Our Stories so Uniquely the Same- Part One

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

I encourage you, sisters, to join me in a three part series I wrote years ago 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 which we will publish today and over the coming months. Today’s part focuses on those early days of loss.  Look for part two on the second year and part three on a new season in the coming months. Bless you sisters– our stories share God’s love for us!           ~Kit

***

The day of the funeral we wore that dress we wish we could forget about. Some of us wore stylish dresses, as though our husbands would be comforted in Heaven if we tried our best to not look as awful as we felt. Some of us wore the simplest of black dresses—after all, the occasion wasn’t happy—why attract attention to ourselves? Some of us hate black and purposely chose navy blue. Some of us borrowed dresses from our sisters and then asked them to take it back and never show it to us again. Why use our own dress, which would sit in the closet as a constant reminder?

All of us cried. We cried heavy, even howled—never holding back—drowning in wet tissues for hours on our sisters’ laps. We cried soft whimpers when no one was looking. We cried silent tears—staring blankly at the empty world we faced without them. We didn’t cry at all at first and even wondered if everyone thought we didn’t love our husbands. Of course, we did—more than life itself—it’s just that we’re not criers—or so we thought. In private, it all came loose. We drowned our tears in wine until a friend plucked us up and sat with us so we wouldn’t drink alone. We cried in waves, like a roller coaster—fine one minute, calm, even kind of detached about it as we sorted through things in the house—wondering why on earth we’ve been given this strange peace, until the wave crashed and then boom—we dissolved into inconsolable tears.

We got through that first month. Some of us were thrust into crisis mode—”He had a business with customers banging at the door—who else but the widow would be expected to close up shop?” Some of us fought with the insurance company—”what do you mean investigation? I thought our life insurance was secure!” Some of us couldn’t stay in our homes—without him, the rent couldn’t be paid. Many of us refused to think about it. The kids were so confused—how could we even have a moment to think about ourselves with our kids asking so many questions? Some of us got busy—cleaning, trying to make order somewhere even with the chaos in our hearts.

Then we had to deal with his belongings unless we expected to live with the constant evidence someone should still be there. We had friends sort through his belongings for us—bagging up his clothes and taking them to Goodwill right away. We wouldn’t let anyone touch his belongings. Their closets became unbearable to touch, a sort of shrine to their existence in our lives. We organized his belongings into nice little boxes and moved them into the attic. Hopefully, we can eventually have the courage to reopen them and decide what to do with it all. We left certain belongings untouched. That receipt from Blockbuster he taped onto the side of the refrigerator stayed there for years. Even visitors seemed to know it would be sacrilegious to remove it.

***

But all of us do… live life more. Whether it’s through grieving more deeply or actively starting life more quickly, we live life more. 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

Who Could Imagine?

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)

I was settled comfortably in a waiting room chair when I heard sniffling and looked up.

“Oh, this is embarrassing,” the receptionist said, dabbing her eyes. “I’ve been doing this for days, and I can’t stop.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, putting down the magazine.

“No, it’s okay. But it’s weird. I’m that woman that never cries. But I can’t shake the thoughts of what just happened to a friend.” She grabbed a tissue and blew her nose. “She was going along with her life, just like I do. Then, out of nowhere, her husband just died.”

I took it in. Just the mention of that scenario and a wave of bad memories flooded in as though they were yesterday. “Heart attack?”

She nodded. “He was fifty-one! I can’t imagine what she’s going through!”

I can, I thought and then took a deep breath. “Kids?”

“Three of the sweetest you can imagine. Her thirteen-year-old plays baseball with my thirteen-year-old.” She clenched her fists, fighting more tears, and shook her head. “Just like that—her life is changed forever.”

“Yes,” I said, my eyes meeting hers. “Completely changed forever.”

She thought for a moment. “I don’t know what to say to her. I’ve always been a tough woman. Stubborn. In my zone. I only focus on my world—my husband, my kids, my job. I’ve lost touch with so many people over the years as though no one really mattered.”

