Golly Gee!

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

Golly gee, can people just remember to say one standard line to a widow like, “This is hard. I’m here if you need me.”

And can we widows try to remember how hard it is to say the right thing? Maybe even coach people on what to say to a grieving widow.

With ten years since my loss, I look back with a lighter heart at the ways people fumbled, bumbled and stumbled over just what to say to a widow.

Here is my “Golly Gee, they didn’t just say that!” list of the botched approaches:

Good grief approach –
“You poor thing. Bless your heart! Let me take care of you!”

I’m not a poor thing. Give me some credit for not going over the cliff right now.

OMG approach –
“Oh my gosh! That’s so awful! I couldn’t handle that! You must be so strong!”

I gulped and thought, Guess what, sister, we don’t get a choice on what we have to handle, so excuse me for not accepting that compliment. How about God chooses you to be strong instead of me?

Lucky dog approach –
“Wow you’re so lucky. I’d far rather have the insurance payout than my husband sticking around.”

No kidding, this happened! I found myself quietly shunning the woman. I now regret that. She could have used a friend to help her see the good in her married life. She finally left her husband and has regretted her lonely walk ever since.

Lazy husband approach –
“I know exactly how you feel. My husband doesn’t lift a finger at home.”

I reacted, “at least you get to wake up next to the lazy jerk every morning!” Needless to say, the blunt retort didn’t do much to encourage this woman.

You’re young approach –
“don’t worry, you’re young. You’ll find somebody.”

I said nothing and fumed over the comment until I realized she only wanted to encourage and meant absolutely nothing ill by it, just needed a little coaching on what to say.

Get on with it approach –
“Get to work. Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself.”

I felt guilty for spinning my wheels in that first year and recalled the conversation every time we bumped into each other. What a mistake! She didn’t even remember it because what she really meant was she felt compassion for me.

Evading approach –
“ “

The person simply stays away. My reaction ranged from not registering their disappearance to being deeply hurt. I now know I wasted too much emotion here. Many AWOL friends either didn’t want to crowd me or had their own emotional issues about death.

Endlessly dedicated approach—
“There’s got to be something I can do. Anything. Just give me a task, now. You don’t have anything? Well, let me follow you around until I figure out a task.”

My reaction to this type of friend was to begin accommodating her need to help. It was sweet at first but soon became a burden for me as I ran out of things to give her and found her “help” to be an albatross around my neck.

Reacting offensively to an offense does nothing to repair the damage. And if you can learn to see the person through the eyes of Christ, you can have grace and respond to them gently as in Proverbs 15:1.

I now try to understand the heart behind the person’s comment and thank people for trying to help. If I’m ever in that place again, I’ll just let people know that it’s okay to just sit quietly with me or say a simple “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Because the truth is, we all can use grace with one another.

Golly gee, Lord,
I’ve learned something here—I will never judge another for trying to say the right thing because God knows I’ve missed the mark many times! I only pray that my lesson can be learned from someone going through these very conversations today. Amen

 


Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab.  She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.

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

Check out more posts by this author at- Kit Hinkle.

You might also like these posts by our team:

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Yes! I  Still Cry

Dating a Widow

5 Things To Help Us Heal

5 Foods You Should Never Eat

5 Foods You Should Always Eat

5 Tips to a Great Life

                                         5 Exercises to Do Daily

5 …

Everywhere I look I see articles on 5 things. Sometimes these are called “click bait” because they just want you to click on them to get you to their websites. I get so interested in article after article on childhood stars (where are they now?) or bad foods (what to avoid to lose 20 lbs by tomorrow) and so on.

I found 5 things you and I can start doing today, to lead to a happier, healthier, and more healed life.  They are just as relevant today, as they were when they were written thousands of years ago.

Have I got your attention?

Here they are.

Psalm 119:13-16 NIV

With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

I delight in your decrees;  I will not neglect your word.

One of my first pieces of advice I give when someone is going through hard circumstances is to read the Psalms. To me, they seem like peeking into a journal of an old time Bible character-his personal blog before blogging! The authors get mad, they get sad, they complain, they rejoice–sometimes all in the same chapter! Doesn’t that sound a little familiar? But the Psalms have a way of focusing my attention and regaining perspective.

Recount. Start with journaling how God has taken care of you in the past. How God has walked beside you. How God has sent others to hold your arms up in the battle. How Scripture or songs have come on at just the right time you needed them.

