Sudden Tears

“JESUS WEPT.”

John 11:35 (ESV)

Park benches make me sad—not burst-into-tears sad, but let me explain.

My husband and I enjoyed travel, visiting parks, and historic places where we stopped to enjoy the view on a strategically placed bench. I cherish those times. However, when I see a park bench now, and think of using it, it is all wrong. My husband should be next to me. Sitting alone, without his company and conversation—it is just wrong. I acknowledge park benches are an unusual trigger, but it reminds me afresh of what we had. I miss him.

We all have unique grief triggers and it’s no wonder.

Our husbands were part of our daily lives and remain part of our hearts. Our memories captured so many details about them; were it all to appear on a screen we’d undoubtedly be amazed. The vast reservoir of knowing and loving our husbands explains why we have triggers. Many things can strike a grief chord suddenly. A song he liked can evoke tears. A food item at the grocery store can require a dash for the door to avoid sobbing in the aisle. I’m sure you have examples too. These experiences are normal.

A grief trigger occurs when a powerful reminder arises of what made my husband so special.  Love and grief overflow from there.

I wonder how many of us apologize if we burst into tears?  It’s uncomfortable when I dissolve in sudden tears. I’m sure none of us want others to feel awkward either, but we have a good reason to cry and no apology is needed. Caring people often feel helpless when my tears erupt, but instead of apologizing, surely there is something better I could say?

One dear friend apologized for saying something that brought tears. I responded, “The tears are always there and ready to come out. Please don’t worry.”  I could also have thanked her for being a safe person with whom I could cry. There are no magic words. The gift of being a loving presence is huge.

It isn’t easy to walk beside a widow in the first adjustment period of amputation from her husband.  Not everyone can handle it. However, they may be praying, just not know what to say, or be afraid of saying the wrong thing. No one wants to cause more pain to one of us.

I am grateful it is knowing and loving my husband behind my grief triggers. I am grateful that even if no one else understands the association which triggered my grief reaction, God who was there understands. It is an opportunity to talk to Him about it and send my love heavenward.

Christ wept with Mary and Martha over Lazarus’ death but later called Lazarus forth from the grave. Christ demonstrated Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (ESV) We are here for one another for this reason, and we honor God and one another through it.

Lord, thank You for our memories and love for our husbands, even as evidenced by our grief triggers. We know as we cherish them in our hearts, You cherish each of us and bridge the divide we feel. We love You, Lord!  In Jesus Name. Amen.


Janene @ Myrtle Beach

Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends.  Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.

Who Could Imagine?

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)

I was settled comfortably in a waiting room chair when I heard sniffling and looked up.

“Oh, this is embarrassing,” the receptionist said, dabbing her eyes. “I’ve been doing this for days, and I can’t stop.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, putting down the magazine.

“No, it’s okay. But it’s weird. I’m that woman that never cries. But I can’t shake the thoughts of what just happened to a friend.” She grabbed a tissue and blew her nose. “She was going along with her life, just like I do. Then, out of nowhere, her husband just died.”

I took it in. Just the mention of that scenario and a wave of bad memories flooded in as though they were yesterday. “Heart attack?”

She nodded. “He was fifty-one! I can’t imagine what she’s going through!”

I can, I thought and then took a deep breath. “Kids?”

“Three of the sweetest you can imagine. Her thirteen-year-old plays baseball with my thirteen-year-old.” She clenched her fists, fighting more tears, and shook her head. “Just like that—her life is changed forever.”

“Yes,” I said, my eyes meeting hers. “Completely changed forever.”

She thought for a moment. “I don’t know what to say to her. I’ve always been a tough woman. Stubborn. In my zone. I only focus on my world—my husband, my kids, my job. I’ve lost touch with so many people over the years as though no one really mattered.”

We both sat quietly for a moment while we thought about what she just said.

Then she added, “but she matters.”

And here is where I break from the story to speak to each of you sisters on this widow journey.  I’m amazed at God’s goodness to bring my meeting with the receptionist in the waiting room together.  It wasn’t an accident—her being struck with sadness about seeing the exact same tragedy I had once experienced and me hearing her gut-wrenching story that was exactly like my loss.

Isn’t God’s purpose so clear in these moments?  Paul talks about this when he writes to the Corinthians.  He tells them that when God comforts us in our struggles, we are then able to turn around and comfort others. My conversation with this receptionist happened almost ten years since losing Tom—long enough for me to have so much of God’s healing and joy restored in my life, and long enough for me to be prepared to send that healing and restoration through this woman to help the new widow in her life.