We both sat quietly for a moment while we thought about what she just said.

Then she added, “but she matters.”

And here is where I break from the story to speak to each of you sisters on this widow journey.  I’m amazed at God’s goodness to bring my meeting with the receptionist in the waiting room together.  It wasn’t an accident—her being struck with sadness about seeing the exact same tragedy I had once experienced and me hearing her gut-wrenching story that was exactly like my loss.

Isn’t God’s purpose so clear in these moments?  Paul talks about this when he writes to the Corinthians.  He tells them that when God comforts us in our struggles, we are then able to turn around and comfort others. My conversation with this receptionist happened almost ten years since losing Tom—long enough for me to have so much of God’s healing and joy restored in my life, and long enough for me to be prepared to send that healing and restoration through this woman to help the new widow in her life.

All these thoughts ran through my head as I listened to her describe the impact of her friend’s loss on her heart.

“I’m just a baseball mom acquaintance,” she said. “She never really mattered to me before, but now she matters, and I’m thinking about people I’ve neglected and ignored over the years. I’m not close to anyone but my family.”

I nodded. “People matter. The older we get, the more important it is to recognize it before it’s too late.”

“I don’t know what to do for her. I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”

Silence for a moment. Should I tell her I’m a widow? Yes, I should. God brought this moment for a reason.

“I can imagine what she’s going through,” I finally said. “I lived it. I was her.”

She looked puzzled.

“I was her age with four little boys when my husband died with no warning whatsoever. I was exactly where she is right now.”

She stared in my eyes, seeming to try to connect her friend’s situation to me. “I would have never guessed. You seem happy.”

“I am. It hasn’t been easy, but my life is good.”

“I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”

“Parts of being a widow stinks, but she will need a friend who can show her she’s more than a widow. She’s going to need a good friend.”

And as she began to ask how to be a good friend, I found myself making a new friend.

That was something I couldn’t imagine. Who could imagine His infinite wisdom and power—how the Almighty Counselor knew that only someone who had walked in my shoes could counsel this woman.

Lord thank you for bringing me comfort so that I can be used to comfort others.

 


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.

If you are looking for more to read about comforting others, consider these posts from our team:

Inviting Others into Your Healing Journey

When the Shoe is on the Other Foot

The Other Side of Sob

 

 

When Things Aren’t What They Seemed

Secrets.

What do we do with hurtful information we find out about our late husbands?

Recently we received a private message from one of our readers about a very difficult subject. She had discovered some damaging information about her husband after his death. How should she handle this situation?

I had a similar discussion with a friend a while back. She had discovered some information about her late husband that was quite disturbing. It colored everything. Totally shocking.

Her children were young adults when their father passed away after a lengthy illness. The couple had fallen in love in college and had weathered the storms of church disappointments, addiction, job loss, raising children, and moving across country. But now that he was gone, one of her children shared some information about Dad. Her stomach felt sick thinking her husband could have been so horrible to their child, thinking about her child living with the secret pain for many years. She asked me what she should do.

Praying fervently in my heart before proceeding, I said,  “Lord, I don’t even know what to say. Guide my words, please.” 

As widows, what do we do with information about our husbands after they are gone? Mysterious credit card receipts. Suspicious or even pornographic websites on his computer. Surprise allegations he physically abused one of the grandchildren or other children. Could he have been involved in something illegal? Life insurance never purchased after years of pestering, and now bankruptcy? Some of our widows were separated from their husbands at the time of their sudden deaths. 

We can’t confront them now, so what do we do with the information?

Forgiving might be hardest when the recipient isn’t alive.

You have probably heard many quotes about forgiveness -like holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We are killing ourselves when we don’t extend forgiveness to someone.

If we look at Scripture, we can start with a well-known passage like the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  Here in the Amplified Version, we find these words in verse 12.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

In my experience, I have more joy in my life when I release the other person from the debt I have placed on them. The past is the past, and we can’t change what happened. We can change how we go forward from this point. We are all sinners. And extending the same forgiveness to a spouse, even after his death, opens up the pathway for God’s forgiveness toward us. (Colossians 3:13)

And since RELEASE is my word for 2017, I keep my eyes open for ways to use it in every situation.

