But If Not: Deliverance, Doubts, and Devotion

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.  Daniel 3:17-18 ESV

God, I know You CAN heal my husband…

God, I know You are ABLE to heal this marriage…

God, I know You are STRONG ENOUGH to protect my children from evil influences…

Have you prayed similar prayers?

My doubts never come because I think God isn’t ABLE to do something. My doubts come because I don’t think He WOULD for me. Does He love me? Does He love them more? 

Here in our passage above, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were facing death.

Facing. Death.

They were looking it square in the eyes.

They had no options.

Worship of the True God was not up for discussion, and they knew He was able to “deliver” them. What were they thinking that word meant? Rescue them? Make the fire go out? Probably all kinds of things went through their heads, but I’m guessing NOTHING like what really happened. You can read the full chapter here.

As a result of their hearts being so full of devotion to Jehovah God, they knew even if they were not swept off in a story-book rescue, they would not worship the false gods. They knew they would follow God even into the fire. 

Where was Daniel?  He was their leader. He was the strong one in the bunch.

Have you ever felt that God took the “strong one” in your life- your husband? I hear widows say often – I lost my rock, I lost my leader, I lost my spiritual guide.  But what did these three young men do when faced with the worst possible situation?  They proclaimed their faith. Loud. And. Strong. They had been led well by Daniel. They knew the Truth. And they received something far greater than their friend’s spiritual guidance. They gained an encounter with God right in the middle of the furnace! God was the fourth man in the fire, bringing the king to see the Truth.

That hit me right between the eyes.

I was led by a man who knew God deeply. I had a spiritual guide. He was a strong influence in my life. Now it has been removed. Can I now proclaim my faith loud and strong? Am I able to stand up to adversity so others see God through my life? Do I know God enough to depend on Him during my trials?

So when the worst possible thing happens

and the “rug is pulled out from under” us,

can we STAND? 

 

If our prayers for healing seem to go unanswered,

can we keep trusting?

 

When the fires of life seem to be lapping all around us,

can we bravely stand and say,

“Even if God doesn’t deliver us from the fires,

we will still follow”?

 

Has your strong person of influence been removed from your life? Are you being tested by the “fires” of life today? What or who are you trusting in?

From the passage in Daniel, we do NOT read that the three friends pulled the covers over their heads, crying out, “If only Daniel were here! He would know what to do!” Nope, they bravely stood strong on their convictions and knew exactly what they needed to do.

I need to follow the example of these young men–  stand strong on what I know is true about God and follow Him. Sometimes that will lead me into “fires” only He can deliver me from in a grand way. And sometimes our delivery comes only after we have lived through the flames, scorched and stinking of smoke. My life circumstances do not alter the fact that God loves ME. He is the “fourth” person in the furnace with ME. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank You for the influences of strong believers in our lives. Help us when we are tested and tried, to bravely stand strong on the truth of Scripture and not on our feelings. When doubts come our way, lead us back to Your Word even if we are not delivered in the way we expect or desire. Amen

 

I heard this wonderful song recently that really spoke to this subject. I hope you enjoy it. Even If by Mercy Me.  The words are amazing. Another song from a few years ago is by Kutless, also called Even If.   And if you like the idea of dancing in that fire, you will enjoy this song by Jordan Feliz.

 


 

Elizabeth Kay Dyer

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. 

Are you finding that you are missing the role your husband played? You can read articles here.

If you want inspiration and vision for your future, you can click here. 

 

 

What I Want or What Is Best?

Valentine’s Day.

Along with our anniversary, this is one of those days on the calendar that we widows dread. Can we just skip this day? Pretend it doesn’t exist?

One Valentine memory I have is when my husband, who rarely brought me flowers, had flowers delivered by some internet big-name company. They came nearly dead!  He had his secretary call and complain, so they sent another batch right away. It almost seemed like the company was verifying his true feelings about how impractical flowers can be!

During this time of year, I find myself running off in my mind to a place where I was happily married and feeling the love of my husband so deeply. My mind wanders off to places that didn’t even exist! I begin to imagine myself on the cover of a romance novel, wrapped in the arms of some half-dressed sweaty hunk! But I’m probably the only one who imagines this…

And with all the talk of “love” this time of year, I also find myself wishing for another chance at marriage. Let’s face it, I have a lot of years left on this earth hopefully.

I was listening to a sermon recently as my eyes moved across the page to a passage from 1 Samuel. The Israelites wanted a king. Badly. They begged God for a king so they could be like the other nations.

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20 ESV

Then it hit me – I sound just like them! Give me a husband, God, so I can fit in with the married folks again.  I want to feel loved again. My kids should experience a father in the house. He can fix all the repairs that keep coming up. Give me a husband…

I sound like a three-year-old, throwing a tantrum. I want a husband, God! I want him now!

Why did God say to the Israelites that they shouldn’t keep asking for a king?

  • They were rejecting God as their leader
  • Their children would serve the new king
  • Their money would not be their own – taxes!
  • They would serve the king

So Samuel shared with the people what God warned them would happen if they got a king like the other nations. The people shouted louder – We want a king! God then told Samuel to give them what they wanted. Even though it wasn’t the best for them.

Sisters, I never want God to say that to me. I want what is best. It might be marriage or it might be to remain single. I want to let God be God, saying, “Your will be done”, and be full of joy on the path He leads me on.

This Valentine’s Day, try to block out the fake images of love, and focus on the undying love God has for us. Let’s not forget His promises in our quest to be like others. I find encouragement in what God said to the Israelites in Isaiah 54:4-5 (living Bible)

…the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, 

for your Creator will be your husband.

And another encouragement from Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Friend, you ARE loved. You ARE cherished. You ARE beautiful. You ARE special.

