Secret to Joy

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

James 4:14 (ESV)

I stood gripping the edge of the counter, steadying myself, the memory of Tom washing through me like a flash flood of warm splashes, both refreshing and threatening at the same time.

Refreshing, because Tom exuded joy in his life—a twinkle in his eye and a keen sense of how to look at every moment and see the irony in it, the joy in it.

Threatening, because like Tom himself, I knew that immediacy of feeling the warmth of those moments would be lost when the cold hard reality would set in again—he’s gone.  He’s gone.

Life made a certain sense to Tom more so than it did to others, and anyone around him wanted that.

Even I.

It was his secret to joy. And most of us walking about on this earth don’t have it.

What was Tom’s secret?

Was it Christ? Yes, that was part of it—Tom sought after Christ like no one I had ever seen.

But it was more than that.  It was a wisdom—a sense that nothing on this planet is permanent, and that truth is okay. Because there is more. There is permanence in the next life.

When Tom finally chased after the Truth in the Gospels, he did so with this burning desire to understand, what’s next, God?  He had raised kids from his first marriage, and they were now grown.  He had started businesses, watched some grow, and watch some close down.  We had gone through ups and downs in our marriage.  And he would notice one thing…

It all eventually vanishes.

Children grow up and leave.  Businesses are never the same.  Friendships shift and people’s lives can change on a dime.  There’s got to be something more.

There is, and Tom found it.

When you know you are eternally safe with God, you can stop clutching on to this life, hoping the sands will stop shifting beneath your feet.  You will begin to just enjoy the ride of the shifting sands—enjoy that little toddler who is creating havoc in your home. Enjoy the brooding teen for who he is, a wonderful mixed up ball of hormonal creation whom God placed in your care because He entrusted you. Enjoy each of these dinner dates in that crazy process called dating. Laugh at the moments when you discover incompatibilities, trusting that God has a plan for the rest of your life.

Grab hold of every moment with laughter and purpose.

Because each of us as widows have learned something.  Our precious husbands left this world too soon, and since then, our lives were never the same.  We’ve learned that everything changes in the end.

But we also know that our husbands still exist somewhere.  We have a connectedness in our souls, a relational memory of someone we know is behind that curtain we might call the gates of Heaven.

Like a window into Heaven.

It makes a tragic view of this world, a view that says, it all goes away in the end, okay.

Not just okay, but encouraging.

Because we can rise above the pain and sorrow of events around us, knowing Heaven awaits.

Lord Jesus, help us find Your perspective through our window into Heaven. Help us enjoy the ride of life and see more humor in each moment.  Teach us to grasp each moment and decide to impact those around us so they see a window into Heaven like the rest of us.


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:

Fill My Days with the Living

Daddyisms

Contentment as a Single Mom

 

Stay Connected

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

                                                                                John 15:5 ESV

 What are you living for? It’s a question we come face to face with when our world is turned upside down by the loss of our spouses. My answer is I live to glorify God. There is only one way I can accomplish that purpose, I have to stay connected.

One of the first verses I memorized was John 15:5. But of course I memorized it WRONG. My version ended with “apart from me you ARE nothing” instead of “apart from me you CAN DO nothing.” Amazing what a difference those two little words make. I still chuckle when I think about this verse and my mistake. Over time, this mistake has become a two-fold lesson. First, it became a lesson about who I am in Christ – I am not, nor could I ever be, nothing to God. Secondly, it became a lesson about the importance of meditating on God’s word. Two critical lessons that have sustained me, challenged me, and strengthened me, throughout my journey.

When I became a widow, I struggled with who I was since I was no longer a wife. Several times the Holy Spirit reminded me of the truth I had learned from John 15:5. God is the vine and I am the branch. Being the branch – an extension of the vine – is amazing. Whether I am a wife or a widow, doesn’t change the reality that God created me to be His creation, connected to Him. No matter how alone I feel, how overwhelmed I get or how many tears I cry, I am still something. I am His creation, whom He loves. He has created me to draw my strength and my life from Him – the vine.

Over time, this verse has fundamentally changed my understanding of who I really am. Wisdom and understanding made possible only by the Holy Spirit helping me truly meditate on God’s word. I thought about this verse repeatedly until it seemed like it permeated every crevice of my brain. In addition to teaching me who I am, this verse reminds me how important it is to stay connected to God.

Early in my widow journey, I found it unbelievably difficult to read. Decades of being able to pick up my bible and receive comfort or wisdom whenever I needed, was suddenly something I was incapable of doing. At first, it was a few days, then a few weeks, and then it started to stretch into months, I started to panic. I tried reading my bible, reading devotionals, listening to Christian music. Nothing seemed to work. Eventually, I felt prompted by the Spirit to start writing devotionals, which seemed crazy at the time. How could I write, when I couldn’t even read? Writing turned out to be exactly what I needed to help me meditate on God’s word and stay connected to Him.