All these thoughts ran through my head as I listened to her describe the impact of her friend’s loss on her heart.

“I’m just a baseball mom acquaintance,” she said. “She never really mattered to me before, but now she matters, and I’m thinking about people I’ve neglected and ignored over the years. I’m not close to anyone but my family.”

I nodded. “People matter. The older we get, the more important it is to recognize it before it’s too late.”

“I don’t know what to do for her. I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”

Silence for a moment. Should I tell her I’m a widow? Yes, I should. God brought this moment for a reason.

“I can imagine what she’s going through,” I finally said. “I lived it. I was her.”

She looked puzzled.

“I was her age with four little boys when my husband died with no warning whatsoever. I was exactly where she is right now.”

She stared in my eyes, seeming to try to connect her friend’s situation to me. “I would have never guessed. You seem happy.”

“I am. It hasn’t been easy, but my life is good.”

“I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”

“Parts of being a widow stinks, but she will need a friend who can show her she’s more than a widow. She’s going to need a good friend.”

And as she began to ask how to be a good friend, I found myself making a new friend.

That was something I couldn’t imagine. Who could imagine His infinite wisdom and power—how the Almighty Counselor knew that only someone who had walked in my shoes could counsel this woman.

Lord thank you for bringing me comfort so that I can be used to comfort others.

 


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.

If you are looking for more to read about comforting others, consider these posts from our team:

Inviting Others into Your Healing Journey

When the Shoe is on the Other Foot

The Other Side of Sob

 

 

Golly Gee!

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

Golly gee, can people just remember to say one standard line to a widow like, “This is hard. I’m here if you need me.”

And can we widows try to remember how hard it is to say the right thing? Maybe even coach people on what to say to a grieving widow.

With ten years since my loss, I look back with a lighter heart at the ways people fumbled, bumbled and stumbled over just what to say to a widow.

Here is my “Golly Gee, they didn’t just say that!” list of the botched approaches:

Good grief approach –
“You poor thing. Bless your heart! Let me take care of you!”

I’m not a poor thing. Give me some credit for not going over the cliff right now.

OMG approach –
“Oh my gosh! That’s so awful! I couldn’t handle that! You must be so strong!”

I gulped and thought, Guess what, sister, we don’t get a choice on what we have to handle, so excuse me for not accepting that compliment. How about God chooses you to be strong instead of me?

Lucky dog approach –
“Wow you’re so lucky. I’d far rather have the insurance payout than my husband sticking around.”

No kidding, this happened! I found myself quietly shunning the woman. I now regret that. She could have used a friend to help her see the good in her married life. She finally left her husband and has regretted her lonely walk ever since.

Lazy husband approach –
“I know exactly how you feel. My husband doesn’t lift a finger at home.”

I reacted, “at least you get to wake up next to the lazy jerk every morning!” Needless to say, the blunt retort didn’t do much to encourage this woman.

You’re young approach –
“don’t worry, you’re young. You’ll find somebody.”

I said nothing and fumed over the comment until I realized she only wanted to encourage and meant absolutely nothing ill by it, just needed a little coaching on what to say.

Get on with it approach –
“Get to work. Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself.”

I felt guilty for spinning my wheels in that first year and recalled the conversation every time we bumped into each other. What a mistake! She didn’t even remember it because what she really meant was she felt compassion for me.

Evading approach –
“ “

The person simply stays away. My reaction ranged from not registering their disappearance to being deeply hurt. I now know I wasted too much emotion here. Many AWOL friends either didn’t want to crowd me or had their own emotional issues about death.

Endlessly dedicated approach—
“There’s got to be something I can do. Anything. Just give me a task, now. You don’t have anything? Well, let me follow you around until I figure out a task.”

My reaction to this type of friend was to begin accommodating her need to help. It was sweet at first but soon became a burden for me as I ran out of things to give her and found her “help” to be an albatross around my neck.

Reacting offensively to an offense does nothing to repair the damage. And if you can learn to see the person through the eyes of Christ, you can have grace and respond to them gently as in Proverbs 15:1.

I now try to understand the heart behind the person’s comment and thank people for trying to help. If I’m ever in that place again, I’ll just let people know that it’s okay to just sit quietly with me or say a simple “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Because the truth is, we all can use grace with one another.

