When Things Aren’t What They Seemed

Secrets.

What do we do with hurtful information we find out about our late husbands?

Recently we received a private message from one of our readers about a very difficult subject. She had discovered some damaging information about her husband after his death. How should she handle this situation?

I had a similar discussion with a friend a while back. She had discovered some information about her late husband that was quite disturbing. It colored everything. Totally shocking.

Her children were young adults when their father passed away after a lengthy illness. The couple had fallen in love in college and had weathered the storms of church disappointments, addiction, job loss, raising children, and moving across country. But now that he was gone, one of her children shared some information about Dad. Her stomach felt sick thinking her husband could have been so horrible to their child, thinking about her child living with the secret pain for many years. She asked me what she should do.

Praying fervently in my heart before proceeding, I said,  “Lord, I don’t even know what to say. Guide my words, please.” 

As widows, what do we do with information about our husbands after they are gone? Mysterious credit card receipts. Suspicious or even pornographic websites on his computer. Surprise allegations he physically abused one of the grandchildren or other children. Could he have been involved in something illegal? Life insurance never purchased after years of pestering, and now bankruptcy? Some of our widows were separated from their husbands at the time of their sudden deaths. 

We can’t confront them now, so what do we do with the information?

Forgiving might be hardest when the recipient isn’t alive.

You have probably heard many quotes about forgiveness -like holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We are killing ourselves when we don’t extend forgiveness to someone.

If we look at Scripture, we can start with a well-known passage like the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  Here in the Amplified Version, we find these words in verse 12.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

In my experience, I have more joy in my life when I release the other person from the debt I have placed on them. The past is the past, and we can’t change what happened. We can change how we go forward from this point. We are all sinners. And extending the same forgiveness to a spouse, even after his death, opens up the pathway for God’s forgiveness toward us. (Colossians 3:13)

And since RELEASE is my word for 2017, I keep my eyes open for ways to use it in every situation.

Is there a debt you are carrying that needs to be released? Let’s not wait another day to release someone from the chains of unforgiveness. It ISN’T easy – sometimes we need to meet with a trained counselor, pastor, or even an attorney. But it IS possible.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  Matthew 6 :11-12 ESV

When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. Mark 11:25 NCV

Forgiveness isn’t something we do for someone else, especially when they aren’t around any more. Forgiveness is something we do for OURSELVES.

Father God, help us be quick to forgive. Release us from the bondage of grudges and unforgiveness. Thank You for Your example of forgiveness in our lives. Help us to be aware of Your Holy Spirit moving in our hearts to forgive someone. Amen


Elizabeth kay Dyer, Elizabeth Sleeper Dyer, Dyer, Sleeper

Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, and a noisy cat named after a German race car driver!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here. 

Here’s another article from Kit and a guest blogger about betrayal and forgiveness. 

 

 

 

 

Faith over Frustration

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”                   

                                                                               Psalm 34:18 ESV                           

Can I get an Amen on how much we miss our “handyman” around our homes?!

My husband was the ultimate “handyman” around our house. He could look at any situation and in his creative mind come up with a solution to make it work better.

I was reminded of this recently when I had to tackle an issue as a result of one of my husband’s ingenious work. He designed and installed a drain pipe to catch the over flow of pool water away from our deck. It was a genius idea. The pipe carried the water away, which over time could have damaged our deck. It also carried away pesky bugs and foliage debris.

But, what I didn’t know, was the need for this drain pipe to be flushed on a regular basis. A scheduled cleansing of pure water to flush the pipe to keep it clean and running free was needed. So, after months of no cleaning, I learned real quick the consequences. Stagnant water began to sit on my deck as a result of a completely clogged pipe. And as I began to tackle this clogged pipe, I thought how perfect an illustration it was in how I was feeling.

The past few months, my life has felt just like that clogged pipe. Clogged with frustrations. An abundance of frustrations! Frustration upon frustration pouring over me clogging my heart and thoughts. You know the feeling when every day presents another challenge and you feel as though you are drowning?

