Will We Choose Misery or Ministry?

No one would willingly choose this widow path we have been assigned to walk. It is a painful, definitive part of our whole journey, no matter what the future holds. In an instant every choice we had about the direction of life with our husband was taken out of our grasp; however, we do still have at least one choice to make about the direction of our life going forward — whether we will respond to our circumstance by living a life of misery or ministry.

As a new widow, the pain is overwhelming. Understandably, we may not envision a time when we will have the ability to help others as we so badly need others to minister to our needs and those of our family members. In the early days it takes every bit of strength and focus just to process what goes on around us from minute to minute, hour to hour, and day to day; but at some point  as the fog clears and healing begins, opportunities to serve people outside of our family will present themselves. At that time, we choose to either remain focused only on self and the misery of our loss or to begin focusing on others and how we can minister to them.

It has been like medicine to my soul to meditate on passages of Scripture that encourage me to focus on something beyond the pain of my own circumstance and to recognize opportunities to practice serving others. One such passage expresses the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

From this we can see at least eight things that can encourage us. We are

  1. to rejoice
  2. to let our reasonableness be known to everyone
  3. not to be anxious about anything
  4. to let our requests be known to God through prayer, with thanksgiving
  5. to know that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
  6. to think on the positive list of things given in this passage
  7. to practice what we learned in this passage
  8. and when we do practice these things, he says the God of peace will be with us.

It is natural and beneficial to grieve at our own pace; but it is detrimental to wallow in grief, both to us and to those around us. Just as with open wounds, we need to apply the medicine that will help us to heal, even though scars will remain. Wounds that remain open can fester, cause infection, and decay. Scars can be a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness to bring healing and purpose to our lives and can be instrumental in helping others to heal as well.

What will we choose? Misery or ministry?

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3: 20-21 (ESV)

Lord, please bring us all to a place of healing from the pain of loss, leaving only the scars that testify to Your mercy and goodness in carrying us through our trials. You have promised us Your peace that surpasses all understanding and You have promised to be with us when we practice what we have learned. Please help us choose ministry over misery so that we can be used to minister to other people for Your glory. 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.

Articles with a similar theme: Breathing In HopeNew Paint

Weary From the Journey

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.

Psalm 6:6 NIV

Do you ever have those days? I’ve been having a string of them. Close together. One after the other. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the journey. Just wiped out.

I had a moment the other day where I asked my Savior why I have to be the one who is strengthened through loss. Why do I have to be the one who glorifies Christ in my grief journey? I don’t want this. I didn’t think it would take this long. I don’t like the valley. I don’t like others seeing me in the valley. I’m tired.

What do I do with that? How do I walk out of that valley?

Well, sweet sisters, this is what the journey looks like. We’ve got sweet sisters ahead of us that are beckoning to us to catch up. We’ve got sisters on the mountaintops that are smiling and looking down at us in the valley saying, “You can do this! You’ve got it!” and pointing to the trail up the mountainside. And there are those that are right beside me. As I look up from my own hands and lap with tears streaming down my face, I see their faces smudged with tears looking back. There are sisters calling to us from behind, asking about the terrain of the path we are all on. All of these Saints put in different places along the journey by the Savior.

Intentional introductions orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe – my personal Savior.

So, as I take a moment from my own groaning and weeping, I see that God loves me – He intentionally loves me in a very intimate, specific way, that only a personal Savior can.

If I look at scripture:
-God writes to me of His great plans (Jeremiah 29:11);
-God reminds me to put my trust in Him (Psalm 7:1a);
-God tells me stories of great men and women who have come before and, by trusting in God, were blessed beyond measure (Abraham, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Moses, Job, Joseph)

I am reminded in scripture that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

I lean on the Lord’s promises. They are throughout scripture. They are true and you can rest in them. The Lord that led His people to the promised land, will lead me to my promised land and there will be joy.

For me, I have to give Him my plans, my fears, my wants, my dreams, my frustrations, all of it. I can’t hold on to anything or I won’t be in a place where my hands are open to receive what God has for me. In me giving up everything, I am empty of me and He fills that emptiness.

