A New Word for a New Year

Galatians 3:11 (The Message)

The person who lives in

right relationship with God

does it by EMBRACING

what God arranges for him.

My mouth fell open. I sat in shock as the speaker seemed to look directly at me. How could she have known what God had been doing in my life for the past six months? It appeared she could see directly into my heart as she spoke.

But the verse she used almost made me stand up and shout, “Thank You, Jesus!” She had us turn to this verse in Galatians, and when she read it from The Message, it gave me chills.

You see, in 2016, I found a word, just one seven-letter word, that was to be my “word for the year”.

Embrace.

When I saw this verse had MY word in it, I knew I needed to take careful note.

God had shown me the word EMBRACE often over the past six months before I ever thought to see if there were any verses about it. I should have known that if God was going to lead me to a “word”, He would include His Word with it!

So what did I have to EMBRACE in 2016?

  • my widowhood – it is what God has arranged for me, and it is my story to bring Him glory.

  • my family – having children was arranged by God, so I embrace parenting with God as the father to the fatherless.

  • my past marriage – its difficulties  have allowed me to minister to others in similar circumstances. Its greatness has allowed me wonderful memories.

  • moving –  selling the home full of memories of my husband and purchasing a smaller home ready for new memories was a roller coaster of emotions.

As I develop my relationship with God by spending time with Him in His Word, I will EMBRACE what He arranged for me. I like to use my One Year Bible since it is a version I don’t use often. I see familiar passages in an entirely new light.

Recently I asked God if EMBRACE  was to continue as my word for 2017. Driving around with my son one day, our discussion turned to a relationship I was struggling with. What came to mind was how I should handle rejection by praying for the person. That’s when a new word for the new year hit me –

RELEASE! 

My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will RELEASE my feet from the snare. 

Psalm 25:15 NIV

What do I need to RELEASE for 2017?

  • people – certain folk I am releasing to God (some on social media and some in real life).

  • situations – those I can’t control (like the Serenity Prayer says) need to be released to God’s control.

  • expectations – of myself and of others are being released.

All of these are snares for me personally. And keeping my eyes “ever on the Lord” is the best way to release these people or feelings to His control.

Happy 2017, sisters. Let’s make this a year of EMBRACING what God has arranged for us and of RELEASING what God doesn’t have for us.

Heavenly Father, as we start a new year, help us embrace all You have arranged. Energize our time spent building our relationship with You this coming year. We are grateful for Your love and care in our lives. We release what we cannot control to Your control. Amen

 


 

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. 

Would you like to read some articles for the start of a new year? Click here and here.

 

Recipe for Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

 

Are you tired?

Are you worn out?

Does your grief exhaust you?

Is “burn out” looming ahead of you?

Do the holidays bring anxiety?

Rest. That seems to be what I want most right now in my life. This widow-life makes me weary. Every once in a while I will text a widow sister and say, “It was fun while it lasted (not really, and she knows it). Now can I have my life back?” I am just flat-out tired. Doing all I do as the only parent is exhausting.

Let’s look carefully at these words of Jesus as they pertain to us specifically.

  • Come to Me: Have you avoided spending time in God’s Word because you are angry with God?  Avoidance of Scripture doesn’t help your weary soul. Ask me, I know… Jesus opens His arms, saying, “Come back to Me, sweet daughter.”
  • Weary and burdened: Grief wears a person out. We understand weary. Add the burdens of life, and we have the perfect recipe for exhaustion. Burdens of caring for aging parents. Burdens of our own health or the health of our children. Burdens of relationships. We have burdens, right?
  • Take My yoke upon you: We need to remove the yokes we are currently wearing. The yokes I pile on are “image”, “sin”, “expectations”, “busyness”. What are yours? I imagine myself with all these yokes on my shoulders while Jesus stands there with a yoke made for me, fitting perfectly. I am weighed down under the yokes I have placed on my back. They don’t fit my shoulders, they rub sores, and they don’t provide any kind of relief for my weary soul. I can choose to keep piling on the yokes of my own making or receive the one made by my Creator for me specifically. That probably includes giving up control–such a challenge for me. What yokes are you wearing that are not from God?
  • Learn from Me:  I need to study His life. He is “gentle and humble”. Probably the two words we need most as a widow, when you think about it. Gentle with those thoughtless comments and lost relationships. Gentle with those who don’t understand grief and loss. Humble when needing help, and we do need help more than ever before.  Where do I need to use gentleness and humility so I can be more like Christ?
  • My yoke is easy and My burden is light: Yokes are heavy by their very nature, so how can Jesus say His is “easy” and “light”? I believe it goes back to taking His yoke on our shoulders. Perhaps it isn’t as heavy as it looks. The yokes I am wearing most days are not easy or light. They are heavy and wearisome. I want to shed these heavy ones and wear the easy, light one He has for me.
  • “And you will have rest for your souls.” Isn’t that what we all want anyway? What we are longing for? Especially during the holiday season.

