Finding Your Brave

Please join us today as we share a post written by our dear sister, Nancy, on finding our “brave” so we can keep stepping forward, even when it’s scary and hard.


Where’s Your Brave? by Nancy Howell

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

Where’s your brave?

Is it buried deep inside you, where no one else can see?

When was the last time you pulled it out and used it?

You know what I’m talking about, sisters–the confidence, the boldness, the fearlessness–of stepping out in faith.  Many times stepping out into uncharted territory, murky waters.

 Being brave doesn’t come easy for most….certainly not for me.  I spent most of my adolescent years conforming to what society dictated.  I just wanted to “fit in”.  Going along with the crowd is much easier than taking a stand and pulling out your “brave” from deep within.  Or so I thought.

But life isn’t always perfect, and circumstances change.  Death, divorce, loss of job, sickness, or a myriad of other bad things happen–hopefully not all at the same time.

When you find yourself in less-than-perfect surroundings, it may be hard to find your brave.

“It’s easy to be a Christian when everything’s going your way.”

In good times, brave is an asterisk on the great happenings in your life.

In not-so-good times, it’s the hope we cling to.

In all times, we are told to approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Grace is unmerited favor–meaning God gives it to us, even when and if we don’t deserve it.  By doing so, we are given compassion, forgiveness, and strength to carry us through our times of need.

Fitting in, going with the flow, conforming with society?  I’ve found it to be over-rated.  Many times it’s 180 degrees from God’s plan for us.

To fulfill God’s specific, meticulous plan He has just for you, you must find your brave.

Step out in faith.  Use your brave.  Come boldly before Him.

And watch what happens.

Father God,  Help us to have confidence, to approach Your throne of grace with boldness, finding our “brave” as we mature and live out the purpose You have in each of our lives.  Sometimes the first step is the hardest.  Let us always know we are not alone–ever.  Thank You for the unmerited favor You give, and give, and give.  Remind us it never runs out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I Am Made New

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold , all things are become new.  

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

It’s been five years and seven months since my husband, Bill, got promoted to Heaven.  When he let go of my hand and took the Savior’s hand and walked into Glory, I was a different person than I am now.

I was a planner and organizer then.  I planned everything and had a back-up plan for the plan.  I researched everything and made lists.  I was goal oriented – results based.  I was a rule follower; a goodie-two-shoes, if you will.  A loyal person who dug in when the going got tough.  I was bitter sometimes; judgmental, at times.

Then, as my life with Bill was snatched away, I felt at times I was left with nothing…no one…empty…alone…

As I wandered the beginning of this grief journey, I was adrift.  I was numb.  I was so empty and aimless.

I remembered how my Bill always got back up.  He always took the next step.  There might be a lot of time between steps, but he always took the next step.  He also always looked to the Savior.  I wanted to honor him and the brave life he lived and, in an effort to gain focus, I thought about what made him so special and that’s what came to me.  So, because I didn’t know what else to do, I just tried to live each day in an honoring way to Bill.  Step by step; minute by minute; moment by moment , I walked this path looking up at the Savior and thinking about how Bill would have reacted in my situation.

Then days turned into months and months turned into years and I continued this step by step, the looking up approach.  I started to breathe on my own.  I found myself laughing more.  I cut my hair.  I started buying new clothes.  I changed my makeup brand.  I started trying to do things that challenged me and pulled me from comfortable to uncomfortable.

I am not a singer…so, I signed up to sing a solo at church.   I (with the help of my friend, Eileen) pulled out a rock garden and put in a mulch bed with plantings.  I installed a four foot by fifteen foot backyard above-ground pool.  I put together an 8-drawer dresser, nightstand, desk, and two chairs for my daughter’s apartment.  I raked my front yard tree leaves (21 bags).  I scraped and painted a spot on the wall that was damaged.  I replaced a door knob.

All of these things are new things I’m doing and learning, and they are adding to me and changing me.  This “planner” was just a few days ago called spontaneous and impulsive. People say I’m “funny and must not have a care in the world”.

I share all of this to tell you that on this journey I have changed.  At first, I thought I was doing what Bill would do.  But, now, I see that it was Christ the whole time.  Refining me.  Loving me.  Still working on and in me.  Christ made this journey possible and needed me to take it in order to mold me into who I am today.

