All the Pieces of My Life

Please join us today as we welcome guest blogger Julia Wasson.  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I entered my boss’s office at the elementary school, no longer wanting to be the music teacher.  I quit! The principal listened as I explained the changes that have taken place in the past twenty-five months. Becoming a widow has altered my life and thought processes, even my trust in God at the beginning.   My ability to happily manage seven music classes a day has been challenged.  

A new season.  I was thrown into a new season twenty-five months ago.

In those first twelve months after his passing, I was surprised at the physical toll his death took on my fifty-six year old body.  My body felt beaten. Every move, every action, took double the thought and focus. The blow of his sudden death shook me to my core while knocking the wind out of me.  

Within three months of his passing I didn’t see how I could return to teaching music.  That “creative flow,” that we musicians count on, had dried up inside of me.  I was functioning in rote.  As a professional singer and musician, my husband had been my greatest fan for over thirty-eight years. Whenever I sang a special in church, or lead worship on Sunday mornings…he was there.  Not having him present at the school children’s concerts  felt like a knife was inserted in my heart.  He had always sat on the front row, loving the experience of watching children perform.  He was there to catch my eye between songs and give me a big hug after a concert. There.  Simply there. 

Since his passing I have taught music for two additional years.  Teaching those music classes has somehow helped me stay connected with him…keeping one more memory alive…of us.    

But sometimes a person must say goodbye. As of yesterday, I’ve added yet one more goodbye.  Necessary goodbyes because of unrequested life circumstances.

I’m blessed that I don’t have to say goodbye to the ranch and the home he and I had built together. But I have had to say goodbye to the expectations, those projects that he and I did together on our fifty acres, for I am just now facing my limitations.  Recognizing what is reasonable for me to physically accomplish by myself and what is not.

I’m blessed I’ll still have a job in the school district.  My new placement is still unknown. My income will drop some.  But I am caring for myself.  Now that I no longer live in the daily tumultuous storm of grief it is time to rejuvenate my physical body while focusing on my spiritual growth. It’s time to focus more attention on my four children and six grandchildren.

I’m no longer frozen in grief and can once again sing words of hope, trust and faith.

Through the pieces of my life without my husband, through the goodbyes I may continue to face, and throughout the new season I am starting to walk in…..God, I know I can trust You.

 


If you are interested in guest blogging for us please email us admin@anewseason.net or visit our website www.awidowsmight.org

 

 

 

 

Share Your Story-Guest Post For Us!

You have a story. A story penned by God Himself. What is it?

You may be a newer widow or a seasoned one. Whichever the case, God might just be prompting YOU to share part of your journey with other widows through our ministry by guest blogging for us.

If you keep a journal, turn back a few pages and read your thoughts that you scribbled down that day you were frustrated at how life had turned out. Read a chapter in Psalms and share what God is teaching you.

Some topics you might write on could be widowhood after a long wonderful marriage,  your widow group at church, dealing with the finances now, something God showed you in Scripture about heaven, a funny situation, or maybe the day your husband passed away and how you got through it with scripture and God. Keep your words centered on God’s Word while letting your creativity flow! (Please keep in mind the generally accepted rules of grammar.)

We would love to help you with the process of writing, so read the guidelines here and email your article to us right away.

Pray about the words God wants YOU to share with others. All of our team of writers began by submitting guest blogs here. We felt the tug of the Holy Spirit on our lives, to write about our widow journey. We are not professional writers. We are just every day women, letting God use our words to advance His Kingdom.

Transformer: The Letter H and Grief

Today we welcome Marilyn Nutter as our guest blogger. If you are interested in submitting an application for guest blogging with us, follow the link at the end of Marilyn’s article.

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—

his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

 

My grandson Quinn ran upstairs and proudly announced, “I learned about the letter ‘h’!”

“What did you learn?” I asked.

“Well, the letter ‘h’ is a transformer,” he answered authoritatively.

