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I am not Equipped.

Some days are just hard. Some days my patience wears thin, and I feel like I’ve had enough. From the grief of losing my husband Michael to the challenges of blending a family and raising three boys, along with normal life stressors – emotions can TRY to take control – making us feel unqualified and unequipped for this journey. But as many of us have learned, emotions can be misleading.

There are many things I’ve learned since my husband Michael passed more than two years ago, but one thing continues to stand out:

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

We were not equipped for the emotions that come with losing our husbands … on our own. I was not equipped for January 15, 2015, and everything following that day.

On my own, I could not handle my husband and the father of my child dying by suicide. I was not prepared for my entire world and future to fall apart in just one moment.

On my own, I was not prepared to be a widow at thirty one.

On my own, I couldn’t fathom doing all of the things that come with being a widow and sole parent.

On my own, the fear felt suffocating.

On my own, I could not have faced another day.

No human being is equipped to deal with that kind of trauma, ON OUR OWN.

Though I may not have been equipped to face those horrific circumstances or the challenges of blending a family and becoming a step mom on my own, the Lord equipped me to lean on Him – to lean into His strength, comfort and peace to make it through the unbearable days and even the impatient ones. He knows none of us are equipped to handle trials of this magnitude alone. That’s why He stands by our side and never leaves us, equipping us with His strength. He tells us this time and time again.

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him …” Hebrews 13:20-21

I was not prepared to lose my husband, but the Lord did equip me to lean on Him for strength. His faithfulness is the reason I stand strong today. Sisters, He wants you to lean in, too. His strength will get you through.

Lord, We are all broken and in need of Your strength. Equip us accordingly to step forward in this new life, ready to do Your will. Protect us from the evil one and from self doubt that can sometimes overwhelm us. You have placed us on this path, and we know you will stand by us today and every day. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

 Here’s another article you might like about battling Satan by Elizabeth, Catch the Foxes! 

Several members of our team have written on the experiences of losing a spouse to suicide. You can read the articles here.

Give it to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

What I Want or What Is Best?

Valentine’s Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, 

for your Creator will be your husband.

And another encouragement from Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

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

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

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

 

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


 

 

Elizabeth DyerElizabeth Dyer, Elizabeth Kay Dyer, A Widow's Might, aNew Season lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, and a noisy cat named after a German race car driver!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here. 

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

 

Erika’s Favorite

Please join us today for our second post in “Our Favorites” series.  We hope today’s post is a blessing!

Please enjoy Erika’s picks for her favorites. She chose a two part series that resonated with her greatly and she hopes it does you as well.


 

The Physical Loss  by Lori Streller

The air is brisk.  The leaves have begun their release and are cascading down from the highest branches, pooling in puddles of vibrant color on the ground.  I am sitting at a high school football game in the chilly Oklahoma wind the first time I notice it.  I am holding my own hand.

Possibly it is a nervous reaction to the close ball game and a certain young quarterback I have grown to love as my own.  It is definitely a self-soothing, subconscious effort.  I am literally sitting with my hands clasped together in my lap rubbing one thumb along the top of another.  Maybe it is out of habit?  Were my husband still here, we absolutely would have been holding hands and snuggling close as we cheered on the team.  I chuckle to myself, shake my head, and deliberately place each hand on its respective knee.

A few months later, another evening, this time I am sitting in a movie theater…suddenly aware that I am once again holding my own hand.  This time it saddens me as the acute loneliness nestles deep within my soul.

We lost many aspects of our relationships when our husbands left.  Rarely is the subject of physical touch addressed publicly amongst widows.

Why is this?  It seems silly for us to dance around it as though it doesn’t exist; this loss of physical touch in our lives.  God created us with favorable responses to positive touch.  It is how we are made and it is an enormous portion of our loss.

We didn’t just lose the intimate touch of our lover, we lost the casual touch too; the arm around our shoulder as we walk side by side; the hand held during prayer; the welcome home hug at the end of each day.

They are all missing.  And they are all missed.

Missed to the point, that two years out from the freshness of loss, I am catching myself holding my own hands at times when they would have naturally been encompassed by the strong grasp of my husband.