And, all of the stuff I’ve been holding onto – fear, doubt, my “it’s not fair” attitude, plans, dreams, wants, condemnation – I no longer have to carry. It all goes into the Father’s Hands for Him to deal with. And His conversation with me in love is, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”“No one, sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 (NIV)

I share all this with you so that you know that no matter where you are on this journey, your personal Savior has intentional introductions for you. He wants to walk this with you and has sent Saints to accompany you along the way. I’ve just finished resting for a moment. I changed my shoes and I’m ready to get up and walk some more. God’s not finished with me yet and He’s not finished with you either. So, get up and walk with me!

Dear Lord, I thank You for letting me rest in You! I thank You for being big enough to take my questions and disappointments and for still holding me close. I thank You for the intentional introductions you have orchestrated along the way. At just the perfect moment, You have provided a wonderful Saint to encourage me, carry me, pray with or for me. I do trust You and I do believe that my best is yet to come in You. Thank You, Lord!


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 active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and has just started 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 

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: What’s in Your Eye? By Teri Cox

Kaleidoscope Vision

Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?

                                                                                Mark 8:17-18 NIV

Harsh words!

Jesus rebuked the disciples because they failed to understand the meaning of His presence with them. They saw things from a human perspective, just what things looked like on the surface. They missed the bigger picture, the kingdom perspective.

How often do we do the same?

A couple of weeks ago I was out doing some last minute Christmas shopping. It was taking longer than expected, due to some road construction. Traffic was backed up for quite a while, but I was patient. The next day I had to do my grocery shopping. I didn’t worry about road construction since it was in a different direction than I had traveled the day before. SURPRISE, now they were working in that direction as well. I maintained my cool, but wondered – who plans to start multiple road construction projects in the same area, right before the holidays?

Finally, I was done with my errands and my Christmas shopping. The next day was Sunday and I planned a nice quiet day at home after church. I headed out at my usual time and yep, you guessed it, I encountered yet another new construction project. As I sat in the backed up traffic, I prided myself on the fact that I wasn’t demonstrating outright road rage at this point, because I HATE getting to church late.

Once again, I found myself pondering how anyone could do such poor planning regarding road construction projects. All I could “see” was the inconvenience to me. As I sat there, I watched the crew repeatedly pouring the hot tar and smoothing it out. Oh and the awful smell of that tar, I couldn’t imagine having to do a job that smelled so awful.

Eventually, my thoughts began to shift and I started to see things from a totally different perspective. It was like I had been looking through a kaleidoscope and the pieces had suddenly shifted into a beautiful new pattern. I began to see that the workers were not an annoyance, but they were servants who were serving. They were serving the community and serving me by performing a job that I couldn’t do, and wouldn’t want to do on my best day.

My heart started to fill with gratitude. I began thanking God for the workers and for providing them to serve. Thanking Him for being sovereign over everything – even the schedule of road construction projects. Thanking Him for living in me and bringing me back to a place of peace and gratitude. I was grateful for being reminded we often get trapped in seeing things from a human perspective, and it is a tremendous blessing when we see, hear, and remember the bigger picture, the kingdom perspective. He not only provides for our immediate needs, He brings us peace and Eternal Life. That is what He wanted His disciples to see then and it is what He wants His followers to see today! I pray that as we enter this holiday season our vision will shift to a kingdom perspective and our hearts will be overflowing with gratitude.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We praise you and worship you! Thank you for You! Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! We thank you for the gift of Your Son that we may have peace and Eternal Life! Help us to see, hear, and remember You. 

In Your Son’s Holy and Precious 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? Where Does My Help Come From?

Want to read other  articles about gratitude? Thankful Hearts &  That Day

A More Grateful Heart

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

                                                                                                                                                                   Romans 1:21 ESV

Is it okay to be angry with God? It is a much-debated topic amongst Christians with no easy answer. Personally, I tend to lean towards one answer, but I can also see the validity in the other response. One thing I do know – staying angry with God can be hazardous to our well-being.

