kit hinkle jill byard a new season a widows might trusting god in my loss god is always with us

I Miss Our Great Conversations

He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (esv)

I have been looking through Exodus at the story of Moses and have discovered a connection with him I never noticed in the past. It wasn’t because of all the obvious reasons. I haven’t spotted a burning bush. I haven’t let His people go. I haven’t performed signs and wonders on God’s behalf.

Moses lived among royalty growing up and his life was full of social events. But his life drastically changed and he ended up living as a simple shepherd for forty years. His only audience to speak to–or with–for most of his days was a herd of sheep. A herd of animals doesn’t provide a whole lot of opportunity to hone your skills in the area of conversation starting or smooth talking.

In May it will be five years since my life drastically changed and my husband walked on to Heaven. He wasn’t only my husband, but my best friend. We loved to have deep conversations about a variety of topics. We also enjoyed moments of peaceful solitude and we were content to sit hand in hand with not a single word spoken between us. Our exchanges throughout our day brought me the assurance someone else in the world was interested in my thoughts and my day to day life. It made a huge difference in my life. He fostered confidence in me and my abilities. I miss it so much and long for our conversations.

Like Moses, I do not have many opportunities to have deep conversations. It has been one of the hardest things for me to adjust to as a widow. Honestly, it isn’t the number of conversations I am missing, it is the the person I had the conversations with.

Moses’ example encourages me to be honest with God and talk to Him about the hard places. God acknowledged Moses’ words and provided other ways around Moses’ struggles. Among the reassurances I discovered two promises that brought me hope.

  • When He assigns you a task and a purpose, He will use your inabilities and turn them into His possibilities.
  • He will walk you through the transitions that make you bend so far you feel as if you might break into a million pieces. He will stand you back up as you worship Him in the midst of the breaking.

Dear Heavenly Father, You see our heartbreak and our deepest longings. Thank you for loving us, knowing us and walking with us through our heartache. In Your Mighty Name, Amen.

 

 

eternity-with-god

A Mere Splinter of Eternity

Numbers.
I have never been a fan of numbers.
Not a fan in any form; adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing.  Just not interested in the world of numbers.
Until.
Until I recently began to really ponder on eternity.
Eternity.  Forever.
Eternity.  Our final resting place.
Do we really grasp what God means when John writes in I John 2:25, And this is the promise that He made to us – eternal life. (ESV)
It is often hard for humans to wrap our minds around forever.  We live most days, believing there will always be a tomorrow.  Believing that next year will arrive right on time.  January 1.  A new year.  Tearing the pages off the calendar month after month.  Plans and schedules written in the daily squares without a doubt that the event will arrive right on time.
I know. Because I use to be one of those planners.  Planning for the next year. And the year after that.  I always included God in those thoughts and plans;  just always trusted they would go exactly as “I” had planned.
And then.  Then, my world turned upside down.  God called my husband home to His eternal resting place. And life as I knew it changed in a split second.
Not long after my husband’s passing I heard the statement, “reunion is a mere splinter of an eternal moment away”.   I really like that. A mere splinter of time….that sounds so quick, doesn’t it?
That statement has made me put time in perspective.  It’s human nature to mark time in terms of years.  A year sounds like such a long time.  But when we break it down to 365 days or even 52 weeks, it just doesn’t sound as long.
I was thinking about that in terms of my time with my husband.  We were married for 26 years and 5 months. That sounds like such a long time; and  many would say how wonderful for us to have been married for that long.    But, let’s talk days.  9,653 days sounds shorter.  I must say, I like thinking in terms of days. Privileged to have shared them with the love of my life and my best friend.
God has the last word on living and dying.  I will see my beloved husband again.  Soon.  Psalm 39:5 says “Behold, You have made my days a few handbreadths,  and my lifetime is as nothing before you.  Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (ESV)  Each person’s life is but a breath – a vapor compared to eternity.  That promise was solidified at the cross.  Accepting Christ and the sacrifice He made gives me assurance  I will see my husband.  The grief and the suffering helps us let go of this earth.  I am not the same person I was forty eight months ago.  I have grown in ways I could never imagine.  I have a new spring in my soul, and I know a peace that comes from the resting arms of the God of all comfort.
These words comfort me.  They do not replace the sadness I feel, but they do comfort me.  Knowing time on earth is but a vapor compared to our time in heaven is a great comfort.  My fellow sisters, we can look at this time on earth as but a blink.  Reunion with our loved ones is a mere splinter of an eternal moment away.
Heavenly Father, thank you for salvation through the precious blood of Jesus.  It gives us such comfort as we miss our precious husbands, knowing that we will be reunited in glory.  I pray for each of these ladies that are in grief.  May we all keep our eyes focused on eternity, not the swiftness of this life on earth.  Amen and Amen.

