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

She Has Done What She Could

She has done what she could … And I tell you this in solemn truth, that wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and praised.”

Mark 14:8-9 TLB

This scripture verse was one that I read from my oceanfront villa patio while recently on vacation.  As I sat there in my luxurious surroundings, I thought about how the woman talked about in this verse made Jesus a priority over everything.  She used precious ointment, or oil, that was worth a lot of money and she used her own hair to wipe the extra off Jesus’ feet.  That is someone who was all in and someone who knew who Jesus was, made Him a priority and showed with her actions that He was important to her, despite her actions being questioned.  Jesus remarked that her actions would be spoken of as a memorial to her.  Here it is thousands of years later and I am thinking about her.

What kind of memorial am I to Him and to the world?  What mark am I making?  Do people see Jesus in me?  Do my actions show that Jesus is a priority to me?  That He is in my life?

Every day, I wake up trying and I believe Jesus knows that about me. I start my day taking in His Word and meditating about what He wants me to get from His Word.  I work on showing people love, grace and mercy throughout the day.  I try to not react harshly when people wrong me or mess up and my life is affected by the mess.  I  honor the trust and love in my relationships and show love when things don’t go my way or I’m hurt.  I try to pray for those that wrong me and show love to them.  I walk away from relationships that don’t glorify God in a loving way and not leave burning trails in my wake.

If you read this whole section of scripture (Mark 14:3-9), Jesus knew where this woman’s heart was and he commended her and told those who questioned her actions that she would be remembered and praised.  I want to be remembered like that.  I want Jesus to say, “Sherry has done what she could.  Wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, Sherry’s deeds will be remembered and praised.”

I am comforted by those verses – she did what she could…and will be remembered and praised.  My Savior knows my heart and, even when I mess up, He still knows my heart.  I just have to take the next right step and follow my Savior’s lead.  No matter the criticism and questions.  Do what I can do and let the Savior take care of the rest.   Put the Savior first in everything and when I make a mess, put my whole self into it to make it right and glorify God in the process.

It might take getting your hair oily, but in the end, to hear your Savior say, “you did all you could do – may you be remembered and praised.”  That will be amazing!

Dear Lord,  Thank you for showing in Your Word what we should hold important and what You would like from us.  And that all that we do in Your name will be remembered and praised in Your Name.  Amen


 

sherrySherry 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 a college freshman.  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 Doing What She Could by Elizabeth Dyer.

Mirror, Mirror

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being formed into the same image from the glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  

2 Corinthians 3:18  NKJV  

 

I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror the other day.

Not a “hair is fixed, make up is on, ready to go to work” kind of glimpse.  Rather, a deep look at the reflection of the person staring back out at me kind of look.

Perhaps, you know what I am talking about.  A deep look into the eyes of one who has seen too much, hurt too deep, cried too many tears, feeling lonely and at times, utterly defeated.  A look into a reflection of someone at times I no longer even recognize.

I often wonder if my husband would recognize the person I have become.  My life with him by my side reflected a strong independent will; but, perfectly content to rest in his strength and the assurance of his presence.  It was he who took the lead in our home.  He tackled the big problems.  He had the male chores covered and I gladly let him.

That has all changed now.

No longer do I have him to “man-handle” those male chores.  No longer do I have him as back up to life’s complications.  No longer do I have his support in parenting and finances.  No longer can I feel his loving arms wrap me in a hug and hear his voice tell me that everything will be okay.

What’s a girl suppose to do with all that?

Is there enough make-up in the world to cover the hurt, worry, fear and loneliness that clouds this reflection I see in the mirror?

Make-up?  Perhaps not.  But, a transformation covered in Grace?  Most definitely!

The choice is mine.  I can live under a veil of discouragement and defeat.  Or, I can lift the veil of brokenness and be transformed.

    “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.      

Romans 12:2  NKJV

“Do not be conformed to this world”.  What, you might ask, does that look like? Conforming is attaining an outward expression that does not reflect what is truly inside, a kind of masquerade or act.  Sound familiar?  In the months after my husband’s move to Heaven, I was the queen of putting on my “game face”.  I wanted everyone to see me as strong and confident in Christ, but, inside I was a mess.  I wrestled with my beliefs and my values because I allowed this deep grief to question everything I knew about Christ.

Renewing of your mind.  This is the kind of transformation that can come only through the Holy Spirit.  The changes arrive from consistent studying and meditation of His words through Scripture. Praying deeply and often.  Allowing Him to give way to a renewed mind that is saturated and controlled by the Word of God.

