Sometimes We Stay Put When the Door is Open

All the signs were there. The “open doors”. The obvious connections. The chemistry.

I met someone (a man) at an event, and we immediately hit it off. We had known each other in a “previous” life — you know how the story goes…Reacquainted after the death of our spouses.

It was all there. The spiritual connection. The humor. The intellectual side. We had similar backgrounds. On and on it went.

I truly wasn’t interested in anything beyond yet, so I was enjoying all aspects of this new found friendship. Texting about our days. Sharing recipes (how funny is that?!). Meeting a few times for lunch. I was in the middle of trying to sell my home, move, downsize– in other words,  I was very settled in this community. 

So when the friendship came to a screeching halt because he decided to get married (to someone else!), I was, once again, angry at God. A little at the guy maybe. But God, because He seemed to open all these doors, but then didn’t let me walk through. Sounded like a Bible passage I remembered reading…

Remember the passage in Acts 16? Let me set the story up.

Paul and Silas were in jail. Beaten with rods, stripped, taken to the inner cell, feet fastened in stocks. Around midnight, they were praying and singing hymns with the other prisoners listening, when suddenly there was a terrible earthquake. The floors shook. the doors opened, and the chains fell off!

Let me just stop there a second and say something. We have been having some pretty controversial big earthquakes in Oklahoma over the past few years. I was awakened from sleep with the last big one. But I have never EVER had one knock doors open or make my bed come apart or my lamps fall from shelves. That would be one frightening earthquake.

So back to the prisoners. All their chains were broken. They were free. Paul and Silas had open doors. Were they praying for release? Was this their answer from God? They knew God had walked Peter out of jail. It could happen, they thought. God opens doors in crazy ways.

This time God opened doors and said, “Sit your bottoms down and don’t you move them.” At least that’s how I imagine Him saying it…

The jailer came running in to see, planning to kill himself because he knew they had all made a run for it. We know nothing about the other prisoners. Maybe some became followers of Paul and Silas from then on. We know one thing for certain. The jailer, poised to plunge the knife into his own neck, found all the prisoners sitting there accounted for. What kind of God would lead them to sit when the doors are open?

No one sits when the doors are open, do they? But sometimes God tells us to.

God brought the jailer to Paul and Silas and then turned around, bringing Paul and Silas to the jailer’s home.

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!”

If Paul and Silas had said, “Here’s our answer to prayer! Open doors! Let’s go!” we don’t know that the jailer and his family would have been saved.

Sometimes God tells us to sit when the doors are open. Because He has another plan. A different plan. A unique plan. Just for me. Sometimes the open door makes so much more sense to our human minds. But God wants us to follow Him, even when it means to sit still.

Don’t look for open doors today. Listen to God. He might be nudging you to walk through or just sit still for a while longer.

Father God, thank You for guiding us and providing for us. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the way You are leading us today. Let us sit still with patience when necessary and move with enthusiasm when You send us forward. Amen

 


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

 

Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, and a noisy cat named after a German race car driver!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here. 

You can read more articles about dating by clicking here.

You might want to read more articles about hearing God’s voice through Scripture. Click here. 

Sexual Purity, Even More as a Widow

I did a little internet search of widows and sexual purity.

Wow!

What an eye-opening and shocking experience.

Let me start by saying our ministry is set apart from many other widow support groups, mainly because we want to point you FIRST to God’s Word as Truth. We are not going to give you what our culture expresses as truth. We aren’t going to sugar-coat it. Scripture has some absolutes on this subject that we support.

Some in our culture have decided to change the meaning in Scripture so it makes things “easier” for them during the dating days. If we are in a “committed” relationship, they say, then we can justify sex outside of marriage. Some bloggers even suggest to widows that having a purely sexual relationship is an acceptable way to satisfy that part of our need.

I’m going to propose that during widowhood, we need to stand even more firm on the foundation of sexual purity, even though we are no longer virgins. We do not have a “free pass” to sleep with whomever we want, just because it “doesn’t make a difference” this time around. It does make a difference, even as non-virgins, because it affects others when we live an impure life – not just ourselves.

We can apply Scripture to help us remember how important purity is before the Lord, by using them. 

T.H.E.M.

Who is the them?

It could be the community of believers,  a future husband,  friends, children, or unbelievers.