Golly gee, Lord,
I’ve learned something here—I will never judge another for trying to say the right thing because God knows I’ve missed the mark many times! I only pray that my lesson can be learned from someone going through these very conversations today. 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:

Perhaps

Yes! I  Still Cry

Dating a Widow

It’s Okay To Be Real!

“It’s okay to be real!”

I repeated that phrase multiple times after my husband died — to my children, to myself, and later to other widows.

There is no “right” way to grieve.

We all process differently. Some people are private. Some spill every thought and emotion for all to see.

I was a new widow with five children, all trying to process our loss. It would have been great to think that together we would follow a set path of grief from one stage to the next. That is not how it worked.

I have a couple of children who analyzed each thought as we talked. Others would dump a load of thoughts at one time but did not expect to discuss them. Some wanted to rush through grief by listening to every sad song they could get their hands on. Others did not want to hear anything sad and fell apart listening to music in general.

WHEW!

I wondered how I would cope and work through my own grief while helping my children who approached it differently. Then I remembered airplane protocol during an emergency landing — I needed to take care of me FIRST, in order to help them.

Grief rolls like a rollercoaster!

Grief can be ugly. At its most raw, it can make other people feel helpless and uncomfortable. Covering up our feelings in order to please others or keep them from concern does not help anyone.

That is why I told my children, “It’s okay to be real!”.

Pretending grief is not there because you don’t want to go through the pain is not an option either. Eventually each stage hits you, ready or not. Repeatedly directing yourself back to God’s Word for your response to grief makes it easier to navigate in times of need.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:15-16 (ESV)

We each had needy days when grief felt like the gravitational pull of the earth magnified solely on us, paralyzing even normal movement. For me those days were few. When they came around I was very intentional to allow my mind and body to have much needed rest. I was watchful of my children and when I saw they were having one of those days I directed their activities to stop for necessary down time.

Other days we felt more capable of navigating life, though grief was still present. On those days we resumed normal activities. We attempted to move forward the way my husband would have encouraged us to do.

The best days included laughter again over things large and small. The blessing of uncontrollable laughter that returned was the best because we all loved to laugh.

In hindsight, our differences were a blessing from God.

One or more would encourage any who were having a bad day. After the initial shock of our loss, I don’t remember many times when everyone struggled simultaneously. Even on dreaded “first” celebration days it was amazing how we helped each other. We learned flexibility and to read each other’s distress signals well.

There is nothing abnormal about grieving openly, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for some people to observe. Jesus Christ set our example at the death of his friend, Lazarus:

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 (ESV)

Friends told us it helped them to see how our family grieved together because we made it easy for others to grieve with us. One dear friend told me she was determined to interact differently with her own children after watching me grieve openly with mine because she had never let her children see her cry about anything. Learning to grieve with others is a blessing.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (ESV)

It’s okay to be real!

 

Lord, please help us to allow other people to share in both our joy and in our grief. We do not know what added blessing may come from our willingness to be real in our relationships. Make us aware of the needs of those around us who might not realize that they can be real with us, too. Please help them to know that we care. Amen.


 

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

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

Articles with a similar theme:  All Eyes are NOT on You   Get Over It 

When the Shoe is On the Other Foot

My cell phone rang one afternoon. I glanced at the caller ID and saw it was one of my “widow sisters”.

Our “small talk” was cut short when she jumped right into the reason for her calling. She felt awful because of a friendship that has been wounded.

Remember all the times you have struggled with losing friendships after the loss of your husband?

“Why would she avoid me like this?”

“What did I do to make them not want to include me anymore?”

“She never even called me after my greatest loss!”

We have written several articles about these situations because the loss of friendships after the loss of our husbands is like a double-whammy. We needed these friends, and they weren’t there for us.

My friend was in tears because she realized she was ONE of those friends this time. A high- profile death occurred in her city, and she wasn’t in the closest circle of friends. The husband passed away suddenly, and my friend was advised to “lay low” for a while, but was in constant prayer for the family. The families had such an interesting relationship over about twenty years. Picture frames held glimpses of outrageously fun trips with her children. Always her prayer list included members of this family.

Now, many months after the man’s death, an email showed up in my friend’s mail.

“Where have you been?”

“Of all people, you should have been here.”

