Our Stories so Uniquely the Same- Part One

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

I encourage you, sisters, to join me in a three part series I wrote years ago as I started this ministry.  I was struck by how unique and compelling each woman’s story was, and yet how similarly the threads of love, loss, and healing weave through all of our stories–creating one message: Hope in Christ.  The original writing was three times the length of our current articles, so I have split these into three parts which we will publish today and over the coming months. Today’s part focuses on those early days of loss.  Look for part two on the second year and part three on a new season in the coming months. Bless you sisters– our stories share God’s love for us!           ~Kit

***

The day of the funeral we wore that dress we wish we could forget about. Some of us wore stylish dresses, as though our husbands would be comforted in Heaven if we tried our best to not look as awful as we felt. Some of us wore the simplest of black dresses—after all, the occasion wasn’t happy—why attract attention to ourselves? Some of us hate black and purposely chose navy blue. Some of us borrowed dresses from our sisters and then asked them to take it back and never show it to us again. Why use our own dress, which would sit in the closet as a constant reminder?

All of us cried. We cried heavy, even howled—never holding back—drowning in wet tissues for hours on our sisters’ laps. We cried soft whimpers when no one was looking. We cried silent tears—staring blankly at the empty world we faced without them. We didn’t cry at all at first and even wondered if everyone thought we didn’t love our husbands. Of course, we did—more than life itself—it’s just that we’re not criers—or so we thought. In private, it all came loose. We drowned our tears in wine until a friend plucked us up and sat with us so we wouldn’t drink alone. We cried in waves, like a roller coaster—fine one minute, calm, even kind of detached about it as we sorted through things in the house—wondering why on earth we’ve been given this strange peace, until the wave crashed and then boom—we dissolved into inconsolable tears.

We got through that first month. Some of us were thrust into crisis mode—”He had a business with customers banging at the door—who else but the widow would be expected to close up shop?” Some of us fought with the insurance company—”what do you mean investigation? I thought our life insurance was secure!” Some of us couldn’t stay in our homes—without him, the rent couldn’t be paid. Many of us refused to think about it. The kids were so confused—how could we even have a moment to think about ourselves with our kids asking so many questions? Some of us got busy—cleaning, trying to make order somewhere even with the chaos in our hearts.

Then we had to deal with his belongings unless we expected to live with the constant evidence someone should still be there. We had friends sort through his belongings for us—bagging up his clothes and taking them to Goodwill right away. We wouldn’t let anyone touch his belongings. Their closets became unbearable to touch, a sort of shrine to their existence in our lives. We organized his belongings into nice little boxes and moved them into the attic. Hopefully, we can eventually have the courage to reopen them and decide what to do with it all. We left certain belongings untouched. That receipt from Blockbuster he taped onto the side of the refrigerator stayed there for years. Even visitors seemed to know it would be sacrilegious to remove it.

***

But all of us do… live life more. Whether it’s through grieving more deeply or actively starting life more quickly, we live life more. Our tragedies are parallel and the ripples from our tragedies go in all different directions. And somehow, always lead to redemption.

Father God,  I thank You for these sisters who continue to share their stories with us. I marvel at how strong each of them is, and how You have taken the horrible losses in their lives to transform them and glorify You.


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

Inlaws- not Outlaws

Something Else to be Afraid of

A Widow’s Walk is Never Carved in Stone

One Promise From Scripture

One promise from Scripture, found in Isaiah 54:4-8.

 

 

Three widows, encouraged by the promise of the One.

 

Only six months after my husband’s death I learned that a former classmate’s daughter lost her husband of three months. She asked if I would meet with her daughter to counsel her; so I agreed. Because I had been in her situation, I was anxious to comfort rather than cause her more distress. God’s words would comfort better than my words.

First, as I drove to meet them that Saturday afternoon I prayed the Lord would give me just the right words to say and the right time to say them.

Second, I prayed she would both receive and retain whatever He chose to have me say.