Let’s follow the recipe He gave us and find the rest He offers. It isn’t merely jumping on a wagon of  “positive thinking” or just faking it. He PROMISES to give rest in exchange for taking His yoke upon our shoulders. Let’s shed the yokes we put on ourselves and take His.

Lord, You are our Creator. You promise rest if we follow Your guidelines. Help me stop looking everywhere else for rest. I want to be still and turn to You for rest. I hand over the cumbersome yokes I have been wearing for far too long. I need the rest You offer. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars!  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.”

 

 

Looking for another article on peace? Click here for an article titled Applying Peace by Lori Streller.

Looking for articles on dealing with the holidays? Click here 

 

Tie Me To the Mast!

Anchors and storms are a frequent theme with me. It started with the verse I put on my husband’s grave stone before anchors were a decorating thing! I included Hebrews 6:19 (We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. NIV) because it was one he loved and because I needed the hope at a time when I felt most hopeless.

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Photo by Sheryl Pepple’s late husband Dave on their sailing expeditions

We see anchors everywhere now. One funny thing we saw recently was a picture for the wall that had an anchor with the words “refuse to sink”. Okay, just let those words sink in a moment (pun intended…) Refuse to sink? What exactly is the job of an anchor? I have never been sailing like our lovely Sheryl Pepple, but I do believe that the very nature of an anchor is to SINK!! That is its job. Wouldn’t it be like a balloon with the words, “refuse to float”?

So in my quest to always find interesting things about storms and anchors, I heard a phrase I had never heard before. “Tie me to the mast” is a phrase used by Homer in the Odyssey when the captain of the ship wanted to prevent himself from being tempted by the sirens and crashing the ship on the rocks.

But the phrase is also used another way. In really severe storms, the sailors would tie themselves to the mast for safety. The mast was the strongest point so this would prevent them from being tossed overboard.

I have certainly faced some strong storms in the last few years. I believe any ONE of which could have tossed me into the abyss. You have had yours too. Was it marriage trouble? an eating disorder?  bankruptcy? cancer? eviction? a car wreck? addiction? On top of widowhood?

When these storms hit us, and they will, we have to have the ropes ready to strap ourselves to the mast of Truth – the Truth of God’s Word, the foundation of salvation found in Christ, and the forgiveness found at the Cross. We cannot be tossed around by the emotions we will have. Oh, I hear my emotions calling out to me, telling me that my feelings mean more than truth and that my feelings can be trusted this time. But they cannot ever be trusted to guide us in a storm. Feelings were not made for storms! Feelings are like the evil mermaids calling to us from the shore, willing us to untie the ropes from our safety at the mast and jump to our death in the water.

Tie me to the mast, sister. Hold me accountable to the Truth of Scripture. Call me out when I use the compass of my feelings instead of God as my True North.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 KJV

Father God, guide me in life today. Show me the truth of Scripture and give me the desire to search its depths for pearls of wisdom. Protect me from my own emotions that try desperately to control me when Your Truth needs to be my guiding compass. Bring others into my life to hold me accountable to the Truth. Amen


 

12615501_10207224865214213_1344952754011757354_oElizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that 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. 

Want to read more about anchors? My Anchor by our past team member Jill

Want to read more about Truth? Guide Me in Your Truth by Sheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Revisited

Recently I had a conversation with a close friend about my finances. We were discussing how I am TRYING to show my family how we are TRYING to live within our means. What do we do when my son is on the track team and needs a new pair of good running shoes? Or when the high school adds a policy of charging for being a part of the marching band? When there is still part of the month left at the end of our money? Do my children see me running to God for direction, running to use the credit cards, or calling a friend to ask for financial help?

This is a widow’s website; so naturally, we have written about Ruth. She lost her young love and found another love in Boaz. Eventually, down her line of offspring King David came and then, Jesus the Messiah. It is a great story, but I sometimes forget about her life BEFORE Boaz. I can get caught up in the romance and intrigue of finding new love and forget some of the details of her early life as a widow. And that’s when I noticed a verse for the first time.