Just yesterday I texted one of my best friends the following message:

“Cold weather makes me miss the physical side of marriage a bit more than normal.

There. I said it.

So I guess it is inappropriate to just ask a random man if he could walk with me outside for an hour or so and hold my hand.  Maybe even have an adult conversation.  Then go our separate ways.  That’s a “no”, right?”

Ever the funny and helpful friend, she replied:

“Random men may think you are crazy…”

All joking aside, she is right.  Outsiders may think the admittance of missing even the most innocent of physical contact appears pathetic.  People will judge.  I don’t care.  It is something that the widowed community faces and it needs to be openly discussed.

God is a husband to the widow and never leaves us alone.  That is a truth I am thankful for; but sometimes knowing the “right answer” doesn’t curb my longing to simply have my hand held or to be embraced in a strong hug.  I am called to this ministry of sharing how God is carrying me through my loss, but I am also simply a widow who misses the physical presence of her husband.  I don’t have all the answers.

As I sort my way through this topic, I find myself thinking it would benefit me to be more deliberate in ensuring I receive physical touch.

And on the heels of that thought comes the one asking “What ways accomplish this while still maintaining the level of purity God calls me to?”

Tell me, how do you fill the void of casual physical touch in your life?

Lord, You created us to be relational people.  We miss the casual, physical touch of our husbands.  Help show us ways we can cope with this loss.  Amen.


Marital Bed  by Erika Graham

“And the two shall become one flesh…”

Mark 10:8 

I’m gonna say it.

The thing widows all think, but as Christians we don’t say.

I.  Miss.  My.  Marital.  Bed.

I miss the warmth and unity experienced there.  I miss the ease and selflessness that happened so perfectly there.  THE ONENESS.  The warm welcoming body that lay beside me.  The unison we experienced.  The desire we had for one another.  The deep intimacy and trust I felt in giving my entire body over to another.  The care and love found there.

As Christians, in a world that has perverted and twisted sex, it’s hard to say these things.  We are shamed into thinking that talking about sex is sinful.  Sex is certainly not something the widowed or Christian community talks about openly or comfortably.

But God didn’t make sex “dirty”, man did.  God created in us a desire towards one another.  He defined that desire, in Genesis, to be a good thing within the confines of His creation of marriage.  He tells us that in marriage we can experience the full glory of Him through our sexual intimacy. We can sacrificially give ourselves to another the way Christ gave Himself up for us. (Romans 5:22-32)

Yes, God ordains sex…when it’s under His authority and we obey Him.

We know because we experienced that God ordained oneness in our marriages.

But what happens when our husbands are gone?

My marital bed is now cold and harsh.  I roll over to an empty space. I have no husband to hold me, to make me feel beautiful, to desire me, or to even warm my feet and hands up when they’re freezing!

Sometimes I go back.  I have such deep meaningful memories of that bed and our years and nights spent there.  Babies were created there.  Pleasure and love was found there.  Deep trust and utter selflessness were solidified there.  Many prayers, and both happy and sad tears flowed there.  I miss it greatly.

Recently a reader asked our team if it was okay for her to pleasure herself to those memories.

Yes, I am going there!

Because, it’s something we all experience.  We all have desires in some facet or another.

As Christian widows we believe God is now our spiritual husband, but we are still human.. and we are all still alive!

As I’ve prayed over this myself and sought answers, I can tell you Scripture doesn’t give a definitive yes or no answer to this deep question.

Yet, I did find these important truths:

~ Scripture is clear that I’m no longer married and when I get to heaven I won’t be married again to my husband.  Matthew 22:30, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39 (read more here: Heaven and Marriage)

~ Scripture is clear that if I lust after another man outside of marriage in my mind and heart, whether I act on it or not, it is sin.  Matthew 5:28

And the two keys that apply to us now…

~ Scripture is clear that I am not to conform to this world.  But, I am to transform my mind by renewing it with God’s Word and His will for me now.  Romans 12:2

~ Scripture is clear I’m to seek to honor and obey God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in every area of my life.  Romans 2:6-8

So, what does this mean for us in this area?

