teri cox daryls music makers kit hinkle a widows might generational support

Generation to Generation

 “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

My first thought as I woke up this morning; “Oh how I wish I had my grandmother’s wisdom; TODAY!”

My grandmother, Agnes, was widowed in her early 50’s. As a new widow with two grown children in their mid to late twenties, she was alone for the first time. Mind you, she had known grief before; her first child was a stillborn son. Yet, this death was a new kind of grief, another hard road to travel, with its own lessons and hurdles to overcome.

At 54, she learned to drive for the first time, in her life. Apparently it did not work out well for neighbors or mailboxes during those initial months, but my grandmother was a determined, hard working woman. She had always worked; picking cotton as a sharecropper alongside her husband, as a supervising “linemen” at a furniture factory-during the war, as a manager of a laundromat, and a missionary to anyone who would listen about her passion for Christ and His power in her life.

TODAY, I wish I could sit across the breakfast table with a cup of coffee and a bowl of grits and sausage (because that’s what Southern women eat) and ask her questions about how she loved, how she grieved, and how she learned to live with heartache and joy simultaneously. TODAY, I would give anything to have her wisdom and love for Jesus poured over my life and my grief journey.

She lived well into her early 90’s and never remarried. We talked about it one day, as I sat at the foot of her rocking chair, and she said, “Teri, I was dumb once, what makes you think I would do that again?” Then she just LAUGHED, before turning serious and with a wistful gaze, she looked past me and said, “No, I just never found anyone else. Opal was a good man and I never found another one who loved me like he did.” I get it now

I recently ventured into the dating world. It’s hard! It’s hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable again, hard to know what to do when you are, hard to allow love without walls and comparisons, hard to be whole and healthy enough (in middle age) to completely love again. I understand the wistful gaze now, the meaning behind it, and the truth of finding good men who can love well, because they love Jesus well. My grandmother spent forty years with just her and Jesus every day. TODAY, I long to know what she learned. 

THE POINT IS NOT ABOUT DATING OR NOT DATING, staying single or remarrying, it’s about the wisdom of those who have traveled this journey of widowhood and what they learned from Jesus along the way. It’s about finding peace and the joy of the Lord-no matter the choice you make regarding men in the future. It’s about not merely surviving as widows, but thriving as DAUGHTERS OF THE ONE TRUE KING.

Perhaps, if we look at sharing, we can redefine the word, “generation” for our purposes.  Perhaps it’s not just age, but years on this journey of widowhood, which defines “generation”. Perhaps those who are three to five years into their journey share with those who are new on the road, and those who are five to ten years in share with those who are three to five, and so on….all I know is that wisdom abounds from those who have gone before us and TODAY I could use some wisdom.

Father-grant us wisdom and discernment to know when to share our stories and help us to be brave enough to be obedient when the opportunities arise. Put others in our path who need to hear You in us; in Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

 

lori reynolds streller kit hinkle a new season a widows might when even if evolves

The Missing

While smiling and nodding, they ask me how I am doing.  It is as if they are willing my response to be something along the lines of, “I am doing well. The kids and I are moving forward and healing. Life is back to normal.”

Sometimes it feels like people “need” me to be doing better than I really am.  After all, we’ve passed the “One Year” mark, and their lives have moved past our pain and loss.

The missing of him in year two is a strange beast.

We teeter between loving memories and an acute knowledge of his absence.

This painful missing in our lives can at times be so real, so overwhelming, so heart shattering that it feels as if the MISSING itself has become the fourth member of our family unit.  Don’t even get me started on the managing of three distinct grief journeys all under the same roof.  It’s flat out exhausting, and not just for this Momma; it is tiring for all of us.

The emptiness of space our loved one filled is a unique pain, isn’t it? Its severity will waiver; it lessens at times and intensifies at others, but it never fully goes away.  Ordinary life events trigger significant pain.  A pain that is physical.  A breath shortening, heart racing, tears brimming, all-consuming ache.

I answer this question of “How are you?” with some version of the truth I am feeling at that very moment.  I’ve put my brave face on with a “We are holding on” or “hanging in there.”  I’ve bitten my lip to hide the quiver, and answered with “It really stinks, but God is still good.” I’ve even wordlessly collapsed into a few strong hugs with tears spilling at the simple gesture of kindness.