Ruth 2:12 ESV… the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!

People noticed that Ruth had found her security and worth under the wings of the Lord of Hosts, God Almighty. This pagan widow, caring for her bitter mother-in-law, living off the good graces of the crop owners nearby, had found the true God of Israel to be her strength.

Can others see that in me?

For the first time, this verse in Ruth jumped out at me. Especially in light of my conversation about my finances. What does it mean to “take refuge” under God’s wings? Was Ruth from a wealthy family? Was begging in the fields totally new to her? Did she have to change what she was wearing-from lovely rich cloth to rough dirty cloth? Naomi may have had wealthy family members, and maybe she wasn’t much help in instructing her daughter-in-law in the skills of clearing a field.  What a testimony to God’s love, it could have been to the pagan Ruth, to have Naomi’s family members take them in and love on them. What if they had been feeding and caring for them, in the name of Jehovah? But that wasn’t God’s plan. Did Ruth discuss with Naomi any other way to provide for them? Did they ever think they were “above” this kind of work?

“Taking refuge” includes humility. We definitely see that in the way Ruth handled it all.

Ruth never demanded kindness from the Israelites. Never. She gleaned the fields “in hope” that someone would show her kindness. Their kindness was not a “debt” she felt entitled to. She humbly offered her service to Naomi.

Ruth was industrious – we have no record of her offering to go to the relatives for hand-outs. She got busy in the fields. “Taking refuge” also includes getting after the work God provides at the time, not concerned about the work that might come somewhere in the future, while sitting around doing nothing.

Ruth didn’t ask Naomi to help glean. These were Naomi’s people.Perhaps she should have been the one gleaning, but Ruth knew respect and, in respect, she “took refuge” by being respectful of the people in her life.

Ruth ventured out into the unknown, while God directed her steps. Sometimes “taking refuge” means taking a new direction.

So today I ask myself – is it evident to those around me that I have taken refuge under the shelter of God?

Is it evident to all around me that I take refuge NOT in myself, NOT in some trust fund, NOT in a new spouse, NOT in pride, NOT in my perfect budget?

My shelter is in God alone:

  • Humbly doing what God has put before me
  • Never demanding kindness from others
  • Being industrious and busy with the work He provides
  • Being respectful
  • Taking a new direction perhaps

Lord Jesus, Almighty God, thank You for being my shelter. Help me accept the kindness of others without expecting kindness or feeling entitled to anyone’s generosity. I declare today that I take refuge in You alone. I pray that others can see this in my life. Amen


 

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Elizabeth is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might. She lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that 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.”

 

If you are interested in having our team speak at your next event, contact us at admin@anewseason.net

Would you like to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here!

Want to read more on Ruth? I am Mara by Sherry  & The Widow Ruth by Kit

 

I will.

The city is under siege, the enemy coming, and destruction is imminent. It has been foretold, and it is happening. The people have gone astray, wandering far from the God who brought them into the land. Wrath is impending. And you deserve it.

Jeremiah I want you to go buy a field. Your cousin will come and say, “Buy my field…for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.”  (Jeremiah 32:7)

So you buy the field. You sign the deed, seal it, find witnesses, and weigh out the coins.

“Put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in the land.” (Jeremiah 32:14-15)

But still you don’t understand. Lord, what you have spoken has come to pass, but you ask me to buy a field?

I completely get why Jeremiah was so baffled. Who in their right mind would take time to buy a field when his city was under attack? That’s crazy talk.

Ah, but here’s the twist.

“Behold I am the LORD, the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for me?”

In the midst of the destruction and judgment that God Himself brought (and rightly so, for His people were utterly rebellious), He again reiterates who He is and His unshakeable commitment to redeem and restore. 

Nothing is too hard for Him. This God promises to bring his people back. He promises the way of mercy and grace.

“Behold I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness with all my heart and soul. For thus says that Lord: just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I promise them. Fields shall be bought in this land.” (Jeremiah 32:37-43)

I WILL.

Woah. What a string of radical, extravagant, thoroughly overwhelming promises!

  • I will gather them.
  • I will bring them back.
  • I will make them dwell in safety.
  • I will be their God.
  • I will give them one heart.
  • I will make an everlasting covenant.
  • I will NOT turn away from doing them good.
  • I will rejoice in doing them good.
  • I will plant them.

“with all my heart and soul”

I will bring ALL the good that I promise! 

Believer this is for you. This is your God. He puts all the “I wills” on Himself.

He is THIS good.