Rejoice. Rejoice as one who has won the lottery. I have never even bought a lottery ticket so for me to win would be some major big-time rejoicing! The rejoicing in this verse is pointing at following God’s laws. We might interpret it as rejoicing in living according to Scripture.

Meditate. Give thought throughout the day. We can only do that when we are focused on Scripture as we START the day. I have to work at this still. I can easily get distracted by my life, facebook, or the news. It seems like an inconvenience sometimes to take the time to read, but it is always a blessing when I do. I am trying to read through the entire Bible. It has taken me a year and a half to get half way through; but it sure helps me meditate on eternal things.

Delight. Like in a scrumptious dessert. Look forward to spending time in Scripture. Look forward to spending time in worship with other believers. Sing along with the praise songs on the radio.

I will NOT neglect your word. I’ve already confessed that spending time in God’s Word is still something I have to remind myself to do. I miss days too often. Then, I always have a lame excuse for why I skipped my time in the Word. It can be easy in our early grief to neglect the Scripture because it is too hard to get our brains to focus. But, I believe the Holy Spirit will help us when we ask for focus. God WANTS us to spend time in His Word.

The Psalmist gives us some things we can start doing today. Which one can you add to your life?

~ Recount

~ Rejoice

~ Meditate

~ Delight

~ Not neglect God’s Word.

Do these 5 things every day and you will be happier. I guarantee it.

Or your money back. 😉

Lord, You want me in Your Word. Give me focus today to dig into Scripture. Help me recount the ways You have protected me or answered prayers in the past. I want to follow Your Word today. Amen


12615501_10207224865214213_1344952754011757354_o

Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might.  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 to EMBRACE this new journey. 

Want to read more by Elizabeth? Click HERE 

Need some encouragement as a newer widow?

One Widow’s Psalm by Linda

Only Be Still by Lori

 

 

Hopeful Healing

By our dear sister, Jennifer Stanton

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19

I am nine months in and realizing this journey is full of emotions – many I’ve never felt before. There are moments I think, “I shouldn’t have to deal with this or feel this way.” But I am. These are my circumstances, and this is the journey God has called me on.

You see, being a widow doesn’t mean you lost only a husband – or one role in your life. It means losing your best friend, lover, confidant, trash taker outer, and father to your child, comforter, financial advisor, prayer warrior, partner in this life – the person you shared life with day in and day out. I could go on and on. Their absence is obvious in every moment, and the feelings that come with losing all of these roles are overwhelming.

In the beginning, a grieving mind can make you feel hopeless. I know for me, early on, I felt no reason left to live. There were times I thought there was no way I could possibly go on without him. Debilitating fear would consume my every second. I could not be anywhere alone. I couldn’t even walk into my bedroom by myself without fear overtaking me. I could not drive and, though I did every single day, I could barely put my feet on the floor each morning.

Every night I fell asleep whispering, “Jesus, help me” over and over again. Those were the only three words I could get out. I was literally gaining enough strength to make it through each second.

As I go back to those first few weeks and months after Michael’s death by suicide, thinking about that very dark place, I could never imagine being in the place I am today.

You see, there is only one way to find hope in hopeless times (through a grieving mind), and that is through the one who died for us – Jesus.

If we put all of our hope in our current circumstances, we will be sorely disappointed.

Throughout the Bible, He tells us this over and over again – to put our hope in Him, and He will give us rest. His mercy and grace are the only reason I stand strong today. Because during the moments I couldn’t stand, He was there. Sometimes His presence came through my family and friends. I know for certain He has placed people in my life over the past several months as an extension of Himself. They have been His hands and heart to comfort, guide and bring hope and healing here on earth.

I still have moments of disbelief, moments of grief that come out of nowhere and knock me down. But, I get back up because of His strength.

My grief for Michael will never end. It will last a lifetime. When you see a smile on my face, it doesn’t mean every moment of my life is “happy”. When you see me filled with laughter, it doesn’t mean all is right and I am OK. When you see me doing everyday things, it doesn’t mean I have healed.

Because of the hope Jesus provides, I can look outside of my current circumstances, even when it seems impossible to understand, and find joy.

As a widow, you never move on. You move forward, and I know firsthand taking steps – small or big – to move forward requires much more effort and strength than staying in the same place, full of self-pity.

