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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.

This Isn’t What I Planned

WE HAD PLANS.

My husband Michael and I were going to have at least two children and possibly adopt a third. We were going to continue traveling the world, start a nonprofit, raise our children together, become grandparents, grow old and grey together. We were just 31 and had our entire lives ahead of us.

But what happens when our plans don’t align with the Lord’s plans or what He allows for our lives?

I have always known that being a Christian does not make me immune to the troubles of this world, but I never imagined that suicide would impact my life. I never imagined becoming a widow and sole parent at 31. It just wasn’t part of my plan.

But it happened.

And when it did, I begged and pleaded with God for another way for His will to be done until I surrendered to His will and not mine.

It can be difficult to understand when our hopes and dreams for this life don’t go along with what actually happens, bringing doubt and questions. Even my three-and-a-half-year-old son is questioning how his father is not part of the plan here on earth.

A few days ago we went by the home we shared to pick up mail – I sold the house last year before I remarried in September (that wasn’t a part of the plan either, but I am so thankful God led my husband Keith and me to each other. He is a miracle in my life!)

As we drove away my eyes began to fill with tears, and anxiety attempted to creep its way back in. My son noticed and asked, “Mommy, do you miss our house? Do you miss daddy? Why did daddy have to go to heaven before we moved? It was too soon.”

Those words, from my son, missing his daddy, are heartbreaking and a pain we will live with for a lifetime. But I’m going to share with you exactly what I shared with him.

“I do miss him very much. When we love someone and they are not here, it makes us sad. And, I don’t know the answer, buddy. When our lives don’t go as we plan and don’t look the way we always envisioned, all we can do is trust in the Lord and trust in His bigger purpose that we may not see. We have to be open to letting Him work in our lives,” I said. “I don’t understand why God allowed daddy to go to heaven so soon. I see how daddy’s life and our experience are impacting others for good, but I don’t really know the reason. We aren’t always called to understand but to trust in the Lord,” I tried to explain.

God says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

This was the verse written on a notecard that I found in my husband Michael’s truck. Little did I know, that notecard and this verse would help sustain me through my deepest side of grief.

I shared my heart and this verse with my son. Though I know he is so very young, I pray these words and thoughts build a foundation for his faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as He grows and experiences his own grief journey.

Leaning on the Lord and not on my own understanding is how I am walking forward in this life and not just surviving but also finding joy again.

There is peace that cannot be explained when you know there is a God who sent His SON for each of us – that the Father is in control – and every single decision we make, though there is free will, doesn’t change the final outcome that He has planned.

Lord, I pray that even when we cannot understand the horrific things of this life, that you will bring us peace. Help us to walk forward with trust and without doubt, knowing you have a plan, you are with us, and you are in control. 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.

In Your Steadfast Love, Give Me Life!

“In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.”

Psalm 119:88 (ESV)

 

The waves of grief crash over my heart. I groan in the agony of distress; then just as quickly peace washes over my soul but a longing for HOME remains there. Oh, have mercy on me, Dear Lord! My heart is torn open and I feel numb! Nothing seems to mean anything…

The family on the beach is unaware of what I see as I sit here on my ninth floor balcony.  A mother laughingly videos daddy holding their little girl’s hand as the pair walk away from  her. “HOLD ON TIGHT!” I want to scream at them. Now, the daddy is filming the mother and daughter as they walk away, alone. Will they one day walk by themselves again, without him because they have no choice? Will their hearts break as they watch another family video on the beach? Will this pain I feel ever go away? How can the world keep turning and life for everyone just be normal? My life seemingly ended on April 20, 2012; yet I am still stuck here, supposed to carry on…how? By Your strength and Your steadfast love alone, Lord.

The above is taken from a piece of paper that has been in my Bible since May 8, 2012. It was written just two weeks after my husband’s sudden death. Our family was blessed with a trip to the beach to help us process our grief. This paper remains nestled between  two pages of Psalm 119, where I was studying during that time. It is a reminder to me of how far the Lord has carried me since that time.

It has been almost five years since my first husband died, and never once did God leave me or forsake me.

That sunny morning He gave me just the first of many reminders that His strength alone would carry me through the worst of times. My mind and heart were screaming in pain, but He gently took me back to where He wanted me to remain, enfolded in His arms and constantly in His Word. He has been so gracious to provide just what I needed each day to help me grow in my love and trust for Him over the years. Now He has blessed me with another man to call my husband; but I never want to forget how God provided strength and comfort to me right from the beginning of my widow journey. I leave this paper reminder in my Bible so that I will tangibly touch both my grief and my confidence in God whenever I turn to that passage of Scripture.

