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

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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 

 

I Struggle!

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:22 ESV

 

Sometimes I feel like I could just write this one sentence and everyone would agree.

I struggle. PERIOD.

Enough said for widows and anyone who suffers loss, women, broken people, those with illness or disabilities, men, teens, Christians, unbelievers, old, young, rich and poor, everyone….

We all struggle.

I’m not “Super Susie Sunshine Christian” trying to make everyone around me believe that I have it all together and walk through life with no worries, pressures, or struggles.  I am a real woman trying to serve a very real God. Which I think will be a book someday, but for now, it’s just who I am. I’m on staff in this ministry, on staff at my church, own a business, founded a nonprofit, and yet most days I’m just trying to get out of bed and be dressed. That’s it; all I’ve got.

I struggle with lies of the enemy about my place, my worth, my value, my impact. I have less years to live than I’ve already lived. Will my life make a difference? I struggle with grief and brokenness, self image, weight and beauty, with financial decisions and provision. I struggle with words and thoughts that are not in, of, and for God.

Most people who meet me during the course of a day would not think this is true of me. By God’s grace alone, most days I make it past dressed and out of bed. I speak for a living, so I have to work hard to craft my people skills and my God given talents and gifts. I sing, write and travel. My desire is to empower everyone, I am allowed to speak into, with a glimpse of how to become their best selves. I want His light to shine through me. I KNOW God, I TRUST God and I try to LIVE God out-loud. I know how to take thoughts captive and command the enemy to flee not by my power, but by the power of Christ in me. Yet, there are still days when I struggle.

The difference is I have hope even when I struggle. Hope tomorrow will be a better day. That it will be a highlight reel day, instead of a cutting room floor day. Hope I can pull it together, because I get on my knees and let it go. Hope God will indeed be who He says He is; my redeemer, my rescuer, the lover of my soul.

Hope.

Hope is the most powerful tool of the human mind, the most sought after human emotion, and the only thing that some of us cling to on the worst days. God has a great deal to say about hope. This four letter word is mentioned over 120 times in the Bible. He knew we would NEED hope and as always, He provided.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. 

Proverbs 23:13 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

I Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I have no idea what you struggle with, but I want you to know today, if you struggle, it’s okay. We all do. You ARE NOT the only one! Grab hold of this fact, hope can overcome any of our struggles if our hope is found in the Lord.  Lay claim to His power, His strength, His promises. The struggle may be real, but in Christ there is truth and power. He is reality! The enemy has already been defeated and the victory has already been won.

Let your prayer today be a way to call it out; “I am victorious in Christ. He carries my burdens!” Jesus, my hope is in You. Amen!


 

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Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

Would you like to schedule Teri or another team member to speak at your next church event? Contact her at admin@anewseason.net

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

Posts similar to this one by other authors: Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?  & Breathing in Hope Read more

A God Focused Perspective

God is my strong fortress and He makes my way perfect. 

                                                                                           2 Samuel 22:33 NLT

OVERWHELMED. I have a confession to make. I have felt overwhelmed more days than not since I lost my husband five years ago. This week I finally had a major breakthrough. Or so I thought.

Day after day I struggled with feeling overwhelmed:

  • Overwhelmed with grief from my husband’s death
  • Overwhelmed by the two years of court cases related to his death that followed
  • Overwhelmed in trying to do my job and manage a household by myself
  • Overwhelmed by a call into a new ministry
  • Overwhelmed by a move to a new city
  • Overwhelmed by my father’s death and handling his estate
  • Overwhelmed by caring for my grandchildren two days a week. 
  • Overwhelmed by household repairs, paying taxes, managing finances and finding the time needed to get things done

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. 

Despair was starting to sink in last week as more and more things piled up. Something had to change! I finally decided to try a new approach to handling my time. I am an avid technology user, chronically addicted to my electronic calendar and to do list for over thirty years. But my system didn’t seem to be working in this new season of life. I finally decided to add a new step in my process. I am now using a paper weekly calendar to prioritize and to schedule time to complete each task, carefully crossing them off when finished. Trust me I have read all the time management books –this is definitely not a revolutionary change. But to my surprise, I soon discovered it had an amazing impact on my week. Not only did I accomplish more things but also for the first time in five years, I felt the feelings of being overwhelmed begin to subside. I could breathe again. I could relax. There are still a daunting number of tasks ahead of me. Let’s face it – it is much harder to do life without a partner. But my whole attitude shifted as I recognized the progress I had made.

Oh how I love to take credit for my “great” ideas. Was it that simple? Had I finally figured out the system that would solve all of my problems? Fortunately I was reminded how quickly I fall for that lie every time. If I just had the “magic” pill or “miracle” system, everything would be all right. If I just worked harder or smarter, life would be easier. And then I get trapped into thinking “this” is finally the answer. What a limited perspective we have. But all along the way God was working on me and eventually I began to see with His eyes. You see this week isn’t when I finally figured it out. It wasn’t this week and it wasn’t me. God is the one who puts order in my steps and makes my way perfect. He is the one who has provided every blessing over the last five years that has helped me continue to move forward. It took Him to get me to where I am today. He is the One who deserves the praise and the glory. Not me. When I remember it’s Him not me, the feelings of being overwhelmed disappear completely – because He is God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Great I Am, Our Redeemer, Our Savior, the Lord Almighty. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is sovereign over everything. He is not, and never will be, overwhelmed. What a difference it makes to have a God-focused perspective


 

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 great articles by Sheryl? The Heartwarming Conclusion

Want to read other  articles about feeling overwhelmed? Coop Chaos by Liz Anne Wright

I Am Made New

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold , all things are become new.  