I am ashamed to say it, but, I have let these frustrations grab ahold and cause a struggle with my faith. A struggle not in the sense of questioning God’s faithfulness, but, more in the sense of questioning, “why the abundance of problems?”  And if I can continue to be honest, I have been living in complete defeat lately.

Frustrations were winning and controlling my life. How did I get to this level? I am the first one to stand up and give testimony of how faithful God has been to me since my husband’s death. How could I allow these pesky annoyances to become so debilitating!

As I move towards freeing myself from this debilitating feeling, let me share a few of my steps toward that goal.

  • Own the Struggles   

I have made a hand written list and I am laying them at the Cross. While God already knows what my struggles are, giving them to Him acknowledges His sovereignty.

  • It’s Okay To Say No

I am clearing my life of commitments for awhile (the ones I can). By clearing some time, I am able to spend more time in fellowship with God in study and prayer. Both necessary to conquer any struggles we may have.

  • Relish Solitude

 I am taking some time for me right now. I am scheduling in time for exercise and focusing on healthy eating. I am taking time to slow down and enjoy the little things like evening strolls and reading. It’s okay to not conquer life at mach speed all the time.

I don’t like the feelings I’ve had recently. As a child of God, I want to be strong and a constant testimony to His faithfulness. I do not want to be a weak Christian. And yet it is during these times He reminds me,

 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,  for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                                                                        

                                                                                        2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

His grace will not permit us to fall. His strength and power is manifested even greater by sustaining our weaknesses. And ultimately His power is like a tent over us, giving us shelter, protection, and rest. He is with us. Always. The promise of Grace will never fail us.

Precious Father, thank you for reminding me that it is Your Grace that carries me through the floods of frustrations. Thank you, Lord, for giving us protection and rest through Your Grace. May all my widowed sisters and I glorify Your strength through our weaknesses. Amen


 

My life took a radical turn in the spring of 2009 when the “C word” was introduced into our family.  Cancer.  My healthy husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and life as we knew it would never be the same.  I was able to live the words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” as I walked along side this fight for his life.  After a timg_2753wenty month battle, God called my love home in the wee hours of an October morning in 2010.  I was devastated and could not imagine how I would be able to move forward without the love of my life by my side.

The answer was simple.  Jesus.  His love.  His mercy.  His grace.  He carried me when I was at my lowest.  And I carried Him in my heart even when I 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                                                           

I love reading, baking and long walks along the Florida coastline.  A good portion of my time is spent flying around the country as a flight attendant for over thirty years.  My husband and I were blessed to have shared twenty six years of marriage.  As I watch our daughters grow up, I enjoy seeing his traits and teaching evolve in their character.  He is greatly missed by his three girls.  But, he would be so proud to know we continue to fight the good fight and living out loud for our Savior.

See more from Bonnie at https://anewseason.net/author/bvickers

Read more about overcoming frustrations by Sherry and Kit.

 

Might as Well Do Something

This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job 6:10 (ESV)

How does he do it? The enemy, I mean.

How does satan take a beautiful heart and twist it into his shape, convincing her to reject God and His promises?

He gives her a “fur-lined pity-pot”–that’s how. God-knows where that little phrase came from, but I’ve heard it kicked around in recovery circles. It’s that cozy spot where she curls up like a cat and licks her wounds.

He tells her it’s the safest spot to park herself.

But it’s not!

How many of us have spent at least a season of our time as widows spinning over our painful circumstances, wanting a better life for ourselves, but stuck in a pit of despondency.

There’s a better way. Kick the devil in the rear by rejecting self-pity.

Oh, the joy you will feel when you reject satan.

The impact you will make!  The reward – the everlasting reward to be secure in your place with God and in Heaven!

And while we know there are rewards in stopping the self-pity, we can’t just rid ourselves from it without replacing it with a new mindset.

