This Time

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?  

                                                                                    Esther 4:14 (NIV)

July is full of sweet memories of vacations and holidays of years gone by. Being with family, having cookouts and picnics, swimming and fireworks. And of course, the monumental year we went camping in Estes Park.

It started peacefully as we headed to the mountains with our extended family and friends. After a ten hour drive, we arrived at our campsite and began setting up. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. It wasn’t long before we noticed the gentle breeze began getting stronger and stronger. Just a half hour after we got the tent up we heard, snap – snap – Snap, the lovely sound of the tent poles snapping into  pieces. We were ten hours from home, on a holiday weekend in a National Park, with no place to sleep.

After a three hour trip up and down the mountain to buy a new tent, we began the setup process again. As we fought the wind which was continually getting stronger – we noticed it was also rapidly getting much cooler. That day ended up being the most dramatic weather change in the area in over one hundred years. The wind gusts were incredible, the temperature dropped sixty degrees (from 80 to 20 degrees) and we ended up spending the night in the van scraping the ice off the inside of the windows. By the time morning finally arrived, we were surrounded by several inches of snow.

Our family loves to tell the story of our adventure and we chuckle about it to this day. The lesson we learned: how rapidly things can change.

As a widow it seems like my whole life changed just as rapidly. But through this journey I have learned that when life changes to look for how God can be glorified. In the midst of chaos and turmoil, even loss, I try to remember that just like Esther, “I may have come to a royal position for such a time as this.”

I live with the hope and the understanding that I am holy and set apart, a part of a royal priesthood. Christ died on the cross for me. He loves me, even when it’s hard. Really, really hard.

There isn’t a day I don’t miss my husband’s sweet presence in my life. But I am grateful for God and His Presence in my life. I love to tell God’s story, because I have seen His faithfulness. I want others to know Him. My heart craves for Him to be glorified through my life. My prayer is for my thoughts, actions and deeds to be worthy of this royal position, as His daughter, for such a time as this.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your grace and your mercy. Help us to share Your story for Your Glory. Amen.


SherylPeppletb

Sheryl 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? I Have a Purpose

Want to read another article? The Prescription for Peace

Sexual Purity, Even More as a Widow

I did a little internet search of widows and sexual purity.

Wow!

What an eye-opening and shocking experience.

Let me start by saying our ministry is set apart from many other widow support groups, mainly because we want to point you FIRST to God’s Word as Truth. We are not going to give you what our culture expresses as truth. We aren’t going to sugar-coat it. Scripture has some absolutes on this subject that we support.

Some in our culture have decided to change the meaning in Scripture so it makes things “easier” for them during the dating days. If we are in a “committed” relationship, they say, then we can justify sex outside of marriage. Some bloggers even suggest to widows that having a purely sexual relationship is an acceptable way to satisfy that part of our need.

I’m going to propose that during widowhood, we need to stand even more firm on the foundation of sexual purity, even though we are no longer virgins. We do not have a “free pass” to sleep with whomever we want, just because it “doesn’t make a difference” this time around. It does make a difference, even as non-virgins, because it affects others when we live an impure life – not just ourselves.

We can apply Scripture to help us remember how important purity is before the Lord, by using them. 

T.H.E.M.

Who is the them?

It could be the community of believers,  a future husband,  friends, children, or unbelievers.

  1. TEMPLE: Our bodies are a temple so we should keep it holy and unblemished. I Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
  2. HUSBAND: God is your husband. You would be unfaithful to Him as your husband if you are sexually involved with men before marriage. Isaiah 54;5 ESV For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
  3. EXAMPLE: Especially when there are children in the home, we must set a moral example to them. You are an example to other widows who are new on their widowhood journey also.   I Timothy 4:12 ESV but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
  4. MARRY: In the New Testament references I looked up, sex was condoned and even encouraged within the context of marriage, never outside of those boundaries.  I Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. Also  I Timothy 5:3-15   

Sexual purity does matter, sisters. It matters to God and should matter to us.