Like a knife, it stuck in her heart.

The shoe was on HER foot this time. She was ONE of those friends. My friend is so thoughtful and a true prayer-warrior. She never would be like this. But she listened to advice that now had come back to hurt them both. She remembered those friends who stepped out of the picture when her own husband died as a young father. She remembered the empty feeling of not having a close connection during the most painful time as a young solo parent. And now the pain of knowing she had done the same thing unintentionally was devastating.

As I listened, one word came to my mind.

Grace.

But he said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for YOU, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Sometimes we have to give ourselves grace, not to mention others.

Sometimes we have to embrace our failures so Christ is able to shine through. Just like the pieces of a stained glass window are most beautiful when the sun shines through, we are most beautiful when we let Christ show through our weaknesses. The people who see this will know for sure it is God and not our own strength.

My advice to my beautiful friend was to do what she had already been led by God to do: contact her immediately and apologize. She needed to let this friend know she had never ceased praying for her and her family. Not sure of the new widow’s spiritual standing, my friend never intended to be a stumbling block to her faith journey.

Guilt over mistakes and weaknesses is not from God.

But allowing Christ to shine through our cracks and broken pieces is often when others see Him the brightest.

Have you been unintentionally aloof to another new widow, just waiting for the “right time” to say something but never seeing a chance? Have you not reached out to another friend when you should have? We all are guilty of things in friendships that hurt others. But I find it so easy to point out the people in my life who have not been the friend I needed. This call from my friend was a reminder to me to evaluate MY part in friendships.

Lord Jesus, thank You for opportunities to share the comfort You have given us through our deepest valley and darkest days. Give us chances each day to shine Your light so others can see it in our weaknesses. Friends are a gift so help us appreciate the friends we have while looking for ways we can be a better friend to others. 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. 

Here’s a great article about friendships from Erika.

Another great article from Kit.

 

Pick Up Your Mat

Then Jesus said…, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

John 5:8 (NIV)

And just like that—one of my closest friends stepped out of my life.

I thought I would be the only widow to say that until I heard it from about a zillion other widows—many here on our pages.

The break happened years ago, and I can happily say she and I have reconciled and forgiven each other. Who knows if we’ll ever restore the trust we had before, but at least we’re able to laugh and share memories.

But those feelings of betrayal and abandonment–goodness, they hit me like a second grief.  I stopped everything and cried my eyes out while she went on with her happy life, surrounded by her entourage of friends I no longer had time to hang with.  While she held her girls-night-outings without me, I was busy raising my boys by myself. At the time I didn’t know why it bothered me—it wasn’t like I had time to socialize anyway.

On the other hand, I now know why it bothered me–old scars from high school.  I was one of those independent types who wondered why I seemed to avoid the deemed “in-crowd” while my sister pranced about in her cheerleading outfit–near the center of attention from that same crowd. I would have been fine with my own nature, academics, if it weren’t for subtle comparisons made between us by well-meaning folks. It takes time and maturity to see standing apart from the crowd as a good thing. Seeing it now doesn’t erase the memory of that feeling I had as a girl wondering why I simply didn’t run with the popular crowd like my sister did.

That feeling got triggered many times during those early days as a single mom. Without a social life and without a husband to boost my confidence, I would sit and mutter over my queen-bee friend’s abandonment.  How dare she?  Why do I care? Why can’t I be the queen-bee? Why does being the lonely widow feel like the one who chose not to hang with the cheerleaders?

When you’ve been kicked in the shins and you’re down and lonely, you start to think and reflect.  Sometimes Satan has a heyday with that thinking and you come up with some ridiculous notion that you’ll always be stuck with whatever hardship life threw at you as a child.

I was taking those feelings of the academic kid not hanging with the popular crowd and applying it to the single mom not running about with my queen-bee’s friends crowd.

This is called victim mentality, and the enemy loves digging this knife in you.  You’ll twist about, taking that pattern of whatever seems to have happened yet again and applying it to every example in your life you can think about.

Unless you pick up your mat and walk.

When Jesus heeled a paralyzed man, he didn’t dwell on why he was paralyzed.  He didn’t have the man lay on the mat for a while and reflect on how much it hurt.  He commanded the man to pick up the mat and walk.