Try this one: Remember this world–this life–these struggles that seem unending–are but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

And what feels like a curse to have to suffer in this life has its rewards. Because with discomfort, you are never lulled into leaning on the luxuries of this world for security. Rather, you look to the eternal security of your precious loving Abba Father to walk you through every dark valley.

Job in the Old Testament saw this Truth, even in his misery.  After losing ten children, all his material possessions, and the support of his wife and friends, he sat alone, covered in painful boils. And in his misery he did something remarkable.  He praised God. Just listen to his words: “This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.” (Job 6:10 ESV).

Job had it right. Sitting idle for too long doesn’t get you any further out of your misery. Do something. If you can’t seem to do anything, start like Job did by praising God.

And if you can’t seem to use words to praise God, try action.

Think of it this way: You are miserable anyway.  Might as well get something done while you’re at it! Take action! Here’s why:

  • Actions before feelings – Our culture screams for you to give in to feelings.  Don’t!  Move your body and use your mind as if you were hopeful and joyful, and your heart will resonate with those actions and feel joy again!
  • It honors your Maker – It screams to the enemy, I will not let my loss render me useless, and draws you closer to God and His purpose!
  • Results – You grieve whether you remain idle or start cleaning, but a week later, your house is uncluttered. Accomplishing a task puts a lift in your step.

Abba Father,

Give my sister that small nudge to step out of her fur-lined pity-party. Help her at least get up and begin tidying the world around her as a way of acknowledging You are there and she loves You and knows You love her. Embrace her as she takes small steps and please grow that security in her heart. Thank You, Jesus. 


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 home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. 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:

The Upward Kick

Just One Step

Stepping Outside the Boat

Weary From the Journey

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.

Psalm 6:6 NIV

Do you ever have those days? I’ve been having a string of them. Close together. One after the other. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the journey. Just wiped out.

I had a moment the other day where I asked my Savior why I have to be the one who is strengthened through loss. Why do I have to be the one who glorifies Christ in my grief journey? I don’t want this. I didn’t think it would take this long. I don’t like the valley. I don’t like others seeing me in the valley. I’m tired.

What do I do with that? How do I walk out of that valley?

Well, sweet sisters, this is what the journey looks like. We’ve got sweet sisters ahead of us that are beckoning to us to catch up. We’ve got sisters on the mountaintops that are smiling and looking down at us in the valley saying, “You can do this! You’ve got it!” and pointing to the trail up the mountainside. And there are those that are right beside me. As I look up from my own hands and lap with tears streaming down my face, I see their faces smudged with tears looking back. There are sisters calling to us from behind, asking about the terrain of the path we are all on. All of these Saints put in different places along the journey by the Savior.

Intentional introductions orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe – my personal Savior.

So, as I take a moment from my own groaning and weeping, I see that God loves me – He intentionally loves me in a very intimate, specific way, that only a personal Savior can.

If I look at scripture:
-God writes to me of His great plans (Jeremiah 29:11);
-God reminds me to put my trust in Him (Psalm 7:1a);
-God tells me stories of great men and women who have come before and, by trusting in God, were blessed beyond measure (Abraham, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Moses, Job, Joseph)

I am reminded in scripture that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

I lean on the Lord’s promises. They are throughout scripture. They are true and you can rest in them. The Lord that led His people to the promised land, will lead me to my promised land and there will be joy.

For me, I have to give Him my plans, my fears, my wants, my dreams, my frustrations, all of it. I can’t hold on to anything or I won’t be in a place where my hands are open to receive what God has for me. In me giving up everything, I am empty of me and He fills that emptiness.

And, all of the stuff I’ve been holding onto – fear, doubt, my “it’s not fair” attitude, plans, dreams, wants, condemnation – I no longer have to carry. It all goes into the Father’s Hands for Him to deal with. And His conversation with me in love is, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”“No one, sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 (NIV)

I share all this with you so that you know that no matter where you are on this journey, your personal Savior has intentional introductions for you. He wants to walk this with you and has sent Saints to accompany you along the way. I’ve just finished resting for a moment. I changed my shoes and I’m ready to get up and walk some more. God’s not finished with me yet and He’s not finished with you either. So, get up and walk with me!

