Our Earthly Treasures

Our ministry has seen many sweet, wonderful and gifted sisters move onto other life callings.  But only one left us to join her Savior, and her beloved husband Don in heaven.  There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of our sister, our Care Bear, and miss her.  So, today we thought we would share some of Karen’s special and valuable words with you.  We pray this blesses you as much as she truly blessed us. 


Earthly Treasures by Karen Emberlin

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

For fifteen months my husband and I lived in a suburban neighborhood in the comfort of a three bedroom home with a finished basement, double car garage, and attic.

We were normal.  In other words, like most Americans, our home was “filled” with all of the “stuff” we had collected over forty-eight years of marriage. Even after moving several times during those years, we always took our “stuff” with us, sure we would eventually need it.

Things changed! Once I lost my husband, that “stuff” we thought was so valuable no longer seemed valuable, and I realized the only real value it ever had was because it was “ours”.  What good would that do me now?

Overnight all of my “stuff” became a real burden.

The unexpected loss had my relatives and me scratching our heads–where would I go?  And what would I  do with all these things?

First I relocated to another state to be with our daughter and family. With no room for a house full of my stuff, my daughter asked me to downsize. And I did–from a three bedroom house to the twenty-two foot trailer I used to move to Florida.

In order to reduce my treasure to what fit in that twenty-two foot trailer, I sorted. I don’t remember where it all ended up, but I was always happy when someone I knew took an item I may have had a hard time letting go of.  At least I knew where its new home would be!

As my son and I pulled away from my home, I thought about the trailer we were towing behind us. My husband  had bought it a few years earlier for  a “local” move, so we could take our time. I had always thought it to be in the way. “Let’s  sell it,” I’d say.  “Naw,” he’d say, ‘Someday we might need it!”

In God’s perfect plan, He knew I’d be the one who would need it. That trailer “housed” my treasures for a whole year.

While living with less at my daughter’s home. I discovered how comfortable with just a very small amount of my belongings around me.

But God wasn’t done pruning my earthly treasures.

A few months ago I moved yet again–this time over a thousand miles away, to a community with an even smaller space to fit my belongings.  Faced again with the decisions of getting my “stuff” there, I began again the process of sorting and deciding what was really important, this time placing my “stuff’ in a 5×8 Uhaul trailer.

From a house to a twenty-two footer to a 5×8 trailer–God’s forcing me to adjust my definition of success.

It was not easy to “let go” of things that I once thought were so important, especially some of the things that my husband enjoyed so much (like the cargo trailer)!

However, as I made those choices, I was reminded that my husband left this world with none of our “stuff”, and I too will leave without it. He has so much more in his heavenly home than we ever had here!!

Yes, I miss my husband so much, and I want to be comfortable and have some of the things we enjoyed together near me.  I have been able to do that.  Best of all, I have a heart full of memories, and I love that I do not ever have to “give up”!

I realize that by not having the burden of moving, storing, or caring for so many things, I am freeing myself to be all I can for the Lord and can prepare myself for the plans He has for me.

He promises to give me hope and a future (even without my husband). I want to be ready to follow wherever He takes me, and am excited to see what is next!

Lord, I pray that you will be with all of us on this journey who are finding it difficult to give up “earthly treasures”. Help us to find contentment in You and to store up “heavenly treasures” that will be waiting for us when we get to our home with You.  Amen

A God Focused Perspective

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

                                                                                           2 Samuel 22:33 NLT

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

Day after day I struggled with feeling overwhelmed:

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

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. 

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

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


 

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

If you are interested in having Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Want to read another great articles by Sheryl? The Heartwarming Conclusion

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

Widow Out, Widow In!

There it was, staring down at us from its perfectly formed web…

A spider, complete with — what appeared to the non-trained eye– a sack of babies.

The house I had recently signed a contract on, upon further investigation, had a long-term “resident” who did not have plans on leaving anytime soon. It was the most beautiful web, large, detailed, undisturbed for what looked to us as months.

My realtor probably grew weary of my frequent text messages: “…And you did mention to the seller to have the house sprayed by the bug company, right?”

It was a big concern to me, to say the least. Of all the things, millions of tiny spiders, really creeped me out. It gave me the “willies” on a new level.

