Untitled033015

Blessed Among Women!

Judges 5: 24 ~ Most blessed of women be Jael…(esv)

Feeling alone? Invisible? Tired of doing menial tasks?

I can answer all three questions with a resounding YES!

This road of widowhood can be so difficult and it isn’t unusual to feel alone, invisible and exhausted from all the responsibilities that knock on the door of our one adult household.

In the pages of Judges, chapters four and five I have discovered a woman named Jael. She spent her life as a shepherdess roaming from place to place, living in the shadows of the men in the Kenite tribe. Her work was preparing food, putting up tents, pounding tent stakes only to pull up tent stakes and tear down tents so she could move to another spot and repeat the process all over again.

Exhausting!

Not much time for a life of bonbons and relaxation. Not much chance to be seen, let alone noticed.

I can identify!

No bonbons for this girl, either. There is little time for relaxation with all the responsibilities that have been placed on my shoulders as a widowed woman.

At the proper time, God used Jael to crush an oppressing Israelite enemy.

Jael’s arsenal came in the form of her skills and her tools she worked with every day.

An  enemy of the Israelites came to her tent when she was alone, looking for protection and hiding.

He asked for water. She gave him milk and covered him with a blanket.

When the time was right, she took hold of her simple hammer and her simple tent stake and eliminated the Israelite enemy.

When Jael showed her loyalty for the Israelites, she was honored and considered “most blessed of women.” Deborah was a powerful leader of the Hebrew people, and to honor Jael was significant. They were at opposite ends of the social realm, and Deborah took it upon herself to take notice and honor Jael.

There are two traits we can glean from Jael and Deborah. Jael’s work ethic and her willingness to go above, and beyond in her tasks prepared her to bring honor to God’s people.  When we do the work, God will bring the notice.  Secondly, Deborah’s act of honoring Jael shows us the importance of honoring another sister in Christ, no matter their position or the call God has placed on them. All of us have the ability to play a role in moving His kingdom forward.

Everyday tasks and everyday responsibilities prepare us for the role we will play in God’s story in both our community and in His kingdom.

Dear Father, Please help us to see the importance of everything we do. Lord, Please remind us that we are never invisible and we are never alone. You always see us. You are always with us. Please guide us as we try to honor our sisters in Christ, so the world will take notice the benefits of being united in our purpose.  Help us to stand together despite our stories, our circumstances or our pasts. Help us to realize when we honor each other we are honoring You and Your kingdom story. We want to be faithful to our calling and to You. In Your Mighty Name, Amen!

 

 

donkey

He Came in on a Donkey

 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”  And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written.

John 12:13-14a (ESV)

He came in on a donkey.

The people wanted to praise Him. They shouted Hosanna. They wanted a king.

But He chose a donkey. And as the donkey carried Him through the streets with the crowd shouting praises and laying palm branches before him, He knew. Within a few short days those shouts of Hosanna! would turn to angry insults and scorn.

And so, he chose the donkey.

He could have chosen a nobler animal. He could have given the crowd and the human part of Him, what the flesh wants and what the world wants. But he chose a symbol of humility—the donkey.

By choosing the donkey, and choosing to allow Himself to be crucified, Christ chose You. Ahead of His glory, His security, His power and wealth.

The Creator of this universe chose to give up His fleshly life for You.

You were created by Him and made for Him. Everything He has allowed in your life, from the loss of your husband, to the struggles you have faced since having to go it alone, work together for His purpose.

Trust Him. He’s been through abandonment, hopelessness, and despair. And He is the all powerful God! Not only did he suffer, but He chose to suffer and rode right into the storm on the most humble creature—the donkey.

It’s like shouting to the world in a whisper: I AM the final Passover sacrifice of atonement. No longer will you have to sacrifice animals to pay for your sins. I am the final and only Lamb needed to pay for all of your sins.

Do you understand what that means for you? It means you don’t have to carry this burden of grief on your own. He’s in your suffering and loves you deeply.

Turn your widow journey over to Him, and let him walk you through it.

As Palm Sunday kicks off Easter week, won’t you join your sisters in this ministry in rededicating your heart to surrendering to the Lord?

If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior and would like to learn more, visit the Our Hope page of our website to read what He has done for you. If you’d like a member of our team to pray with you, send us a prayer request here.

So, today on Palm Sunday, think not only on the palm branches and hosanna praises. Think about His intentional humility. Meditate on this—while He was being praised, He sat upon, of all animals, the donkey.

Would you like to read more about the Gospel or ask us to pray for you?  Try these links on our pages:

Our Hope —  How does knowing Christ give you Hope for your future?