Dear Lord, I thank You for letting me rest in You! I thank You for being big enough to take my questions and disappointments and for still holding me close. I thank You for the intentional introductions you have orchestrated along the way. At just the perfect moment, You have provided a wonderful Saint to encourage me, carry me, pray with or for me. I do trust You and I do believe that my best is yet to come in You. Thank You, Lord!


Sherry LookSherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and has just started her second year of college.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like: What’s in Your Eye? By Teri Cox

A More Grateful Heart

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

                                                                                                                                                                   Romans 1:21 ESV

Is it okay to be angry with God? It is a much-debated topic amongst Christians with no easy answer. Personally, I tend to lean towards one answer, but I can also see the validity in the other response. One thing I do know – staying angry with God can be hazardous to our well-being.

When we stay angry with God, we are in essence saying we don’t like what He did (or didn’t do). We become stuck in believing our way would have been better. Our view of Him has shifted, and we are no longer acknowledging who He really is. We are questioning either His sovereignty or His goodness or His love. We are putting our thoughts, our desires, our understanding above His. Paul warned the church in Romans 1:21 (ESV) that when we fail to worship Him or give thanks, it leads to futile thinking and darkened hearts.

Giving thanks to God can help us release our anger and help us draw closer to Him. Even science confirms the importance of gratitude. In the last decade there have been numerous studies done in the medical community citing proof that gratitude is good for our physical, emotional, and mental health. (Harvard Health Publications/Harvard Medical Health Letter/In Praise of Gratitude, Nov. 2011)

In the early days of my grief when I was consumed by my loss, I sometimes found it difficult to have a grateful heart.  God helped me through that struggle by literally opening a window for my heart to feel gratitude again.

Two weeks after my husband was killed, I returned to work. It was a major effort each day to get out of bed and show up. While I was very fortunate to work at a church at the time, filled with compassionate and loving people, I found it very challenging to see my pain reflected on the faces of hundreds of people every day. Everyone knew what I was going through and there was nowhere for me to hide.

As a coping mechanism, I started rewarding myself for facing another day by going to a local drive thru for a caffeinated beverage. Every morning when the drive thru window opened, I was greeted by a wonderful young woman named Jennifer with the most beautiful smile, full of joy, and thankfully unaware of the pain I was in. Jennifer worked the same schedule I did, Sunday –Thursday. She never missed a day and she never hesitated in giving me a joyful smile. Her smile became a treasured gift given day after day, week after week, for over two years. Her smile reminded my heart of His goodness and His love. It opened my heart back up to acknowledging God and giving thanks for the simple things He provides all along the way, even in the most difficult seasons.

Scripture reminds us repeatedly to be grateful. Not just because He deserves it, but also because it is what is best for us. Are you trying to find ways to have a more grateful heart? Ask God for help and perhaps a close trusted friend who can help point those things out. You can also join us when our readers share things they are grateful for on “Grateful Fridays.”

Dear Heavenly Father, You are our Sovereign Lord who deserves praise and worship. You are a mighty God who loves us always. Lord, create in us a more grateful heart. Amen.


SherylPeppletbSheryl Pepple is President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She lives in Texas with her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren. 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 Sheryl or another team member speak please contact us via email at: admin@anewseason.net

Want to read another article by this author? Where Does My Help Come From?

Want to read other  articles about gratitude? Thankful Hearts &  That Day

I Shall Not Want

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… He restoreth my soul… Psalm 23:1, 3 KJV

I was sitting in my Easter Service this year listening to a beautiful message from my pastor.  As he was talking, he referenced Psalm 23.  Immediately, I thought of when my husband died.  Psalm 23 is the “go to” verse for funerals.  Then, my pastor continued to add that in order for us to experience an Easter Sunday, we must first go through a Good Friday.  He reminded us that all of the Bible heroes have this story, so why would we, modern believers, think that our testimony would be different.  It is the tension between our Good Friday and Easter Sunday that draws us to Christ and allows us to lean on Him for restoration and resolution.