When I think there are things in life that are just too hard to handle or just too difficult to keep up with, I always remember Hebrews 12. Words like endurance, weary, struggle, discipline jump out at me. The widow-life is never a time to give up, and the moral high-road can be challenging.  Yet we can do it in God’s strength!

But what if I have made some poor decisions due to my extreme loneliness? I haven’t stayed pure. Is it too late to start over? NO! It is never too late for a new start. God is in the forgiveness business! I John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is FAITHFUL and TRUE to His nature to FORGIVE us, CLEANSE us, and make us whole again. 

This doesn’t really pertain to me. I’m not at ALL interested in remarriage for the remainder of my life. Why is this topic important to me? Glad you asked! Titus 2 is a wonderful passage that instructs the “older” women to lead the “younger” women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure so that the Word of God can’t be criticized by outsiders. You can play a role in encouraging others to stay pure!

Let’s accept the challenge!

Lord God, we believe we are a temple in which Your Spirit lives. You have given us all we need to accept the challenge. Help us endure, even while weary, the discipline of living a life of purity. Guide us through the pitfalls our culture throws at us everyday through advertisements, TV shows, and all that comes our way. And thank You for the forgiveness we need each day. Amen


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

Elizabeth finds humor in the daily grind of six children, a large dog, a noisy cat, and all the school and church activities they can fit in. Their house is full of instruments including flutes, piccolo, piano, oboe, saxophones, clarinets, guitars, and a trumpet. 2013 began with Elizabeth losing her husband then her father, sending one child to college and another to kindergarten. Through that tearful year, the family has learned to laugh together again. She loves Psalm 1 and historical fiction, dreams of traveling by train around Europe, and has already planned her mid-life crisis (should the opportunity ever present itself).

 

 

Other articles on purity:

The Physical Loss  by Lori

Marital Bed by Erika

Dating by Kit

Other articles by Elizabeth 

 

 

What We Know To Be True

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

                                                   2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Have you ever been really, really, sure of something …only to find out you were completely wrong?

My funniest example happened when I was twelve. I lived in Okinawa, Japan and getting to go to the one movie theater on base was a Big deal. Here’s how the conversation with my Dad went:

Me: Daddy, can we go see this movie (rated X).

Dad : Why do you want to see that one?

Me:  Because it is rated X.

Dad: Why do you want to see an X rated movie?

Me:  Because it is excellent.

Dad:  Why do you think that?

Me:  Because it says so, X is for eXcellent, R is for Really Good, PG is for Pretty Good and G is for Good.

At which point my Dad broke into laughter and explained the ratings system to me. A funny little exchange but what I remember most was how sure I was that I was right. And I learned that just because I feel certain something is right does not mean that it is right.

It has turned out to be a very valuable lesson in my life. Something I have reflected on often as a widow; particularly when I am feeling depressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed. I have learned to “test” my feelings to see if they line up with God’s truth. Here are a few examples:

 

My Feeling: God’s truth:
My life is over. Ps 139:16  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
I have no purpose anymore. Acts 20:24  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
God doesn’t love me / no one loves me. 1 John 2:5  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him.
I am not “good” enough. Titus 3:4-7  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
God doesn’t care about this… Matt 6:31-33  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I have nothing more to give. Phil 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I will never be happy again. James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

These are just some of the feelings that I have experienced on this journey. I am so thankful for His word, His truth that is so useful in correcting my thinking and feelings.

Dear sisters, I pray that you will be immersed in Him, in His truth so that you may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. You are precious, because you are His. And nothing can ever change that truth. Much love to each of you!

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? Stay Connected

Want to read another article? It’s Okay To Be Real!

 

 

Living Water

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

                                                                     John 7:38 ESV

 

No one ever said it would be this hard or last this long.

