jill byard kit hinkle a new season a widows might

Grace is a Wash-Out

 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

Grace.

I’ve been pondering this word all week. I stumbled on the sixteenth verse of Hebrews chapter four, and it has captured my thoughts. I’ve been tied up in thought ever since.

The words “draw near to the throne of grace” have taken my breath away and melted my heart. His word also tells us that “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 ESV) 

His throne of grace must be massive.

Recently I’ve been working through some difficult situations on my journey, and I’m at a loss as how to bind up the deep wounds. The fear of being hurt again shadows me, so I ponder what it looks like to move forward in this area.

It’s been five years since my husband’s passing, and I’ve come to realize that in the midst of the worst time in my life, God’s grace was overflowing like a dam broken by a wash-out. A wash-out happens as a result of too much rain in too short of time. It destroys the dam and the water has to find a different route. God’s grace can flood our circumstances and help us find another route besides bitterness and anger. His grace rushes in, submerges the wounds, and makes way for restoration. 

My husband died as a result of a motorcycle accident. God’s grace rushed in and took him immediately to heaven for complete healing. God’s grace also spared me from the heart-wrenching decisions that come with a critically injured spouse. At the time I didn’t see those moments as grace-filled, but five years later, God has restored my view of grace in life’s hardest moments.

All of this reflecting opened my eyes to the importance of allowing grace to flood the hurts and wash out the fear so my focus can be on healthy, God honoring relationships. He has given my life much grace.

Experiences have the potential to leave us wounded and overwhelmed. Our circumstances might tempt us to count the unfairness of our not so lovely fairy tale ending, but we serve a Savior who tells us to approach His throne of grace boldly. He loves us and offers so much grace from His throne. Therefore, we can’t be stingy about the grace we dole out. He doesn’t require us to be a doormat, but to extend grace and let hurts be washed away so they don’t have an opportunity to entangle us.

So ladies, if you are struggling with the whys and the hurts of  life as a widow, ask God to remind you of the grace He has given.

Dear Jesus, We are so thankful for Your throne of grace. We love You and we ask for Your help as we practice extending this grace. Help us to be bold and full of mercy in our circumstances. We know You see the wounds we carry and we ask You to flood our hearts with Your grace, so You can renew and restore. In Your Mighty Name, Amen!


Jill is a writer/contributor for A Widow’s Might and aNew Season Ministries. Jill is smitten by the northern shoreline of Lake Michigan.  It is her sanctuary. She takes every opportunity to spend time sinking her toes in the sand or swimming in its crystal clear water. In the spring of 2010 she experienced the hardest time of her life when her husband died in a motorcycle accident. She’s spent the last five years learning about the importance of walking by faith and not sight. Jill is now the torchbearer of the legacy her and her husband started twenty-five years ago.  She is mom to three strong and independent girls. Her most important goals are to honor Christ in everything she does, and to live life to the fullest in honor of her husband.

To invite Jill to speak please email her at: admin@anewseason.net

More articles by this author can be found at: http://anewseason.net/author/jillb

 

kit hinkle a new season a widows might the book of ruth

Inlaws- not Outlaws

…a man who had died… the only son of his mother, and she was a widow… And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  

Luke 12:12-13 (ESV)

“I feel like his family doesn’t want me around.”

This is what a precious young widow wrote to us a few weeks ago.

I hope you have a strong positive bond between you and the family of your husband, but if not, take heart  in the fact that you are not alone.

Whether or not your ties to his family are healthy, consider these six tips for helping you gain a new perspective on the family you have married into. I call them my I-N-L-A-W-S.   I hope they are helpful because, even though the marriage lasts “till death do you part”, after his passing, your in-laws are there and grieving, just as you are.  Perhaps you can become the best of allies!

I for It’s normal

It’s very normal and usual for the in-law family to withdraw. I know it’s hurtful at a time when you need the support and love the most. Look at how some of our heroes of the Old Testament mourned over the losses of their children. Naomi lost not only her husband but also two sons. Oh, did she mourn with bitterness, so much so that she wanted Ruth to call her Mara, which meant bitter. (Ruth 1:20 ESV) Jacob, thinking he had lost Joseph, Simeon, and Benjamin reacted with human bitterness. “And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.” (Genesis 42:36 ESV)

As unfair as it is to you, the reality is that his family is suffering and mourning as well, and our humanness will cause each of us to act out in sinful ways.