In Christ, I am a new creature.  The old has passed away and the new is here.  I’m enjoying getting to know the new person I am in Christ.

Dear Lord, I am so grateful for this journey.  I am so grateful for Your ability to mold me into a new creature.  Thank You!  


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:

 New Paint by Bonnie Vickers

Because I Said So!

“Because I said so!” 

It’s the line every kid swears they will NEVER grow up to use. Because, if you do…..it’s the day you “become” your mother.

The one line every child HATES to hear!

It offers no real explanation or hope of a negotiable outcome. Because I said so has a HUGE, FAT period or exclamation point at the end.

Done.

Finito!

No more conversation

Do you ever feel like this is what God said when you questioned why your love had to leave this place? Because He said so. No more conversation, His will is higher, His ways are better. Done. Finito!

It’s hard when we want to ask a million questions, and yet there are no answers we would be willing to accept. When we have tons of suggestions but the Father does not need a one of them. When all we really want, some days, is to go back in time-before it all unraveled. Before the sickness, the hospitals and ambulances, before the horror and tragedy, before we had to say it out loud to our children, families, friends, churches…..he’s gone. Before the visitations, and funerals, before the closets had to be cleaned out and belongings given away, before the houses and cars had to be sold, before the sleepless nights, the deafening silence and excruciating loneliness.

BEFORE seems like so long ago and yet it was just there yesterday.

The problem with always thinking of BEFORE is that it makes us miss the now and after.

After we found out we are stronger than we knew, after we realized we can do things we’ve never done before, after we found new friends and new interests, after we learned the depth and breadth of our Father’s love for us, after we let the petty of life go and better understood the importance of our legacies– after can be an incredibly powerful place, once we find our way there.

Why do mothers use, “Because I said so”? Because they KNOW it keeps children obedient even when it’s hard. It keeps kids safe when they don’t see danger. It comes from wisdom a child does not have. It come from experience and years of living. God had been doing this eternity thing for a lot longer than we have, maybe He does know better, maybe He is seeing things we do not, maybe He does want the best for us.

Dare to believe His promises are true…

But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NASB

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NASB

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NASB

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 NASB

because He says so

God, love us so deeply all we see is You through our tears and our laughter. In Jesus name, 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: Fear not tomorrow… & Run the Race

 

 

And Then There Was One

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

                         Proverbs 13:12   ESV

And then there was one.

Those were the words that echoed in my head with the recent passing of my mother-in-law. Death had come once again.

After attending to her final wishes, I found myself reflecting back to the days I first met her and the why. Those thoughts prompted me to my wedding album. My wedding day. The union of my husband (her son) and I brought two families together with the hopes and dreams a marriage brings. One of my favorite pictures is of my husband and I, our parents and my two grandmothers. It was our family, our support system.

That picture brings so much joy to my heart. After all, it was the day my young girl dreams of marrying the love of my life came to be. When I look at the face of each person in that picture I see eager anticipations of what the union meant. That day was perfect and the beginning of new adventures and the hope of many dreams.

And yet.

That picture brings so much pain to my heart. What I did not know that day, was that in 30 years, I would be the only one in that photo left standing on this earth. I did not know that my hopes would dissolve and that I would be asked to walk through the valley of grief seven times. I did not know that the weight of carrying on for the family would rest solely on my shoulders and that I would be without the support of my entire immediate family.

I have had many days when I ache for the comfort of family. You know the days when you just want to share something exciting or when you need to hear words of support from those who know you best? I yearn for the comfort of sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories of long ago and hearing about the lives that impacted my life growing up. I hurt knowing many of my hopes and dreams are washed away.

How can I go forward with this depth of grief and disruption of plans? Who am I to be asked to carry the weight of living out the legacy this union started? How can I still accomplish any purpose God may have for me when I feel the loss of my support system?

My hope had been deferred. At least in the earthly sense. I wrestle with the human side of what I have lost. Gone is the help of loved ones I expected to be around for many years. I still want them in my picture of life. Yes, my heart is sick, when I concentrate on the fading hopes.

And yet.

Can my longings still be fulfilled? Is there room to still be grateful for things hoped for? Joyfully, I now see hope living in my two daughters. Their lives are an extension of our union.  And while I yearn for the presence of these loved ones who have passed, I can still embrace new hopes.