More often than not, I soften my answer in an effort to not burden the one asking.  Probably though, I do it to maintain my composure without falling off the cliff upon which I find myself precariously perched.  Because you see, I don’t get to dictate when the missing of him will overwhelm me.  My children don’t get to dictate when the missing of him will slam them into a wall of grief.  

The asking, while I assume it is hard for the asker, and I assure you it is hard for the answerer, is in itself a beautiful gift.

I hear widows complain that people “don’t really mean it” when they ask how we are, that they “don’t really care or want to hear the truth.”  Hey listen, I wouldn’t want to be the one tip toeing around the land mine that is me in these early months or years either.  Let’s cut them some slack.

I tend to think their desperation is more than just a need for me to be doing well so they aren’t made to feel uncomfortable in my mess.

These are people who have been prayer warriors for me and my family.

They have shed tears over our loss.

Many have had to navigate their own grief in losing him from their lives too.

Some encounter my children on a daily basis and see the odd mixture of healing and fresh pain in real time.

I truly am grateful for their considerate questions.  Even when it is unfortunate for them that they caught me in a not so wonderful moment, my heart swells with gratitude.  Their simple gesture of asking, even when awkward for us both, is a precious gift.  It means they are acknowledging our pain and willing to share our burden of “the missing”, if only for a few brief moments.

Lord, instead of me bristling at the brevity of the encounter, help me choose to praise You for bumping me into people who care enough to ask the question.  Keep moving me forward in my healing.  There is no cure for this missing, but I trust that You can make something beautiful of the pain.  Amen.   

Lori meet us

Lori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood.  She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well.  She answers to Mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee.  Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers.  As a writer/speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others.  She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering. 

If you are interested in having Lori speak at your church or function, email her at admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles written by this author: http://anewseason.net/author/loris/    

 

 

 

 

donotgrieve

Roadmap Out of Grief: Kubler Ross

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

Do you ever wish someone would hand you a roadmap and tell you how long this journey out of sorrow will take?

Years ago psychologist Kubler-Ross attempted to create this roadmap. Her model basically goes like this—a person facing loss goes through the following stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

For years I had shrugged my shoulders and gone along with this model  simply because it shows up everywhere—from grief counseling articles to mainstream media. It even shows up in television shows like The Office.  If the world repeats it, then it must be correct…. Right?

It sure seems so–until you walk through loss yourself. Then you might notice these stages of grief don’t quite fit.

I’ve witnessed wide differences in how widows move past grief, bumping along in and out of these stages in all sorts of patterns and paces. Some are quickly ready for their next purpose in life, while others linger for a time in anger or depression.

Why is that? Is it because some loved their husbands more than others?

I don’t think so. I was one to quickly emerge from grief with more hope and vigor for the future. And it’s not that I didn’t love my husband. If you could have seen the love Tom had for me—the level of romance and adoration in our marriage, you would not doubt that my loss is genuine.

After hearing so many stories from the readers of these blogs, I’m convinced there is little connection between the level of adoration or bond between a couple and the recovery process when a spouse dies. And there seems to be no lock-step process of going from denial to acceptance as the model suggests.

I believe the Kubler-Ross model misses something.

Hope.

Paul said to the Thessalonians: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Sisters, are you processing your loss simply to get through to acceptance, or are you looking for more in life?  Let the hope of Christ be that more!

Becoming a widow can be devastating.  You’ll find your own roadmap through these stages at your own pace, but the journey becomes more bearable and fruitful when you are not simply aiming for acceptance, but for a real hope for a future.

Your future and your life has vitality.  Christ gave you purpose–here, in this world.  You will know that by accepting His gift of salvation and surrendering to His authority, you will be exchanging certain death with eternal life.  You will know all He has done to pay for the sins you no longer have to pay for, and you can rest knowing your certain future.

Heavenly Father, if even one sister out there doesn’t understand what You did for her by dying on the cross, can you open her eyes to understand?  Will you help her see how full of sin each of us are and how unacceptable sin is in the presence of our all-perfect Father. Help her understand that You sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment and die for her sins so that she can live eternally.  Amen.