N for Not necessarily you

Since they are grieving, more than likely, if you’re feeling a sense of alienation from your in-laws, it has nothing to do with you. Many widows experience this. Every situation is different.

L for Level of connectedness isn’t on or off- it’s a spectrum

Some cases the withdrawal turns into animosity, but not always. Each of the writers on our team have been widowed and have dealt with varying degrees of connectedness (or lack of) with the family of their beloved. Some of us are very close to our husband’s families. For many there is a bit of ambivalence—a wavering between love and withdrawal. There are still just as many who discover open emotional wounds developing between our loved one’s families. Sometimes the source of the rift started long before the loss. Other times the rift began because of the loss. Take an honest look and separate what might be a preexisting wound and what might simply be grief.  If your in-laws are in grief, consider the patience you appreciate with others and try to give it to them where you can.

A for Awareness of their grief can help you bridge the gap

I am fortunate. My husband’s family embraces me. At first there was some silence. Then one of them encouraged me that it was nothing I did. It was grief. In Luke 12 Jesus recognizes the pain of the loss of a son. When you are grieving, it might be hard to put yourself in their shoes.

That made so much sense. I was a reminder of what they lost, but I felt like “that stinks!” I didn’t want to lose them just because they were still grieving. So I made sure I reached out to them by visiting often.

Eventually they came around, and now each time I visit there is joyous reunion.

W for Boundaries, not Walls

Many widows struggle with rifts within their families. Sometimes drawing boundaries allows healing on both sides. But try to remember– healthy boundaries are not walls. Unless family members pose threatening harm, be careful about closing the door on communication. Read more about setting your boundaries lovingly here.

S for Stick close to God

Wherever you land with your in-law relationships, stick close to God. Return whatever treatment you receive with love and grace, constantly remembering it’s the relationship with them long-term that’s important. Everyone is hurting right now. What happens today doesn’t have to be the picture of your rapport with them two years from now.

Father God, reach each sister reading this post right now with Truth You want her to know about her in-laws.  Is she to cling close to them for support or draw boundaries or both?  Help her discern the level of connectedness needed for healthy support that is God-centered.  Amen.

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 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, 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 family relationships?  Here are some articles you might try:

Misunderstood by Rene Zonner

Dear Me, Santa! It’s Those “Dear Ones” by Kit Hinkle

bonnie vickers kit hinkle a new season a widows might

Silence the Silence

In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.  (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

One of the nicest compliments on my marriage of twenty-six years came from a young lady who was serving us one evening in a restaurant.  She asked how long we had been married – at the time, we were at our twenty-three year mark.  When we told her, she was astounded.  She shared how she was drawn to our connection while she served us.  She was mesmerized by how deep we were lost in conversation, captivated by each other’s presence, as if no one else existed in that restaurant.  As she lingered at our table, she mentioned how sad it was to serve so many couples who just sit and eat in complete silence.  No laughs shared, no words – only silence.

Looking back,  I did not fully recognize it for the compliment it was.  But, now, no longer able to share those dinners with my husband and when I do go out for a meal, I understand what this young lady was referencing.  I, too, see so many couples share nothing but a table. Their silence is almost tangible. Now, more than ever, I miss the ease of that relationship and those conversations with my life partner.

Today,  those conversations are with God. The dynamic of talking with Him, though, is different.  You must get used to this form of conversation, learn it’s differences.  Although I do not physically see Him, I know He is listening.  And if I sit quietly, I hear His answers.

Since my husband’s departure from this earth, I have spent many nights in silence.  Gone is the easy banter he and I shared. Gone is the support of the one person who helped me out when trouble arrived.  Gone are the simple words of encouragement that lifted my spirits.  Gone is the soothing sound of his voice.  For so many nights, the room that once echoed with his infectious laugh now only serves as a chamber for complete quiet.