It is hard work, but I am still here for a reason. As the days and months continue to pass, I know the Lord is with me every step of the way, and I see how He is impacting the lives of others through our horrific story. From the texts and chats with friends, to the messages of those I have never met. They are reminders of His faithfulness and the good that will come from this.

Father God, thank You for Jennifer.  Thank You for protecting her in those early dark days, and for her obedience to You when You called her to share her journey with so many in the midst of her grief.  Lord, we thank You for the eternal hope You give each of us as we grieve. In Your matchless name, amen. 

 

Jennifer attended our Dallas conference in February 2015.  She was widowed by suicide in January 2015.  She lives with her two year old son, Ty, in north central Texas.  Jennifer has inspired us in her walk through this journey in those difficult first days, weeks, and months.  She has obeyed God’s calling on her life in the midst of her deep grief, and is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful grief and walking forward is possible. 

Other articles on hopeful grief:  What is Hopeful Grief?  & Joy Comes in the Morning

 

 

The Missing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have shed tears over our loss.

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

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

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

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

Lori meet us

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Healing Love: Peace in the Midst of Grief

By guest blogger, Stephanie Summers

It took God’s healing love to bring me through the storm of grief I experienced after my sweet husband went home to be with the Lord. Mark 4:35-41 tells the story of Jesus calming the storm at sea when His disciples came to Him for help. They didn’t come in perfect faith. In fact, they came in fear. Jesus met them where they were, understanding their need for peace and calm. He said to the stormy sea, “Peace, be still.”

In the throes of early grief I had that same question, “God, do you not care that my heart is broken?” Did He not care that my peaceful, love-filled life had been turned upside down? How could this be happening to me?

As I walked day by day through my grief, He sent His healing love to me in many different ways. Twice I awoke in the middle of the night to a sermon speaking directly to my circumstance coming through YouTube on my phone. I remember saying to the speaker, “How’d you get on my phone?”  I never go on YouTube and my phone was just laying beside me.

I felt God’s healing love through the notes, texts, and cards of encouragement sent by friends and family over the weeks and months. I felt it through the the telephone calls from old friends hundreds of miles away that came when I was in the depths of loneliness.

God also gave me a hearty dose of His healing love in the Grief Share group I was a part of for thirteen weeks. I remember desperately needing to be around someone who was going through what I was experiencing. My couple friends were great and supportive, but the desire burned inside of me to relate to others who knew exactly what I was feeling.

A supportive hospice counselor was another manifestation of God’s healing love during this time. This contact had been orchestrated by an old friend who had walked the path before me with the loss of a spouse. My counselor listened, reassured me that what I was feeling was “normal” for my circumstance, and assured me that I wasn’t losing my mind.

Early on I researched and found daily devotional emails from Grief Share, A Widows Might and A New Season that sustained me each morning. It always amazed me how fitting and timely each devotional seemed to be for that particular day’s journey.

God waited patiently for me to return to my closeness with Him. He knew I needed time to process my hurt. I was never mad at Him, just hurt that my loving husband was no longer with me and I now had to face life alone. I knew I had to go about the work of creating a new life for myself, but it was hard because I liked my old life just fine.

After attending the A New Season’s conference, I realized that I had been unable to worship God. Pray, yes, but not truly worship. That changed on the second night of the conference. I also brought home with me the experience of knowing I’m not alone. I knew it it my head, but now I experienced it in my heart. On solitary evenings I could now remind myself that “I’m not alone” and believe it.

My journey through grief was a storm. I became symptomatic on more than one occasion with stress related issues. Being a mental health professional for nearly three decades didn’t work any wonders for me. I couldn’t find peace in my own strength, I needed God’s peace.

He came through for me. He met me where I was. And, when I asked, He brought me peace. I finally realized that I just needed to settle down and accept that things are the way they are. This was my new life and it would be ok. I had to start walking in the present with my “big God,” with my God who can do anything.

Now I can look back and clearly see all the amazing gifts of love God showered on me during my time of grief. For this I will always be grateful.

If you are struggling with your own stormy sea of grief, don’t wait until your faith is perfect. Run to Christ. He will shower you with His healing love. God will meet you where you are, calm your storm, and give you His peace.