Sisters, God’s love is a STEADFAST. In our lives as widows it may seem that everything is topsy-turvy and that nothing is steady or trustworthy. But we know from Scripture that God’s love is ALWAYS steady and reliable when our world is crashing down around us.

I encourage you to meditate on Psalm 119 if you have never done so. It is long, but taken in pieces, it can be a balm to the hurting, weary soul. I pray that you will allow God to bathe you in His words of comfort and to give you the heart knowledge of His steadfast love today as you go with me to Psalm 119:81-88.

“My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. My eyes long for your promise; I ask, When will you comfort me? For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes. How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me? The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law. All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me! They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.” Psalm 119:81-88 (ESV)

Father, today I pray that we will be strengthened and overwhelmed with Your steadfast love that leads to life in the midst of turmoil! I pray that it will be so real to us that we want to share You with everyone around us today and every day.


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:  Is This My Hope?

Two Years and Trusting in Him

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine

and puts them into practice

is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

The rain came down,

the streams rose,

and the winds blew and beat against that house;

yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

                                                                                                          Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

 

My storm came on January 15, 2015. The winds blew, the darkness fell, the wave of grief descended, and my world was forever changed.

Yesterday marked two years since my husband Michael made his way to heaven by suicide, and my nearly perfect life was turned upside down. That January day brought shock, confusion, guilt and sorrow like I had never known, knocking me to my knees and pleading with God to give me a different path. Losing my husband, my best friend and father of my child, I wondered how and if I would ever survive.

And that’s where Jesus met me – in that raging storm – grief stricken and consumed by fear.

Night after night I continued to pray and in the beginning, when I couldn’t, I clung to a wooden cross to fall asleep, softly whispering “Jesus, help me.”

I am certain God didn’t plan for something like this to happen, but He allowed it. My husband was just 31, and our son hadn’t even made it to his second birthday. Though I couldn’t fathom why God would ever allow a husband and father to be taken so soon, I knew I had to trust Him. That is when I completely surrendered to His will for us.

As I look back, I am in awe of how God has worked in my life. I could have never imagined the transformation, and strength, hope and joy I would find just two years later. It is a blessing, a miracle, and proof of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness.

You see, the relationship I had built with my Savior, that foundation, has brought peace, comfort, happiness and healing during the most horrific storm.

Two years later, the wave of grief continues. But today I don’t let it control my life.

For I know the foundation and solid ground on which my life stands and when my circumstances seem overwhelming and everything around me seems to fall, my life, “my house”, will not crumble – because I have Jesus.

He has and always will be my rock.

Sisters, when you find this life seems too much to bare, lean in to Jesus and open your eyes to His eternal perspective. You are here for a reason; let Jesus be your rock. Choose to let Him in and let Him work in your life.

Dear Lord, I know you will hold us close during the storm. Open our hearts and minds to You, finding peace in Your will. Consume us with comfort and, even in the midst of the storm, allow joy to fill our lives. 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. 

More posts like this one: Why Did this Happen? and My God Box

To book one of our team members to speak please email us at: admin@anewseason.net

 

My Plans

Today we welcome our guest Evelyn Willis.

 

 

“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’m a planner –a list-maker.   That is one of the things that attracted me to Rick. He was a planner. He was able to clearly articulate his goals for the upcoming year, fives years, and even ten years out.  We had plans. So when Rick died suddenly at fifty-eight years of age, I was lost.  I didn’t know what to do.  It was not supposed to happen like this.  This wasn’t part of my plan.

Rick and I met through a mutual friend in December of 1982. We began dating in January of 1983, he proposed in March, and we married five months later.  It was a whirlwind!  I knew he was “the one” because I had a list of things I was prayerfully looking for in a husband and Rick quickly checked off most the things I was looking for.  So we began to plan our lives together.  We planned where we would live so that our children could go to the best schools possible.  We planned family vacations.  We planned quarterly get-a-ways to keep our marriage fresh.  We planned for college for our children.  We made plans financially so that we would be set in our retirement.

We had plans!

We planned to travel.  We had planned to grow old together.

What I hadn’t planned on was being a widow at fifty-two.  I hadn’t planned on kissing my husband as I left for work only to get a call before lunch that he had collapsed, never to regain consciousness.  I hadn’t planned on burying my husband five months after our thirtieth anniversary.  I hadn’t planned on being a single mother.

This is not what I’d planned, Lord!

I was lost!  I cried out to God in my anguish.  What was I supposed to do without Rick– my love, my best friend, my covering?  What now, Lord?  We had plans!  Then the Ultimate Planner, the One who knows the number of my days, who knew me in my mother’s womb, spoke to me so clearly.  He reminded me that His plans for me did not die when Rick died.  He still had a plan and a purpose for my life.  That word spoken quietly to my heart did not solve all my problems or alleviate all my pains and questions, but it did give me a reason to hope.  Enough hope to keep moving forward.