When we stay angry with God, we are in essence saying we don’t like what He did (or didn’t do). We become stuck in believing our way would have been better. Our view of Him has shifted, and we are no longer acknowledging who He really is. We are questioning either His sovereignty or His goodness or His love. We are putting our thoughts, our desires, our understanding above His. Paul warned the church in Romans 1:21 (ESV) that when we fail to worship Him or give thanks, it leads to futile thinking and darkened hearts.

Giving thanks to God can help us release our anger and help us draw closer to Him. Even science confirms the importance of gratitude. In the last decade there have been numerous studies done in the medical community citing proof that gratitude is good for our physical, emotional, and mental health. (Harvard Health Publications/Harvard Medical Health Letter/In Praise of Gratitude, Nov. 2011)

In the early days of my grief when I was consumed by my loss, I sometimes found it difficult to have a grateful heart.  God helped me through that struggle by literally opening a window for my heart to feel gratitude again.

Two weeks after my husband was killed, I returned to work. It was a major effort each day to get out of bed and show up. While I was very fortunate to work at a church at the time, filled with compassionate and loving people, I found it very challenging to see my pain reflected on the faces of hundreds of people every day. Everyone knew what I was going through and there was nowhere for me to hide.

As a coping mechanism, I started rewarding myself for facing another day by going to a local drive thru for a caffeinated beverage. Every morning when the drive thru window opened, I was greeted by a wonderful young woman named Jennifer with the most beautiful smile, full of joy, and thankfully unaware of the pain I was in. Jennifer worked the same schedule I did, Sunday –Thursday. She never missed a day and she never hesitated in giving me a joyful smile. Her smile became a treasured gift given day after day, week after week, for over two years. Her smile reminded my heart of His goodness and His love. It opened my heart back up to acknowledging God and giving thanks for the simple things He provides all along the way, even in the most difficult seasons.

Scripture reminds us repeatedly to be grateful. Not just because He deserves it, but also because it is what is best for us. Are you trying to find ways to have a more grateful heart? Ask God for help and perhaps a close trusted friend who can help point those things out. You can also join us when our readers share things they are grateful for on “Grateful Fridays.”

Dear Heavenly Father, You are our Sovereign Lord who deserves praise and worship. You are a mighty God who loves us always. Lord, create in us a more grateful heart. 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? Where Does My Help Come From?

Want to read other  articles about gratitude? Thankful Hearts &  That Day

Unexplainable Joy

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

1 Peter 1:8

How do I explain unexplainable joy?

It eases my pain.

It gives me strength to walk away every time something tries to take the place of God in my life.

Like when He gave me strength to say no to an insincere suitor. I felt a thousand angels trumpeting their horns as I chose genuine goodness over this man’s looks and prestige.

And when I closed the web browser before spending over my budget on designer clothes. At that moment I felt Him place on me a joyful royal robe. It was a peace more satisfying than any temporary buzz of the world’s acceptance.

Do know you can’t grab that joy yourself? When He decides to give it to you, He readies you for it.

It starts when you turn away from what the world has to offer and turn to Him for what He has to offer. Giving up the guy or the dress humbled my heart, making it ready to receive what the Scripture had to offer–a reminder that everything will be made right.

All of it. He’ll mend every broken heart, deal with every wrong and expose every lie.

Even my own.

Because I’m included in it all. When a friend lets me down, I forgive because He forgave me when I let Him down.

He will fix it all, heal it all, make it all whole. Knowing that brings me joy, and I need do nothing but rest in this unexplainable joy.

That joy didn’t just land in my heart. The Lord had to show it to me, and I had to accept it.

Years ago, even before I lost my husband, there was a time when I suffered a huge set back in life. My first husband was abandoning our marriage just as I was feeling pressure at work due to a corporate merger I had no control over. I felt shocked that my life had been flipped on its head.  Desperation set in as soon as the shock wore off. All I could ask was why me?

Others tried to share their stories of trusting God and feeling joy, but I wouldn’t listen. I thought, who wants to be one of those downtrodden people who had to ask for God’s comfort? I didn’t want comfort!  I wanted my old life back—the security and prestige.