A vivid memory from my younger days sometimes floods my mind. I remember a story on the national news of a woman running a marathon brilliantly but in the final stretch, her body started to give out. There on television for the entire world to see, her bowels released.  Horrified, I thought about her humiliation and her struggle. Incredibly, she managed to finish.

There are days this grief journey feels just as hard as her race.

Twenty plus years later and I am still inspired by her perseverance. It was a ninety-second news story that taught me a profound lesson about never giving up. I wonder how many others were impacted by her story. I have no idea who technically won the race that day, but sometimes winning isn’t about crossing the finish line first– it’s about enduring what seems like insurmountable obstacles.

Many, many times on this journey, I feel like I have nothing more to give. I become convinced I can’t take one more step. When I look at the years I could have left on this earth, living alone, I want to give up. I want the pain to stop. I want the emptiness and loneliness to end.

But each step is possible because I believe Jesus is who He says He is. And because I believe in Him, I will never have to do this alone. The Holy Spirit is living in me. As a vessel for the Holy Spirit there is no doubt that my life has purpose and meaning. His word tells me in John 7:38 that from my heart will flow rivers of living water.

Not stale, stagnate, murky water but living water. This reminds me that no matter how hard or how long this journey feels, no matter how much I feel like giving up or feel like my body is going to give out, something precious is still flowing through me to others.

Through all the tears, exhaustion, and heartache, it is hard to imagine we can possibly be of value to anyone else. What can we possibly give to others when we face so many challenges just in trying to accomplish our daily activities?

The living water is flowing from our hearts. We have God’s love and mercy to share with others. Our journey strengthens our faith. We become better at keeping our focus on God, living with a peace that transcends all understanding, and caring for others more deeply. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the more we seek Him, the more we are transformed into His likeness.

Day by day our faith becomes more evident to those around us. They are watching because they know this is the most difficult trial anyone can ever face. God uses our circumstances to strengthen our faith and theirs. I’ll never forget how at our first conference our praise team comprised of musicians, worship leaders and pastors, expressed how impactful it was to them to worship with widows. To know what we had lost and to see how faithfully we responded in worshipping our Lord was incredibly inspiring to them. Like the runner who inspired me so long ago with her perseverance, now we are the ones inspiring others.

Dear sisters, please be encouraged today that regardless of how you feel or what you accomplish today, the living water will continue to flow from your heart!  You are persevering and God is using you!


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? Stay Connected

Want to read another article? It’s Okay To Be Real!

 

Give it to God

The trauma my body and mind went through that day is indescribable. I still have aftershocks from that day and the moments leading up to my husband Michael’s death. These aftershocks trigger my mind, making me believe something awful is happening or about to happen. In fact, seeing an ambulance or fire truck parked outside of a home brings extreme stress that, within seconds, can build to anxiety.

The aftermath of death brings so many emotions – anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, shock, loneliness – and these feelings can continue thoughout our grief journey. It makes sense that our emotions are so high. The Holmes and Rah Stress Scale rates the loss of a spouse as the number one most stressful life event, not only because you lose your husband, but also because of the numerous secondary losses.

Sadly, you don’t have to tell us. As widows, we know this firsthand. We lost our husband, our best friend, lover, father of our children, confidant, financial advisor, prayer warrior, spiritual leader, our supporter, trash taker outer and partner in this life.

Whether it’s anxiety over the day you lost your husband, the stress of change or having to do everything on your own – raising your children without their father, figuring out finances – or the loss of relationships that were once close, what do we do when these feelings become so overwhelming that they almost paralyze us?

I attended a Suicide Survivors group and also went to counseling for several months following my husband’s death. I truly believe the Lord places people, like counselors, in our lives to help us sort through feelings and emotions. The time I spent in a group and with my counselor also helped me find a way to cope with the anxiety and trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) caused from it. I use these coping skills regularly, but there are times when they don’t seem to fulfill my heart or bring peace and comfort. That’s when I turn to the only ONE who can.

