen proof, like burned skin if someone is out in it too long. We’ve felt proof when we walk outside on a sunny day. We’ve measured it scientifically. Our sun is hot. The data proves it.  If we KNOW this about the sun, and we know who put it into orbit, why is it that we struggle with God? Sometimes, we struggle to KNOW that God is who He says He is, and that He loves us beyond our wildest imaginations, and wants the very best for us.

Did death triumph over Him? Did we lose trust for Him? Do we fear what will happen next?

Do we struggle to KNOW, with every part of our beings, that God is real, He has a plan for us, He treasures us, and He has not forgotten or forsaken us? If we are honest, maybe we do.

“that I am God”

GOD creator of the universe, God lover of mankind, God partner to those who fail daily, God maker of the stars, God Father of Abraham and Isaac, Esther, and Mary Magdalene God…THE GOD!

The I am BIGGER than finances, I am BIGGER than marriage, I am BIGGER than widowhood, I am BIGGER than anger, I am BIGGER than depression, I am BIGGER than grief, I am BIGGER than DEATH, I am BIGGER than the forces of evil and darkness, GOD!” 

Be STILL sisters, and KNOW that He IS GOD!

Lord, help us to KNOW that You will love us through the valley of the shadow of death. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!


Tcas1Dr. 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 she lost 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.

For booking information, please contact her at admin@anewseason.net or call 501-438-9028

To read more articles by Teri, click here.

Other articles like this: Be Still and 5 Things

Breathing In Hope

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV

None of us envisioned THIS as our future.

We didn’t walk our wedding aisle gazing at the pure love and joy on our groom’s face with thoughts that we would one day be widowed.

But THIS is where we are.

It is our “current”.

The pain is real and the grief is raw.

We cannot alter the circumstances that have brought us here. No matter how much we wish we could.  Time doesn’t flow in reverse.

There is a time to grieve. We cannot skip out on this.  We only harm ourselves if we try to rush the process.

Our loss was life shattering. Every single aspect of our world is now changed; every one of them, new.  This compounded loss that exists in each layer of us can plant seeds of fear.  Oh, we don’t necessarily recognize the little nagging thoughts as fear.  But it is there.

Fear we can’t possibly navigate this earth without the leadership of our husband manifests itself in constant thoughts of failure. If we aren’t careful, we can almost convince ourselves we are incapable without even attempting to accomplish something new.

Our fear of repeating a walk through such great loss causes us to hesitate in loving again.

Fear of the unknown nestles deep worry into our thoughts. Worry can begin to influence all processing in our brains, turning each situation into something potentially negative.  But we of all people should remember that this life is full of unknowns.  After all, we didn’t plan on being here, right?

What if it is time to come out from under the heaviness and start living again? Not living without the pain, but living around it.  Not erasing the memories, but cherishing them in their rightful place and looking ahead with expectation.

If you are not at this place yet, that’s okay. Do the work inside of your grief for now.  But, if you can honestly evaluate, and you are one who knows you should begin taking those bold steps forward, this writing is for you!

So which is it? Are you working through a healthy phase of grief, or are you stuck in grief because of fear?  Have you quit doing the work of sorting through grief and just settled in tight?  Are you stagnant in this life?

Friends, our God is anything but stagnant.

He is mighty and active.

He is alive and working.

He is NOT in the fear.  No, He is in the hope!

If these thoughts ring true within you, will you take time today to pray through your fears? Hand each one to God.  Name them and give them to the One who calms fears and offers hope.  Call on His mighty name with expectation of what He will do with your life.

Will there be unknowns?

Will there be things that seem too hard?

Will the newness at times be awkward to walk through?

I answer all of these with a resounding YES. But that “yes” is where hope lives.  It lives in the light that is revealed when fears are brought out of their darkness and surrendered.

Hope lives in the increased breaths as you contemplate that first step toward newness.

It resides in the accelerated heartbeat as you bravely walk into your future.

It is the combination of not knowing what comes next and the excitement of trusting that God will walk whatever path lies in your future with you.

Years ago, we had only dreams of beauty when we eagerly gazed upon our groom. Now we have lived more.  Pain has tinged our hearts edges.  What has happened, we cannot change.  We can choose to let that pain grow fear and leave us stagnant, or we can allow God to move us into a place of hope.