“A transformer?” I questioned in surprise. I didn’t expect to hear that word out of his five year-old mouth. “What does that mean?” I probed.

“The letter ‘h’ changes sounds,” he continued. “Like with ‘t’. “If you put an ‘h’ next to a ‘t’ it becomes ‘th’.”

“Oh!” I responded. “That’s an interesting way to think about it–a transformer. Can you give me an example of a word?”

“Three” he answered, beaming. “It happens with‘s’ too,” he said smiling.

“How’s that?” I asked. By this time, I was pleased that he had retained the concept and I could tell that he was excited to share his new information

“An ‘h’ next to ‘s’ makes a ‘sh’ sound, like in ‘shell’.”

“Super!” I said with a big smile and gave him a high five.

Satisfied that he had shared his new information, Quinn went back to the playroom. But our conversation lingered in my mind as I thought about the object lesson he gave me. Transformers. Changes.

Nothing transforms a woman more than losing your husband.

Life will never return to what it was prior to December 23, 2011 when I suddenly lost my husband. There were six hours from the first chest pain to his final breath. Life is irrevocably changed.

Like Quinn’s examples of transformations with letters, I’ve observed personal transformations.

I smile when the grandchildren speak of their Papa and the memories they made with him. I know in some way, they have been transformed by his presence in their short lives. Just last week, Quinn wrote on a valentine, “I love you and Papa.” Our youngest daughter married six months after her Dad went to heaven. God graciously surprised our family with joy and smiles on her wedding day as we celebrated her new beginning. Learning new skills such as online banking, has taken me to a new level. Discussing auto maintenance no longer resembles a foreign language. Researching and purchasing a new vehicle alone surprised me. Buying and selling a house and moving to a new state took me to new levels.

Life is different and God is in my transformation. He gives me the grace and strength to walk through each day, on the days of smiles with my grandchildren, on the lonely days, and on the challenging days when I am compelled to learn new skills.

We don’t deny our multiple losses from the death of our husband, but we can take a step forward when we see moments of positive transformation. Make a list of your steps. Can you smile through tears when you reflect on your personal growth and the accomplishment that comes with learning new skills?

We’re not the same women we were and our life script is different, but His faithful accompaniment and transformations are treasures.

Father God, we thank You for the transformations in our lives. Help us smile today and share Your joy with all we meet, despite our difficulties. You are faithful to love us and transform us into godly women. Amen


 

If you are interested in guest blogging for us, please click the link here and get all the information.

The Other Side of the Sob

Today we welcome our sister and former team writer Ami Wickiser to our blog. At the end of Ami’s post is a link for more information if you would like to guest blog for us.


​I watched her greet person after person, carried along by evident grace. She wanted it to be a celebration instead of a funeral. And indeed, the atmosphere buzzed with the hum of conversation while folks enjoyed dinner and dessert. Pictures of a life well-lived filled the space.

From across the room her eye caught mine. And in the span of a heart beat, she was in my arms collapsing under the weight of her sobs. Without words, we stood that way for a long time. I held her tightly and cried with her.

“I know I can let it all out with you.”

Yes, dear one. It’s ok to weep and grieve even amid a celebration of life.

Three years earlier, the same lady was at the hospital when my life shattered, and I collapsed into her arms. We had been alone in the emergency room, Jon and I. But he went into cardiac arrest, and I needed someone to come. Looking down at my phone, there was her contact information. Mechanically, I touched the screen, not completely aware of who I was calling.

She was there when I finally gave a doctor permission to stop trying to save my husband’s life.It was in her arms that I silently prayed, “Yes Lord, He’s yours. I give him back to you.”

Two lives intertwined through the deepest of moments.

But now I was on the other side of the sob.

I can’t say I was fully prepared to dive down deep with her, or that her weeping didn’t recreate a dozen vivid images in my mind.And I can’t say I expected she would let her composure crack and the waves overtake her. But I’m glad she did. For there was grace for her to greet person after person.

