I've BEEn adopted-3

Safe to Enjoy the Beauty

I have an unabashed love affair with children’s books. One of my favorite genres, I adore rich illustrations, flowing language, and whimsy. Words evoke emotions, and stir the imagination. I love when authors paint masterful imagery amid simplicity. A story well told is a fresh spring breeze.

Several nights ago I awoke to a peculiar though instantly recognizable sound. I listened in the stupor of the half-asleep, not sure I hadn’t merely dreamt it. There it was again, and I smiled at the unmistakable call of an owl. No joke. Despite my residential neighborhood, an owl must have been right outside my window! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an owl in the wild before.

One of my favorite picture books sprang to mind.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is the story of a little girl who goes “owling” with her Father. She’s waited her whole life for the privilege, and the night spreads before her quiet and mysterious.

“It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling. There was no wind, The trees stood still as giant statues. And the moon was so bright the sky seemed to shine. Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew, long and low, like a sad, sad song.” 

And so we’re whisked along through eyes filled with wonder.

“I didn’t ask what kinds of things hide behind black trees in the middle of the night. When you go owling, you have to be brave.” 

How vividly I imagine a little girl clomping through the snow, trusting her strong father to lead the way. Perhaps she is a little nervous, a bit afraid of things that hide in the night.

But “when you go owling, you have to be brave.”


Once I asked my kindergarten students, “Why was the little girl brave?”

Without hesitation and with full confidence, a small voice eagerly replied, “Because her Dad was there.”

What a gentle reminder of a bigger Father! As with any great story, Owl Moon points to the biggest story. Why do we love heroes? And redemption? And family? And good versus evil?

We long for the ultimate Hero. We long for the ultimate Father.

The little girl was not afraid because he was brave. She trusted her father. He was enough to face the “kinds of things that hide behind black trees.” He protected. And she was safe to enjoy the beauty of the night rather than fear the unknown.

How clearly the gospel rings from the pages of a simple children’s story!

I have a Redeemer who protects, provides, and is infinitely brave. I’ve been adopted, and I have a Father who loves me and makes me dwell in safety.

He knows the unknowns.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3

But I don’t always trust my Father perfectly. Sometimes I fear the things that hide behind black trees. I forget to enjoy His presence. I forget to marvel at the adventure.

But He remains the same. Strong. Trustworthy. Brave.

Jesus trusted, therefore I can trust.

Jesus was brave, therefore I am brave.

“I knew then I could talk, I could even laugh out loud. But I was a shadow as we walked home. When you go owling you don’t need words or warm, or anything but hope.”

The owl continued his song in the night, and I drifted back to sleep–safe, warm, and protected.

Father, You are brave, kind, strong and wise. You dwell with me, therefore, I have nothing to fear. Thank You for beauty of Your presence– You are stability and security. The Gospel empowers me to trust. And I praise You, for you are thoroughly trustworthy! Amen.

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, encourage, and comfort those on similar paths.

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

More posts from our team about bravery and courage-

Grief is a Messy Casserole

Generation to Generation

The Missing

Don’t Let the Dragon in the Room


a new season a widows might becky mccoy

Choosing to Celebrate

By our dear sister, Becky McCoy

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

Psalm 30:11-12

Half way through my son’s second birthday party, my husband had to go upstairs to take a nap. We didn’t know it then, but he only had two months to live; our friends didn’t even know he was sick.

We made a difficult, but necessary decision to take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate.

When you’re in the midst of a hard season of illness or loss, celebration feels like an impossible thing. When your heart feels like it’s been ripped in two, thrown on the ground, and stomped into a pulp, it’s easy to want to run in the opposite direction of celebration.

I used to think that mourning and celebrating were exclusive and I couldn’t experience one if the other was present. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, we read that there’s a specific time for mourning and weeping and another for laughing and dancing. I thought those things came to us in different seasons; if I was mourning, there could be no celebration. Psalm 30 cries out to God for relief and affirms his ability to turn grief into joy.

What I’ve learned is that God, in a show of great grace, doesn’t wait to heal my grief before he changes it into joy. He gives me moments of joy in the gaps of my grief.

When I’m in deep grief and longing for heaven, when I so desperately want to be held by Jesus and reunited with my husband, my three year old hugs my legs, exclaiming, “I love you so much!” or my nine month old grabs my face and kisses me until I can’t stop giggling.