Lord, Help me lift the ceiling of fears I have self-imposed on my life and teach me to soak in the view of Your magnificent, limitless sky. I trust You with my today and my tomorrow.  Amen


 

Lori Reynolds StrellerLori 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.

Other articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller

Other articles on this topic include: The Hard Side of Hope by Katie, Is This MY Hope by Elizabeth, and Hope Intensified by Sheryl

Family Ties

                                                 See what kind of love the Father has given to  us,

                               that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

1 John 3:1 NIV

It’s just not the same.

My family image is not the same as it was years ago. And it is hard to not let the hurt slip into my heart. The thoughts of what we had and the plans we made invade my thoughts.

A single event can change the dynamics of a family in an instant.

It is a fact that physical death will affect every family at some point.  And for us walking this road of widowhood, we have certainly experienced a deep loss within the walls of our immediate family.

The physical loss of a spouse can rattle a family to the core.  All that has been part of our daily lives and normal routine has been uprooted. We find ourselves wondering what will happen now that the comfort zone is gone.

We ask why.  We question if we will be able to hold it together for who is left – especially for ourselves. All the things done for us by our spouses are now placed on our “to do lists”, unwanted and screaming his absence even louder. The lack of his presence is a deep void. No help. No hugs. No conversation. And if you are a parent, you may be clawing your way through each day to keep things normal for your children — you question the very essence of your being and purpose in this displeasing journey.

And then I am reminded of one thing. Our earthly families may have change.

But.

WE STILL BELONG TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!

And that will never change. He will always be with us. After all, we were created for fellowship with Him. Our being and purpose is laid out and planned for our eternal destination.

I became a part of God’s family at the age of nineteen when I invited Christ into my heart. That decision is what has guided me ever since. And nothing will change that. Not even death. It is the only way I have been able to move forward in this deep sadness of losing my husband. And no matter how distant I may get from His will or slip in my life, He still loves me. Agape love. Unconditional.

Wow. I am unworthy, but, ever so grateful.

The confidence and assurance of being a part of God’s family comes with time and maturity. I have found that some of our biggest “maturing phases” happen when we are faced with trials.  This grief walk is certainly one of those times. I am leaning on Christ now to be my husband. I am learning to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  And I mean everything.

When I am sad and lonely, I spend time with Him in Scripture and meditation, or sometimes curled up in tears with only moans that escape my mouth.  When I am struggling or worried about finances, I tell Him my needs and I listen for His guidance on how I should handle my money affairs. When I need help with home or car repairs, I pray He will lead me to someone I can trust.  It takes time and a lot of trust, my friends. But, we can have the security of His family as we continue to move forward.

So no matter how many times I feel alone on this earth, I lean on this agape love from my Heavenly Father. I look forward to the day when I am welcomed into the Heavenly Home He has prepared for me. Until that day, I will keep my eyes turned upon Jesus and search His will for my life.

Thank You Lord,  for Your love and kinship in Your family.  May You touch each of these precious ladies as they struggle with missing their spouses within their families. 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.

If you would like to book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about God as our husbands with Sherry and Ami


God is Good

Over the last three months we shared a series on the Names of God.  We hope that series blessed you as much as it did us.  If you missed any of it, you can read those posts here:

Jehovah Sabaoth, Jehovah Shalom, Immanuel, Jehovah, I Am, El Olam, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, El Shaddai, El Elyon

Today, we start a new series… on God’s goodness.  Because God is good even if, even when, even still.  His goodness is not found in our circumstances, in our pain and loss, or even our joy and triumphs.  But, His goodness is found in who He is and what He did for us at the Cross.  He is good all the time.  He is constant.  He never shifts or changes, even if, even when, even still.

Please join us today for our first post in this new series.


“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.” 

Psalm 27:13

As life has unfolded over the last few years, I’ve pondered this verse often.  It sits with me and it stirs my mind and heart almost daily.  It’s hard to understand or fathom at times, how this life and the horrific stuff that I see and experience could possibly be good or become good. How could God’s goodness ever be in some of these terrible circumstances? The suffering, the brokenness, the unfairness, the injustice, and just the messy world around me makes it seem bleak at times.