Heavenly Father, I pray that my dear sisters who are walking this journey of grief will allow your healing love to flow through them. I ask that they will look to Jesus to find the peace they are seeking, letting Him calm the storm of emotions that seem to overwhelm them. These things I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Managing Early Grief

My husband Tim passed away on January 11, 2014, so I am on the cusp of completing my first year’s journey through the early grief of widowhood.  Man, this is tough stuff, isn’t it?  It is a peculiar mix of the ugliest of ugly, intermingled with sheer and utter beauty that comes only through the grace of God.

Grief is messy.

There is expected grief; grief that we can somehow anticipate.  Moments like holidays or anniversaries that we know will be difficult and we can brace ourselves for.  And then there are times when grief sweeps in unexpectedly and completely overwhelms us, huh?

Lori meet uskaren-christmas-2012Our upcoming conference in Dallas will include a session on Managing Early Grief.  Karen Emberlin and I will lead this class.

I won’t lie to you; we don’t have all the answers.  We are walking the same path as the rest of you and are leaning hard into Jesus with every step.  What we can do is give you practical steps to put in place that will help with both the expected and the unexpected grief.  You will learn habits which have worked for us personally and will help you navigate this minefield of early grief.  Our hope is not only for you to benefit from this session; but that you would store these ideas in your heart and mind to help someone else who joins this journey behind you.

I was in the unique position of knowing for a full year that I would soon become a widow.  My husband lost a two-year battle against his fourth cancer.  I won’t go into details, but we knew he was terminal and barring a huge miracle from God, he would die.

During this time, as we lived with the anticipation of death, someone made a comment to me that just stuck.  “Every day when you wake up, the hardest decision you will battle is whether to place your feet on the ground.  Do it.”

And so began my initial 358 days of widowhood.

I hope you will join us in Dallas this February 26th-28th.  The fellowship we encountered at our recent conference in Myrtle Beach was phenomenal.  Women entered that registration area timid and hesitant.  Those same women walked out of our final session with smiles, laughter, new friendships, and the love of Christ resting softly upon them.  It was beautiful.

I encourage you to learn more about the conference and/or register here. We really want to see you there!

register here

This widow walk can be isolating and lonely.  We are a team of writers and speakers who are walking this walk and know to the depths of our beings the pain associated with losing our husbands.  Gathering together and fellowshipping with others who “get” it…well, quite frankly, it is priceless.

Wholly Surrendered

“Surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes.” ~Romans 6:13

Standing in our bathroom, knowing that the end was closing in on us, I began to sob.  My husband wrapped his arms around me as my body shook and the tears flowed freely.  For two years I had been rock solid, knowing that Tim didn’t need a sniveling, distraught wife to add to his list of burdens to bear.  Saving my tears for the middle of the night, when he was sleeping and the chemo was dripping, or for the shower.  Let me tell you, if those shower walls could talk, they would have some stories about my “ugly face” silent cry!  How I didn’t drown, I’ll never know.  On this evening though, I couldn’t hold it all together for

one

more

second.

If I close my eyes, I can still feel the strength of his arms wrapping around me, along with the lump of his port where I would typically have rested my head on his chest, and the valve of his PEG tube that he wore loosely strapped around his neck.  Normally, I could have regained my composure, smiled up into his gorgeous blue eyes and assured him that the kids and I would be okay, but the combination of it all just swept me away in an emotional tidal wave.

“I know that I can do this,” I whispered.  “God is faithful.  He will continue to guide this family and I will raise our children in the same way we have planned.  I know that I can….but I don’t want to.”  Sobbing uncontrollably, I continued, “I don’t want to live this life without you.  This is supposed to be “our” life and I don’t want to do it alone.”

As I write this, I am six months on the other side of his passing and if I am going to be completely honest with you (which I am)…I still don’t want to be doing “this” without him.

 

“This” guiding of our children through adolescents, it’s tough without their Daddy.

“This” attending church and sitting through “couples” studies, it’s awkward.

“This” making decisions for our family as the only adult, it’s exhausting.

“This” doing of life without my best-friend, biggest fan, and lover by my side…it’s lonely.

 

The beauty of the struggle is that while it isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun, God is continuing to bless our little family with the ability to do life well.  I have surrendered my whole being to Him.  I trust Him to use my life for His righteous purposes (Romans 6:13).

Some things will get easier in time and some things may never “get easier”, but you know what?  I am learning to be content where I am.  I want to stay surrendered to God, tucked under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91:4), and leaning heavily into His promises.

