Weary From the Journey

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.

Psalm 6:6 NIV

Do you ever have those days? I’ve been having a string of them. Close together. One after the other. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the journey. Just wiped out.

I had a moment the other day where I asked my Savior why I have to be the one who is strengthened through loss. Why do I have to be the one who glorifies Christ in my grief journey? I don’t want this. I didn’t think it would take this long. I don’t like the valley. I don’t like others seeing me in the valley. I’m tired.

What do I do with that? How do I walk out of that valley?

Well, sweet sisters, this is what the journey looks like. We’ve got sweet sisters ahead of us that are beckoning to us to catch up. We’ve got sisters on the mountaintops that are smiling and looking down at us in the valley saying, “You can do this! You’ve got it!” and pointing to the trail up the mountainside. And there are those that are right beside me. As I look up from my own hands and lap with tears streaming down my face, I see their faces smudged with tears looking back. There are sisters calling to us from behind, asking about the terrain of the path we are all on. All of these Saints put in different places along the journey by the Savior.

Intentional introductions orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe – my personal Savior.

So, as I take a moment from my own groaning and weeping, I see that God loves me – He intentionally loves me in a very intimate, specific way, that only a personal Savior can.

If I look at scripture:
-God writes to me of His great plans (Jeremiah 29:11);
-God reminds me to put my trust in Him (Psalm 7:1a);
-God tells me stories of great men and women who have come before and, by trusting in God, were blessed beyond measure (Abraham, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Moses, Job, Joseph)

I am reminded in scripture that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

I lean on the Lord’s promises. They are throughout scripture. They are true and you can rest in them. The Lord that led His people to the promised land, will lead me to my promised land and there will be joy.

For me, I have to give Him my plans, my fears, my wants, my dreams, my frustrations, all of it. I can’t hold on to anything or I won’t be in a place where my hands are open to receive what God has for me. In me giving up everything, I am empty of me and He fills that emptiness.

And, all of the stuff I’ve been holding onto – fear, doubt, my “it’s not fair” attitude, plans, dreams, wants, condemnation – I no longer have to carry. It all goes into the Father’s Hands for Him to deal with. And His conversation with me in love is, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”“No one, sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 (NIV)

I share all this with you so that you know that no matter where you are on this journey, your personal Savior has intentional introductions for you. He wants to walk this with you and has sent Saints to accompany you along the way. I’ve just finished resting for a moment. I changed my shoes and I’m ready to get up and walk some more. God’s not finished with me yet and He’s not finished with you either. So, get up and walk with me!

Dear Lord, I thank You for letting me rest in You! I thank You for being big enough to take my questions and disappointments and for still holding me close. I thank You for the intentional introductions you have orchestrated along the way. At just the perfect moment, You have provided a wonderful Saint to encourage me, carry me, pray with or for me. I do trust You and I do believe that my best is yet to come in You. Thank You, Lord!


Sherry LookSherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is 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: What’s in Your Eye? By Teri Cox

Choosing

I Choose… do you?  By Leah Gillen-Stirewalt

I heard a comic once say that it’s not people who kill the squirrel as it scurries across the street in front of a car, only to suddenly make a faulty decision to reverse and go the other way. Suddenly, it chooses to reverse again, turning right back in the direction it was running to begin with to face the ultimate…SMACK!

No – it’s not the person or the car that killed the squirrel. It was indecision. If the squirrel would have just kept running forward, it might have evaded the coming car and its ultimate death. Or maybe if the squirrel had stopped in its tracks, the car could have straddled it or veered around it. Instead…it scampered back and forth trying to decide what to do until it was too late.

I am the squirrel. No, I’m not growing a fuzzy tail and eating acorns. But, I find myself very indecisive these days – or unable to make decisions at all sometimes. In studying up on this journey of grief, I realize that’s perfectly normal for us widows. I realize this particular dilemma will also fade some in time, and my ability to make decisions (or make them more quickly) will return. Until then, I need help…from friends, my pastor, family, those that have traveled Grief Road before me, counselors, books, and most importantly God and His Word.

