Blocking Out the Sun/Son

Take a second right now and go look out your window. Is the sun shining?

If the sun is shining, grab a quarter from between your sofa cushions and hold it up to your eye.

Where did the sun go? The enormous blazing fire-ball was blocked by a tiny coin!

 

Sometimes in my life I look at my problems like quarters. These are the problems that seem so much larger since becoming a widow. Maybe widowhood magnifies certain things in my life. They block my view of God’s Son–I can’t praise Him or pray or spend any time in reading Scripture because my problems seem so large. I sit in worship service, distracted by the issues affecting my emotions. Life loses any enjoyment because my brain is wrapped up in my problems. 

Those unmet financial obligations …

A grown child running away from God…

Inabililty to sleep soundly…

Loneliness, even while surrounded by people…

Unending sadness and grief …

Overwhelming care for ailing parents …

 

Each of these can be like a quarter we hold up to block the sun.

Reality is, though, that the quarter doesn’t really block the sun from shining.

It is just a matter of perspective.

Perspective…

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us

an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison

2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV

I do not like the eternal perspective of “light momentary affliction” sometimes. Especially when I am in the middle of one of those “afflictions”. My perspective is that it is completely clouding out my view of Christ. It blocks my praise. It prevents me from laying my burdens at His throne. Do you ever feel this way?

So now that we have established that we can block the Son with our afflictions, what can we do to remove the blocks? I know it isn’t as easy as taking the quarter away from our eyes, so let’s dig into some Scripture verses and see what He says.

Psalm 42.  This Psalm is like a page out of the psalmist’s journal. The author asks questions I am very familiar with. Click on the link if you have a few minutes to read the entire Psalm, Here are some of the questions he asked:

  • Why am I downcast? 
  • Why have You forgotten me?  
  • Why is my soul disturbed within me?

The Psalmist is holding up a quarter in front of his eye and saying, “I can’t see You, God! You must not be there!” But as he dialogues with himself, he lands on this phrase and repeats it several times in this chapter and the next:

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him. (Psalm 42:5 niv) 

Is that the same place I land when I remove the blinders? In the middle of my grief or my afflictions, can I stand there and solidly declare, “My hope is in God. I WILL praise Him!”

As we put these two different passages together, one from the Old and one from the New Testament, we can see how the struggles we have here on earth can definitely block our view of eternity. We need to remove the blinders and say with the Psalmist, “My hope is in You.”

Would you repeat that with me right now – maybe even out loud –

MY HOPE IS IN YOU.

Lord God,  my problems so easily block my view of You. Help me to declare my hope in You and take the blinders from my eyes. I want to see my afflictions from an eternal perspective today. Amen

 

Practical suggestions:

  1. Get a 3×5 index card, tape a quarter on it, write “my afflictions can block the Son” –carry it in your purse or tape it to your bathroom mirror
  2. Choose a verse from Psalm 42 to memorize – write it on a post-it note, stick it on your steering wheel or other place your see often
  3. Get on a Bible website (Biblegateway or YouVersion or others) and look up the word HOPE. Jot down in your journal some of the verses and review them often. 
  4. Don’t feel any shame in seeing a Biblical counselor who can help you talk through your “afflictions”.
  5. Start keeping a journal – write down prayers, thoughts, concerns, requests, verses, and anything else you want.

 

 


 

 

Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Here is an article by Lori about HOPE.

Liz Anne wrote a great article about Psalm 42 here.

 

 

Our Stories so Uniquely the Same- Part One

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

I encourage you, sisters, to join me in a three part series I wrote years ago as I started this ministry.  I was struck by how unique and compelling each woman’s story was, and yet how similarly the threads of love, loss, and healing weave through all of our stories–creating one message: Hope in Christ.  The original writing was three times the length of our current articles, so I have split these into three parts which we will publish today and over the coming months. Today’s part focuses on those early days of loss.  Look for part two on the second year and part three on a new season in the coming months. Bless you sisters– our stories share God’s love for us!           ~Kit

***

The day of the funeral we wore that dress we wish we could forget about. Some of us wore stylish dresses, as though our husbands would be comforted in Heaven if we tried our best to not look as awful as we felt. Some of us wore the simplest of black dresses—after all, the occasion wasn’t happy—why attract attention to ourselves? Some of us hate black and purposely chose navy blue. Some of us borrowed dresses from our sisters and then asked them to take it back and never show it to us again. Why use our own dress, which would sit in the closet as a constant reminder?