Are you struggling? Then breathe in the truth that God is the vine and you are the branch. Your identity, your strength, your life, comes from your connection to Him. Nothing can change that truth. Wait for God to supply the life and the direction you need, which can only come from Him. Trust – you are His creation whom He loves. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you so you stay connected!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who teaches us Your truth and who provides comfort and guidance. Help us to meditate on Your truth and to glorify You in all we say and do! Amen.

 


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

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

Want to read another article by this author? Draw Closer

Want to read another article? 5 things to help us heal by Elizabeth

I am not Equipped.

Some days are just hard. Some days my patience wears thin, and I feel like I’ve had enough. From the grief of losing my husband Michael to the challenges of blending a family and raising three boys, along with normal life stressors – emotions can TRY to take control – making us feel unqualified and unequipped for this journey. But as many of us have learned, emotions can be misleading.

There are many things I’ve learned since my husband Michael passed more than two years ago, but one thing continues to stand out:

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

We were not equipped for the emotions that come with losing our husbands … on our own. I was not equipped for January 15, 2015, and everything following that day.

On my own, I could not handle my husband and the father of my child dying by suicide. I was not prepared for my entire world and future to fall apart in just one moment.

On my own, I was not prepared to be a widow at thirty one.

On my own, I couldn’t fathom doing all of the things that come with being a widow and sole parent.

On my own, the fear felt suffocating.

On my own, I could not have faced another day.

No human being is equipped to deal with that kind of trauma, ON OUR OWN.

Though I may not have been equipped to face those horrific circumstances or the challenges of blending a family and becoming a step mom on my own, the Lord equipped me to lean on Him – to lean into His strength, comfort and peace to make it through the unbearable days and even the impatient ones. He knows none of us are equipped to handle trials of this magnitude alone. That’s why He stands by our side and never leaves us, equipping us with His strength. He tells us this time and time again.

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him …” Hebrews 13:20-21

I was not prepared to lose my husband, but the Lord did equip me to lean on Him for strength. His faithfulness is the reason I stand strong today. Sisters, He wants you to lean in, too. His strength will get you through.

Lord, We are all broken and in need of Your strength. Equip us accordingly to step forward in this new life, ready to do Your will. Protect us from the evil one and from self doubt that can sometimes overwhelm us. You have placed us on this path, and we know you will stand by us today and every day. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

 Here’s another article you might like about battling Satan by Elizabeth, Catch the Foxes! 

Several members of our team have written on the experiences of losing a spouse to suicide. You can read the articles here.

Transformer: The Letter H and Grief

Today we welcome Marilyn Nutter as our guest blogger. If you are interested in submitting an application for guest blogging with us, follow the link at the end of Marilyn’s article.

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—

his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

 

My grandson Quinn ran upstairs and proudly announced, “I learned about the letter ‘h’!”

“What did you learn?” I asked.

“Well, the letter ‘h’ is a transformer,” he answered authoritatively.

“A transformer?” I questioned in surprise. I didn’t expect to hear that word out of his five year-old mouth. “What does that mean?” I probed.

“The letter ‘h’ changes sounds,” he continued. “Like with ‘t’. “If you put an ‘h’ next to a ‘t’ it becomes ‘th’.”

“Oh!” I responded. “That’s an interesting way to think about it–a transformer. Can you give me an example of a word?”

“Three” he answered, beaming. “It happens with‘s’ too,” he said smiling.

“How’s that?” I asked. By this time, I was pleased that he had retained the concept and I could tell that he was excited to share his new information

“An ‘h’ next to ‘s’ makes a ‘sh’ sound, like in ‘shell’.”

“Super!” I said with a big smile and gave him a high five.

Satisfied that he had shared his new information, Quinn went back to the playroom. But our conversation lingered in my mind as I thought about the object lesson he gave me. Transformers. Changes.

Nothing transforms a woman more than losing your husband.

Life will never return to what it was prior to December 23, 2011 when I suddenly lost my husband. There were six hours from the first chest pain to his final breath. Life is irrevocably changed.

Like Quinn’s examples of transformations with letters, I’ve observed personal transformations.