ami atkins when mercy found me kit hinkle a new season a widows might its ok to ask for help

I don’t have to be tough.

” …showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life…” I Peter 3:7 ESV

I got up early, showered, straightened my hair, and overall just looked cute. I thought about corporate worship, and couldn’t wait to be with the church. What snow? I’d be just fine.

Opening my garage door, I wasn’t surprised to see several inches of the white stuff and more still falling. “No problem. I’ve got this.”

I backed out slowly. All was well; there was no getting stuck in this driveway.

Well, until I got stuck, that is.

The wheels spun, and the engine revved. But it was just a show. Hmm, that was futile.

First action step, call a friend, of course. A true gentleman, he offered to come get me. Meekly, I accepted.

In the meantime, I shoveled with determination and perhaps stubbornness. At least I could get it back in the garage, right?

I’ll spare you all the grizzly details, but I ended up wet, covered in snow, mad, crying, and no closer to getting the car unstuck. The wind was unforgiving, hurling snow at places I’d already cleared. And you can forget that lovely, straightened hair.

mad

Tears stung my face. I was angry I no longer had a husband to take care of such things. I was angry I couldn’t do it, and angry I had to ask for help. When I called my friend back, I felt like an incapable wimp.

“Don’t come get me.”

“Why?”

“I’m so angry and upset that I can’t get my car out. I’m mad that I have to, and not at all in the right place to be at church.”

“Ami, you’re being ridiculous. I’m coming to get you,” my guy friend calmly replied.

Later during worship, he slipped me a note. “I need your car keys. Several of us are going to go over and get you unstuck.”

Tears formed again, yet these were full of gratitude. I’m strong in many ways, but it’s okay to admit my weaknesses.

I am weaker in physical strength than men, but that’s not a bad thing.

So, here are the lessons.

Culture says, “be a strong, tough, independent woman.” But God honors women as the “weaker vessel.” I don’t mean that women aren’t capable, but our Lord says be honored, cherished, protected. Be the fine china. My pastor put it this way, “A chivalrous man takes the bullets, does the nasty work, and gets dirty because he realizes a lady shouldn’t have to.”

“…showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel.” I Peter 3:7 ESV

“Weaker vessel” doesn’t mean it’s inferior or any less valued. Rather, it is to be protected, esteemed, more highly valued.

That’s a difficult thing for widows to hear. “Who’s protecting me now? Who is doing the nasty work? Quite frankly, I have to do it a lot these days, “ my heart cries.

Yes, that’s often true, but it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes it’s even needed. I know that’s a challenge, but people may not know the need until we ask. While Peter is speaking specifically to husbands in the verse above, there’s broader application within the church. Men can still honor the women around them with appropriate boundaries.

Being cared for is a lovely thing. I miss my chivalrous husband dearly, but I’m thankful God still puts chivalrous men in my life- family, friends, pastors. I’m thankful for men who help with home repairs, lift heavy objects, and pick me up in a blizzard.

I don’t have to be tough.

Father, ultimately You are the One who protects and provides. But it’s difficult to be on my own. Give me grace to seek help when I need it, and grace to accept help when I need it. Please provide for my fellow sisters, that they may be cherished and valued also. Amen.

spring devotional book a new season a widows might widowhood support kit hinkle devotional books for widows

New Devotional Book!

