By Kitty Hinkle
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)
I love getting together with this one friend of mine. Her conversation stretches me because she is both warmhearted and driven—an uncommon combination. She loves to get me drawn into deep discussions over life, career, and purpose. This time she posed a question, which both encouraged and challenged me. Being able to answer with no hesitation comforted me. Perhaps I’m more in tune with where God wants me at this place in my life than I thought. But then it challenged me. Maybe I need to stretch my ears more towards the Lord and begin listening more for His future plans. Between the encouragement and challenge, a gentle reminder from the scripture called in my heart. It was Christ’s words about worry in your life.
I’d like to take the opportunity this week to walk you through my friend’s question and what it really means to plan for the future while leaning on God for your direction. I hope you’ll join us on A Widow’s Might. Share in the discussion and stretch your own ideas about considering where you are today and looking hopefully and positively into the future.
Please return each day and follow the following parts to this series:
First the question. She asked me quite directly, Kitty, what are your future plans for you when your sons have moved out of the house? What do you see yourself doing 8-10 years from now and beyond?
Ladies, does a question like this bring anxiety to you, or are you settled enough in your heart to go about answering it without the least bit of anxiety?
Most likely your answer is somewhere in the middle. It’s only natural to feel nervous about the future, especially if your loss is fresh. If you have only recently lost your spouse, please know that in the initial phases of grieving there is room for sobbing fully and feeling at a loss of comprehending any future. Please know that and consider these discussions as encouragement that there will be a time when you will be prepared to manage your future, but grieving fully is something that must be accomplished first. Keats put it so well in his Poem Ode to the Nightingale when he referred to the widow Ruth in scripture. He wrote:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn.
Wow, doesn’t Keats’ words strike exactly how you feel at least at times as a widow? Standing in tears amid the alien corn? I imagine Ruth in a foreign land standing in the field gathering crumbs after the field hands had their share, looking for scraps just to keep her mother-in-law and her sustained. No plan at all for the future. Many painters have considered the truth of Ruth’s pain and captured with their brushes the moment of her standing in alien fields.
But the whole intention of Keats’ poem about the nightingale is in the bird’s song. He imagines a nightingale singing to Ruth, comforting her in her pain. Interesting that Keats chose the nightingale, a sweet bird, like the sparrow Jesus chose to illustrate how He wants you to treat your life. Light and carefree, like the sparrow.
He doesn’t suggest it. He commands it, dear sisters in Christ. His words, “but I say to you” sets an expectation in us. The discussion is, what is your response to His command. Please share in the discussion, and then come back tomorrow as we talk about our response.
Now on to Part 2: My Heart’s Answer…