There are many choices that are unwise for us to make right now. But, there is one choice that I have decisively chosen to make, in spite of my pain…I choose to get well!

Much like the invalid of 38 years in the book of John, when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

And how did the invalid respond? With an excuse, “Sir…I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

But, Jesus didn’t simply stop there. He didn’t say, “I’m so sorry. That’s such a shame. Maybe I can ‘stop traffic’ long enough for you to get down into the water.” Rather, Jesus the Healer said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And what happened next? Scripture tells us, “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

The man made a decision. He chose to do what Jesus asked him to do – without hesitation – and, he found his healing.

What does that look like for a widow in desperate need of healing from a broken heart, among other things?

In the early days…it might look like this…

When we feel like we can’t get out of bed…we CHOOSE to move locations, maybe just to the couch.

When we don’t feel like praying…we CHOOSE to utter one simple prayer, “Lord, please help me!”

When we don’t want to read the Word…we CHOOSE to open up the book of Psalms and simply read the first one.

When we don’t feel like socializing…we CHOOSE to return to church to allow God to love on us through other people. And, if we’re not loved on in that church, we CHOOSE another.

When we don’t think we can eat even a morsel…we CHOOSE to make and eat a piece of dry toast.

A few months or weeks down the road…it might look like this…

When we feel that we need more help processing our grief…we CHOOSE to seek the advice of a grief counselor or attend a program like Grief Share.

When the shock is wearing off, and the pain intensifies and we find we can’t cope at all…we CHOOSE to see a doctor about how we’re feeling.

When we can’t seem to muster up enough energy to do the basics around the house…we CHOOSE to share our struggle with a close friend or family member who can help us.

When we began to express anger towards our beloved husband…we CHOOSE to write him a letter expressing the pain, anger, and full emotion completely. That brings healing, in and of itself (I know firsthand).

When we don’t know the next step to take with all of the legal and financial decisions that must be made…we CHOOSE to make our needs known and let someone help us.

In the later months or years…it might look like this…

When our healing seems to be in full swing…we CHOOSE to open our hearts to another grieving widow that needs to know she’s not alone.

When we feel the lonely set in again…we CHOOSE to spend time with friends and not live as a hermit.

If/when we ever feel the desire to date once again…we CHOOSE to take the matter to the Lord for His decision to be made for us.

Making the decision to be well is the first step. It may takes us months or years to get there, but admitting that we want to be well, and then opening our hearts to allow God to work on us from the inside out is one of the most decisive choices we can make for ourselves as widows. Not only will we benefit from that choice, but our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, closest friends, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone else we interact with will also reap huge blessings from that initial decision for healing.

And most importantly…when we realize all that God has done for us through this most difficult journey…we CHOOSE to give Him glory!

And so…my sweet widow friends, what choice is God asking you to make today?


Please visit our website to see more encouraging posts by our team: www.awidowsmight.org

Rejection- Take Mom’s Advice

 

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Matthew 5:44 ESV

One of my children got a birthday card in the mail.

Why did that bother me so much? I mulled over the nagging pain in my heart until I decided what it was–REJECTION.

I never get a card from a particular relative on my birthday. All of my kids get cards, and I am skipped.

So that was it. Rejection. I had named it.

Now I could deal with it. I started with what “mother said”–one of her sayings I hated while growing up, mostly because she was right.

My mother often said, “It isn’t the action; it’s the reaction.” In other words, I can’t control what someone else does – only what I do or don’t do. That is completely up to me.

Mother’s words still play in my head today. I even say them to my own children when they fuss with each other.

On this day, I dug deeper into this newly uncovered emotion of rejection.

Verses came fast and furious to my mind.

Isaiah 53:3 ESV He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

So Jesus knew rejection. Okay, got it. He understands. So what?

Matthew 5:44 ESV But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Well, it isn’t persecution like prison camp but I think the principle to pray for them might still apply.