Come back next Sunday when I continue this discussion on the Kubler-Ross model, with some insight on the psychologist Kubler-Ross herself, and her personal spiritual journey. I will also share with you what Christian counseling experts have suggested as a better approach for a model.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Kit

017_HinkleKit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a homeschool mom to teen boys. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Would you like to read more about hope?  Here are some articles you might try:

Lead Me- Guide Me- Walk Beside Me by Karen Emberlin

Blessed Among Women! by Jill Byard

bonnie vickers kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god college move in day widowhood support

Abba, Father

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God.”                                                                                                                                                  (1 John 3:1  ESV)

Autumn days are just around the corner.  Truly, my favorite time of the year.  A break from the summer heat.  Excitement of football games.  Cool crisp mornings.  Pumpkin flavored everything!

And schools are back in session.

This fall marks the fifth year moving a daughter into her desired college living space.  Five years ago was the last college move for my oldest daughter and the first one made on “our own”.  No daddy to help.  This year marks the last college move for me as my second daughter begins her senior year.  It was particularly hard as I struggled once again with not only the physical efforts a move takes, but the emotional toll of watching another daughter achieve a big accomplishment without daddy here to cheer her on. It is so easy to hurt for the moments his absence is unequivocally felt.

As per custom, during move-in weekend, we take a drive through campus. There is always lots of hustle and bustle with incoming freshmen and returning students moving into dorms and apartments. Each excited to begin a new chapter in their lives. I share in their excitement, really, I do. But, a sadness creeps over me as I observe all the helping dads on site. I don’t mind saying, it still hurts to see daughters telling their dads where to take their items and watch them smiling and relishing this moment of independence. I can’t help but to let tears fall as I yearn for my girl’s dad to be present, not only for these moves, but for their lives. I yearn for them to have him here to share these exciting times, to hear his input from questions they have, provide protection from fears and comfort when things don’t go as planned.

Tears fall.  Heart aches.

And yet.  

In the midst of the hurt, I hear His still quiet whisper,

and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:18 ESV)

“I love them.  I am their Father.  My love will never leave, nor forsake.”  His whispers assure me of their Kinship to Him. In the years of college attendance, I know that our Father God has walked closely with my girls. He has been their protector and comforter. He has been faithful in their journey to move forward.

I am now more aware of moments that reach out to cause pain from what we no longer have. I call them “joy robbers”.  Much like a thief creeping into your home to rob you of your belongings, these fears, doubts and why me’s invade our thoughts and hearts to rob us of  joyous living.  What a comfort it is to truly know the love which God has for us.  Romans 8:15 says “and by Him we cry Abba, Father.”

Abba, Father. Don’t you just love that!  It just resonates love.

What a privilege it is to be called a son or daughter of God.  When we experience great pain, we must actively guard our hearts from negative invasions that cause us to question His love for us. Can you say even in the midst of a painful event that God is good? If so, you are living under the Abba love of God.  If you struggle to answer yes, I encourage you to search scripture for assurance of His love. There are many verses that speak of the Father’s love for us. My favorites include:  Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 68: 5-6, John 14:16, and 1 John 3:1.

My heart radiates joy as I watch my daughter’s seek the kinship of Abba, Father. I know they miss their earthly father every day, but trusting in their Heavenly Father is how they are choosing to live.

Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the love You lavish on us so we can be Your child.  I pray You will protect our hearts from the negativities life can deliver us and  find the joyous life You desire for us.  Amen.

karen emberlin kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god widowhood support

I Have A Story To Tell……

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

 

They say “opposites attract” and that was certainly the case for us.  My husband was a leader and I was very content to be a follower.  I was always content to let him speak (for both of us) and stay in the background.  He was not shy, like I was!

However, I seem to be changing since losing my husband.  Even though it is not my nature, I believe the Lord has been urging me to “speak out” and tell my story – a story of how He walks with me and gives me the courage to take each step to move forward on this journey.

I am finding the pain of this journey gives me an opportunity to trust Him more and it draws me closer to Him.   Even joy can emerge from the ashes of this adversity through trusting and thanking Him.