As I sat there, I inventoried all the decisions I have made lately.  I thought about how, for the last several years, I have had the terrible tension of wanting and waiting for my Easter Sunday in the area of love relationships.  I have had relief, here and there; but for the most part, I have wanted more than I have received these last several years.

Why is that?  Scripture says if the Lord is my shepherd, “I shall not want”.  I call the Lord my shepherd and I live a life of submission to Him for the most part.  So, why do I wrestle with the tension of “want” in that area of my life?

When my husband passed away, I was so lonely for him.  As time went by, I prayed that the Lord would change my heart so it did not remember being married and then I wouldn’t miss that part of my loss so much.  For the first three years, I did okay.  As I ended my third year of mourning, I realized that my heart was open to share with another.  So, I dipped my toe into the dating pool, the shallow end.  As time passed, I met someone that seemed to be a good match.  We set about trying to build a relationship – a life – together.  After about a year and a half, I realized that this gentleman was not the one and in early December 2015 we parted ways.  I didn’t have sorrow over the loss of this relationship.  I didn’t have want for this relationship to continue.  My heart remained open to share my life with someone.

I am so tired of waiting.  I am tired of seeing the sorrow on my dear friends faces when they hear the news that I’m still single…single again.  I’m tired of the “wanting” and “waiting”.

So, as I sat in church and listened to this message, I was thankful God sent someone to remind me I am experiencing my Good Friday.  I am experiencing the tension of waiting for my Easter Sunday.

God wants this time – the time in between – as His time.  He wants to sharpen me, prune me, love me and sustain me, all for His purpose.

My pastor reminded me that God’s plan may include pain and suffering, but the pain and suffering is not without purpose.

So as I wait for my Easter Sunday, I am in scripture and in prayer and pulling as close to the Savior as I can.  The tension of the waiting is painful at times.  I am reminded God has a purpose for me and I just have to push through this waiting period and then I will be celebrating my restoration, my Easter Sunday.

Dear Lord, It is in the waiting that I call out to you and ask for relief.  It is during these times that I realize I must rely on you.  As I walk through this valley, Lord, please stay with me and join me as I celebrate on the next mountaintop my very own Easter Sunday.  Amen


 

sherrySherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc.  Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia.  She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church.  She has one daughter who is 19 years old and a college freshman.  She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon.  Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft.  God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey.  She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life. 

Want to read more articles by Sherry? Sherry’s posts 

If you are interested in having Sherry or any of our team come visit your church or group please email us: admin@anewseason.net

If you liked this article, you might like:

Is Your Heart Broken – Tell It To Beat Again by Karen Emberlin.

Dancing Through Tears by Teri Cox

Roots

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God, that “no root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.   

Hebrews 12:15 ESV

Have you ever heard the saying, “Choose better over bitter?”

As a woman who’s had to bury my husband at the age of forty-two, I’ve had to make an intentional effort to practice choosing better over bitter. Sadly, I’m not always successful, but thankful that God gives grace and forgiveness, so I can try to do better the next time around.

After reading the above verse in Hebrews chapter twelve, I’ve come to realize how susceptible I am as a widow to be cultivating a crop of bitterness. Bitterness starts out as a seed called hurt, as the roots grow taller and stronger, the hurt matures into anger. The anger grabs on and tries to suffocate the fruit that comes from giving grace and practicing forgiveness.

As widows, we’ve all had to deal with some big hurts in our lives before our husbands’ deaths and subsequently, after  their deaths as well. Hurtful words, “glass house judging”, being left out because we’re not part of a couple anymore, harsh chatter, feeling invisible and the actual loss. If we’re not careful, all of those issues can make the soil of our hearts ready for the seed of hurt to mature and become a bumper crop of bitterness.  It’s all a vicious cycle, and we use our hurt and anger to decide who is worthy of receiving the “grace of God.” God gets our attention and reminds us, He alone is in charge of choosing who is worthy. He knows the whole story, therefore, He is the best one to judge the situation. We do not know the whole story, therefore, we’re disqualified in the judging department. The discernment He gives about the situation isn’t meant to assist Him in the judging, but is a call to prayer.

