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

Moving Forward

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 ESV

Why is moving forward challenging, at best?

In all honesty, it has been a painfully difficult, yet entirely God-filled, couple of weeks for me. I am three and a half years out from my beloved’s going home date. Nonetheless, I was struck by a grief wave that knocked me to my face and threatened to drown me in shallow waters, as I was moving forward.

For me, it began to become more and more trying, to come home to an empty house and silence. At first, I longed to stay in our home, with our things and our memories, the more time went by, the harder it became. I tried many ways to break the silence: leaving Christian music on each time I left my home; having  God’s Word open, in various rooms, to my favorite scriptures; and making sure I framed my mind for coming home to “empty” each evening, by walking in with God before me. Yet, it began to tug at my spirit….it was time to let go of our home and move forward.

I put my house on the market believing it would sell quickly and allow me to become debt free. After, eight months on the market and two realtors, it finally sold, with a total of less than two-hundred dollars profit. As we all know, things do not always go as planned. Yet, I had prayed through, time-and-time again, and I knew it was what God was asking me to do. He is an on-time God, but His time is not always our time and His ways are definitely not our ways.

If I did not understand God’s economy, I would not get this AT ALL! Yet, I have a beautiful story of an EPIC rescue by a Father who loves me more than I deserve and gives me glimpses of Him, when I need them most. As I was preparing for the estate sale, I went “over the edge”. I was not even aware the edge was close, I thought I was fine. As we priced almost all of my worldly possessions, I lost it.

Mind you, stuff is just stuff, so even though I was going from 2,600 square feet into a 700 square feet, tiny house, I was letting it go. However, as I had my back turned and heard behind me, “How much would you like to sell this for?” I turned and saw a beautifully crafted wall mounted plate, with a blessing of love for all who enter, written on it. I strained for, “NO, no, you can’t sell that! It’s the last Christmas present Daryl ever bought me.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. Tears flowed and my memories overtook me. I was done, face-down, flat out, under the water of the wave that hit me from behind. I was just standing there on my feet, moving forward, toward the beach and dry land, out of the deep waters, and then….then, I wasn’t. All I could breathe in was salt; the salt of a thousand tears. They flowed for five days, before I could stand up again and breathe in fresh air.

God has revealed Himself to me during this time, in awe inspiring ways over the past twenty plus days. I could tell you many but one, one, is a life memory of an epic rescue from my Abba Father. [Abba, it is as close as we can get to the word daddy in English.] As I was walking through my home, preparing for movers, on my next to the last day there, The Spirit pressed me to pray while I was walking through the room where I found Daryl after his stroke. I dropped to my knees and then went prostrate onto the floor over the spot where he had lain. God’s Spirit washed over me and said, “You remember this as where it all changed and TODAY, I’m telling you this is where it will all be restored, and you will move forward.”

There was much more to this story, more than a blog can hold, but my heart HOLDS onto it! Knowing that my Abba is with me, He is watching over me, He does love me, He sees my tears, He directs my paths, and He has a plan for my days.

I made it through, again, and I did not drown, not even in shallow waters. And I AM moving forward, NEVER forgetting what is behind, but honoring it as I move to press on toward the prize which is Christ Jesus.

God, Help us to remember with confidence, You are ALWAYS with us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Goodness

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:8 (ESV)

She stands and shares how her faithful God has answered her prayers with “yes” and life is great and God is good.  People smile and encourage her.

I sit in silence, aware that my prayers were not answered with the “yes” I desired, my life is not the “great” I dreamed it would be; but my God is still faithful and good.

Bless it.  My mind can’t help but wonder what her picture perfect life must be like.  If I think back, I realize I used to be her.  Shame on me, I sin in my frustration over her “easy life”.  I confess my jealousy to God.

Widowhood is ugly.

God is beauty.

The longing for our departed is overwhelming.

God is un-overwhelm-able.

