God’s Unit of a Day

“God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
Gen. 1:5 (ESV)

God’s Unit of a Day

God designed the unit of a day. Our momentous days are forever etched into our minds and hearts. For every member of my family, I remember such days, either for their joy or for their sorrow.  Regarding my husband, I remember our first date, when we were married, welcomed our children into the world and faced our first death together. We each certainly have many ordinary days and yet some days are dramatically life-altering. My husband’s news of blood in his urine, as if he’d poured a glass of red wine into the commode, was one such day. Many days stand out between his bladder cancer diagnosis and his death. There is no wonder then that Jesus gave us this instruction:

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Mt 6:24 (ESV)

Prayer over tomorrow releases us to be in today. 

After my beloved’s death, I felt poorly equipped for present and future tasks.  The reality of my husband’s death permeated my thoughts as I wrestled to sleep at night and awakened without him. How many times I cried out, “God help me!”  I often stated, “Lord, You left me here for a reason. I don’t know why but I trust You.” As I recall the agony of those days, I wish I had posted a prayer reminder where I would see it upon awakening, something like,

“Lord, I give you today. Walk with me through it.”

I know He did and will continue to, but the beauty of this prayer is the daily self-reminder to invite and see God in each day.

Your life and mine is a mixed bag of ordinary and momentous days. I want God, who sees every tomorrow, to hold my life. On review, I recognize times of His provision in advance of what I didn’t know was coming. I am reminded that Christ said, “I Am the Way…,” (Jn 14:6 ESV) and He is! In Christ, I find my way each day, until I meet Him face to face. Christ also said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” – Jn. 10:9 (ESV)

Christ is the Door through which we enter eternal life, but meanwhile He designed the unit of a 24-hour day and is present for us in each one.

May Christ be our door to, and way through, each new day.

“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”

– Ps. 138:3 (ESV)

Dear and ever-present God, You know what each day will hold. Remind us to commit our days and our ways to You. Please meet us with Your grace and wisdom, Your comfort and provision. Thank You, Lord! In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Janene @ Myrtle Beach

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

Go Wash it Off

 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” ….So he went and washed and came back seeing.

John 9:7 (ESV)

I wanted to stay home and cry.

I had done it a few times within the first month of losing Tom. And that morning I wanted to do it again–stay home and drown in my tears rather than meet the reality of my normal routine.

I wept and prayed to get the courage up to go to the places where I was expected. And for a while, it seemed my tears were to no avail–the weakness and pain stubbornly clung to me, keeping me paralyzed. I cried aloud to Him.

After enough tears, a transformation took place–a sort of surrender to God. I noticed even my voice changed when the surrender took place–from helpless despair to strength. I was no longer going to claim my right to stay by myself and have my crying spell.

What prompted the change was that I knew right then I no longer had to stay home. I could function in my normal routine.

And not only could I function, but taking action–getting into my routine made me feel better.

Many times in Jesus’s ministry the Gospel writers describe an action Jesus asked the infirmed to do just before the healing took place.  I wrote in an article titled Pick Up Your Mat that He instructed a paralytic to pick up his mat and walk.

In John Chapter 9, Jesus healed a blind man by smearing a mud paste He created from His own saliva onto the man’s eyes.  Then Jesus asked him to go to the pool and wash the mud off.  The blind man had to take steps in order to see the results of healing.

What a powerful moment. I thought to myself, aren’t I like that blind man? I had withdrawn from my world to focus on my pain and hurt. We all need to do that occasionally, but when that occasional withdrawal turns into a pattern, your world becomes smaller as your interactions with the outside world become strained.

Sometimes having a smaller world feels better for a moment.  But smaller wouldn’t be better in the long run. I needed my routine and my friends. It was time to enjoy life again.

Staying in a closed-in world would leave me struggling with feelings. My heart would wander to past pains not even relevant to today’s pain–a past heartache or family situation. And like a million times before, drumming up the pain from the past didn’t solve the loneliness of today. It didn’t close the wound, and I had enough of thinking about it. I just wanted it healed.

In His infinite wisdom, God tells us to focus on His healing. Go wash in the pool. Once you decide to accept God’s healing, act on it.  Go out in the world and participate!

Once I took action I did something I never thought I could do again.  Laugh.  I still run a range of emotions as all widows do, but for that day and for that moment, my tears had been washed away.

Dear Father.

Would You place the healing Grace of Your Son Jesus Christ on the precious widow reading this devotion today? Help her step out today, trusting that You are healing her of her sorrow.  Amen

 


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 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:

The Upward Kick

Just One Step

Stepping Outside the Boat

I Will Give You Rest

“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

Sometimes I am just tired.

