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

 

Adonai

Adonai- The Lord

Lord, Lord, LORD

Master, Owner

Our Adonai, how excellent is your name in all the earth. You who set your splendor above the heavens.

Psalm 8:1 TLV

The name, Adonai is about God’s lordship over our lives, our hearts, minds, and our spirits.  Something or someone rules over us. Something or someone is our boss, master, owner. Perhaps right now, it’s a job, finances, habits, grief, loneliness, or family demands.

If we choose God as our Adonai, it’s about believing He is still in control, even now. He is still the Lord, and we choose to praise Him. We choose, to let His holy light shine through our shattered pieces. We shout out, “Worthy is Your name! You, Lord God, are worthy of all praise”.

Today shout with me, “Yahweh, You are my Adonai!”

He is the beginning and the end.  And everything in between.

He is our A through Z:

A-anointing
B-blessing
C-comforter
D-daddy
E-encourager
F-first love
G-grace giver
H-healer
I-inspiration
J-jewel
K-King of kings
L-Lord, Lord, LORD
M-Master
N-necessity
O-order
P-passion
Q-quietness
R-refresher
S-sanctuary
T-testimony
U-utmost
V-voice
W-watchman
X-xenial keeper
Y-yearning
Z-zeal

I encourage you, to remember why He holds the place of Adonai in your life.  Don’t give up, don’t give in, He is worthy.

 

Other articles on this topic: El Shaddai-the Almighty, the All Sufficient One & El Roi-the God Who Sees

Is This MY Hope?

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner,

Jesus, has entered on our behalf.

He has become a high priest forever…

Hebrews 6:19-20 NIV

An anchor has become my symbol of choice since my husband Mark passed away. I put this very verse on his gravestone and look for it for decorating purposes on Pinterest. Between tattoos, wall decorations, and even clothing, anchors are everywhere.

I wonder why the writer of this passage used an “anchor”? I don’t particularly like anchors because they are only needed during storms or in harbors. I prefer “still waters” and “green pastures” (Psalm 23) but I have learned from my half-century of living on this earth that storms hit. And maybe the author was thinking that NO ONE is exempt from life’s storms.

No one.

We are like ships, sailing through the waters of life. Our eternal souls are on board this ship as we sail to our final harbor (heaven). Our ship will encounter temptations, evil, stress, and trials. But our anchor, composed of our faith in Christ and His death, resurrection, and life is just the right size for our ships–it is strong enough for our complete dependence. Unlike an earthly anchor, this one fixes itself on a Rock- the Rock of Ages.

My “anchor” can change to something less secure than Jesus Christ. I find myself depending on the security of my income or the security of my spouse or the security of my family. Do these things hold securely like an anchor? No, they fail me often. If my “anchor” is my husband and he passes away, what happens to my ship? If my “anchor” is my income, what happens when that is lost?

I have lost both of those anchors in the last five years and it really shook my vessel. I threw over different sized “anchors” but nothing held. The storms of life rocked my ship but when I finally said, “God, Your will not mine,” I finally gained the peace for which I was searching.  The storms didn’t cease, the anchor just held me secure during the storms.

Often friends and family will send me notices when they see something related to Hebrews 6:19 or with anchors. Recently my mother found a daily devotional based on anchors. The verse referenced was 1 Peter 1:6-7. Here’s what the verses say in the Living Bible.

So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.

My ship will be hit by storms meant to test my anchor. Will my anchor hold?

Songs always help me remember some of the spiritual lessons God tries to teach me. I found these songs about anchors you might enjoy listening to.

My Anchor Holds

On Christ the Solid Rock

In Christ Alone 

Lord Jesus, thank You for being the Anchor that holds. Thank You for knowing our storms and being with us in the storms of life. Your protection brings such peace. Help us turn to You for our anchor. Amen

 

 

elizabeth 325x325Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  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 crabs 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 on this new journey. 