2 Corinthians 1:5-6   1 Peter 2 :4-5 

Philippians 2:5 NIV   In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Romans 8:17 NIV …we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

So what do I do with this rejection I feel from family members? I have decided to accept it as sharing in the suffering of Christ. This rejection is allowing me to share more in His glory. It draws me closer to Christ as I am reminded of what He endured for me.

He was rejected by His closest disciples in His most desperate time of need.

His brothers turned their backs until after the resurrection, when James became an integral part of the early church.

Since my husband passed away, some family members have not been involved with me and the kids to the extent that I hoped. (It’s those “great expectations” that get me into trouble every time.) And I miss it. I want to be over and done with these feelings of rejection. Honestly, it allows people to have control over me that I don’t appreciate their having. It is like they have a chain around my heart and can tug it whenever. I am breaking that chain today. I declare myself “chain free”!

Do you need to break the chains binding you to a feeling that someone’s words or actions have over you?

  • Dig into Scripture
  • How did Christ deal with the feeling?
  • How should I deal with it?

Often others don’t even intend on inflicting hurt on you. They are dealing with their own grief in a way that may not be healthy, or they may need help you can’t give. But you can PRAY.

Father in Heaven, thank You for knowing the emotions we deal with. Your Son felt rejection from those closest to Him. Help me break the emotional chains trapping me today from other people’s actions that I cannot control. I lay those at Your feet. 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. 

Another article about loving and forgiving our inlaws by Kit.

Here’s a great one by Leah about hurting people who hurt people.

I Struggle!

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:22 ESV

 

Sometimes I feel like I could just write this one sentence and everyone would agree.

I struggle. PERIOD.

Enough said for widows and anyone who suffers loss, women, broken people, those with illness or disabilities, men, teens, Christians, unbelievers, old, young, rich and poor, everyone….

We all struggle.

I’m not “Super Susie Sunshine Christian” trying to make everyone around me believe that I have it all together and walk through life with no worries, pressures, or struggles.  I am a real woman trying to serve a very real God. Which I think will be a book someday, but for now, it’s just who I am. I’m on staff in this ministry, on staff at my church, own a business, founded a nonprofit, and yet most days I’m just trying to get out of bed and be dressed. That’s it; all I’ve got.

I struggle with lies of the enemy about my place, my worth, my value, my impact. I have less years to live than I’ve already lived. Will my life make a difference? I struggle with grief and brokenness, self image, weight and beauty, with financial decisions and provision. I struggle with words and thoughts that are not in, of, and for God.

Most people who meet me during the course of a day would not think this is true of me. By God’s grace alone, most days I make it past dressed and out of bed. I speak for a living, so I have to work hard to craft my people skills and my God given talents and gifts. I sing, write and travel. My desire is to empower everyone, I am allowed to speak into, with a glimpse of how to become their best selves. I want His light to shine through me. I KNOW God, I TRUST God and I try to LIVE God out-loud. I know how to take thoughts captive and command the enemy to flee not by my power, but by the power of Christ in me. Yet, there are still days when I struggle.

The difference is I have hope even when I struggle. Hope tomorrow will be a better day. That it will be a highlight reel day, instead of a cutting room floor day. Hope I can pull it together, because I get on my knees and let it go. Hope God will indeed be who He says He is; my redeemer, my rescuer, the lover of my soul.

Hope.

Hope is the most powerful tool of the human mind, the most sought after human emotion, and the only thing that some of us cling to on the worst days. God has a great deal to say about hope. This four letter word is mentioned over 120 times in the Bible. He knew we would NEED hope and as always, He provided.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. 

Proverbs 23:13 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

I Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I have no idea what you struggle with, but I want you to know today, if you struggle, it’s okay. We all do. You ARE NOT the only one! Grab hold of this fact, hope can overcome any of our struggles if our hope is found in the Lord.  Lay claim to His power, His strength, His promises. The struggle may be real, but in Christ there is truth and power. He is reality! The enemy has already been defeated and the victory has already been won.

Let your prayer today be a way to call it out; “I am victorious in Christ. He carries my burdens!” Jesus, my hope is in You. Amen!