Healing can and will arrive IF I permit God to mend the pieces of my broken and shredded heart.  You see, even if my husband would not recognize me, or even as I, myself, struggle with the reflection in the mirror, I know God still recognizes me. He knew I would be on this journey.  I must give Him total submission to take this girl I now see in the mirror and change her image as my heart desires to be more Christ-like.  After all, the crowning goal of a believer is to become more Christ-like.

I pray as each of us now looks in a mirror, we can hold to this scripture and be transformed, manifested by our inner redeemed nature.

Heavenly Father,  As I struggled with the image reflected in a mirror causing many questions to surface, I am so grateful for you revealing this scripture to me.  Help us all, Lord, to cling to your Words and grow to be more Christ-like as we move forward.  May the change we see become the change we not only see, but the change we feel and live out loud so others see you in us.  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.

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Read more about transformation with Lori and Jill.                                                             

Re-Root Your Legacy After the Earthquakes

As widows, it sometimes feels as if the earth beneath our feet has been shaken causing deep, unrepairable cracks of devastation. I remember many such days with earthquakes nearly shaking the foundation of my faith loose until I felt His mighty hands scoop me up from my wreckage as He walked me back to safety. Then there were those days when the hurt created more subtle quaking, like quiet vibrations in my heart, just enough to keep me keenly aware of Jesus’ presence in my life and a new purpose being born.

I know the vast spectrum of hurt and heart-quaking, pain and earth-shaking grief we experience as sisters on this road of recovery. And now as a re-married widow, my world still sometimes quivers with confusion at how to heal past hurts.  Mostly my days have taken on a new normal and my mind remains steady in this surprising, at times overwhelmingly transformed life of mine. But occasionally when the challenges of transition from widow to wife, from only-parent of two to co-parenting five, I shake with reservation as I reconcile still loving who my lost husband was to me and so completely feeling this new unconditional love for the man I now live with and my soul dearly loves.

Each time I feel the shaking of earth underneath me, my footing comes loose and I’ve wondered if I’ll ever really plant my roots in solid ground again! I adore right where God’s put me today as a wife of a wonderful, Christ-following man. But fear of losing love again or any kind of life-shaking change causes those heart quivering earth quakes.

I mean, my story keeps changing and what’s behind me looks blurry like a mixed up, discombobulated legacy! And when life seems like a roller coaster, how can I live out the legacy I want to leave?

Yeah, the notion of leaving a legacy left its mark on my heart when I lost my first love.

Legacies means much more after we’ve watched our loved one leave one. You know, ladies, not everyone has the privilege of knowing how meaningful legacies really are! It’s one of those blessings of wisdom through widowhood….

But while we’re left with the wisdom, all the shaking and earth-quaking leave us at a loss with how to find a new purpose in our lives. Living our own legacies seem, well, disjointed and discontinued. Here we stand, each of us in different places on this widowhood path, feeling uprooted, confused and careening with an uncertain future.

Don’t we sometimes wonder who we’ll be after our lives take such sharp turns and our identity has been shaken? I know I have!

But we must remember what’s really rooting us. It’s not our husband’s past. It’s not our earthly homes. It’s not our children or our careers. And for those of us who have started on some new chapter, it’s not even a new man or life mission. The only thing rooting us in unbreakable, unshakable fertile ground is GOD! What a relief! God NEVER changes.

We can exhale, even during earthquakes. In all the life-shaking challenges and in every twist and turn, I’ll gladly take His strong hand, bury my feet into my faith and find solid ground in His unchanging grace! Won’t you?

Life uproots us.

But God uplifts us.

Life on earth changes us. 

But God always sustains us. 

So, sisters, we know exactly where to plant our life’s legacy alongside all the quaking change. We know just who we are in Jesus. Because no matter where we are on the path of hurt and healing, living a life shining His light will always create a certain and strong legacy worth leaving.

I got to thinking more about my roots and what’s behind me defining me during a quiet time chopping up some roots for a new recipe…that’s right, deep roots covered in earth’s dirt cleaned and used to create something nourishing and new (it’s true…food often inspires me!)

Maybe you’d like to see what happened next during my quiet time and how my kitchen always gets me thinking….here’s the post on Happily Whole all about re-rooting our lives into fertile ground PLUS the root soup recipe I came up with.

Here’s the link:  Simple Roasted Root Soup…and Nourishing Their Roots Through You. 

Let’s all remember, with the power of Christ, we can walk with Him and redirect our roots away from the results of painful pasts, sin or struggle and live a new legacy in Him!