  1. TEMPLE: Our bodies are a temple so we should keep it holy and unblemished. I Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
  2. HUSBAND: God is your husband. You would be unfaithful to Him as your husband if you are sexually involved with men before marriage. Isaiah 54;5 ESV For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
  3. EXAMPLE: Especially when there are children in the home, we must set a moral example to them. You are an example to other widows who are new on their widowhood journey also.   I Timothy 4:12 ESV but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
  4. MARRY: In the New Testament references I looked up, sex was condoned and even encouraged within the context of marriage, never outside of those boundaries.  I Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. Also  I Timothy 5:3-15   

Sexual purity does matter, sisters. It matters to God and should matter to us.

When I think there are things in life that are just too hard to handle or just too difficult to keep up with, I always remember Hebrews 12. Words like endurance, weary, struggle, discipline jump out at me. The widow-life is never a time to give up, and the moral high-road can be challenging.  Yet we can do it in God’s strength!

But what if I have made some poor decisions due to my extreme loneliness? I haven’t stayed pure. Is it too late to start over? NO! It is never too late for a new start. God is in the forgiveness business! I John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is FAITHFUL and TRUE to His nature to FORGIVE us, CLEANSE us, and make us whole again. 

This doesn’t really pertain to me. I’m not at ALL interested in remarriage for the remainder of my life. Why is this topic important to me? Glad you asked! Titus 2 is a wonderful passage that instructs the “older” women to lead the “younger” women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure so that the Word of God can’t be criticized by outsiders. You can play a role in encouraging others to stay pure!

Let’s accept the challenge!

Lord God, we believe we are a temple in which Your Spirit lives. You have given us all we need to accept the challenge. Help us endure, even while weary, the discipline of living a life of purity. Guide us through the pitfalls our culture throws at us everyday through advertisements, TV shows, and all that comes our way. And thank You for the forgiveness we need each day. Amen


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

Elizabeth finds humor in the daily grind of six children, a large dog, a noisy cat, and all the school and church activities they can fit in. Their house is full of instruments including flutes, piccolo, piano, oboe, saxophones, clarinets, guitars, and a trumpet. 2013 began with Elizabeth losing her husband then her father, sending one child to college and another to kindergarten. Through that tearful year, the family has learned to laugh together again. She loves Psalm 1 and historical fiction, dreams of traveling by train around Europe, and has already planned her mid-life crisis (should the opportunity ever present itself).

 

 

Other articles on purity:

The Physical Loss  by Lori

Marital Bed by Erika

Dating by Kit

Other articles by Elizabeth 

 

 

Dating 101

How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord?  Forever?  How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?  How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?  Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; lighten mine eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death.  Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed again him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.  But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.  I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. 

Psalm 13 KJV

When my husband died, I spent the first three years healing and asking God for direction for my life.  About three and a half years into my journey, I felt that God was opening my heart to search for another love.   So I dipped my toe into the dating pool.  I found very quickly that the pool is filled some sharks that are hungry, and you have to be very careful.

I have had a serious relationship that lasted about fifteen months, and because I lost my way in the thick of it, it lasted about six months longer than it should have.  The end was dramatic.  I was very defeated as I walked out of that relationship.  Then, I went on a series of texts and dates that all ended with no love or even friend connection.

I keep asking God if He wants me to continue this part of the journey.  I keep asking Him to close my heart and take away the desire of sharing my earthly life with another.  The more I pray, the more my heart remains open.  So I continue to pray and be open to meet people God brings into my life.

I don’t want this search to sound like it has overtaken my life.  I continue to work full time; own a home and maintain it; parent a college-age child; attend and volunteer in a local church; write for A Widow’s Might; fellowship with friends and family; and support the care for my parents.

There is a certain vulnerability in sharing this part of my life in an article, especially one that will be circulated among Christian readers.  Dating, especially for adult women, is really a quiet activity.  But, as I sit here tonight at my computer, I feel called to share that I have not yet been successful in finding someone to share my life and my love of Christ with.  In fact, I have met a lot of people who are fraudulent in who they really are.

I share this because I want you to know that this search for another life-mate is part of my widow journey.

I am whole in who I am right now.  I am complete and God can use me in a mighty way, right now.

But, for the moment, God is tending to my heart in a way that makes it open for love and for a life companion.

This article is not going to end with a nice, tidy ribbon tied to it.  I am still searching and I am walking out of another failed “friendship” after talking and sharing meals with someone for two months.  I am seeing how God is, with the people who have crossed my path so far, sparing me from lifelong pain in that they will not be a permanent part of my future.   My heart is intact and I can still love.  I am not bitter– but open to what God’s plan is for my life.

So, I encourage you to discern God’s call for your life.

  • If it is to have an open heart to share your life with someone, do so cautiously and safely. Glorify God in your search.  Keep your standards high and don’t compromise.
  • If you feel called to remain single, do so with joy, knowing you are complete and whole and God can use you in a mighty way. 