As Jeremiah was kinsman redeemer, so would the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer come! The right of redemption belongs to Jesus. Praise God, redemption by purchase is His!

In Jesus we’ve been gathered, planted, and grafted in to His everlasting covenant. He makes us dwell in safety. He restores.

Doesn’t this just make your heart sing?

Jeremiah’s deed was sealed in an earthen jar, but now believers are sealed by the blood of Christ. We’re sealed by that which will never disintegrate, by something that lasts far longer than “a long time.”

I can’t help but see this passage through my “widow glasses.” The death of my husband was not God’s judgment, but my heart was surely under siege. My life felt ransacked, broken, and desolate. A thousand questions tumbled like laundry in a dryer, and I was more than baffled by what God was doing.

But my God is THIS good.

Even when life felt utterly shattered, it was not. For I will never know true destruction because Jesus was destroyed in my place.

He bought this “field.”

Therefore, no matter how deep the deep days were, I was kept, the deed already sealed. In Jesus, the exponential promises were already true.

“I WILL,” says your God.

He Has.


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.

 

If you would like to have Ami or one of our team members speak at your event, email us at: admin@anewseason.net

Check out more posts by this author at- Ami Atkins

Other posts with a similar theme by our team:  Goodness, How blind faith blind-sided (and blessed) me, or Choosing to Celebrate

 

The Bride and the Widow

 

I love the imagery of the Bride of Christ, the beauty, the grace, the elegance. It brings such a lovely picture to my mind; remembering my wedding day, walking down the aisle to meet my beloved, surrounded by friends and family, feeling absolutely stunning in my handmade white gown.

But what comes to mind with “widow”? Haggard, lonely, old, wrinkled, sad, feeling forgotten in a dark dress…

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul begins a discussion on how we are not under the power of the law any more as believers in Christ- we are under the power of the Spirit. I’ve read this passage many times before, keeping the sections of Scripture separated into very distinct boxes in my mind. Yes, I get it- the widow is not bound to her husband anymore and is free to marry again. But flowing right out of that statement is the next truth-believers are no longer bound to the law but to the Spirit. The imagery he uses is a WIDOW!! You and me! We are as widows an example of believers allowing the Holy Spirit to control. What a different picture than what we usually imagine as a widow.

Here’s the passage:

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:1-6 ESV

Marriage was set up by God as a spiritual symbol of Christ and the Church. Widowhood is a spiritual symbol of the Church and the Holy Spirit. You are a living breathing example to the world of the work of grace. You are the image of being “dead” to the law and being “alive” to the Spirit. That changes my whole outlook! My widowhood is a beautiful picture.

Can you look at your widowhood as a beautiful picture of the Believer filled with the Spirit, not “married” to the law any longer?

Whether we are married or single, we are a spiritual symbol. We are a symbol of being married to Christ or a symbol of our first “marriage” to the law is dead and now “married” to Christ, living by grace and the Spirit.

I guess I never put the two thoughts together before – marriage and widowhood — both spiritual symbols of Christ and us.

Father God, Thank You for this beautiful picture of our widowhood. We are not bound by law any longer because of Your work on the cross and Your resurrection. Thank You for this image of our widowhood as a beautiful symbol. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that 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.”

Would you like to have a team member speak at your event? Contact us at admin@anewseason.net

Want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here.

Want to read about Christ as your husband now? Click here.  By Kathleen

Want to explore more on your vision and hope for your future? Click here. By Kit

5 Things To Help Us Heal

5 Foods You Should Never Eat

5 Foods You Should Always Eat

5 Tips to a Great Life

                                         5 Exercises to Do Daily

5 …

Everywhere I look I see articles on 5 things. Sometimes these are called “click bait” because they just want you to click on them to get you to their websites. I get so interested in article after article on childhood stars (where are they now?) or bad foods (what to avoid to lose 20 lbs by tomorrow) and so on.

I found 5 things you and I can start doing today, to lead to a happier, healthier, and more healed life.  They are just as relevant today, as they were when they were written thousands of years ago.

Have I got your attention?

Here they are.

Psalm 119:13-16 NIV

With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

I delight in your decrees;  I will not neglect your word.

One of my first pieces of advice I give when someone is going through hard circumstances is to read the Psalms. To me, they seem like peeking into a journal of an old time Bible character-his personal blog before blogging! The authors get mad, they get sad, they complain, they rejoice–sometimes all in the same chapter! Doesn’t that sound a little familiar? But the Psalms have a way of focusing my attention and regaining perspective.

