aNew Season℠ Writer / Speaker Team
Thank you for inviting us into your home and allowing us to share our hearts as we journey together through new seasons in our lives! Each of these women grab their coffees and their lap tops to share with you their victories and their struggles. Because even the struggles are to be considered joy!
There are all kinds of struggles we overcome in life, one of the most difficult struggles is the loss of a husband. If you too have lost your husband, then join them and see how they do this messy stuff called grief, but with the joy of the Lord in their hearts, leading them towards a joy-filled new season in their life!
Occupation: Director of Small Groups at LifePoint Church, Plano TX
Mom to: Jen & Kristen
Step-Mom to: Ken, Brian, Amy, EmilyServant to: Super Duper Cooper (Yellow Lab)
Writing experience: Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Not even a blog
Delayed hearing…that’s what I like to call it, not disobedience. So as I am driving home and asking God for the umpteenth time in the last few months what I am supposed to do with the fullness in my heart, I have thoughts of writing. But God, my writing experience is nothing, nada, zilch.
But I chose to obey. I want every blessing He has in store for me and for whoever He desires to bless through His story in my life. He has not completed the works He has planned for my life on this earth. I have sobbed, begged and pleaded for my desires. But here I sit and I walk, not by sight, but by faith. The faith He has so graciously given me. It is through His strength I persevere, not my own.
I often think of the start of that famous line that Charles Dickens used in his book the Tale of Two Cities –“it was the best of times and it was the worst of times”. Oh how that describes this journey I have been on. I never knew that a broken heart could result in such physical pain and yet I am so grateful that God has been with me every step of the way. I am so aware of His love, His grace, His forgiveness. He is my rock, my fortress, my strength.
My life has changed drastically from what I envisioned it would be since September 12, 2011 when Jesus came to take my sweet, loving husband Dave home while he was stopped in a construction zone on the highway and was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Every day I am amazed at how God gets me through the day. He gives me the strength to get up, go to work, handle numerous phone calls with attorneys, laugh, and cry. He gets me through those moments where I would give absolutely anything to be in my husband’s arms again, to see his smile, to hear him say “Hello, gorgeous”.
I am blessed, I am called, and I am walking this journey with you…for His glory
three children (13,9, and 9)
Erika is a writer, speaker, runner, beach bum, lover of old movies, fan of all sports, and an exercise enthusiast. Her greatest calling is that of mommy to her daughter, Shelby, and twin boys, Scott and Ben. But, most importantly she‘s a Jesus girl. She lives life to the fullest, residing just a few short blocks from the Jersey coast with her children. She was blessed to be married for almost 13 years to her high school sweetheart and best friend, Scott. On June 16, 2010 Erika became a suicide "survivor" when her husband took his own life. In time God’s healing her and her family. She strives to bring all glory to Him and find the good He is working through all of her circumstances. She’s been called to share what God has done and is doing in her life, with hopes of inspiring many by pointing them to Jesus, the great I AM.
Teri is a doctor of education and has a passion for reaching and teaching youth, educators, women, and broken people. She has been a national education consultant since 1991 and a conference speaker and worship leader since 1989.
Teri is part of the ministry team at Renew Community Church in Arkansas and 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. She is currently writing a book on grief as a way of healing for herself and others who are sharing their stories. Teri’s desire is to make God’s name more famous.
She lost her best friend and husband, in March of 2012 and has since founded an organization in his memory and God’s honor called; Daryl’s Music Markers. DMM seeks to empower kids with hope and a future, through music. To read more about their story and see their work, visit darylsmusicmakers.com.
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 "music room" is full with two flutes, piccolo, piano, alto sax, trombone, bari sax, guitar, and trumpet, all being played (but never all at the same time!) and sometimes even in tune. 2013 began with Elizabeth losing her husband then 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).