 

Tcas1

Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

Would you like to schedule Teri or another team member to speak at your next church event? Contact her at admin@anewseason.net

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

Posts similar to this one by other authors: Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?  & Breathing in Hope Read more

He Will Clean It Up

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

James 4:14 NASB

You owe me $20!

We used to say that all the time when my husband was alive.  We often ate dinner with my best friend, his best friend, and our kids.  Those people were also his sister and brother-in-law, our nieces and nephew, and our girls.  At almost every dinner, whether at home or out at a restaurant, someone knocked over a drink and it went everywhere.  My husband would call out, after the initial shock, “you owe me $20,” and we would all laugh and clean up the mess together.  For the longest time after his death, we didn’t say that anymore.

The other night, I was out with those same wonderful people.  The youngest kid is now 19 years old and we were celebrating our last dinner of the summer before the kids go back to college.  As we sat at our restaurant table, someone reached for something and, you guessed it, a drink was spilled.  Both me and my sister in law said in unison, “You owe me $20”.   For a moment, time stopped and we all looked at each other and almost simultaneously, we all smiled a secret smile as we each remembered the voice that was missing.

It has been almost six years since he left this place and went to Heaven with his Savior.  2,007 days to be exact.  This grief journey has been one of the hardest roads I have ever endured.  For some of the journey, I felt like my heart was missing.  For some of the journey, my heart was beating again, but to a different beat, not as loud or as strong on some days.  I’ve changed, evolved, grown…  This is a messy journey that changes moment by moment.

At the five year mark, I was hit in the face with a huge grief wave.  I am now starting to remember the sweet memories of him and how he made me laugh.  He made everything okay.  This makes me miss him even more some days.  I miss his ability to make me funnier, sweeter, less serious.

There are days when I long for Christ’s return.  I pray for it.  I look for it.  I weep for it.  I’m so tired of this endless journey.  I’m so tired of my heart hurting when I think about all the other family members who lost him too.

But then, I remember how he lived.  When a “catastrophe” hit – like 20 ounces of fruit punch tipped and spilled over an entire family’s dinner – he made it okay and put it into perspective.  From Christ’s view, it is all a vapor.  A moment that won’t be remembered in eternity.

So, I have to turn my view to my Savior.  I have to remember to view this journey from His point of view.  He would not ask me to take this road if it were not for His glory and His purpose.  On my very worst days, when I cry out to my Savior and ask for respite, He holds me in His arms and lets me rest there.  He walks with me through the mess of this journey, and sits with me on the side of the road when I need to take a breather.

It gets easier to live with the pain of loss.  I don’t hurt all the time like I used to.  I’m not broken.  I am a redeemed vessel.

Shattered into a million pieces and now glued back together with the Savior’s precious hands and love. 

I still laugh at the kids’ faces when they were younger and we said, “You owe me $20.”  We never collected.  After my husband said that with his serious face, he would break into a smile and say, “Help us clean up this mess before my dinner gets cold.”  And, together, we would make everything okay.

That’s how it is with Christ too!  He can make it better, if you’ll let Him, He will clean it up.

Dear Lord, Thank You for Your loving arms that wrap around me and comfort me.  I can’t imagine this journey without You.  Amen


 

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

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

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

If you liked this article, you might like: Spring Cleaning Your Soul by Katie Hagen

 

We believe—WE WILL WIN

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Do you have a battle cry?

Athletes understand a battle cry of confidence.

They also understand the struggles ahead, and if they are powerful competitors, they know what winning really means—it’s the joy of the battle, not merely a trophy.

Check out this battle cry from the 2014 World Cup:

ibelieve2014

Crowds of Americans chanted “I believe that we will win” over and over, even though all odds were against the US winning a World Cup.

All odds against winning, but we Americans shouted it anyway.

Were we ignoring the odds, or did we understand what winning really meant?  Once I got into the routine of life without my husband, I asked myself the same question…Do I understand what winning in my journey as a widow means?

They tell us widows, young and old, “you’ve got to move forward”.