 

Are you looking for speakers for your next gathering? email us at admin@anewseason.net

Jill also wrote an article about anchors. You can read it here.

You can read more articles by Elizabeth here.

 

 

El Roi-the God Who Sees

I love when I find a hidden treasure in Scripture.

I was pondering the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 while reading about a particular name of God. This is the only time in Scripture this name is used. And it is used with:

~ a woman

~ a single mom

~ an outcast from society

~ isolated due to circumstances she had no control over.

Sounds all too familiar, right?

The God Who Sees. El Roi. 

What did He see?

He saw Hagar, this Egyptian servant, living with Abraham and Sarah.

Do you ever feel invisible in society? Widows lose their social standing often, due to the loss of their spouse. I was thinking the other day that I miss being “in the know”. My husband, due to his career, knew a lot of the people in town and what was going on downtown.

I barely know what is going on in my own home! I am no longer part of the “Mr. and Mrs.” group at Christmas parties. Heck, I rarely even go OUT after dark, except to pick up one of my kids from somewhere.

But God sees me.

God found Hagar as she was alone with her child in the wilderness.

She had given up.

She had been sent away from the family group because of Sarah’s anger toward her for having Abraham’s baby.

I’m guessing she knew a lot about Abraham and Sarah’s true God because of living with them and being Sarah’s close servant. God saw her.

And, interestingly enough, Hagar was promised some of the very same things as Abraham: a son and lots of offspring. She KNEW who saw her. She was confident that God was looking after her.

Can I have that same confidence today?

God sees ME.

God is looking after ME.

Join me in praising God for this part of His character–El Roi, the One Who sees ME!

Genesis 16:13 ESV 

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her,

“You are a God of seeing, for she said,

“Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

Want to read about another name of God? El Shaddai by Sheryl

One Last Gift To Open

I always looked forward to my husband surprising me on Christmas morning with One Last Gift. He would keep one tucked away until everyone had opened their gifts. One year it was lovely leather gloves, another year it was carefully chosen earrings, and once it was a coveted kitchen mixer! Do you have some Christmas memories from your past? Maybe from childhood or as a young married couple? I hope you can smile through the tears as you are reminded of special gifts during this time of the year.

This Christmas, let’s see what One Last Gift God has for us, tucked away, until all the other presents are opened. The trash is cleared away. The clothes are set aside. What would He have for me?

Psalm 119:50 ESV   This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life.

I want to “unwrap” this “gift” with you today, Sister.gfit

ThisWhat is? God’s promises, which are fulfilled in Christ, our Savior, Immanuel (God with US!).

IsToday, not just yesterday or someday. In my current circumstances.

MyThis is personal, for ME and for YOU and for us to share with others.

ComfortSounds like a cozy fluffy robe and slippers! Now that’s a gift I can wrap up in!

AfflictionTroubles, hurts, misery, distress. This is everyone who is living and breathing on earth. This happened before our widowhood, and it will happen after widowhood. That’s why we can give this verse to anyone for encouragement.

Your PromiseOur comfort is based in His Words and not in our bank account or our relationships or in the waiting for that healing that seems elusive. What promise has He given us to bring comfort during our most difficult times?

  • Dig into Scripture and the Psalms.
  • Write the little nuggets of truth down in your journal so you can look back and be encouraged.
  • Matthew 11:28
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Isaiah 40:29-31
  • Romans 8:37-39
  • Romans 6:23
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Psalm 34:4

Give MeGod’s Word is not just for the preacher on the radio or TV or just for that skid row sinner. God’s Word is for ME; to convict me, to instruct me, to guide me, and to show me God’s character.

LifeReally? Live again after the biggest loss of my life? You might be the youngest widow on record and think your life is over. You might be the oldest widow on record and think you lived once but not now. Sister, life is today. You are given this day as a gift from your Maker. He gives us Scripture, like manna, for today. Our lives must still be lived because God is still giving us breath.