Yet, these are the things I do know: God is Sovereign and is always in control, ever working in our circumstances, walking alongside us, and allowing the good and the bad in life. As I pray and contemplate His goodness, I realize that God’s goodness is not found in my good or bad circumstances.  Focusing on my circumstances would cause me to never see His goodness, unless things were perfect every day and even then, my flesh would be unsatisfied.  Instead, I have learned His goodness is in His love and care for me, His constant presence and provision over me, and His healing power running through me.  And mostly, His goodness is in Jesus Christ and what He did for me at the Cross.

I am loved, cared for, and forgiven through Christ. I can experience that goodness every day, even if that day is the most gut wrenching, difficult day I’ve ever experienced.

~Erika


Please join us each Sunday over the coming months for our new series on God’s goodness. 

El Elyon- Our God Most High

Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation.

                                                                                                         Daniel 4:34b

Today, let us join together and praise El Elyon – our God Most High! He is sovereign over everything for all eternity! There is tremendous power in this truth!

The death of our spouse can rock us to our very core. We can lose our ability to eat, sleep, and even think. Our bodies have to deal with a tremendous physical reaction to all of the stress, not to mention the extreme emotional stress. For months, I would go through situations that would trigger so much stress, I would completely forget what had taken place. It’s scary when you can’t even count on your mind to remember whole events.

As I struggled to make it through those horrific first months of grief, I found myself repeatedly meditating on these three truths:

  1. God is sovereign.
  2. God is good.
  3. God loves me.

And I still cling to these foundational truths today.

When I meditate on the truth God is sovereign, I remember He is bigger than any circumstance I will ever face. No matter how hard it is, how bleak the future might look, He is not surprised or unprepared.

When I meditate on the truth God is good, I remember that even though the circumstances may seem bad, God is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

When I meditate on the truth God loves me, it becomes personal. He is not just a far and distant king, He is the King of all Kings who loves me!

So if God loves me, and He is good, and He is the God most High, our El Elyon, then how can I possibly be afraid, of anything? Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of doubt but He never changes. He was, and is, and always will be, El Elyon!

Dear Heavenly Father, We praise and worship You today El Elyon! You are our Most High God. We praise You for Your goodness, regardless of our circumstances. We praise You for Your love, which is wider and deeper than we can even begin to imagine. We praise You as the Creator of the heavens and the earth as well as the Creator of each and every one of us. Our hearts sing of Your Majesty, Our Most High God!  Amen.


Here are the other posts from our Name of God Series.  We hope this series blessed you as much as it did us! Stay tuned because next week we will be starting a new series on God’s goodness.

Jehovah Sabaoth, Jehovah Shalom, Immanuel, Jehovah, I Am, El Olam, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, El Shaddai

Jehovah Sabaoth- the LORD of Hosts

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

~Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress

If you are anything like me, you have sung those words for decades. Let me clarify, I probably MUMBLED some of those words because I didn’t have a clue about what I was singing. I let it pass quickly through my lips without much concern for what it meant. Until recently…

Lord Sabaoth, what in the world does that mean?

Sabaoth is translated as “hosts” in the Old Testament. Every time you see “Lord of Hosts”, know that it means Lord Sabaoth. The hosts are armies. The Lord Jesus is the head of the armies of all created beings-heavenly and earthly! Isaiah and Jeremiah seemed to use it most often, but it is the prayer of Hannah I want to focus on.

Hannah was married but never had children, which seemed to be far more important to her than even her understanding but perhaps self-absorbed husband (“am I not better than ten sons?”). So, she went to the Lord Sabaoth to plead her case. She wept bitterly as she made promises to God. The priest saw her praying and assumed the worst. But through questions, discovered she was pouring out her heart.

And the Lord remembered her. And IN DUE TIME…

Going to her husband with her problem didn’t solve it. Like in the song above, she went to the “right man”, the “man of God’s own choosing”. The Lord of Hosts won the battle in due time, His time.

As we go to the Lord of Hosts, Lord Sabaoth, today, let’s remember this. Sometimes we think marriage or something “else” will solve our heart pain. But we have something BETTER. We have the Lord of Hosts, the “right man” of God’s own choosing, remembering us as we pour out our hearts.

Let’s worship Him today.


Other articles in our Names of God series: Adonai, El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, El-The Strong OneEl Roi, El Olam, Jehovah Shalom, Immanuel, & Jehovah, I Am

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Leap


I’ve never been a “dip a toe in the water” kind of girl. I’d much rather jump right off the diving board and embrace the chilly jolt.