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

It’s been five years and seven months since my husband, Bill, got promoted to Heaven.  When he let go of my hand and took the Savior’s hand and walked into Glory, I was a different person than I am now.

I was a planner and organizer then.  I planned everything and had a back-up plan for the plan.  I researched everything and made lists.  I was goal oriented – results based.  I was a rule follower; a goodie-two-shoes, if you will.  A loyal person who dug in when the going got tough.  I was bitter sometimes; judgmental, at times.

Then, as my life with Bill was snatched away, I felt at times I was left with nothing…no one…empty…alone…

As I wandered the beginning of this grief journey, I was adrift.  I was numb.  I was so empty and aimless.

I remembered how my Bill always got back up.  He always took the next step.  There might be a lot of time between steps, but he always took the next step.  He also always looked to the Savior.  I wanted to honor him and the brave life he lived and, in an effort to gain focus, I thought about what made him so special and that’s what came to me.  So, because I didn’t know what else to do, I just tried to live each day in an honoring way to Bill.  Step by step; minute by minute; moment by moment , I walked this path looking up at the Savior and thinking about how Bill would have reacted in my situation.

Then days turned into months and months turned into years and I continued this step by step, the looking up approach.  I started to breathe on my own.  I found myself laughing more.  I cut my hair.  I started buying new clothes.  I changed my makeup brand.  I started trying to do things that challenged me and pulled me from comfortable to uncomfortable.

I am not a singer…so, I signed up to sing a solo at church.   I (with the help of my friend, Eileen) pulled out a rock garden and put in a mulch bed with plantings.  I installed a four foot by fifteen foot backyard above-ground pool.  I put together an 8-drawer dresser, nightstand, desk, and two chairs for my daughter’s apartment.  I raked my front yard tree leaves (21 bags).  I scraped and painted a spot on the wall that was damaged.  I replaced a door knob.

All of these things are new things I’m doing and learning, and they are adding to me and changing me.  This “planner” was just a few days ago called spontaneous and impulsive. People say I’m “funny and must not have a care in the world”.

I share all of this to tell you that on this journey I have changed.  At first, I thought I was doing what Bill would do.  But, now, I see that it was Christ the whole time.  Refining me.  Loving me.  Still working on and in me.  Christ made this journey possible and needed me to take it in order to mold me into who I am today.

In Christ, I am a new creature.  The old has passed away and the new is here.  I’m enjoying getting to know the new person I am in Christ.

Dear Lord, I am so grateful for this journey.  I am so grateful for Your ability to mold me into a new creature.  Thank You!  


Sherry LookSherry 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 very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and just completed her freshman year at 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

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Too Much

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 3:1a ESV

 

Some days it is just too much. Not only are we trying to deal with the loss of our loved ones, but we know many others are suffering the loss of their loved ones also. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to run a marathon in quicksand. Occasionally, I begin to wonder, am I going to make it? Am I ever going to be able to enjoy this life, without wondering when the next phone call with tragic news will come?

My heart has been broken time and time again. My husband, my brother, and my father are all in heaven. I have walked with several friends through the loss of their loved ones, whom I also loved dearly. I have cried more than my fair share. It is too much.

But each day I get up and I live. Not as a broken shell of who I once was, although I might feel that way some days, but as a precious child of God, because it is who I am. How I feel pales in significance to who I am in Christ. My life was bought for a price, and it belongs to Him. I am His child.

What can we do when it all feels like it is just too much? We can remember what feels like too much pain is only temporary, and what we really have is too much love, love that we didn’t earn or deserve. We have a God who loves us so much He sent His Son to die on the cross so that we could have eternal life with Him! Because He lives in us, there is too much love in us, and it overflows, allowing us to generously love others.

We are vessels of God’s love, so it is only natural our hearts are broken with the loss of a loved one, suddenly gone from our physical presence here on Earth. I am comforted by knowing that because we have Christ, we are still and forever connected. My loved ones still live. They have eternal life. I still love them, and they still love me. We are one spiritual body  – with Christ as the head of the body.

My heart overflows with gratitude and love for a God who made a way that I would never, ever, have to be separated from Him or my loved ones. I want others to know Him. I cannot imagine suffering the pain of death without knowing Him and having eternal life. I desperately want to show others His love. And on the days it just seems like too much, I choose to remember it’s not about too much pain, it’s about too much love.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You Father for loving us more that we could ever possibly hope for or imagine. We are so grateful for Your Grace and Love which is way beyond what we deserve. Thank You for the amazing love You put in our hearts for others. Help us to show them Your Love. Help them come to know You through us. Help us to remember it’s not about too much pain, it’s about too much love. In Your Precious Son’s 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 Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Want to read other great articles by Sheryl? click here

Want to read other articles about our choices? I Delight Myself in You  & More Than My Scars