In a conversation with a friend recently, we were discussing ways we were able to be comforted by Scripture. During the first months of his loss, listening to Scripture on CDs at night helped him fall asleep. Falling asleep with the Psalms or another book of the Bible comforted his mind instead of rethinking medical decisions or focusing on the “what ifs”. What a practical way to allow God’s promises to comfort us in our affliction.

I love how God saves One Last Gift for us to open this day after our Christmas celebrations. You are loved. You are treasured. You are special. You are strong. You are His.

Lord God, thank You for Your promises to me from Your Scriptures. Give me perspective today on my circumstances. Help me turn to Your Word to comfort me and not relationships or food or other false comforts. Only You give true and lasting peace. Amen

 

 

Elizabeth Delizabeth 325x325yer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  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 on this new journey.

 

Are you looking for more articles on digging into God’s Word? Drilling Him Into Your Hearts by Rene  OR  Searching for God’s Answers by Kit

Elizabeth has more articles on digging into God’s Word. You can read them here.

Would you like Elizabeth or one of our writers to speak at your next gathering? email us at admin@awnewseason.net 

 

 

Feed My Sheep

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

John 21:17 ESV

I sat in my parked car just outside the donation shop for a full thirty minutes, motionless except for the tears that slid down my cheeks.  My mind swirled with thoughts, and my heart quietly cried out to God.

Strength.

I asked for strength.

In the back seat of my car hung my husband’s remaining clothes.  They were some of the last items I still possessed that were his.  I had given many articles of clothing to friends and family and had intended to give away the remaining items several times, but the task seemed just too much to act on.  Hence, here I sat, praying for strength to walk in with these items.

Peace.

I asked for peace.

My heart hurt knowing that these items were but another part of letting go.  These are steps we eventually have to take – removing his name from accounts, making financial decisions alone, choosing to stay or not stay in our homes, deciding to work or not work.  The list seems endless. And as each step is accomplished, it seems as if another small piece of my heart is shredded. Praying now for peace as I move forward to complete yet another step.

Feed My sheep.

What? I’m not sure I heard you, Lord.

Feed My sheep.

I close off the distractions.  I lean my ear to hear Him.  I clear my mind to understand Him.  I open my heart to trust Him. These words “feed my sheep” were spoken specifically to Peter by Jesus, post-resurrection.  Biblical scholars align the thrice-asked question “Peter, do you love me?” with Peter’s three time denial of Christ before His crucifixion.

Three times Christ questioned Peter. The repetition here emphasizes Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him more than anything. Christ wanted Peter’s devotion to be total commitment.    

Christ follows with instruction for Peter to “feed my sheep”.   This commission to Peter restores him to his apostleship (after his denial of Christ).  Christ is trusting Peter with His most valuable treasure on earth, His flock.

But, how does it fit into this scene I am in the midst of now?  How does it apply to giving away my husband’s clothes?

Feed my sheep.

Just now, in this moment I hear Him ask, “Bonnie, are you firmly grounded so that you are not blown around by every wind of change, every trial, every fear, every grief?  Do you love me more than these?  I want you to feed my sheep.” 

Every time we sin (or in this case, doubt) as believers of Christ, we question our faith and begin to believe we may be unworthy of discipleship.  How do we respond when trials and adversities come our way? Our faith can certainly weaken and crack under great tests.

Oh, sisters, this is exactly what Satan wants.  But, as Jesus loved Peter, restoring him and inviting him back into fellowship, so too does He love us.

With our total devotion to Christ, we are to tend to His flock (the church) by our words and our actions.  He wants our love for Him to be greater than anything so that we know nothing is more important than our love for Him and obeying His call. This is discipleship – feeding and tending His sheep.  I can feed and tend to others by my actions and my words.  I can “feed” others by donating items someone may need. I can “feed” others by sharing my thoughts in a post that may touch a hurting heart.  I can “feed” others by being available to lend someone a helping hand.   I am grateful God reminds me that my work on this earth has yet to be finished.