Widowed January 11, 2014
Mother to Kolby (teen) and Macie (teen)
Occupation: mom and optometric billing manager
Personal blog: whenevenifevolves.blogspot.com
Facebook Pages: Streller Family Support or Lori Reynolds Streller
My dreams had all come true. I was living the exact life I wanted to have; serving in our church, creating a peaceful haven in our home, enjoying great friendships, running half-marathons, being mom to our two children, and laughing daily… all beside the love of my life and best-friend. Tim and I respected, loved, and enjoyed each other. We weren’t perfect, but life together was pretty awesome.
Although Tim had a history of cancer and had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2009, we were living life to its fullest and refusing to allow cancer to define us, our marriage, or our children’s childhoods. Tim was expected to be able to live with his particular type of leukemia. Death was not on our horizon; or so we thought.
A persistent sore throat in the winter of 2011 turned into the biggest shock of our lives when biopsy results revealed cancer in February of 2012. On that day, we entered a two year medical battle that was horrifying and heart-wrenching. I soon became my husband’s full-time caregiver. What an absolute honor to be able to serve this man who had provided so amazingly well for our family. My husband passed away 2 months shy of our 19th wedding anniversary in January 2014.
My story is one of unshakable faith as God has proven Himself to be everything I need. He has sustained me, provided for me, and comforted me. He promises to never leave me and I believe Him!
Our family’s testimony is based on the lyrics from the Kutless song “Even If”.
Even if the healing didn’t come, God is God; He is good, Forever Faithful One.
My love story with my husband didn‘t end the way I wanted it to. But you know what? God isn’t done as the Author of my life. I long to bring glory to His name; I want to live life well!
Join me on this journey, Even If…..~Lori
Occupation: Management Consultant turned Homeschool Mom and WriterPersonal Blog: www.kithinkle.com
Kit Hinkle has been writing for A Widow’s Might since its inception in 2009, and began leading the ministry in 2012. She founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. in 2013 and led both ministries until 2016 when she passed the baton to Sheryl Pepple. She continues serving in the ministry as an author, speaker, and advisor. Previously, Kit lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys--one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend‘s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season. To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
Kids: Stella, age 5 ½ and Evelyn age 3 ½
Occupation: women’s wellness business owner, aspiring writer, and mother
I am a women’s wellness business owner, aspiring writer, mother of two girls– Stella, age 5 ½ and Evelyn age 3 ½– and, yes, I have joined the ranks of widowhood (and am learning to embrace it more and more). The most defining moment of my life was when I become the widow of my very best friend and the most uniquely loving man I was ever so blessed to know. Our life together began as a simple teenage love story. We grew apart and then back together after he had become a career firefighter/paramedic and I completed graduate school. We married and over ten years we built a home, a life, I a women’s wellness business and we were blessed beyond measure with two beautiful girls who we fell into instant adoring love with. All the while, God’s grace and mighty Hand sowed a seed of faith in our relationship which took root and helped us bloom into something strong enough to endure Kevin’s 10 month blessed, life defining, painful and shattering battle with pancreatic cancer. Those months are engraved in my memory as God’s greatest witness to me in just how perfect His plan is despite my own devastation in its end. Just 3 months shy of his 33rd birthday on March 11, 2011, Kevin was welcomed into heaven where, in his own words from his hospice bed, he was going to, ‘meet his Maker and have his feast!’ I was alone with him when he took his last breaths and I nearly hit my knees in love, awe and relief that he would feel no more pain. It wasn’t too long after that when I realized that my journey of loss would include not only utter despair but great gratitude and blessings. My girls and I are still learning our way around this loss. But with each passing day, I am humbled by God’s grace and love for His children.
The comfortable life I was enjoying took a radical turn in the spring of 2009 when the “C word” was introduced into our family. Cancer. My healthy husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and life as we knew it would never be the same. I was able to live the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” as I walked along side this fight for his life. Never did we waiver that God would reach down and heal my husband. However, after a twenty month battle, God called my love home in the wee hours of an October morning in 2010. I was devastated and could not imagine how I would be able to move forward without the love of my life by my side.