That’s hard when you have layers of grief, pain, denial, anger and self-pity to overcome.

So it’s tears and stumbles. It’s waking up alone and pushing your way out of bed, only to be faced with reality again – he’s gone.

What does God say to that? Are we moving towards victory or survival?

We believe that we will win. Maybe it should be “we believe that we HAVE WON.”

Because we aren’t living to win.  We are living based on winning.  He’s already won.  You’re just living out His victory!

Not to say you won’t have trouble.  But when you do have it, God’s there to kick trouble in the shins! 2 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV) says, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.”

In those moments when your struggles bring despair, take heart.  Everything will get better.

Those moments humble you and tear you open like a seed which must be broken open to germinate. Out of brokenness you grow into a new woman in a new season.

While you sit in your brokenness, don’t let anything replace real Truth. New romance, shopping with inheritance money, drugs, wine.  None of that will heal.  God’s Truth is the only thing that lasts in the end.

That Truth is we are not just broken because we experienced loss.  All in this world are broken and filled with the weight of our sins.  And it’s only through recognizing just how awful that sin is that we win. We take the weight of sin off and hand it over to Christ, who paid for it once and for all by shedding His blood on the cross so you can now walk free.  Is this new to you?

Don’t let Truth pass you by, sister, because it’s in that Truth that you will finally believe, from the heart that YOU WILL WIN!  Read more about His Truth and how you can be saved here, and if you need one of our writers to pray with you to accept Christ in your life, please contact us here.

Trust God on this–there will be an end to the sorrow.  Things will become new for you—that’s a promise straight from God’s Word:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

That new is here, and you can experience it in this life through the impact you make, and through God’s blessings of a new abundant life. Ultimately, God will make all things new in Heaven. You will be redeemed from this widowhood!

You will no longer awake in your bed alone.

You will no longer walk through life without your best friend.

You will no longer carry the burdens of your household alone.

You will have companionship, love and fellowship.

What He doesn’t heal in this life, He will completely redeem in the next!

We believe—WE WILL WIN!

Dear God, we’ve won. Already.  Help us remember that You’ve already brought victory to us by dying on the cross. You’ve defeated sin. All of our tears will be wiped away–here, or when we stand before You.  Please give all of my sisters here strength and knowledge of your Truth.  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:

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Pushed Hard

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

Psalm 118:13 (ESV)

My cousin came to visit.  She amazes me.  She eats a gluten-free diet, cooking and preparing everything without prepackaged short-cuts.  She exercises every morning and plans her daily activity to make the most of her now limited abilities. You see—she suffers from a chronic joint pain caused by thyroid issues.  It cropped up out of nowhere five years ago and threatened to turn her into a sidelined victim unless she pulled herself together and pressed through her chronic pain.

Then I visited my dear friend in Colorado.  She equally amazes me.  She took me hiking up steep cliffs and biking dozens of miles, outpacing me no matter how hard I peddled.  She eats a completely organic diet and never complains.  Truth is—she suffers from arthritis so severe she’ll need serious surgery soon to reduce the throbbing constant pain she endures with each step.

You would never know these women suffer as deeply as they do. They’ve learned to push–to persist through their pain and find joy in God’s glory shown through their achievements.

You find this often among athletes and successful career persons.  That competitive edge causes them to see their pain as a part of their challenge.

But with grief it’s different.

Or is it?

Oh, the suffering is different—it’s emotional, mental, and spiritual. It’s wondering if we can ever be happy again, or even content with our lives, now that the rug has been pulled out from under us.

But at about year four I began to wonder if it’s so different. I was over the initial grief and ready to move forward. I had four boys in my home, all too rambunctious for the average new husband candidate, and all too demanding of my attention for me to give a man the attention he would deserve. I knew I was in for more years of missing a man in my life, and so I was marked for a life of solitude at least for the time being.

I began to see my pain of loneliness as just that – pain.  Not unlike physical pain.  Chronic pain, because it never goes away. It’s there when I cook without a man in mind.  It’s there when I wake alone in my bed.  It’s there when I sit in the sanctuary at church and see all the other ladies with their best friend hubbies at their sides.