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We are so happy to announce our

newest devotional book

is now available!

 

aNew Season Ministries announces the release of A Widow’s Might latest devotional book, For the Love of HER Life: Spring Edition through Amazon.com.  The Spring Edition has daily devotions to encourage you throughout the spring from March 1 to May 31. Here are more devotionals to inspire and guide you or your loved one along the grief journey.

You may or may not be a widow, but most likely you KNOW one.  If each of you reading this would get one or two copies to give away as gifts to a hurting widow, then this ministry would reach even more widows with the comfort we all have received from Scripture.

We ask you to minister to others as we do.  Here’s a suggestion, have an extra copy in the car to give to someone in need.  How many times have you met someone at the dentist office or the grocery store and wish you had something to give her which would encourage her?

We love our readers and can’t wait to have this new book in the hands of each and every one.

Did you remember to put your Amazon review in on our Summer, Autumn, Winter editions?  Thank you!

 

 Blessings to you from the Writing Team of A Widow’s
Might/aNew Season Ministries!

 

linda lint kit hinkle a new season a widows might god collects our tears

When Tears Fall

A time to weep….a time to mourn.    Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV) 

 

After almost four years, I still cry at times.

These times do not come as frequently as they once did. In the early months I was like David in Psalm 6:6, “I am weary with my mourning; every night I flood my bed with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping.” (ESV)

I had to stop wearing eye makeup and I purchased tissues six boxes at a time, so I could have a box in every room. I kept mini ice packs in the freezer for my sore eyes.

The tears had their way with me – they came when they wanted, leaving me drained and with raw cheeks like Job in Job 16:16, “My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness.” (ESV)

I sought God fervently during those times, acknowledging that the tears were a necessary part of grief and mourning, while beseeching Him to show me a way to some measure of comfort.

He did not disappoint. Somehow, I was led to a treasure in David’s Psalm 56 – verse 8 “You have put my tears in Your bottle”.  That phrase caused me to wonder exactly what that was all about – what kind of bottle? – and why?.

I discovered the term “Lachrymatory” or “tear bottle”.  Collecting tears in a bottle was a regular practice in ancient times mainly to show the amount of sorrow in grief. Tears were considered valuable and were treasured. Generally each person would collect their own tears and save them as a tribute to the one they mourned.

Yet, David says that God collected his tears. That gave me a startling visual image of God holding a bottle and actually collecting David’s tears – and if God did that for David, God would do it (and had been doing it) for me as well.

I suppose collecting my own tears would be easy enough, if I chose to do so. Collecting another’s tears might not be an easy task, however. Tears of grief are not shed peacefully are they? Imagine trying to hold a bottle to the cheek of one who is curled up in a ball, or pacing around a room or crying face first into a pillow. Yet, this is what God does. Our tears are precious to Him because He understands our pain.

Would I like to stop dealing with tears? Yes. I believe we all would. However, until that day comes “When He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” Revelation 21:4 (ESV) I find comfort in knowing that when tears fall He is so very close, collecting each one as a treasure. And He does the same for you as well dear sister.

Dear Father, When I think of Your tremendous love for me – that You would bend low and come close to collect my tears – I am humbled and stand in awe. Thank You. 

devotional books widowhood support a widows might a new season kit hinkle

Spring is Nearly Here

aNew Season Ministries announces the release of A Widow’s Might latest devotional book, For the Love of HER Life: Spring Edition through Amazon.com.  The Spring Edition will run from March through May. Here are more devotionals to encourage, inspire and guide you or your loved one along the grief journey.

You may or may not be a widow, but most likely you KNOW one.  If each of you reading this would get one or two copies to give away as gifts to a hurting widow, then this ministry would reach even more widows with the comfort we all have received from Scripture.

We ask you to minister to others as we do.  Here’s a suggestion, have an extra copy in the car to give to someone in need.  How many times have you met someone at the dentist office or the grocery store and wish you had something to give her which would encourage her?

