Tie Me To the Mast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

12615501_10207224865214213_1344952754011757354_oElizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost At Sea – Focus on Christ

And He[Jesus] said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:29-31 NASB

It’s that time again.  Time for our annual family vacation.  I need it!  I need a break…and I love the beach and seven whole days away from my everyday life…  This particular vacation is with my husband’s side of the family.  It is time spent with his sisters and brothers in law, nieces and nephews, mom and stepdad.  Time spent in the same town that we, for many years, traveled to with these same people.

To say my heart and mind are flooded with memories of times past doesn’t even begin to describe it.

As I packed the car with our stuff for the week, I am reminded of me and Bill packing the car countless times. He would lovingly harass me about not packing the kitchen sink.  As we cross the bridge to our island home for the coming week, I am reminded of the years that he sat on our jet ski, by the bridge, and waved to me as we crossed. I would catch glimpses of his strong back, as he turned the jet ski toward our vacation home and I took the road to meet him there.  I am reminded of our times together, side-by-side making dinner on our night to host the family.  So many happy memories!

I’m also reminded of the last year we came together…when he was sick…the week he spent at the hospital.  I slept at the hospital too, as near to him as I could be.  I’m reminded of the year after his death…the year I slept alone in a big bed meant for two, but only filled by one.  Those memories are painful!

It is now my sixth summer alone and, while I have many happy new memories, these old memories keep swirling through my head.  They are so strong.

Today, as I body surfed with my family, I thought about how life is so much like the waves that crashed around me.  God is in control and as each wave comes and I decide whether to jump over it or into it, sometimes the wave (or life) crashes into my face.  Sometimes, I am sent tumbling through the water up onto the shell-filled beach.  Other times, I handle the wave and I get to see the beautiful blue water and enjoy the moment.  The water can be refreshing at times and, at other times, it can be painful.

Life can be like that.

At times, refreshing and at other times, painful.

With God, no matter what the waves bring into my life, I can handle them through Him.  Focusing on the fact that God is in control, and my life along with everything that happens in it has passed through His loving hands, gives me comfort.  So, when those memories that are sweet come and I miss my husband; I thank God for allowing me the time I had with him.  I thank God for giving me such a great family who have allowed me to stay in their lives even though Bill is not here anymore.  When the memories are painful, I thank God that He found a way for Bill to not have pain anymore.  I thank God that Bill is with Him, and that my reunion with him is planned at some point in the future.

I focused on my Savior each day of this vacation.  Who am I kidding?  I focus on my Savior every day of this journey.  God is good and even when I’m feeling lost; in Him, I am found.

Dear Lord,  Thank You for all my wonderful memories!  Thank You for this life!  I am found in You and I rest in You.  Amen


 

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

If you liked this article, you might like:

When There’s Nothing Left by Elizabeth

When There’s Nothing Left

 

In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

2 Corinthians 7:4 ESV

 

God’s ‘economy’ often makes NO SENSE.

Have you thought that?

This verse from the Apostle Paul is case in point. Affliction and joy, together, in the same sentence? How is that even possible?

Living in a relationship with Christ has shown me that sometimes, the impossible becomes possible.

Since the day before widowhood began, when a relative mentioned in passing that I would probably need to sell the house, I have done just the opposite- I have held on to my home. I had no peace about selling it and uprooting my six children. That is, until about nine months ago. A house popped up on my social media page for sale in our school district that seemed like a place we could make a home. It was even in my price range.

That began the fast track of decluttering my home – with the help of lots of friends and all my kids. In five days, we put our house on the market. I was fully expecting God to bring buyers quickly, and we would be moved by Christmas. We all know the stories –

“I put the sign out and 2 hours later it was sold!”

“I only had my house on the market for 2 days so I just KNEW God wanted me to move!”

Well, nine months went by. No buyers. Not even an offer. Lots and lots of showings every week. Some days spent driving around with a sick kid during the showings. Dog hair floating around the car. Slobber. You get the idea. It was rough keeping the house show-ready week after week. In my “affliction”, I wasn’t exactly “overflowing” with joy. I complained, I fussed, I was cranky.

Did God really tell me to sell? Did I truly believe God wanted me to uproot these children to move to a home about half the size? What was I thinking? What if it wasn’t God telling me to sell? What if it was just indigestion that I misinterpreted as God speaking?

I was beginning to feel similar to the widow in one of Elijah’s encounters. This story is found in 1 Kings 17.

Elijah asked the widow to make him a small cake of bread, but she informed him she had only enough left in her home to make something for herself and her son, and then they would die. It made no sense to her to do what he asked. He seemed to be asking something too hard of her. Wow, does THAT ever resonate with me!