It means since there’s no clear cut answer, we must take it before The Lord, Sister.  Allowing Him to reveal His will to us.  Allowing Him to work and move us.  Allowing Him to convict our hearts and minds here.

Allowing Him to then rule our heart, mind, and yes even our sexual desires.

Personally, I have been convicted to ask God to remove those desires from me, until (or if) He calls me to remarry.  It’s been a process and I still have to lay it before Him.  But He is helping me hold steadfast to my conviction.

Yet, maybe that’s not exactly where He will lead you. This is deeply intimate and personal, and something only God can clearly reveal, through His Spirit and His Word, what He wants you to do.

I have some questions for your personal reflection that will help you discern this:

~ What is my motive here, in other words, why do I think I need to do this?
~ Afterwards, how will it actually make me feel?
~ Is what I am doing honoring God and conveying that I trust Him to fill me up and meet ALL my needs?

God wants no idol before Him.  That means even the sexual memories (or any other memory) of our late husbands!

Sisters, widowhood is tough stuff with lots of layers. Walking this journey is not for the faint of heart.  It’s messy.  It’s painful.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s hard.

But God is so much bigger and He’s got even this deeply personal and tough topic.  Take it before the Cross and watch Him grow you, help you, and convict you.

Father God, I am a woman with desires. Please help those desires to honor You still in every way.  Lord, block me from creating any idols in my mind and heart that would distract me from You.  Show me where I have sinned.  And protect me from those areas.  I lay even my physical desires and memories before You now.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.


Other posts in this series: Teri’s Favorite

 

 

 

 

 

God is Good

Over the last three months we shared a series on the Names of God.  We hope that series blessed you as much as it did us.  If you missed any of it, you can read those posts here:

Jehovah Sabaoth, Jehovah Shalom, Immanuel, Jehovah, I Am, El Olam, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, El Shaddai, El Elyon

Today, we start a new series… on God’s goodness.  Because God is good even if, even when, even still.  His goodness is not found in our circumstances, in our pain and loss, or even our joy and triumphs.  But, His goodness is found in who He is and what He did for us at the Cross.  He is good all the time.  He is constant.  He never shifts or changes, even if, even when, even still.

Please join us today for our first post in this new series.


“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.” 

Psalm 27:13

As life has unfolded over the last few years, I’ve pondered this verse often.  It sits with me and it stirs my mind and heart almost daily.  It’s hard to understand or fathom at times, how this life and the horrific stuff that I see and experience could possibly be good or become good. How could God’s goodness ever be in some of these terrible circumstances? The suffering, the brokenness, the unfairness, the injustice, and just the messy world around me makes it seem bleak at times.

Yet, these are the things I do know: God is Sovereign and is always in control, ever working in our circumstances, walking alongside us, and allowing the good and the bad in life. As I pray and contemplate His goodness, I realize that God’s goodness is not found in my good or bad circumstances.  Focusing on my circumstances would cause me to never see His goodness, unless things were perfect every day and even then, my flesh would be unsatisfied.  Instead, I have learned His goodness is in His love and care for me, His constant presence and provision over me, and His healing power running through me.  And mostly, His goodness is in Jesus Christ and what He did for me at the Cross.

I am loved, cared for, and forgiven through Christ. I can experience that goodness every day, even if that day is the most gut wrenching, difficult day I’ve ever experienced.

~Erika


Please join us each Sunday over the coming months for our new series on God’s goodness. 

Immanuel – God with Us

His very name, Immanuel, tells us God is with us!

Do you really believe that the God of all creation, the Alpha and Omega, the Wonderful Counselor, Our Redeemer, Our Savior, is with us every second – of every minute – of every day?

It is so hard to wrap our minds around that truth and to rest in the peace of knowing He is with us.

As widows we can so often feel alone and forgotten, left to fight the battles all on our own.

But He is ALWAYS there.

He is with us the very moment we become a widow,

and the moment when we remember, we are His.

He is with us when we need to be comforted,

and when we comfort others.

He is with us each and every time the tears flow uncontrollably,

and when we discover we can laugh again.