We love our readers and can’t wait to have this new book in the hands of each and every one.

Did you remember to put your Amazon review in on our Summer, Autumn, Winter editions?  Thank you!

You can find the book here at this link: amazon

 

Blessings to you from the Writing Team of A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries!

sheryl pepple kit hinkle a new season a widows might i will never leave or forsake you trust god

When There Are No Words

“I will not leave you or forsake you”.  Joshua 1:5b  (ESV)

The feelings are too deep. The pain is too horrific. How do I put what I am feeling into words so that others can understand?

Sometimes there really are no words.

I can remember early in my journey when my pastors and a few close friends gently tried to give me an opportunity to talk about what I was feeling. Just the thought of trying to connect to that abyss in my heart was more than I could bear.

Later, I tried to go to counseling, but I was so terrified of sharing my feelings that I created a task list of all I was doing and dominated the entire conversation with everything but my feelings. I went one time and never went back.

But God had it all covered. About a year before my husband was killed, my best friend’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. As they progressed in their journey, I became overwhelmed with grieving for them. Eventually, I asked another friend to support me by meeting once a week so I could process some of my feelings. Only God knew how critical it was going to be for me to have her support when my husband was killed unexpectedly.

There were times when I would just sit with my friend and I couldn’t say a word, tears just streamed down my face for hours. There were times when I called her late at night because I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the next few hours, let alone over night. There were many days I talked non-stop, but didn’t say anything about what was going on in my heart.

Even now, three and a half years later, I find it hard to talk about my husband. He was the love of my life. We shared twenty-one years together. At the time he died, I had just turned fifty. We had been together almost half my life. I find it extremely hard to put into words what a tremendous part of my life he was. We had a very special love story. It was love at first sight, on his part. It took me five years to trust him with all of my heart; it had been broken before. He is the only person I have ever trusted with all of me. He knew everything about me. He loved me anyway.

I imagine we all share times of having no words. Fortunately, we have a God who needs no words. He loves us and cares for us beyond our comprehension. He sent His Son to die for us. In Joshua 1:5b, He tells us “I will not leave you or forsake you.” Even in the midst of pain where there are no words, HE is a gift beyond words.

 

kit hinkle liz anne nay wright a new season a widows might manna from heaven trusting god

Finding the Manna

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” - Exodus 16:4-5 (ESV)

As I wrote yesterday, the Lord sent Laura to my door with one purpose (her work), but had me in mind when He did. Of that I am sure.

Her message to me was based on a sermon she had recently heard about manna. Their small congregation had lost a couple of teens recently and the pastor was trying to offer comfort to his hurting community. What he shared was basic, but powerful. She had remembered…and shared with me.

Manna –

  • the blessing of God even in the midst of the trials
  • the provision of God even in the midst of longings
  • the steadiness of God even in the midst of the desert

I started that next day, sisters. Each morning, while nursing my youngest son, I pictured myself in the desert, picking up my manna for the day…all I needed. Promises from scripture, blessings from the day before, peace He was bestowing on me even as I gathered little white flakes in my mind.

And it was enough…just for that day. But it was enough. I got through. I survived. Praise Him!

Sisters, just as the manna was there each and every day, so is the grace when going through trials. So is the comfort when facing difficult times. So is He – the essence of Himself – when we are grieving.

He was there for 40 years – 40 years – of struggle as the Israelites wandered through the desert, sometimes getting it right, sometimes not. And He will be there for me – and for you – as you continue through this desert of grief. No matter how long this journey of grief is…even forty years (Lord, help me!). I encourage you to take Him at His word.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. - Psalm 34:8 NIV

Dear Father, You are King of my life, and I praise You for being with me through each and every day of this journey. Just as You provided for the Israelites, day in day out, You have provided for me. Give me the strength, dear Lord, to always, always be willing to pick up what You so graciously have offered. Thank You! Thank You! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

kit hinkle a new season a widows might liz anne nay wright trusting god widowhood support

Who Will He Use?