All of us cried. We cried heavy, even howled—never holding back—drowning in wet tissues for hours on our sisters’ laps. We cried soft whimpers when no one was looking. We cried silent tears—staring blankly at the empty world we faced without them. We didn’t cry at all at first and even wondered if everyone thought we didn’t love our husbands. Of course, we did—more than life itself—it’s just that we’re not criers—or so we thought. In private, it all came loose. We drowned our tears in wine until a friend plucked us up and sat with us so we wouldn’t drink alone. We cried in waves, like a roller coaster—fine one minute, calm, even kind of detached about it as we sorted through things in the house—wondering why on earth we’ve been given this strange peace, until the wave crashed and then boom—we dissolved into inconsolable tears.

We got through that first month. Some of us were thrust into crisis mode—”He had a business with customers banging at the door—who else but the widow would be expected to close up shop?” Some of us fought with the insurance company—”what do you mean investigation? I thought our life insurance was secure!” Some of us couldn’t stay in our homes—without him, the rent couldn’t be paid. Many of us refused to think about it. The kids were so confused—how could we even have a moment to think about ourselves with our kids asking so many questions? Some of us got busy—cleaning, trying to make order somewhere even with the chaos in our hearts.

Then we had to deal with his belongings unless we expected to live with the constant evidence someone should still be there. We had friends sort through his belongings for us—bagging up his clothes and taking them to Goodwill right away. We wouldn’t let anyone touch his belongings. Their closets became unbearable to touch, a sort of shrine to their existence in our lives. We organized his belongings into nice little boxes and moved them into the attic. Hopefully, we can eventually have the courage to reopen them and decide what to do with it all. We left certain belongings untouched. That receipt from Blockbuster he taped onto the side of the refrigerator stayed there for years. Even visitors seemed to know it would be sacrilegious to remove it.

***

But all of us do… live life more. Whether it’s through grieving more deeply or actively starting life more quickly, we live life more. Our tragedies are parallel and the ripples from our tragedies go in all different directions. And somehow, always lead to redemption.

Father God,  I thank You for these sisters who continue to share their stories with us. I marvel at how strong each of them is, and how You have taken the horrible losses in their lives to transform them and glorify You.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Inlaws- not Outlaws

Something Else to be Afraid of

A Widow’s Walk is Never Carved in Stone

Created for His Glory

S H E E R   P A N I C !

I have absolutely nothing left to give. Why am I doing this? 

These words can grip my soul as tenaciously as the many fears that gripped my heart in those first few months of widowhood.

These words, I have battled with often. They creep in unexpectedly and can overwhelm me for days. Sometimes they even immobilize me – especially when it is time to write to you. And as the battle rages on, once again, I ask, “Why am I doing this?”

Because I was created to glorify Him!

Our purpose is explicitly spelled out in Isaiah:

 

                                                                “everyone who is called by my name,

                                                                  whom I created for my glory,

                                                                   whom I formed and made.”

                                                                                                    Isaiah 43:7  ESV                        

We are created for His glory!

The task before me today is not by chance. God knows what I am struggling with, He knows what I am thinking. He knows my shortcomings. And long ago He wrote me a love letter to encourage my heart. In His letter, He reminded me I was created for His glory. He also wrote a story about another widow, who out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. She thought she had nothing left to give…He saw so much more. He saw her sacrifice and her heart. In that one small act, she glorified Him. Can you imagine?

With a simple act of sacrifice today we can glorify our Lord – the great I Am!

So it matters not, if I feel totally inadequate, or if I panic about the words to write so you will be encouraged. It matters not, if my heart continually breaks for your pain until I feel like I have nothing left to give. What does matter is today I will give everything I have to give. Tomorrow I hope to do the same. The trials I have faced have worked much like the refiner’s fire. My greatest desire is to do what I was created to do – glorify Him!

What is your heart’s greatest desire?

Sisters, my prayer for you today is that you will live today to its fullest. You will not let fear or grief or insecurities or just everyday distractions stop you from giving all that you have.