God knows that we need moments of joy mixed in with our moments of grief. Our creator made us for joy and will not withhold it even when we are experiencing great sorrow. God has joy waiting for us if we will choose to accept it.

What opportunities for celebration is God giving you?

Sometimes we celebrate in big ways. My husband and I went to a wedding when he had cancer the first time. We desperately needed a celebration to break up the stress of his chemo treatments. When he was sick again, our son’s birthday was the chance for joy that we couldn’t let pass. My son’s first birthday without his dad was just over a week ago and it was excruciating. I experienced more mourning than I did joy, but God’s grace showed up and gave me moments of joy and chances to celebrate.

More often, though, celebration comes in small, easier to handle portions. Celebrate when you’re able to get all the laundry put away for the first time in awhile. Celebrate when you cook yourself a meal. Celebrate when someone else brings you a meal. Celebrate a smile. Celebrate a beautiful sunset. Celebrate a new day because God wants to show you his great grace again and again and again.

Dear God, thank you for Your great grace. Thank you that You turn my grieving into celebration each day. Thank you for showing me examples of Your redemption and love. Would You help me to accept the opportunities for celebration and joy? Teach me to trust that You are with me in my grief and in my joy. Help me to experience grief and joy together in this season of my life.


becky bioBecky McCoy is full-time mom of a rambunctious, aspiring 3 year old comedian and a constant babbling and mischief making 9 month old. She once enjoyed teaching high school physics and now tells her story of loss, grief, and joyful living on her blog. Having struggled with depression and anxiety and experienced several seasons of grief and struggle, Becky is passionate about creating an online community of encouragement and authenticity.



She Spent Thanksgiving Alone

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

She spent Thanksgiving alone.

It’s a reality.  While many of us have children and friends and family with whom to share Thanksgiving, many spent the day completely alone in their homes.

You may be one of them.

And even if you are not, I ask that you listen in to a conversation I had with a widow about this reality.

She’s in her late sixties and recently lost her husband.  Because of some family misunderstandings, her few grown kids don’t reach out to her.  Her friends and neighbors assumed she had somewhere to go on Thanksgiving, and she didn’t hint that she’d be alone because she didn’t want a sympathy invitation.

So she sat alone on Thursday, watching TV or busying herself with other things to do.

“Here’s what some of you who have families need to understand about many widows out there,” this widowed friend said. “There are many widows like me–very alone, with no children at home.

“And we sit on the holiday–completely, utterly alone. No one to talk to. It’s isolating, and it hurts–deeply.  It’s those widows who need to hear from you too.  They need to know they are not alone, and there is a way to reconnect to the world around them.”

The tears in her voice reflected a deep experience of suffering.

Paul tells the Thessalonians to be thankful in all circumstances because they are the will of God.  But how can it be the “will of God” for a widow to spend such a holiday completely alone?

I thought about my own experience with solitude on a holiday.

It can happen to all of us.

At thirty I was stuck in a post-divorce situation where I didn’t want to connect with “our” friends from the marriage that just ended. My closer friends were traveling to see families.  It was nothing personal, but I was simply in a place where I was alone. It upset me so much that I made a decision to get out no matter what. I spent the day at a soup kitchen, serving a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless.

Still, when the shelter finished the dinner, and it was time to go home, I returned to an empty house.

I looked at the four walls, clicked on a football game and found some potato chips to nurture the wound in my heart.  At the time I didn’t know Christ and His healing strength.  In my solitude I mocked myself.  How could I have had such a big group of friends and family, and yet I still sat alone.  In the week to follow I avoided people. I didn’t want the questions–“How was Thanksgiving?”  I didn’t want to explain I had nowhere to go!

I began to learn who the real Christ is.

I grew in my understanding of Him.  How He chose to be completely alone up there on the cross. How He chose to walk alone in the wilderness for forty days before starting His ministry.  How He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane while his apostles abandoned Him for the comfort of sleep, and how He cried out to the Father in the pain of loneliness.

Solitude brought me closer to Christ.

The Thanksgiving I spent alone connected me with the suffering of Christ and strengthened me to minister to others. What a gift! One that keeps giving because every year those who find themselves in that situation need to hear from others who’ve been there. We know that all of us here on Earth experience that “aloneness” at some point in our lives.