Even though things in my life have drastically changed, God’s covenant with me has not.  I will stand firmly on this Rock as I move forward, tending to and feeding His flock.

With a renewed hope, purpose and passion, I open my car door, gather my items and enter the store.

Father, thank You for reminding me that nothing is more important than loving You.  No matter what trial, fear or grief  I face, I know You are with me to conquer.   I pray all my widowed sisters can embrace the love You have for us.   Help us to see ways we can “feed Your sheep” as we move forward in this journey.  Amen

bonnieBonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Related articles: Letting Go and Unbroken in Christ

Coop Chaos

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

 A friend of mine has a flock of young chickens.  These biddies free-range during the day, but go back into the coop for their grain in the evening.  Late one afternoon, I helped open the coop and put out the grain.

Cackling as they came, the flock descended upon the coop.  Most ran straight for the coop door, bolted inside, and attacked the food trough.  A couple, however, could not find the entrance.  Poor babies, they beat themselves against the side of the coop, clucking madly, in their confusion.  Finally, we took pity on them, picked them up, and set them in front of the open door.  They immediately ran excitedly into the coop with the rest, enjoying their grain.

I thought, How silly these chickens are! 

And then I realized, disconcertedly, that at times I am as silly as the chickens!

Sometimes I squawk about my widow status…all the things I have to do without Keith here.  The broken car, the broken dishwasher, the broken dryer, the broken microwave…an endless list needs my time and attention.  I feel overwhelmed at times, beating my head against the never-ending problems, seeing no solutions…feeling like I have no way to get into the coop of safety, security and calmness.

And yet…there is a solution…a way into the door….right from the scripture.

Trust God – acknowledge Him – don’t lean on myself.

When I take a moment to get quiet with God, distraction-free, I feel His hand lifting me out of the situation and into His greater glory and to His better plan.  The peace I seek becomes less elusive.  I can feed on it, and my Savior’s love, just as the chicks who finally find the door.

Sisters, are you feeling this kind of stress today?  Are you seeking that peace that has become elusive?  Are you squawking instead of listening, just as I was?  Turn to the One who can lift you out of this confusion and onto His path for you, providing you with the sustaining “grain” of His peace!  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Father, forgive me for when I lose my perspective – on You, on my troubles, on my life.  It is not easy on planet Earth for anyone!  I sometimes lose my focus, forgetting to look for You working in my life.  Help me to see You clearly, and the path You have set before me.  Help me to put my hand in Yours as I continue this journey of widowhood.  Help me to feed on You and You alone for my strength and comfort.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Fragile

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.  Psalm 16:1  ( ESV)

Becoming a widow left me feeling as vulnerable and fragile as an egg alone on the counter.

During the last year of my husband’s life, I had been so strong – working, caring for him, assuming all of the responsibilities – never giving a thought to giving up or giving in. There was lots to be done and, with God’s sustaining grace, I did it all.

Then my beloved went home with Jesus, and my world changed. My comfortable “carton” of the life we built together was gone. And there I was, all alone on that counter, being stalked by loneliness, despair, anger, bitterness, and fear of the future.  The world of widowhood was a hard, lonely place, and I needed a refuge – a safe “carton”.

During the darkness of those days I did two things – I started reading the Psalms and writing to God – sometimes for hours at a time. I filled page after page with my feelings and my pleas – much like David did when he wrote those beautiful verses.

It was during one of those sessions I wrote this prayer:

You are my God. Defend me Lord;

  •  As I go into this life alone
  •  As I struggle with the loneliness that batters me from all sides
  •  As I fight the anger that wells up within me
  •  As I resist bitterness and despair
  •  As I envision a future of empty, lonely days

And He did –  He still does. He has fashioned a new “carton” for me. I rest in it alone and I am still fragile, but I know I am safe as I hold fast to the promise of Psalm 16:8 “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” (NLT) The nights are not as long, loneliness is eased with His presence. Anger, bitterness and despair no longer have a place in my life.