My moving was testing my trust in God. Daily. Some days I “passed” the test of trust, and many days I was filled with doubts. How would we fit? Who will help us? How much more do I need to get rid of? It seemed every time I turned around, God was prying one more thing from my grip.

The spider was just one of the many little details God was orchestrating and I was having trouble allowing Him. So many details of this move were NOT the way I would have done it – but actually turned out far BETTER the way God worked it out! Imagine that! For example, the week of the closing, all the day’s details came crashing down like plates, spinning out of control. The mortgage lender and my realtor were frantically emailing and calling each other. I was on the phone constantly changing plans. I had movers, I didn’t have movers, then I had completely different movers. I didn’t have help with some painting, I did have help, then I didn’t have help. Closing day was rearranged. So much changed EVERY DAY. Yet, one of my greatest surprises came at the closing when I questioned one of the forms I was signing. The employee stated that the date of the first mortgage payment was correct, because of the change of closing, I now had an EXTRA MONTH without a house payment!

That, my friends, is just like God!

I whined and cried and spit nails about the closing being delayed. All the while, God was whispering, “Trust Me, Daughter. Trust Me.” Verses came to mind, but I tried to put them out! They would return:

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV

In those times when it SEEMS God is not paying attention to me, and I want to bang my cymbals to get Him to look at me, I have to be reminded of TRUTH. He IS an everlasting rock. He IS an eternal stronghold. He IS a comfort.

Yes, the bug company came to spray the spider and her “family members” from my garage, and all the other “residents” from the home, the day before we moved into our new house. But it was the “widow humor” at the closing table that put the “bow” on the whole situation — after many, many months of holding my hand through this weary process, my realtor made a “widow” joke!  We realized that one “widow” (a creature) was kicked out of  the house so another “widow” (me) could move in! “Widow humor”–I love to find the humor especially in those stressful circumstances of life.

So God kept whispering, “Trust Me,” and He made me laugh. Those are the moments I love most about God. It seems He knows my laughter “love language” and speaks it when I most desperately need it.

When I am having my trust tested, I need to hear stories of God’s faithfulness to encourage me. I hope this has encouraged you today. God IS faithful. Cling to the TRUTH today.

Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness. Give me vision to see Your hand at work in my life today, even in the little things and the funny things. Please give us the strength to cling to the truth of Scripture and forgive our lack of trust when we can’t see beyond our current circumstances. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning 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 another article about facing trials? Erika wrote one called Superstorm

Moving is a popular topic for widows. You can read about our sweet Karen’s move here called Change of Plans.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

He Makes My Way Perfect

God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.

                                                                  2 Samuel 22:33 NLT

 

Do you ever second-guess your decisions? Do others second-guess your decisions?

It happens all the time, whether you are a widow or not. But as widows, we are often forced to make big decisions that we have either never had to make before or never had to make alone before. It can be so overwhelming, especially when we are already exhausted from grief.

One such decision can be whether to move.

I remember those first few weeks when I was trying to wrap my mind around my financial situation, the question about whether I should move started popping up. And so did the well-meaning advice. Some touted the traditional wisdom – don’t make any big decisions the first year. Some looked at the size of my house and immediately decided I should move–I didn’t need that much space or expense. While their hearts were in the right place, only one had the right answer for me and my situation.

God.

God was the only one who knew how my story would unfold over the next couple years.

He knew…

I needed to stay at my church for a couple years, surrounded by people who loved me and encouraged me through the darkest days.

I needed the structure from my job to help me as I dealt with the crazy ups and downs of various court cases related to my husband’s death that lasted for over eighteen months.

when I was ready to say yes for the next step in His plan which required me to move to a new city.

when I should sell the home I had shared with my husband for fifteen years.

it would comfort me for years to come, if I packed up my husband’s clothes and carefully arranged them in my closet at my new home.

I had to move quickly because I would soon be dealing with the death of my father.

God was the only One who knew what was to come and what I would need. He is the only One who knows it all and can make our path perfect. 

Lately, I have been reading in the Books of Samuel, and I have been reminded how closely David walked with God. Before David went into battle, He would seek God’s leading so he would be victorious. We can be victorious in every battle too, if we do what David did, and seek God’s leading. God will make our path perfect.