Being alone on a holiday does not make us unworthy.

And having friends and family around us doesn’t make us worthy.


And we are just as worthy of feeling Christ’s joy, even when we are alone on a holiday.

Father God, would You please help my dear sister reading this know You do not will for her to be alone forever.  Help her know she is worthy because of You, and she can be an even bigger blessing to others because she knows the pain that another feels.  Teach her to use that knowledge and feel the power of Your love within her veins.  Amen.

Kit 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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season.  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 being alone?  Here are some articles you might try:

All Alone Am I….. by Karen Emberlin

A Cry in the Night by Linda Lint


lori reynolds streller a widows might widowhood support

More Than My Scars

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” ~Isaiah 61:3 ESV

I stand in this woman’s kitchen answering basic questions that shouldn’t make me bristle.  My friend and I are visiting a church small group that meets in her home.  It is our first time; the hostess is gracious and kind, simply making small talk.


“Do you have children?”

“Do you work outside of your home?”


I try my best to politely answer and escape the questioning before she touches on the subject of my husband.  It’s more than my not wanting to experience the awkward shock that comes when people meet a young(ish) widow.  It’s even more than not wanting to look back into yet another sympathetic face made when others learn of my situation.  It is simply that:


I don’t want to be identified by my scars.


I am a forty-four year old mother of two teenagers.  I am more than a widow.  I am an employee at a wonderful medical practice.  I am more than a widow.  I am a writer and a speaker.  I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece and a friend.  I am so much more than a widow!


My children are more than the loss of their father.  “Half-orphans”, yes…but they are so much more!  They are academic competitors.  They are athletes.  They are my son and my daughter with friendships of their own.  They are more than children who have lost their dad!


I am almost two years into widowhood and while I will always be Tim’s widow, I don’t want to use it as a crutch or an excuse to not be all that God has called me to be.  I want to be known as Lori.


Lori the encourager.


Lori the God-chaser.


Lori the involved mother.


Lori the genuine friend.


Lori the hard-worker.


Lori the team player.


“Widow” is only one of my labels.  I am so much more.  As my healing journey progresses, I find myself desiring to let my other truths move to the forefront and show themselves as more dominant than my scars of widowhood.


Am I torn and damaged?  Yes, I am.

Am I covered in jagged scars on the inside?  Most definitely, yes.


Just like scarring is a natural part of the healing process after an injury on the outside of our bodies,


God is fortifying the gashes of our hearts and souls with healing tissue; ever so gently binding up the raw ends.  He is injecting them with His love, operating on them with His peace, and smoothing their surface with His assurance that we are MORE.


We are more than our circumstances, ladies.  Hear me sisters, we ARE more than our past.  We are more than our pain.  We are survivors!  We are children of the Most High God.


I want to be living life so fully and beautifully that people I meet in the future are shocked to learn I am a widow.  I want my kids to be so outrageously successful throughout high school, in college, and their adult lives that new friends are stunned to hear they lost their dad while still in junior high.


For these wishes to come true, the three of us have to start making choices now; choices to not lead with our pain; choices to show the world that we are so much more than our scars.


Lord, thank you for reminding us that in You, we are more.  You created us for so much more than one label, help us to shine for You.  May we wear our scars with pride because of the healing power You have infused in them. Enable us to lead with Your healing presence in us instead of the pain.  Amen.


Lori Reynolds StrellerLori 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/

For more from A Widow’s Might about using your pain for good see:

Praise in the Storm by Bonnie Vickers

Turn Back and Strengthen by Elizabeth Dyer



Thankful Hearts

Remember the last time you opened that milk in the fridge, took a sniff, and realized with a gag that it was immensely sour?

With the memory of that sour stench lingering, try to remember the last time you had an attitude with a similar odor… Today was one of those days. I woke very early (like still night) and couldn’t go back to sleep. I prayed for everyone I thought of, but stayed put, right there under the covers. Of course I wasn’t up doing anything productive! After some encounters throughout the morning with a person I love but who has a very different personality type than I, I started to wear down. My sleep deprivation began to catch up to me and my attitude hit a wall, so to speak. I’m pretty sure it could be smelled a mile away, like the sour milk found in the fridge. By the time my kids returned from school, I was in a full blown stench!