It may be …

  • a simple smile or a thank you when you are at your lowest.
  • a prayer of praise acknowledging He is your Lord and Savior.
  • trusting Him to get you through one more day.
  • taking on a new challenge or forgiving someone that really doesn’t deserve forgiveness.
  • sharing your story and testifying about the magnificence of His grace.

Whatever He puts before you, may your sacrifice and your heart glorify Him!

Let these words from the hymn “Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling” inspire you to continue running the race as the faithful servant you are:

Let none hear you idly saying,

There is nothing I can do.

While the lost of earth are dying,

And the Master calls for you;

Take the task He gives you gladly;

Let His work your pleasure be;

Answer quickly when He calls you,

Here am I, send me, send me.

       Words by Daniel March, 1868 in the hymn “Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling”


SherylPeppletb

Sheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. 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 Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Want to read another article by this author? I Have a Purpose

Want to read another article? I am not Equipped

 

Out of Control

I dislike when things feel they are reeling out of control. How about you?

My husband’s death, and the months of multiple medical crises leading up to it, definitely created that feeling.  Life after his death brought out insecurities as I viewed the landscape of my life. Every area was altered and I did not feel prepared for so much change. The question I faced, and we all face, is how to respond when life feels out of control. We can choose humility or pride based on this verse from James 4:6 (ESV):

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is the path to grace but pride is obstructive and interferes. I don’t doubt we’d all like to have God on our side and have His grace!  Yet, pride can be pretty subtle.

Since the time of Adam and Eve, pride has proposed our limited perspective is more trustworthy than God’s.  The serpent challenged God’s will and perspective was best for Adam and Eve. He dangled a forbidden “something more,” before them and they bit the proverbial apple of the knowledge of good and evil.

Pride asserts it knows what is best, but humility defers to the One who actually does know.  Pride puts a hand up to God and humility invites Him to show Himself strong in His love. 

The apostle Paul didn’t say he could do all things in himself but, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 (ESV). So the very things that feel out of control can work for us, if we respond like Paul.

As widows, our opportunities to experience God’s grace are daily–when we feel vulnerable, cannot fully trust our memory and ability to focus, or our  emotions, and as we face the many “firsts,” that come our way.  The many decisions that were shared and are now just us, are all “firsts.”

Humility says, “God make possible this very difficult decision.” Pride says, “I can do it myself. I don’t need to trouble God.” Humility recognizes God with honor. Pride magnifies self, problems, and pain, while minimizing God, His stature and love. Self-interest increases and God-interests and trusting Him decreases.

Grace follows when we recognize our weaknesses are assets, if given to God for His strength.

As I recognize my need, I can reach out and accept God’s loving provision for me. He understands our journeys and it is okay if we don’t have it all together.  It’s better for God to have us and our lives in His arms. This is the opposite response of Adam and Eve.

Like Paul we can say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Cor. 12:10 (ESV)

Please join me in a closing prayer:

Most Worthy God, thank You for Your everlasting love. We love ourselves enough to admit we need You more than ever.  Help us to recognize quickly when we need to invite Your grace into the many hard things we face, so like Paul we find Your strength in our weakness. We are forever Yours and grateful, dear Lord! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Janene @ Myrtle Beach

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

Secret to Joy

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

James 4:14 (ESV)

I stood gripping the edge of the counter, steadying myself, the memory of Tom washing through me like a flash flood of warm splashes, both refreshing and threatening at the same time.

Refreshing, because Tom exuded joy in his life—a twinkle in his eye and a keen sense of how to look at every moment and see the irony in it, the joy in it.

Threatening, because like Tom himself, I knew that immediacy of feeling the warmth of those moments would be lost when the cold hard reality would set in again—he’s gone.  He’s gone.

Life made a certain sense to Tom more so than it did to others, and anyone around him wanted that.

Even I.

It was his secret to joy. And most of us walking about on this earth don’t have it.

What was Tom’s secret?

Was it Christ? Yes, that was part of it—Tom sought after Christ like no one I had ever seen.

But it was more than that.  It was a wisdom—a sense that nothing on this planet is permanent, and that truth is okay. Because there is more. There is permanence in the next life.

When Tom finally chased after the Truth in the Gospels, he did so with this burning desire to understand, what’s next, God?  He had raised kids from his first marriage, and they were now grown.  He had started businesses, watched some grow, and watch some close down.  We had gone through ups and downs in our marriage.  And he would notice one thing…

It all eventually vanishes.