I bumped and jostled through my self pity until it started to occur to me that sitting in self-pity for too long was everything but obedient to God, and wanting everything my way, the way it was before, was not accepting God’s will, and that was sin. Eventually my pride fell way, and I surrendered my self-pity, replacing it with hope. There had to be something better waiting out there than my old life.  With a new anticipation in my heart, I finally said it: “Give me what You have, Jesus—I WANT IT!”

Are you worn down by your loss?  Have you mourned for so long you don’t remember what it felt like to feel joy in your heart?  Can you reach back to that time as a child when you felt joy in your heart?

Do you want that now?

Then throw open your heart to Him.  Humble yourself.  Take what you’ve been using to replace God in your life and give it to Him. Let Him give you unexplainable joy.

Sometimes you feel like everything has been taken away from you. Maybe for you the word “everything” is reality. Maybe when you lost your husband, you also lost financial security, social networks and the leadership you needed for decision-making.

If you’ve lost what feels like everything, make HIM your everything!

In reality, He IS everything.  You can’t escape Him. You can only shrug Him off, and that hurts no one but you.

He wipes your tears. He can even find a way for your bills to be paid. He can bring you that fellowship when you need it.

And you need it. So ask for it.

That unexplainable joy.

Jesus,

If there is a sister out there stuck in her grief and has cried so many tears she doesn’t know how to get herself up, would You give her a peak at Your greatness to a point where she wants more of what she saw and begin demanding that unexplainable joy?  Amen. 


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:

Where’s your “brave”?

Why we Have Hope

Our Hope

Battle Lines

“…thus says the LORD to you,

‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”

2 Chronicles 20:15b 

 

Some days, I have a need to cry out and yet I know people are tired of listening. How many hundreds of times have I asked people to pray for me? How many phone calls have I made saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”? Thousands of two word texts……pray please!

As a writer for this team and a member of a church staff, I pray for others. I war for people on the front lines of loss and grief. People who have no training, no “expertise” or experience with the devastation loss and grief can bring.  People who are being tossed about, like a rag-doll in the middle of a hurricane. I get on bended knee and war in the heavenly realms for them. I lay in the night watches and pray. I get in my quiet prayer closet, along with God, and lift them up. It’s my honor, my privilege, my duty.

There are days though, days when I question, “Lord, is anyone warring for me anymore?” “I’m IN the battle, Lord; is someone covering me? I NEED cover!”

“GOD, ARE YOU LISTENING? I don’t want to do this alone, Lord. I can’t do this alone. I’m tired!”

Moses cried out. Samuel cried out. David cried out. Jesus cried out. I cry out too.  In my spirit, I KNOW He listens. It’s when my mind-I think, my will-I want, and my emotions-I feel, get in the way of my spirit’s ability to listen to the Holy Spirit when things get twisted. When I begin to think about, or worry about things more than I’m praying about them, I’m upside down. 

I’m thankful God is still a God of redemption stories! I am thankful that when I cry out He sends me reminders. He has people text me to say, “I woke up thinking about you today. Praying for you.” Oh, what a sweet text to receive early in the morning. I’m thankful He prompts other prayer warriors to send a message or a word of encouragement at just the right time.

I’m thankful I’m not as broken as I was four years ago. I’m thankful I am growing deep and wide roots into Christ. I’m thankful to have more days now when I war for others, than days when I need to be carried off or through the battle field.

I am thankful God allows me to see those who are wounded around me, find healing though Him. I am thankful for ones who seek me out to war for and with them, even when it’s hard. Why? Because, I have fewer years on this side of Heaven than I have already lived, and I want to live a life of impact. I want to live a life worthy of my calling.

Ephesians 4:1 says, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Widows by nature have to be warriors or give up. We have to be strong and resilient or quit. We become strong or we choose to give up and let death defeat us. I’m thankful I know the real story.

I’m thankful when Jesus cried out, He cried out on the Cross and there He defeated death and while it may feel like death has stolen from us here on Earth, it can never steal Eternity. We are strong, but He is stronger and the war has already been won.