I can rationalize about it—I don’t need a man, I’m doing great.  I can indulge it—This hurts! Let me tell you about it!  I can try to escape from it—Hey, a glass of wine tonight sounds good!

But the bottom line is – that pain is always there.  Always.

Okay, have I hit a nerve?  Have I pained you enough?  Please accept my apologies.  I just want you to go with me around one more corner.

It’s always there, but so is my cousin’s pain from her thyroid condition.  So is my Colorado friend’s pain as she hikes with arthritis 1000 feet straight up a mountain in the Vail Valley.  So how do they smile?  How do they accept it?

They each made a choice: industry over idleness.

Those in pain who continue remaining idle focus on their pain and begin to wither.

These women do not wither.  They thrive.  They recognize their pain as real, and they lean on their Lord Jesus Christ to help them push through it.  When asked how they endure, one answered “obedience”.  Christ calls her to act out the duties of a Proverbs 31 woman and push through the temptation to remain idle. “Once I push through it, the pain continues, but I don’t notice it so much because there is so much joy in my life.”  She reminded me she doesn’t do it alone. God helps her as He promises in Psalm 118:13:  I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

God knows we all suffer in the world.  But He reminds us that the suffering will give birth to new life if we endure and continue to give Him glory.  “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:9 ESV)

Are you pushed hard? Let Him help you push back!

Dear Father,

Lift my sisters and bring them joy, even in their loneliness.  Help them know they will not be lonely forever.  You will bring them fellowship here in this abundant life, and You will bring an end to all suffering when You come again.  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:

Loneliness, Get Out!

Solitude vs Loneliness

Where Does My Help Come From

 

Dishonorable Honor

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  

John 3:30 ESV

 

My husband’s death was classified as a non-line of duty death.

And to add insult to injury, it was said to be “dishonorable”.

Suicide tends to be viewed that way!

The words that are used cut deep.

Selfish

Weak

Dishonorable

Coward

Lost

Choice

Those are all words I’ve heard.  Many times over.

They might even have crept into my mind, at times, when this became too hard.  When the pain was so deep.  The missing so vast.  The resent palpable.

It’s easy to go there.  Suicide means the person wanted to die right?  They chose it?

During our two year journey leading up to Scott’s death, we saw numerous doctors and tried many avenues of treatment.  We were relentless in trying to find a “cure”.  Because honestly, that’s what it was going to take.  Scott’s brain was betraying him by becoming diseased and his doctors, the treatment plan, and his work support were failing him.  He wanted a cure as badly as anyone else who gets the bad news that he has a long term, debilitating, life altering, life-threatening illness.

But nothing worked; he just kept getting worse and worse.  As a police officer with a weapon at his side, our very worst fear came true that horrific day.

I’ve had many people in our world make me feel less. Early on I allowed the shame to get the better of me.

I wanted a different story.  I wanted an “honorable” one!

I watched other police officers who died a hero’s death receive such honor and glory.  Their names go on a wall in Washington, they are memorialized, and the brotherhood of police speak highly of them for years to come.  Scott was soon forgotten by many and dismissed by others.  There’s no post each year in the State Police on his end of watch, no overt recognition of Scott’s contributions, service and dedication to the job he loved.

A job he loved SO MUCH,

that he died trying to keep it…

By doing and taking anything asked of him, even when it was making him deteriorate rapidly, harming instead of helping.

These realities stung for a quite awhile for me early on, and gave the enemy a foothold in my life.  It was hard not to resent others and be bitter.  My husband died while trying to get well.  But all anyone outside of this saw was… my husband “chose” to die.

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt suicide is never a choice.  Suicide goes against every natural defense our great God gave us.  The whole fight or flight brain make-up.  Once that instinct is lost, once someone gets so deep into this vastly misunderstood and brutal disease, it’s hard to know what’s what anymore.  Scott often said he felt like his brain was betraying him and he could no longer use the things and parts he knew well, to stop it.