I smile when the grandchildren speak of their Papa and the memories they made with him. I know in some way, they have been transformed by his presence in their short lives. Just last week, Quinn wrote on a valentine, “I love you and Papa.” Our youngest daughter married six months after her Dad went to heaven. God graciously surprised our family with joy and smiles on her wedding day as we celebrated her new beginning. Learning new skills such as online banking, has taken me to a new level. Discussing auto maintenance no longer resembles a foreign language. Researching and purchasing a new vehicle alone surprised me. Buying and selling a house and moving to a new state took me to new levels.

Life is different and God is in my transformation. He gives me the grace and strength to walk through each day, on the days of smiles with my grandchildren, on the lonely days, and on the challenging days when I am compelled to learn new skills.

We don’t deny our multiple losses from the death of our husband, but we can take a step forward when we see moments of positive transformation. Make a list of your steps. Can you smile through tears when you reflect on your personal growth and the accomplishment that comes with learning new skills?

We’re not the same women we were and our life script is different, but His faithful accompaniment and transformations are treasures.

Father God, we thank You for the transformations in our lives. Help us smile today and share Your joy with all we meet, despite our difficulties. You are faithful to love us and transform us into godly women. Amen


 

If you are interested in guest blogging for us, please click the link here and get all the information.

The Prescription for Peace

Be anxious for nothing…  Philippians 4:6 NKJV

 

 

“Be anxious…”

Finally. A verse I can get behind!

I have this down pat!

I can be anxious.

What? That’s not where the verse ends?

“for NOTHING…”

How is this even possible?

Anxious for nothing?

Do you even KNOW what I am dealing with?

You might be able to give a long list of reasons why you should be anxious today. Thankfully, our verse doesn’t stop there.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 Living Bible)

When we are sick or have an infection in our bodies, most of us don’t hesitate to get the doctor’s prescription filled at the local pharmacy. We trust the doctor and the pharmacist, believing them when they say this will help get rid of the illness or infection.

Why do I doubt God’s prescription though? When His Word says pray about all my needs and thank Him, I often don’t follow the prescription. I think my way of worrying and fretting, talking to my friends about the problem, posting on social media all my issues, or withdrawing from corporate worship will some how work. 

There are several events in my life I can point to where I knew this peace beyond understanding. One such time was just before the funeral of my late husband. I should have more of these moments to report, but I choose my own way too often.

Do you remember praying during those days leading up to your loved one’s funeral, wondering how you would ever make it through that day, how you would make the walk down the aisle to the front of the church, how you would listen to the beautiful music, how you would greet the line of people afterwards? 

I sat in my room one morning during the days before the funeral and prayed, “God, I have no idea how I am going to make it through the funeral. I am asking for a word of Scripture to help me right now. Give me Your peace, please.”

I turned to a portion of Scripture I was led to, and His words brought so much comfort to my aching soul. My heart experienced peace like never before. It was the peace that I couldn’t understand when looking at my situation. It HAD to be supernatural. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ESV

You know the peace is from God when it makes no sense to anyone else. Especially to us. Peace that reassures the heart, peace that stands guard over your hearts and minds, peace that can be MINE. 

You and I can experience this peace, replacing the anxiety today. God’s Word tells us to talk to God about our needs in prayer and be grateful.  Let’s follow our Creator’s plan for peace and be an example to others searching for peace. 

Father God, we bring our concerns and anxious thoughts to You right now. We are thankful that sometimes our hardest paths have brought the most indescribable peace, clearly being from You. We love You and are so thankful for Your love for us. Help us shine Your love through our peaceful lives today. 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. 

You might like this article by Danita titled Clogged! 

And this article by Ami titled Lonely? Exchange it for Peace!

 

Faith over Frustration

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”                   

                                                                               Psalm 34:18 ESV                           

Can I get an Amen on how much we miss our “handyman” around our homes?!

My husband was the ultimate “handyman” around our house. He could look at any situation and in his creative mind come up with a solution to make it work better.

I was reminded of this recently when I had to tackle an issue as a result of one of my husband’s ingenious work. He designed and installed a drain pipe to catch the over flow of pool water away from our deck. It was a genius idea. The pipe carried the water away, which over time could have damaged our deck. It also carried away pesky bugs and foliage debris.

But, what I didn’t know, was the need for this drain pipe to be flushed on a regular basis. A scheduled cleansing of pure water to flush the pipe to keep it clean and running free was needed. So, after months of no cleaning, I learned real quick the consequences. Stagnant water began to sit on my deck as a result of a completely clogged pipe. And as I began to tackle this clogged pipe, I thought how perfect an illustration it was in how I was feeling.

The past few months, my life has felt just like that clogged pipe. Clogged with frustrations. An abundance of frustrations! Frustration upon frustration pouring over me clogging my heart and thoughts. You know the feeling when every day presents another challenge and you feel as though you are drowning?