This friend was using her “gifts” to help me in my home. Instead of my being thankful for the opportunities with her brilliance, all I could do is steady myself from crying! I was not thankful for her experience or her opinion. I just wanted to run to my room and hide under those covers again. Why couldn’t I just embrace the situation? Why did I keep focusing on the reasons for her being here (she wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t been a widow and needing to sell my home) or focusing on how I was so finished with this over-rated thing called CLEANING? My focus could have been completely different if I had stopped to thank God for sending her my way and being grateful I have friends who want to love me by filling gaps in my personality!

This week is Thanksgiving. But sometimes I just do not want to be thankful. I want to wallow in memories of all that was “perfect” and “wonderful”. It actually wasn’t, but I can fantasize!

When I focus on the things I am missing now, it turns my attitude sour in a hurry. Just like that sour milk, I have to toss it out. Get rid of it. Flush it away. Pour it down the drain. My feelings just cannot be trusted because they always lead me down the wrong path. Remembering is one thing–wallowing in self-pity is quite another.

This week with Thanksgiving I am writing out verses to keep my attitude from going sour.

Colossians 3:15 ESV  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Psalm 138:1 ESV I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;

Psalm 69:30 ESV  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 100:4 ESV  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

One thing I learned many many years ago from a Bible study leader is a way to focus on thankfulness. She had us take the year it was and use the numbers to help remind of us of things.

For this year, 2015, it could be remembered in this way:

20 people who have helped you this year in any way (yes, even THOSE people!)

1 answered prayer

5 prayer requests or goals for the coming year

Today, take out your journal (or a back blank page of your Bible) and write this year’s reminder down. Give it some thought and prayer–see where God leads you in your thoughts. Choose also one of the “thankful” verses to write out below it too. Will you comment about a prayer that has been answered this year? We would love to rejoice with you.

If you have trouble remembering if a prayer was answered, please consider starting a prayer journal. It is so encouraging to write down requests and see how God answers them. It may be so beyond what you even prayed! And what a blessing you might miss if you forget to be thankful when God answers your prayers.

Join me in keeping our attitudes from turning sour this week during Thanksgiving and every week as we focus our thoughts on gratefulness.



Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crab keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

Want to read other articles by Elizabeth? click here

Looking for more to read on Thankfulness? Thankful by Teri or The Yet-Praise by Liz Anne




When You Just Want to be Mad!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”

James 1:2 (ESV)

I chatted with a widow who will spend her first Christmas alone after losing her husband just five months ago.

This sweet sister wondered if those of us writing these posts ever get angry with God, or are we just filled with God’s euphoria all the time.

“Kit, I have seen many graces that He has given me, but I wouldn’t need those graces if He hadn’t chosen to allow this in the first place. His love for me is of no comfort to me right now because it seems … He gets to do whatever it is He wants with my life and I am still suppose to take comfort in His love. So I am guessing this means that I am in the anger phase of my grief journey!

“I know this anger will pass, but I sometimes get fed up with reading encouragement when I’m just not ready for it—not just yet. I just want to be mad!”

I suppose it can be easy to read our encouragement as an unnatural joy.  But in fact, each of us had and continue to have our moments when we too cry out in pain, in anger, in self pity..

Here are a few points from the article I wrote called Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?  In it I get real about how even though we encourage with joy, we too, on this team have our moments of grief, and I explain what James means when he describes our struggles as joy.

If you are angry right now and unwilling to accept your circumstances, take heart in knowing all of us have been where you are.  Know that these feelings will pass and that there is beauty all around you.

Father God, guide that sister out there who is struggling with where she is.  Lead her to peaceful waters on this road less traveled, and give her the confidence of knowing she is completely in Your hands.  Amen.

Find the article Kit refers to about the road less travel and finding joy in your grief here:  Consider that Terrible Struggle Joy?

Kit 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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season.  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 anger?  Here are some articles you might try:

I am Mara by Sherry Rickard

New Paint by Bonnie Vickers


Confused and Overwhelmed

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

                                                                                                                          Psalm 119:133 ESV

Headlines covering the recent terrorist attacks remind us of the devastating feelings that engulf us when death occurs. Like an explosion, death destroys in an instant. What once was – is gone. We are instantly immersed in excruciating grief. Eventually, as the smoke begins to clear, we start to move again, only to find ourselves intensely confused and overwhelmed. And so the daily battle begins.