Scott’s end was tragic and horrific.

But,

Of course there is a but…

Now I realize that God gave me this “dishonorable” story for His greater honor.

You see, I now know if Scott died in a different manner he would’ve become more and God would’ve been less in so many ways.  Scott would be the greater focus and not God.  When I was stripped of even my pride in how Scott died, that’s where God met me.  That’s where He said, “Watch Me use this for My greater glory. Watch Me use that man of yours and his horrific story to touch lives for My Kingdom.”

Understanding today more fully how He would use Scott’s story, I realize that if I truly trust God then I can trust His plan for me too. Even if that plan is a death that’s “dishonorable” in the world’s eyes.  Because in Him I find perfect honor.

So, on this the sixth anniversary of Scott’s Heaven day, I say thank You!  Thank You, God, for the dishonorable honor of my story, and for being bigger and more in this story than anything or anyone else. Thank you for making us decrease, so You could increase.

God is more and we are less, for that I am grateful!

Father God, helps us to embrace our story.  Even if it’s not honorable.  Help us to desire for You to be much more and us to be much less.  Help us to humble ourselves before You and submit to Your authority in this tough journey. Help us to remember that You alone deserve the honor and glory.  In Your matchless name, Amen. 


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika Graham is Director of Operations, 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.

Other articles written by our team with a similar theme: Let God & More Vast

 

That Day

 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.  The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 118: 21-29

 

June 16th, 2010, the day my husband got heaven, was the day my world and life as I knew it ended.

That day, my husband took his own life.

It was the single hardest day of my life and it broke me in so many ways.  But, I wasn’t the only one.  What happened that day broke many people; our children, our family, our friends, our church, and many strangers who heard it as breaking news or went by the scene.

That day I was spared though, because I wasn’t with him, and I didn’t find him.  Yet, there were a handful of strangers who weren’t spared. I’ve thought and prayed for them often.

There was a man who stopped within seconds and was the first to try to help him. Then a second man who stopped and helped, and a woman had stopped too. In the end I was told there were about five in those first precious minutes, who stopped on the side of a busy road and were there to help and protect my beloved husband until paramedics arrived.

I prayed for years that they’d be protected from what they saw and what they did would be honored.  That it wouldn’t scar them.  And that they could find peace in it.  I even prayed for the opportunity to thank them.

Last year, I got a message from the woman who stopped. We corresponded via email and I could sense her pain.  After a time, we agreed to meet.

As we sat and talked, she shared intimate details of that precious horrific day. We both shed mighty tears. At one point she shared that she’d been tormented by what she saw.  That she kept dreaming of it and couldn’t get one picture out of her head; the image of his strong left hand where his shining unblemished wedding band was resting gently on his leg. As she sobbed and shared, I reached up and took my necklace off.

In it was something I needed her to hold, because I had taken Scott’s wedding ring and made a necklace from it. I handed it to her and she held it so tight. In that moment, I saw her release some of the pain of that day and those terrible images. She could see the new I created in that ring and in our life. I shared my great God with her too. And I pray she saw Him shine as I talked.

I’ve never seen her since, but I’m so grateful for our time. I’m most grateful God gave me a chance to meet one of those who cared enough to stop. I love that I can now pray so specifically for her, and I hope that she saw God’s love and glory on full display in and through me.

I share this with you sisters because your story matters.  Your husband’s death matters. Your suffering matters.  The suffering of others matters.  The kindness of others matters.  The healing matters. And sharing matters!

God wants to use your ugly, messy, sad, precious story for His glory. It’s certainly not easy or comfortable for some of us. There are those who will never see our story through the grace filled, redemptive eyes of Christ, and will instead judge us. But, that’s ok.  I can’t control others.  I can just lay my story humbly before the Lord, committing it to Him, relinquishing my control over it.

The day I met that woman is right up there with one of my toughest days. The harsh realities of what happened that day reopened wounds for me.  But my comfort, my heart, my pride, or even my privacy doesn’t matter if I’m blocking God from using me, my husband, and our story to help others and bring Him great glory!

