And Then There Was One

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

                         Proverbs 13:12   ESV

And then there was one.

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

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

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

And yet.

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

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

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

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

And yet.

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

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

Hope deferred. Hope renewed. Longings fulfilled.

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


Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about hope, Katie and Kit .

I Cry Out

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LordAt an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.  Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Psalm 69:13-16 ESV

 

“I cry out!”

How often I have said or written those words in my journals since my husband’s death. Yet, there are times when I still feel alone and unimportant.

Grief is like being attacked by a bear.  You may simply be trying to make it back to civilization, but out of the thicket you are ambushed, mauled. You never know when it will attack, how hungry it is, how long it will stay, what made it rear its ugly head to begin with, how fierce the fight will be, or how wounded and bloodied you will be when the ambush stops.

SCREAMS GO UP

THE PAIN IS INDESCRIBABLE 

WOUNDS ARE DEEP AND WIDE

Then…….there is silence and it’s finally over.

The silence is so loud it’s deafening and you feel alone, perhaps afraid, or unloved. Did anyone hear your cries? Does anyone care? Will these attacks ever stop? Am I forgotten? Is he forgotten?

Those are difficult questions. The truth is, we don’t want people to forget our loved ones. We don’t want his death to be in vain. We want to protect and honor his legacy. But, no other person on the planet will grieve his loss like we do. Our grief is unique, because our relationship was unique. Yet others do grieve, and we must afford them grace when their grief looks and sounds different from ours, just as we ask them for grace during our journey and just as God grants His grace to us. Even if we feel alone or forgotten, when we cry out, we are always heard.

It is a promise of God. Psalm 50:15 NASB says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” I know what you may be thinking, “I did that and God did not answer. He did not save my husband.” No matter what we feel, the truth is God did rescue us. He may not have answered our prayers the way we wanted, but He did rescue us, because He still has a purpose and a plan for us. Our time here is not complete.

I often have to remind myself that my “I think, I feel, and I want” will try to get in the way of my I AM! I have to live out of the truth of my spirit and not my flesh. Grieving minds, emotions, and desires are not dependable, but God is. I must KNOW that when I cry out, I am heard. The Lord is with me and He will carry me through. His steadfast love is good.

Lord, Here our cries, dry our tears, heal our hearts and help us be all You created us to be. In Jesus name, Amen.


 

Tcas1

Dr. Teri Cox is an international education consultant, speaker and author. Teri is the Production Director for A Widow’s Might. She joined the team in October of 2012 after losing her best friend, Daryl, in March of 2012. She looks forward to a life of music, missions, and ministry with God in control. Teri counts it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to share the Gospel message through word and song. Her desire is to make God’s name more famous and allow His mosaic of her life to become a more beautiful picture than she could ever have imagined.

Would you like to schedule Teri or another team member to speak at your next church event? Contact her at admin@anewseason.net

Other great articles by Teri, click here!

Posts similar to this one by other authors:Alone but not lonely & God is Faithful

 

 

BLT and a Cup of Soup

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

1 Peter 5:10  ESV

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

Sigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


bonnieBonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about fighting episodes of despair from Linda and Sheryl

Something More

We are blessed to introduce our newest ministry team member, Janene Gaynor.

Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her three children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends.  Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.

Janene @ Myrtle Beach

Please join us today as Janene shares how God has added something more to her life.


 

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you  is a separate and necessary part of it.”

1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT

It is a marvel how God unites two to become one in marriage. Oddly enough, I recognize and appreciate this mystery even more now that I am widowed.  In marriage each partner mutually commits strengths and abilities to benefit their shared life. With my beloved’s life amputated from my own, I felt incomplete. We had learned each other’s strengths and leaned into them as partners.  Over the years, oneness was a state of being, and once he was absent, I wondered how I was to take on as one person what had taken two?

Like many widows, I felt thrust into making important decisions when my brain was fuzzy and my heart was broken. I felt caught up short in all ways, except for the immense security I had in the love of Christ—His unchanging, all-knowing, consistent and extraordinary love.  I invited Him into all my struggles. He has walked with me since that life-altering day when Frank went to the joy of unbroken fellowship with His Lord and mine.

Since then I have made scores of difficult choices and adjustments, but I still miss my husband and the quietness of my home accentuates its emptiness.  Retired, days can lapse without a verbal conversation and the feeling of isolation encroach.

In the absence of daily verbal conversations, I recognized the legitimate need for healthy human interaction. Have you ever just wanted a hug? It turns out there is a good reason for that physiologically. Hugging increases a natural hormone which can offset the stress hormone, Cortisol. The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory lists the death of a spouse as number one, so when we are hugged, the love expressed is the best part but there is stress relief as well.