I can now look at this picture and focus on a renewed hope and still see dreams; they are just different now. I see His promises mirrored in the faces of those He gave me for a short while. As I carry them in my heart, I ask that He let me have the sweet spirit and kindred hearts of my grandmothers. I ask that He give my future sons-in-laws the physical strength, that I saw in the hands and feet of those two fathers. I ask that my girls have the perseverance through all things that I saw in those mothers.  And I ask to have the heart to share the gospel that my husband did so very well. How beautiful these legacies are. What a blessing it is for me to already see pieces of each of them reflected in the lives of my daughters.

Hope deferred. Hope renewed. Longings fulfilled.

Father, please give us hearts to know our longings can still be fulfilled, even if our hopes are no longer what we thought they would be. Help us to know our support comes from you and life can still be abundantly full. 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 about hope, Katie and Kit .

Lori’s Favorite

This week’s favorite is one that Lori wrote earlier in her journey.  It addresses one of those big questions we all face as widows, “Who am I now?”

Please join us today for this truth-filled and encouraging post.


Who He Says I Am by Lori Streller

My eyes flutter open.  It is a rare day when no alarm clock is needed and the morning calendar is void of events.  A few months into the newness of widowhood, I lie in bed realizing that I am different.

I ask myself, “Who am I now?”

I’m one of those old-fashioned girls who always wanted to be a wife and mother.  There is no shame in that.  I enjoyed my career too, but role of wife and mother was my dream “job”.  I thrived being under the loving leadership of my husband.

He is gone now.

It is clear who I am not.  I was my husband’s primary caregiver during his cancer battle.  Suddenly, I am no longer the charter and giver of all medications, the guider of his walker as he navigates his way out of his home hospital bed, no longer the overseer of changing his clothing, the administer of nourishment through his feeding tube, no longer the helper for his personal care, nor the one reading to him as his eyes fail.

As I stretch my memory past the illness, to the beautiful years of our marriage, I find that I have lost many other pieces of myself as well.  I am without my best-friend, the Spiritual leader of our home, my parenting partner, my lover, and my biggest fan.  (Wow.  That’s a huge loss in one single blink of an eye.)

Thankfully, I am still Mom to our two children.  But even that role has changed.  I have new responsibilities as the only parent in this home.  I am the sole overseer of homework, sports schedules, chores, and nutrition.  I am the lone chauffeur for all road trips, long or short.  I am the one to guide our children, emotionally and physically as they navigate grief and the early teen years.

To be honest, it’s a lot, but you already know this, because you too are walking the lonely road of the widow.  Some of you are also raising children during this transition.  Some aren’t, but whether we have that common thread or not, I am guessing you feel like you’ve lost a chunk of who you are also.

So much has changed. 

WHO are we now?

I have a rule that I have implemented in my life to keep my train of thought positive when life is topsy-turvy.

 When you are unsure of something, go back to what you KNOW is true.

So, what is true about who we are?

We are children of the most high God {Acts 17:28}. 

We are forever His treasured possession {Deuteronomy 7:6}. 

We are guided by Truth {John 16:13}

We are forgiven {Ephesians 1:7}.

We are fully complete, strengthened in His might, lacking nothing {Colossians 1:11 & 2:10}.

We are holy and dearly loved {Colossians 3:12}.

Losing the role of wife has shaken me to my core.  It has left me feeling lonely, awkward and lost.  Can you relate?  I am so thankful that God reminds us of our worth, regardless of what our earthly “titles” are.  We are still precious and beautiful in His sight.  He wants us to see the beauty that remains within us.  Let’s rest in the knowledge of who He says we are!

Lord, thank you for staying with us right in the messy middle of our lives {Hebrews 13:5b}.  This life gets ugly and it is so easy to lose sight of our true identity.  You call us “loved”, “accepted”, and “friend”.  Wow.  Remind us when we forget, Lord.  Let us feel the saturation of who You say we are from the inside out.  Amen.        


Other post in “Our Favorites” series: Teri’s Favorite, Erika’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, & Sherry’s Favorite

 

 

BLT and a Cup of Soup

              And after you have suffered a little while, the God all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 

1 Peter 5:10  ESV

Anniversary announcements. Date night photos. Social media “love my spouse” challenges.

Sigh.

Sometimes it is hard escaping the “I am no longer married” syndrome.