If I hide away, I’m just giving the enemy more victory and I’m robbing God!  And I’m wasting our suffering. What additional tragedy that would be.

My husband is gone.  The days leading up to it were terrible.  And his death was horrible.  But that’s where the bad stops and the good starts.  God allowed bad, but He will work it for His good and glory.  I believe and trust that!

And I trust Him!

That day, our story became HIS STORY!

Father, help us to be bold.  Helps us to humbly watch You work and move in our lives.  Give us the courage to relinquish any shame we may feel over our story to Your greater purposes.  Let us be a light in dark places, and give us opportunities to share even the ugly stuff, so we can glorify You.  I thank You for the messy story You’ve given me and I pray, Lord, that You give me the strength I need to walk this journey as a humble servant in Your mighty hands.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika Graham is Director of Operations, 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 her or any of our writing team speak, please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

Related articles on this topic: Story Keepers and The End of the Story?

Loneliness, Get Out!

“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26 (ESV)

Loneliness kept me up at night and woke me each morning.

I would get so mad at him. But he was relentless.

He’d poke at my gut and mess with my bedding until I’d roll, and toss and turn myself awake.

I’d tell him get out of my bed!

And he would.

Only to leave me with a cold metal laptop sleeping beside me.

Then I would rub my eyes and recognize the pointlessness of pounding my pillow. I’d pull open that laptop and occupy those wasted hours of no sleep by trying to accomplish some task.

At first I’d think, I’ve done it! Kicked him out for good! I’d hammered out an article for the ministry.  I’d tell myself how grateful I am for modern technology. With just an arm-reach beside me, I could have the right tools to capture my inspiration and put my ideas to work!

But once the article was done, something else awaited me on that laptop: social media–facebook photos of married couples, that friend who hasn’t come around lately, or twitter tweets of people living the life I lived when I had my husband. Loneliness returned to feed on my thoughts, and this time he brought with him yet another poor bedfellow–Anxiety.

I’d cry out to God , “why won’t You take these feelings away?”

He answered by bringing Scripture to my heart.

In the eleventh chapter of Luke (Luke 11:24-26 above), Jesus explains it’s not enough to clean your heart of evil spirits by taking action on your own.  If you rid yourself of bad thoughts and attitudes, but don’t fill your heart with Christ, those thoughts will return and compound themselves with other vices.

By taking the edge off my loneliness with being busy, was I not sweeping my heart clean from Loneliness without guarding my heart from his return?

Taking God at His word, I changed my nighttime habits. I intentionally place all electronics on the other side of the room and leave my sleeping to just that–sleeping.

The only reading material I keep at my bedside now is Scripture.

That way God is there with me whenever I need Him.  When I drift to sleep and when I wake.

On the first morning after making this change, I awoke again before the sun came up and considered how different it felt without that computer right there to grab.

That lonely feeling was there, but I reached for God, not busyness.  I grabbed the Bible right there on my nightstand and let God’s words cradle me, relax me and lull me back to sleep.

And when the sun rose, I felt energized, wanting to pull back the covers and get started with my day.

The result?  My home is cleaner.  My bills are paid earlier.  My kids get a cooked breakfast more often, and I’m exercising more.

And most of all, I’ve kicked loneliness out of my bed and invited in the true Comforter.

How about you?  How do you awake in the morning?

Precious Father God, for years grief took over my nights and mornings, slowing my progress through the day. But You are good to heal, Lord.  Thank you.  Please lift my sister out of her loneliness and give her Your Holy Spirit and carry her through this day.  Amen.


 

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker, and was one of the original writers of A Widow’s Might in 2008.  After four years with that ministry, she expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she stepped back from the leadership role, 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 another team member speak, please email us at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author: Kit Hinkle

Would you like to read more about sleeplessness?  Here are some articles you might try:

A Cry in the Night by Linda Lint

Miscellaneous ramblings of a tired mommy by Nancy Howell