My unexpected journey of widowhood began on 1/2/12.  In just the week before, my husband and I had celebrated Christmas, our 48th wedding anniversary, and then spent a quiet New Year’s Day at home.  That evening everything seemed very normal as we prepared to settle in for the night.  I had difficulty sleeping, so after keeping my husband awake from tossing and turning, I decided to go to my recliner and at least let him rest.  We talked and he agreed that was a good idea. Again, no warning that anything was wrong.  I finally fell asleep in my recliner and woke up a few hours later to find that my husband had passed in his sleep sometime during those few hours.  What a shock!  I will never forget the feeling of panic that set in as I realized he was gone.  I depended on him for everything and could not even imagine how I could ever survive and go on without him.

In less than a month after my husband died, I left our home, most of our earthly possessions, our church and our friends and moved several hundred miles to live with family.  After a year, I downsized again and moved back to the area where I was raised.  I had been gone from there for over forty years, but felt it offered the stability I was looking for in this season of my life.  During the second year I went thru three surgeries and continue to live with daily health issues.  All of which were things I thought I could not do without my husband by my side.

Even though my whole world was turned upside down, because of God’s grace, I have survived!

The past few years have not been easy and certainly not my choice.  There are chapters of my story I would rather not include.   As I go back and read the things I have written, I sometimes feel like I focus on the pain and loneliness too much, nevertheless, it is real and a vital part of my story.

However, because I believe and trust my heavenly Father, I will humbly attempt to accept this part of my story and move forward knowing that He always has my best interest in His heart and plans.

Yes, I have a story to tell – one that began when I took my first breath and it will not end until I breathe my last.  I don’t know what the rest of my story will be – but God does.  He has the storyline already figured out and is carefully crafting the words and happenings to fill in the blanks.  It’s up to me to keep moving forward, no matter how slowly, in order to see what the rest of the story is.

I recently read “your patient suffering sends out ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles”.  One never knows who might be influenced by our words or actions, so, it’s also up to me to keep telling my story.  I want to encourage others that they too can survive on this journey and even find joy again!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for walking with me on this lonely journey and giving me the courage to move on.  I pray that each time I share my story with others; you might allow even one to find encouragement and not give up!  Let us never forget you are there for us – always.   Amen

kit hinkle a new season a widows might widowhood devotional

Our Autumn Devotional

If you haven’t yet put our daily devotional on your nightstand, you may not know how encouraging it is to be able to reach over late at night and grab hold of our support when you need it.

But, don’t take our word on it. Read what those who have purchased the devotional had to say on their Amazon reviews. Then go here to order your copy of the Autumn devotion before September starts, and let the daily comfort begin.

Click here to order your autumn devotional!

Here is what our readers have to say:

“Five Stars-  The best wisdom for hurting spouses. Love both these books, Autumn, and Summer Edition, they are a true blessing!!!”

“This has been extremely helpful in my new season of life. A big thank you to the writers!”

“A great devotional. I am using it every day.”

“What a Godsend! I get the daily blog posts by email and they have made my grief journey so much lighter. When I saw the girls had put together a book, I ordered 2 copies so I could share one with other widows at my church. What a Godsend!”

“Good inspiration-  As there is no ‘cookie-cutter’ scenario in being a widow, this book meets the needs of the readers very well with the authors being in varied situations themselves. Good inspiration.”

Best book I have found! This book as been one of the most “hope-filled” I have found. After losing a spouse, there are so many emotions, feelings and new responsibilities that it can be overwhelming. Every devotion is written by a widow telling us how she survived her first days, months and years. That hope is just the encouragement I need to face each new day. For the Love of HER Life has helped me so much, I have ordered numerous copies to share with other widows.”

“LOVE IT!!! I loved this book. I looked forward to reading it everyday. Every devotional touched my heart and encouraged me.”

“Such An Encouragement! Wonderful articles of encouragement for widows who are struggling. Would recommend it to anyone!”