Is there a debt you are carrying that needs to be released? Let’s not wait another day to release someone from the chains of unforgiveness. It ISN’T easy – sometimes we need to meet with a trained counselor, pastor, or even an attorney. But it IS possible.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  Matthew 6 :11-12 ESV

When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. Mark 11:25 NCV

Forgiveness isn’t something we do for someone else, especially when they aren’t around any more. Forgiveness is something we do for OURSELVES.

Father God, help us be quick to forgive. Release us from the bondage of grudges and unforgiveness. Thank You for Your example of forgiveness in our lives. Help us to be aware of Your Holy Spirit moving in our hearts to forgive someone. Amen


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, and a noisy cat named after a German race car driver!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning 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. 

Here’s another article from Kit and a guest blogger about betrayal and forgiveness. 

 

 

 

 

Might as Well Do Something

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job 6:10 (ESV)

How does he do it? The enemy, I mean.

How does satan take a beautiful heart and twist it into his shape, convincing her to reject God and His promises?

He gives her a “fur-lined pity-pot”–that’s how. God-knows where that little phrase came from, but I’ve heard it kicked around in recovery circles. It’s that cozy spot where she curls up like a cat and licks her wounds.

He tells her it’s the safest spot to park herself.

But it’s not!

How many of us have spent at least a season of our time as widows spinning over our painful circumstances, wanting a better life for ourselves, but stuck in a pit of despondency.

There’s a better way. Kick the devil in the rear by rejecting self-pity.

Oh, the joy you will feel when you reject satan.

The impact you will make!  The reward – the everlasting reward to be secure in your place with God and in Heaven!

And while we know there are rewards in stopping the self-pity, we can’t just rid ourselves from it without replacing it with a new mindset.

Try this one: Remember this world–this life–these struggles that seem unending–are but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

And what feels like a curse to have to suffer in this life has its rewards. Because with discomfort, you are never lulled into leaning on the luxuries of this world for security. Rather, you look to the eternal security of your precious loving Abba Father to walk you through every dark valley.

Job in the Old Testament saw this Truth, even in his misery.  After losing ten children, all his material possessions, and the support of his wife and friends, he sat alone, covered in painful boils. And in his misery he did something remarkable.  He praised God. Just listen to his words: “This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10 ESV).

Job had it right. Sitting idle for too long doesn’t get you any further out of your misery. Do something. If you can’t seem to do anything, start like Job did by praising God.

And if you can’t seem to use words to praise God, try action.

Think of it this way: You are miserable anyway.  Might as well get something done while you’re at it! Take action! Here’s why:

  • Actions before feelings – Our culture screams for you to give in to feelings.  Don’t!  Move your body and use your mind as if you were hopeful and joyful, and your heart will resonate with those actions and feel joy again!
  • It honors your Maker – It screams to the enemy, I will not let my loss render me useless, and draws you closer to God and His purpose!
  • Results – You grieve whether you remain idle or start cleaning, but a week later, your house is uncluttered. Accomplishing a task puts a lift in your step.

Abba Father,

Give my sister that small nudge to step out of her fur-lined pity-party. Help her at least get up and begin tidying the world around her as a way of acknowledging You are there and she loves You and knows You love her. Embrace her as she takes small steps and please grow that security in her heart. Thank You, Jesus. 


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

My Plans

Today we welcome our guest Evelyn Willis.

 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

I’m a planner –a list-maker.   That is one of the things that attracted me to Rick. He was a planner. He was able to clearly articulate his goals for the upcoming year, fives years, and even ten years out.  We had plans. So when Rick died suddenly at fifty-eight years of age, I was lost.  I didn’t know what to do.  It was not supposed to happen like this.  This wasn’t part of my plan.