And that’s exactly how I was able to forgive and redeem at least a light friendship with my queen-bee friend. I stopped laying on my “mat” of abandonment and sorrow. My friend did something unkind, but I didn’t need to be unkind back. I could even forgive.  And I could get up and start anew.  Once I freed myself from any bitterness, I could even relax and enjoy her.  I choose not to engage too much with her because I’ve learned where her limits are. And besides, since then I’ve made many new friends who are far more faithful and trustworthy.

Be healed. Walk healed. Christ calls us to be redeemed.  To be born again. To begin anew.

Staring at your mat only holds you back.

Abba Father,

All it takes is a word from You, and the widow reading this can be healed.  Point her forward, not backwards.  Show her what You have in store for her, and give her the healing and strength to pick up her mat and walk.  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:

Into the Great Unknown   Finding Your Pearl   Blended and Bonded

We Are Not Alone

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

                                                                                         Revelation 3:20 NIV

 

We. Are. Not. Alone. can be words that elicit terror or jubilation. Which is it for you?

God has created us in His image, which means we were created to be in community just like Him: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we accept Him as Lord of our lives, we are given a seat at the table. It is a choice we can make that means we never have to dine alone again.

I hate eating alone. There’s no one to share the highs and lows of the day. No one to listen to, no one to laugh with. It doesn’t seem worth cooking a good meal just for me. My most common dinner companion is the television. Eating has become a task stripped of the beauty of companionship and community with others. I was not made to dine alone.

As widows, we can find ourselves feeling very cut off from others. Activities we once enjoyed becoming painful tasks, a mockery of the beautiful companionship that once was.

But we are not alone.

My heart is still so full from our conference a few weeks ago. Something so beautiful happens when we gather. I feel like God’s presence is magnified ten-fold when we are with others who are walking so closely with Him. An incredible joy bubbles up with seeing His faithfulness being demonstrated in each of the ladies’ lives. Every time we gather, I experience God’s love and provision in an intense way.

I am reminded of the difference between sharing a feast with others instead of dining on scraps alone.

It wasn’t easy for the women who came– choosing to go to the conference, working out many logistics including transportation, arranging childcare, etc. But for most, the biggest hurdle was overcoming the fear– “Do I have the emotional strength and energy to connect with new people?” They stepped out in faith, and God blessed them with everything they needed, plus so much more.

God’s word is clear from beginning to the end. We are not created to be alone. The world we live in sends the message the only way to fill the void in our lives is with a man. Having a spouse to share our lives with is just one of the ways God created for us to be with others. He created within us an intense need for being in community so that first and foremost, we would seek to satisfy our need with a relationship with Him. Nothing can or will ever fill the void, except being with Him. And as an extension of our relationship with Him, we are created to be in community with His church, the body of Christ.

Our call to action: 

So let us pray for one another to overcome our fears and the obstacles depriving us from gathering at the table. Let us pray for one another to first and foremost, fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May our fears, our anger, and our sadness decrease as we are continually filled with His love. May each of us let His love flow through us to build up and encourage others. Let us say “I hear you knocking at the door, Lord. Please come in and I will dine with you and you will dine with me!”

We are not alone.


 

SherylPeppletb

Sheryl Pepple is an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her yellow lab, Super Duper Cooper, and spends time with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandson. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.

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

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?  Hello, my name is

Want to read another article about how to deal with loneliness?  Loneliness, Get Out!

My Tribe

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”  C.S. Lewis

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

I’ve heard it countless times as a widow from some wonderful and well meaning people.  Early on, it was my married friends or some other person who thought they were helping.  One time a pastor even said it to me, when I mentioned how tough it was to not be part of a couple or have the friendships I had anymore.

“God is your husband now. He is all you need.”

With every ounce of my being I know each person meant well and was trying to comfort me, even if there was no deeper true understanding of what I was going through.

Frankly though, they were wrong.

In the garden of Eden God was with Adam.  Scripture says He was present, and He walked and talked with Adam.  Yet, in Genesis God says “it’s not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)  So He created a help mate, a partner!

From that union forward we see many rich and beautiful relationships and marriages throughout God’s Word. To name just a few: Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Rachel, Isaac and Rebeckah, and even Mary and Joseph.

We also see the need for a friend too, a go to person; Jesus had Peter, David had Jonathan, Naomi had Ruth, Abraham had Lot, Job had his close friends.

Please understand me.  I believe God is good.  He is Sovereign.  I love Him and He loves me.  He’s certainly provided, protected and loved me throughout. He’s set me apart as a widow. He has been there for me.  He has become my husband in some tangible ways and no human will ever come before Him in my life again.

