Our Stories so Uniquely the Same- Part Two

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Proverbs 19:21 ESV

I encourage you, sisters, to join me in a three-part series I as I started this ministry.  I was struck by how unique and compelling each woman’s story was, and yet how similarly the threads of love, loss, and healing weave through all of our stories–creating one message: Hope in Christ.  The original writing was three times the length of our current articles, so I have split these into three parts.

Part one focused on those early days of grief. Today’s part focuses on that second year when life goes on, but your heart is still broken to pieces.  Look next month for part three which will focus on a new season. Bless you, sisters.  Our stories share a common thread–God’s love for the widow.             ~Kit

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We tried counseling. We loved it—we were finally able to get why we loved him so much and yet in some ways felt relieved not to have the same arguments repeated. We hated counseling—felt like we had a better grip on loss than the trained counselor. We dragged our children to counselors against their will, and were later glad we did—what would have happened with that grumpy teenager had we not gotten him to vent? We dragged our children to counselors and found out dragging didn’t work at all—the teenager only dug his heels in. We brought our children to a counselor who won their trust and got them on a healthy road of grieving right away. We got our kids to a counselor just in time. We got our kids to a counselor too late—but is it ever too late? We started counseling and thought we didn’t need it anymore and found ourselves later crawling back when life without our husbands got really rough.

We took on our husbands’ legacies. Some of us opened that coffee shop he always dreamed of starting, only to find it too overwhelming to handle without him. Some of us started that summer camp he dreamed about on the property he purchased a year before the accident. What purpose it gave us. How would we have survived without something to focus on! We raised our stepchildren that now had no biological parent to raise them. We struggled with a stepchild’s loyalty issues—loved by us, but still feeling like an orphan.

We blamed God. We didn’t blame God, but had a handle on how to just trust Him and accept. Maybe we’d already been through some pretty rough blows in life and knew bad things just happen and in the end, it all fits into some part of His will. We didn’t blame Him at first, but then life got harder. The bills mounted. The kids got squirrely. We got lonely. We’re still learning how to stop blaming God. We know we don’t really blame Him. We’re just plain mad.

***

But all of us do… live life more, whether it’s through grieving more deeply or actively starting life more quickly. Our tragedies are parallel and the ripples from our tragedies go in all different directions. And somehow, always lead to redemption.

Father God,  I thank You for these sisters who continue to share their stories with us. I marvel at how strong each of them is, and how You have taken the horrible losses in their lives to transform them and glorify You.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Inlaws- not Outlaws

Something Else to be Afraid of

A Widow’s Walk is Never Carved in Stone

Our Stories Uniquely the Same – Part One:  Those Early Days of Grief

 

 

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

Your Future is Now – Part 5: The Stretch

By Kitty Hinkle

What’s your “Boaz’s field”?

Maybe you aren’t sure who Boaz is. In case you’re not familiar with Ruth, she is the widow in the Old Testament and the picture of obedience. The Lord rewarded her obedience by having His hand in what she thought was a random selection over which field to glean. God placed her in Boaz’s field. Boaz’s family relation to Ruth’s mother-in-law set the stage for a future so big Ruth would never have conceived it on her own.

My friend’s questions about a future got me thinking. Does the Lord already have me right now in my “Boaz’s field”?

If you are just visiting this week for the first time, try starting at Part One and continue until you reach today’s posting.

Here are the four parts to this series:

Part 1 :   The Question

Part 2:   My Heart’s Answer

Part 3:   The Future is Now

Part 4:   My thoughts on my Friend’s Answer—Whose plans?

Part 5:   The Stretch—So don’t make plans?

When I study the story of Ruth, I notice how at some point, Ruth’s obedience moved from immediate actions which served the needs of the day (gleaning the fields) to more proactive steps to affect her future.

Under the guidance of her mother-in-law, Ruth waited until all the field hands were sleeping to slip under the blanket at the feet of Boaz as he slept . When Boaz noticed her there, he was taken by her appeal for him to marry her. Being a relative of Ruth’s mother-in-law, Boaz could redeem Naomi’s land and restore their social position by marrying Ruth.

Think about what a risk Ruth took there. A woman sleeping at the feet of a man? Clearly a bold move like that isn’t something the Lord would normally encourage you to do.

