lori streller kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god in my loss sisterhood of widows

Transforming Power

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

~Galatians 5:22-23 {NIV}

Being a widow is not exactly what we had planned for our lives, is it?  Being dealt the “BIG W” card has really shaken things up.  So many things are vastly different in our lives without our husbands.  Practically every aspect of our world has been altered.

Oddly, as I am learning to accept this new title, I realize it isn’t just that my life has drastically changed; it is that the innermost part of me is shifting as well.

Listen, I’ve had a love affair with our God since the age of 14.  He has been constant and patient towards me.  My devotion has ebbed and flowed throughout the decades.  Regretfully, I have spent some seasons distancing myself from His righteousness, and thankfully, I have spent many seasons running full speed into His open arms.

The past several years have been spent clinging desperately to His promises as He has stretched me into someone I hardly recognize.  He is faithfully nurturing this widow and transforming me on the inside just as drastically as my life has changed on the outside.

Truthfully, I mess up often and sometimes in big ways; but I am learning to live life by the Spirit one tiny, baby step at a time.  By continually tapping into the power of the Holy One dwelling inside of me, I find access to the fruit of His Spirit.  I have a long way to go in my transformation, but the glimpses of where His power is slowly taking me; well they look something like this:

*More loving and empathetic towards others. 

*Joyful, even in my deepest of sorrow. 

*Peaceful inside in the midst of a life that looks to be in chaotic change from the outside. 

*A tiny bit more patient (personally not my strongest attribute).

*Softer and kinder, both to others and to myself (which is huge for this rehabilitating perfectionist).

*Choosing good things…good attitudes, good words, good facial expressions, and good actions.

*Faithfully believing He has control of my life and the lives of my loved ones.

*A gentleness that doesn’t distract from strength but instead enhances it.

*Calm self-control, focused more on obedience to my Savior and less on me controlling anything.

This transforming of every part of me, it hurts sometimes.  I think of it as earning my “Spiritual stretch marks”.  The stretching is not pleasant, but the reward is phenomenal!  Spiritual stretch marks reflect the growth God is creating in my heart and I am grateful that He redeems my pain to use for His glory.

Can you relate?  Have you noticed a softening of your spirit as you nestle deeper into the arms of our Father during this all-changing whirlwind of widowhood?  Sisters, as one who is walking this road too, I gently urge you to tap into the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  Tap in and then watch how God stretches you while growing His fruits within you.

Father God, You are faithful to produce spiritual fruit in our lives when we hand over control to You.  Thank You for the work You are doing in each widow’s heart, as You transform us more into Your likeness.  There is such beauty in the women You desire for us to be.  You are patient as You mold us and stretch us, You are forgiving when we forget to surrender, and You are gracious and kind.  Lord, help us to keep in step with Your Spirit within us.  Amen.   

8 replies
  1. Ali
    Ali says:

    Wow. If I could have written down how I’ve felt the past 2 1/2 years, it was exactly what you wrote! I have been stretched in ways I never imagined and find that in stressful situations I have a much softer spirit and am able to be calm. I am more patient than ever! My biggest stretch was at my daughters wedding last month, where I gave the traditional “father of the bride” speech. After I started, I felt the Holy Spirit calm me and I didn’t just get thru it, I enjoyed every second. May God bless you as your writing has blessed so many of us!

    • Lori Reynolds Streller
      Lori Reynolds Streller says:

      Ali, What a beautiful testimony of God’s goodness. Thank you for sharing this, I needed to hear that there is access to calm and joy, even in the BIG moments ahead for the children and me. My head & heart know this, but to hear it testified resonates deeply in my soul.

  2. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Hello all:
    My name Is Brenda I have been. Care giver my whole life / my husband of 27 yrs. & also my best friend passed away in August on the 28th / My husband Frank was very ill / I had so much to do before and after that when I finally stopped my whole world came down around me in many ways / I am very glad to have stumbled upon this site although I am sure it is no accident/ I struggle every day with many things / thank you for writing this article I could identify with a lot of it / Brenda

    • Lori Reynolds Streller
      Lori Reynolds Streller says:

      Brenda, I praise God for His leading you to our site. Each of our 17 writing/speaking team members are widows like yourself. We have leaned heavily into our Lord for healing. He is faithful! I understand the role of care giver very well, although my stint was only for two years. You have suffered a double loss as well as a loss of a large portion of your identity. I pray God fills all the empty holes, mends all the tattered edges and comforts your heart. Feel free to search this site by author or topic for more articles to help you in your journey.

  3. Debbie Franklin
    Debbie Franklin says:

    Love that Lori that touched my heart and I’m at that point.I’m stepping back and letting God work, its not easy being the head of the house now but I’m learning to lean on Him more . The Holy Spirit has been so strong in my life. I just flowing in it. And were it leads I go.Thank u Lori for that word.

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