And there was grace to weep.

I’m thankful she felt totally safe. And I’m thankful I could share the weeping with her.

On the other side of the sob I realize a few things:

  • I know suffering, that I may be able to suffer with others.
  • I know redemption in the midst and on the other side of the storm.
  • I have been deeply comforted.
  • Praise God for beauty out of ashes.
  • His plans and purposes are immensely beautiful.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so the we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV

 

Comfort. It is the result of resting in God’s sovereignty and loving rule over my life.

Peace. I’m not free from troubles, but I possess a profound sense of well being because God is in control. The one who collapsed, could uphold another. I could look her in the eye and say:

It’s ok to weep. It’s ok to ask questions.

Cling to Christ. He carries.

“You won’t believe me now, but one day it will be better. It may be a long time, but one day you’ll want to live again.”

Jesus turns suffering into unspeakable joy.


If you are interested in guest blogging for us, please click the link here and get all the information.

My New Life Calls

Please welcome our guest Erica Kosal today!

Erica Kosal, PhD is an author, biology professor and mom to two young children. Erica lost her husband in June of 2014 after six years of fighting neurological chronic Lyme disease with overlapping ALS symptoms.  Erica has written two books that highlight her relationship with Christ and the power of the inner human spirit.  By writing, Erica has found comfort.  By spending time in nature, Erica has found strength.  And by spending time with her children, Erica has found love.  

 

 


 

But Lot’s wife looked back

as she was following behind him,

and she turned into a pillar of salt.  

Genesis 19:26 NLT

 

I’m living, but my past is dead.  My spouse Jim died two and a half years ago and, of course, nothing is the same.  I look back and remember him, aching for his presence, but at the same time, I know I need to look forward and to the future, moving in the right direction for my children.  

This is a tricky combination.  I know I cannot sit in the past and become stuck in the sadness of Jim’s no longer being here, but I also want to honor him, keep him in our conversations, and include Jim in our lives as much as possible.  

As I reflect on this dichotomy my mind returns over and over to Lot’s wife.  Living in Sodom, Lot and his family lived among some very bad people and finally God had enough.  Angels warned Lot to take his wife and two daughters and flee the land without looking back as Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed.  As the family ran, only Lot’s wife looked back, and she turned into a pillar of salt.  

Obeying God is important as the story told in Genesis reminds us, but I also think that this is an illustration of what can happen if we concentrate too much on the past.  What consequences might come our way if we do not trust God to take us out of harm’s way and give us a future.  If we try to return to our past, when we know we cannot, we can destroy ourselves.  Longing for the past, looking behind, rather than trusting to move forward, can cause us to become frozen and paralyzed.  Sometimes when I feel like I cannot move forward because it is too overwhelming, I draw to this story.  I have to move forward and obey God who is telling me to raise my kids to know Him, to trust Him that my future will be safe, and that a home will be present.  God placed me and my two children in this position, and I have to trust that someday it will be clear why the events of my life unfolded as they did.  In the meantime, I run to the hills with my family in tow and know that if I look back without trust of moving forward, I too can be consumed with grief without finding value in my current life.  I do need to remember Jim and honor him, but I cannot stay stuck in my old life.  My new life calls.

God, I pray that all women who are feeling stuck and find themselves returning to memories of their old life without being able to move forward can be shown Your love in a way around them that reminds them to trust You and to move forward in faith.  I pray that we can honor our late husbands and always cherish the memories we have without becoming consumed by wanting our old lives too much.  Help us move forward and see our futures as ones with meaning and hope.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.  

 


Do you want to submit a guest blog for consideration? Get all the particulars by clicking here on this link.

My Plans

Today we welcome our guest Evelyn Willis.