The answer was simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried me when I was at my lowest. And I carried Him in my heart even when I 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)
After attending a Widow’s Might retreat and conference, I felt God leading me into ministering to others who were walking this same path. Never seeing myself as a writer, I am honored to be included among this fabulous group of ladies. It is my prayer that each of my post be a blessing to others and that God is glorified.
I love reading, baking and long walks along the Florida coastline. A good portion of my time is spent flying around the country as a flight attendant for over thirty years. My husband and I were blessed to have shared twenty six years of marriage. As I watch our daughters grow up, I enjoy seeing his traits and teaching evolve in their character. He is greatly missed by his three girls. But, he would be so proud to know we continue to fight the good fight and living out loud for our Savior.
Sherry is a mother, daughter, sister and friend. She loves reading, enjoys writing, spending time with friends, playing the piano, and watching TV. Her most fulfilling role has been that of mother to her teenaged daughter, Cristina. She had the honor of walking her husband, Bill, Home on February 14, 2011. Sherry was born, raised and continues to live in the Northern Virginia region. She is active in her local church and volunteers in many ministries. She is employed full-time by a national professional community association management company. Her Bible life chapter is Psalm 34. Sherry leans heavily on the promises God gives us in scripture and knows He has great plans for her and is excited to see the daily plan for her life in Him unfold.
Jill ByardaNew Season
I’m a southern girl through and through, so Illinois winters still threaten to undo me. I love books, gelato, and new experiences. I’m a former Kindergarten teacher, turned writer, counselor retreat speaker, and I’m becoming a developmental therapist. !
What in the world is that? Well, I’ll be working in early intervention with children birth through three that have delays or disabilities. I’m also highly involved at my church, especially with our ladies and families.!
But I’d say the most important thing to know about me is to know my Savior, Jesus. I‘m re- deemed, justified, made alive because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. but He didn’t stay dead. He rose again! He ever lives and pleads for me. He chose me and calls me His own. I want to be a true disciple.!
Jon, my husband and wonderful true love, died unexpectedly in January 2013. He adored me, but he adored Jesus and the gospel more. My whole world turned upside down. I began writing primarily to help process the roller coaster of grief. The ramblings were my honest, raw, thoughts as a 30 year old, childless widow. I felt strongly that I needed to let others see my jour- ney, and let God use it to break down stereotypes of Christian grief. !
Now I write to encourage and equip with the comfort I’ve been given. Now I write to proclaim the gospel and its application to the messiness of daily life. I want to live with open hands before God. His life. His glory.!
Of this I can be sure, "I have engraved you on the palms of my Hand..." Isaiah 49:16 !
The God who rescued me, bought me, made me righteous, this God has not forgotten me. And Him will I serve, always.
When I received the request to write a guest post for A Widow’s Might I read and re-read and read it once again. Then I promptly closed the email and said to myself “I can’t do that!”. But we know God had other plans!
As I say in my blog profile, I have held many titles throughout my life, daughter, sister, wife, mother and now widow. That is the title I received on that day in May 2011. As I have told many people I was prepared for my beloved to pass, for it was not sudden. However, I was not at all prepared for life after he passed. We were married for 24 years and he was my constant companion. Embarking into a life without him was strange and painful. However, I took comfort in knowing he was in a place of infinite joy, free of pain and that wheelchair to which he had been confined for seven months.
In the months that followed I discovered that writing in my journal was helping me heal. And, at the suggestion of a very wise friend I started a blog called Sparrow Scrolls. I was a sparrow under the care of a loving God who only wanted the best for me and who held me closely every day, meeting my needs, collecting my tears and binding my wounds.
I have taken great comfort in these last months in the Psalms and in Ecclesiastes 3 – there is a time for everything – a season for it all. Yes, it is a difficult season – most definitely the most difficult season I have ever lived through. But therein lies that key word “through”. Grief must be gone “through”. I am traveling through with God at my side holding me by His strong right hand. And that gives me peace.