I find that when I try to do things on my own, I can’t seem to fully get past that moment and those feelings. But when I give those feelings to the Lord, I know He can do more than I ever thought possible.

The Lord says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

When I find myself in a place consumed by darkness and overwhelming circumstances, I pray and look to this verse. I have and continue to find comfort and peace here. Though I know what waits for me after this life, I have always trusted the Lord would bring goodness here on earth, too.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm  27:13)

From day one, after my husband passed, I saw this goodness in our son and in the people who surrounded me. God had placed these people in my life, not necessarily for the time I met them, but for that time of need when my world fell apart. And, presently, I am recently remarried and have seen so much goodness that the Lord has provided through my husband Keith.

As we continue to walk this journey of grief, and trauma and anxiety attempt to creep their way back in, let’s remember to pray and give it all to the ONE who knows our heart and our circumstances. Because He is the only one who can heal what is broken.

Lord, Each of us have our own story, but we all have been impacted by the trauma from our husbands’ deaths. Comfort us and remind us of Your eternal perspective. And though, we know eternal life with You awaits, we are confident you have goodness in store for us on earth. I pray you open our hearts and minds to listen to know where You are leading so we can experience Your goodness. 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.

But If Not: Deliverance, Doubts, and Devotion

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.  Daniel 3:17-18 ESV

God, I know You CAN heal my husband…

God, I know You are ABLE to heal this marriage…

God, I know You are STRONG ENOUGH to protect my children from evil influences…

Have you prayed similar prayers?

My doubts never come because I think God isn’t ABLE to do something. My doubts come because I don’t think He WOULD for me. Does He love me? Does He love them more? 

Here in our passage above, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were facing death.

Facing. Death.

They were looking it square in the eyes.

They had no options.

Worship of the True God was not up for discussion, and they knew He was able to “deliver” them. What were they thinking that word meant? Rescue them? Make the fire go out? Probably all kinds of things went through their heads, but I’m guessing NOTHING like what really happened. You can read the full chapter here.

As a result of their hearts being so full of devotion to Jehovah God, they knew even if they were not swept off in a story-book rescue, they would not worship the false gods. They knew they would follow God even into the fire. 

Where was Daniel?  He was their leader. He was the strong one in the bunch.

Have you ever felt that God took the “strong one” in your life- your husband? I hear widows say often – I lost my rock, I lost my leader, I lost my spiritual guide.  But what did these three young men do when faced with the worst possible situation?  They proclaimed their faith. Loud. And. Strong. They had been led well by Daniel. They knew the Truth. And they received something far greater than their friend’s spiritual guidance. They gained an encounter with God right in the middle of the furnace! God was the fourth man in the fire, bringing the king to see the Truth.

That hit me right between the eyes.

I was led by a man who knew God deeply. I had a spiritual guide. He was a strong influence in my life. Now it has been removed. Can I now proclaim my faith loud and strong? Am I able to stand up to adversity so others see God through my life? Do I know God enough to depend on Him during my trials?

So when the worst possible thing happens

and the “rug is pulled out from under” us,

can we STAND? 

 

If our prayers for healing seem to go unanswered,

can we keep trusting?

 

When the fires of life seem to be lapping all around us,

can we bravely stand and say,

“Even if God doesn’t deliver us from the fires,

we will still follow”?

 

Has your strong person of influence been removed from your life? Are you being tested by the “fires” of life today? What or who are you trusting in?

From the passage in Daniel, we do NOT read that the three friends pulled the covers over their heads, crying out, “If only Daniel were here! He would know what to do!” Nope, they bravely stood strong on their convictions and knew exactly what they needed to do.