Although widowed, we remain part of a larger union–the body of Christ.  The body builds itself up in love and takes God’s love to the world, our collective neighbors. Both activities represent vital human connections. For some it may mean participating in a book club, a quilting or crafting group, a bible study, or volunteering at a hospital or elsewhere.

God’s answer to my prayer has evolved over time but includes hosting groups in my home, mini-retreats, quilting bees, volunteering at a veteran’s resource center, serving as a Stephen Ministry leader and most recently, joining this team, A Widow’s Might.

In this way I reject the isolation. Too much “me” time is unhealthy for me. I can think myself into a pit in a gnat’s blink.  I recharge alone but to “love one another,” I must be in community–to spend time in good company.  This, too, is a way to take ownership of my grief.

I didn’t choose to be a widow but I can choose how I’m going to live as one.

For awhile it was survival or subsistence living but God’s love, fueled by His empowering grace, led me on. Christ made possible the will and the means to embrace life with His purpose and to honor His love in my heart.  He did it. I had to take the steps.

My encouragement to you, when you are ready, is to pray and seek trusted counsel on how best to honor the need to connect with others.  Your contribution is still needed in this troubled world, and you are God’s gal for meeting needs and touching lives in very specific and special ways. God knows what that “something more,” is for you.

Lord, refresh our lives through Your love.  There are places You have reached in our hearts that only devastating pain can access and it makes us so attuned to those who suffer. Show us where to give and where to receive, how to be fruitful and how to accept, or even ask, for help.  You are a good God, faithful and true.  Guide us in community and be more than our partner, our friend, but our Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen


Are you looking for a member of our team to speak at your church or next event? Contact us at admin@anewseason.net to tell us what you are looking for and how we could help you.

Would you like to read more about helping others during your grief?

Liz Anne wrote about starting your own group in your town here. It is called Anatomy of a Widow’s Group I and II

Another article about helping others is this one by Elizabeth called Turn Back and Strengthen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost At Sea – Focus on Christ

And He[Jesus] said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:29-31 NASB

It’s that time again.  Time for our annual family vacation.  I need it!  I need a break…and I love the beach and seven whole days away from my everyday life…  This particular vacation is with my husband’s side of the family.  It is time spent with his sisters and brothers in law, nieces and nephews, mom and stepdad.  Time spent in the same town that we, for many years, traveled to with these same people.

To say my heart and mind are flooded with memories of times past doesn’t even begin to describe it.

As I packed the car with our stuff for the week, I am reminded of me and Bill packing the car countless times. He would lovingly harass me about not packing the kitchen sink.  As we cross the bridge to our island home for the coming week, I am reminded of the years that he sat on our jet ski, by the bridge, and waved to me as we crossed. I would catch glimpses of his strong back, as he turned the jet ski toward our vacation home and I took the road to meet him there.  I am reminded of our times together, side-by-side making dinner on our night to host the family.  So many happy memories!

I’m also reminded of the last year we came together…when he was sick…the week he spent at the hospital.  I slept at the hospital too, as near to him as I could be.  I’m reminded of the year after his death…the year I slept alone in a big bed meant for two, but only filled by one.  Those memories are painful!

It is now my sixth summer alone and, while I have many happy new memories, these old memories keep swirling through my head.  They are so strong.

Today, as I body surfed with my family, I thought about how life is so much like the waves that crashed around me.  God is in control and as each wave comes and I decide whether to jump over it or into it, sometimes the wave (or life) crashes into my face.  Sometimes, I am sent tumbling through the water up onto the shell-filled beach.  Other times, I handle the wave and I get to see the beautiful blue water and enjoy the moment.  The water can be refreshing at times and, at other times, it can be painful.

Life can be like that.

At times, refreshing and at other times, painful.

With God, no matter what the waves bring into my life, I can handle them through Him.  Focusing on the fact that God is in control, and my life along with everything that happens in it has passed through His loving hands, gives me comfort.  So, when those memories that are sweet come and I miss my husband; I thank God for allowing me the time I had with him.  I thank God for giving me such a great family who have allowed me to stay in their lives even though Bill is not here anymore.  When the memories are painful, I thank God that He found a way for Bill to not have pain anymore.  I thank God that Bill is with Him, and that my reunion with him is planned at some point in the future.

I focused on my Savior each day of this vacation.  Who am I kidding?  I focus on my Savior every day of this journey.  God is good and even when I’m feeling lost; in Him, I am found.