Everyone knows it’s easier to acclimate if you go all in, right?

I tend to face life this way also. Decisions are all or nothing. Likewise, indifference and apathy aren’t prominent character traits. I’ve been known to rush in, yet most decisions are actually preceded by intense thought and prayer.

But when I jump, I jump.

My husband and I had dated about a month when I told him I wanted to marry him. Indeed it was a bold statement, but I knew he wanted the same.

I like taking risks. Recently, however, a latent fear rose to the surface; I didn’t realize I was still afraid of future suffering. I thought I’d dealt with that one long ago.

Apparently it crept up again.

Sitting across from a man who wants to date me and has embraced my widowhood with immense grace, I finally confronted the sin lurking in the shadows.

“What if I have to walk through death again? If I let this guy in, I could suffer more.” 

Through tears I admitted the fear. Pulling me close, he spoke life giving truth.

“You know God is good. You know He does all things well. He sovereignly leads and plans the best things for your life. You may be a widow again. But you may not ever be. Because of the gospel we don’t have to fear. There is so much joy.”

He’s right.

And just like that I decided to leap. I don’t know what God plans for this man and me, but it’s time to take a risk and see what could be. I need not fear future suffering or future blessing.

For “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18.

God loves me perfectly. Jesus loved perfectly, even to death on the cross. Therefore, I don’t have to fear.

In How People Change, Tripp calls all the pressures of this life “heat.” The trials, blessings, responsibilities, sufferings, joys, and challenges, temptations—all are heat that produce either thorns or fruit.

At the potential of something new, my thorny response was fear. And in this scenario, fear is sin.

It is a result of

  • forgetting who God is.
  • forgetting what He has done.
  • forgetting who He says I am.
  • forgetting that He has provided everything for a God-honoring life.
  • forgetting that He’s committed to making me holy.

Sometimes I cherish things more than I cherish Christ—

My comfort.

My expectations for a well-ordered life.

My temptations to compare a new relationship with the old.

Therefore, I turn from fear. However, to merely change my behavior would be counterfeit and superficial at best. I need radical heart change.

“At the cross God meets us in our sin and struggle with His heart transforming grace.” -Paul Tripp.

So, I ask. “Who is God and what does He say and do in Christ?’

God is good. He is working all things out for my joy and His glory. (Romans 8) Because Jesus had joy in suffering, when suffering comes I can meet it with a settled confidence— with joy, peace, rest, and even cheerfulness.

He gives Himself.

He provides.

As I view the transforming grace of Christ at the cross, thorns become fruit, and I trust my unknown future to a known God.

As for this guy?

Well, I’m a little giddy. I can’t wait to see what God does next.

Here’s to the diving board.


Ami is a Kindergarten teacher turned Developmental Therapist turned writer. Ami also assists the elders at her local church through counseling and ladies’ ministry. She began writing two weeks after her husband died in January 2013. The ramblings were her honest, raw, thoughts as a 30 year old, childless widow desperately trying to process the tsunami. She felt strongly that she needed to let others see the journey and let God use it to break down stereotypes of Christian grief. Now she writes to equip, encourage, and comfort those on similar paths.

More posts by our team:

Fearless or Fearful?

Perhaps

Marital Bed

 

 

That Day

 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.  The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 118: 21-29

 

June 16th, 2010, the day my husband got heaven, was the day my world and life as I knew it ended.

That day, my husband took his own life.

It was the single hardest day of my life and it broke me in so many ways.  But, I wasn’t the only one.  What happened that day broke many people; our children, our family, our friends, our church, and many strangers who heard it as breaking news or went by the scene.

That day I was spared though, because I wasn’t with him, and I didn’t find him.  Yet, there were a handful of strangers who weren’t spared. I’ve thought and prayed for them often.

There was a man who stopped within seconds and was the first to try to help him. Then a second man who stopped and helped, and a woman had stopped too. In the end I was told there were about five in those first precious minutes, who stopped on the side of a busy road and were there to help and protect my beloved husband until paramedics arrived.

I prayed for years that they’d be protected from what they saw and what they did would be honored.  That it wouldn’t scar them.  And that they could find peace in it.  I even prayed for the opportunity to thank them.

Last year, I got a message from the woman who stopped. We corresponded via email and I could sense her pain.  After a time, we agreed to meet.