For now, that will have to be enough… And it is.

I can begin to plan again.

Father, thank You for the plans You have for our lives.  Help us to trust You as those plans unfold for our good.  In Your name,  Amen.


Evelyn Willis lost her husband Rick suddenly on January 8, 2014.  They had just celebrated their 30th anniversary.  They have 3 sons, a daughter, and 2 grandsons. Evelyn is an elementary school teacher who loves reading, singing, and walking her  two Shih Tzu doggies.

Would you like to submit a guest blog? Follow the link to our website page with all the information you need.

For more information about our ministry, please visit us at: www.awidowsmight.org

God will Make A Way

“My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you “

Psalm 42:6 ESV

Blind-sided. Once again. Suddenly, it happened. You know that moment, when something triggers ‘the button’. The button that explains the “why” I am sitting alone. The button that can release a flood of memories at any given moment. The one you do your best not to press. In the midst of the church pews, I became aware that I was surrounded by couples. Husband and wives coming together to worship. And as I observed these couples and saw them sitting there with hands entwined or the husband’s hand placed in the small of his wife’s back, my focus was rocked. My mind retreated to the numerous times I was able to worship God along side my husband. And at that moment, my mind slipped to memories passed.

I was attending a special Sunday night meeting of prayer and music at my church. The service was well attended by many in the community and I was truly enjoying the music and fellowship with other Christians. I was certainly not prepared for the triggered memory of worshipping along side my husband to be stirred so deeply.

For the next few minutes, I disengaged to that place of memories. I remembered the times I was able to sit beside my husband in a church pew. I thought of all the “acts of service” that we did side by side as working laymen for the church. Pictures flashed through my mind of the many activities we were part of in serving God through work at the church. And at that moment – I so badly wanted my husband beside me. I felt such a void. It occurred to me that “worshipping together” was truly one of the biggest things I missed.

And, as the congregation stood to sing, “God Will Make A Way”, I must confess to you, I could not stand. My body suddenly felt heavy, and I felt I did not have the strength to stand. So. I sat. And listened. My head was bowed and my eyes were closed. And I listened.

“God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.

 He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me.

 He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side.

 With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way”  

My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember You.

Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes. I remember You. I remember the many times You have consoled my grieving heart. I remember the times You have guided me through decisions that needed to be made. I remember how faithful You have been in providing for me and my girls. I remember You.

And as my blurred memories began to fade (not go away, mind you, but fade) and my focus cleared and shifted back to Him, I quietly stood and joined the singing congregation.

God will make a way for us when life’s events trigger “buttons” of despair.  He is the one who makes my heart worship again. And it is Him who gives me strength when I feel depleted.

Memories can be bittersweet. But, the memory of worshipping along side my husband is so very sweet in my heart. And as I choose to continue to serve and worship God, I give Him thanks for the special times I was able to share with my husband.

He will be my guide, hold me closely by His side. With love and strength for each new day. He will make a way.

Father, how blessed we are to have You hold us so closely by Your side. I pray each widow reading these words can feel Your love and strength to carry them through each day. Amen


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

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

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about going through events without your husbands by Sheryl and Renee.

A Legacy of Life Well Lived

Legacy is a loaded word for me now.  Becoming a widow at 35 years old made me acutely aware of the increased need to leave a legacy for my kids, while fiercely protecting and even nurturing my late husband’s legacy.  

In the beginning it was hard.  My husband died by suicide in a very public manner. The fear and shame of that fact drove me for awhile.  I feared how my very young children would ever live full lives with one parent missing. I was afraid of how damaging this would be for them as they learned the details and reality of their father’s death. I also spent countless hours trying to figure out how I could destroy the statistics they now faced in their own liveswith the hereditary factors of mental illnessI thought I needed to “prove” or “do” something, to create a “worthy” legacy to eliminate the stigma of suicide from all of us.

In the six plus years on this journey, God has healed me in mighty ways.  He’s taught me how to embrace the life He has ordained for me, and claim full victory in Christ over my husband’s suicidal death.  (1 Corinthians 15:57)

I am not defined by what’s happened to us.  My kids are not destined to become suicide victims, or prone to struggles themselves. 

My God is bigger!

My kids are His, and He has ordained their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

I can fully TRUST Him with their lives and with mine.  (Psalm 91:1-2)

I am a daughter of the KING and not bound by any stigma(2 Corinthians 6:18)

I have come to realize the legacy is in our entire story. That story still unfolds today.  It’s in our children and their limitless, God-designed futures.  Scott’s legacy is in his eternal reward he is receiving right now in Heaven. 