“I only have one drop of oil left,” the widow spoke to Elijah in desperation. She had her son to feed and nothing left to live on. Elijah told her not to be afraid but go ahead and make his food before she made the food for her son.

“Don’t be afraid?” She knew the end of the bottle of oil. She knew the bottom of the flour bucket. “Don’t be afraid…” Sometimes following God doesn’t make earthly sense. She had her son to take care of! She had her life to get in order before dying!

Did God want to ‘take away’ her last drop of oil? It sure seemed like it. But maybe that isn’t the right perspective. Maybe instead of “taking away”…

He wanted to multiply her gift. Her gift of oil. But she had to let go of it first.

I am having to let go of some things from married life. My home is only one of many things. So. Much. Stuff. Can you relate? God has been saying to me to let it go. He keeps telling me He isn’t taking away my house, but is multiplying something far better. Maybe I won’t even know what the gift He is multiplying until I let go of what I am holding on to so tightly.

When the widow in the passage gave the last of her oil to Elijah, she found God multiplied the oil so it never ran out before there was another harvest. What a miracle that must have been to experience! I want to trust God enough with this move, knowing that He will provide a perfect place for us. I want to have that “overflowing joy” in this “affliction” known as moving and packing.

Lord God, Thank You for the overflowing joy You offer through the Holy Spirit. Help us to LET GO of whatever we are holding too tightly to so You can have it. We want the fruit of the Spirit multiplied in our lives and we want Your love multiplied in our lives. Do whatever You need to in our hearts to mold us and shape us into the women You want us to be. 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.

Another good article is The Waiting Room by Sherry and Earthly Treasures by Karen

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Revisited

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

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

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

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

Can others see that in me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My shelter is in God alone:

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

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


 

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Elizabeth is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might. She lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was! Widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

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

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

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

 

SOS (Sudden Onset Sleepies)

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)

Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed you suddenly felt sleepy?

I hadn’t felt that reaction to stress since those early days after the funeral, but I felt it again recently.

It was one of those weeks with tax returns, senior graduation planning, family summer scheduling and promised ministry duties. I simply had to meet all of these deadlines.

So, I hunkered down and began drilling through the mound of paperwork on my desk.

I was chugging along when something stopped my progress dead in its tracks—a drawn-out phone call with automated voice menus, hold times and customer service reps who kept forwarding me along to another, giving me plenty of time to think about all the tasks building up like a logjam.

While on hold, I found myself fighting a sort of shut-down dance. It started with a buzz of tension that crawled up my spine and bounced about in my head, and quickly turned into an overwhelming urge to do one thing, and only one thing—sleep. It were as though my eyelids would have to be propped up with toothpicks just to get through that phone call. And as soon as I hung up, boom! I collapsed into a twenty minute snooze.

The nap was easy to manage in my life as a homeschool mom with no office job to stop me.

But I wondered, once I step back into the work world, won’t I need a better way to handle stress?

God created in us an ability to manage our emotions in so many ways. Growing sleepy as a reaction to my mound of papers was a red flag telling me to work through the underlying problem—-stress.

What can I learn from Martha?

She rushed about preparing the home for her guests and grew anxious when Mary let go of those hospitality duties enough to relax and relate to Jesus.

I pictured Martha outside of the kitchen, then warped into modern times—sitting in front of a laptop with a cell phone to her ear, pressing hard to get all that work done. If Jesus kindly called Martha out on her misplaced priorities in the kitchen, doesn’t He also call us out when we let the whirlwind of today’s information age tie us up in knots? Was my sleepy reaction a wake up call to slow down and stop being a Martha?

God calls us to remember what’s important. Romans 12:2 tells us “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

I prayed. God, how can I change my routines so that this overwhelmed feeling doesn’t escalate again?

Then I sat, breathed and took in what He had to say. Enjoy what I’ve put on your plate!

Exactly. The reason logjams happen is that I’m piling responsibility after responsibility on my plate and then rushing about bopping down every deadline that pops up its annoying head. In the process, I’ve set aside precious daily routines that kept me in Mary’s world—exercising and getting in His word each morning, keeping my home tidy, spending time each day writing, having relaxed and spontaneous connections with my friends, keeping a handle on my finances, eating right and taking time to enjoy my time in the kitchen.

I’m now unpacking what needs to change in my life to bring Mary back. Would you pray with me? I bet you have a Mary in you just waiting to come out.