Perfect doesn’t necessarily mean easy. It was not easy to move to a new city. It will be two years next month, and it is still not easy. I miss my dear friends and church family in Plano, Texas. I miss being around people who actually knew my husband. I miss being around people who knew me before my heart was broken. I miss going places and being able to visualize being there with my husband. I miss the home we shared. I miss so many things, but I have tremendous peace.

I am where I am supposed to be.

My well-meaning friends had no way of knowing all that I would need as my journey progressed, but God did.

 I asked, He answered.

He led, I followed.

God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.

Lord, Thank You for watching over us and for loving us. Remind us to seek You every step of the way and to wait for You to lead. Help us to rely on Your wisdom, for only You can make the way perfect. In Your Son’s Precious Name.  Amen.


 

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? Hello, my name is

Want to read another article about moving? Are You at Home by Teri Cox

 

Into the Great Unknown

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

“But I won’t know ANYBODY!”

That was me a year ago.

I had heard His call. I had purged many of my household belongings to get my home ready for sale. I had checked in with my children and made sure they were on board.

Still, I wanted to bring in a godly mentor. So I sat with the Christian counselor who had worked with my boys since the days right after they lost their father.

I tested my plan on him.  Was it crazy?  Was picking up everything and moving my family of teen boys a whole state away from everything they’ve known really God’s calling, or was I following my heart without considering the consequences?

“I can’t imagine a better move,” he said.

Not that he would recommend all widows simply pick up and move.  But I had stayed faithfully in one place during the first eight years of raising the kids alone. We were ready.

The move required many sacrifices. I was moving out of my home, out of my city, and away from everything I was accustomed to.

But I wasn’t leaving it all behind. After all, you can’t move away from God. He goes with you. Moses explained this to his people in Deuteronomy 31 as he handed over the leadership to Joshua. Isn’t his reassurance to the Israelites so relevant to each of us widows as we press forward into our futures?  Especially at a time when the reigns of the ministry are being turned over to a God-appointed leader, Sheryl. We are assured that God is with us always!

I bring friends and memories with me as well into a new community and new life which has nothing to do with anything from my past.

What a refreshing thought.  New.  As in new creation.  Paul said to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)

This is not a move I could have done in those early years of grief.  But where I am with my healing… It’s perfect! The new has come!

A year later?

I’m here in Charleston, South Carolina.  I have a new church—new friends, and new interests.

And I am more intently leaning on Him.

My family’s finances are cleaner. I traded the burden of a large home for a manageable property which fits in my budget.  I’m also in a state that uses state monies to help my kids earn merit scholarships. For the first time in years I have a workable financial plan for my future.

I’ve met new friends and have kept the old.  Because I’m near the coast, I’ve had visits from friends and they reciprocate when I want to visit in North Carolina. Here’s what I love here in my new home.  Where I enjoyed my friendships understanding me as a widow and remembering Tom and the history there, it’s a bit refreshing to have new territory where I’m just Kit—a friend who happens to be single. There is acknowledgement of my past and respect for my loss, but that loss is more put into perspective here.

Everyone goes through trauma in their life.  A loss like ours doesn’t trump all the other losses so dotting the landscape of our culture—divorce, illness, financial loss, struggles with raising children. What I like about starting fresh in a new community is that my loss doesn’t take on a disproportionate attention because their focus is on getting to know me without thinking of me in the framed context of that tragic loss.

Through it all, God is with me, and He knows Tom. I don’t need the world around me to remind me how tragic it was to lose Tom. God’s comfort is enough.

And that’s where stepping away from my comfortable surroundings and moving to another state has landed me— learning that He is indeed enough!


 

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 Kit or a member of our team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net. 

Would you like to see other articles written by Kit? See them here:  Kit Hinkle

Other articles on this topic: Lead Me- Guide Me- Walk Beside MeWhere Is Home ????

 

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.

Why Did This Happen, God?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

“Content” ?
In any and every situation?

“Really, Lord”?
How can this be!