 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

I’m a planner –a list-maker.   That is one of the things that attracted me to Rick. He was a planner. He was able to clearly articulate his goals for the upcoming year, fives years, and even ten years out.  We had plans. So when Rick died suddenly at fifty-eight years of age, I was lost.  I didn’t know what to do.  It was not supposed to happen like this.  This wasn’t part of my plan.

Rick and I met through a mutual friend in December of 1982. We began dating in January of 1983, he proposed in March, and we married five months later.  It was a whirlwind!  I knew he was “the one” because I had a list of things I was prayerfully looking for in a husband and Rick quickly checked off most the things I was looking for.  So we began to plan our lives together.  We planned where we would live so that our children could go to the best schools possible.  We planned family vacations.  We planned quarterly get-a-ways to keep our marriage fresh.  We planned for college for our children.  We made plans financially so that we would be set in our retirement.

We had plans!

We planned to travel.  We had planned to grow old together.

What I hadn’t planned on was being a widow at fifty-two.  I hadn’t planned on kissing my husband as I left for work only to get a call before lunch that he had collapsed, never to regain consciousness.  I hadn’t planned on burying my husband five months after our thirtieth anniversary.  I hadn’t planned on being a single mother.

This is not what I’d planned, Lord!

I was lost!  I cried out to God in my anguish.  What was I supposed to do without Rick– my love, my best friend, my covering?  What now, Lord?  We had plans!  Then the Ultimate Planner, the One who knows the number of my days, who knew me in my mother’s womb, spoke to me so clearly.  He reminded me that His plans for me did not die when Rick died.  He still had a plan and a purpose for my life.  That word spoken quietly to my heart did not solve all my problems or alleviate all my pains and questions, but it did give me a reason to hope.  Enough hope to keep moving forward.

For now, that will have to be enough… And it is.

I can begin to plan again.

Father, thank You for the plans You have for our lives.  Help us to trust You as those plans unfold for our good.  In Your name,  Amen.


Evelyn Willis lost her husband Rick suddenly on January 8, 2014.  They had just celebrated their 30th anniversary.  They have 3 sons, a daughter, and 2 grandsons. Evelyn is an elementary school teacher who loves reading, singing, and walking her  two Shih Tzu doggies.

Would you like to submit a guest blog? Follow the link to our website page with all the information you need.

For more information about our ministry, please visit us at: www.awidowsmight.org

Rock Collecting

Today, please join us in welcoming our guest writer, Marilyn Nutter.


While visiting family out west for the Christmas holidays, Marilyn found retirement dreams with her husband interrupted when he suffered a fatal heart attack on December 23, 2011. In her new journey, she has found God’s mercies and faithfulness real each day (Lamentations 3: 22-23). She is the mother of three adult daughters, grandmother to eight and lives in Greer, SC. The author of three devotional books and a contributor to compilations and on line sites, Marilyn also serves in women’s ministry in her church, facilitates a Grief Support group and posts encouragement on her personal blog.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

Whenever it rained, my neighbors experienced run off in their yard. A retaining wall wasn’t needed, but a landscaper suggested piling rocks in the area to keep excess water from flowing into their yard and soaking the grass. So after our usual morning walk, Lanette and I drove around our neighborhood to look for rocks.

We scouted a couple of vacant lots in our new housing development and found rocks in different sizes, shapes and colors. We had enough to fill the trunk of her car. They looked like just a pile, but once her husband placed them in the backyard, they became an attractive and functional arrangement.

My grief and loss journey has been, and I am sure will continue to feel, like “rocks” at times. There are the hard moments, moments where waves of sadness come-when my husband’s absence is profound, such as at the births of two grandsons.  Sometimes there are short, “smaller” moments, triggered by an aroma or even passing a product on a supermarket shelf, that bring memories.  My eyes fill with tears, I have a lump in my throat, or a momentary knot in my stomach. There’s awareness of loss when I tackle a project that is out of my skill set or I see couples holding hands. Other waves may be longer—a cloud I can’t shake on a lonely weekend. There are big moments—holidays and special occasions, where loss is so large that everything else is obscured.