Prayer Requests — We find it a humble honor to pray for our readers.

 

linda lint kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god widowhood support

Four Springs

                                                    …..and a time to heal.  Ecclesiastes 3:3 (ESV) 

Linda!!! Come out here!!!  The tone of urgency in his voice caused me to move quickly outside to where he stood looking at the ground. Then I saw the smile and the twinkle in his eye as he pointed to the tiny green shoots. The daffodils were coming up!

Knowing how much I loved flowers, he had made a special effort the previous fall to plant the bulbs. Persistent back problems made it difficult for him to get on his knees and dig in the dirt. That was one of his many acts of service to me.

We enjoyed those daffodils that Spring – and for many Springs following. And each year he would be the first one to notice their arrival – until that last Spring when he was in the care center. I did make sure there were some in his room and oddly enough (well maybe not!) there were some outside his window. But it just wasn’t the same. I honestly don’t remember if I even noticed them in our yard that year, or the year after. I was lost in the early fog of grief – going through each day – one breath at a time – one foot in front of the other. Every day was winter.

Then came the Spring when I longed to see those green shoots breaking through the ground. Winter was long and hard that year; but, each day I would go outside with my camera and look for green. I was not disappointed. In due time they arrived. I reached down and touched those fresh green offerings, remembering the love we shared and the man who planted them. And I smiled.

It has been four Springs since he has been gone.  I miss our times sitting outside enjoying the daffodils and the other spring flowers; watching the birds busy about nest building in the bird houses; and breathing in the fresh smell of Springtime air.

Yet, I have the memories of those times we spent together. The memories come easier now. They slide in quietly and are more likely to cause a smile than a tear.

Yes, he is gone. But love remains and hope stands with it. Healing has broken through much like the new sprouts of daffodils – proof that God is faithful and there is indeed a time for everything under the sun.

To be sure, I still miss my husband. There are still  times of tears, and learning to live alone is no easy task. My “winter” of grief has been hard, but God has walked beside me and held my hand throughout. He alone has kept me warm while I have waited for Spring to come.

Dear Father, there are so many of my dear sisters who cannot imagine Spring ever coming to them again. There are also others who have endured many Springs without their beloved alongside. I pray you send hope and healing to them. We hold fast to You today and every day until we see Your face.  

 

 

jesus christ on the cross the empty tomb kit hinkle a widows might erika graham the hope we have in christ

The Hope We Have

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?  My only hope is in YOU.”

Psalm 39:7 NLV

Do you ever wonder why we all sound so hopeful?  How we have such faith?  Why we can write such meaningful things?

Well sisters, it’s not us at all, but it’s Christ in us.  It comes out of our obedience to His leading and humbling ourselves before Him, trusting His plan for us.

Let us share….

Easter is around the corner.  The day all Christians no matter their denomination stand united saying “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed.”

What does that mean?

God sent His Son Jesus to earth.  He was fully God and fully man.  He walked this earth and was tempted. He saw suffering. He saw hurt. He saw pain. He rejoiced and celebrated. He had friends. He had loved ones. He experienced and witnessed every human emotion and trial.

Except He was without sin!

Then He made the ultimate sacrifice… He humbly took on death and the consequences of sin at the cross.

He did this willingly!

Through His death, burial, and resurrection He paid the price once and for all for each of us.

The Bible is clear, if we believe with our whole heart and confess it with our mouths, we are immediately forgiven and we are saved, our name is then sealed in the book of life.  (Romans 10:9)

Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can comes to the Father except through ME.” John 14:6 NLV

As Christian widows we speak of hope and faith because we know that Christ died on that cross for us.  We’ve professed our faith in His sacrifice.  We’ve invited Him into our hearts and lives.  We’ve vowed to not live perfect happy lives on our own strength, but to live imperfectly messy lives in Christ Jesus.

It’s not about religion sisters, but it is about a personal relationship with Jesus.

We know the hope we have comes from God.  We grieve not in a hopeless manner unsure of where our husbands are, or where we will end up.  We are not vessels floating around in a sea just haphazardly swaying here and there.  We have Christ at the helm of our lives, and we know for certain because of our faith, we will stand in glory someday before God, and we will be reunited with our beloved husbands.

That’s called hopeful grief! 

We’d like to ask you…

Do you have this same hope?

Can you stand with us arm in arm professing the same faith?

Do you have Christ in your heart?

If not, or you’re unsure, then this is what you can do.

Pray sisters. Invite God in.  Profess your faith in Christ’s sacrifice at the cross.  Accept the free gift of salvation.