God, give us grateful hearts in the middle of the battle. Please send us reminders,  renew our  strength, and remind us others war with us. Help us to live in victory and remember the battle has been won! In Jesus name, we pray. 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: Applying Peace & Thankful Hearts

Dishonorable Honor

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  

John 3:30 ESV

 

My husband’s death was classified as a non-line of duty death.

And to add insult to injury, it was said to be “dishonorable”.

Suicide tends to be viewed that way!

The words that are used cut deep.

Selfish

Weak

Dishonorable

Coward

Lost

Choice

Those are all words I’ve heard.  Many times over.

They might even have crept into my mind, at times, when this became too hard.  When the pain was so deep.  The missing so vast.  The resent palpable.

It’s easy to go there.  Suicide means the person wanted to die right?  They chose it?

During our two year journey leading up to Scott’s death, we saw numerous doctors and tried many avenues of treatment.  We were relentless in trying to find a “cure”.  Because honestly, that’s what it was going to take.  Scott’s brain was betraying him by becoming diseased and his doctors, the treatment plan, and his work support were failing him.  He wanted a cure as badly as anyone else who gets the bad news that he has a long term, debilitating, life altering, life-threatening illness.

But nothing worked; he just kept getting worse and worse.  As a police officer with a weapon at his side, our very worst fear came true that horrific day.

I’ve had many people in our world make me feel less. Early on I allowed the shame to get the better of me.

I wanted a different story.  I wanted an “honorable” one!

I watched other police officers who died a hero’s death receive such honor and glory.  Their names go on a wall in Washington, they are memorialized, and the brotherhood of police speak highly of them for years to come.  Scott was soon forgotten by many and dismissed by others.  There’s no post each year in the State Police on his end of watch, no overt recognition of Scott’s contributions, service and dedication to the job he loved.

A job he loved SO MUCH,

that he died trying to keep it…

By doing and taking anything asked of him, even when it was making him deteriorate rapidly, harming instead of helping.

These realities stung for a quite awhile for me early on, and gave the enemy a foothold in my life.  It was hard not to resent others and be bitter.  My husband died while trying to get well.  But all anyone outside of this saw was… my husband “chose” to die.

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt suicide is never a choice.  Suicide goes against every natural defense our great God gave us.  The whole fight or flight brain make-up.  Once that instinct is lost, once someone gets so deep into this vastly misunderstood and brutal disease, it’s hard to know what’s what anymore.  Scott often said he felt like his brain was betraying him and he could no longer use the things and parts he knew well, to stop it.

Scott’s end was tragic and horrific.

But,

Of course there is a but…

Now I realize that God gave me this “dishonorable” story for His greater honor.

You see, I now know if Scott died in a different manner he would’ve become more and God would’ve been less in so many ways.  Scott would be the greater focus and not God.  When I was stripped of even my pride in how Scott died, that’s where God met me.  That’s where He said, “Watch Me use this for My greater glory. Watch Me use that man of yours and his horrific story to touch lives for My Kingdom.”

Understanding today more fully how He would use Scott’s story, I realize that if I truly trust God then I can trust His plan for me too. Even if that plan is a death that’s “dishonorable” in the world’s eyes.  Because in Him I find perfect honor.

So, on this the sixth anniversary of Scott’s Heaven day, I say thank You!  Thank You, God, for the dishonorable honor of my story, and for being bigger and more in this story than anything or anyone else. Thank you for making us decrease, so You could increase.

God is more and we are less, for that I am grateful!

Father God, helps us to embrace our story.  Even if it’s not honorable.  Help us to desire for You to be much more and us to be much less.  Help us to humble ourselves before You and submit to Your authority in this tough journey. Help us to remember that You alone deserve the honor and glory.  In Your matchless name, Amen. 


2013-11-09 03.40.34-4Erika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her. 

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

Other articles by this author click here.

Other articles written by our team with a similar theme: Let God & More Vast

 

The Bride and the Widow

 

I love the imagery of the Bride of Christ, the beauty, the grace, the elegance. It brings such a lovely picture to my mind; remembering my wedding day, walking down the aisle to meet my beloved, surrounded by friends and family, feeling absolutely stunning in my handmade white gown.