When you have been traumatized by medical treatments and procedures yet still known the comfort of God in the midst of endless hospital stays;

when you have experienced loss and truly felt the peace that passes all understanding;

when you have stood flanked by your children, with your arms lifted high in praise, singing “Blessed Be the Name” at your husband’s service, then you know the extent of full surrender.

You will know the goodness of your Lord on a whole new level when you have crawled through the darkest of valleys and thrilled at the tiniest sliver of His light reaching through the darkness to you.

You will comprehend a love so deep, a faith so intense, a truth so piercing.

The goodness of the Lord is not dependent on how He answers my prayers or if my life is going the way I want it to.  The goodness of the Lord is just that:  HIS GOODNESS.  It does not waiver.

On my good days, God is good.  On my bad days, God is good.  He just is.

Widowhood is lonely.

God is ever-present.

Our shattered pieces seem irreparable.

God is a God of redemption and restoration.

I know a depth of my God’s character that I didn’t know before this journey.  He has revealed facets of Himself that I cannot begin to put into words.  His presence has carried me through horrendous events and His goodness has been constant.

Lord, I marvel at You.  Eternity is not enough time to explore Your goodness.  Thank You for revealing more of Yourself to us in the depths of despair.  Amen.

 

Lori Reynolds StrellerLori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood.  She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well.  She answers to Mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee.  Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers.  As a writer/speaker for aNew Season /A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others.  She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering.

If you are interested in having Lori speak at your church or function, email her at admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles written by this author: https://anewseason.net/author/loris/

Other articles on this topic:

Jesus is Enough by Bonnie Vickers

God is Sovereign. I am not. by Ami Atkins

 

 

Lead Me- Guide Me- Walk Beside Me

Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need….Psalm 23:1 (TLB)

It’s Springtime!  Where I live, we are excited about seeing the grass turning green, new leaves coming out on the trees, flowers beginning to bloom, and even some warmer days.  It is refreshing to begin this “new season”.

A “new season” – oh, there are still so many days I wish I could really get excited about that on this journey of widowhood!

As I look back over the months I have been traveling this path, I can see the many different stages  experienced. My husband and I were married for forty-eight years and worked together for the majority of that time.  We were literally together twenty-four seven, so there were so many new things I had to encounter.  I now know what it is like to learn to be alone.  I know what it is like to make a major move early in my journey.  I know what it is to learn to make decisions on my own.  You see because my husband was called to his heavenly home unexpectedly, my entire life was turned upside down in a matter of minutes.

In the beginning, I was so doubtful I could ever survive alone.  However, God had other plans in mind for me.  As the minutes, hours, and days progressed I began to realize how much God loved me and how much He wanted to be a part of all the decisions I needed to make.  My desire for Him began to increase and I soon realized, again, He has the answers to all the questions and situations I face each day.  He even tells me in Psalm 23:1 (TLB) “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!”

I am a very “human” person, so I continually have to be reminded of His promises.   Oh how thankful I am for the many ways He continues to do that.  I have a wonderful family, many friends, my church, music, but most of all His word.  I know as long as I keep my eyes focused on Him, He will continue to take care of me!

Yes, for many years, I depended on my husband to help lead me, guide me, and walk beside me!   We were a “normal” couple and had our ups and downs like everyone else, but we were happy and I thought we were doing OK.  However, since my husband’s departure to heaven, God continues to re-affirm to me and to show me how He is there to help me with every decision I need to make.

We all go through tough times – before and after the loss of our beloved husbands.  At certain times, it feels like we’ve met our end and can’t go on anymore.  However, we can claim for ourselves that through Christ, God is our portion forever No matter how weak we may be, God can carry us through because we know that God’s strength, which dwells right inside our hearts, is strength like no other.

My dear Sisters, I pray that you will let His strength carry you!  Ask Him to “Lead You, Guide You, and Walk Beside You”.

Even though our lives are so different than we would ever have asked for, with Him, we can have a “new season”, even through this journey of widowhood.