Wiped out.

The exhaustion is typically fleeting; I know better than to allow myself to camp out in the negative thoughts of “woe is me”. My mind is trained to focus on the positive when I get tired or lonely.

But every once in a while I am so busy I fail to realize how tired I really am. When in a period of unacknowledged weariness, as I am chugging along with my daily responsibilities, oblivious to the time needed for true rest, tears will unexpectedly leak.  I am so distracted trying to be the best me I can be at work, in our home, with ministering to others, I can fail to pause and really feel those under the surface emotions.  Driving down the road, on my millionth errand of the day, not even thinking about him or the reality of widowhood…tears randomly fall from my eyes.  It is strange.  I am not sobbing.  I wouldn’t even classify it as crying, really.  Yet my eyes drip salty liquid of their own accord.

It’s as if my body is begging me to slow down and rest.

For the first few months after his passing, I suffered intensive physical grieving. There were sharp pains with each intake and exhale of breath, deep cutting twinges in my chest (doctors clinically describe this as a broken heart), full body joint aches, and a lot of fatigue.  It was excruciating and surreal.  I’m unsure of when the attacks subsided, but with time they did.  Just like my body knows when the 11th rolls around each month, even when I am oblivious to the date on the calendar.  He passed away on the 11th and since then I have found myself being more easily frustrated and on edge each month during that time.  It took me over a year to connect those dots and learn to control my responses; but like my body responds to dates subconsciously, so too does it know when I am overdoing it and need rest.

I was driving yesterday and my eyes did their odd little leaking thing.  Then again this morning as I was on mile four of a ten mile training run, they briefly started back up.  Stopped and reoccurred around mile seven.  I am void of emotion when this happens.  It is typically when my mind is free of detailed thinking; which is one of the reasons why I run in the first place, to clear my mind and just exist.

We speak a lot in this ministry of moving forward, walking in grace, choosing to really be alive and present in this life we are blessed with.  And we should.  We should absolutely be actively working towards all of those goals.

But we also need rest.

Our bodies will tell us when we are pushing too hard.  But are we listening?  We do ourselves a disservice to be stuck in a cycle of pity, refusing to do the work for self-improvement; likewise, we also do ourselves a disservice when we neglect resting.

We are in this for the long haul. Our loss will never be left behind.  It takes its toll on every portion of our being.  It affects us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Consequently, we must remember to tend to our physical needs.  Exercise and fresh air are important.  Strengthening and stretching are vital.  Daily time sitting still in God’s presence and listening for His voice are crucial.  And rest is necessary.

However you find it.  Whatever it looks like for you.  A nap, soaking in a bath, sitting alone in silence, yoga…find what works for you and let Him give you REST from the inside out.

Lord, thank You for Your example of rest. Keep us mindful of what the marvelous creation of our human bodies communicate with us so we can properly rest for restoration and healing.  Amen.


Lori Reynolds Streller

Lori 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.

For other articles on rest see: Sunday Rest by Kit Hinkle or Remembering to Rest by Sheryl Pepple

If you would like to schedule one of our speakers for an event, contact us at admin@anewseason.net

To read more articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller

 

 

 

 

Dating 101

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

Psalm 13 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sherry Look

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

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

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

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

 

Being Present in Our Now

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

Matthew 6:.34 ESV

Breathe deeply.

Smile genuinely.

Find beauty in every single day.

Be grateful.

Laugh.

Start living in the now.

I know how some days this comes easier than others.  I am walking this very same road myself.

And I am raising children on it.  I recently shed tears with my teenage daughter over how she won’t have her Daddy to walk her down the wedding aisle.  She is fifteen and she shared that she almost dreads her wedding day because of what has been lost and who will be missing.

My heart splinters in new places I didn’t even know had not previously been shattered.

Life changes suddenly.

We have faced catastrophic loss. We know deep hurt and unrelenting sorrow.

We can choose to remain in the pain, being paralyzed by the fear of nothing ever being good again, focusing on all the events he will be missing from, that are yet to come.  Wallowing in the exhaustion of facing these future moments as our sadness steals their joy before they even have a chance to occur. 

OR

We can start taking steps towards BEING PRESENT IN OUR NOW.

Because, dreading the future without him won’t bring him back. It won’t make the days to come any easier.  What it is guaranteed to do though, is steal us from our now.  It will suffocate the current right out of us as the days will pile upon themselves until we have missed living.

We’ve lost enough. Let’s not choose to give more to death than it has already taken.

So together, let’s pause.

Breathe deeply.

{The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ~Job 33:4}

Smile genuinely.

{A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. ~Proverbs 15:30a NLT}

Find beauty in this day that is before us.