Children grow up and leave.  Businesses are never the same.  Friendships shift and people’s lives can change on a dime.  There’s got to be something more.

There is, and Tom found it.

When you know you are eternally safe with God, you can stop clutching on to this life, hoping the sands will stop shifting beneath your feet.  You will begin to just enjoy the ride of the shifting sands—enjoy that little toddler who is creating havoc in your home. Enjoy the brooding teen for who he is, a wonderful mixed up ball of hormonal creation whom God placed in your care because He entrusted you. Enjoy each of these dinner dates in that crazy process called dating. Laugh at the moments when you discover incompatibilities, trusting that God has a plan for the rest of your life.

Grab hold of every moment with laughter and purpose.

Because each of us as widows have learned something.  Our precious husbands left this world too soon, and since then, our lives were never the same.  We’ve learned that everything changes in the end.

But we also know that our husbands still exist somewhere.  We have a connectedness in our souls, a relational memory of someone we know is behind that curtain we might call the gates of Heaven.

Like a window into Heaven.

It makes a tragic view of this world, a view that says, it all goes away in the end, okay.

Not just okay, but encouraging.

Because we can rise above the pain and sorrow of events around us, knowing Heaven awaits.

Lord Jesus, help us find Your perspective through our window into Heaven. Help us enjoy the ride of life and see more humor in each moment.  Teach us to grasp each moment and decide to impact those around us so they see a window into Heaven like the rest of us.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Fill My Days with the Living

Daddyisms

Contentment as a Single Mom

 

Stay Connected

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

                                                                                John 15:5 ESV

 What are you living for? It’s a question we come face to face with when our world is turned upside down by the loss of our spouses. My answer is I live to glorify God. There is only one way I can accomplish that purpose, I have to stay connected.

One of the first verses I memorized was John 15:5. But of course I memorized it WRONG. My version ended with “apart from me you ARE nothing” instead of “apart from me you CAN DO nothing.” Amazing what a difference those two little words make. I still chuckle when I think about this verse and my mistake. Over time, this mistake has become a two-fold lesson. First, it became a lesson about who I am in Christ – I am not, nor could I ever be, nothing to God. Secondly, it became a lesson about the importance of meditating on God’s word. Two critical lessons that have sustained me, challenged me, and strengthened me, throughout my journey.

When I became a widow, I struggled with who I was since I was no longer a wife. Several times the Holy Spirit reminded me of the truth I had learned from John 15:5. God is the vine and I am the branch. Being the branch – an extension of the vine – is amazing. Whether I am a wife or a widow, doesn’t change the reality that God created me to be His creation, connected to Him. No matter how alone I feel, how overwhelmed I get or how many tears I cry, I am still something. I am His creation, whom He loves. He has created me to draw my strength and my life from Him – the vine.

Over time, this verse has fundamentally changed my understanding of who I really am. Wisdom and understanding made possible only by the Holy Spirit helping me truly meditate on God’s word. I thought about this verse repeatedly until it seemed like it permeated every crevice of my brain. In addition to teaching me who I am, this verse reminds me how important it is to stay connected to God.

Early in my widow journey, I found it unbelievably difficult to read. Decades of being able to pick up my bible and receive comfort or wisdom whenever I needed, was suddenly something I was incapable of doing. At first, it was a few days, then a few weeks, and then it started to stretch into months, I started to panic. I tried reading my bible, reading devotionals, listening to Christian music. Nothing seemed to work. Eventually, I felt prompted by the Spirit to start writing devotionals, which seemed crazy at the time. How could I write, when I couldn’t even read? Writing turned out to be exactly what I needed to help me meditate on God’s word and stay connected to Him.

Are you struggling? Then breathe in the truth that God is the vine and you are the branch. Your identity, your strength, your life, comes from your connection to Him. Nothing can change that truth. Wait for God to supply the life and the direction you need, which can only come from Him. Trust – you are His creation whom He loves. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you so you stay connected!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who teaches us Your truth and who provides comfort and guidance. Help us to meditate on Your truth and to glorify You in all we say and do! Amen.

 


SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. 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 Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Want to read another article by this author? Draw Closer

Want to read another article? 5 things to help us heal by Elizabeth

I am not Equipped.