But what comes to mind with “widow”? Haggard, lonely, old, wrinkled, sad, feeling forgotten in a dark dress…

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul begins a discussion on how we are not under the power of the law any more as believers in Christ- we are under the power of the Spirit. I’ve read this passage many times before, keeping the sections of Scripture separated into very distinct boxes in my mind. Yes, I get it- the widow is not bound to her husband anymore and is free to marry again. But flowing right out of that statement is the next truth-believers are no longer bound to the law but to the Spirit. The imagery he uses is a WIDOW!! You and me! We are as widows an example of believers allowing the Holy Spirit to control. What a different picture than what we usually imagine as a widow.

Here’s the passage:

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:1-6 ESV

Marriage was set up by God as a spiritual symbol of Christ and the Church. Widowhood is a spiritual symbol of the Church and the Holy Spirit. You are a living breathing example to the world of the work of grace. You are the image of being “dead” to the law and being “alive” to the Spirit. That changes my whole outlook! My widowhood is a beautiful picture.

Can you look at your widowhood as a beautiful picture of the Believer filled with the Spirit, not “married” to the law any longer?

Whether we are married or single, we are a spiritual symbol. We are a symbol of being married to Christ or a symbol of our first “marriage” to the law is dead and now “married” to Christ, living by grace and the Spirit.

I guess I never put the two thoughts together before – marriage and widowhood — both spiritual symbols of Christ and us.

Father God, Thank You for this beautiful picture of our widowhood. We are not bound by law any longer because of Your work on the cross and Your resurrection. Thank You for this image of our widowhood as a beautiful symbol. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars! Oh, and 1 hermit crab that continues to hold onto life some how. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was! Widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

Would you like to have a team member speak at your event? Contact us at admin@anewseason.net

Want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here.

Want to read about Christ as your husband now? Click here.  By Kathleen

Want to explore more on your vision and hope for your future? Click here. By Kit

I Choose You, Lord

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 

THE UGLY TRUTH: I HATE BEING ALONE.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be grateful and trust God for healing, while sitting alone.

Thankful is so much more than a word. It’s even more than an attitude, it is a choice. I’m trying to live out loud, with a grateful heart and be more thankful this year. In order to do that, there are some days when I have to choose a grateful heart, choose thankfulness.

Thankful is defined as pleased and relieved.

If we are honest, during widowhood, sometimes it is hard to be pleased or relieved.

It is hard to be pleased and/or relieved; when half of you is missing, when your heart is BROKEN, when your dreams are shattered, when daily life is a burden, when breathing and getting dressed are more effort than they have ever been before.

During those times, pleased and relieved are hard postures to come by and may require more energy or strength than we have.

Pleased is defined as feeling or showing satisfaction with an event or situation.

I’m sure I have never heard a widow say this, of losing her husband. Even the worst spouses in the most dysfunctional marriages are missed. In better or worse, we all miss companionship, identity as a wife, and a million other things.

Relieved is defined as no longer feeling distressed or anxious.

WELL NOW, THAT’S A LIE for all of us on this path. Distressed is how we live for months, at least, and anxiousness goes with the uncertainty of the territory for almost all of us, at some point.

We want to be thankful or become thankful, but it takes a heart willing to say, “Lord, even when I don’t get it, You are good. Even when I don’t like it, You are good. Even when I feel unloved, forgotten or lost, You are good. Even when all else is gone and I am left with nothing, You are still good Lord, and I choose You.”

It takes knowing that we choose to pick God, even when it doesn’t make sense to the world, and others laugh at us. We choose to say, “God You are good and Your mercies endure FOREVER.”  Lord, we choose YOU. Though we may stand alone, “WE PICK YOU, GOD!”

Thankful, is a way of life that keeps Christ at the center. It comes from a grateful heart full of His joy, no matter our circumstances. It takes a heart void of any allusion or lies that God wants less than the best for us. He is for us, not against us. God is good, even when….even if…

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15a 

Father, Rain down new mercies each day and help us to focus on You. We choose You, Lord, the God who sees, the God who loves, the God who carries, the God who knows, the God who supplies our needs, the God who lives. In Jesus name, Amen. 