Dear Lord,  Thank You for all my wonderful memories!  Thank You for this life!  I am found in You and I rest in You.  Amen


 

Sherry LookSherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and just completed her freshman year at college.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like:

When There’s Nothing Left by Elizabeth

The Lord is Good!

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

                                                                                                                  Psalm 34:8 ESV

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Sheryl


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

 

We Are Not Alone

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

                                                                                         Revelation 3:20 NIV

 

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

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

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

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

But we are not alone.

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

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

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

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

Our call to action: 

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

We are not alone.


 

SherylPeppletb

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

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

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

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

I Shall Not Want

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… He restoreth my soul… Psalm 23:1, 3 KJV

I was sitting in my Easter Service this year listening to a beautiful message from my pastor.  As he was talking, he referenced Psalm 23.  Immediately, I thought of when my husband died.  Psalm 23 is the “go to” verse for funerals.  Then, my pastor continued to add that in order for us to experience an Easter Sunday, we must first go through a Good Friday.  He reminded us that all of the Bible heroes have this story, so why would we, modern believers, think that our testimony would be different.  It is the tension between our Good Friday and Easter Sunday that draws us to Christ and allows us to lean on Him for restoration and resolution.

As I sat there, I inventoried all the decisions I have made lately.  I thought about how, for the last several years, I have had the terrible tension of wanting and waiting for my Easter Sunday in the area of love relationships.  I have had relief, here and there; but for the most part, I have wanted more than I have received these last several years.

Why is that?  Scripture says if the Lord is my shepherd, “I shall not want”.  I call the Lord my shepherd and I live a life of submission to Him for the most part.  So, why do I wrestle with the tension of “want” in that area of my life?

When my husband passed away, I was so lonely for him.  As time went by, I prayed that the Lord would change my heart so it did not remember being married and then I wouldn’t miss that part of my loss so much.  For the first three years, I did okay.  As I ended my third year of mourning, I realized that my heart was open to share with another.  So, I dipped my toe into the dating pool, the shallow end.  As time passed, I met someone that seemed to be a good match.  We set about trying to build a relationship – a life – together.  After about a year and a half, I realized that this gentleman was not the one and in early December 2015 we parted ways.  I didn’t have sorrow over the loss of this relationship.  I didn’t have want for this relationship to continue.  My heart remained open to share my life with someone.

I am so tired of waiting.  I am tired of seeing the sorrow on my dear friends faces when they hear the news that I’m still single…single again.  I’m tired of the “wanting” and “waiting”.

So, as I sat in church and listened to this message, I was thankful God sent someone to remind me I am experiencing my Good Friday.  I am experiencing the tension of waiting for my Easter Sunday.

God wants this time – the time in between – as His time.  He wants to sharpen me, prune me, love me and sustain me, all for His purpose.

My pastor reminded me that God’s plan may include pain and suffering, but the pain and suffering is not without purpose.

So as I wait for my Easter Sunday, I am in scripture and in prayer and pulling as close to the Savior as I can.  The tension of the waiting is painful at times.  I am reminded God has a purpose for me and I just have to push through this waiting period and then I will be celebrating my restoration, my Easter Sunday.

Dear Lord, It is in the waiting that I call out to you and ask for relief.  It is during these times that I realize I must rely on you.  As I walk through this valley, Lord, please stay with me and join me as I celebrate on the next mountaintop my very own Easter Sunday.  Amen


 

sherrySherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and a college freshman.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like:

Is Your Heart Broken – Tell It To Beat Again by Karen Emberlin.

Dancing Through Tears by Teri Cox

Loneliness, Get Out!

“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26 (ESV)

Loneliness kept me up at night and woke me each morning.

I would get so mad at him. But he was relentless.

He’d poke at my gut and mess with my bedding until I’d roll, and toss and turn myself awake.

I’d tell him get out of my bed!

And he would.

Only to leave me with a cold metal laptop sleeping beside me.

Then I would rub my eyes and recognize the pointlessness of pounding my pillow. I’d pull open that laptop and occupy those wasted hours of no sleep by trying to accomplish some task.

At first I’d think, I’ve done it! Kicked him out for good! I’d hammered out an article for the ministry.  I’d tell myself how grateful I am for modern technology. With just an arm-reach beside me, I could have the right tools to capture my inspiration and put my ideas to work!

But once the article was done, something else awaited me on that laptop: social media–facebook photos of married couples, that friend who hasn’t come around lately, or twitter tweets of people living the life I lived when I had my husband. Loneliness returned to feed on my thoughts, and this time he brought with him yet another poor bedfellow–Anxiety.

I’d cry out to God , “why won’t You take these feelings away?”