I need to follow the example of these young men–  stand strong on what I know is true about God and follow Him. Sometimes that will lead me into “fires” only He can deliver me from in a grand way. And sometimes our delivery comes only after we have lived through the flames, scorched and stinking of smoke. My life circumstances do not alter the fact that God loves ME. He is the “fourth” person in the furnace with ME. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank You for the influences of strong believers in our lives. Help us when we are tested and tried, to bravely stand strong on the truth of Scripture and not on our feelings. When doubts come our way, lead us back to Your Word even if we are not delivered in the way we expect or desire. Amen

 

I heard this wonderful song recently that really spoke to this subject. I hope you enjoy it. Even If by Mercy Me.  The words are amazing. Another song from a few years ago is by Kutless, also called Even If.   And if you like the idea of dancing in that fire, you will enjoy this song by Jordan Feliz.

 


 

Elizabeth Kay Dyer

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. 

Are you finding that you are missing the role your husband played? You can read articles here.

If you want inspiration and vision for your future, you can click here. 

 

 

What Can I Do?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

                                                                                                                   Isaiah 26:3 ESV

 

My whole world is upside down. Why am I still here?

These thoughts and many like them can run through our minds time and time again.

We often question our purpose when our lives, and what we thought our futures would be, have changed so drastically. But the truth is, the purpose of our lives, the reason we have been created, hasn’t changed. We are created by Him, for His glory.

I am so broken. How could I possibly bring Him glory?

Today in all your brokenness, can you imagine doing something so powerful, so significant that it would be worthy of being included in God’s Word? Every day you choose to trust God, you are doing something that worthy, powerful and significant. You are following Christ, just like the woman in the crowd who reached out and grabbed His cloak – because she trusted He was who He said He was. (story told in Mark 5:25 -34) Trusting Him brings Him glory and it brings you peace.

I have nothing left to give. What can I give?

I love that Jesus used a widow to teach the world what it means to give. (story told in Luke 21:1-4) The world teaches us to give when we have extra. Jesus teaches us that to truly love someone means you are willing to give everything. He demonstrated this when He gave His Son to die on the Cross for us. As widows, worldly things no longer seem as important and we find ourselves able to focus more on the eternal. As we focus on God, giving everything -all of us – becomes our goal and our actions can become the example for the world. We are perfectly positioned to teach the world how to give.

I’m just a widow. What can I do?

Unfortunately, the title widow usually conjures up the image of someone who is washed up and needs to be taken care of, with nothing to give. And if we allow it, that can happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have Christ living in us. He is our strength. And in many ways, because of our circumstances we are in a better position than ever to do what God has called us to do.

We are in the refiner’s fire and we have a better grasp of what is truly important, so we can encourage others to have an eternal focus.

We are persevering through many trials and God is making us mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2) so we can disciple others with what God is teaching us.

We are drawing closer to God and He is drawing closer to us so we can teach others about God’s character.

We can pray more intimately because our faith has grown and we know our God cares.

We can speak God’s truth into others lives, because we have lived it and we have seen the fruit that obedience brings.

We can face the giants of this world because we know where our strength comes from.

We can change the world by telling the story of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

We can love as God loves, giving everything we have.

We can trust Him in all circumstances which will bring Him glory!

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for loving us the way You do. Thank You for creating us for a purpose – to glorify You so that we can encourage others to come to know You. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lives in us and gives us the strength we need. Please give us opportunities to pray more faithfully, speak Your truth more boldly, love more deeply, give more completely and share the story of Your faithfulness in our lives, all for Your Glory.   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 about trust? Two Years and Trusting in Him

Two Years and Trusting in Him

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine

and puts them into practice

is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

The rain came down,

the streams rose,

and the winds blew and beat against that house;

yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

                                                                                                          Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

 

My storm came on January 15, 2015. The winds blew, the darkness fell, the wave of grief descended, and my world was forever changed.

Yesterday marked two years since my husband Michael made his way to heaven by suicide, and my nearly perfect life was turned upside down. That January day brought shock, confusion, guilt and sorrow like I had never known, knocking me to my knees and pleading with God to give me a different path. Losing my husband, my best friend and father of my child, I wondered how and if I would ever survive.