Some days are just hard. Some days my patience wears thin, and I feel like I’ve had enough. From the grief of losing my husband Michael to the challenges of blending a family and raising three boys, along with normal life stressors – emotions can TRY to take control – making us feel unqualified and unequipped for this journey. But as many of us have learned, emotions can be misleading.

There are many things I’ve learned since my husband Michael passed more than two years ago, but one thing continues to stand out:

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

We were not equipped for the emotions that come with losing our husbands … on our own. I was not equipped for January 15, 2015, and everything following that day.

On my own, I could not handle my husband and the father of my child dying by suicide. I was not prepared for my entire world and future to fall apart in just one moment.

On my own, I was not prepared to be a widow at thirty one.

On my own, I couldn’t fathom doing all of the things that come with being a widow and sole parent.

On my own, the fear felt suffocating.

On my own, I could not have faced another day.

No human being is equipped to deal with that kind of trauma, ON OUR OWN.

Though I may not have been equipped to face those horrific circumstances or the challenges of blending a family and becoming a step mom on my own, the Lord equipped me to lean on Him – to lean into His strength, comfort and peace to make it through the unbearable days and even the impatient ones. He knows none of us are equipped to handle trials of this magnitude alone. That’s why He stands by our side and never leaves us, equipping us with His strength. He tells us this time and time again.

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him …” Hebrews 13:20-21

I was not prepared to lose my husband, but the Lord did equip me to lean on Him for strength. His faithfulness is the reason I stand strong today. Sisters, He wants you to lean in, too. His strength will get you through.

Lord, We are all broken and in need of Your strength. Equip us accordingly to step forward in this new life, ready to do Your will. Protect us from the evil one and from self doubt that can sometimes overwhelm us. You have placed us on this path, and we know you will stand by us today and every day. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

 Here’s another article you might like about battling Satan by Elizabeth, Catch the Foxes! 

Several members of our team have written on the experiences of losing a spouse to suicide. You can read the articles here.

Faith over Frustration

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”                   

                                                                               Psalm 34:18 ESV                           

Can I get an Amen on how much we miss our “handyman” around our homes?!

My husband was the ultimate “handyman” around our house. He could look at any situation and in his creative mind come up with a solution to make it work better.

I was reminded of this recently when I had to tackle an issue as a result of one of my husband’s ingenious work. He designed and installed a drain pipe to catch the over flow of pool water away from our deck. It was a genius idea. The pipe carried the water away, which over time could have damaged our deck. It also carried away pesky bugs and foliage debris.

But, what I didn’t know, was the need for this drain pipe to be flushed on a regular basis. A scheduled cleansing of pure water to flush the pipe to keep it clean and running free was needed. So, after months of no cleaning, I learned real quick the consequences. Stagnant water began to sit on my deck as a result of a completely clogged pipe. And as I began to tackle this clogged pipe, I thought how perfect an illustration it was in how I was feeling.

The past few months, my life has felt just like that clogged pipe. Clogged with frustrations. An abundance of frustrations! Frustration upon frustration pouring over me clogging my heart and thoughts. You know the feeling when every day presents another challenge and you feel as though you are drowning?

I am ashamed to say it, but, I have let these frustrations grab ahold and cause a struggle with my faith. A struggle not in the sense of questioning God’s faithfulness, but, more in the sense of questioning, “why the abundance of problems?”  And if I can continue to be honest, I have been living in complete defeat lately.

Frustrations were winning and controlling my life. How did I get to this level? I am the first one to stand up and give testimony of how faithful God has been to me since my husband’s death. How could I allow these pesky annoyances to become so debilitating!

As I move towards freeing myself from this debilitating feeling, let me share a few of my steps toward that goal.

  • Own the Struggles   

I have made a hand written list and I am laying them at the Cross. While God already knows what my struggles are, giving them to Him acknowledges His sovereignty.

  • It’s Okay To Say No

I am clearing my life of commitments for awhile (the ones I can). By clearing some time, I am able to spend more time in fellowship with God in study and prayer. Both necessary to conquer any struggles we may have.

  • Relish Solitude

 I am taking some time for me right now. I am scheduling in time for exercise and focusing on healthy eating. I am taking time to slow down and enjoy the little things like evening strolls and reading. It’s okay to not conquer life at mach speed all the time.