But…there are days when I go to lunch with a friend, spend time with my prayer group, go to the beach for a girlfriends’ getaway, am inspired to write, redecorate a room, play with my grandchildren and yes, laugh.

Like those rocks in my neighbor’s yard, some moments are large, sharp with jagged edges that hurt. Others are smoother and colorful. I have joy and sense healing. The different moments are all necessary and “functional” to move forward in the winding labyrinth of grief and mourning.

Grief experts remind us not to be stuck in our grief, that grief is a journey, not a destination.  I guess being stuck is much like leaving my grief “rocks” in the vacant lot or in the trunk of a car. Instead, the beautiful arrangement in the right place made a difference and created a picture for me. When I realized the rocks had functional and aesthetic value, I reminded myself that God has purpose in my loss and grief path. God is accompanying me on my journey; the large, sharp and hard moments combine with the smaller smooth ones. Splashes of color accentuate the arrangement.

As I progress, the larger rocks become less sharp and less prominent. They move to the background. It is part of the grieving and mourning process. It’s part of developing my story to make something beautiful in my life, especially to see that God is trustworthy. In moving forward and healing, I find grace in each rock and my developing story gives grace to others.

Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes we can only see the jagged “rocks” in our lives, piled up with no purpose.  Help us to see all the events, good and bad, happy and sad, as part of our stories in making our lives beautiful for Your glory.  Amen


To learn more about our ministry please visit us at: A Widow’s Might

Would you like to guest blog for us? Guest blogging for AWM

 

 

 

God of All Comfort

We are excited to welcome today our friend Rebecca Ramsey! Rebecca came to our conference in 2016. Join us in welcoming her!


Blessed be the God and Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV
 Have you ever met someone seemingly at a random moment in time, not thinking that anything would ever come of it, only to have God bring that meeting full circle a year or more later?
I met a lady in the grocery store over a year ago; she saw me using coupons and asked me a question about them. I remember telling her I would add her to the coupon group I was a part of on our social media page.
Somehow the fact that my Dave had passed away the week prior had come out in conversation. She literally gasped and asked me how I was even standing, much less shopping. I simply said, “My kids still have to eat.”
We became “friends” on social media but I never heard from her personally again until last month…a year after our “chance” meeting.
She posted about her losing her husband and my heart just broke for her instantly. I commented (still not remembering who she was) by explaining that I totally understood how she was feeling, and to message me privately if she needed an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.
When she messaged me, she told me part of her story and asked how I’ve done it…I told her, “One day at a time, one step at a time, even one breath and prayer at a time.”
I have messaged her every few days since then to check on her– I don’t want her to feel invisible like I have so many times in the last year. Over the last few weeks I’ve tried to figure out where I knew her from and how we became “friends” on social media but I just couldn’t figure it out. Until last week when she messaged me, telling me how I had touched her heart IN THE GROCERY STORE  last year! WOW!! It all came back to me, and then I saw how God’s plan through meeting that day had come full circle!
God has held me, walked with me, and comforted me in so many ways through my grief journey. He brought me to this point so HE would be able to use me to speak to my friend’s heart through her own grief journey. Am I still broken? Yes…Do I still miss Dave so much it hurts sometimes? Yes…Do I have it all figured out? No…BUT GOD DOES and HE can still use me as a cracked vessel and, oh! the flowers that will grow because of Him using our cracks to water the seeds that had been planted before we got there…because He knows and prepared the way ahead of time!
Father God, You give us comfort through Yourself but also through other people we come in contact with. Sometimes we receive comfort from others and sometimes we are able to give comfort to others. Show us divine appointments today in what might seem like coincidences. And give us boldness to proclaim Your strength through us. Amen

 

Rebecr Ramseyca Ramsey is a 36 year old mother of 3 children; 2 sons and 1 daughter. The two oldest of those children she recently adopted. Dave, her husband of nearly 10 years, passed away 13 months ago after just a few months battle with cancer.  In the last year and a half, her strength and faith has been tried but God has brought her through and continues to bless her and her children just as He promised He would. She feels led and hopes to work more closely with other widows and those grieving a loss in the near future.