I’ll keep you posted on my journey.  God isn’t finished with me yet – there is still more to come!

Dear Lord, Thank You for being steady and constant and unfailing.  I remain obedient to You as I walk this part of the journey and Your call to me to share this part of the journey with others in a public way.  I know You will use this for good.  I love You and I am so excited to watch You work in my life.  Amen


Sherry Look

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

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

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: Dating a Widow by Kit Hinkle

 

Teri’s Favorite

 

Over the last few months we’ve shared how we know that God is Good: even if, even when, even still.  We pray you’ve been as blessed as we have in this series. If you missed any of those posts you can catch up here: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, …5, …6, …7, …8, God is Good-9, God is Good-10, & God is Good-11

Today, we begin a new series called “Our Favorites“.  Each week we will share a post with you that touched our writing team and spoke to our hearts in a deep and meaningful way.  We hope these posts will touch your heart and God will use them mightily as you walk this journey as well.

We start today with Teri’s favorite pick…


A Time to Leap  by Ami Atkins

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.


 Please join us next week as we share more of “Our Favorites”. 

 

 

What It’s Not

But He gives more grace…

James 4:6a ESV

Are you dating anyone?

Why haven’t you dated?

How do you feel about dating?

Ah. The endless questions. And no one seems to understand…some days, least of all me…why nearly eight years later, it is still not a priority to find an answer to these questions.

For me, it’s not a simple thing to put into words. Just like this journey, it’s complicated. It is almost easier to tell what are not the reasons than what are. So here goes.

  • It’s not improperly mourning Keith…holding a torch for him that I should not hold, not willing to give my heart to anyone else, should God bring the right guy to me.
  • It’s not feeling there are no good men out there…I have seen God bring great guys to several of my widow friends.
  • It’s not a fear of losing someone else: while I cannot imagine going through this journey again, it does not scare me to the point that I would be unwilling to trust in love again.
  • It’s not worrying how my kids will accept someone else, how a blended family will work, or parenting other children if he should happen to have some…God is bigger than that.
  • It’s not that I don’t miss being married, or don’t get lonely, or don’t miss companionship…I do, just like anyone else.

What it is:

  • It’s being on the path of singleness that God has for me right now…a path I may always be on.
  • It’s concentrating on running the race that God has put before me to run, even if I run that alone—taking care of the tasks at home, school, and church that I must handle at this time.
  • It’s putting my Lord first as my Husband, regardless of the fact that He is not flesh-and-blood…and being confident in that place.
  • It’s being groomed for a future that I cannot see at this moment…trusting a Lord who can.

Maybe you are there, too, sister…tiring of explaining, working on rebuilding pieces of this torn life, trying to live the life God has now laid before you. My words for you are the same ones I tell myself in the mirror every day (and they come from Jesus Himself):

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

I must view any and all questions and struggles on this journey through the lens of His love and His Word…regardless of what well-meaning others may say or do, regardless of how I am feeling at the particular moment.

And…I must give grace…to them and to myself…whether any of us understand or not.

Father, You are the Giver of all good gifts. Thank You for the gift of my life as it is now. Help me to see You in it, even if it hurts like the dickens sometimes, even if it confusing and complicated. You love me. You love me! I rest in that knowledge. And that is enough. Thank You, Father. Amen.


 

liz325Liz Anne Wright is a homeschooling mom of four boys who enjoys meeting new people, walking, and reading. Since losing her husband in November of 2007, she has felt led to reach out to the grieving. With the help of friends, she started a local widows’ ministry to connect widows in her local area. She also renewed her childhood passion for writing and began her own blog, and a book about her widow experience. In all that she has been able to accomplish since the death of her husband, she gives full credit to her Lord and Savior. She is very thankful that, while she is very ordinary, the God she serves is extraordinary. Because of that, she is able to rebuild after her loss. She is not just surviving, but thriving! To Him be the glory!
Would you like to read more articles by Liz Anne Wright?  Click here
To read more articles like this, click here.
For booking a speaker from our ministry email us at: admin@anewseason.net

Totally Blessed but Still so Broken

Recently I’ve felt all broken, like a puzzle pulled apart right in the middle of plotting my new life portrait. I mean, when God gives us a second chance aren’t we supposed to focus our eyes in front of us, hearts overflowing with unheralded hope? But instead, I feel like I’m betraying Him with blinders on my eyes and hurt in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you know you’re blessed but still you feel broken in pieces. So instead of praising Him you’re imploring Him.