Liz Anne Wright
Liz Anne Wright is a homeschooling mom of four boys who enjoys meeting new people, walking, and reading. Since losing her husband in November of 2007, she has felt led to reach out to the grieving. With the help of friends, she started a local widows’ ministry, Travelers on a Different Journey, to connect widows in her local area. She also renewed her childhood passion for writing and began her own blog, www.dailyjoyinthejourney.com, and is writing a book about her widow experience. In all that she has been able to accomplish since the death of her husband, she gives full credit to her Lord and Savior. She is very thankful that, while she is very ordinary, the God she serves is extraordinary. Because of that, she is able to rebuild after her loss. She is not just surviving, but thriving! To Him be the glory!
Went home to her beloved Savior September 2015 Widowed 2012
Kids: Andrea (adult) Kurt (adult) 4 Grandkids (3 school aged – 1 teen)
Occupation: Retired – Former “partner” with my husband in Website Design and Marketing
My “change of plans” began at 8:00 am January 2, 2012. My husband and I had just spent “quality” time together during the Holidays and also had celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary on December 29th. We woke at 1:00 am and talked a little and all seemed very normal. By 8:00 am when I awoke again, he wasn’t awake. I tapped his leg and asked him to move over but got no response. I tried again and then began calling his name. Panic was beginning to set in as I knew something had to be wrong! I finally took hold of his hand to shake it and knew he was gone!! What a shock as we had no idea that there was anything wrong. I can still remember standing there in disbelief and wondering “what will I do now”???? I was sure I could not survive on my own! Because of some health issues that I have, I do not drive any longer and depended totally on my husband. There was no way for me to stay alone or continue our business by myself and we were not prepared for anything like this. There certainly did not seem to be much hope for my future.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (from the Living Bible)
Even though this “hole in my heart” doesn’t seem to go away, I know it will get better and I am thankful that the Lord has been with me each step of the way. He does give me a reason to believe that there is hope and a future – just different than what I had planned!
Nancy was born and reared in Kentucky, where she learned the finer arts of both Southern living and small town grace. Married at the ripe old age of 25, she moved first to Maryland, then to Texas in 1990.
She’s now a Dallas Cowboys fan, owns a couple of pairs of boots, and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.
Mom to A.J. (Andrew) and Benjamin, she became a single mother at age 48, sailing into uncharted territory whenever her husband-best friend-boys’ daddy died suddenly in July 2011. Her world forever changed that day. Good thing God doesn’t mind carrying us during the long dark days of grief.
In the midst of the turmoil and unimagined journey in which she found herself, Nancy reached out to the local newspaper, asking to continue the outdoor column her late husband had been writing. They surprisingly agreed—and she’s been writing weekly for the Wichita Falls Time Record News since September of 2011. She jokingly calls it “The Adventures of an Unexpected Outdoor Woman.”
Writing, it seems, is her passion. She finally found her true calling. At the age of 48.
Go figure. God most definitely has a sense of humor.
Widowhood isn’t for wimps. Neither is raising two sons without a dad.
But God’s grace is sufficient. He meets you wherever you are. He is more than able to create beauty from ashes
Today, her boys are thriving. Her family of three is moving forward. She’s put aside the widow tag, choosing instead to be known as a single mom.