He is showing me the path for my life, and each day I awake determined to trust Him and hold fast to His promises.

Four years have passed since I wrote that prayer. They have not been easy years. There are still days that are difficult.  It has been a struggle to let go of the negative, but what an adventure, as I have learned to rely totally on my Loving Father to be that “carton” for me – my safe place of refuge.

Father, the grief that comes with the loss of our spouses has left us tattered, worn and fragile. We need You as our safe place. Reach down and scoop us up, Abba, and give us Your peace.

 

closeup linda

Linda has held many titles throughout life– daughter, sister, wife, mother and now widow. That title was received in May, 2011. She felt prepared for her beloved to pass, for it was not sudden. However, she was not at all prepared for life after he passed. They were married for twenty-four years, and he was her constant companion. Embarking into a life without him was strange and painful. However, she takes comfort in knowing he is in a place of infinite joy, free of pain and that wheelchair, to which he had been confined for seven months. In the months that followed, she discovered writing and journaling.

Want to read more about healing? New Paint by Bonnie

Want to read another article from Linda? One Widow’s Psalm

 

Turn Back and Strengthen

Luke 22:32 ESV

… And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

Do you have a purpose? Do you wonder why you are left on this earth when your beloved was taken?

I watched a video recently on how to potentially add ten years to one’s life. I thought it would include things like cutting out sugar or running marathons—two things I would find very difficult to do! Surprisingly enough, the video included things like having a reason for getting up in the morning or having a purpose in life. I knew this in my heart but didn’t know how healthy it was.

When Jesus was talking to Peter in our passage above, He knew about the testing of Peter’s faith that was on the horizon.  He knew the rough patch Peter was going to experience. Do you believe that He knew about your rough patch? Do you believe He knew you would experience a crisis of your faith?

 I do believe that.

When Peter had walked through his “valley”, Jesus instructed him to invest in his brothers in Christ. Peter didn’t experience his trials just to sit and analyze. He didn’t get through the doubts and denials just to sit in a dimly lit home in solitude. Jesus knew Peter would come through the testing with his faith firmly planted in Christ, and then he was to share it with others.

I have a story to tell that I don’t like. I wanted a different story! Mine is ugly and, frankly, pretty painful. But I believe someone needs to hear my story, so they can be strengthened in their faith. I didn’t experience the loss of my spouse just so I could play the victim or wallow in self-pity forever. The point is that I need to strengthen others with my faith-story. My life did not end the day my beloved husband passed away. I may have wished it did, but God left me here to strengthen others.

I think the healing lies squarely in the fact that it happens unexpectedly when we invest in others—strengthen our brothers. So how would a hurting widow do this?

  • Pray for others: make a prayer list for those times you lie in bed awake. My grandmother used to tell me to pray through the alphabet – think of someone for each letter. Look up prayers in the New Testament that Paul prayed for believers and insert a name in the verses (like Philippians 1:9-11) Paul used his imprisonment to pray for others and write letters. We can use our “imprisonment” to pray for others too or send notes of encouragement.
  • Serve others: find a place in your community or church to give back (pregnancy crisis center, Red Cross, public library, hospital, schools, etc.).
  • Find a walking partner: get a little exercise with a new friend.
  • Social Media: lots of hurting widows comment on our facebook page. You can reply to their comments with your prayers, a verse that has helped you, or some encouraging words. Your comments can strengthen your hurting sisters all over the world.

In strengthening others, we aren’t ignoring our own pain.

We are intentionally exercising our “faith muscles”.

Healing occurs in this way.

Father God, You know how our faith has been tested through all the circumstances in our lives. Show us where we can use our stories of pain, heartache, and loss to strengthen our sisters in Christ. Amen

 

Elizabeth Dyer is a elizabeth 325x325writer/speaker with  A Widow’s Might/A New Season Ministries, Inc.. 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 crabs 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 on this new journey.