If you’re not sure how to do that then pray this prayer:

Father God, I believe that you sent Jesus to this earth, and that He was the true son of God.  I believe that Jesus did die on the cross for my sins, but then rose again victoriously.  I ask that you come into my heart and mind and that you reveal all your truths to me.  Lord I commit my life to you, and I choose to live a life that will please you.  Lord I ask for your forgiveness for my sins.  I pray that as I move forward now that my eyes will be opened to all you want to teach me.  In your precious matchless name, Amen

Sisters, if you just asked Christ into your heart the Bible says there is rejoicing in Heaven (Luke 15:7).  How amazing!

Please let us know you have made this decision and have chosen to walk in faith.  Email us or comment here.  We would love to talk with you and pray for you.

Now, proclaim loudly with us, He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!!

 

 

 

 

call4

A Volunteer Spotlight on Liz

Our ministry has been running full throttle, providing devotions, ministering online, and meeting face-to-face with our readers at retreats and conferences for over five years now.  In this past year alone, the level of readership has outgrown the number of needed hands to serve.  So many of our team writers have dedicated heartfelt hours of their time to keep the ministry running.

Liz is one of these writers.

Liz joined our team as a volunteer writer in May of 2013.  From the start I felt a kinship to Liz because we are both raising four boys and we both homeschool.  I remember when she first started writing for the ministry. Our stories were so similar readers thought we were the same person!

But if you have met us in person, you know we’re each created uniquely by God. First of all, I’m a night owl, and Liz is a morning person.

Each morning Liz rises at 4:30 AM to prepare her home. In those wee hours of the morning she begins with prayer and time with the Lord.  She then takes time to work on all the details of the ministry she needs to attend to, whether planning for a conference, writing her posts, or ministering so carefully to the many readers who visit our website and facebook pages.

By the time the boys rise, Liz has already put many hours in, and now she begins a full day with her family.

So why does Liz do this?

Because of  you and women like you who need or want to be reminded that God is with us no matter what’s going on in our lives. Life can get tough for anyone. It’s those who find Christ during the tough times that are more able to get up and live life again. Those of us who’ve met Christ have been shown how to climb out of dispair.  We want that for all ladies out there who have been through what we’ve been through.

Asking how we do it is a good question.

Just take a look here at all of the different jobs our volunteers do, all while managing kids and jobs.

This team was not assembled by me.  They were chosen by the Lord, Who pressed each of them towards this ministry.  There is no other explanation for a team of women so dedicated and selfless that they work harder and more cohesively than I’ve seen organizations of highly paid workers do. They simply answer the call of our readers — women in distress. the husbandless and fatherless. (James 1:27).

Do our devotions bless you?  Why not sign up for our voluntary subscription to help us defray the cost?

We know that many widows struggle with their finances, and so we do not charge a subscription for our articles, in spite of our costs to sustain them.  But there are some of us that could and would be willing to purchase a subscription if asked.  

So we are asking. If you have found this ministry a blessing to you or to women in your life, would you consider a  just five dollarsten dollars, or twenty-five dollars?

And if the Lord is calling for you to partner with us with a monthly contribution, consider using our online secure monthly donation page where you can set up your monthly gift with the peace of mind knowing the transactions are handled securely.

Our ministry team has been hard at work; publishing articles, helping our readers publish their guest blog articles, releasing a printed paperback devotionals or holding our conferences.

Help us keep teaching and encouraging women about the joy of living out your walk in “aNew Season” with Christ by prayerfully considering donating to this ministry and encouraging others to do the same. God bless you for reading and joining forces with us!

kit hinkle liz anne wright a new season a widows might god's grace is sufficient widowhood support

Maybe Not BLESSed…But Blessed

Her children rise up and call her blessed. - Proverbs 31:28a ESV

We had been having a crummy day here. Attitudes were bad, and people were whiny. Including this momma. I was actually to the point of tears at the dinner table, where the me-centered remarks of the kids hit just a little too hard, cut a little too deep. One had been sent to his room, and another was on the verge of going there…his rebellious little heart showing all over his face.

I wish I could say I was handling this all gracefully…but, I was not. I was at the end of my rope, and it showed.

Finally, I stopped talking and just sat there, with my hands in my lap…done.

Everyone was silent.

I wish I had a tape recorder for the next moments, however. Everything was about to change…

My 16 year old looked over at me. He first apologized for his attitude that day. Then he floored me when he said the following:

I know you work hard, Mom. I am grateful for all you do for us…homeschooling us and taking care of the house. I am in awe of all you do, I really am. You amaze me.