As we sat and talked, she shared intimate details of that precious horrific day. We both shed mighty tears. At one point she shared that she’d been tormented by what she saw.  That she kept dreaming of it and couldn’t get one picture out of her head; the image of his strong left hand where his shining unblemished wedding band was resting gently on his leg. As she sobbed and shared, I reached up and took my necklace off.

In it was something I needed her to hold, because I had taken Scott’s wedding ring and made a necklace from it. I handed it to her and she held it so tight. In that moment, I saw her release some of the pain of that day and those terrible images. She could see the new I created in that ring and in our life. I shared my great God with her too. And I pray she saw Him shine as I talked.

I’ve never seen her since, but I’m so grateful for our time. I’m most grateful God gave me a chance to meet one of those who cared enough to stop. I love that I can now pray so specifically for her, and I hope that she saw God’s love and glory on full display in and through me.

I share this with you sisters because your story matters.  Your husband’s death matters. Your suffering matters.  The suffering of others matters.  The kindness of others matters.  The healing matters. And sharing matters!

God wants to use your ugly, messy, sad, precious story for His glory. It’s certainly not easy or comfortable for some of us. There are those who will never see our story through the grace filled, redemptive eyes of Christ, and will instead judge us. But, that’s ok.  I can’t control others.  I can just lay my story humbly before the Lord, committing it to Him, relinquishing my control over it.

The day I met that woman is right up there with one of my toughest days. The harsh realities of what happened that day reopened wounds for me.  But my comfort, my heart, my pride, or even my privacy doesn’t matter if I’m blocking God from using me, my husband, and our story to help others and bring Him great glory!

If I hide away, I’m just giving the enemy more victory and I’m robbing God!  And I’m wasting our suffering. What additional tragedy that would be.

My husband is gone.  The days leading up to it were terrible.  And his death was horrible.  But that’s where the bad stops and the good starts.  God allowed bad, but He will work it for His good and glory.  I believe and trust that!

And I trust Him!

That day, our story became HIS STORY!

Father, help us to be bold.  Helps us to humbly watch You work and move in our lives.  Give us the courage to relinquish any shame we may feel over our story to Your greater purposes.  Let us be a light in dark places, and give us opportunities to share even the ugly stuff, so we can glorify You.  I thank You for the messy story You’ve given me and I pray, Lord, that You give me the strength I need to walk this journey as a humble servant in Your mighty hands.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.

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

Other articles by this author click here.

Related articles on this topic: Story Keepers and The End of the Story?

Fearless or Fearful?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22 ESV

 

Where do you feel the safest? Are there places in your life where you’ve settled? Do you want to be fearless? Since the beginning of January God has brought these three questions to my attention.

God’s been speaking to me about how I perceive safety. The place I feel the safest is at my bay. Steep sand dunes and towering cedar trees surround it to the east and Northwest. I know every inch of its coastline. Although, it’s a completely secure feeling to know what’s around the next curve, it’s putting trust in what I see and what I know, not in who I serve.

Christ wants me to move beyond the shores. Like the ships sailing beyond the safety of my bay, who hurl their sails and trust in the wind to move them forward. I want to be like the waves and live in freedom beyond the shore. Not afraid to test the depths and thrive in any storm. Freedom and healing are just beyond your sight, over the horizon. Lean your sails into the wind and let the Star maker guide you away from the safety of your own shores.

For the last seven months I have been working tirelessly on getting to know how Christ views me, it’s been an arduous journey, and worth every bit of it all. I haven’t arrived yet, but I’m moving through life more attuned to His leading and His voice than I’ve ever been.

As I move further up the dune, the word “settle” keeps whispering to me. The sand settles on the beach and it only moves in the midst of a storm or when the waves pick it up from the bottom of the lake and throw it to and fro. If there is no storm, then the sand settles on the beach layer upon layer or slowly sinks to the bottom. It needs a storm to help transform it into beach glass. It needs a storm to produce a path more narrow or wide.

Frequently, like the sand, I settle and it takes a storm to move me out into the depths of uncertainty. Uncertainty leaves me feeling helpless and out of control,  and as a woman who lost half her heart five years ago, I’m not comfortable ushering in more uncertainty. However, Christ continues to show me it may be uncertainty for me, but He is always certain. He knows in order to not settle, I must trust Him even when the way seems outrageously perilous and screams in my ear of danger.