Silence – It can be deafening.

But, it can also be golden.

It takes a concentrated step to move beyond that silence.  It takes steps toward the One who is always present and always near, if we just reach out to Him.  In fact, the Bible tells us that it takes complete silent solitude to hear His voice.  It is His love that will carry you through the deafening days of your grief.  When everyone else has moved on with their lives and you feel there is no one left to listen, there is always Jesus.

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear.  (Psalm 10:17 ESV)

There are many ways to move toward breaking the bond silence has on you.  Healthy choices may include a shift from less world to more Jesus.  Less television, more Christian music.  Less internet surfing, more Bible study.  Less sleeping, more prayer. These moves toward Christ can break the quiet evenings when you feel the walls closing in.  It is the first flutter of your heart towards God on any given lonely day when He comes racing to your side.

I am so thankful I serve a Lord who is always available.  I know when my sleepless nights turn into tearful prayers at three AM, He is listening. I know when I am wrecked with loneliness, He is near.  I know when I feel the stranglehold of deep grief surrounding me, He is my comfort.  I have moved toward an even deeper fellowship with my Lord so I am better able to silence the silence.  Or rather, I can FILL the silence with His voice.  His word encourages and His promises are still true.

This temporary life is made for fellowship with Him.  And although, I greatly miss those conversations with my husband, I will choose to fill the moments we shared,  with the One who calls me His own.

Heavenly Father, please be with these ladies, Lord. We hurt  from missing the conversations we shared with our husbands.  Please give us strength to keep our eyes focused on You.  We know You have a plan for all of us even in the midst of this pain.  Thank You for always being with us when the walls of silence close in.  Amen.

linda lint a new season kit hinkle a widows might

Piece by Piece

 

…….and a time to rebuild. Ecclesiastes 3:3 (TLB)

Thoughts were whirring around in my mind like the contents of a blender on high speed: how to get the monster hedge trimmed; when was that particular bill due; what was that strange noise the car made, etc., etc. And in the midst of it all -what would I find to say this month to you dear sisters when my mind was so muddled with so very much.

I needed to just be still before the Lord and listen for Him to speak. One of my favorite techniques to “settle” my mind is working on a jigsaw puzzle online.  There is something very calming in sorting the pieces, putting the frame together, and hearing the “click” of pieces going into place. Sometimes I challenge myself by not looking at the reference picture; and then there are times when I must refer to that picture frequently. Occasionally I do a puzzle with no picture – only a title. Those are the really hard ones!

As I worked through the process this time, I began to think about the new puzzle I was given four years ago with only a title “Linda without Ken”. I had been perfectly content with the “Ken and Linda” project, but everything changed when the last piece of that picture was put in place as my beloved was called to Heaven.

Now I had a whole new set of “pieces” to put together alone. For a while I ignored it because I really didn’t know what to do with it. I had no real picture of “Linda the widow” in my frame of reference. So many things were the same: the house, the car, my clothes, my friends – yet absolutely everything was different.

Yet, God is faithful, and eventually I found myself sorting and  putting together the frame – finding some familiar pieces that gave me comfort – the corner house that he picked for us, the shelves and tables he made, the roses and flowers he planted. These pieces have fit very nicely into this new puzzle and give it strength.

I also found pieces that were alien – loneliness, sorrow,  and yes, some pieces named “anger” and “why”. But these pieces are part of the whole and must be incorporated into this “Linda without Ken” picture. These are the pieces that are the hardest to fit into place.

Four years later I am still working on the puzzle – some days I just get tired of it all and put it aside – but those days don’t come as often now as they once did. I am also discovering some wonderful new pieces – a deeper relationship with God than I ever could have imagined – a quiet peace in knowing that “God’s got this” – the depth and beauty of each of God’s promises to us in His Word – especially this one: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 – the words Moses spoke to Joshua preparing him to move forward into the land that was promised.

Moses was able to speak this to Joshua because in his own life Moses had seen the faithfulness of God to be real. And now I speak it to you, dear sisters, because I too know the faithfulness of God to be real.