Rick and I met through a mutual friend in December of 1982. We began dating in January of 1983, he proposed in March, and we married five months later.  It was a whirlwind!  I knew he was “the one” because I had a list of things I was prayerfully looking for in a husband and Rick quickly checked off most the things I was looking for.  So we began to plan our lives together.  We planned where we would live so that our children could go to the best schools possible.  We planned family vacations.  We planned quarterly get-a-ways to keep our marriage fresh.  We planned for college for our children.  We made plans financially so that we would be set in our retirement.

We had plans!

We planned to travel.  We had planned to grow old together.

What I hadn’t planned on was being a widow at fifty-two.  I hadn’t planned on kissing my husband as I left for work only to get a call before lunch that he had collapsed, never to regain consciousness.  I hadn’t planned on burying my husband five months after our thirtieth anniversary.  I hadn’t planned on being a single mother.

This is not what I’d planned, Lord!

I was lost!  I cried out to God in my anguish.  What was I supposed to do without Rick– my love, my best friend, my covering?  What now, Lord?  We had plans!  Then the Ultimate Planner, the One who knows the number of my days, who knew me in my mother’s womb, spoke to me so clearly.  He reminded me that His plans for me did not die when Rick died.  He still had a plan and a purpose for my life.  That word spoken quietly to my heart did not solve all my problems or alleviate all my pains and questions, but it did give me a reason to hope.  Enough hope to keep moving forward.

For now, that will have to be enough… And it is.

I can begin to plan again.

Father, thank You for the plans You have for our lives.  Help us to trust You as those plans unfold for our good.  In Your name,  Amen.


Evelyn Willis lost her husband Rick suddenly on January 8, 2014.  They had just celebrated their 30th anniversary.  They have 3 sons, a daughter, and 2 grandsons. Evelyn is an elementary school teacher who loves reading, singing, and walking her  two Shih Tzu doggies.

Would you like to submit a guest blog? Follow the link to our website page with all the information you need.

For more information about our ministry, please visit us at: www.awidowsmight.org

God of All Comfort

We are excited to welcome today our friend Rebecca Ramsey! Rebecca came to our conference in 2016. Join us in welcoming her!


Blessed be the God and Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV
 Have you ever met someone seemingly at a random moment in time, not thinking that anything would ever come of it, only to have God bring that meeting full circle a year or more later?
I met a lady in the grocery store over a year ago; she saw me using coupons and asked me a question about them. I remember telling her I would add her to the coupon group I was a part of on our social media page.
Somehow the fact that my Dave had passed away the week prior had come out in conversation. She literally gasped and asked me how I was even standing, much less shopping. I simply said, “My kids still have to eat.”
We became “friends” on social media but I never heard from her personally again until last month…a year after our “chance” meeting.
She posted about her losing her husband and my heart just broke for her instantly. I commented (still not remembering who she was) by explaining that I totally understood how she was feeling, and to message me privately if she needed an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.
When she messaged me, she told me part of her story and asked how I’ve done it…I told her, “One day at a time, one step at a time, even one breath and prayer at a time.”
I have messaged her every few days since then to check on her– I don’t want her to feel invisible like I have so many times in the last year. Over the last few weeks I’ve tried to figure out where I knew her from and how we became “friends” on social media but I just couldn’t figure it out. Until last week when she messaged me, telling me how I had touched her heart IN THE GROCERY STORE  last year! WOW!! It all came back to me, and then I saw how God’s plan through meeting that day had come full circle!
God has held me, walked with me, and comforted me in so many ways through my grief journey. He brought me to this point so HE would be able to use me to speak to my friend’s heart through her own grief journey. Am I still broken? Yes…Do I still miss Dave so much it hurts sometimes? Yes…Do I have it all figured out? No…BUT GOD DOES and HE can still use me as a cracked vessel and, oh! the flowers that will grow because of Him using our cracks to water the seeds that had been planted before we got there…because He knows and prepared the way ahead of time!
Father God, You give us comfort through Yourself but also through other people we come in contact with. Sometimes we receive comfort from others and sometimes we are able to give comfort to others. Show us divine appointments today in what might seem like coincidences. And give us boldness to proclaim Your strength through us. Amen

 

Rebecr Ramseyca Ramsey is a 36 year old mother of 3 children; 2 sons and 1 daughter. The two oldest of those children she recently adopted. Dave, her husband of nearly 10 years, passed away 13 months ago after just a few months battle with cancer.  In the last year and a half, her strength and faith has been tried but God has brought her through and continues to bless her and her children just as He promised He would. She feels led and hopes to work more closely with other widows and those grieving a loss in the near future.