“It has been the greatest blessing in my life- I was deep into fresh grief when some kind soul, (I don’t remember who it is), forwarded the site: “A Widows Might.” I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the appreciation I feel. It has been the greatest blessing in my life, outside of the word of God. Women who have “been there, done that” honestly sharing the whole truth, including the agonies. An absolute Rock to my soul, reminding me that God is able even when I couldn’t believe it possible to go on. Don’t leave home without it, and when home, find strength and compassion in these pages. What a blessing to me! Thank You, Lord, for these women.”

“It is a good book to have in your widow reading material. This book is helpful because it was written by widows. Not every thing in it will apply to all, but for the most part it has someone in it for all widows… It is a good book to have in your widow reading material. Something will help you or be helpful to pass along as God steers you to others going through the grief journey.”

“So thankful for this faith-based resource for widows. None of us choose this journey but having words of comfort for each day makes the journey a little easier.”

“A book by those who truly understand! This is a wonderful book for those walking the grief journey or even for those who know someone who is and want to better understand the journey. Each of these devotions are written by women who have been there. They understand the crazy mix of emotions that comes with widowhood. The words they write will comfort, encourage, inspire, and help you know that others understand. It makes a great book for churches and counselors to have on hand for new widows!”

Ladies, our ministry is “grass roots”. It is fed and developed by women who love the Lord and walk a “trust-walk” with Him through volunteering.  This devotional was created and made available to you by this team.  Please prayerfully consider supporting us and purchasing your copy today.

absence

Absence Like the Sky

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace” Philippians 1:3-7a ESV

Okay, let me be real with you. I am well. Life and ministry thrive. God has provided a sustainable, flexible career. I get to disciple others, be involved in Kingdom work, and I have deep friendships. My daily needs are met, and my emotions feel stable. I laugh often.

There is much beauty.

But there are moments when still his “absence is like the sky spread over everything,” and missing him is a little more poignant. Certain occasions still create the now familiar heaviness. It’s not the debilitating pain of the early days, but rather a slow, dull ache. It’s an undercurrent of longing that shifts the tide and returns my heart to a place of introspection.

Let me set the scene.

“The past tense of three!”

Laughter erupts at the ridiculous clue. Past tense of three? A shouted answer, a round disc passed, voices intense, and an intermittent beeping creates a fever pitch as it hurtles toward the timer’s end. Groans mix with whoops, and the guys leap from their seats. High fives all around, one would think they won the Super Bowl rather than a round of Catch Phrase.

Laughter comes in rolling wave upon wave. It’s a perfect moment frozen in time. But Jon’s not there; it feels like he should be.

I’m one of the “lucky ones” (though luck is truly a myth) who has always adored her in-laws. I fell in love with Jon’s family immediately. And in death they have still counted me their own. I am so very thankful.

But this time it was hard to be with them. To me his absence was a startling contrast to the laughing family around me. Lies crept in.

“They’re done missing him.”

“I guess we’ve exhausted the storehouse of shared memories.”

“He’s being replaced.”

Without realizing it, I retreated to the safety of my thoughts.

“Ames, are you okay? It seems like this trip has been especially difficult. Sometimes it seems like you hurt more when you’re with us.”

“I do hurt more.”

And given the opportunity to process aloud, my words came in a flood. “It feels like he should be here. When I look at Ben with Holden, I see what Jon would have been like with a son.”

“I’m so excited for another brother to come into the family. (My youngest sister-in-law is headed toward marrying a fantastic guy) “But sometimes I think–‘a new adopted son to replace the old.‘”

“We’re not done missing him. You know there are lies among those thoughts, right?

“Yes.”

“We’re your family. You don’t have to put the walls up.” And then I understood she was right. I had begun to shut them out.

But I need them. And I have a sneaky suspicion that they need me too.

The heaviness lifted. I don’t have deep theological truth to share this time, just simple thoughts. An emotional wall is the opposite of grace.

  • Grace gives permission to handle things differently.
  • Grace remembers the dull aches of others.
  • Grace does not steel itself against hurt.
  • Grace loves and cherishes.
  • Grace does not believe lies.
  • Grace laughs.
  • And grace arrives with open arms.

So as long as they’ll have me, I’ll have them. I’ll keep my heart open. When the missing is more poignant, I won’t shoulder it alone. For grace recalls its family.