I am ashamed to say it, but, I have let these frustrations grab ahold and cause a struggle with my faith. A struggle not in the sense of questioning God’s faithfulness, but, more in the sense of questioning, “why the abundance of problems?”  And if I can continue to be honest, I have been living in complete defeat lately.

Frustrations were winning and controlling my life. How did I get to this level? I am the first one to stand up and give testimony of how faithful God has been to me since my husband’s death. How could I allow these pesky annoyances to become so debilitating!

As I move towards freeing myself from this debilitating feeling, let me share a few of my steps toward that goal.

  • Own the Struggles   

I have made a hand written list and I am laying them at the Cross. While God already knows what my struggles are, giving them to Him acknowledges His sovereignty.

  • It’s Okay To Say No

I am clearing my life of commitments for awhile (the ones I can). By clearing some time, I am able to spend more time in fellowship with God in study and prayer. Both necessary to conquer any struggles we may have.

  • Relish Solitude

 I am taking some time for me right now. I am scheduling in time for exercise and focusing on healthy eating. I am taking time to slow down and enjoy the little things like evening strolls and reading. It’s okay to not conquer life at mach speed all the time.

I don’t like the feelings I’ve had recently. As a child of God, I want to be strong and a constant testimony to His faithfulness. I do not want to be a weak Christian. And yet it is during these times He reminds me,

 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,  for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                                                                        

                                                                                        2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

His grace will not permit us to fall. His strength and power is manifested even greater by sustaining our weaknesses. And ultimately His power is like a tent over us, giving us shelter, protection, and rest. He is with us. Always. The promise of Grace will never fail us.

Precious Father, thank you for reminding me that it is Your Grace that carries me through the floods of frustrations. Thank you, Lord, for giving us protection and rest through Your Grace. May all my widowed sisters and I glorify Your strength through our weaknesses. Amen


 

My life took a radical turn in the spring of 2009 when the “C word” was introduced into our family.  Cancer.  My healthy husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and life as we knew it would never be the same.  I was able to live the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” as I walked along side this fight for his life.  After a timg_2753wenty month battle, God called my love home in the wee hours of an October morning in 2010.  I was devastated and could not imagine how I would be able to move forward without the love of my life by my side.

The answer was simple.  Jesus.  His love.  His mercy.  His grace.  He carried me when I was at my lowest.  And I carried Him in my heart even when I 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                                                           

I love reading, baking and long walks along the Florida coastline.  A good portion of my time is spent flying around the country as a flight attendant for over thirty years.  My husband and I were blessed to have shared twenty six years of marriage.  As I watch our daughters grow up, I enjoy seeing his traits and teaching evolve in their character.  He is greatly missed by his three girls.  But, he would be so proud to know we continue to fight the good fight and living out loud for our Savior.

See more from Bonnie at https://anewseason.net/author/bvickers

Read more about overcoming frustrations by Sherry and Kit.

 

God’s Unit of a Day

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

God’s Unit of a Day

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

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

Prayer over tomorrow releases us to be in today. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ps. 138:3 (ESV)

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


Janene @ Myrtle Beach

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

Why

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (NIV)

My kids’ favorite word as toddlers was why.  Their curious little minds were like sponges, and they eagerly wanted to know the answers to everything.  There were times I was so worn by their why’s I’d count down the minutes until my husband would arrive home from work, so the “why monsters” would turn to him instead.

After my husband died by suicide, I overheard lots of questions from those around me, and I had a great deal of my own deep questions, many centered on my own “why monsters.”

I knew God could’ve chosen to change the circumstances of that horrible day, and the days leading up to it.  He can do anything!  But He didn’t, that was hard to accept.

So the questions before God went something like this:  Why not protect my husband or us from this hurt and suffering?  Why not use this as a powerful testimony in keeping Scott here? Why allow such a horrific thing to occur?

Why us?

I can only assume He probably grew as weary as I used to of my kids.  But, I wasn’t challenging God’s authority or denying His power, I was seeking His divine answers and plans for us.  I wanted to know why, so I could know how.  Because my why questions were followed with how questions such as: How do I move forward?  How do I get my children through this?  How do I do all that lies ahead without my husband?

I meditated on God’s Word because I thought I would find the elaborate answers we all sought.  But, the bottom line is that no one, not one, is above pain and suffering, even God himself.  He sent His Son who took on sin at the Cross and suffered a most unimaginably painful death to pay the price for us.  If God allowed His own Son to suffer for THE greatest purpose, then in this broken world He’s going to allow me to as well.