But I still need more!  I need people. A tribe! Real live huggable, lovable people.  And to be told otherwise goes against God’s word.

I need people who’ll show empathy and give me the freedom and encouragement needed to walk this path, even if they don’t get this at a deeper level because they haven’t experienced it.  I need those who’ll spend time with me.  Who’ll let me pour into them, and they into me.  I need confidants and supporters. I need to be needed too.

We all need a group or tribe of people in our life.

Of course my “before” tribe looked very different than my “now” tribe, and I may lack the intimacy of marriage; but God Himself and my tribe have perfectly filled some of the more important voids.

My tribe consists of married, widowed, single, and divorced. My tribe blesses me every day.  And I pray I bless them every day too.

Sisters, don’t settle.  Don’t be fed the lies that we don’t need more because God is our husband now.

God will fill you up.  He will heal you and move you forward.  No one can be Him.  But He shows us from Genesis on, we need a tribe!

Maybe it’s a tribe of one or two.  Or it’s a tribe of ten or more.  It doesn’t matter.

Just find your tribe!  And let God bless you richly through them.  Let Him use you too, to comfort and love them from the deeper places this journey has given you.

I encourage you to seek a tribe who can stand together with you united in faith, love, and friendship.

Father God, I thank You for my friendships and the way You use each of them in my life.  I thank You that You’ve called me to be the kind of friend I seek in others.  I thank You for Your constant presence in my life, and for being my husband.  Yet, giving me so much more than I ever deserve in the tribe You’ve gifted to me.  May I never forget how much You have loved me and provided for me in the absence of my earthly husband.  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 Erika 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: Falling into Friendship God’s Way and What is Friendship?

Sisterhood

These words were shared by our precious sister, Karen Emberlin, who journeyed to heaven this fall. 

One of our favorite things about our Care Bear, was spending time with her at our conferences.  Her kind-hearted grace and sweet spirit were such a blessing to each of us.  She was there to serve all of us and to glorify God, wanting no attention for herself. 

She wrote these words over a year ago, right before our Dallas 2015 conference.  She found AWM when she was deep in grief and unsure she had any reason to continue on.  But, God did have plans.  She joined us in the spring of 2013 and her writings resonated every time she shared her journey and the things God was teaching her. 

We love and miss her each and every day.  We pray her words about our conferences bless you as much as they continue to bless us. 


Are you looking for “true friends”, a sisterhood, who will understand this unwanted journey you are on?  Someone who understands and can share your tears and grief, but can also have fun and laugh with you?

When I began my journey of widowhood, it was difficult to find someone who really understood what I was going through.  Friends and family were kind and tried to help, but sometimes I felt like they just “didn’t get it”.   How could they know – they had never been on this journey of widowhood!

Early in my journey I found this ministry and it became my “life line”!  The articles I read described exactly the feelings and situations I was facing – these ladies really did “get it”!  Their words of encouragement gave me the glimmer of hope I needed to know that God’s love was still there for me – always!

Then, I became a team member and had the privilege of participating in each of our conferences.  What a joy to be able to meet face to face with other sisters and share our stories, our hurts, our tears, new accomplishments and also the joy we have in Jesus.  It was like we had known each other all of our lives – friendships were made that will last a lifetime!

~ Karen


Testimonials from those who have attended previous conferences:

Melanie – For the first time in this widowhood journey I finally felt like I was in a place where others truly understood my pain, my being where I am in my grief was ok, there was no judgment or wanting me to move forward or past Greg’s death. It’s like I felt an immediate bond/connection with all of you and it felt safe.  It’s so nice to have people who just “get it”!

Donna –  I finally found a group of people who knew what I had been going thru since I’d entered the new life of grief, it’s like being in a whole different world and not being able to communicate because they don’t understand your language, And also have a group who at least some of you can’t sleep so we can comfort each other thru long nights!

Lisa –  This widow’s conference was such a wonderful shared experience among all of us ladies. Thx leaders for following THROUGH with God’s leading. The beautiful sky over the water was just one of our shared benefits. ALL praise to Almighty God.