While I am happy for friends celebrating their spouses and wish them the absolute best, I have to admit I can’t always shake the sadness of this single status I am now part of. It creates a deep yearning for what I no longer have.  I am ambushed when I see couples holding hands or a husband slip his arm around the waist of his wife. I hunger for those touches. I miss the ease of conversation we shared.

Now, daily challenges of running a household, raising children, and always being the responsible adult can certainly be a mood crusher.

This past Sunday, I was sitting at home when one of these “ambush moments” hit me.

You know those moments, when there may be no specific reason why, but something triggers the emptiness, the void, the missing? 

This particular moment opened the floodgates of  just how much I miss being a wife. Sunday evenings were always special in my marriage. After church and relaxing, I would always prepare a light dinner. One of my husband’s favorite Sunday night meals was a BLT sandwich and a cup of soup. On this specific evening, I was craving one of those BLT’s. And as I prepared it, that’s when the ambush hit. The cloud of hollowness set in.

I retreated to my back patio where, yes, tears came streaming down my face. Questions flooded my thoughts: WHEN will this ache of missing my husband go away? WHY do I still struggle with being alone? WHAT can I do to avoid these attacks? WHERE can I go to escape these feelings? HOW MUCH longer will I struggle?

And then, the answer came in form of a WHO.  Who will help me release these struggles?

Number one is God. Without Him, we are simply not able to conquer the invasions of the loneliness and trials we now face as a single woman.

The second answer to the WHO is ourselves. It is absolutely crucial  to make the decision to be a contributor of our own accord to move through these ambushes.  Sisters, these attacks will happen. Even at five years out, as I have shared, they arrive unwelcome and unannounced. We must put on our boxing gloves to fight them off. These moments of pain will arrive, but we have choices to make.

1: We can choose to look around us with hope for a life with possibilities or a life of limitations. How we look at things is what drives us.

2: We must let go of the sadness of our loss. Not forget it. However, we cannot let our loss create  bitterness in our heart.

3: Get moving. Make the decision to try something new. It can be something as simple as an art class or something as big as sky-diving. The important thing is to keep looking for ways to occupy your thoughts. Fill your life with new joys, before the Deceiver comes to fill your heart with heaviness.

4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is good to lean on family and friends. Oftentimes, they want to help but are just timid about asking. Use them to ease the burdens and support you on days when you are really low.

5: Continue to seek God. There will be some days when words, music, friends, family, or activities just do not cut it! That is the day when you just move forward in trusting. We are covered by His grace, His love and His mercy. On the days when it is just too hard, fall into His arms and let Him carry you.

My recent ambush prompted me to go buy a bike. I haven’t been on a bike in over fifteen years! But, now, my evenings are spent enjoying a ride through the neighborhood. It is a punch at fighting the lonely moments and exercise is an added bonus! I am praying you can find the punch needed to conquer your attacks.

Father, please draw near when the aches of this solo life creep upon us. We miss the comfort we shared with our beloved husbands. Help us to keep our minds focused on You.  Amen


bonnieBonnie 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 about fighting episodes of despair from Linda and Sheryl

The Lord is Good!

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

                                                                                                                  Psalm 34:8 ESV

 

Over the last couple of months, we have dedicated our Sunday posts to our God is Good; even if, even when, even still series. Today, as we wrap up the series, I pray you will have time to meditate on His goodness, and let your spirit be refreshed and renewed.

As I walk through this journey, three truths about God’s character have been essential to my well-being.

  1. God is sovereign over everything and everyone.
  2. God is Good. There is no evil in Him.
  3. God loves me.

These three truths allow me to see I am standing on unshakeable ground. With God for me, there is absolutely no way I can lose! His Goodness is the healing balm for my weary and tortured soul.

As we read the scriptures, it becomes apparent that God didn’t just ask us to believe that He is good. He has proven it in the lives of His people, time and time again.

He proved His goodness in the beginning through His creation, and in Old Testament times through the rescue of His people (Israel from Egypt). Ultimately, He demonstrated His goodness through the death of His Son on the cross providing us all personal deliverance from sin. But He didn’t stop there.

His goodness is now dwelling within us, starting the moment we accept the gift of salvation. His goodness is now able to flow from us when we yield to His leading. It’s evident when we love others in a way that supersedes any illustration of love the world can offer. It’s evident when we forgive the unforgivable. It’s evident when we persevere. It’s evident when we give, even when we feel like we have nothing left to give. It is all a reflection of what He did, of who He is. His Goodness is evident in our lives, even on the toughest of days, even when our hearts are breaking; even when we think, “I can’t take one more step.” Our tears may temporarily blur our vision, but His Goodness is still evident. He lives in us.