 

His Hands

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.

Psalm 20:6 ESV   

Hands can be used for grasping, holding, pulling, creating, rescuing, and nurturing. They can also help communicate emotions or make a point. They can be as soft as silk or as rough as sandpaper.

I’ve been thinking about hands quite a bit these days. To be more precise, my husband’s hands and in turn how they can help me understand God’s hands. Quite often memories help to quiet my mind and help me reset when I’m having a hard time focusing; it’s usually a bittersweet experience.

I remember how my guy’s hands looked, their gentleness, their strength, and their size compared to mine. They were weathered from hard work with a tint of grease mixed in from past tinkering adventures. They could fix anything, hold baby girls with gentleness, and guide me in a crowd. He’d offer his hand to the most skittish stallions and could calm me by merely resting them on my knee. He would reach out his hand towards mine to bridge the gap after an argument. The part I remember the most and long for is when he would reach out his hand, and my hand would disappear into the vastness of his hand. Sometimes he steadied me with his hand, like a silent reassurance we would hold our little life together.

Then, like God always does, in the midst of missing my husband and with tears rolling down my cheeks, He reminds me His hands have never changed and when my guy allowed Him to do a work in his life, his hands became the extension of Christ.  Every gentle display, every tinker, every steadied gesture, every bridging the gap, every time my hand would disappear in my guy’s hand, it was Christ reaching out to remind me, He holds my little life together. Although, circumstances are much different, He hasn’t changed one iota. His hands are mighty and He is mighty to save.

In the four gospels there are references of Christ reaching out his hand.

His hands brought relief, healing, and transformations.

In the Old Testament God’s hands established peace, justice and second chances.

I don’t want us to miss the point of what Christ needed to remind me of in my quiet reminiscing. He held it up like a mirror. If Christ is doing a work in my life, then my hands are an extension of His hands. I need to partner with Him and be willing to bring relief, aid in healing, cheer on transformations, help administer peace and justice and by all means, allow for second chances in the healthiest ways. Although, my hands look different than my guy’s hands, we serve the same Christ and my hands need to disappear into the greatness of Christ’s hand.

As we walk through our life and jump over the distractions that come and go, I want you to think about how your story and your experiences could be a launching pad to help be the hands of Christ. How could you bring relief? How could you encourage someone as they transform? How could you help remind someone we serve a God of second chances? As we encourage others, Christ will do more work in us. That’s the beauty of His kingdom, when we give all we have; He gives us back more than we ever dreamed.

Dear Heavenly Father, Do a work in us, be the work in us. Help us realize the power of your outstretched hand as it covers us and our journey. Lord, we pray in advance for the people who need to hear about our experience, about our testimony of Your great provision. In Your Mighty Name, amen.

 


 

Jill is a writer/contributor for A Widow’s Might and aNew Season Ministries. Jill is smitten by the northern shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is her sanctuary. She takes every opportunity to spend time sinking her toes in the sand or swimming in its crystal clear water. In the spring of 2010 she experienced the hardest time of her life when her husband died in a motorcycle accident. She’s spent the last five years learning about the importance of walking by faith and not sight. Jill is now the torchbearer of the legacy her and her husband started twenty-five years ago. She is a mom to three strong and independent girls. Her most important goals are to honor Christ in everything she does, and to live life to the fullest in honor of her husband.