As widows, we find ourselves, faced with hundreds, possibly thousands of decisions, when all we want to do is curl up in a ball. Do you want your loved one buried or cremated? What type of service do you want? Who is going to call so and so? Where are they going to stay? Are you going to sell the house?  What are you going to do with his car? Are you going to work (or continue working)? How are the kids doing? Do you have enough money? What can we do to help? Are you going to get rid of his clothes? When are you going to get rid of his clothes? What are you going to do for the holidays? How are the legal issues going? Have you talked to his family? Are you going to date? And the list goes on and on. And new questions and challenges continue to face us as the journey continues. Have you filed the taxes yet? Are you going to make a memorial quilt or scrapbook? Are you sure you are not ready to date yet? How are you going to fix the car, the fan, the dryer?

No wonder we are confused and overwhelmed.

One of the biggest blessings in my early stages of grief was having one friend that met with me each week to listen as I processed all the decisions I had to make. The most valuable thing she taught me was when I started to get overwhelmed, she would remind me of the things I had already overcome. It was like sticking my nose in God’s faithfulness repeatedly because it clearly was not because of my strength that I had overcome those obstacles, it was because of His strength and provision. He is the one who makes my steps steady. Every time she reminded me of God’s faithfulness, I was able to take one more step. And slowly, but surely, the discipline of remembering God’s faithfulness became more ingrained in my daily thinking. And eventually I could not only walk again, but I could run. Run straight into God’s arms with complete trust, because she had shown me the way, because she knew the way. A few years before, my friend’s incredibly precious seven-year-old son had died because of a tragic accident. She understood firsthand the absolute devastation of grief. She knew how to trust God during the worst of times and how to conquer being confused and overwhelmed. She taught me. And now it is my turn to teach others. He is the one who makes my steps steady.

Dear Sister, you belong to Him! He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He cares about each tear. And He has a purpose for you! Each and every day, He is adding to your portion of faith. You may not see it immediately, you may not feel it. But He is faithful. He is with you. He will keep your steps steady. And soon it will be your turn to teach others. To show them the way, just as my friend showed me. Remember His Faithfulness! 



SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her yellow lab, Super Duper Cooper, and spends time with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandson. She is a seasoned traveler and loves to visit great snorkeling and diving areas. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver in September 2011 and she lost her brother, the victim of an unsolved murder, years ago. Sheryl feels blessed to be able to share how evident God’s grace and faithfulness is in her life.

If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Want to read another great article by Sheryl?  Heartwarming Conclusion

Want to read another article about God’s faithfulness? Moving Forward by Teri Cox

erika graham a widows might widowhood support

I Said Yes

The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the locusts…”

Joel 2:25a  

One year ago today, I said yes.

A yes to so much new.  New adventures.  New home.  New state.  New church.  New love. New children. New family.  New life.  I said yes to a man and his two kids, believing God was using this to restore in our lives what the locusts had destroyed.

On November 16, 2014, I believed I had found my new chapter, my chapter two as some widows call it. My kids would have an earthly father again and a bonus even, new siblings to love.  I would have love again and a partner to go through life with.

But in just a few short weeks after that monumental yes, it unraveled.   And on December 5th, I had to say no.  No to this new life.  No to this man.  No to moving.  No to having romantic love. No to being married again. No to two new precious kids to love. No to it all.

That “no” day was insanely hard.  But it was completely right!

God had made it clear in a hundred different ways through many different people and situations that this was not His will for our life. I knew to the very core of my being I was not to do this thing.  I was not to keep going forward in this direction. God was clearly closing that door.  And a few short months later He even locked it.

If I had been earlier in my journey.  If I had been in a place where the lonely ache ruled.  If I had not healed enough.  If I had not found my only need was in Christ.  I’m not sure I would’ve obeyed God. I’m not sure if I didn’t wait, listen, and seek the Lord, I would not be remarried today.  Because up to that point, I completely believed that remarriage was the way God would restore us.

Yet, even as much as I believed in remarriage as our restoration, my obedience to God in my journey trumped all else.  So, I said a tear filled no, returned the engagement ring, and a gave a final goodbye.

My faithfulness to Him now comes from a deep place.  A place I never knew before the locusts of suicide destroyed our life.  A place I now can completely trust Him in, that leaves no doubt when I come out of it and am called to act.