 

Tcas1Dr. 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 she lost 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.

For booking information, please contact her at admin@anewseason.net or call 501-438-9028

To read more articles by Teri, click here.

Other articles on this topic: Giving Thanks While Grieving  & I Choose…Do You?

Giving Thanks While Grieving

by our dear sister, Angela Key

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

“Part of the process of grieving is being thankful.”

Does that seem like backward logic to you?

When my daughter and I were going through counseling through our church, our counselor shared this idea with us.

​At the time I thought, how can I be thankful again? ​​

How can I truthfully say out loud to Jesus or to others how thankful I am for anything​?

I mean, I am thankful for Kirk because without him I wouldn’t have Emily. I am thankful for my family and friends for seeing me through a very traumatic time in my life. ​ But slowly, as I filled myself with God’s Word, I would find it easier to experience this emotion. One of the Scriptures that we covered in counseling was the verse I quoted above.

​As time went by, I realized this is part of processing grief. A grateful heart opens to new hope and new possibilities.

Just the other day I was amazed at the hope and new possibilities of life while visiting with a widow friend at work. She makes me laugh, cry, and feel great, all at the same time. She has begun dating so I am so excited for her, wishing her the best in her new chapter.

After catching up with one widow friend, I​ ​went ​to lunch ​with another widow. She is just a year into her new journey, but she is on the right path. She is doing an incredible job with her sons. I really enjoy our lunches and sharing our struggles of suddenly being single  She has been a blessing to me. When she came into my life almost a year ago, I was thankful for her.

I encourage you to take some time to find things for which you are grateful. Maybe it’s a special person or a special event that happened to you recently. Maybe you are grateful for your family and friends. Maybe you are grateful for a beautiful sunrise or sunset or both. Once you focus on the positives, the negatives slowly do not matter. Look around and find things to be thankful for.

Another reason to be thankful is for God’s grace and eternal life​ He gave us through His Son, Jesus.  Romans 7:25 says, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  If you cannot find yourself being grateful for anything, just be grateful for our Lord Jesus. Through his life, death, and resurrection we are set free from sin. I thank Him every day, sometimes several times a day, for His sacrifice of His life so I can have eternal life and able to be reunited with Him and with Kirk and my loved​ ones again in Heaven. Without Jesus, I am nothing.  Everything I have, and have had, is all because of Him.  Because He died on that cross, I can live and so can you.

I hope you can find things to be thankful for in the coming days. Open your heart and be grateful for Jesus, be grateful for family and friends, be grateful for opening your eyes this morning.  I know it’s hard to be grateful, but once you start opening your heart, ​ your eyes will open too.

Lord, Thank You​ for sending Your​​ One and only Son to live a perfect sinless life, to die on the cross, and rise again so we can have eternal life through You.  I am so grateful for the special widow friends that You ​have put in my path.  I hate that we have had to meet under these circumstances, but so blessed that You​ put us together to help each other and to carry our burdens together.  I am grateful for every day that You​ wake me up, and thankful I have a beautiful daughter to share this journey with.  In Your Precious name I pray, Amen

 

 

Angela  has been widowed for four and a half years.  Her husband Kirk died suddenly in a workplace accident as a heavy equipment/tractor trailer mechanic.  He was a great husband and an incredible dad to their beautiful daughter Emily.  After his loss, they decided to fully lean into the comfort and healing power of Jesus.  Soon after, she began to write in a journal about their loss.  She hDec 1 103 (1)as always enjoyed writing so she started her own blog called Sisterhood of Widows.  Apart from writing, she loves to read and take care of  two awesome dogs, Makayla and Noodle.  Her daughter Emily is a talented soccer player.  They enjoy spending time together with family and friends at her games.  Angela also works full time as a Certified Professional Coder for five wonderful OB/Gyn doctors.  She also helps out at church talking to new believers and giving them Bibles so they can begin their journey of faith.

 

 

Want to read more articles on thankfulness? The Yet Praise by Liz Anne or Thankful by Teri