As a widow I get the unique privilege of not only seeing and influencing my husband’s legacy through sharing our story and raising our kids, but I am experiencing a greater sense of the importance in making sure I leave a positive, faith-filled, legacy too

My desire and prayer is to influence my children and anyone I can for the Kingdom.  

want to glorify God even in the midst of so much tough stuff; praying that God will continue to use me and my kids for His greater purposes, and my kids will choose to walk in full victory in Him throughout their lives.  

At the end, I hope the biggest part of my legacy will be I reflected Christ and faithfully followed Him all the days of my life. 


Here are some practical tips for living a legacy now that will impact the Kingdom for eternity:

• Share your story and your faith with everyone you can.
• Lead your home and your kids well rooted in the Lord and His Word. (Deuteronomy 6)
• Tell your kids about their daddies. Remember him well for them.
• Honor God, even in the mire of grief.
• Remind yourself and point your kids to God‘s redemptive plan. (Revelation 21:5)
• Leave fingerprints on this world by actively participating in your church and by making missions a mission.
• Comfort others with the same comfort you’ve been given. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
• Grow your faith through personal, small group, and large group studies.
• Find intentional ways to groyour kids faith.
• Surround your kids with those who’ll point them to Jesus.
• Pray for your kids, for their salvation, for their futuresand for their spouses.
• Pray for your future and seek His will for you now.
• Live life! (Ecclesiastes 9:1-12)
• Trust God in every single way, walking in the shelter of His love, grace, and provision every day. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2013-11-09-03-40-34-4-223x300Erika Graham is Vice President, 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 posts on leaving a legacy: New Traditions and Something old, something new

Sheryl’s Favorite

Today, we join Sheryl as she shares her favorite post with us. 

“Grief Renegades is one of my favorite posts because God clearly gave me a vision of hope for my future and a vision to share with other widows. It answers the question: What is my purpose now?”

We hope this post blesses you!


Grief Renegades by Sheryl Pepple

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  

                                                                                                Luke 10:2 ESV

A few weeks ago marked the 4-year anniversary of the death of my husband. Just like many of you, I struggle with how to acknowledge those days. I finally settled upon a Facebook post describing our last day together:

Four years ago today I snuggled with my husband, giggled with him over lunch and then as he set off for his trip I sent my last text to him – “I love you more than you can imagine”. It is still true today. I am so grateful for Dave Pepple, the way he loved us and the wonderful lasting impact he had on our lives! Dave – I can’t wait to see you again one day!!!

My intention was to honor my husband and to let others know my grief has transitioned into healing. Anniversaries are now less about the sorrow and more about the wonderful memories of a great husband. Reading through the responses I was reminded how people have a tendency to focus on the sorrow. It is what our culture teaches.

If we aren’t careful, we can become enslaved by grief, sometimes because our thoughts get centered on the sorrow, and sometimes because other people’s thoughts get centered on their perception of our sorrow. While there is definitely a time to mourn, we must not get trapped into mourning as if we have no hope and no purpose. And we must educate others, so that they can move beyond seeing us as only someone who has experienced tremendous sorrow.

My purpose and yours is to tell the story of God’s grace in our lives. The grace He extended through His death on the cross. The grace which allows us to have Eternal Life. The grace that frees us from all of our sin. The grace that allows us to have a life of freedom so much larger than our sorrow for the temporary separation from our loved ones.

I want to be a Grief Renegade. Someone who rebels against society’s perception of what life looks like after the death of a spouse. I want them to see my mourning totally bathed in God’s grace. I want them to see the love, strength, and unflinching hope. I want them to see Him in me.

One of my greatest joys during this journey have been comments confirming that people do indeed see Him in me. And they see Him in my friends who are widows. At our first Widows conference in Myrtle Beach last year, we were so humbled when the praise band who lead worship for us, tried to describe the magnificent beauty they experienced in worshipping with widows. The band saw Him in us and they were forever changed. What a privilege and blessing!

My dear sisters, there is no doubt this is a difficult journey but we are in a unique position to let others see Him in us not, in spite of, but because of our circumstances. It is imperative we encourage and remind one another -we are the laborers sent out to harvest. Will you join me in becoming a “Grief Renegade” and let’s BRING IN THE HARVEST!


Other posts in this series: Erika’s Favorite, Teri’s Favorite, Elizabeth’s Favorite, Lori’s Favorite, Sherry’s Favorite, Bonnie’s Favorite, and Kit’s Favorite

BLT and a Cup of Soup

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

1 Peter 5:10  ESV

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

Sigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about fighting episodes of despair from Linda and Sheryl