With a gentle whisper, God has shown me how fearful I behave. Fearful has a mutual relationship with safety and settling and not venturing out beyond the shore. I don’t want to be fearful, I want to be fearless.

Fearless occurs when I’m leaning into Holy Spirit and relying on Him to fill every part of me. Fearless happens when I’m being a “doer of his word and not just a hearer.”

Dear Heavenly Father,  Please use our safe places as filling stations, where You fill us with more of You. Help us to take time to calibrate our hearts so we can remember Your vision, Your purpose and Your plan for our lives.  We thank you for the certainty You provide in our daily lives, but we need Your help to exercise our faith and be “doers of the word.” Help us to not settle like sand on the ocean floor. We want You to move us into all You have set aside for Your children. Lord, Thank you for calling us out beyond what we see, so we can catch of glimpse of what You see. In Your Mighty Name, amen.

 


 

Jill is a writer/contributor for A Widow’s Might and aNew Season Ministries. Jill is smitten by the northern shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is her sanctuary. She takes every opportunity to spend time sinking her toes in the sand or swimming in its crystal clear water. In the spring of 2010 she experienced the hardest time of her life when her husband died in a motorcycle accident. She’s spent the last five years learning about the importance of walking by faith and not sight. Jill is now the torchbearer of the legacy her and her husband started twenty-five years ago. She is a mom to three strong and independent girls. Her most important goals are to honor Christ in everything she does, and to live life to the fullest in honor of her husband.

Interested in having one of our team members speak at your event, email us at: admin@anewseason.net

All articles by this author: Jill Byard

Other related articles:Fear Not, Courage over Fear, and Faith vs Fear

 

Perhaps

When I approach unknown territory, I bring with me a known. I stick to the Lord and trust His wisdom.

“…Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.”

1 Samuel 14:6 (ESV)

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone, sister? Are you making bold steps with your life as you progress out of the early grief? I want to encourage you to be obedient to the calling God places on this new season in your life.

Every great action in the Bible starts with an idea followed by a hope to win.

But winning isn’t the point. There’s a bit of letting go of the result—a “perhaps”. Every success, from Gates saying “perhaps the world wants an operating system” to Phelp’s mother saying “perhaps I should let my son train for the Olympics” to your husband saying “perhaps that sweet woman might want to have coffee with me”, has an element of risk.

Jonathan accomplished great things simply by being obedient to a calling from God. His father was King Saul—not a very good king because instead of confronting the Philistines (remember Goliath?), Saul hung out with 600 of his best fighters in the hillside. Jonathan didn’t agree with his father’s inaction, but what could he do?

Remember, as son of the king, he was protected by staying with his father among the 600. The Philistines would have to go through all of those soldiers before getting to him. If he decided to fight alone, he’d risk his life.

Isn’t that how some of us are? Comfortable, but with a lingering sense something isn’t right? Hanging out in our own worlds with our girlfriends, career, church or children? Maybe that’s easier than confronting that dating world or a new calling such as a career or ministry?

It’s tempting to stay where you are. It’s what you know, and for the time being, it’s safe.

But Jonathan knew he couldn’t sit. He knew what would happen if no one faced the Philistines. So he left the comfort of the entourage and struck out with his armor bearer to face the enemy.

Maybe you know you need to do a new thing. Maybe God’s telling you, “your surroundings will change–kids will grow up, and I don’t want you to miss the new horizons and new people I might have for your future.”

Enter the “new” obediently, trusting the Lord, Who is your husband and will guide you in every step. When you accept whatever the Lord has for you, you open possibilities for gaining more than you ever expected– You will learn about who you are and make some wonderful new friendships.

When Jonathan stepped out with the right attitude, he and his armor bearer killed twenty Philistines. The rest turned on their heels and ran, all because Jonathan was willing to act on a calling and a “perhaps”.

Who knows what will happen if you go on a calling and a “perhaps”?

Father in Heaven, each woman enters a new calling, knowing the pitfalls and the joys.  Help her know that the insecurities she feels are completely normal and that You have her in the palm of Your Hand.  Help her walk forward with the “perhaps” of a widow’s mite.  Amen.

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was one of the original writers 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 to Sheryl Pepple and 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 her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle
Other articles like this one: Dancing Through Tears and The Big Picture