Because we lived an hour apart, we met outside of Starbucks in a town between our homes. Sadly, I recognized the dazed look in her young eyes; I saw the same hollowness when I looked in the mirror the day my husband died.

Although fragile, the new widow recounted the story of her husband’s death. Rather than ask questions, I listened. She asked how she was supposed to go on with life?

Once again I prayed for help. Suddenly, the words I had been waiting for became clear to me.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 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.” Isaiah 54:4-5 (ESV)

Tenderly I reminded her that though she lost her earthly husband, there could be no greater Husband and Provider than the One who gave her life. Confidently I promised her He would be faithful and never leave her. Finally, I hugged her and also promised to continue to pray for her.

The young widow was encouraged by this promise from God.

 

After church the following day I drove to a beautiful mountaintop wedding. The bride was the daughter of a dear friend whose husband died the year before mine.

Because it was the first wedding I attended where the father was deceased and therefore not present to give the bride away, I visualized that same future for my two unmarried daughters. I was understandably emotional. While I allowed myself a moment to experience pre-grieving of events that were not even on our calendar, I also recognized the need to focus on the present event. I needed to pray for my friend as she watched her daughter walk alone to meet her groom.

Before the wedding began, my former classmate called. Excitedly she gave confirmation to the Scripture I shared with her daughter the day before. She shared that when they arrived at church that morning their pastor announced that he would be preaching from Isaiah 54.

Her daughter leaned over and whispered to her, “Your friend was telling the truth. God will be my Husband and my Provider.

Hearing words of confirmation encouraged my heart.

 

The wedding was beautiful, yet so hard to watch as the bride walked toward her husband without her father. During the reception I shared with her mother the events of the day before and the confirmation phone call.

Consequently, the mother of the bride was comforted and encouraged to hear that Scripture as well.

 

 

God’s Word does not return void.

I could not help but praise God for His timing and His care to put that particular passage on my heart as I talked with the young widow. As a result, one promise from Scripture had now blessed three of us.

Even saying the word “widow” was hard for me in the first days after it became my reality.

But the more I studied God’s Word the more I realized that to Him, a widow holds a special place of tenderness and concern. Therefore, I learned to lean into His care! Now I embrace the word for what it embodies about God’s character.

Widows are a priority with God!

Due to your circumstances, perhaps you are struggling to believe that you matter to Him.

Never doubt that He will be your Husband and Provider. In the same way, remember He keeps His promises!

 

Father, widowhood can be scary and lonely. There are decisions to be made and work to be done and sometimes it seems that no one cares. Thank You for reminding us through Your Holy Word that You are our Husband and Provider. And no one could care for us more than You do. Help us remember that and to cling to your promise. Amen.


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

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

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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 

 

 

Stay Connected

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

                                                                                John 15:5 ESV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Want to read another article by this author? Draw Closer

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

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.

Might as Well Do Something

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job 6:10 (ESV)

How does he do it? The enemy, I mean.

How does satan take a beautiful heart and twist it into his shape, convincing her to reject God and His promises?

He gives her a “fur-lined pity-pot”–that’s how. God-knows where that little phrase came from, but I’ve heard it kicked around in recovery circles. It’s that cozy spot where she curls up like a cat and licks her wounds.

He tells her it’s the safest spot to park herself.

But it’s not!

How many of us have spent at least a season of our time as widows spinning over our painful circumstances, wanting a better life for ourselves, but stuck in a pit of despondency.

There’s a better way. Kick the devil in the rear by rejecting self-pity.

Oh, the joy you will feel when you reject satan.

The impact you will make!  The reward – the everlasting reward to be secure in your place with God and in Heaven!

And while we know there are rewards in stopping the self-pity, we can’t just rid ourselves from it without replacing it with a new mindset.

Try this one: Remember this world–this life–these struggles that seem unending–are but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

And what feels like a curse to have to suffer in this life has its rewards. Because with discomfort, you are never lulled into leaning on the luxuries of this world for security. Rather, you look to the eternal security of your precious loving Abba Father to walk you through every dark valley.