I don’t like the feelings I’ve had recently. As a child of God, I want to be strong and a constant testimony to His faithfulness. I do not want to be a weak Christian. And yet it is during these times He reminds me,

 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,  for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                                                                        

                                                                                        2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

His grace will not permit us to fall. His strength and power is manifested even greater by sustaining our weaknesses. And ultimately His power is like a tent over us, giving us shelter, protection, and rest. He is with us. Always. The promise of Grace will never fail us.

Precious Father, thank you for reminding me that it is Your Grace that carries me through the floods of frustrations. Thank you, Lord, for giving us protection and rest through Your Grace. May all my widowed sisters and I glorify Your strength through our weaknesses. Amen


 

My life took a radical turn in the spring of 2009 when the “C word” was introduced into our family.  Cancer.  My healthy husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and life as we knew it would never be the same.  I was able to live the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” as I walked along side this fight for his life.  After a timg_2753wenty month battle, God called my love home in the wee hours of an October morning in 2010.  I was devastated and could not imagine how I would be able to move forward without the love of my life by my side.

The answer was simple.  Jesus.  His love.  His mercy.  His grace.  He carried me when I was at my lowest.  And I carried Him in my heart even when I 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                                                           

I love reading, baking and long walks along the Florida coastline.  A good portion of my time is spent flying around the country as a flight attendant for over thirty years.  My husband and I were blessed to have shared twenty six years of marriage.  As I watch our daughters grow up, I enjoy seeing his traits and teaching evolve in their character.  He is greatly missed by his three girls.  But, he would be so proud to know we continue to fight the good fight and living out loud for our Savior.

See more from Bonnie at https://anewseason.net/author/bvickers

Read more about overcoming frustrations by Sherry and Kit.

 

Give it to God

The trauma my body and mind went through that day is indescribable. I still have aftershocks from that day and the moments leading up to my husband Michael’s death. These aftershocks trigger my mind, making me believe something awful is happening or about to happen. In fact, seeing an ambulance or fire truck parked outside of a home brings extreme stress that, within seconds, can build to anxiety.

The aftermath of death brings so many emotions – anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, shock, loneliness – and these feelings can continue thoughout our grief journey. It makes sense that our emotions are so high. The Holmes and Rah Stress Scale rates the loss of a spouse as the number one most stressful life event, not only because you lose your husband, but also because of the numerous secondary losses.

Sadly, you don’t have to tell us. As widows, we know this firsthand. We lost our husband, our best friend, lover, father of our children, confidant, financial advisor, prayer warrior, spiritual leader, our supporter, trash taker outer and partner in this life.

Whether it’s anxiety over the day you lost your husband, the stress of change or having to do everything on your own – raising your children without their father, figuring out finances – or the loss of relationships that were once close, what do we do when these feelings become so overwhelming that they almost paralyze us?

I attended a Suicide Survivors group and also went to counseling for several months following my husband’s death. I truly believe the Lord places people, like counselors, in our lives to help us sort through feelings and emotions. The time I spent in a group and with my counselor also helped me find a way to cope with the anxiety and trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) caused from it. I use these coping skills regularly, but there are times when they don’t seem to fulfill my heart or bring peace and comfort. That’s when I turn to the only ONE who can.

I find that when I try to do things on my own, I can’t seem to fully get past that moment and those feelings. But when I give those feelings to the Lord, I know He can do more than I ever thought possible.

The Lord says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

When I find myself in a place consumed by darkness and overwhelming circumstances, I pray and look to this verse. I have and continue to find comfort and peace here. Though I know what waits for me after this life, I have always trusted the Lord would bring goodness here on earth, too.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm  27:13)

From day one, after my husband passed, I saw this goodness in our son and in the people who surrounded me. God had placed these people in my life, not necessarily for the time I met them, but for that time of need when my world fell apart. And, presently, I am recently remarried and have seen so much goodness that the Lord has provided through my husband Keith.

As we continue to walk this journey of grief, and trauma and anxiety attempt to creep their way back in, let’s remember to pray and give it all to the ONE who knows our heart and our circumstances. Because He is the only one who can heal what is broken.

Lord, Each of us have our own story, but we all have been impacted by the trauma from our husbands’ deaths. Comfort us and remind us of Your eternal perspective. And though, we know eternal life with You awaits, we are confident you have goodness in store for us on earth. I pray you open our hearts and minds to listen to know where You are leading so we can experience Your goodness. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

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