Maybe we can work through this together.  Widowhood’s puzzle comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, colors and contours. So even though my picture may look a lot different than yours, we all begin with one piece: death, loss of a large part in the puzzle we once knew.

Right now, I’m in the first year of putting pieces of the ‘remarried widow’ portrait together. I’m blessed because of my sweet second chance! The colors, contours, truths, type of love and fears of another loss create an entirely new appearance. It’s exciting, awesome and downright wonderful….really, it’s also very scary.

Someday I’ll tell the full story of how it all happened, how God was the One working against me as I resisted remarriage. He went ahead without my consent (as if He needed it!) and put it all together so beautifully that I had to welcome His blessing!

But now I’m here with all this newfound hope somehow feeling broken in the midst of my blessing.

You see, saying ‘I do’ for a second time did not put me all back together again. The loss of my first love sometimes lingers. I’ll say it straightforward: Grief doesn’t just go away, replaced by remarriage. Past puzzle pieces remain intact because God gave them purpose. And for me, they occasionally resurface although fewer and further between.

When I celebrated my first love’s birthday last week at the memorial given by his comrades, his fellow firefighters, I fell flat. The puzzle of my new life portrait came apart like a sudden pressing pause, then quick rewind to raw loss.

I was reminded this journey is much too complicated to reconcile with a walk down the aisle. Of course, in my mind I knew remnants of grief over Kevin would always remain. But it wasn’t until I couldn’t catch my breath that I realized how paradoxical it would feel. My new husband holding my heart listening intently about my lost love. He sweetly saw my struggle as I poured out my heart.

Listen, ladies. Don’t get me wrong! New love is amazing, fresh, a God-given gift if it arises on your widowhood walk. It adds depth and opportunity to fill new dreams. It’s been an awesome display of God’s love in my life! But we have to remember: it’s not all about happiness and healing….although both are byproducts of any relationship done right. (Here’s more about that on Happily Whole: It’s Not All About Being Happy)

I’d never steer you away from another man if your puzzle pieces are put together with prayer and God’s purpose. But, as widows, we have to be real. New love sometimes underlines what we’ve lost. I’m pretty sure, as God continues putting my puzzle together, I’ll always feel a little unmade.

And, you know what? That’s okay with me. Because one thing I can say I have learned without a doubt as I continue to reconcile my past and present puzzles is that God is my number ONE. He is my ONLY constant, my first Comforter and my life’s Creator! I will follow Him wherever He leads!

So, I suppose it’s also alright the way we sometimes know we’re blessed but still feel all broken, pulled apart and pieces missing. He leaves some pieces out of our puzzles so our constant, our Comforter, our Creator has space to fill us in.

No matter how broken we feel, the blessing is still always real!

If you were wondering about more of my second chapter struggles, here’s one on Happily Whole all about the blessing of blending… families and buttercream: Buttercream Blending and Messy Motherhood

Now, with you all in my heart and in my prayers, I’m headed back over to Happily Whole to continue writing a new recipe!

Live Well and Be Blessed,

Katie

I Shall Not Want

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… He restoreth my soul… Psalm 23:1, 3 KJV

I was sitting in my Easter Service this year listening to a beautiful message from my pastor.  As he was talking, he referenced Psalm 23.  Immediately, I thought of when my husband died.  Psalm 23 is the “go to” verse for funerals.  Then, my pastor continued to add that in order for us to experience an Easter Sunday, we must first go through a Good Friday.  He reminded us that all of the Bible heroes have this story, so why would we, modern believers, think that our testimony would be different.  It is the tension between our Good Friday and Easter Sunday that draws us to Christ and allows us to lean on Him for restoration and resolution.

As I sat there, I inventoried all the decisions I have made lately.  I thought about how, for the last several years, I have had the terrible tension of wanting and waiting for my Easter Sunday in the area of love relationships.  I have had relief, here and there; but for the most part, I have wanted more than I have received these last several years.

Why is that?  Scripture says if the Lord is my shepherd, “I shall not want”.  I call the Lord my shepherd and I live a life of submission to Him for the most part.  So, why do I wrestle with the tension of “want” in that area of my life?

When my husband passed away, I was so lonely for him.  As time went by, I prayed that the Lord would change my heart so it did not remember being married and then I wouldn’t miss that part of my loss so much.  For the first three years, I did okay.  As I ended my third year of mourning, I realized that my heart was open to share with another.  So, I dipped my toe into the dating pool, the shallow end.  As time passed, I met someone that seemed to be a good match.  We set about trying to build a relationship – a life – together.  After about a year and a half, I realized that this gentleman was not the one and in early December 2015 we parted ways.  I didn’t have sorrow over the loss of this relationship.  I didn’t have want for this relationship to continue.  My heart remained open to share my life with someone.