And that’s where Jesus met me – in that raging storm – grief stricken and consumed by fear.

Night after night I continued to pray and in the beginning, when I couldn’t, I clung to a wooden cross to fall asleep, softly whispering “Jesus, help me.”

I am certain God didn’t plan for something like this to happen, but He allowed it. My husband was just 31, and our son hadn’t even made it to his second birthday. Though I couldn’t fathom why God would ever allow a husband and father to be taken so soon, I knew I had to trust Him. That is when I completely surrendered to His will for us.

As I look back, I am in awe of how God has worked in my life. I could have never imagined the transformation, and strength, hope and joy I would find just two years later. It is a blessing, a miracle, and proof of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness.

You see, the relationship I had built with my Savior, that foundation, has brought peace, comfort, happiness and healing during the most horrific storm.

Two years later, the wave of grief continues. But today I don’t let it control my life.

For I know the foundation and solid ground on which my life stands and when my circumstances seem overwhelming and everything around me seems to fall, my life, “my house”, will not crumble – because I have Jesus.

He has and always will be my rock.

Sisters, when you find this life seems too much to bare, lean in to Jesus and open your eyes to His eternal perspective. You are here for a reason; let Jesus be your rock. Choose to let Him in and let Him work in your life.

Dear Lord, I know you will hold us close during the storm. Open our hearts and minds to You, finding peace in Your will. Consume us with comfort and, even in the midst of the storm, allow joy to fill our lives. 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. 

More posts like this one: Why Did this Happen? and My God Box

To book one of our team members to speak please email us at: admin@anewseason.net

 

Recipe for Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

 

Are you tired?

Are you worn out?

Does your grief exhaust you?

Is “burn out” looming ahead of you?

Do the holidays bring anxiety?

Rest. That seems to be what I want most right now in my life. This widow-life makes me weary. Every once in a while I will text a widow sister and say, “It was fun while it lasted (not really, and she knows it). Now can I have my life back?” I am just flat-out tired. Doing all I do as the only parent is exhausting.

Let’s look carefully at these words of Jesus as they pertain to us specifically.

  • Come to Me: Have you avoided spending time in God’s Word because you are angry with God?  Avoidance of Scripture doesn’t help your weary soul. Ask me, I know… Jesus opens His arms, saying, “Come back to Me, sweet daughter.”
  • Weary and burdened: Grief wears a person out. We understand weary. Add the burdens of life, and we have the perfect recipe for exhaustion. Burdens of caring for aging parents. Burdens of our own health or the health of our children. Burdens of relationships. We have burdens, right?
  • Take My yoke upon you: We need to remove the yokes we are currently wearing. The yokes I pile on are “image”, “sin”, “expectations”, “busyness”. What are yours? I imagine myself with all these yokes on my shoulders while Jesus stands there with a yoke made for me, fitting perfectly. I am weighed down under the yokes I have placed on my back. They don’t fit my shoulders, they rub sores, and they don’t provide any kind of relief for my weary soul. I can choose to keep piling on the yokes of my own making or receive the one made by my Creator for me specifically. That probably includes giving up control–such a challenge for me. What yokes are you wearing that are not from God?
  • Learn from Me:  I need to study His life. He is “gentle and humble”. Probably the two words we need most as a widow, when you think about it. Gentle with those thoughtless comments and lost relationships. Gentle with those who don’t understand grief and loss. Humble when needing help, and we do need help more than ever before.  Where do I need to use gentleness and humility so I can be more like Christ?
  • My yoke is easy and My burden is light: Yokes are heavy by their very nature, so how can Jesus say His is “easy” and “light”? I believe it goes back to taking His yoke on our shoulders. Perhaps it isn’t as heavy as it looks. The yokes I am wearing most days are not easy or light. They are heavy and wearisome. I want to shed these heavy ones and wear the easy, light one He has for me.
  • “And you will have rest for your souls.” Isn’t that what we all want anyway? What we are longing for? Especially during the holiday season.