Job in the Old Testament saw this Truth, even in his misery.  After losing ten children, all his material possessions, and the support of his wife and friends, he sat alone, covered in painful boils. And in his misery he did something remarkable.  He praised God. Just listen to his words: “This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10 ESV).

Job had it right. Sitting idle for too long doesn’t get you any further out of your misery. Do something. If you can’t seem to do anything, start like Job did by praising God.

And if you can’t seem to use words to praise God, try action.

Think of it this way: You are miserable anyway.  Might as well get something done while you’re at it! Take action! Here’s why:

  • Actions before feelings – Our culture screams for you to give in to feelings.  Don’t!  Move your body and use your mind as if you were hopeful and joyful, and your heart will resonate with those actions and feel joy again!
  • It honors your Maker – It screams to the enemy, I will not let my loss render me useless, and draws you closer to God and His purpose!
  • Results – You grieve whether you remain idle or start cleaning, but a week later, your house is uncluttered. Accomplishing a task puts a lift in your step.

Abba Father,

Give my sister that small nudge to step out of her fur-lined pity-party. Help her at least get up and begin tidying the world around her as a way of acknowledging You are there and she loves You and knows You love her. Embrace her as she takes small steps and please grow that security in her heart. Thank You, Jesus. 


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

The Upward Kick

Just One Step

Stepping Outside the Boat

What I Want or What Is Best?

Valentine’s Day.

Along with our anniversary, this is one of those days on the calendar that we widows dread. Can we just skip this day? Pretend it doesn’t exist?

One Valentine memory I have is when my husband, who rarely brought me flowers, had flowers delivered by some internet big-name company. They came nearly dead!  He had his secretary call and complain, so they sent another batch right away. It almost seemed like the company was verifying his true feelings about how impractical flowers can be!

During this time of year, I find myself running off in my mind to a place where I was happily married and feeling the love of my husband so deeply. My mind wanders off to places that didn’t even exist! I begin to imagine myself on the cover of a romance novel, wrapped in the arms of some half-dressed sweaty hunk! But I’m probably the only one who imagines this…

And with all the talk of “love” this time of year, I also find myself wishing for another chance at marriage. Let’s face it, I have a lot of years left on this earth hopefully.

I was listening to a sermon recently as my eyes moved across the page to a passage from 1 Samuel. The Israelites wanted a king. Badly. They begged God for a king so they could be like the other nations.

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20 ESV

Then it hit me – I sound just like them! Give me a husband, God, so I can fit in with the married folks again.  I want to feel loved again. My kids should experience a father in the house. He can fix all the repairs that keep coming up. Give me a husband…

I sound like a three-year-old, throwing a tantrum. I want a husband, God! I want him now!

Why did God say to the Israelites that they shouldn’t keep asking for a king?

  • They were rejecting God as their leader
  • Their children would serve the new king
  • Their money would not be their own – taxes!
  • They would serve the king

So Samuel shared with the people what God warned them would happen if they got a king like the other nations. The people shouted louder – We want a king! God then told Samuel to give them what they wanted. Even though it wasn’t the best for them.

Sisters, I never want God to say that to me. I want what is best. It might be marriage or it might be to remain single. I want to let God be God, saying, “Your will be done”, and be full of joy on the path He leads me on.

This Valentine’s Day, try to block out the fake images of love, and focus on the undying love God has for us. Let’s not forget His promises in our quest to be like others. I find encouragement in what God said to the Israelites in Isaiah 54:4-5 (living Bible)

…the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, 

for your Creator will be your husband.

And another encouragement from Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Friend, you ARE loved. You ARE cherished. You ARE beautiful. You ARE special.

This is a wonderful song that will remind you of the love of God today. And another to remind us God’s love will never let us go. 

 

Father God, keep me focused on the path I am on and not always wishing for another route. Remind of the joy and pleasure of being in Your presence. Amen


 

 

Elizabeth DyerElizabeth Dyer, Elizabeth Kay Dyer, A Widow's Might, aNew Season 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. 