Father, Thank you for going before us each day as we move forward putting together these pieces of our lives now.

 

Father to the fatherless Kit Hinkle a new season a widows might

The Morphing of Father’s Day

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

1 John 3:1 (ESV) 

Father’s Day while Tom was alive was a cinch. Breakfast in bed, trinkets from the dollar store, hikes in the woods and an episode of his favorite show, Mythbusters.

Now we use this day to recognize how these godly young boys of mine are developing character like their father’s. I wrote about it here.

It worked so well I imagined years and years of keeping this tradition.

Then yesterday, one of my boys stopped me. “Mom, would you mind not doing the brothers day thing this year?”

I gulped. Was he secretly unhappy with this tradition?

“No, I love it. It’s just time we do something different.”

Isn’t it amazing how you think you’ve got the family traditions after loss figured out? When actually, if you’re not willing to dig beneath the surface, you might find yourself building a relic.

“We don’t need to do anything other families don’t do anymore,” he said.

This is cause for celebration, sisters. My family has found healing, and so will yours!

Perhaps, my invented tradition of Brothers’ Day has served its purpose and run its course. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) tells us, ”for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

I look back now and see how Brother’s Day helped them reflect on their experiences with men who have fathered them in real ways.

Before Loss —their living father - He played backyard football, prayed at the table and coached them on how to stay cool when other kids razzed them. He tossed them in the air at the pool and single-handedly oversaw every aspect of their camping trips.

Year 1 —the village – men from church who stepped in. They came over on Saturdays to make pancakes, showed them how to light the pilot on the fireplace, and took them hiking, camping and fishing.

Year 2 –pastor – a strong leader who took time to intentionally include them on overnight hiking and beach trips with his son and have that man-to-man talk with them about the birds and the bees.

Year 3 – mom – A mom trying to be dad at the same time and finding herself in tears during the Father’s Day sermon because she knew she couldn’t do it all. God would have to continue to provide..

Year 4 – brothers - Brothers who have stepped up and encouraged each other to be Christ-like examples.

Year 5 –Bible teachers - A Sunday school teacher whose humble words moved my preteen’s heart from a constant battle over his salvation to the clarity of knowing he has surrendered to God.

Year 6 – a renewed pastor - a man of integrity who suffered personal setback and hurt, only to stay faithful to God before these boys, teaching them that just as their father’s death did not destroy them, neither did worldly career catastrophe destroy this father role model.

Year 7 – mission leaders - Youth leaders who spent the day in Mexico with the boys, serving at an orphanage. And not just this leader, but the many youth pastors along the way who have shaped these boys.

Now, my boys want to stop Brother’s Day. It was an ingenious way to celebrate. But now they have healed enough to hopefully turn to their Heavenly Father, remembering all the earthly fathers who have pointed the to the real deal–Father God!

We will eat at our favorite café while my boys read a sermon they found about fathers online and praise the God who stepped in as the Father to the fatherless.

Lord would you help my sisters bring meaning out of a day that honors fathers when their own children no longer have one. Help their children to celebrate their own father, fathers they’ve met along the way and their very real Heavenly Father. Amen.

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

Why Did This Happen, God?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

“Content” ?
In any and every situation?

“Really, Lord”?
How can this be!

A few months ago, God’s timing was to take my husband “home” to heaven to be with Him. We were “aging” and had issues we dealt with on a daily basis, but had not given consideration that any of them were at a point of taking us “home”! So needless to say, my husband’s unexpected “journey” to his heavenly home was a total surprise to me.

Oh, what a tough time! I was sure God did not really understand what He was doing. I was sure it was not my husband’s time to go “home”. In a matter of seconds, all of my hopes and dreams were gone! I could not understand how God thought I was going to be able to continue living! So many questions entered in my mind. Why did this happen? Why would God take my husband, now….

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever had a situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow something like this to happen!

As I have had time to work at making changes in my life and think about many things, I realize asking “why” is perfectly normal and isn’t unspiritual.

In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

What can I learn from this?

What part of this is for my protection?

What other opportunities could God be providing for me?