Dear Lord, I thank You for the mechanisms You’ve built in each and every one of us to warn us when we’ve flown too close to the sun and need to slow down. Would you guide me through the steps I need to take to open up time and joy in my schedule? Amen.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was one of the original writers 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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. 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:

Lead Me- Guide Me, Walk Beside Me

The Bout with Doubt

The Bout with Doubt Part Two:  Recognizing Habitual Tears

 

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


 

 

Unexpected Hugs

So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:10-12 NIV

I stood, arms hugging my body, back to the rest of the world, protecting my bruised heart…missing my husband. I was having a bad day…a very very bad day. Sunday morning worship had lost its luster, and I had closed the door to my heart just as tightly as an oyster.

I struggled through the service, just waiting to go home and lick my wounds. I stood at the closing song, ready to bolt.

But…as soon as the notes of the closing song died down…here came Kaila.

I have known Kaila most of her life. While her disabilities might be off-putting to some, to me she has always been a sweet reminder that love comes in different packages. Her hugs are given out to many as she sees a need. I truly believe she has a special connection with the Father as to when.

I have been the recipient of her hugs before…but not like this one. She literally ran to me and grabbed me. I was gratified…I knew I needed a hug, and God knew I would not turn it down from precious Kaila (though I had been turning them down from others all morning). I squeezed her and relaxed my hold, ready to break free…but she held on tighter…an uncomfortable amount of time passed. Five to ten minutes!

And that is when I knew. God had sent Kaila. He gave her a message directly for me, to touch a dark place in my soul no one else could touch that day. As tears slid down my cheeks, and Kaila’s mom stood trying to figure out why the hug was so long, I let go…of my pain and hurts, of my “right” to them. I relaxed into the hug, seeing it for what it was. A crack began in my jaded heart, and I felt the soothing balm of the Father’s love start to heal.

I am constantly amazed at the way the Father chooses to reveal Himself to me. Sometimes it is loud love, there for all to see. Sometimes it is in the long, sweet hug of a young woman the world might consider too damaged to be of much good.

Sisters, we are still human. We are not immune to the hurts of this world just because we are widows. Sometimes, in fact, those hurts can be magnified since we must face them alone.

But…we have a God who is there and always reaching out to us. Our job is to see Him when He does…to seek Him wherever He may be found.

As we rapidly approach Christmas, it can be hard to see Him…amidst the tinsel and cyber sales and preparations…and amidst the sad echo in our own hearts. But…He is there. Reaching out to us, waiting for us to relax into the hug He sends, regardless of its package.

Seek Him, sisters! Watch carefully for how He appears to you this season…every season! Let Him be the balm for your Gilead, the Prince bringing you peace! He may be loud, or He may be a still, small voice…but He is there. Know it…believe it…lean into it…and embrace it.

Father, this life is hard alone at times. In these raw and real moments, help me to see You. I know You are reaching for me. Praise You, You always are! Give me the strength to reach for You…even when I am hurt and sad, even when life swirls around me and I am not sure I want to be a part of it. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 397556_10203492525062428_182189435_nLiz 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. 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

 For more articles like this, read Grief is a Messy Casserole, Chasing God’s Whisper and An Apple.

Confused and Overwhelmed

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

                                                                                                                          Psalm 119:133 ESV

Headlines covering the recent terrorist attacks remind us of the devastating feelings that engulf us when death occurs. Like an explosion, death destroys in an instant. What once was – is gone. We are instantly immersed in excruciating grief. Eventually, as the smoke begins to clear, we start to move again, only to find ourselves intensely confused and overwhelmed. And so the daily battle begins.

As widows, we find ourselves, faced with hundreds, possibly thousands of decisions, when all we want to do is curl up in a ball. Do you want your loved one buried or cremated? What type of service do you want? Who is going to call so and so? Where are they going to stay? Are you going to sell the house?  What are you going to do with his car? Are you going to work (or continue working)? How are the kids doing? Do you have enough money? What can we do to help? Are you going to get rid of his clothes? When are you going to get rid of his clothes? What are you going to do for the holidays? How are the legal issues going? Have you talked to his family? Are you going to date? And the list goes on and on. And new questions and challenges continue to face us as the journey continues. Have you filed the taxes yet? Are you going to make a memorial quilt or scrapbook? Are you sure you are not ready to date yet? How are you going to fix the car, the fan, the dryer?

No wonder we are confused and overwhelmed.

One of the biggest blessings in my early stages of grief was having one friend that met with me each week to listen as I processed all the decisions I had to make. The most valuable thing she taught me was when I started to get overwhelmed, she would remind me of the things I had already overcome. It was like sticking my nose in God’s faithfulness repeatedly because it clearly was not because of my strength that I had overcome those obstacles, it was because of His strength and provision. He is the one who makes my steps steady. Every time she reminded me of God’s faithfulness, I was able to take one more step. And slowly, but surely, the discipline of remembering God’s faithfulness became more ingrained in my daily thinking. And eventually I could not only walk again, but I could run. Run straight into God’s arms with complete trust, because she had shown me the way, because she knew the way. A few years before, my friend’s incredibly precious seven-year-old son had died because of a tragic accident. She understood firsthand the absolute devastation of grief. She knew how to trust God during the worst of times and how to conquer being confused and overwhelmed. She taught me. And now it is my turn to teach others. He is the one who makes my steps steady.