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2 NIV

God can choose anyone He desires to share His message and give words of comfort and hope to His people. For me, He used a federal investigator.

A couple weeks after Keith passed away, I had a federal investigator come to my door. This is common in our area, where government contracting and security clearances are highly valued commodities, and investigations such as these are conducted regularly. She was investigating my dear neighbor’s son for his clearance.

In the process of talking to her, I mentioned how kind and helpful these neighbors had been with the passing of my husband. The investigator was all apologies for bothering me at such a difficult time, but I assured her that by the grace of God, we were doing well, despite the newness of the loss.

This opened the doorway for a wonderful conversation. As it turned out, this sweet woman, Laura, was a believer. And she was a tremendous blessing to me. She asked about my sweet husband, not prying, but caring, loving. She spoke of tragedy she had known.

Before she left, Laura said, “I have never done this on the job before, but I wondered if I could pray for you?”

Sisters, sitting in my living room, with a stranger whom I met by only the oddest of chances, I had sweet fellowship in prayer, fellowship I needed, like water on a parched land. Praise God for His care in having worked out the details so this would happen just as it did!

I have never seen Laura again. I don’t know anything about her life now, whether she is still in the area, whether she thinks of me or not. But I know I think of her, of her Christ-like love to me and her lbeautiful prayer, and still praise God for bringing her into my life on that day.

And…she had a word that I believe was straight from God for me, one that helped me get through the next months with grace. But that, dear sisters, I will share with you tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Father, thank You for strangers who become friends. Thank You for sending ministering hands just when we need it. Thank You for souls who are obedient to Your call and who serve You first and foremost. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

kit hinkle a new season a widows might widows conference

Growing in Courage: A Conference Workshop

A few registration spots remain for our Dallas conference coming up at the end of this month.  We hope you can join us.  Please take a look on our retreat page and learn more now!

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”

                                                                                                                Psalms 31:24 ESV

I won last place.

Words, enthusiastically written to my grandmother, about the first school race I competed in at age eight.

Words, which ended up searing into my very soul, as my family jokingly shared that story – time and time again.

Somewhere deep in my spirit I began to buy into the lie – I will never be good enough. What better proof than my own family laughing at me for winning last place.

Fast-forward thirty-five years. An offhand comment from a friend brings the lie to the surface. The story of being mocked by my family tumbles out of my mouth as “proof” that I am not good enough. My friend looks at me with a puzzled look on her face and says “are you sure they weren’t admiring your optimism and perseverance? “

Suddenly, my “proof” disappears. The lie is brought to the surface, to be replaced with God’s truth.

Lies keep us in bondage. They make us fearful. Bringing the lies into the light of God’s truth, sets us free.  We become free to follow Christ wherever He leads, whatever our circumstances. We become free to be aligned with His will, for His purposes, which are perfect, pleasing, and acceptable.

What lies do you believe? Is it one of these?

I’m not good enough.

No one cares.

If only I had done things differently.

I can’t do this because my husband is gone.

I don’t have a purpose anymore.

Throughout my journey, these lies can sometimes creep into my thinking. When they do, I try to replace them with God’s truth. There is a lot at stake here. Not just for my well-being but also for the Kingdom of God. I have been created to be a part of the body of Christ; I have a purpose to fulfill. Christ died on the Cross so that my life could be a testimony of God’s grace. My life and my purpose did not end when my husband passed away.

Dictionary.com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear.” There is no doubt we are facing one of the most difficult situations you can face on this earth, the loss of our loved one. We need courage to respond to the challenges we face each and every day. We need courage to survive. But God wants us to do more than survive; He wants us to be everything He intended. We will need to continue to grow in courage.

Register today to join us at the Widows Conference in Dallas, Feb.26-28th. Don’t miss the opportunity to find out more on how you can “Grow in Courage” and many other topics that will help you fulfill God’s purposes for your life.

Learn more and register by clicking right here.

register here

 

For more information, watch this video, and see you in February!

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