“I hold you in my heart.”

thank

Lord, thank you for family. Thank you for people to shoulder the load with me. Father, please meet me in the dull, slow ache. Help me give grace to others. Help me meet them with open arms. 


“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” C.S. Lewis.

Ami is a Kindergarten teacher turned Developmental Therapist turned writer. Ami also assists the elders at her local church through counseling and ladies’ ministry. She began writing two weeks after her husband died in January 2013. The ramblings were her honest, raw, thoughts as a 30 year old, childless widow desperately trying to process the tsunami. She felt strongly that she needed to let others see the journey and let God use it to break down stereotypes of Christian grief. Now she writes to equip and encourage. Ami writes for several blogs and is just entering the world of book publishing!

Check out more posts by this author at- http://anewseason.net/author/amiatkins/

For more posts about in laws click here.

karen pray

Another Day of Prayer

Sisters,

We appreciated your prayers so much last month. And today we are asking for your prayers again.

Today at 5:30 p.m. EST our own Karen Emberlin is having a delicate and serious surgery. She has had health-related issues that she has written about in the past, and these are a concern for the doctor as they perform this surgery.

We assured her our readers would join with the writing team to envelop her in our prayers. We sent her an afghan from this ministry to show her our love is wrapping her during this time. Join us in praying these things:

  • Pray for Karen’s heart to be completely at peace
  • Pray for Karen’s family members to understand clearly what the doctors are explaining and for their hearts to also be at peace with God’s plan
  • Pray for God’s guiding hand on the doctor’s hand and the nurses’ hands too
  • Pray for complete healing and no complications from her earlier, long-term health issuesawm group retreat shot

If you want to type out your prayer on Karen’s behalf, you can include it in the comments here on the website and Karen can see them and know of our love and prayers.

You can read Karen’s articles here

Karen’s bio:

Widowed 2012
Kids: Andrea (adult) Kurt (adult) 4 Grandkids (3 school aged – 1 teen)

Occupation: Retired – Former “partner” with my husband in Website Design and Marketing

My “change of plans” began at 8:00 am January 2, 2012. My husband and I had just spent “quality” time together during the holidays and also had celebrated our forty-eighth wedding anniversary on December 29th. We woke at 1:00 am and talked a little and all seemed very normal. By 8:00 am when I awoke again, he wasn’t awake. I tapped his leg and asked him to move over but got no response. I tried again and then began calling his name. Panic was beginning to set in as I knew something had to be wrong! I finally took hold of his hand to shake it and knew he was gone!! What a shock as we had no idea that there was anything wrong. I can still remember standing there in disbelief and wondering “what will I do now”? I was sure I could not survive on my own! Because of some health issues that I have, I do not drive any longer and depended totally on my husband. There was no way for me to stay alone or continue our business by myself and we were not prepared for anything like this. There certainly did not seem to be much hope for my future.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (from the Living Bible)

Even though this “hole in my heart” doesn’t seem to go away, I know it will get better and I am thankful that the Lord has been with me each step of the way. He does give me a reason to believe that there is hope and a future – just different than what I had planned!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coop Chaos

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

 A friend of mine has a flock of young chickens.  These biddies free-range during the day, but go back into the coop for their grain in the evening.  Late one afternoon, I helped open the coop and put out the grain.

Cackling as they came, the flock descended upon the coop.  Most ran straight for the coop door, bolted inside, and attacked the food trough.  A couple, however, could not find the entrance.  Poor babies, they beat themselves against the side of the coop, clucking madly, in their confusion.  Finally, we took pity on them, picked them up, and set them in front of the open door.  They immediately ran excitedly into the coop with the rest, enjoying their grain.

I thought, How silly these chickens are! 

And then I realized, disconcertedly, that at times I am as silly as the chickens!

Sometimes I squawk about my widow status…all the things I have to do without Keith here.  The broken car, the broken dishwasher, the broken dryer, the broken microwave…an endless list needs my time and attention.  I feel overwhelmed at times, beating my head against the never-ending problems, seeing no solutions…feeling like I have no way to get into the coop of safety, security and calmness.

And yet…there is a solution…a way into the door….right from the scripture.