This direction to Ruth wasn’t given out of the blue. When Ruth received those instructions, she had been walking in trust and obedience for a long time. First she was obedient and loyal in coming to this land with Naomi rather than going back to her own land. Then gleaning the fields. Imagine how in-tune Ruth must have been to true versus false directions—enough to be able to discern that sleeping at a man’s feet was, in fact, something the Lord approved of her doing.

That brings me back to my friend’s insistence that I begin preparing for my future career now. If I have been truly faithful, truly obedient to what the Lord has called me to do, eventually He will reveal a plan to me for my future career. Has He already? What “Boaz’s field” has God placed me in which will springboard me into the future? What does God want me to do about it? I will recognize it only if I’ve been walking in obedience. Am I listening, and am I bold enough to execute it?

Father God,

 

I pray that You grow our hearts to be optimistic and open like Ruth’s, and reveal to each of us what “Boaz’s fields” you have placed in our lives. In the name of your precious Son, I pray for softening and changes upon all of us. Amen.

Thank you for taking your time to follow this series. It was a longer posting than typical. Next month I promise to keep it shorter. Please offer your insights as to what you would love to have us discuss as a new topic.

Now on to Part 5:  The Stretch—So don’t make plans?

Your Future is Now – Part One: A Question

By Kitty Hinkle

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)

I love getting together with this one friend of mine. Her conversation stretches me because she is both warmhearted and driven—an uncommon combination. She loves to get me drawn into deep discussions over life, career, and purpose. This time she posed a question, which both encouraged and challenged me. Being able to answer with no hesitation comforted me. Perhaps I’m more in tune with where God wants me at this place in my life than I thought. But then it challenged me. Maybe I need to stretch my ears more towards the Lord and begin listening more for His future plans.  Between the encouragement and challenge, a gentle reminder from the scripture called in my heart.  It was Christ’s words about worry in your life.

I’d like to take the opportunity this week to walk you through my friend’s question and what it really means to plan for the future while leaning on God for your direction.  I hope you’ll join us on A Widow’s Might.  Share in the discussion and stretch your own ideas about considering where you are today and looking hopefully and positively into the future.

Please return each day and follow the following parts to this series:

Part 1 :  The Question

Part 2:  My Heart’s Answer

Part 3:  The Future is Now

Part 4:  My thoughts on my Friend’s Answer—Whose plans?

Part 5:  The Stretch—So don’t make plans?

First the question.  She asked me quite directly, Kitty, what are your future plans for you when your sons have moved out of the house? What do you see yourself doing 8-10 years from now and beyond?

Ladies, does a question like this bring anxiety to you, or are you settled enough in your heart to go about answering it without the least bit of anxiety?

Most likely your answer is somewhere in the middle.  It’s only natural to feel nervous about the future, especially if your loss is fresh.  If you have only recently lost your spouse, please know that in the initial phases of grieving there is room for sobbing fully and feeling at a loss of comprehending any future. Please know that and consider these discussions as encouragement that there will be a time when you will be prepared to manage your future, but grieving fully is something that must be accomplished first. Keats put it so well in his Poem Ode to the Nightingale when he referred to the widow Ruth in scripture.  He wrote:

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,

She stood in tears amid the alien corn.

Wow, doesn’t Keats’ words strike exactly how you feel at least at times as a widow?  Standing in tears amid the alien corn?  I imagine Ruth in a foreign land standing in the field gathering crumbs after the field hands had their share, looking for scraps just to keep her mother-in-law and her sustained.  No plan at all for the future. Many painters have considered the truth of Ruth’s pain and captured with their brushes the moment of her standing in alien fields.

But the whole intention of Keats’ poem about the nightingale is in the bird’s song.  He imagines a nightingale singing to Ruth, comforting her in her pain.  Interesting that Keats chose the nightingale, a sweet bird, like the sparrow Jesus chose to illustrate how He wants you to treat your life. Light and carefree, like the sparrow.

He doesn’t suggest it.  He commands it, dear sisters in Christ. His words, “but I say to you” sets an expectation in us.  The discussion is, what is your response to His command.  Please share in the discussion, and then come back tomorrow as we talk about our response.

Now on to Part 2:  My Heart’s Answer