If you’re interested in having a team member speak at your event please email us at: admin@anewseason.net

To read more articles by our team: Still Good, Sovereign, and The Wound

 

Unanswered Questions

Please join us as we welcome our lovely friend, Janene Gaynor, today.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

Psalm 61:2 NASB

My husband of forty years received hundreds of prayers for healing from bladder cancer.  As, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Heb. 13:8 NASB), we looked to God for complete healing. Therefore, with my husband’s great vitality and passion to live, prayer continued over the course of his illness. We knew at the midpoint that we were really asking for a miracle. Medical treatment here could only do so much. Despite chemo and surgeries, he was considered “terminal”. The cancer was marching on.

I prayed for God alone to determine my husband’s future. God’s answer for healing proved to be, “Not here.” My beloved did not receive healing of his body here but received an imperishable body forever.  I have pondered the question, “Why did God not heal my husband here?”, and although I don’t have an answer, I did develop a strong conviction over the time he was ill.

I observed Christ drawing believers together in prayer for my husband and in service to our entire family. I witnessed how my husband’s life and the Spirit in which he endured the cancer, spoke to them. The body of Christ was evident and it was truly beautiful and a blessing to watch. From this I understood:

  1. God always has a big picture viewpoint and works beyond the one receiving prayer.
  2. God’s first priority is always eternal, not temporal.
  3. God’s character is revealed at Christ’s cross. When struggling with a question about what God did or didn’t do, revisiting Christ’s cross will refresh our vision of God’s character.  That knowledge is an anchor for our hearts regardless of circumstance.

Christ had us yesterday.

He has us today.

He will have us tomorrow.

God is faithful.

When my husband died, every relationship changed—even my relationship with myself. However, our God never changes. That is why He is my Rock.  No other security exists on this earth. He is the Alpha and the Omega and my ever-present refuge.  If we know our God’s character, our unanswered questions can wait. The knowledge of the Holy One is our daily anchor whatever may come.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and the One who lived and died so we could know You always!  We do have questions and surely don’t understand the mysteries that occupy Your Lordship over the earth. However, we know You are good, loving, faithful, worthy of trust, and abounding in loving-kindness and grace toward us! Thank You for not burdening us as individuals with all you see, which likely would explain so much. You are God and we are not and this is where we lay aside the will to know answers and focus on the privilege of knowing YOU! Love to You now and forever, Jesus, because You loved us first. In Jesus Name.


 

Janene @ Myrtle Beach

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

 

If I’m Being Honest….

I’m not sure how to say this. Maybe it’s a little risky or maybe you won’t agree. Perhaps you’ll want to place me in a different category since I recently remarried. Will you think I’m not a widow like you? Will you disregard my messages because you feel I’m not walking alongside you in loss?

Or maybe those are just my own fears, my own assumptions still causing me to ache with your pain, a pain I still feel but from a different perspective. It’s a pain I place in a special place in my heart so I can live freely inside a new love.

You see, I never really wanted to remarry. I was content, comfortable…to the point of a bit complacent…in my widowhood walk. I’d even found a certain kind of quiet happiness living alone with my two little girls as I cradled my life in comfortable grief.

Yeah, I carried my grief with care and treasured its comfort in a life I’d become a bit too comfortable in. I treasured the tears. Because if I ever relinquished my reality, would I lose sight of the love of my life? Would I forget to linger in my beautiful memory’s of love and loss?

God did this. He changed my life. He took my heart and held it in His hand until I was willing to walk away from my comfortable little complacent life. And here’s the thing: It didn’t make me happy. He didn’t show me how a new man with an entirely new life plan would transform my quiet kind of happiness into the crazy, giddy honeymoon kind of happiness.

Instead, He showed me how changing my life YET AGAIN is all about Him, not happiness. Sure, eventually the call into a new relationship rattled me from heart to bones! It was nerve-rackingly exciting at times. I fell in love with my new man with all my heart! He’s a man I can easily honor, love and respect. He tenderly cares for my girls and I in a way I could have never imagined. I am blessed beyond measure to hold his love in my heart. Today, sisters, he is the one my soul loves. (Saying it out loud awkwardly surprises me…it’s a strange kind of tender truth.)