 

 

Want to read more on finally healing? Transforming Power by Lori Reynolds Streller

Or on struggling with issues in your life? My God-Box by Elizabeth Dyer

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Triggers for Tears: Part 1 (Your Triggers)

When sadness is triggered by every day stress but transferred to you thinking about your loss, be careful. Following this path to tears over and over keeps you in a victim’s mentality and prevents you from dealing with the pain in the present.

A wise friend once told me to follow my trails of tears to figure out where they began. This was in the second year of my grief. Thank God I followed her suggestion. Years later, I recognize her advice as being one of the keys for overcoming grief.

Tears usually start from one of two triggers. Identify which category the trigger belongs in, and you can then deal appropriately with present day stress versus sadness over losing your husband.

Trigger 1:  A Reminder of the Husband You Lost:

Something happens, or you go somewhere or you see something, or the wind blows in a certain way that takes you back to a wonderful moment you shared with your spouse. Your child plays an instrument at a music recital, and the memory of your husband smiling next to you at past recitals has you longing for him and tears start up.

These are healthy patterns of grief.  When you cry over these times, pause, and relish in the good memories, even if they mean tears.  In time, you might find that the tears feel refreshing.  I would sometimes pull out the videos or photo books of Tom at these moments and laugh at the funny things he did, even as the tears spill.

Trigger 2: Stresses of the Day:

Something happens in the present that you’re not happy about.  It may or may not have to do with losing your husband.  Maybe your house is a mess, and it’s hard to get motivated to clean it.  Or maybe the couples in the neighborhood are all getting together for Valentines Day, and you’re not invited because you’re now single.  You start to wish you had the comfort of your husband again because your mind doesn’t want to focus on what’s bothering you in the moment.

It’s easy to drift back to a time when it seems through the rosy spectacles of memory everything felt good and happy.  But rosy or not, memories can’t fix the pain you’re feeling now. And once you start focusing on how you can’t have him back, you become more sad.  You cry. Then your tears validate your sadness. You start to tell yourself that’s okay, because after all, you’re a widow and you’re supposed to be sad.

Trouble is, if the trigger was actually something unrelated to your lost husband, you’ve been tricked. When sadness is triggered by every day stress but transferred to you thinking about your loss, be careful. Following this path to tears over and over keeps you in a victim’s mentality and prevents you from dealing with the pain in the present.

Pick up your mat and walk

If you notice your tears started because of normal daily stress, and you’ve allowed it to transfer to grief, you can stop and recognize it’s not a healthy grieving pattern and deal with what’s happening. How?  Ask Christ to heal you for just that day, just that moment.  Ask Him to put you on your feet so you can deal with this current problem and not tie it to grief. Ask for the miracle. It’s like the crippled man laying on a mat in John 5:8. Jesus directed him to pick up his mat and walk.  In that moment, the man was healed.  But the healing would never have been known until the man got up and walked.

Are you getting up?  When you know the tears are not about missing him, but about the stress of normal life activity, treat it as such.  Sometimes that means you get up, pick up your mat, and walk! Push through the lack of motivation and clean your house, no matter how much work it is. Or accept that it is lonely on Valentine’s Day without a spouse, so you should make alternative plans—go see a movie with another single lady.  Be constructive rather than sitting in the pity.  It’s okay to cry, but wait for the healthy grieving moments to really indulge in tears.  There will be plenty of opportunities!

Father God, give my dear sister confidence in her approach to life during this difficult season.  Help her to have grace with herself and simply cry when she feels led to cry and push forward boldly when You are speaking to her heart, asking her to get up, pick up her mat and begin to walk.  Amen.

017_HinkleKit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such 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

Would you like to read more about battling satan?  Here are some articles you might try:

Oh Those Tears by Liz Anne Wright

Tears in a Bottle by Kathleen Beard