This is a wonderful song that will remind you of the love of God today. And another to remind us God’s love will never let us go. 

 

Father God, keep me focused on the path I am on and not always wishing for another route. Remind of the joy and pleasure of being in Your presence. Amen


 

 

Elizabeth DyerElizabeth Dyer, Elizabeth Kay Dyer, A Widow's Might, aNew Season 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. 

We have more articles on Valentine’s Day. You can read them here. Happy Valentine’s Day by Nancy Ultimate Valentine by Erika  It’s All Good by Sherry

 

Dating 101

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

Psalm 13 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sherry Look

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

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

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like: Dating a Widow by Kit Hinkle

 

What It’s Not

But He gives more grace…

James 4:6a ESV

Are you dating anyone?

Why haven’t you dated?

How do you feel about dating?

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

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

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

What it is:

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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?

Family Ties

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

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

1 John 3:1 NIV

It’s just not the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But.

WE STILL BELONG TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about God as our husbands with Sherry and Ami


Rescued From the Lion’s Mouth

But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

                                                                                                                                                2 Timothy 4:17 ESV

I miss the joy of being Dave’s wife. He loved me unconditionally and he encouraged me to be the woman God created me to be. He was my advocate always. He made me feel beautiful, smart, strong, courageous, adventuresome, and funny as his wife. I don’t feel like that person any more.

It is so hard to admit my feelings. I don’t want to feel like this. I love God and I desperately want to represent Him well. It’s been four years and I feel the pressure to be “back to normal.” I struggle with striving to meet, what I perceive, to be other peoples’ expectations. In the past my husband, my advocate and cheerleader, kept me grounded. But without his support and encouragement, I find myself entangled in striving again and again. Striving is a devastating sin, borne out of pride. It robs me of my peace and joy, and it does not glorify God.

Last week, I went to Haiti on a mission trip to work with several orphanages. I set out for the trip with eager anticipation hoping God would revive my spirit by serving others. Instead, I found myself in the lion’s den, a dark abyss. I was not prepared for the widespread devastation and poverty in Haiti.

The circumstances the people and children of Haiti endure is beyond heartbreaking. I found myself using every coping skill I developed as a widow to keep my emotions in check. I tried to minister to them while secretly being overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair.

I struggled the entire trip. I continued to struggle when I came home. I broke down and cried when I walked into my grandson’s “Mom’s Day Out” program. The stark contrast of how differently our children live finally brought the grieving for the Haitian children to the surface.

Where was the revival of my spirit from serving others? I wanted to feel fulfilled, instead I felt broken and lost, much like I felt in the early days of widowhood. But just like the early days of being a widow, the brokeness became a catalyst

To move forward. To seek Him. Not to my earthly husband as I might have done in the past, but to the Lord who is my bridegroom for now and for all eternity. Just like the Apostle Paul taught us from his trials, The Lord is the One who gives me strength. He is the One who proclaims His message through me so that others might hear it. He is the One who rescued me from the lion’s mouth.

In my case, the lion’s mouth is filled with hopelessness, striving, and pride. God paid the ultimate price so I could be freed from these sins. He fills me with His love and compassion. He gently reminds me it is He who strengthens me.

I may no longer feel like the person I once was but I am so much more. I am more like the One who lives in me.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank you Lord for rescuing us from the lion’s mouth. We are so undeserving. Help us to seek You for strength in all circumstances. Comfort us as we grieve the loss of our husbands and the life that was so familiar. Help us decrease so that Your presence in our lives increases. Please give us the privilege of proclaiming Your truth so that others may come to know You. We love you Lord!

                                                                           In Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.


 

 

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 or any of our team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

 

Want to read another great article by Sheryl? Remembering to Rest

Want to read another article about God as your Husband? Heart Specialist by Erika


 

 

Be Mine

 

Sisters, expectations can bring so much hurt. And unmet expectations can nearly kill our emotions.

Couples and Singles alike often wake up on Valentine’s Day with unmet expectations. But the pain and emptiness of a widow’s struggle on this day can be unique. Every ad on TV. Every picture of happy couples on social media. Memory after memory.

I found some great articles to help us keep our focus on the Truth of Scripture. Hopefully these articles by our team will help make this day a whole lot sweeter for you, without adding the calories of chocolate.

  • Do you find yourself longing for your husband on Valentine’s Day? Do you long to feel presented as a radiant church or bride, blameless and holy? Radiant church–that’s how Kit felt at the end of the evening.  Continue reading…
  • Happy Valentine’s Day! Yeah, I know…what’s happy about it?  Your significant other is gone.  No flowers for you.  No chocolates for you.  No Jewelry.  No perfume.  No card. No kisses. No hugs.  Just a slap in the face reminder that things will never be the same.  Julie says, If I see one more commercial that “Every kiss begins with ….Kay.” I’m going to hurt someone! Continue reading…
  • It was quite a while before he admitted the embarrassment about his hands. He was concerned about the carpenter’s callouses – all Linda noticed was their strong, yet gentle strength. Continue reading…
  •  God didn’t leave her in that room in the ICU.  He didn’t leave her in that hotel lobby crying over the last Valentine’s flowers Sherry would receive from her husband.  He gave her hope. She knew she would see her husband again.  She has a Savior Who cares about her every thought and need.  He seeks her company all day and never fails her. Continue reading…
  • Our sweet “Carebear”, the late Karen Emberlin, wrote a wonderful article about her heart surgery and compared it to a song being played on Christian radio stations currently – “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”, by Danny Gokey. Here is the amazing video interview with the artist. Karen’s article is a sweet tribute to her heart beating like never before as she is spending eternity with her Creator God.

Please comment below with your thoughts on dealing with Valentine’s Day. We would love to hear your path to victory.

 

 

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