Recount. Start with journaling how God has taken care of you in the past. How God has walked beside you. How God has sent others to hold your arms up in the battle. How Scripture or songs have come on at just the right time you needed them.

Rejoice. Rejoice as one who has won the lottery. I have never even bought a lottery ticket so for me to win would be some major big-time rejoicing! The rejoicing in this verse is pointing at following God’s laws. We might interpret it as rejoicing in living according to Scripture.

Meditate. Give thought throughout the day. We can only do that when we are focused on Scripture as we START the day. I have to work at this still. I can easily get distracted by my life, facebook, or the news. It seems like an inconvenience sometimes to take the time to read, but it is always a blessing when I do. I am trying to read through the entire Bible. It has taken me a year and a half to get half way through; but it sure helps me meditate on eternal things.

Delight. Like in a scrumptious dessert. Look forward to spending time in Scripture. Look forward to spending time in worship with other believers. Sing along with the praise songs on the radio.

I will NOT neglect your word. I’ve already confessed that spending time in God’s Word is still something I have to remind myself to do. I miss days too often. Then, I always have a lame excuse for why I skipped my time in the Word. It can be easy in our early grief to neglect the Scripture because it is too hard to get our brains to focus. But, I believe the Holy Spirit will help us when we ask for focus. God WANTS us to spend time in His Word.

The Psalmist gives us some things we can start doing today. Which one can you add to your life?

~ Recount

~ Rejoice

~ Meditate

~ Delight

~ Not neglect God’s Word.

Do these 5 things every day and you will be happier. I guarantee it.

Or your money back. 😉

Lord, You want me in Your Word. Give me focus today to dig into Scripture. Help me recount the ways You have protected me or answered prayers in the past. I want to follow Your Word today. Amen


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Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crab keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her to EMBRACE this new journey. 

Want to read more by Elizabeth? Click HERE 

Need some encouragement as a newer widow?

One Widow’s Psalm by Linda

Only Be Still by Lori

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, my name is…

Hello, my name is your name and I am a ___________. How would you fill in the second blank?

Widow, single, mother, grandmother, housewife, stay at home mom, employee, etc.?

Oh how I hate labels. They can be so limiting! It doesn’t matter if they are something that we perceive as good like being a wife, mother, grandmother, or if it is something that we see as a negative like being a diabetic, a senior citizen, or a widow. All of them can limit our thinking. The label or role becomes a self-defining box and everything we say or do and even feel, gets stuck in that box.

And then we draw another box, a slightly larger box and we put God in it. We have to – because if we are limited – then by default He is limited. In essence, we have decided there is only so much He can do with us. We just put the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord Almighty in a box. Sounds crazy when we look at it that way doesn’t it?

When we first lose our husbands, it feels like our whole world has disappeared. The pain is unbearable and we can barely breathe. When the shock begins to wear off, we look around and we feel utterly exposed. We no longer know who we are or what our future holds. Becoming a widow is the most disorienting experience we will probably ever encounter.

But eventually it can also bring clarity. The purpose of our life wasn’t just to be a wife, even as wonderful as that might be. Being a wife is a role we fulfill, but it isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to glorify God and that happens in many different roles throughout our life: single, married, widowed, with children, without children, etc. As we begin to remember (or perhaps understand for the first time) our purpose is bigger than in any one role we fulfill, we begin to dismantle the box we’ve been living in and along with it, the box we put God in.

As our thinking shifts from the temporary roles we assume on this Earth to our eternal purpose we find ourselves planted on solid ground which can never be shaken or turned upside down. It redefines who we are in the most powerful way possible. With my eyes on my eternal purpose it is easier to see the many roles I fulfill as spelled out in scripture.

Hello, my name is your name and I am…

An heir of God                Galatians 4:7

A child of God                 John 1:12

A friend of God               John 15:15

God’s masterpiece         Ephesians 2:10

God’s dwelling place     Ephesians 2:22

Will you join me today in mediating on our eternal roles so we can be utilized to our full capacity for God’s glory?

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making us in Your image,  for Your purposes. Help us to see ourselves and each other through Your eyes. As we meditate on Your word today, please allow Your truth to pierce our hearts, eradicate the self defined boxes we have put on ourselves and You, and let us walk forward in freedom to live to our full capacity for Your Glory! We love You so! In Your Sons name. Amen.


 

SherylPeppletbSheryl 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?   The Curtain is Torn

Want to read another article about your identity? Widow Card by Kit Hinkle

 

Marital Bed

“And the two shall become one flesh…”

Mark 10:8 

I’m gonna say it.