He is with us when we feel helpless,

and when we have our victories of accomplishing something new.

He is with us when we think we can’t take one more breath because the pain is so excruciating,

and when we start breathing naturally again.

He is with us on those special days and holidays that are so hard to get through,

and when those days become days of sweet memories.

He is with us when we cry out “please take me home too.”

and when we can’t wait to tell the story of His faithfulness.

He is with us when we can’t get out of bed,

and when we jump, and shout, and praise His name.

He is with us when we give up,

and as we grow in our faith.

He is with us when we feel so terribly alone,

and when we are totally immersed in His Presence.

He is with us when we feel rejected,

and when every fiber of our being rejoices because we are loved.

He is with us during the lowest of the lows,

and the highest of the highs,

and everything in between.

The most amazing thing of all … He is always with us!

Immanuel – God with us!

We praise You and thank You for who You are!


Other posts in our Names of God series: Eternal God- El Olam, Jehovah, I Am, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, and El Shaddai

 

Happily Ever After

And they lived happily ever after…

Ah,  the infamous words to those fairy tale endings.  Prince finds his princess, they marry and ride off in the sunset to live out their lives in bliss.  I imagine we all felt this blissfulness on our wedding days.  Riding off to start our new lives, knowing that no matter what bumps the path would bring along the way, we would tackle them together.  Somehow, we knew we could conquer anything. Knowing that the perfect plan of retiring and growing old together, was the beautiful image that kept us riding merrily along.

BUT, what happens if it doesn’t have a “happily ever after” ending?  What if it doesn’t end the way YOU wanted?

Then what?

I am sure you agree that we all know that feeling too well.  The dreams of growing old together have slipped through our fingers and the reality of a “new beginning” demands our attention.  It’s a new beginning none of us wished for, nor knew what to do with when it arrived.  It makes all those dreams and plans dissipate as quickly as vapor, leaving us numb and scared.  Certainly not fairy tale images!

Now, five years out, I can look back on my twenty-six years of marriage and smile at the fulfilling relationship it was.  I can truly say, “I lived a fairy tale marriage with my prince!”  Oh, he wasn’t perfect (after all, who is, but our Savior?) but, he was perfect for me.  I was loved well and treated with warmth, compassion and respect. He was my sounding board, my friend, my helper, my lover and my dream.  I was blessed.  He was a provider to our family and a great father to our daughters.  Fairy tale?  Yes.

But…

It did not end the way I had hoped.  I pictured him walking our daughter’s down the aisle on their wedding day, holding our grandbabies and our old bodies sitting together on a church pew.  God had another plan, and at fifty years of age, that “new beginning” was forced upon me.

The pain of that first year was indescribable.  I was thankful the for the numbness that engulfed my body, so as to dull that pain.  The arrival of the second year brought reality and a wave of deeper pain, as if that were even possible.

Time moved on, riding along.

And with the time, so did I.

What I’ve learned is important – you must allow God to move with you.  It is important to know that although this was not your plan, it is His plan.  I must remember that as much as I loved my husband, God loves him more.  As much as my husband loved me, God loves me more.  In the midst of this deep grief, He still has a plan for me.

He has plan for you as well!  I do not know where you are in your journey, I hope you will one day be able to see His will for your life.  I hope that you can reflect on your fairy tale memories and still look forward to a happily ever after.  I know He has great things in store for each of us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper

  you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I can say it has not been easy in this new beginning.  I have made many mistakes. Thankful that God has walked it with me and has redeemed me from those mistakes.  He has provided and opened doors for myself and my girls.  I can not imagine walking this without Him.  Period.  I pray each of you will feel His presence even in the darkest of days.  And when things get rough, you will know He is with you and He will provide answers for you.  He still has a “happily ever after” ending planned!

Father, I lift each of these sisters up to you as we seek your plan in this new phase in our lives.  I pray each of these precious women know how much you love them and your plan for them is still for good.  And we can find there is a happy ending still in store for our lives. 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

For articles similar to this one: Moving Forward, What Does He Want, and Full Victory

Ultimate Valentine

Today, we want to remind you that no earthly love can ever compare to the love of our Heavenly Father.  May His love be ever present and tangible in your life.