 

Partnering With Us

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that we all have stories of His love and faithfulness. We believe we need to tell those stories so others can run with endurance. We need to be like the marathon runners, and come back to run with those behind us and cheer them on so they can run the race with endurance.

We believe that God’s word is clear… ministering to widows is an important and worthy calling.

We are looking for those who feel called to partner with us.

If you are called to turn back and help others.

If you feel God prompting you to share your story through writing.

If you have a ministry or book you think would benefit our audience.

If God is prompting you to support us financially.

Then, we want to hear from you!

Please follow this link to find out more: Partner With Us

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing how God can use you to bless others!

We look forward to partnering together for HIS GLORY!

The Last

Join our friend and sister, Cynthia Aldrich, today as she shares her journey with us.

The Last

Everyone talks about how hard the big firsts are: Christmas, Easter, Birthday, anniversaries.  The first time you ______ (fill in the blank with the event or daily task.)  These also are hard, but in a more private way.

What I wasn’t expecting was how hard the last would be.  Most of the lasts happened in the first year of my widowhood, but I kept the clothing he wore.  Not the “work clothes”, suits, ties and dress shirts that he hated to wear — but the “fun” clothing he wore around the house. I packed them in plastic, keeping his scent on them.  They were safe from time. They would always be safe.

My life had changed, it had become impossible to keep the house we shared. Time to move, in his closet they sat, both a reminder of the good times and what I was missing. It had become obvious that it was time to rip the Band-Aid off and donate them to a shelter.  It meant unpacking them from their safe hermetically sealed plastic, washing, folding and giving them away.  They weren’t the last pieces of his life, but they represented the mundane, the daily tasks of caring for him.  The daily task of showing love to another person. The intimate part of life together really was over.  This was why I held on to them, –I didn’t want that part of my life to be done.

I packed everything up and went to a laundromat.  “Quicker to do the loads all at one time and in public, I won’t break down.,” I thought.  I brought with Wayne Gruden’s Systemic Theology, what better antidote to crying, use your mind.  Also, since it weighs five pounds, I can drop it on my foot, then have a reason to be crying. It was quiet, no one else there when I started. Washers loaded, time to wait.

I didn’t open Gruden, but found myself searching the recesses of my mind for all the verses on God’s faithfulness and enduring love.  Here in the quiet, I see His steadfast love that endures forever. (Ps 118), it never ends, His mercies are new each morning, great is His faithfulness (Lam 3:22-23).  God is faithful, keeping covenant and steadfast love (Duet 7:9).  God is faithful and loving to me, a covenant breaker.  For His steadfast love endures forever, is repeated in Psalm 136 twenty-six times.  Twenty-six times God promises to love me forever!!!

Folding his clothing for the last time, the tears came, little ones, not a down pour, but the kind that drip out.  I had a lighter heart. A bit of joy creeped in. I knew His steadfast love endures forever. I’m on a journey, that I’ve described as grief, but it’s a journey to God, who’s steadfast love endures forever.

Thank you,  Father,  You are the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.  You hold our lasts in Your hands. Your love is steadfast, enduring forever, never ending.  With You there will be no last, only joy in Your eternal love.


Cynthia Aldrich was one of the original AWM Ruth Retreat members, She lost her husband of 8,677 days in May of 2012.  She lives north of the Twin City Metro area of Minnesota and is still waiting for summer–it should arrive about the same time as the new Viking stadium opens!  While waiting for the Viking season to begin, she stays warm by attempting to bake the perfect chocolate cake.

 

For more about our ministry and our journeys through widowhood, please visit us at www.awidowsmight.org