Often as widows, we struggle with our identity. We wonder if we still have a purpose. Because He loves us and because He is good, He created us for so much more than being either a wife or a widow. He created us, our entire being to be an image of Him. Our minds can’t even begin to comprehend the magnificence of our purpose in bearing His image.

We are blessed because we have cried out. We know we cannot do this alone. We have seen His love and His provision through His word but also up close and personally through our experiences. We know He lives in us. We know He created us for so much more than this. We have sought refuge in Him, time and time again. We are blessed because we know the Lord is Good!

Lord, we thank You today for leading us to meditate on Your Goodness in our lives. We love You and thank You for loving us! Help us to seek You first – always! Let Your Goodness be abundantly evident in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~ Sheryl


To read all the other posts in this series: God is Good, God is Good-2, God is Good-3, God is Good-4, God is Good-5, God is Good-6, God is Good-7, God is Good-8, God is Good-9, God is Good-10, & God is Good-11

 

What It’s Not

But He gives more grace…

James 4:6a ESV

Are you dating anyone?

Why haven’t you dated?

How do you feel about dating?

Ah. The endless questions. And no one seems to understand…some days, least of all me…why nearly eight years later, it is still not a priority to find an answer to these questions.

For me, it’s not a simple thing to put into words. Just like this journey, it’s complicated. It is almost easier to tell what are not the reasons than what are. So here goes.

  • It’s not improperly mourning Keith…holding a torch for him that I should not hold, not willing to give my heart to anyone else, should God bring the right guy to me.
  • It’s not feeling there are no good men out there…I have seen God bring great guys to several of my widow friends.
  • It’s not a fear of losing someone else: while I cannot imagine going through this journey again, it does not scare me to the point that I would be unwilling to trust in love again.
  • It’s not worrying how my kids will accept someone else, how a blended family will work, or parenting other children if he should happen to have some…God is bigger than that.
  • It’s not that I don’t miss being married, or don’t get lonely, or don’t miss companionship…I do, just like anyone else.

What it is:

  • It’s being on the path of singleness that God has for me right now…a path I may always be on.
  • It’s concentrating on running the race that God has put before me to run, even if I run that alone—taking care of the tasks at home, school, and church that I must handle at this time.
  • It’s putting my Lord first as my Husband, regardless of the fact that He is not flesh-and-blood…and being confident in that place.
  • It’s being groomed for a future that I cannot see at this moment…trusting a Lord who can.

Maybe you are there, too, sister…tiring of explaining, working on rebuilding pieces of this torn life, trying to live the life God has now laid before you. My words for you are the same ones I tell myself in the mirror every day (and they come from Jesus Himself):

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

I must view any and all questions and struggles on this journey through the lens of His love and His Word…regardless of what well-meaning others may say or do, regardless of how I am feeling at the particular moment.

And…I must give grace…to them and to myself…whether any of us understand or not.

Father, You are the Giver of all good gifts. Thank You for the gift of my life as it is now. Help me to see You in it, even if it hurts like the dickens sometimes, even if it confusing and complicated. You love me. You love me! I rest in that knowledge. And that is enough. Thank You, Father. Amen.


 

liz325Liz Anne Wright is a homeschooling mom of four boys who enjoys meeting new people, walking, and reading. Since losing her husband in November of 2007, she has felt led to reach out to the grieving. With the help of friends, she started a local widows’ ministry to connect widows in her local area. She also renewed her childhood passion for writing and began her own blog, and a book about her widow experience. In all that she has been able to accomplish since the death of her husband, she gives full credit to her Lord and Savior. She is very thankful that, while she is very ordinary, the God she serves is extraordinary. Because of that, she is able to rebuild after her loss. She is not just surviving, but thriving! To Him be the glory!
Would you like to read more articles by Liz Anne Wright?  Click here
To read more articles like this, click here.
For booking a speaker from our ministry email us at: admin@anewseason.net

We Are Not Alone

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

                                                                                         Revelation 3:20 NIV

 

We. Are. Not. Alone. can be words that elicit terror or jubilation. Which is it for you?