Trust God – acknowledge Him – don’t lean on myself.

When I take a moment to get quiet with God, distraction-free, I feel His hand lifting me out of the situation and into His greater glory and to His better plan.  The peace I seek becomes less elusive.  I can feed on it, and my Savior’s love, just as the chicks who finally find the door.

Sisters, are you feeling this kind of stress today?  Are you seeking that peace that has become elusive?  Are you squawking instead of listening, just as I was?  Turn to the One who can lift you out of this confusion and onto His path for you, providing you with the sustaining “grain” of His peace!  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Father, forgive me for when I lose my perspective – on You, on my troubles, on my life.  It is not easy on planet Earth for anyone!  I sometimes lose my focus, forgetting to look for You working in my life.  Help me to see You clearly, and the path You have set before me.  Help me to put my hand in Yours as I continue this journey of widowhood.  Help me to feed on You and You alone for my strength and comfort.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Assembly

Assembly Required

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Whether you are a single mother or simply missing that part of you that handled the guy things around the home, take heart.  God is with you in each and every new role you must play in this season.  I want to share with you something I wrote when I was new to walking this journey without my husband. God showed me new perspectives through having me learn to handle those roles which my husband used to do:

* * *

“Mom, can you help me fly my airplane?” Carter asked the weekend on his eighth birthday, six months after losing his father.

Here’s something that hadn’t occurred to me. After the party guests go home, after the house is tidied up and we all take that breather from the pounding noise at the Chuck E Cheese equivalent we just experienced, Carter would want to share his sweet gifts with me.

I have a college education, and believe it or not, an engineering degree. But still I get a bit daunted by this type of request. “Remote control”, “kit”, “assembly required” – these were buzzwords that translated to Dad’s job! After a while, it became convenient for me to rely on Tom for tackling these projects while I tended to our home.

Today I let the laundry sit. Carter needed help with his airplane, so I sat with him at the table. Carter watched me with eyes that anticipated, “Mom knows what she’s doing”. Taking a deep breath to relax my butterflies, I carefully read the instructions with him and we assembled, charged the batteries, and took the plane for its virgin flight.

I had forgotten what a feeling of success these types of toys can bring. With every successful flight, I felt a zing of confidence building in me. If I can handle this, I might be able to handle the hovercraft he got, and then the trebuchet model kit the boys have waiting to be assembled. Perhaps I might even graduate to the Snap Circuits integrated circuit board kit (okay, even with an engineering degree- that might be pushing it!).

It occurred to me that what’s really being assembled is my heart.

Paul reminds the believers in the Corinthian church that these light momentary troubles in our life prepare us for an eternal glory which is beyond comparison to what is seen today.  We want what our husbands gave us in this seen world, but we can no longer have him.  It’s painful to walk alone, but each time we work through these troubles of the seen world, we remember what’s unseen and eternal, and we place our hope there.

It’s not a sacrifice to handle Tom’s traditional role of toy assembly parent; it’s an honor. I now know why Tom gladly jumped at this job- it was one of his ways of teaching joy, his greatest legacy, to our boys.

Tom was so good at having fun that like many married couples, we tended to allow that fun role to go to him, while I carried on with some of the necessary household duties. Now the Lord is challenging me to find that right balance of tasks versus fun with the kids.

Lord, help me to continue to assemble the pieces of Tom magical formula for building Your joy into these boys’ hearts. Because I got so practiced at the tasks of the household while Tom enthusiastically embraced fun at a minute-by-minute basis, I now find that I need to adjust. As strange as it sounds, I thank you for the situation I’m in. There is joy in the struggle of missing Tom, but knowing that without Your will allowing me to walk without him, I may never have allowed myself to get out of the task mode enough to fully experience the joy of Carter’s eighth birthday.

You’ve prepared me with everything I need to raise these children in Your grace to become men who will glorify You throughout their lives.

017_HinkleKit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a homeschool mom to teen boys. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab.  Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her!  She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007.  To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle

Would you like to read more about missing the role your husband had in your life?  Here are some articles you might try:

Where Does My Help Come From by Karen Emberlin

I Miss Our Great Conversations by Jill Byard