Her most important labels, however, will always be Jesus girl and mom to A.J. and Ben.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days, when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
I admit it. I was one of those. You know the type? I was one of those people that pictured a widow as being grey-haired, elderly – basically my grandmother. Never in my wildest dreams (or rather nightmares) did I think of myself – at the age of 39 – as a widow. And yet…that’s where I landed.Chris was absolutely the love of my life! He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me! His crystal blue eyes were always so tender and joy-filled, and his laughter…that precious laughter…always made me giggle!So, what in the world cause him to take his own life? Yes. You read that right. My husband committed the “S” word. Suicide. I’m now what they officially dub, a “Survivor of Suicide”.I’ll never fully know the answer to that question this side of Heaven. And…believe me…I’ve tried to find out. But, I do know that he loved me and he even reminded me of that in one of his last notes to me, “Never, ever doubt my love for you.”Chris was a believer. He loved the Lord deeply. I know we will one day be reunited again. Until that time, I have to finish out the days the Lord has given me on this earth.And now…my highest calling is as a remarried wife to my prince and mom/step-mom to five beautiful children/young adults! What a privilege and bountiful blessing!God continues to reach out to me…He continues to rescue me…and He continues to restore me! My prayer is that I simply steward well the story He’s given me.Psalm 18:16 (NLT) ~ He reached down from Heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.
Widowed: August 2010 Children: Austin 12, Jacob 10, Emma 5 Occupation: Artist and Mother
Rene is an artist and passionate Jesus follower. As a single parent to three children, business owner, ministry leader, and writer, life certainly is never dull which is just how she likes it. God has really challenged and grown her as she walks this road of widowhood and she is honored to be able to share what she has learned along the way with others. She tells those she meets that this isn‘t her story but God’s and she will share it in whatever way He directs. He has put in her a deep desire to help others understand just how much they are loved by God and to find their confidence in Him alone. By sharing her love of art with others and bringing out their creative spirit, she hopes they will connect with God the Creator on a whole new level. God is not done with her yet and Rene is looking forward to seeing what new adventures God has in store for her and the children.
Hi there. My name is Danita Hiles and I am a widow. Ugh. Even now, years after the fact I still dislike that word. But the facts remain, and on tax returns and school forms and summer camp applications, that is the box I check. Seven years ago, I was cheerfully checking the ‘box’ marked ‘married’. Then, an early morning phone call left me sitting in an emergency room hearing the impossible words — “we’re sorry, Mrs. Hiles, we did everything we could, but your husband is gone.” My funny, handsome, Navy husband was gone. And with those words, my dreams for our daughters’ future and my hopes for our marriage disappeared. Augggghhhhh!
Where do you turn when your world is destroyed and you just want to scream? The only one I could turn to was Jesus. And He met me. Through the tears and questions and screams and silence, He has held me tight. Now, six years later, I still don’t have an answer to a lot of life’s why’s, but I do know He has been faithful. I live in Tampa, Florida with my two gorgeous girls and look for opportunities to share the amazing way He has brought us through the valley of the shadow. Sometimes the sharing involves a women’s group or Bible study. More often, it is a chance encounter at the grocery store or a conversation during car loop. Usually, both laughter and tears are involved! We all have a story. And I believe part of our story is in using what we have been through to help encourage someone else. After Dave’s death, I wanted so badly to talk to someone who ‘got it’, someone who had walked the lonely path that loomed endlessly before me. I pray this site will be a place to connect, a place where we can laugh and cry together, a safe place to ask questions and get answers.
Psalm 16:5-7 This is my portion and my cup, He will make the boundaries fall for me in pleasant places. I will choose to put the Lord before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’
“There is a time for everything...”(Ecclesiastes 3:1).
The wisdom of King Solomon’s words rang true as my husband Brad and I left Florida to move to Virginia where my husband had accepted a full time Worship Minister position in Virginia Beach. We both were excited about what God was doing in our lives and we anxiously awaited to see what God had in store for us. We were ready for anything ...or so we thought.
Six short months later we learned that Brad had stage 4 lymphoma. Over the next five years of Brad’s life, we experienced God’s love and faithfulness in many amazing ways. We leaned on His strength and held onto His promises. God’s love even broke through my heartfelt pleas and prayers for Him to “see things” as I did.
It’s been nearly 5 years since Brad died and I miss him to this very day! I’ve learned over time that it’s “ok” to still love my husband...but I can’t follow God’s plans for my life if I don’t let go of the future plans I made that included Brad in them.