Oh. My. Goodness! Words so precious, like honey dripping from the comb.

Lord, thank You for the blessing of this awesome kid!

Sisters, life as a widowed mom is hard! Not a day that goes by that I don’t feel the pressure of too many things to do, too many places to be…not enough me to go around. But, by the grace of God, I continue…bit by bit, moment by moment…trusting God and trying to live for Him. And…when I really, really need it…God’s grace shows through the darkness in scenes like this.

And gives me the strength to keep going.

I pray you, too, can see God’s grace in abundance in your kids…especially on the bad days.

Father, thank You for my children – my joy. Thank You for your grace when I am not the best momma. Thank You for their eyes seeing, despite my failings, what You want me to be. All the glory goes to You, Lord. Amen and Amen.

jill byard a new season a widows might kit hinkle lead my heart

Lead Your Heart

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”  – Obadiah 1:3

“Follow your heart!” I hear this statement time and time again.

I’ve learned an important lesson while experiencing life’s circumstances. When I “follow my heart” my life tends to resemble an unpredictable roller coaster ride. The only consistency this thought process brings is upheaval.  I cannot “follow my heart.”  I have to lead or steer my heart.

My heart can be deceived so easily. It can become marinated in pride and saturated with all kinds of perceptions. Another potential hijacker of a heart is our feelings. They are unpredictable and “go to and fro like waves in the sea.”  I heard Priscilla Shirer, Bible Study author, speak of feelings during one of her simulcasts and I will never forget it.  It was a huge revelation and continues to give insight when my feelings want to start steering my heart. She said, “Feelings don’t have intellect. They aren’t that bright. Don’t trust them.”

These combinations disqualify my heart for the position of leader in my life.

Obadiah chapter one, verse three is a vivid description about what happens when we let our heart be in the lead of our life. We get comfortable and we become deceived as we live our lives following our heart. It makes us live further away from the realities of this world and our focus becomes more about piling on just one more cushion.  Soon we have a plethora of  cushions surrounding us and under us and we resemble the Princess and the Pea fairy tale. It alters how we bend down to reach out to others who are not in our comfort zone.

Finally, I have come to the realization the best way to lead my heart is to daily offer it up to the One who created me and sacrificed His son for my deliverance and restoration. The best plan of action to ensure I stay the course is to marinate my life in His word and soak in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The next time you hear someone say “Follow your heart.” Remember, it might be best if you hijack your heart and lead it directly to Christ for guidance.

Dear Lord, We thank you for your restoration power! Please help us to daily offer our hearts to you, so Your ways are at the forefront of our minds. We know we can’t lead our hearts properly  without following You completely. You are worthy of so much praise and we continue to offer our life to You. In Your Mighty Name, Amen!

 

 

bonnie vickers a new season a widows might widowhood support finding my blessings

Packing up your Sorrows

“For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”   

Matthew 11:30 (ESV)     

It has been said that there is an “art to packing” successfully.  Many would reason that effective packing means taking all you need while keeping the load light.

I know the “packing” drill oh so well, as I have been a flight attendant for over thirty years now and traveling is a big part of my life.  I have packed a suitcase more times than I care to count and can truthfully say I have mastered the art of effective packing.

To make a trip successful, what we decide to place in our luggage is extremely important! A personal trip this past week made me think just how much this is like our life.  It is really important to guard what we place in our personal luggage – our heart.

As I have walked through this grief journey of losing someone who was such a vital part of my life on earth, I have struggled with what I now place in my luggage.  Sorrow.  Fear.  Anger.  Doubt. Loneliness.  Oh, and did I mention sorrow?  You get the picture.  These are heavy emotions.  They weigh me down and take up space that does not allow me to be an effective tool in serving God.  If we allow it, sorrow can be devastating. But, trust me when I say, God means for the sorrow to do great things.   We will  become more effective in our Christian walk  than we would have been without the sorrow,  IF, and only if, we allow Him to use us and our story to minister to others.  Ministering to others does not necessarily have to be in form of writing or speaking, but, simply how we live through the sorrow.  Praising Him even in the storm.

Eventually, we will be able to pack away the sorrow and allow God room in our luggage to open the rivers of His grace.   To do any less would be a great disservice to Him. Our load is lightened as we let go of the heaviness that sorrow, fear, anger, doubt and loneliness place in our heart.  And, oh my friend, how He wants to help.

All who willingly come will receive peace and comfort in their heart.   We must take His yoke and submit to His authority.  He desires to accept the willing servant and it is here we can find rest for our soul.  This is Christ’s invitation to join with us and carry our load.   We must come to Him daily for deliverance from all the heaviness this world offers.