Father God, sometimes it is hard to go on, but I know You care, and I trust You.  I know You will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on You!   Thank you for taking care of me and my dear Sisters.  Amen

Words On a Page

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.  And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.  And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”      Ezekiel 37:1-3 ESV

Do you ever feel like you have said all there is to say?

No

More

Words…

You simply want someone to get it, without having to speak.

Sometimes, I get tired of talking. This can be a real problem, since talking is how I make my living. But there are days, when I just want to be done talking, explaining, retelling, and reliving.

Sometimes, I want to be:

Still

Quite

Lost

Sometimes, I want to escape and leave the world behind. Usually it occurs when I am trying to minister and teach on “empty”. You know what I mean? When you are “empty”, your tank is dry. There is nothing left for you to give, and you feel like a pile of dry bones, waiting to be brought back to life. We cannot live or love when we are on empty.

In those moments, the only way I can fill back up is to spend time with God or with people who don’t need me to talk. Other widows get widowhood. There is no need for explanation, we just know. A hug can speak a thousand words among widows. Yet, the world does not work the same way, especially in America, where we live at such a fast pace. People don’t like to talk about grief. Maybe it is fear of saying the wrong thing or fear of being caught up in grief, themselves. No matter the reason, I have turned to journaling as a way of “discussing” issues.

Journaling has helped me simply get everything out without having to open my mouth and speak. I can sit with my pen, a beautiful journal, and just pour out my thoughts to God. In the middle of my feelings and my words on a page, I can find hope and perspective.

Hope to manage.

Hope to glorify.

Hope  to trust.

Faith always calls us to believe past what we see. It calls us to know and be known. It calls us to bear witness even when our circumstances scream, “NO!” When my faith is being bullied by my world, leaning into God refreshes my spirit and gives me new zeal.

I long to find victory through Christ and inspire others through my journey, but sometimes I have to remember why and how. If your life is loud or a deafening silence, right now, get alone with God and let Him fill you up with His presence and power. Let Him give you strength.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

God,  Help us to find You when we are on empty. Help us to allow Your presence to fill us up to capacity with Your power, love, and strength. Restore our dry bones, Lord, and help us to LIVE again. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. AMEN! 

 

 

Pride is NOT Pretty

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1Peter 5:5b-11 ESV

There is a lot of power in scripture.

God’s Word speaks for itself.

It speaks LOUDLY!

What part of this text from 1 Peter stands out to you? Is there a sentence or two that brings you comfort or perhaps makes you uncomfortable? Does part of it make you want to learn more or dig deeper? Is there a truth you need to read, or a reminder that hits you like a baseball bat cracking on opening day?

For me, it is the first 10 words; “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

I have by my own admission, always struggled with pride, and it has become apparent to me that I am often too proud to let others know when I am in real need of assistance.   On this journey of widowhood,  it’s hard to say when I’m pressed physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually.   I am supposed to be strong. 

Pride is not pretty, and it can leave us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks as he prowls around seeking whom he can devour.  Pride actually makes us weaker, not stronger! Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”ESV Yet, oh the promises of God sisters, if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, He will exalt us in His time. If we cast our cares on Him, He will shoulder them because He cares for us. After we have suffered, His grace will be sufficient. His mercy and strength will fall on us. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

We are not alone and we DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS ON OUR OWN. Sometimes, it is hard for us to ask for help, or reach out, or seek wise counsel because we do not want to appear foolish. This too, is pride and arrogance. Let it go and seek any assistance you may need. Someone may be waiting to bless you, if you will just ask. God may be waiting on you to say, “I give up, Lord. I can’t fix it, but You can.” That may be all He needs to shout, “FINALLY, I’ve got this!”

So, this is my honest prayer today:

God, I give up. You and You alone can help me fix the messes I have made. You and You alone can bring healing and peace. I step down Lord and long to get out of Your way. Please rescue me, right now. I need Your grace. AMEN!