A few months ago, God’s timing was to take my husband “home” to heaven to be with Him. We were “aging” and had issues we dealt with on a daily basis, but had not given consideration that any of them were at a point of taking us “home”! So needless to say, my husband’s unexpected “journey” to his heavenly home was a total surprise to me.

Oh, what a tough time! I was sure God did not really understand what He was doing. I was sure it was not my husband’s time to go “home”. In a matter of seconds, all of my hopes and dreams were gone! I could not understand how God thought I was going to be able to continue living! So many questions entered in my mind. Why did this happen? Why would God take my husband, now….

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever had a situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow something like this to happen!

As I have had time to work at making changes in my life and think about many things, I realize asking “why” is perfectly normal and isn’t unspiritual.

In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing for me?

What maturity could God be building into me?

If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have
all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
I Peter 5: 6-7

Sisters, I must admit to you, this journey of “widowhood” has not been an easy one for me. My life changed completely in a matter of a few seconds. In just a couple of weeks after losing my husband, I disposed of most of our personal possessions, left my friends, my church, and moved to another state to be with family.

Was it easy?  No!  But, it was a way for me to find a perspective beyond situations where I felt God had allowed something in my life I didn’t understand.

I will be the first to tell you how much I still miss my husband of 48 years, but I will also tell you that time has allowed many changes in my life too! I am so thankful for my family and dear friends who walk with me, but most of all for my God who is there for every step I take! He has certainly given me an increased desire to draw closer to Him  than I ever did before!

God is there for you too …. just trust Him and ask Him to walk with you, too!

Lord, help me to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love.  Sometimes it’s hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You.  Please help me to trust you, completely – thank you!

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

The Signs of God

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

                                                                                                                                             Matthew 16:2-3

 

Are you missing the signs of God in your life?

In Matthew 16: 2-3 Jesus is warning the Pharisees and the Sadducees not to ask for a sign that He is the Christ. He goes on further to say that none will be given except the sign of Jonah. Jonah is the sign telling of the resurrected Christ. Today, we have no need of a sign to show that there will be a resurrected Christ. We are however, frequently blessed by the signs of His presence.

One of my most precious memories is from seven years ago this week. I was on a sailboat in Fiji and I had a close encounter with God our Creator. It started simply enough with an invitation by my husband to watch the sunset together on deck. What happened next was anything but simple. Stepping on to the deck, I was immediately struck by sheer awe for the beautiful pinkish/orange sunset, reflecting on the still waters and peeking amongst the majestic mountains. Miraculous beauty in every direction, a panoramic sunset of the most magnificent colors you could ever imagine. It was if I had stepped into heaven itself. And then suddenly I could not look for an instant more. I ran.

I ran to my cabin. Yanked out my iPod and turned it to “Facedown” by Matt Redman and worshipped with every fiber of my being. It was a moment that became seared in my brain and in my heart forever. It was an epic moment in my life of true worship of our God, the Creator.

Flash forward to this week and I am sorting through sailing pictures to use for my presentation at the Widow’s Conference next month. As I flip through the photos I am instantly reminded of that moment of worship. A few minutes later I walk to the back of my house just in time to see a beautiful pink sunset. As I stood there gazing at the sunset,  I realize for the first time that I have only lived in two homes in my life where I could look out and enjoy the beautiful sunsets. The first was the home I moved into with my two daughters after the death of my first marriage and the second is the home I recently moved to after the death of my beloved husband. And suddenly my heart floods with gratitude for the God who makes himself known through His creation. How did I miss the sign? He never leaves us nor forsakes us. We are never alone.

This journey of grief can feel so lonely at times and it is easy to get trapped by our fears. Sometimes, it can feel like the storm will never end. But even in the midst of the storm, God is with us. The signs are all around us. He is our creator and we are precious to Him. He is working all things together for good. He is faithful and most importantly, He loves us.

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you so much for who You are! Your Presence in our lives is a gift beyond compare! Father I am so grateful to know that it is not You who leaves me but it is I who wanders from You. Lord, keep us close to You. Help us to see the signs of Your Presence in our daily lives. Let others see You through our lives, that they may come to know You and believe in You. We love you Father. Thank you for the gift of Your Son that we may have life with You for all eternity. Amen.