In fact as a believer God’s word is clear that at times I will suffer in one way or another.  (I Peter 2:21)

From the time sin entered the world, until Christ comes again,  it’s a part of this life. Yet, I can rest assured that my suffering has purpose and is never wasted, even if I really don’t like or understand it.

He didn’t reveal specific answers to my questions, but He reminded me of His promises and encouraged me to trust His plan and His provision for me.

The questions many others and I had were normal.  They stemmed from hurt, fear, even anger, and a lack of understanding.  In the Bible there are several who cry out to God during their trials, asking the inevitable questions, because the burdens are great and the flesh is weak:  The Psalmists ask why, Job asks why, even Jesus at the cross cries out to God the Father as He paid the price for us all, “Why have you forsaken me?”

I realize God may or may not reveal the answers to the questions I have on this side of heaven, but when I need to I ask.  I humbly go before the cross and cry out to God, recognizing His divine authority and accepting His greater purpose and plans for me, choosing to TRUST Him with everything.  

Heavenly Father, this world is so hard and our trials can be so tough.  We come before You with our questions, not out of a place of an arrogant, hard heart but out of a place of humble love and brokenness before You.  Father we ask that You continue to reveal your divine plans to us, that You go before us continuing to bring all glory to You.  Lord, help us to accept what we don’t understand, help us to choose to trust You throughout this journey.  Reveal Yourself to us in ways we could never imagine.  Help us to seek You and Your answers whenever we are weak and hurting.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen


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

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

Other articles by this author click here. 

Articles with a similar theme: Why Did This Happen? and Why Now?

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

God Writes My Story

“So how did your husband die?”

This question can be a real conversation stopper for some widows.

I have been learning this lesson for the past five years. The final moments of one chapter of my story and the beginning of the next have changed my perspective dramatically. Only God really knows our whole story, and sometimes it is complicated.

“I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.'” Isaiah 46:9b-10a (ESV)

My husband’s death certificate states cause of death as suicide, although the circumstances surrounding his death were so different than what people expected to hear. I answered honestly when people asked what happened, so it hurt when false assumptions were shared about how and why he died. It did not change the truth, but it hurt because some did not seek the truth before they spoke to others.

They did not know that:

  • due to insomnia he was on a prescription sleep medication that began to alter his personality for thirteen days before he died. Our family witnessed his strange behavior but we all, including him, linked it to his lack of sleep.
  • he called me for help that April morning, panicked and confused in his hotel room when he realized he had wounded himself in his drug-induced haze.
  • we had eleven precious minutes on the phone to say “I love you”: I promised to get help to him as quickly as I could and he, struggling to breathe,  whispered repeatedly how much he loved me
  • as I begged him to hold on, I could hear the paramedics yelling as they broke in the hotel room door. They closed his phone as he said the last “I love you” I would ever hear from him, then they worked unsuccessfully to save his life. At that moment, God wrote the final word in my husband’s story.

As I received the news of his death rather than expected news about his hospital transport, God began the new “Widow” chapter of my life by giving me “the peace that surpasses all understanding”. Although there were times when I had to push back against fear of the unknown, there was never a time when I doubted that God was still writing my own story. He taught me to rejoice in suffering, and He taught me to trust Him with the future.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

There are still things people do not know about my husband’s story. None of these things change who he was, the life he lived, or how he impacted my life for good. He was a sinner saved by grace just as I am, and I will see him again one day.

This experience changed me and showed me my own limited view of life –now I try not to assume anything about a person’s story; each one is unique. Only God knows how any life plays out from beginning to end. He always knows what is for our good and for His glory, even if we cannot see it at the time. In our family we have heard some of the good that has come from my husband’s death. Many people have said their faith was strengthened and at least one person chose not to end her own life because of our testimony; my husband’s death was not in vain. 

Hebrews 12:2 tells us to look to Jesus because He is the author and finisher of our faith. I know He can be trusted to write the end of my story as well.

Father, please help us to give grace to others who don’t seem to understand the daily struggles we experience, and help us not to make assumptions because we do not know what others are going through. Please give us daily peace and faith to trust that You alone are the Author and Finisher of our faith and to trust You to write our whole story. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Terri Oxner Sharp is a wife, mother, grandmother, homeschool teacher, and a writer for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. Her first husband passed away suddenly in 2012. She gives God all the glory for how He has grown her spiritually on her widow journey, in preparation for her new journey into a blended family. Terri and her second husband live in Arkansas with the final child still living at home from their combined family of seven children, two son-in-loves, and two grandsons. She loves to be with people who love to laugh, enjoys spending time with their grandchildren, who know her as “GiGi”, and feels called to minister to other women who find themselves bewildered to be on a widow’s path as well.

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

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