We have more articles on Valentine’s Day. You can read them here. Happy Valentine’s Day by Nancy Ultimate Valentine by Erika  It’s All Good by Sherry

 

Unpacking the Memories

“What is it like, Sherry?”

Have you been asked this question about your widowhood? I am at the point on this road that people feel more comfortable asking me.

What is it like to lose your husband, friend, soulmate?  I have given a lot of thought to this, and the best description I can give that others can understand follows:

Think about when you plan and take the vacation of a lifetime — sometimes it turns out better than you expected.  You plan for it, save money, buy tickets, purchase special clothing, pack.

When you arrive at your destination, you begin to experience wonderful things.  You take pictures, drinking in the experience.  No matter how long your vacation is, you have to return home eventually.  You pull out your suitcase to start packing the clothes and souvenirs you know you won’t need for the rest of the trip.  Finally  you pack everything away for the trip home.

There you unpack once more.  As you pull out the clothes, some go in a pile for laundry and others go straight into your closet, unworn.  You find a place for your souvenirs.  Your pictures are printed. Seeing the photos allows wonderful memories to flood through you.  This unpacking brings both good and not-so-good memories and feelings with it.  You often long to return to your vacation, but must stay in your day-to-day world, perhaps saving money for your next vacation.

Grieving the loss of my husband has been like what I described above.  We had a wonderful life – full of memories.  With his death, I had to start packing away parts of that life.  It’s a slow process, because I have kept my “suitcase” on the floor of my bedroom, unlatched– I couldn’t bear to finish unpacking.  Once you totally unpack, the vacation is really over.  I still go to the “suitcase” to take out the souvenirs, handling them carefully, letting them flood my heart with memories.  Wonderful memories.

Each time I unpack and pack this virtual “suitcase”, the sharp pain of my loss lessens.  It doesn’t hurt as much each time I ponder our life together.  There are memories that I would say should go in the laundry pile – hospital visions, bandages, tears.  Then there are the memories that remind me of the breath-taking life we had – his smile, our laughter, shared meals, snuggling.  My heart has a tug of pain when I think of these things, but then it swells with happiness at having been the recipient of such a wonderful love, even if it ended too soon.

As I prepare to commemorate the sixth year since his death, I look back on our wonderful life and do not feel the sharp pain I once felt.  I thank God that He allowed me such a sweet time with my husband and that my memories of that time are still fresh.  I ponder them in my heart, like Mary, the mother of Jesus.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 KJV

I encourage you to go to your “suitcase” and allow yourself to experience the wonderful memories of a life well-lived.  Ponder these memories in your heart, and let the pain be replaced by the sweetness of a wonderful time remembered.

Dear Lord, Thank You for the gift of love and for the wonderful memories we hold in our hearts of time spent with loved ones. Amen


 

Sherry 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 active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 20 years old and is in her second year of 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 

A great article about healing is here by Linda.

 

Draw Closer

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

                                                                                                                John 16:7 ESV

I AM SICK OF DEATH!

Raw, heartfelt words exchanged with one of my closest friends this week as we tried to deal with the loss of one of our young friends. Our friend entered the gates of heaven after a tragic car accident while traveling home from a holiday visit with family. Our hearts are broken once again as we dwell on thoughts of the devastation and loss her husband and two young kids are experiencing. Once again, it just feels like too much. Way too much!

When I am struggling, I sometimes think about the disciples and their journey. This week as I struggled to deal with yet another death, I found myself almost envious of their time with Jesus. The disciples had the opportunity to walk with Jesus in the flesh, face-to face, every day. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could see Him in the flesh? To have a tangible, visual reminder He is with us? Would it change things for me?