Some tell-tale signs you might be raising a crop of bitterness ..

  • You keep re-hashing hurts over and over again
  • You’ve told people about the hurts you’ve experienced more than you’ve been praying about it.
  • You’re having a hard time praying.
  •  You’re finding it hard to have daily quiet time with God and His word

The most important aspect that the “root of bitterness” impedes is the ability to move forward into what Christ has for me. As I write, I realize the enemy wants to stop my pace. He wants me to get so exhausted from the disappointments of people that I walk away from Christ’s calling. Our purpose is to bring Christ glory and to share our story with others. Our calling involves people. The enemy knows this truth and he’s going to try to discourage us and put up roadblocks anyway he can be successful.

The best way to deal with the “roots of  bitterness” is to grab them by their tops and pull them out completely.  Don’t let those roots have one more bit of your territories to wreak havoc.

  • Pray and ask God to remove all those “roots of bitterness” and to give you an immediate warning when you try to replant those roots. Repeat.
  • Vent to Christ about the hurts you’ve experienced. He’ll bring you peace.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Try to re-establish some quiet time with Christ and His word.

Dear Lord, We want to repent and ask You to remove the roots of bitterness in our lives by their tops and leave no remnant of them in the soil of our hearts. Please help us to realize the importance of producing the fruit of forgiveness and grace as we move forward in our lives with You. In Your Mighty Name, amen.  


 

12921152_10208877176116434_1213085998_n 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 a 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.

 

Want to read more articles by Jill? Click here

Other articles you might enjoy reading: Growing God Roots by Teri

Stop Feeding the Dragon by Kit

 

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

Woman, What Does This Have To Do With Me?

When the wine ran out , the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  John 2:3-5 ESV [Please read John 2:1-11]

A few Sundays ago, my Pastor shared from John 2:1-11.  As I listened, it dawned on me that my relationship with my Savior, Christ Jesus, during the years leading up to my husband’s death and walking out of the moment when he met Jesus face to face was much like the relationship described in these verses.

My life with my husband  was much like this wedding feast – a party.   We were happy;  in sync with each other;  he was my best friend.  When he became ill, and as we searched for a diagnosis, my husband was at peace and content.  At the end, despite the awful pain, my husband was content and happy.  Until the moment that he took the Savior’s hand and walked into eternity with Him, my husband’s eyes still had sparkle and love.

But when the wine ran out at the wedding, so to speak, I went to my Savior and said, “They have no wine.”  Jesus responded, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?  My hour has not yet come.”  I didn’t understand at the time that Jesus was saying this to me in a very gentle, loving voice.  He was saying it as He tried to gather me in His arms and comfort me.  And, I’m ashamed to say that I did not react immediately like His mother did in these verses.

I was still at the wedding table looking at the empty wine vessels – fixated on why Jesus wasn’t providing more of the wine I had been drinking.  Irritated, hurt that He had allowed the wine to go dry.

In time, I eventually responded as His mother did in these verses – “do whatever He tells you” – but it took time.  I had to get through the hurt, the pain, the loneliness, the disappointment.

If you read this whole passage, you will see that not only does Jesus provide wine, but in verse 10, it is revealed that the wine Jesus provides is better than the original.

My grief journey has been like that.  The wine – or life I shared with my husband – was wonderful!  I didn’t want it to end.  After my husband’s death, once I began to “do whatever He tells me”, the wine – or my life – became even sweeter.

How is that possible?  In Matthew 19:26 scripture says, “…with God all things are possible.”

Four years down the road, I know how to love sacrificially.  I have deeper friendships.  I am stronger.  I am resilient.  I feel more deeply.  Without this journey, this “loss of wine”; I would not have known how much sweeter “the replacement wine” is.