Dear Sister, you belong to Him! He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He cares about each tear. And He has a purpose for you! Each and every day, He is adding to your portion of faith. You may not see it immediately, you may not feel it. But He is faithful. He is with you. He will keep your steps steady. And soon it will be your turn to teach others. To show them the way, just as my friend showed me. Remember His Faithfulness! 

 

 

SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her yellow lab, Super Duper Cooper, and spends time with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandson. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.

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

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?  Heartwarming Conclusion

Want to read another article about God’s faithfulness? Moving Forward by Teri Cox

Coop Chaos

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

-Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

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

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

I thought, How silly these chickens are! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise in the Storm

                                 “He stilled the storm to a whisper.”  (Psalm 107:29a)  NIV

Florida summers can produce some truly magnificent skies.  One can witness a blue, cloud free sky change in a matter of minutes.

It starts with the distant rumble of thunder.  Low rumbles spaced out by minutes.  Before you can count the number of rumbles, the blue sky has changed to massive gray clouds and darkness covers the ground.  In an instant, the clouds burst forth pelting the area with rain and sometimes hail.  Lightening then arrives to put the exclamation point on the storm.

And, as quick as it arrives, it disappears.

As I reflected on God’s direction for my post this week, I witnessed one of those turbulent Florida thunderstorms.  It reminded me of the journey I walked along side my husband as he fought the cancer that invaded his body.  A storm that arrived one day with a diagnosis of stage IV cancer and built with a fierce ugly head of complications, surgeries and chemotherapy.  Doubt and despair invaded the space of hope and trust.  And in my devastation, his death was the exclamation point of that storm.  Ending, it seemed, almost as quickly as it had arrived.

But, yet, for me, a storm continued.  The clouds gave way to sadness, loneliness and confusion.  I yearned for the passing of this turbulent time that had invaded my life and my heart.

Thankfully, God holds the exclamation point of my storm and what I do with the clouds of life’s problems.  I cling to His promises and hold to His presence as I move out from under the devastating realization of no longer being able to hold the hand of the one who would protect me from the earthly storms.

                     “I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”                                                                                                                  ( Psalm 55:8)   ESV

I will choose to praise Him in this storm of widowhood.  I will seek His purpose for me as I walk this path.  And I will rejoice knowing that this is but a splinter of eternal time which I will one day share with Him, my husband and loved ones who have gone before me.  That is His promise, sisters.  We all have that to look towards!

As I seek shelter under the umbrella of His Word, I have developed some thoughts on healing with “man’s time” and why they simply do not work.

  • Time does not heal grief.  It’s what we do with the time that matters.  Remember to address your emotional scars with His mercy and love.
  • Time does not erase the pain.  Tears will fall and ease the hurt, but, trust God to mend your broken heart.
  • Time does not make us forget.  If we grieve with the hope God gives us, we can remember in a positive way.
  • Time does not cure loneliness.  Fill your life with loving family and friends, and always keep praying to God.
  • Time does not cure depression.  This is a normal part of the grief process.  However, we can choose to not linger there as we emerge to embrace the life God has given us.

Time does not, but God can.

 I do not know where you are in your storm, my sister.  I am praying as the clouds break away and the blue sky returns that you can embrace His loving arms of protection, promise and purpose of the aftermath.

Heavenly Father, I pray for Your presence in the midst of the storms we face.  Please help us know that this earthly life is but a mere blink of eternity.  We ask for Your help as we face our grief and the pain and loneliness it brings us.  We will search for You in the storm and continue to praise You.  Amen.  

bonnie

The comfortable life Bonnie was enjoying took a radical turn in the spring of 2009 when the “C word” was introduced into her family.  Cancer.  Her healthy husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and life would never be the same.  She was able to live the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, walking along side this fight for life. But after a twenty-month battle, God called him home in October, 2010.  God has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.”  (Psalm 68:5) She loves reading, baking and long walks along the Florida coastline.  A good portion of her time is spent flying around the country as a flight attendant for over thirty years.  In the twenty-six years of marriage, they raised two amazing daughters, who now display many of their father’s traits and teachings in their character. This family of three continues to fight the good fight and live out loud for the Savior.  

 

Want to read more about trusting God? Determined to Bloom by Linda

Where Does My Strength Come From? by Karen