What maturity could God be building into me?

If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have
all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
I Peter 5: 6-7

Sisters, I must admit to you, this journey of “widowhood” has not been an easy one for me. My life changed completely in a matter of a few seconds. In just a couple of weeks after losing my husband, I disposed of most of our personal possessions, left my friends, my church, and moved to another state to be with family.

Was it easy?  No!  But, it was a way for me to find a perspective beyond situations where I felt God had allowed something in my life I didn’t understand.

I will be the first to tell you how much I still miss my husband of 48 years, but I will also tell you that time has allowed many changes in my life too! I am so thankful for my family and dear friends who walk with me, but most of all for my God who is there for every step I take! He has certainly given me an increased desire to draw closer to Him  than I ever did before!

God is there for you too …. just trust Him and ask Him to walk with you, too!

Lord, help me to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love.  Sometimes it’s hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You.  Please help me to trust you, completely – thank you!

liz anne nay wright kit hinkle a new season a widows might God is there for us

God in the Details

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 NIV

I step on the gas. The car groans. I step on it hard. More groaning, but no additional speed. It’s the transmission. A light comes on the dash: transmission hot, idle engine. I did not even know there was such a light! I pull over and idle. The light goes out. We limp the rest of the way home. This is a big deal. And I miss my husband.

It is funny how I can be cruising along (quite literally) on this widow walk and in two seconds can be thrust back into feeling helpless and alone.

But…I am not alone. Shift back in time to the rest of this story and the evidence I have that God was there

  1. We pull out of church rather late that evening and are behind someone traveling…very…slowly…down…the…road. While this was annoying at the moment, it probably saved my transmission failure from happening on a dark, curvy road without a shoulder, a very dangerous situation. We were literally a mile or less from the house when I lost 2nd and 4th gear.
  2. Next morning, my sweet neighbor diagnosed the problem…and offered to fix the car in his shop…at cost. And…that amount just happened to be in my bank account as a tax refund.
  3. One of my sweet sisters in ministry called with a God sighting just as I was praying through what to do about the car.  As she described it to me, we had the blessing of sharing the joy of what it meant to her to see this evidence of the Father…and His perfect timing in her sharing it with me.
  4. Another friend heard of my problems and came over to take my boys to their morning activities at church.
  5. Five friends offered me loaner cars until mine was fixed.
  6. And a sweet widow friend offered me financial assistance, should I need it.

Sisters, I could look at this as “coincidence” or “luck”. Many in the world would. But, to me it shows the depth of God’s love, the intimacy of His care for me. And, as much as I miss my earthly husband and his care of me, I know that my Heavenly Husband has a capacity to care for me in ways that Keith did not. In that, I can rest, regardless of the circumstances.

As I go through this life and many of its worries, I pray that I can always see God’s hand guiding as clearly…and as quickly…as I did in this situation. He is there, sisters…for all our pain and sorrows, for all our heartache and uncertainty, for all our rebuilding and our wrestling.

Dear Father, in this world we will have trouble. We know that. And sometimes it is so hard to take, especially as widows. Please help us to always trust You and rest in You, for You love us more than we know, more than we can conceive. Thank You for Your love and care. Thank You for Your hand in the hard times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

teachkid1

Triggers: Part 2 (Kids’ Triggers)

  It’s healthy to encourage your child to process his grieving, but guide him away from repeatedly tying everyday disappointments to his loss of Dad.  

Last week we dealt with the triggers for tears in your own grieving (click here to read it).  This week we’re talking about helping your children with similar triggers.

What do you do when your child cries and says, “I miss Dad.” Do you curl up and cuddle with him, or gently nudge him to get on with his day?

Especially in that first year, I repeatedly faced these moments.  And in the middle of running a household, managing my own grief, and worrying over my finances, those words “I miss Dad” could sometimes raise my blood pressure and have me  spinning.

Finally, I learned a technique. Break down what’s going on into manageable pieces.  Ask your child what got them thinking about Dad.   You’ll find that the trigger that led to the child saying “I miss Dad” usually falls in two categories.