As I look back on my journey, I see that this sweetness didn’t enter the picture until I started doing “whatever He tells me to.”  I didn’t experience joy, contentment, and true laughter until I surrendered and just looked to the Savior and asked, “what would You have me do.”  That is when the better “wine” – or life – came.  Not immediately, but in joy-filled sips that I can savor.

To my dear sisters at the beginning of your grief journey, I encourage you to “do whatever He tells you”.  He will take your “water” – ordinary – and turn it into the best “wine” – extraordinary.  There will come a day when you can say as the master of the feast in this scripture said, “you have kept the good wine until now.”  And just as in this scripture (v.11), Jesus’ disciples believed in him from this sign, people will watch you in your journey and will believe in Jesus as they watch Him do work through you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for Your living Word.  I love that even scripture that I have read numerous times can be used to mold me more into your image.  I thank You, Lord, for allowing me the grace and time to see that what has come since that horrible day four years ago is the best and has such a sweet taste.  Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to laugh again and live fully in You.  Amen

 

In His Time

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.   ~James 4:14 KJV

I had the sad occasion of attending a funeral recently.  One of my best friends from high school lost his beautiful wife to cancer.  When I received the news, it was like a sucker punch to my gut.  It came across my phone and I just had to sit in silence, looking blankly at my phone screen, and praying for my friend and his children, who are all under the age of nine.

I hate this.  I hate that my friend has to walk this path.  I don’t want anyone to have to endure this pain, much less my friends.

God is so loving in His ways.  As I sat amongst my high school friends at the funeral that I didn’t want to attend, God used this opportunity to heal me a little more.  A story was shared by one of the speakers that washed over me like aloe on a sunburn; soothing me in a way I didn’t even realize I needed.

Walking in an apple orchard after a storm, many of the apple blossoms blown off their branches and onto the ground, covering it in a beautiful blanket of color and fragrance.  Apple blossoms, if left on the branches bloom and then an apple grows.  The purpose of the apple blossom is to grow the apple.  What about the blossoms that are blown from the branches, did they serve their purpose?

The speaker shared that instead of thinking that the Creator, God, intended every apple blossom to yield fruit; think about the blossoms that don’t yield fruit.  They die too soon, too early, so there’s no apple.  As you are walking through the orchard and stepping on the blossoms underfoot, a wonderful fragrance rises in the air.  Looking throughout the orchard at the fallen blossoms, it is beautiful ground covering that lightens and stimulates the vision, bringing joy.

Each of those blossoms has a purpose and a lifespan that only God knows.  While we may say in sadness that the fallen blossom didn’t yield an apple; God says, I intended that one to be on the ground when you walked through the orchard today.  I wanted you to smell the wonderful fragrance of apple blossoms.  I wanted you to see their beauty all around you.  I used them for My purpose.  I never intended for those blossoms to yield apples.  Some of the blossoms bring joy in their short time here by leaving the branches early; while others stay on the branches for a long time and bring joy in yielding apples.  God numbers our days and when we have fulfilled His purpose, He calls His children Home.

As I sat there listening to this story, I wept.  My husband died at the age of 42.  My friend’s wife was 45.  So young.  Too soon…for us; not God.  You see, my husband and my friend’s wife and all of our loved ones who left this earth before we were ready for them to leave; they served His purpose.  God said, “Well done, good and faithful servant, come home.”  For some, they brought joy in just their fragrance.  For others, they yielded an apple and it was delicious.

This brought me such peace.  It reminded me that God is in control.  Nothing happens without passing through His Hands first, and it is always good. I can praise God for the fragrance, even though an apple never grew.

Dear Lord, I just am so overwhelmed by how You work in my life.  I am so humbled by Your love and care for me.  I pray that if I am here for a short time, my fragrance is sweet; and if I am here for a long time, my apple is delicious to others and You.  I love You, Lord!  Amen