It’s almost a year after that significant no moment.  God has still not chosen to give me love again or a chance at remarriage.  (And I’m sort of ok with that. ;))

I’ve spent this year growing and reflecting instead.  And I realize now that God is restoring our locust eaten lives every single day.  We wake up.  We do life.  We heal. We laugh. We love.  We live. We move forward.  We are being restored in the life God has called us to because

it’s not the circumstance or the people He gives or withholds from us that restores us.  It’s the ONE who is doing the restoring.

God is here. He is working and growing us every day.  A man and his kids won’t restore our life, because God already has.  A new family won’t fix the suffering, because Jesus already paid it all to fix us.

As I look to our future I really have no clue what’s in store, and I am no longer a hundred percent sure that remarriage will be in my future.  I’ve learned though, I don’t need to know or see.  Instead, I can live in today.  Being obedient and faithful in this moment to a God whose mercies, provision, and protection have been profound over the last five plus years of my life.

Today, I choose to live for HIM and to trust the unique restoration He is doing in and through me and my kids daily.

Father God, I thank you for Your leadings in my life over this last year. I thank You for Your provision and protection.  Lord, continue to reveal Your best good for me and my kids.  I lift up any sister who’s struggling right now with the new You’re calling her to.  I pray You give her perfect peace and clear direction as she looks to step into each day with You. I thank You for Your constant faithfulness to each of us.  In Your matchless name, amen.


295163_1927953164696_1418199297_31839733_2097799_nErika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.

If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at: admin@anewseason.net.

Other articles by this author click here.

Related articles: Moving Forward & The Window



Reliving It: Helping Your Adolescent

Dear sisters who share the same kind of heartache of losing the father of your children.  There are times when I feel my heart breaking for all children who lose a parent, and the night I wrote this, four years after Tom’s passing, was one of them.

Last night I had to set aside everything to simply sit and cry with one of my boys.

You see,  Tom died…  Again.

I expected this, was warned about it. But it nevertheless knocked me off my feet.  Again.

I say “again”, because when a child of six or seven years old loses his father, in a way, he doesn’t really lose him….yet.   The mind of a six or seven-year-old simply can’t fathom the permanence of death.  It takes the adolescent mind of a ten or eleven-year-old to start grasping, at a heart level, what really happened to his father.

And that’s what happened tonight.  In my eleven-year-old’s heart, Dad really died tonight.

And after two straight hours of sobs, he sat up and said, “Mom, it really feels like it just happened—like tonight.”

It started for him with the new aquarium he got for Christmas.  It’s gorgeous—with a cool background and tons of colorful plants, glow-in-the-dark gravel, and a volcano that blows bubbles.  He was marveling at it as he climbed into his bed, and I tucked him in, thinking he is his happy-go-lucky self–until later when he padded into my room. “I miss Dad.”  He had done this many times before, so as I typically do, I followed him to his room and sat with him on his bed.

He told me that all those other times he said he missed Dad, he only wanted me to spend extra time with him.  “This time, Mom, I really, really miss him.”

He cried about not being able to remember as much as he wanted about Dad.  He cried about the teacher at school who would embarrass him by having the class pray for him over not having a Dad.  He cried about missing out on camping and hiking with Dad.  He cried about the kid in school who asked him who signs his papers since his Dad is dead.  He cried about missing Dad’s laugh.

Then he admitted that when Dad died four years ago, he just went through the motions, even though he saw his father die right before his eyes.  “I was too little. I didn’t understand what a heart attack was.  I didn’t know why he was just floating in the water. But even though it was scary, I wasn’t sad.” That night, he told me, after we told him Dad died, he even asked his older brother why he was crying.  When his older brother looked surprised that he didn’t know, he pretended the tears because everyone else was expecting tears.  “Now I know why everyone was crying, and now I can’t stop.”

I spent hours with him, helping him process. You may have to do this with your child when they reach eleven. I hope I did the right things.

“Mom, it’s not fair,” he said. “You always tell me all the great things he did with me, but I was only seven, and I hardly get to remember all the stuff he did.”