As widows, we know just how hard and messy this life can get.  Let’s do “this” together ladies,

 

“this” leaning heavily into Jesus.

“this” wholly surrendering to Him.

 

And then, let’s watch how He uses us for righteous purposes.

 

Thank you Lord that Your presence is enough.  It is where we find strength to take the next breath, peace to guide our grieving hearts, and encouragement to finish the tasks before us.  I want to live a life that honors You; I don’t have time to waste just going through the motions. I want to live with my whole being fully surrendered to You and used for righteous purposes.  Amen.    

Managing Early Grief

Do you remember those first few days in the throes of grief?  You remember reminding yourself just to eat and sleep and breathe? This session will be just what you need if you want some tips on navigating through the rivers of early grief.

Elizabeth Dyer will share her story of loss and the ways God has shown her to change direction from focusing on herself and her grief to focusing on God and what others need.  She has come up with ten concrete things each of us can do in order to navigate early grief.  These are also helpful if you are interested in developing a ministry in your local church for widows.

Sheryl Pepple’s story will inspire you as she shares her grief journey using her sailing experiences.  Sailing was something Sheryl and her late husband enjoyed together.  God has shown her how to tie her past experiences with her husband to her present experiences without her husband.

Please sign up today for your spot at our November conference.  We have so manymanaging early grief picB helpful sessions and you will find yourself relating to the women you are joining for the weekend.

We are all on different stages on our grief journey.  Even if you are feeling past the early pain, there are still tools you can find at this session for you to help someone else.  If you are feeling stuck in the early grief pain, this session will encourage you with ideas to nudge you to find greater fulfillment in God’s plan for your life NOW.

Pray for Sheryl and Elizabeth as they prepare for their session and for each woman to be attuned to God’s leading them to attend our conference.  We can’t wait to meet each one of you.

If you are unable to attend our conference, you can always find helpful articles on our website on dealing with grief.  We are a ministry committed to reaching widows everywhere with God’s love and God’s comfort.  By attending conferences, by reading our articles, by interacting with us on facebook and twitter, or by reading our devotional book, we are here for YOU.

Living in Anticipation of Dying

I will never forget the first time we heard the word “terminal”; a simple eight-letter word that literally left me breathless while my heart raced and thumped about loudly in my chest.

From that point forward, our family began a journey unlike any we had ever been on.

We were now living in anticipation of my husband’s death.

That statement alone is a dichotomy.  As was the time spent in that season.  It took nearly 17 months for the process to reach its completion from the utterance of the word terminal to Tim’s final breath.  The time was both heart-wrenchingly tragic and awe-inspiringly beautiful.  It was filled with tears and overflowing with humor.  It was the hardest of hard and the biggest of blessings.

There was anger and feelings of being cheated out of this life and this wonderful family bond that the four of us had.  There was also sheer joy in the time this illness allowed us to have together, forging our beautiful bond even deeper and stronger.  I learned a lot from my husband in our nineteen years of marriage.

I learned even more as I watched him live with the anticipation of dying.

There was nothing easy about it, but it was lovely just the same; his ability to never complain; his intentional loving of each of us; and his purposeful devotion to our great and mighty God.

Tim taught me to see that we are all terminal.  We are each in the process of dying from the moment we are conceived.  It is a fact of life in this sin-filled and fallen world, but thankfully, death is not final.

For those of us who have professed our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, death has lost its sting!  All praise and glory be to God!  We were created for eternity.  Our earthly decision whether or not to accept Christ’s reconciliation will determine whether we spend that eternity in the presence of God or separated from Him.

Christ died for you and He died for me.  Jesus lived His life in anticipation of His death.  His entire life’s purpose, revolved around His death and resurrection.  Without those two realities, we would have no hope.

So what are we to do with this knowledge; the fact that we are all terminal, whether a doctor has slapped the word across our medical records or not?  How do we wrap our brains around the fact that our lives here are only a mist and then we are gone?

{James 4:14 “What is your life? You are a mist

that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”}

I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to be more…

*More intentional in sharing the love of Christ and His offer of salvation.

*More cautious in the selection of my words and actions.

*More involved in the lives of fellow believers and loved ones.

And just as my Tim modeled in our home, I want to be

*More purposeful in my devotion to our magnificent God.