{This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24}

Be grateful.

{Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~1Thessalonians 5:18}

Laugh.

{She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. ~Proverbs 31:25}

Let’s make the choice to start being present in our now.

My daughter’s wedding day will arrive sometime in the next decade or so.  And yes, her Daddy will be missing from the day.  And yes, we will be achingly aware of that missing.  But dreading it now isn’t going to change his lack of presence, it will only steal peace from today.  We will find a way to honor his place in her life and heart, and it will be a beautiful celebration.  He will have the best seat in the house, from heaven above.

Father God, You alone are our strength and in You alone will we be able to pause and truly experience the “now” in our lives.  Show us the positives of our present day and fill us with Your peace.  Amen.


Lori Reynolds Streller

Lori 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.

Email our ministry at admin@anewseason.net to have a team member speak at your church or event.

Other articles written by Lori can be found here.

For more on the topic of focusing on the present see Thankful Hearts by Elizabeth or God Sent a Sparrow by Linda

 

Stuck

Please join us today as we share a post, our dear sister Leah wrote, about trusting God as He transitions us to new seasons.


Stuck in Last Season by Leah Stirewalt

I suddenly woke up! Sweating profusely! My heart was racing, and I could feel panic creeping in.
                         
Thankfully, I realized fairly quickly that it was just a dream or, rather, a nightmare.
 
What possibly could have caused such a frightening reaction first thing in the morning?
 
Stickers! 
 
Yes…you read that correctly! I had a nightmare about stickers.
 
Now, before you run off laughing hysterically about something so seemingly ridiculous, allow me to explain.
 
My husband and I just finished having a mammoth yard sale! This wasn’t just your average yard sale. We’re in the process of adopting and raising funds for that adoption through every means possible. In researching ideas, I came across the thought of having a yard/bake sale in which we invite others to donate their unwanted “treasures”. We spent over a month driving all over our region gathering items for the yard sale donated by family, friends, and even strangers.
 
Exactly one week, to the day, we pulled out the stickers and tags, and the pricing marathon began. We ended up with enough donations to fill a 10′ x 30′ storage unit, so you can only imagine how many late night hours were spent that final week simply placing stickers on things.

Throughout that last stretch, there were many times I thought we wouldn’t make it…we wouldn’t be ready…the sale would be a flop. But, I kept those thoughts to myself, because I didn’t want to discourage my husband, as he was working so hard alongside me as well.
 
God brought us to the day of the sale. The night before we only had about two hours of sleep. It took everything we had to load up the truck to move it to the location of the sale. We then had to be ready before dawn to set up tables, unload the truck, put out signs, etc. By God’s grace, we made it! The shoppers arrived. The clouds remained above us (keeping the temps down), and the rain never came during the hours of the sale. By the end of the day, the Lord had allowed us to raise just under $4000! Yes! A yard sale that raised $4000…hard for my finite mind to even imagine, but I was there and saw it happen right before my eyes. And, with that, the season of yard sale fundraising ended!
 
But, as it turned out, it was still in the forefront of my mind. It had become such a part of me for so many weeks that I found myself even dreaming about those silly stickers. While God had already moved me into the next season of our adoption journey, part of me still remained stuck in the old season. As a result, it began to unsettle me a bit.
 
I find that’s actually happened in other areas of my life too.
 
After regaining weight I had worked so hard to lose, I found myself struggling to move forward, because I remained stuck in a season of regret over the mistakes I made leading me to gain the weight back.
 
After losing my late husband to suicide, I found myself repeatedly revisiting the season right before his death to try to determine if I had done anything differently, would he still be here?
 
After deciding in college to abandon my dream of nursing school, I found myself returning to that season numerous times by reapplying to nursing school, only to realize much later that it was never God’s plan for me to begin with.
 
In each of these cases, God had already ushered me into the next season of my life, but I never allowed myself to go there…completely, that is. 
 
I couldn’t quit thinking about the days, months, or years prior. I replayed those times over and over in my mind. And just like after my sticker nightmare, God had to sweetly remind me…
 
It’s time to move on, dear daughter. Trust My plans for you. Trust Me in this next season. Don’t look back, questioning everything. Don’t look back with regret. I’ve got this! I want nothing but the best for you. Trust Me.
 
And…I’ve so sweetly discovered that only then do I flourish. Only then am I capable of living out His plans for me and in His perfect timing!
 
LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. ~Psalm 84:12 (NIV)

If you would like to read other articles by Leah, you can click here.
If you want to read more articles on dealing with suicide, click here.

Joy & Loss

“I will convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.”

Jeremiah 31:13 (The Message)

Where joy and loss collide.