Life is full of tough stuff! If I could avoid each trial and heartache this life brings and still grow in faith, trust and love for Jesus...I would sign up to do it that way! However, the Lord has taught me through my most devastating circumstances, His love for me is greater than my greatest sorrow.
The wisdom of King Solomon still rings true in my heart today...“There’s a time for everything...” I had no idea while journaling and writing updates on how Brad and I were doing, that it would lead me to writing an inspirational short story and a devotional blog. Or that my being a widow would open up opportunities for me to speak about the hope we can have in all circumstances because of God’s great love for us. For His glory alone!
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” .~ Romans 5:5
Sarah is an author, speaker and a lover of life. She longs to inspire others to live life as an overcomer, no matter the situation you may face. Sarah loves music, art and finding beauty in unexpected places. She lives her life to the fullest by trying new things or even jumping out of planes. She resides in Oklahoma where the greatest sunsets on earth are found. Sarah’s greatest role in life is Mommy to Milo Andrew. She was blessed beyond measure to be married to the most amazing man, Joel, for 8 incredible years.
One day in the fall of 2004, Kathleen’s husband, John, walked by her chair as she was placing photos into an album. Staring at a photo of someone they had known for years he asked: “Who is that?” Surprised, she reminded him of the woman’s name to which he replied, “Oh.” Later he told her he was making no connection with this person. Considering that John had the most amazing memory, she was puzzled that he would not remember this friend in the photo. Thus began a journey into a misty, shadowy place with a man who had vanished into a room in his mind where she could not follow. Navigating the transition from living with a hilariously funny, wild and crazy husband who adored her, to a humorless, confused and angry stranger over the next four years would test her faith to the nth-degree. Who was this new man? Where was John? Journaling the journey in detail would prove to be her therapy, as Jesus taught her that you never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. That journaling eventually found its way into a book, Into the Mist: Journey Into Dementia.
Kathleen has taught women’s Bible studies since 1993 as well as speaking at women’s conferences in the U.S. and Honduras. She has been passionately in love with Jesus since 1989 when she returned to Him after walking away from her faith for a few years.
Now, twenty-four years later it is still her joy and passion to speak His truths into the lives of others who are navigating the hard paths of life as Jesus takes the “living water” that he pours into her, and pours it our into others. And the best part is He gets all the glory!
I never imagined that when my hubby kissed me goodbye at 4:15 am one Saturday morning for a fishing tournament that it would be our last kiss, our last goodbye, or last conversation. When the police arrived at our home a few hours later to inform me that both he and my father-in-law had died at the lake, I collapsed on the floor with my son screaming in my ear. I remember asking him to open his eyes and look at me. He did and I told him, "I don‘t know why this has happened, honey, but we’ll be okay. I promise." I wasn’t so sure though.I had a choice that day. I could sit in my shattered cup of life and allow the pieces to make me "bleed" from the sadness, loneliness and fear or I could pick them up, piece them together and make a new, better, stronger cup of life with God as my glue. I had to sacrifice a few pieces during the process, but my cup is deeper, wider and fuller than I ever could have imagined when I finally surrendered it all to Him. Jesus met me in that deep, dark valley with his faithfulness, love, joy, and provision. He has turned my sadness to joy, my fears to peace and my loneliness to contentment in Him and Him alone. I‘m honored to share my journey and experiences with you and hope to offer some encouragement and hope for those on a similar path. I’m livin’ proof that we can make it when we keep Him in the center of our lives.Psalm 23:1 -- The Lord IS my Shepherd. I have everything I need.
1Peter 5:10 -- And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
A Widow’s Might
These precious women are walking the same journey that most readers of A Widow’s Might are walking. Join them and see how they do this messy stuff called grief, but with the joy of the Lord in their hearts, leading them towards a new joyful season in their life!