kit hinkle bonnie vickers a new season a widows might trusting god in my loss widowhood support stages of grief

New Paint

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 

Ezekiel 36:26

Just before what would become our last family vacation together, my sweet husband gathered his household of girls and announced we would be spending that time at our Texas property, doing, of all things–barn painting!  We women in the family were not thrilled. We anticipated something a little more exciting in the middle of a hot July summer.

But we got started, stripping the paint off the barn and removing rotten wood. We worked diligently to rid the walls of any old and worn materials. Hours were spent preparing the walls to receive a fresh coat of paint. Then we spent days priming the barn. Rotten wood was replaced. Every inch of bare wood was covered with primer to allow the fresh coat of paint to illuminate renewal.

Finally the day arrived to apply the paint, which brought the barn walls back to life with the artful crafting of the new color on the walls and accents of white to the doors and windows. That discolored shabby barn became transformed.

This barn renewal, was so much like my journey through the grief process. Upon entering the third year of widowhood, I sought a new heart and purpose for my deep grief. I had trudged through all the major emotions; denial, sadness, anger, bitterness, disbelief. It was time to replace my “baggage” with renewal, purpose, and a new heart, much like the process of repainting the barn, with three basic steps: strip, prime, and paint!

Strip Off the Bad

That first year, a lot had to be stripped away from me…denial, anger, bitterness, confusion. There was a bundle of rotten wood in my heart. All those “plans” we had made had to be sanded away as well. I knew I had to let go of all that was and all that had been to make room for a transformation. I had to let go of the past.

Prime Yourself

The second year was spent priming myself. I had to cover my heart, thoughts and actions in God’s grace more so than I ever had. I will be honest with you, many days I was just not happy about my life! But, just as we had to cover every inch of that barn with a primer, so too, I had to allow God to cover every inch of my heart, thoughts, and emotions with His love and grace. The Bible continuously tells us He knows the plans He has for us, and they are for good. I had to accept this new path in my life.

New Paint

The third year, I became receptive to receive my new paint. I began seeking what my purpose would now be in this season of my life. And I am seeing this “new building” God is creating within me. It has taken me over three years to arrive at this point, but day by day, I am receiving His paint (plan) for my life. I am watching a transformation from despaired widow to hopeful widow  by becoming available for His will.

God’s plan

God has a plan, my sisters. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, He has made everything beautiful in His time. Even in this journey of widowhood, He will make it beautiful.  I have found it impossible to walk this journey and not be changed for Him and His glory.  My husband would want me to press on; to live, and to live with joy. If I did anything less, it would be a disservice to my husband’s memory and to my Christian walk.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for creating newness in my heart as I move forward in this journey of widowhood. Please create a renewed hope and spirit in all my sisters who are walking this path. Our hearts ache as we grieve the love we miss. Help us to see your plan and purpose as we seek the change this new chapter will bring to us. Create a new spirit within us.  Amen

5 replies
  1. Linda Mills
    Linda Mills says:

    Thank you for this message. I am in the third year and recently God brought to me this psalm and the worship song written and sung by Keith Green of the same name.To create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. I have had a particularly bad time recently and am still in a dark place spiritually and physically but this message awoke in me a reminder of God’s recent words to me. Thank you for your obedience to God and your support for widows xxxx

    • Bonnie Vickers
      Bonnie Vickers says:

      Linda, thank you so much for your sweet words. I am praying for you; I slipped into that “dark place” again the end of my third year. Thankfully, I let Him pull me from the pit. Cant wait to look up the Keith Green song – want to hear that for sure! Don’t give up on yourself or God. He will see you through my friend.

  2. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Bonnie,

    What a beautiful metaphor you’ve used to describe your grief journey! So glad you’re allowing God’s grace to paint a new chapter in your life. And I’m also glad to call you my friend and sweet sister-in-Christ 🙂

    p.s. You sound pretty handy to have around, you want to come help with my cabin in Kansas?

    • Bonnie Vickers
      Bonnie Vickers says:

      LOL Nancy! I would love to come to your cabin in Kansas!! Sounds and looks like my kind of place! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Miles to go to reach the expertise of you ladies…. but as I have said before, “God ain’t done with me yet” (pardon the grammar!) 😉

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