That’s where I find myself these days.  I’m beyond the intense grief.  I’m beyond the deep pain.  There is joy.  There is healing.  We’ve grown and changed in so many ways.  God is even more known.  We are deeper. Better.

Yet, the loss is still there.  There’s now the moments where the bittersweet tears mix with pure joy. It’s an intimate place.  A deep place.  A place where God stands every time.

God is always there when the joy and loss of this messy life collide. Reminding me of His love and promises to me.

As we move forward and life unfolds, there’s still hard parts.  There’s still times where my husband is missed beyond words.  That will always be and the other day was one of those days.

My husband loved so many things.  But sports, particularly baseball, football, and surfing were amongst his favorites.  On this day one of my sons was old enough and experienced enough to take his daddy’s surfboard out for the first time.  As I stood on the shoreline watching him paddling out and turning to wave to me with utter joy on his face, I replayed the hundreds of times Scott had done that same thing through our years together.  How many times I’d sat and just watched the man I loved so completely enjoy life through surfing the waves of the Jersey Shore.  How his smile would beam towards me and pure joy would exude out of him with each turn and twist on every wave he caught.

As I stood there watching those same emotions coming out of his “mini-me”, the bittersweet tears rolled.  My husband longed for these special moments with all his heart.  My broken, but mended, heart was there instead.

The loss tells me I HAVE to walk these moments.   My joy tells me I GET to walk these moments.  And that’s where the two collide.  That’s where I can take the bittersweet tears that rolled and remember to let joy wash over me because, I GET to have these precious moments that now mean so much more.

With each wave as his confidence built, the depths of my soul began to warm and a smile arose.  God was there.  He was shining down from His place on high and speaking into those deeper places.  Reminding me whose I was and whose my boy was.

Reminding me how much He loves me and my children.  How He has invaded our grief with joy in so many ways.

On this special day, my precious boy surfed on his daddy’s board. I had a front row seat and God bridged the vast gap between the loss we endure and the life we choose to live well.

As I took in this precious moment, I chose to cherish what I have more than mourn what I don’t have.  I chose not to miss what I do have, for what I don’t have.  Joy and loss will collide as I walk forward, as my children grow and cross many wonderful moments and milestones.  I know each will stir up the loss and the missing.  But, I also know joy will meet me there too and I will embrace those moments. I will take them in, slowly and deeply, because I don’t want to miss one second of it.

Salty tears will mix with my pure joy and that’s how I’ll do this thing called life.

Father, thank you for meeting me and loving me right where I am.  Thank you for returning our joy and allowing me to still get all these wonderful and significant moments.  I lift up any sister who is walking this, where the loss is still so vast.  Lord, comfort her and bridge the gap between loss and joy for her in Your matchless ways.  Be THE invader, where grief becomes less and joy in You becomes more.  In Your Precious Name, Amen.

 


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4 Erika Graham is Vice President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her. 

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

Other articles by this author click here.

Similar posts: Finding Joy in Trials & Joy Comes in the Mourning

Fill My Days with Living!

“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”

Job 42:17

My husband died in the supposed prime of his life. He was 45 years young when he passed away.  He never even got to have his midlife crisis!  In a few weeks, it will be my 45th birthday.  The shock of being alone has worn off over the past few years.  The rhythm of this new dance without him by my side has settled into its familiar cadence.  Grief cuts in occasionally now, but the debilitating occurrences are further apart.  Maybe partially because I refuse to slow dance with my grief over and over again or possibly because the time spent on the dance floor of widowhood has changed me.

I appreciated my husband. I was blessed and I knew it.  I had one of the good ones; a hard worker and great provider, an involved father to our children, a follower of Christ, and a hilariously witty man.  May I tell you a secret?

Sometimes it makes me sad that he isn’t here to be loved by the new me. 

Don’t get me wrong, we loved each other well, but losing him has made me more aware of my faults and flaws in the marriage.  It has given me fresh perspective on struggles we encountered and how I could have been more for him.  He knew he was cherished and respected.  He was secure in my love for him.  We had great communication and a ton of laughter.  But, if I was given a do-over with him as who I am now, I think he would be pleasantly surprised at how mellow his loss has made me.  I hope I would remember to sweat the small stuff less, not worrying over the goal of perfection in each area of our lives.  We loved our life together, but I’m fairly certain he would be super proud of my increased passion for living.