God has created us in His image, which means we were created to be in community just like Him: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we accept Him as Lord of our lives, we are given a seat at the table. It is a choice we can make that means we never have to dine alone again.

I hate eating alone. There’s no one to share the highs and lows of the day. No one to listen to, no one to laugh with. It doesn’t seem worth cooking a good meal just for me. My most common dinner companion is the television. Eating has become a task stripped of the beauty of companionship and community with others. I was not made to dine alone.

As widows, we can find ourselves feeling very cut off from others. Activities we once enjoyed becoming painful tasks, a mockery of the beautiful companionship that once was.

But we are not alone.

My heart is still so full from our conference a few weeks ago. Something so beautiful happens when we gather. I feel like God’s presence is magnified ten-fold when we are with others who are walking so closely with Him. An incredible joy bubbles up with seeing His faithfulness being demonstrated in each of the ladies’ lives. Every time we gather, I experience God’s love and provision in an intense way.

I am reminded of the difference between sharing a feast with others instead of dining on scraps alone.

It wasn’t easy for the women who came– choosing to go to the conference, working out many logistics including transportation, arranging childcare, etc. But for most, the biggest hurdle was overcoming the fear– “Do I have the emotional strength and energy to connect with new people?” They stepped out in faith, and God blessed them with everything they needed, plus so much more.

God’s word is clear from beginning to the end. We are not created to be alone. The world we live in sends the message the only way to fill the void in our lives is with a man. Having a spouse to share our lives with is just one of the ways God created for us to be with others. He created within us an intense need for being in community so that first and foremost, we would seek to satisfy our need with a relationship with Him. Nothing can or will ever fill the void, except being with Him. And as an extension of our relationship with Him, we are created to be in community with His church, the body of Christ.

Our call to action: 

So let us pray for one another to overcome our fears and the obstacles depriving us from gathering at the table. Let us pray for one another to first and foremost, fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May our fears, our anger, and our sadness decrease as we are continually filled with His love. May each of us let His love flow through us to build up and encourage others. Let us say “I hear you knocking at the door, Lord. Please come in and I will dine with you and you will dine with me!”

We are not alone.


 

SherylPeppletb

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

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

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?  Hello, my name is

Want to read another article about how to deal with loneliness?  Loneliness, Get Out!

The Bride and the Widow

 

I love the imagery of the Bride of Christ, the beauty, the grace, the elegance. It brings such a lovely picture to my mind; remembering my wedding day, walking down the aisle to meet my beloved, surrounded by friends and family, feeling absolutely stunning in my handmade white gown.

But what comes to mind with “widow”? Haggard, lonely, old, wrinkled, sad, feeling forgotten in a dark dress…

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul begins a discussion on how we are not under the power of the law any more as believers in Christ- we are under the power of the Spirit. I’ve read this passage many times before, keeping the sections of Scripture separated into very distinct boxes in my mind. Yes, I get it- the widow is not bound to her husband anymore and is free to marry again. But flowing right out of that statement is the next truth-believers are no longer bound to the law but to the Spirit. The imagery he uses is a WIDOW!! You and me! We are as widows an example of believers allowing the Holy Spirit to control. What a different picture than what we usually imagine as a widow.

Here’s the passage:

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:1-6 ESV

Marriage was set up by God as a spiritual symbol of Christ and the Church. Widowhood is a spiritual symbol of the Church and the Holy Spirit. You are a living breathing example to the world of the work of grace. You are the image of being “dead” to the law and being “alive” to the Spirit. That changes my whole outlook! My widowhood is a beautiful picture.

Can you look at your widowhood as a beautiful picture of the Believer filled with the Spirit, not “married” to the law any longer?

Whether we are married or single, we are a spiritual symbol. We are a symbol of being married to Christ or a symbol of our first “marriage” to the law is dead and now “married” to Christ, living by grace and the Spirit.

I guess I never put the two thoughts together before – marriage and widowhood — both spiritual symbols of Christ and us.

Father God, Thank You for this beautiful picture of our widowhood. We are not bound by law any longer because of Your work on the cross and Your resurrection. Thank You for this image of our widowhood as a beautiful symbol. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was! Widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

Would you like to have a team member speak at your event? Contact us at admin@anewseason.net

Want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here.

Want to read about Christ as your husband now? Click here.  By Kathleen

Want to explore more on your vision and hope for your future? Click here. By Kit