Trigger #1:  A Memory of Dad

Something reminds your child of good memories with Dad. He might see another father tossing his son in the air at the community pool and remember how Dad did the same.  Good memories kick in, as does the sad feeling of not having his father any longer.  The grief response to this trigger is healthy and will hopefully lead to healing.

When I saw these kinds of triggers, I paused with my boy to relish in the good memories, even if we ended up in tears.  Sometimes we’d pull out the videos or photo books of Tom and laugh at the funny things he did.

I’d remind my kids that Christ said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26 ESV). I liked helping my kids see the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the comfort and healing they experience in remembering funny things about Dad.

If I did that enough with a child, I find that he’d cry and laugh at the same time. Sometimes he’d even brighten at the fun memories of a Dad who really loved him. The more I tied both smiles and tears to the memories, the further my boys got along the road of healing.

Trigger #2:  Everyday Struggles

Maybe a friend has let him down, or he’s having a tough time with school.  These triggers for sadness are normal and happen to all kids whether or not they lost their father.  It’s healthy to encourage your child to process his grieving, but guide him away repeatedly tying everyday disappointments to his loss of Dad. We want strong emotional health to win out over a victim mentality.

Here’s an example of the way I’d sort out the types of grieving with my kids.

I hear “I miss Dad” from behind me and feel my boy’s hands gently clasping my arm.

I set him next to me.  “Is something going on that’s bothering you?”

“Yes, I miss Dad.”

“Remember we talked about two kinds of missing Dad?— the kind when something nice reminds you of Dad, like a nice song, or going to a certain park he liked to go to… and then the kind of missing Dad when something makes you sad and you wish Dad were here to cheer you up.”

He nods. We’ve had this conversation before. He thinks and then says, “Brady kicked me on the trampoline.”

“So are you really missing Dad, or are you mad at Brady, and you wish Dad were here to make it better?”

“Mad,” he says.

“You know.” I elbow him and whisper. “Brady would have kicked you even if Dad were here.”

He nods.

“So what did you do about Brady?”

“I pushed him. He says he won’t be my friend now.”

“You believe him?”

He smiles. “Nah.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have pushed him. Can you forgive him?”

He jumps off the bench. “No!” He runs after Brady. “Watch your back, Brady. You’ll get it next time on the trampoline.”

Father God, give my dear sister discernment in her approach to parenting during this difficult season.  Help her know how to respond when her child begins to cry, no matter how often or how inopportune the tears come up, her response makes a huge difference in her child’s grieving.  With You at the helm and her obedience, her child will heal and she will too.  a  Amen.

017_Hinkle
This article was written in 2010.
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, 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 helping your child with grief?  Here are some articles you might try:

How to Fill a Gap by Liz Anne Wright

Father to the Fatherless by Rene Zonner

 

kit hinkle erika graham a new season a widows might

Full Victory

Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually;  You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.  

Psalm 71:3

The day I stood in the funeral home over my husband’s beautiful, perfect, but still body was the darkest day of my life.

I just stood there shocked that he was gone in a mere instant.  Shocked that I’d never hear his voice, feel his touch, see his eyes, never feel his warm embrace or hear his infectious laugh again. As the fierce emotions washed over me, horrified and feeling my heart and my body tear apart, a word kept rising up from the deep dark within me. CHRIST!

I was experiencing the harshest pain. I had so many questions swirling.  I was crying from unknown places.  I was forced to make unfathomable decisions that a thirty five year old shouldn’t be making.

Yet, I just kept hearing a whisper resonate deep in my soul.  CHRIST!

As the days marched on, that whisper turned to a soft low voice.

From the very same spot I was married, I stood talking about my husband to the vast many who were in attendance at his funeral; I remember hearing it a little louder still. CHRIST!

As I shared what an amazing man my husband was, so much more than that one horrific moment, I suddenly knew for sure I needed to claim Christ.  Loud and clear.  Or satan would certainly claim me in this.

As I moved beyond the first days, even deeper pain, confusion, and intense suffering caused me to go to places in my faith I had never gone before.  I grasped rather quickly that this was going to intensely and drastically shake up my walk, and open me up to depths I had never experienced.