Tim was perfect for me as he softened my rough edges and taught me it is okay to not always have a plan A, B, and C.  Losing him to cancer taught me that I can only control my responses to life’s circumstances, not always the circumstances themselves. I am softer in many ways and much stronger in others.  I still laugh at most things (that is just part of who I am and part of why he loved me); and in general, I now tend to keep things lighter and more relaxed around our home.  I am more tolerant of others personal journeys and less accepting of unnecessary input and opinions in my life.  I wish my Tim could be loved by this Lori.  I am a better person for the spins I have taken on the dance floor of terminal illness, death, and the aftermath of loss.

Losing him caused my deepest pain so far in this life.  I could choose to park myself in that despair, focusing on the negative, and miss the gifts his loss gave me.

The gifts of…

awareness that time is fleeting and we won’t all be given a life “full of days”, which causes a sense of urgency within me to fill my days with living!

knowing God’s strength will never fail me, and choosing to tap into His strength!

a deeper desire to enjoy the now and the wisdom to slow down and soak up moments!

Lord, pour Your strength into each of us on this day and lead our hearts to fill our days with living. May we complete this day knowing we chose to focus on the gifts that came through the dance of our loss.  Thank You that You are always teaching us and molding our hearts.  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 one of our team members speak at your church or function, email us at  admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller, A Widow’s Might

Other articles on the topic of living well after loss: We Believe We Will Win by Kit Hinkle, or Living Well in Widowhood by Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Applying Peace

“You keep him in perfect peace,

whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts in You.”

Isaiah 26:3 ESV

My phone dinged with notice of a private facebook message.  A sweet friend had a question for me.  “How have you effectively applied the peace of God to your life?”   The question stopped me in my tracks and took my mind down memory lane as visions of the past four years began bombarding me.

Here is a portion of my response:

I guess for me, it all comes down to a choice. As a child of God, access to His perfect peace is constantly mine. It is my choice to rest in that peace or not.

It is easier to write the words, than to put them into practice.

My choice to sit still in the midst of chaotic suffering

and let His peace wash over me is one of acceptance and surrender.

I’ve had to accept that God is good. His ways are higher and His plans are better. His promises are of an eternal perspective. These facts do not change. My circumstances do not hold the power to alter the character of who God is. His goodness is not dependent on whether He answers my prayers the way I desire.

I have come to terms with pain and difficulty always being a part of this life. They have a purpose for being allowed to touch us. Nothing touches me that God hasn’t first stood upon. He knows. He allows; partially because we live in a fallen world and partially because He wants to draw us closer to His side through the difficult times. It is during hardships that we have the ability to see His character, strength, peace, and majesty magnified.

The losses, the sufferings, the sorrows I have faced in this life leave me with a choice.  I can choose to surrender it all to the One who comforts, consoles, and loves. I can surrender the hurts and exchange them for His peace.

For me, being filled with His peace does not mean everything will work out while on this earth. It means, regardless of what occurs here, I have eternity with Him. That knowledge doesn’t necessarily lessen the pain. My heart is literally broken. I’ve felt the physical breaking of it as well as the emotional. It stinks. I won’t lie about that.

But what His peace does is stand beside my faith and fills in the cracks and gaps of my brokenness.

It reminds me that my life is only a vapor.

It assures me that eternity in the presence of God will be grander than my wildest imagination.

It sustains me when I cannot catch my breath.

So the application, in my opinion, comes in the CHOICE to accept and surrender. Through these deliberate actions, I am able to apply His peace to each area of my life.

His peace is where I choose to collapse when my parenting skills are lacking and I feel like a failure doing this solo. His Word tells me He is a father to the fatherless. I trust Him to help me parent these children He blessed us with.

His peace is what comforts me when I am lonely. Doing this life as a single wasn’t my plan. I still want Tim by my side. But I trust that God goes ahead of me, walks beside me, and hems me in from behind. His peace gives me confidence to hold my head high and not be ashamed of my singleness nor be desperate for a mate. My worth and value are found in my relationship with Him.

His peace is where I surrender my financial fears. I work hard with the skill set He has given me and I try to be prudent in my spending habits. I trust that seeking His wisdom and the counsel of those He has placed around me will help me thrive with less.

The foot of the cross is where I exchange my frustrations for His peace.

It is a daily occurrence.

Lord, I lay it all down at the foot of the cross in exchange for Your peace that passes all understanding.  Give me the strength to leave it there, surrendered to You and not pick it back up again piece by piece.  And when I do start trying to carry the burdens of worry, fear, and frustration again, guide me back to You where You are always willing to take my burden in exchange for the gift of Your perfect peace.  Amen.


 

Lori meet usLori 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 would like Lori or another team member to speak at your event, email us at admin@anewseason.net

Click  here for more articles written by Lori. 

For other articles on the topic of peace, see Lonely? Exchange it for Peace by Ami Atikins or It Brought Me to My Knees by Teri Cox