Heavenly Father,   Thank you for emotions, even the emotion of sorrow, Lord.  As hard as this grief journey of losing our beloved husband is, we ask you to come with us to help carry the burden.  We pray others can see the hope we have in You.   I pray for all of my widowed sisters on this journey, Lord.  Give them strength as they begin to pack away their sorrow and replace it with joy.   Amen. 

kit hinkle a new season a widows might widowhood support

Sunday Rest

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

his understanding is unsearchable.

Isaiah 40:28 

As you take this Sunday to rest from your week, we want to pray for you and update you on news from the ministry.

Our prayers for you

We pray you get filled with the Word of God in your quiet time, among friends and family, or at your church.

Drink in the nourishment and let Him fill you with the energy to meet the challenge of the journey ahead.

For He is in control, even when you feel your world is not. Take heart from the words of Isaiah, that He gives you power.

He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-30

News from the Ministry

Summer Camp in July

When I think of the power of rest and renewal through the Lord, I think about the overwhelming response we got from our Save the Date announcement of our summer camp last week. Over a hundred women are saving the date, many with their children. Our planners now know to gear up and be ready! Please be patient as we work out the details. We will open registration within a few weeks.

Serving Opportunities Around the Corner

A Widow’s Might has been reaching more women with the healing power of Christ. We’re so grateful to be serving in His plan, and we’re taking time to pray through our coming steps in ministering. Would you pray with us? We know many have asked how they can come along side of us, and the most important way is through prayer. We are looking to provide definable ways to allow those who feel called to step up and help through volunteer roles. We take seriously our purpose in serving the Lord, so we will plan carefully to open opportunities for others to join us in serving by summertime.

Bless you and your families as you are lifted by God’s grace through your trials and joys over the coming week!

karen emberlin kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god in my widowhood forgetting the past

Forgetting The Past

“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…”     Philippians 3:13 (TLB)

This verse from Philippians has been going through my mind for quite some time.  I must admit, most days I would rather push it aside and not think about it!

My first impression of this passage was, in order to move or look forward to what lies before me on this journey, I must forget my past!  But, what if I do not want to “forget the past” and “look forward”?  I don’t want to “forget” the many years my husband and I shared together.  I don’t want to forget the times we had together (good and bad), his smile, his voice, his touch, the warmth and safety I felt when he wrapped his arms around me, and so much more.  I just want it like it was before my husband died!

My husband and I were happy and looking forward to growing old together.  Oh, our lives were full of challenges, just like many of you experienced, but together, and with God’s help, we were able to face each challenge, one at a time.  Honestly, I had never given any thought of facing life without him.

However, as I continue to move through the many stages of grief connected with this journey, I know that things will never be the same.  I can’t go back.  If I am going to survive, I must “move forward”.

Do I know what that will involve?  No, but I know I must trust God and take one step at a time!  I also know He loves me and is holding my right hand, guiding me with His wisdom and counsel.

As time passes, I find the intensity of my grief is not nearly as great as it was in the beginning.  I am still very sad my life here on earth will never be the same, and there will always be an “ache” in my heart for my husband that no one else can ever fill.  In spite of all those feelings, I am finding God is allowing me to begin to move forward.  He is giving me the courage to try and do things I never would have ever considered doing before my husband passed away.

I am also realizing I do not have to “forget” the past I shared with my husband.  I can keep in my heart the memories and love we shared.  They are mine, and no one can take them away from me!  I do not believe Paul was advising a “memory wipe” when he says, “forgetting what is behind.”  I believe he was telling us to not live in the past, but to focus on the present and the future.  We are to  “press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

When I am honest with myself, my life has always been full of “moving forward” and making many changes.  Making the transition and crossing these bittersweet thresholds was usually an anguished and sticky passage, but somehow, it seemed to be easier with my husband by my side.

Many years ago, I came across an article which I have kept in my wallet to remind me of leaving the old and embracing the new.  I do not even remember what challenge I was facing at the time I read this, and I certainly never imagined that I would ever apply it to the loss of my dear husband.  These words have meant a lot to me the past few months:

“No matter what you are leaving, scoop from the ashes every brightness – the cherished lessons and experiences, the love that can burn a lifetime.  Take these things with you, and toss the rest bravely to the wind.”

Lord, it’s so difficult to let go of the past and to move forward.  Thank You for the memories   can keep forever. Help me not to live in the past, but, give me the strength and desire to continue to move forward and press toward the goal to win the prize which God has set before me!    Amen