As the days, months, and years unfolded I experienced God lead me to find

full victory in Christ

over this horrific thing.  It wasn’t easy!  There were many days this was so ugly, so vast, the pain so pressing, I wasn’t sure I would make it.  I wasn’t sure I could endure and walk this.  I wasn’t sure I truly believed God was in this.  But, I kept walking forward, claiming Christ even when it was through bitter clenched teeth, or guttural screams.  Claiming His name even when I only mouthed the words and felt so little in my heart.

Because I knew that claiming Christ, invoking His name, would protect me from the onslaught of enemy attacks. 

Proclaiming the magnificent name of THE GREAT I AM, would heal me and move to solid ground.  A place where not only would I profess Christ with my mouth, but I’d know Him again, far deeper and more profoundly in my heart.

And YES, He worked!

I stand in full victory in Christ over the suicidal death of my husband.

Trusting God has the most amazing imperfectly perfect plan for us has not been easy, but it’s been so very worth it.

I’m experiencing the wonderful privilege of seeing His name being glorified through this ugly stuff.  I stand in humble awe of the depths of His love and care over me and my kids.  I’ve learned my only need is in Christ, and I’ve grown to love and trust Him from the same depths of my soul that once barely whispered His name.

Sisters, claim full victory in Christ over your tough stuff or the enemy will claim full victory over you instead!
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Father, I thank you for the victory You’ve given me through Your Son. I thank You that I just needed to trust You and cling to You.  I thank You that You never left me or turned Your back on me even when I wasn’t sure, and was in such deep pain that I couldn’t seek You. Lord, I pray for each woman reading this.  I pray You move them and reveal Yourself to them.  I pray when it’s their time, You bring them full victory in You over their unique story.  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: www.anewseason.net/author/erikag

sheryl pepple kit hinkle a new season a widows might trusting god my identity in christ

The Importance of Our Identity

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

                                                                                                      Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

Pain, beyond anything I could ever imagine, has robbed me of so much, but one thing it cannot rob me of is my identity. Or will it?

Often as widows, we are thrust into a myriad of emotions related to our identity. Even the word “widow” evokes strong emotions. I bet most of us can tell you exactly the first time we were called a widow or the first time we had to check the dreaded box on a form. No one wants to be a member of this club. We can spend years struggling with trying to redefine who we are now that we are no longer someone’s wife. Sometimes we are even tempted to look for another spouse – just so we can continue being someone’s wife.

Before our husbands died, we felt like we knew where our lives were headed; now everything is different and unfamiliar. Often, we begin to falter, to hesitate in our purpose and in our actions. Our family and friends would like to help, but many times they don’t know what to say or do.

This week I was studying the book of Colossians. I started to notice the consistency of Paul’s approach throughout Scripture in encouraging other believers to stay the course during difficult times. He always started with reminding them who they are in Christ. He did not define them by their faults, their circumstances, or their marital status. He identified them as being in Christ. Period.

As believers, our identity in Him tells the greatest story of all. We are God’s children. Christ lives in us and we live in Him. Our life is no longer our own. It was bought for a price. We have everything we need to live according to God’s will. We have His power and His strength. We are holy. We live in His presence for all eternity. What a truly amazing gift! There is no greater gift and we must not lose sight of who we are in Him.

I miss my husband terribly. There are still days when I think – all I want to be is his wife again. I forget my identity rests in Christ and in Christ alone. I need to be reminded just as Paul reminded our brothers and sisters who were faltering. Ask your family and friends to follow in Paul’s footsteps and encourage you by reminding you that your identity is in Christ and Christ alone. Ask them to not look at you as a “widow” or someone who is “broken” but to look at you as someone in whom the King of all Kings lives. Ask them to share with you how they see God working in you and through you so that you may be built up in your faith. Ask them, not just because it will help you. Ask them, because it will strengthen the body of Christ – because you are a precious part of His body – it is who you are and will always be!

 

Want to read more about your identity? Would He Recognize Me? by Jill

Or Who He Says I am by Lori