He answered by bringing Scripture to my heart.

In the eleventh chapter of Luke (Luke 11:24-26 above), Jesus explains it’s not enough to clean your heart of evil spirits by taking action on your own.  If you rid yourself of bad thoughts and attitudes, but don’t fill your heart with Christ, those thoughts will return and compound themselves with other vices.

By taking the edge off my loneliness with being busy, was I not sweeping my heart clean from Loneliness without guarding my heart from his return?

Taking God at His word, I changed my nighttime habits. I intentionally place all electronics on the other side of the room and leave my sleeping to just that–sleeping.

The only reading material I keep at my bedside now is Scripture.

That way God is there with me whenever I need Him.  When I drift to sleep and when I wake.

On the first morning after making this change, I awoke again before the sun came up and considered how different it felt without that computer right there to grab.

That lonely feeling was there, but I reached for God, not busyness.  I grabbed the Bible right there on my nightstand and let God’s words cradle me, relax me and lull me back to sleep.

And when the sun rose, I felt energized, wanting to pull back the covers and get started with my day.

The result?  My home is cleaner.  My bills are paid earlier.  My kids get a cooked breakfast more often, and I’m exercising more.

And most of all, I’ve kicked loneliness out of my bed and invited in the true Comforter.

How about you?  How do you awake in the morning?

Precious Father God, for years grief took over my nights and mornings, slowing my progress through the day. But You are good to heal, Lord.  Thank you.  Please lift my sister out of her loneliness and give her Your Holy Spirit and carry her through this day.  Amen.


 

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker, and was one of the original writers of A Widow’s Might in 2008.  After four years with that ministry, she expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she stepped back from the leadership role, 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 Kit or another team member speak, please email us at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author: Kit Hinkle

Would you like to read more about sleeplessness?  Here are some articles you might try:

A Cry in the Night by Linda Lint

Miscellaneous ramblings of a tired mommy by Nancy Howell

Remembrance

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.  

Philippians 1:3  KJV

As I write this article, it has been 1,797 days since my beloved husband went Home.  I was married for 1,749 days to this beautiful man.  He has been in Heaven forty-eight days more than I had the pleasure of being his wife.

When my husband died, there were so many things that reminded me of him that in order to keep my sanity, I felt I needed to put them all together in a very special box. Then I could go to those items when I needed to and not be surprised by them.  So many little items that make up a person’s life. When that person no longer needs them, they have so little value to the world, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away.  For example, his sunglasses and his eyeglasses; his work picture ID badge; his business cards; his deodorant; his driver’s license; his soft leather wallet.  When I open the lid to this very special box, I am transported back to him.  His smell, the little things that made him who he was, his unique print – remembrance of him.

There are other items in that box – letters from the nursing staff at Duke (where he passed away) expressing condolence, the bulletin from his promotion ceremony (funeral), sympathy cards. These items remind me that this really did happen. I had the most beautiful life and God asked me to take a knee for Him. I probably won’t know why on this side of Heaven, but these items remind me of those dark days after he left this earth.

I went to this special box so many times in the early days following his departure.  I would fall asleep in the midst of all of the items on my bed, longing for a different ending.  I have also recently learned that my daughter would go into my room when I was not there and open this box and go through the things in it as well.  As the days of the calendar have ticked off, I don’t go to the box as often.

Tonight, I opened the box for the first time in a long time and his beautiful smile wafted through my mind’s eye.  His lovely voice and its cadence when he called my name came to memory.  The glasses, soft wallet, work ID badge all brought to mind the many nights he took those items off as he readied for bedtime and they sat watch on his nightstand.

My life has purpose and I mean something to the Savior.  He knows the number of hairs on my head and with His very hands, He molded my heart and created my soul.  He knows how much it hurt me to ask me to let go of my husband’s hand and to walk into a future without him.  He knows as I go through his belongings how much my heart longs for that companionship and love.  He knows that I also know all things work together for good and I am not to lean on my own understanding but to trust in Him.

So, as I remember my husband and honor his life and love of Christ; I am also looking forward to the purpose that God has for me. His plans are good ones.  He loves me and calls me to remember but also to walk forward.  I encourage you to walk with me.

Dear Lord, Thank you for allowing my life to cross with my husband’s life.  I am better for it!  Thank you for allowing me to have wonderful memories of our time together.  Thank you for loving me and for walking with me each step of this journey and for providing beautiful sisters as traveling companions.   Amen


 

Sherry LookSherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and a college freshman.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

Are you finally healing and want to read more on this part of the journey? Turn Back and Strengthen by Elizabeth Dyer.