I am so tired of waiting.  I am tired of seeing the sorrow on my dear friends faces when they hear the news that I’m still single…single again.  I’m tired of the “wanting” and “waiting”.

So, as I sat in church and listened to this message, I was thankful God sent someone to remind me I am experiencing my Good Friday.  I am experiencing the tension of waiting for my Easter Sunday.

God wants this time – the time in between – as His time.  He wants to sharpen me, prune me, love me and sustain me, all for His purpose.

My pastor reminded me that God’s plan may include pain and suffering, but the pain and suffering is not without purpose.

So as I wait for my Easter Sunday, I am in scripture and in prayer and pulling as close to the Savior as I can.  The tension of the waiting is painful at times.  I am reminded God has a purpose for me and I just have to push through this waiting period and then I will be celebrating my restoration, my Easter Sunday.

Dear Lord, It is in the waiting that I call out to you and ask for relief.  It is during these times that I realize I must rely on you.  As I walk through this valley, Lord, please stay with me and join me as I celebrate on the next mountaintop my very own Easter Sunday.  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 a college freshman.  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:

Is Your Heart Broken – Tell It To Beat Again by Karen Emberlin.

Dancing Through Tears by Teri Cox

Don’t Shop Hungry

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

Have you tested the waters of dating?

When I started, I didn’t want any anxiety or fear to lead me to the wrong man. I wanted to stay grounded in God’s love so that I wouldn’t go searching for love in all the wrong places.

In fact, I didn’t want to search for love at all.  I wanted to make sure I had love. God’s love, filling my appetite for love.

In other words, I didn’t want to shop hungry.

Have you ever entered a grocery store with your stomach growling? When I do, the loot I come out with rivals that of a french patisserie–fresh croissants, blueberry turnovers, brownie mix, and strawberry bon-bons to boot! But when I’ve settled my stomach with a decent salad or a healthy chicken dinner, none of these foods tempt me.

The dating world has so much temptation to offer a woman in grief, hungry to be filled with love. Unhealthy men are more than eager to fill her temporary needs. And then what?  Could they completely repair a heart torn apart by loss?

God is all I need for the contentment and confidence in my heart.  As He spoke through His prophet in Zephaniah 3:17, He will “quiet you by his love”.  I try to remember that with every individual I get introduced to.  Many times someone will seem like a great guy, but deep down I know the Lord’s telling me, not this one. To be able to obey that voice takes a heart sobered by the grounded sense of security only in Him.  As tempting as some of the choices are out there, I don’t need to seek completeness from a man. I’m already complete before God, and my reasons to date are only out of my sincere desire for companionship, not out of a need for security.

If you are feeling anxious to find someone, consider perhaps waiting and praying. Learn how to be fulfilled first with your Heavenly Father as your husband. Only when you begin without a hole in your heart for a man can you be successful finding someone who will have a healthy relationship with you.

Here are some other tips for stepping into that dating world…

  • Godly Ear – Have someone with Godly wisdom to go to. I started with my pastor and his wife and then chose a girlfriend with strong Christian values to be available for counsel and support. (Proverbs 1:5)
  • Friendship First – A solid man will develop a relaxed friendship first. Be wary of the romantic who wants to move too quickly into something exclusive and serious. (Song of Solomon 8:4)
  • Commit to Integrity – There is no reason for a man to push for a physical relationship when getting to know a woman. If it works out, you’ll have a lifetime of thrilling moments. A committed man won’t let the waiting get to him. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  • What You See is What You Get – Watch how he behaves in early dates. For example, if you personally detest cursing, don’t think his few slips with profanity on the first date are excusable. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
  • Accountability – Give the man’s information to a friend so that someone knows where you are and with whom. (James 5:16)
  • Relax – Don’t take the process too seriously. Several individuals I’ve met were sweet, wonderful men, but not my type. Some had values or circumstances which didn’t line up with mine. As we mature in life, we get more set in our ways. Children and careers lock us into locations and obligations. Enjoy meeting each new person. When you let the Lord guide both of you, you release each other from hurt feelings and disappointments. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Lord Father,

There is a sister out there struggling with a hole in her heart and wishing for a man to fill it. Would you help her see where she should be going to fill that hole?  Please encourage her, Lord, to take a moment with You to lift the burden of her longing so that she does not shop hungry for a man.  Fill her completely so that she is confident on her own before diving in with a man.  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, 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.

Articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Other articles on this topic: Dancing Through Tears & Confidence From the Inside Out

 

 

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

 

 

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