Terri- Attending the aNew Season conference in Myrtle Beach was one of the best things I did for myself as a widow. It blessed me so much that I couldn’t wait to sign up for the conference in Dallas and took a widow friend with me! There is a precious bond between all the women attending these conferences that you will not find anywhere else…a “knowing” each other’s hearts in a way that others cannot share. Go! You will not regret it!


10 Important Facts about our Denton Conference in April.

1. Location is at Camp Copass in Denton Texas, just a short distance from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

2. Dates are: April 25-27, 2016

3. Conference sessions begin Monday early afternoon and close on Wednesday around noon.

4. It’s an all-inclusive place so food, lodging, and all conference fees are included.

5. Transportation to and from the airport is your responsibility. There are shuttles and taxis that are available.

6. You can walk to everything, so you will have no need for a car.

7. You can choose to room alone.  Single occupancy is $499. Or you can choose to room with someone.  Double occupancy is $399.

8.  Early bird registration only lasts until the end of March. Space is limited!

9. Camp Copass is a Christian retreat facility with hotel-like accommodations and is located on the serene and beautiful shoreline of Lake Lewisville.

10.You will be connected to a private facebook page for conference participants only.  That page will remain open once the conference concludes and that community will become your dear friends and confidants.


 

You can find out more information about the conference and register here: Register for our first conference of 2016

 

If you have any additional questions, please email us at: admin@anewseason.net

 

 

Solo Mom

“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

I had lunch with a friend awhile back. She told me she was in awe of me.  Not because I’m really awesome, which I usually am until I get out of bed in the morning. But, because I parent three kids all on my own.  Let me just share she’s a new mom, so she’s in that phase of being totally sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I call it “first baby syndrome”!  So to see me do it with three kids, right now to her I look pretty awesome.

Although she’s never there in the morning when we have exactly two minutes before we need to leave for school.  There’s a whole level of crazy she doesn’t see!

The life my kids and I lead is an intimate dance usually meant just for us.

Yet, from the outside in the glimpses she and others might get, we look pretty “good”.  After lunch I sat considering our conversation and her impressions of me, realizing that I am being watched by many; as a woman, as a widow, as a Christian, and particularly as a mom. That fact was heavy!

Because-

I fail every day.  I mess up and make mistakes.  I yell.  I lose my patience.  I say things I shouldn’t. I wonder sometimes if my kids’ poor behavior or attitudes are totally due to my lack luster parenting.

As a solo mom, I have made many bad decisions. And just the other day my teenage daughter reminded me in a “most helpful” way, I don’t follow through with my threats sometimes.

I’m pretty mediocre at best.

I am certainly no one to be watched.

Honestly, solo parenting is the single hardest thing I’ve ever done!

I never have a day off. Every decision is on me. Every time I need to discipline it’s just me.  I can’t “tag” out and pass them off to anyone.  Ever.

I have a village of people who help me.  And I’m blessed by that group in so many ways.  But, the bottom line is, I’m it!  I don’t get any days off.  I can’t call on my hubby to deal with a behavior issue for me.  I can’t talk out the decisions or issues I have with each of them with the guy who got them as well as I do.  When there’s an issue.  It’s just me!

And that’s just the character molding…

There’s also the schedule managing, homework completing, lunch making, clothing washing, appointment managing, taxiing, sport watching, feeding, project completing, and meet every other need I do daily.

So what’s my secret?  What’s the big epiphany to this calling as a widow?  Why does my friend admire me?  Well.  You ready?

I’m a terrible sinful person.  My kids are terrible sinful people. It’s really not us.  It’s all by the blood of Christ.

It’s the Him in us that others see.

We aren’t perfect, yet HE is.

We keep it real.  We are authentic.  We show people it’s okay to be a messy unorthodox family.  It’s okay to have grief as a family member.  It’s okay to not be totally okay.  And yes, I am even showing others, solo parenting is possible by God’s amazing grace, provision, and mercy.

I need daily love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.  And I receive that and so much more when I approach His throne and lay it all before Him.

For me, I know for certain, right now there’s no greater time than this, and no greater need than the needs of a widow trying to solo parent her kids.

Father, thank You for the grace You give me as a solo mom.  Thank You that You’re the constant I can rely on when I especially fail as a solo mom.  Your mercy and grace covers me every day, and for that I am so grateful. Lord, I lift up other solo moms to You now.  Come alongside them.  And be all they need right now.  Convict them to go before Your throne and find Your grace and mercy to be exactly what they need. 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 Erika or any of our writing team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

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