God is our ultimate valentine.

And here are His love notes to us:

Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Romans 8:38-39  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved.

1 John 4:9-11 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 John 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 Peter 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Job 34:19 who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor,  for they are all the work of his hands?

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Colossians 2:6-7  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.


Some additional encouragement for your day.

God is love. He didn’t need us. But He wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.  ~ Rick Warren

Saving us is the greatest and most concrete demonstration of God’s love, the definitive display of His grace throughout time and eternity.  ~ David Jeremiah

God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.  ~ Jerry Bridges

One of the greatest evidences of God’s love to those that love Him is, to send them afflictions, with grace to bear them.  ~ John Wesley

Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Other articles that will bless you: Happy Valentine’s Day, My Divine Valentine, Who is Your Valentine?

 

 

El – The Strong One

El Shaddai.  El Roi.  El Elyon.

The names of God usually start with El because El means God.

The word that follows “El”  describes something distinctive about God which sets Him apart from all the false gods people invent. A tribal group in a country far away might believe in a rain god who gives them enough rain, but El Shaddai is the God who is ALL suffient, providing ALL needs.

So what about when “El” is written just by iteself? Ancient text used “el” to describe any god, but as time went on, by itself, “El” referred to the one and only God–emphasis on the fact that no other god exists!

El means the One God–all powerful, all good, all knowing.

El is our strong tower.  And like a refuge for those seeking safety, He is Whom we run to.

Isn’t that what we long for? Don’t you sometimes wish you had that covering of a husband–someone you could run to and snuggle up to when the world around you gets rough?  Don’t you long to run for that strong tower where you can go inside, close the door and be safe?

The politically correct in this world like to say women are just like men. As for me–this woman needs her El, her strong tower.

And she has Him.  Looking back on eight years without that husband in the flesh, I see miraculous moments when El was my strength in Whom I completely trust for my future.

Let Him be your strength sister.  Shout His name out loud– “El!”  “El!”

El Adonnai  – not just sufficient but ALL sufficient!

El Roi – not just one who sees, but THE one who sees!

El Elyon – not just high, but The MOST High!

Sing and worship and praise your El, sister.  He IS your strong tower!


Other Names of God articles in our series: El Shaddai, El Roi, Adonai,

His Story IN YOU

We’re all teetering on a tight rope trying to keep our balance just enough to appear okay. We’re rushed, bursting at the seams with senseless schedules overflowing and some are sinking in the quick sand of grief.

We are widows. 

So many of us still do this season alone and sometimes the emotion is enough to manage even without all the stress and strain of packed schedules. This season is so filled with contradiction and when you’ve been widowed, the cavern between those clashing contradictions widens.

The Gifts….the grief.

Joy….just trying to make it.

The Sparkle….the suffering.

Festivities….fear and loneliness.

But here’s the thing. Sisters, one thing remains. HIS LOVE. And that love lives in you. It is ALIVE and it saves! Your soul is safe when you’ve accepted His Son as your Savior. And it all started in the manger. 

You are connected to HIM through the manger and YOU are a continuation of HIS story through His unconditional, unfathomable, unbreakable love. Your soul knows its worth because it resides in that amazing, unchangeable saving love found only in His SON. No matter what you’re living through, your soul’s worth never changes because His love for you never changes. So, somehow we must love our stories, even the mud and muck of them.

Even in the mud and muck we must love….because just like Jesus was born into mud and muck, His heart filled the whole world with love.

So, even when we live in those caverns of Christmas contradictions, we have worth and we can love our story because it’s all about HIM.

I am praying for every single one of you this season, whether you are new on the journey or remarried. As widows we span the spectrum and, while this life will never bring FULL healing, we have the expectant HOPE that there is always something better before us. I pray God fills your heart to overflowing with that hope this Christmas week!

Here are two pieces from Happily Whole that keep my soul healthy and well during this season of contradictions. Please sink into them with me as we learn to LOVE our stories simply because He’s written all over in them.

Free Fall from a Cliff into an Eternal Christmas 

Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas,

Katie Hagen