“True, it isn’t fair, and I wish you could remember,” I said. “But truth is, all the memories of all the things you and Dad did together are there, locked deep in your brain and heart.  It hurts that you don’t have them at the top of your brain where you can pull them out, but your body remembers, and that’s why you’re the great kid you are today, because deep inside you know you were deeply loved.  Deep down there is a knowledge in your heart that you were held, fed, played with, wrestled with, taken around on Dad’s shoulders, and constantly loved by Dad.  No one can take that away. There are lots of people growing up feeling unloved because nobody did that for them. But you’re special.  Dad really loved you and loved hanging out with you, and deep down you know you’re special because of it.”

That night I was reliving Tom’s death through my eleven-year-old’s tears.  And next to him in the bed across the room was his little brother, who would have to go through the same loss a year later.

These are all seasons, and I’m honored to be able to love this little guy through his loss.


Kit 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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. Her longing for walks on the beach with her chocolate lab has led her to Charleston where she’s now starting her new season.  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 children grieving the loss of their father?  Here are some articles you might try:

Remembering with love, tears, and stones…by Nancy Howell

Grandpa’s Hand by guest blogger Gail Sanseverino


sheep - main

Feed My Sheep

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

John 21:17 ESV

I sat in my parked car just outside the donation shop for a full thirty minutes, motionless except for the tears that slid down my cheeks.  My mind swirled with thoughts, and my heart quietly cried out to God.


I asked for strength.

In the back seat of my car hung my husband’s remaining clothes.  They were some of the last items I still possessed that were his.  I had given many articles of clothing to friends and family and had intended to give away the remaining items several times, but the task seemed just too much to act on.  Hence, here I sat, praying for strength to walk in with these items.


I asked for peace.

My heart hurt knowing that these items were but another part of letting go.  These are steps we eventually have to take – removing his name from accounts, making financial decisions alone, choosing to stay or not stay in our homes, deciding to work or not work.  The list seems endless. And as each step is accomplished, it seems as if another small piece of my heart is shredded. Praying now for peace as I move forward to complete yet another step.

Feed My sheep.

What? I’m not sure I heard you, Lord.

Feed My sheep.

I close off the distractions.  I lean my ear to hear Him.  I clear my mind to understand Him.  I open my heart to trust Him. These words “feed my sheep” were spoken specifically to Peter by Jesus, post-resurrection.  Biblical scholars align the thrice-asked question “Peter, do you love me?” with Peter’s three time denial of Christ before His crucifixion.

Three times Christ questioned Peter. The repetition here emphasizes Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him more than anything. Christ wanted Peter’s devotion to be total commitment.    

Christ follows with instruction for Peter to “feed my sheep”.   This commission to Peter restores him to his apostleship (after his denial of Christ).  Christ is trusting Peter with His most valuable treasure on earth, His flock.

But, how does it fit into this scene I am in the midst of now?  How does it apply to giving away my husband’s clothes?

Feed my sheep.

Just now, in this moment I hear Him ask, “Bonnie, are you firmly grounded so that you are not blown around by every wind of change, every trial, every fear, every grief?  Do you love me more than these?  I want you to feed my sheep.” 

Every time we sin (or in this case, doubt) as believers of Christ, we question our faith and begin to believe we may be unworthy of discipleship.  How do we respond when trials and adversities come our way? Our faith can certainly weaken and crack under great tests.

Oh, sisters, this is exactly what Satan wants.  But, as Jesus loved Peter, restoring him and inviting him back into fellowship, so too does He love us.

With our total devotion to Christ, we are to tend to His flock (the church) by our words and our actions.  He wants our love for Him to be greater than anything so that we know nothing is more important than our love for Him and obeying His call. This is discipleship – feeding and tending His sheep.  I can feed and tend to others by my actions and my words.  I can “feed” others by donating items someone may need. I can “feed” others by sharing my thoughts in a post that may touch a hurting heart.  I can “feed” others by being available to lend someone a helping hand.   I am grateful God reminds me that my work on this earth has yet to be finished.

Even though things in my life have drastically changed, God’s covenant with me has not.  I will stand firmly on this Rock as I move forward, tending to and feeding His flock.

With a renewed hope, purpose and passion, I open my car door, gather my items and enter the store.

Father, thank You for reminding me that nothing is more important than loving You.  No matter what trial, fear or grief  I face, I know You are with me to conquer.   I pray all my widowed sisters can embrace the love You have for us.   Help us to see ways we can “feed Your sheep” as we move forward in this journey.  Amen

bonnieBonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she did not understand. He has been faithful in His promises – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Related articles: Letting Go and Unbroken in Christ