If Jesus were here in the flesh, I don’t think I would sit in front of Him and tell him I feel so alone, it would seem silly if He was sitting right there. I don’t think I would do many of the things I do. Can you imagine binge watching the latest reality show with our Lord and Savior sitting in the room?  My guess is I would scurry around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to serve Him until eventually the light bulb would come on and I would remember the story of Martha and Mary. Then hopefully, I’d finally sit at his feet and totally immerse myself in His presence. I wouldn’t want any distractions. Ahhh, if only He were here in the flesh…

It is sad how off track we can get in our thinking. Why would I ever want Jesus in the flesh when what I have is SO MUCH MORE! JESUS LIVES IN ME! I never, ever have to do this alone! One of the most powerful lessons we can learn from the disciples is we can never be faithful enough or close enough to God on our own – even if Jesus were physically standing right in front of us as He was with the disciples. God’s plan is bigger and so much more. His plan was to send the Helper -the Holy Spirit.

To dwell in us.

                                So we could draw closer.

                                                                                                To Him.

I hate death, but at the same time I recognize it is a powerful time to see God at work.  In the midst of the devastation, we tend to falter, show our weakness, and the Helper becomes more visible. If we know Him, we recognize it is He who helps us draw closer. Maybe not in the way we would have thought or in the time-frame we wished it had happened, but He is there. Always. Helping. Drawing us closer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Father, we praise You for who You are. You are the creator of the Heavens and the Earth and You are our Creator. Father, we thank You for loving us and giving us Eternal Life with You. We thank You for the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. We thank You for helping us to draw closer. In Your Son’s precious and holy name. 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? Extravagant Love

Want to read other  articles about drawing close to God? I Choose You, Lord by Teri Cox

 


 

Rejection- Take Mom’s Advice

 

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Matthew 5:44 ESV

One of my children got a birthday card in the mail.

Why did that bother me so much? I mulled over the nagging pain in my heart until I decided what it was–REJECTION.

I never get a card from a particular relative on my birthday. All of my kids get cards, and I am skipped.

So that was it. Rejection. I had named it.

Now I could deal with it. I started with what “mother said”–one of her sayings I hated while growing up, mostly because she was right.

My mother often said, “It isn’t the action; it’s the reaction.” In other words, I can’t control what someone else does – only what I do or don’t do. That is completely up to me.

Mother’s words still play in my head today. I even say them to my own children when they fuss with each other.

On this day, I dug deeper into this newly uncovered emotion of rejection.

Verses came fast and furious to my mind.

Isaiah 53:3 ESV He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

So Jesus knew rejection. Okay, got it. He understands. So what?

Matthew 5:44 ESV But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Well, it isn’t persecution like prison camp but I think the principle to pray for them might still apply.

2 Corinthians 1:5-6   1 Peter 2 :4-5 

Philippians 2:5 NIV   In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Romans 8:17 NIV …we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

So what do I do with this rejection I feel from family members? I have decided to accept it as sharing in the suffering of Christ. This rejection is allowing me to share more in His glory. It draws me closer to Christ as I am reminded of what He endured for me.

He was rejected by His closest disciples in His most desperate time of need.

His brothers turned their backs until after the resurrection, when James became an integral part of the early church.

Since my husband passed away, some family members have not been involved with me and the kids to the extent that I hoped. (It’s those “great expectations” that get me into trouble every time.) And I miss it. I want to be over and done with these feelings of rejection. Honestly, it allows people to have control over me that I don’t appreciate their having. It is like they have a chain around my heart and can tug it whenever. I am breaking that chain today. I declare myself “chain free”!

Do you need to break the chains binding you to a feeling that someone’s words or actions have over you?

  • Dig into Scripture
  • How did Christ deal with the feeling?
  • How should I deal with it?

Often others don’t even intend on inflicting hurt on you. They are dealing with their own grief in a way that may not be healthy, or they may need help you can’t give. But you can PRAY.

Father in Heaven, thank You for knowing the emotions we deal with. Your Son felt rejection from those closest to Him. Help me break the emotional chains trapping me today from other people’s actions that I cannot control. I lay those at Your feet. 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 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.”

 

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. 

Another article about loving and forgiving our inlaws by Kit.

Here’s a great one by Leah about hurting people who hurt people.