So, it’s good…but it’s not all about happiness. I walked away from ‘content’ because it’s so much more about building Christ’s kingdom! The crazy happy only came after I realized my uncomfortable call to another kind of kingdom work.

So, no. I would have never married again unless I knew the call was closer to Him. I never would have followed my human heart to a home with a new man unless God gave me the plan. 

And, yes. I do feel crazy happy on this other side of calm and content. But, believe me, it’s not always bliss! I mean, who wants to marry a widow who’s self-proclaimed a bit messy and over-thinks everything?

But you know what? I’m no further away from the past love of my life. I linger there, I treasure the lessons and even I long for aspects of him. So, it’s complicated. But it’s all about His kingdom!

My sisters, I’m still one of you. I remain on the walk of widowhood, but in a remarried sort of way. My hearts and prayers are with you and that’s why I’m still here!

Here’s more of ‘If I’m Being Honest‘ on my blog, Happily Whole. Click Here: If I’m Being Honest. 

 

 

The Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  

James 1:17

Another Christmas has come and gone.

The pressure of worldly holiday madness is behind us and we now lean toward the thoughts a new year may bring us.  We rush through these calendar days at mach speed, slowing down only to attend one of the many events penciled in.  After the parties, the musicals, the plays, the pageants, the cookie exchanges and the dinners are behind us, we are too weary to even reflect what was most special to us.

This year, I made a consecrated effort to slow down.  I did my best to remove myself from the commercialized version of Christmas and cherish the quietness of time off from work, having my daughters home and reflecting on the greatest gift any one of us can receive.

My quiet reflection began about two weeks before Christmas.  I was feeling rather blue one evening as I observed the beautiful connections of husband and wife duo’s on shopping outings. My mind slipped to visit Christmases past on the “kid” brought out in my husband.  I thought about how he always wanted a list for gift ideas and how he would always surprise me with one special unrequested item.  The thoughts brought sadness – oh how I missed those special gifts from a guy who thought I “hung the moon” and deserved so much.  I knew the best way to bust open this “blue balloon” was to spend time in God’s word.  Reaching into my night stand, I pulled out my husband’s Bible.  I opened the Word and that is when I found it. A list. Written in my husband’s handwriting and dated four months into his battle against cancer.

“Do I have anything to be thankful for?”

The tears fell as I read his recorded notations of what he appreciated even in the midst of a very great trial.  His entries centered around his salvation and that of his family.  I hungrily read his gratitude for so many things even while facing this unwanted journey.  Through my tears, I thanked God for allowing this “list” to appear at a moment I was feeling low.  It was a gift, delivered at the perfect time.  And it quickly made its way to the top of my most favorite tangible gifts of the season.

As days passed, I pondered on the graciousness of this list.  I knew my own list would have similar entries, but, in the heart of this Christmas season, I deeply reflected on the beauty of the greatest gift offered to mankind.

Grace.  Offered in the form of a baby come to earth.

Salvation.  Sins taken on the cross so we may have everlasting life.

Great love.  How can we not extend this same love?

Each time we let God love others through our faith, it is Christmas time.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t just happen one day a year – maybe it can happen all through the year.   Appreciation of what I have and the heirship into Christ’s family means my idea of Christmas has changed.  And it is so much more.  Yet, so simple –  loving others.  It comes in the form of a smile or offering a hand to some one.  It comes in form of actions, offering your heart of service to someone.  It comes at any moment on any given day.  It can be your gift to mankind.

I pray we all can find moments to share the gift of great love set forth some 2000 years ago.  I am setting my mind on sharing this gift throughout the coming year.  Won’t you join me?

Father, thank you for your Son and your love.  Thank you for opening my eyes to the great love you have for each of us.  Help us Lord, to serve You by serving others in love.  May we feel moments of “Christmas” all year long.  Amen

Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more articles about Hope around the holidays;  “An Ordinary Day”  by Linda Lint or “Thankful Hearts” by Elizabeth Dyer