Let’s follow the recipe He gave us and find the rest He offers. It isn’t merely jumping on a wagon of  “positive thinking” or just faking it. He PROMISES to give rest in exchange for taking His yoke upon our shoulders. Let’s shed the yokes we put on ourselves and take His.

Lord, You are our Creator. You promise rest if we follow Your guidelines. Help me stop looking everywhere else for rest. I want to be still and turn to You for rest. I hand over the cumbersome yokes I have been wearing for far too long. I need the rest You offer. 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!  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.”

 

 

Looking for another article on peace? Click here for an article titled Applying Peace by Lori Streller.

Looking for articles on dealing with the holidays? Click here 

 

This Complicated Messy Life

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13 ESV

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say.

Life is complicated and messy. I find myself wondering if I will ever be able to think straight again, 100% straight. I was recently asked, “Do you know what…?” It was meant in a very general way, yet it struck me so profoundly. My response was, “I know many things and yet I know nothing at all.” It seems the longer I travel this journey of life, the more truth there is for me in that sentence.

I am not uneducated, nor am I lacking mental prowess, yet there is very little that I truly KNOW.

When I was first widowed, I knew I had to write about my journey. I knew it would help me grieve. I didn’t know that season might come to an end or that God would ask me to write about things other than grief.

When I was first widowed, I believed I would never consider remarrying. The thought of dating repulsed me. I didn’t know that would all change with one random text and one strong man who made me feel alive again. I didn’t see that coming and I certainly didn’t see it ending, but it did. I’m still not sure I know what really happened, maybe I  was just not ready to date yet and went way too far too fast. I don’t know; life is complicated and messy and dating at this age is a “whole nother level” of COMPLICATED AND MESSY.

When I was first widowed, I thought I would never be whole again, never mend. I was broken into a million pieces, like an icicle shattering on concrete, and I had no desire to go on; none. I didn’t KNOW the God, who formed me and shaped me in my mothers womb, would gather my shattered, broken, wounded spirit and hold me so closely all I could do was breathe Him in until He helped me learn to breathe on my own again.

When I was first widowed, I considered death and grief to be all I was facing. I didn’t know death and grief have companions; loneliness, doubt, secondary loss, anger, guilt, unworthiness, fear, financial strain, lack of identity, incompleteness, and abandonment, just to name a few.

When I was first widowed…… was almost five years ago.

So now what? What of today and tomorrow?

Now I know it’s time to write about all kinds of things. It’s time for my journey into articles, blogs and books to cover many topics and audiences. It’s time for my writing to morph into what God has next for me in this crazy life.

Now I believe it is not only time to try dating again, but to become part of a forever family. A family God has pressed me to pray for almost every single day for the last fourteen months. I now know I am made to be a wife. It is one of my hearts desires. I don’t want a replacement husband. I want a man who knows I was loved well, but I still have a lot more love to offer, and who wants to become part of that forever story with me. A man who will walk side-by-side and talk through the complicated and messy parts, because the other parts make it worth it.

Now I think God knew all along exactly how I would react to my brokenness. He knew I would lean into Him and not run away from His love. He knew me better than I knew myself, because He knit me together. He knew widow would be one of the many labels of my life, yet I would not want to wear it as a sash and crown. I want it to be part of who I am and not all that I am defined by.  

Now I consider it all joy to have walked this journey, and all of its losses, because of all the people I have been able to minister to and with over the past five years.

Now it’s time for a new season of life, a new adventure, with more twists and turns. I don’t know how it will turn out, but I’m excited to explore all the possibilities. Along the way, I’ll be praying for you and your journey too.

Father, I pray that You will bless all who read this with a reminder of how big you are and how much You love them.  In Jesus name, Amen.


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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: Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?  & Breathing in Hope