Father, you have already been victorious over death on our behalf.  Thank you that because of your great sacrifice we can say, “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?”  Lord, keep us mindful that our life on this earth is only a mist and help us to live it with the anticipation of eternity in your presence.  Place urgency in our hearts to be intentional as we share your love with others.  Amen.

It’s International Widows’ Day Tomorrow

It’s International Widows’ Day tomorrow, and I want to share with you a vision Christ has shown our writer team at A Widow’s Might: a vision to be able to serve widows here and eventually, overseas.

All over the world tomorrow, there will be events and publications that will work to increase the awareness of the plight of widows everywhere.

We’re so blessed in this country. Our culture doesn’t shun the widow to the degree that other cultures and countries do.  And it’s for that reason that our writer team keeps praying for widows everywhere.

Like my friend Sree in Malaysia.

I met her here on A Widow’s Might.  She wrote about the terrible ordeal she went through as a Christian widow having to endure torturous Hindu practices during her husband’s funeral (read about it here), or having to take a stand among Hindu in-laws to raise her children as Christians. Later, Sree wanted me to share with you how even in her developed nation of Malaysia the treatment of a Christian widow is oppressive.

“I raise my children in Christ in a country that favors Muslims. I have fewer privileges for scholarships that would allow my kids the kind of education they need to fulfill dreams of becoming professionals.

“I am treated by much of society as someone not allowed to speak with married men, because of cultural attitudes that these men will be robbed by these widows or these men too may take advantage of the widows.

“Widows are so vulnerable. The less privileged or educated ones may go through the same circumstances as the underdeveloped countries.”

Sree’s problems are really tough even though she’s in a developed country.  In underdeveloped countries, many widows have everything taken from them when their husbands pass away, leaving them completely vulnerable.

Yes, we are fortunate here in the United States. Laws protect us, and the economy and different programs make it possible for us to sustain our families and our futures. But we aren’t without problems either. In a society that’s more fast paced than many in the world, the lonely and socially displaced are easily forgotten, and the spiritual bankruptcy that we experience can be overwhelming.

So isn’t it interesting that the vision for serving international widows has come up time and time again in prayer—on separate incidences within our writer team.

What if? Is the question I keep hearing from the team writers

What if, when we gather widows here at conferences, we help them contribute to a group project that helps a widow overseas?

What if, A Widow’s Might can partner with mission organizations to provide safe avenues for widows to join together and travel to serve widows personally on mission trips in other countries?

What if, we as a writer team meet and befriend more international widows, and connect widows here with widows in other countries to encourage one another for Christ? After all my friendship with Sree in Malaysia has opened both her eyes and mine in so many ways.

And the Lord’s answer to all of these what if’sYes, dear ones! In My timing.”

For just as a young mother wants to see her babies grow into young adults who can serve with her outside her community, we want to see our young fledgling ministry grow into a fully developed ministry able to support these kinds of missions.

So, on International Widows’ Day—tomorrow, Monday, June 23, 2014, we at A Widow’s Might would like you to consider how the United States is part of the International Community too.  This ministry that you are receiving comfort from right here needs to grow to continue supporting the spiritual and emotional needs of widows in our country.

If you have found this ministry a blessing to you or to widows in your life, would you consider letting us know with a small donation of just five dollars, ten dollars, or twenty-five dollars?

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

Our ministry team has been hard at work; publishing articles, helping our readers publish their guest blog articles, releasing a printed paperback devotional, holding our Ruth Retreat in March, and organizing a larger conference in Myrtle Beach for November.

The dedication from this group is unprecedented and at this time, it is completely voluntary. We have team members that juggle children and full-time jobs and still find time to give their volunteer service equivalent to full time work, simply because they want to see this ministry remain alive, and even grow to reach more widows worldwide.  They are motivated by the love each one has for our fellow widows and for the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no other ministry quite like ours on the internet, and now we are pushing out into a physical presence through our publications, speaking engagements, and conferences. Our prayers are that reaching the widows here in the United States first can lead to widows across the country not only feeling supported, but also joining hands to impact the world for His kingdom.

Each member of the writing team feels called by God to minister to widows and wants to share the love of Christ with widows. Help us keep teaching and encouraging widows about the joy of living out your walk in “aNew Season” with Christ by prayerfully considering donating to this ministry and encouraging others to do the same. God bless you for reading and joining forces with us!