The thing widows all think, but as Christians we don’t say.

I.  Miss.  My.  Marital.  Bed.

I miss the warmth and unity experienced there.  I miss the ease and selflessness that happened so perfectly there.  THE ONENESS.  The warm welcoming body that lay beside me.  The unison we experienced.  The desire we had for one another.  The deep intimacy and trust I felt in giving my entire body over to another.  The care and love found there.

As Christians, in a world that has perverted and twisted sex, it’s hard to say these things.  We are shamed into thinking that talking about sex is sinful.  Sex is certainly not something the widowed or Christian community talks about openly or comfortably.

But God didn’t make sex “dirty”, man did.  God created in us a desire towards one another.  He defined that desire, in Genesis, to be a good thing within the confines of His creation of marriage.  He tells us that in marriage we can experience the full glory of Him through our sexual intimacy. We can sacrificially give ourselves to another the way Christ gave Himself up for us. (Romans 5:22-32)

Yes, God ordains sex…when it’s under His authority and we obey Him.

We know because we experienced that God ordained oneness in our marriages.

But what happens when our husbands are gone?

My marital bed is now cold and harsh.  I roll over to an empty space. I have no husband to hold me, to make me feel beautiful, to desire me, or to even warm my feet and hands up when they’re freezing!

Sometimes I go back.  I have such deep meaningful memories of that bed and our years and nights spent there.  Babies were created there.  Pleasure and love was found there.  Deep trust and utter selflessness were solidified there.  Many prayers, and both happy and sad tears flowed there.  I miss it greatly.

Recently a reader asked our team if it was okay for her to pleasure herself to those memories.

Yes, I am going there!

Because, it’s something we all experience.  We all have desires in some facet or another.

As Christian widows we believe God is now our spiritual husband, but we are still human.. and we are all still alive!

As I’ve prayed over this myself and sought answers, I can tell you Scripture doesn’t give a definitive yes or no answer to this deep question.

Yet, I did find these important truths:

~ Scripture is clear that I’m no longer married and when I get to heaven I won’t be married again to my husband.  Matthew 22:30, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39 (read more here: Heaven and Marriage)

~ Scripture is clear that if I lust after another man outside of marriage in my mind and heart, whether I act on it or not, it is sin.  Matthew 5:28

And the two keys that apply to us now…

~ Scripture is clear that I am not to conform to this world.  But, I am to transform my mind by renewing it with God’s Word and His will for me now.  Romans 12:2

~ Scripture is clear I’m to seek to honor and obey God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in every area of my life.  Romans 2:6-8

So, what does this mean for us in this area?

It means since there’s no clear cut answer, we must take it before The Lord, Sister.  Allowing Him to reveal His will to us.  Allowing Him to work and move us.  Allowing Him to convict our hearts and minds here.

Allowing Him to then rule our heart, mind, and yes even our sexual desires.

Personally, I have been convicted to ask God to remove those desires from me, until (or if) He calls me to remarry.  It’s been a process and I still have to lay it before Him.  But He is helping me hold steadfast to my conviction.

Yet, maybe that’s not exactly where He will lead you. This is deeply intimate and personal, and something only God can clearly reveal, through His Spirit and His Word, what He wants you to do.

I have some questions for your personal reflection that will help you discern this:

~ What is my motive here, in other words, why do I think I need to do this?
~ Afterwards, how will it actually make me feel?
~ Is what I am doing honoring God and conveying that I trust Him to fill me up and meet ALL my needs?

God wants no idol before Him.  That means even the sexual memories (or any other memory) of our late husbands!

Sisters, widowhood is tough stuff with lots of layers. Walking this journey is not for the faint of heart.  It’s messy.  It’s painful.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s hard.

But God is so much bigger and He’s got even this deeply personal and tough topic.  Take it before the Cross and watch Him grow you, help you, and convict you.

Father God, I am a woman with desires. Please help those desires to honor You still in every way.  Lord, block me from creating any idols in my mind and heart that would distract me from You.  Show me where I have sinned.  And protect me from those areas.  I lay even my physical desires and memories before You now.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.

{If you missed it, earlier this week Lori talked about the loss of physical touch. Read it here: The Physical Loss}

 


295163_1927953164696_1418199297_31839733_2097799_nErika 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 speak, please contact her via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

Other articles on a similar topic:  The Physical Loss, Missing Pieces and The Two Shall be One