Always of Good Courage – Day 1,826


Always of good courage

1,826 days since my husband took his final breath.

 

Please indulge me as I take time to ponder. How would he see us on this five year anniversary?

There are certain things I know without a doubt. You may recognize some of them in your own circumstance.

He would be:

SURPRISED how much has changed in the world since he was alive, even small things like changes to our city roadways.

I had one of those irrational moments that makes sense only to those who experience grief. One day as I viewed massive changes to the interstate close to our home I began to panic. I worried he wouldn’t recognize how to get home. I then remembered he would never need that information again.

 

PROUD of the accomplishments of our children.

His coworkers mentioned repeatedly during visitation how often he talked about his family. They spoke of how he hurried to get back home to us when he traveled. One sorrow that never fades is that he cannot be physically present for milestones with our children now. However, they can be assured he would be bursting with pride and giving big hugs if he could be there.

 

THRILLED to know his grandson and future grandchildren!

He looked forward to spoiling grands. Though none of them will ever meet him here on earth they will still know who he was and what he loved. Papa G is present in photos and videos. He is mentioned often with love and laughter — he will not be forgotten.

 

PLEASED that I have been always of good courage from the day of his death to the present, have walked by faith, drawn strength from God’s word, and encouraged other widows to do the same.

He loved to serve. He supported anything I pursued, and it made him happy when we helped others. During our last prayer together, he asked God,  “Please shine Your light through my family and through me”. God has done that abundantly and the prayer continues to be answered.

 

HAPPY to know God provided a wonderful man to be my new husband.

Before his first military deployment we argued. He had the nerve to suggest that he would want me to marry again if he died. I adamantly stated it was NOT going to happen! He gently took my face, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You have too much love to give to be alone for the rest of your life. I would want you to remarry.”

I don’t think either of us believed it would become a reality; even twenty years later I did not. I had no intention of obeying his wishes when I found myself alone. But God’s timing is perfect and after almost three years as a widow, He opened my heart to the possibility of new love, then brought an incredible man into my life in a way that was clearly from Him. My first husband got his wish.

 

CONTENT to be exactly where he is right now.

 

Without a doubt,

nothing would entice him to return to this life.

 

He has been in the presence of the Lord every day for the past 1,826 days.

Why would he want to be anywhere else?

 

The Apostle Paul says,

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV)

 

Lord, while we remain here please help us to walk by faith and not by sight. We want to be always of good courage as we rely on Your direction in our daily lives, through Your word and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please make us to continue to shine as a reflection of Your love. Amen.


   Terri Oxner Sharp is a wife, mother, grandmother, homeschool teacher, and a writer for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. Her first husband passed away suddenly in 2012. She gives God all the glory for how He has grown her spiritually on her widow journey, in preparation for her new journey into a blended family. Terri and her second husband live in Arkansas with the final child still living at home from their combined family of seven children, two son-in-loves, and two grandsons. She loves to be with people who love to laugh, enjoys spending time with their grandchildren, who know her as “GiGi”, and feels called to minister to other women who find themselves bewildered to be on a widow’s path as well.

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

Articles with a similar theme:   Piece By Piece  or Walk This

Title Yourself ‘Daughter of the King’

Decidedly, I now write from the perspective of a remarried widow. Yeah, that’s how I title myself, a remarried widow. Although some may not see it that way our self-titling is one of those topics like when, or if, we remove our wedding rings as widows. It’s very personal and ultimately purposeful. The way we title ourselves reflects what we think about our roles, past and present, and consequently reflects who we believe we are and how we operate in the world around us.

And the truth is, although remarried, I never want to forget. Losing my first love reshaped so many parts of me. The initial stages hit me fast and furious in the first two years. At first I worshiped, reveling in my husband losing his earthly life. It’s true. I remember literally hitting my knees in on the hospice floor overflowing with joyous relief that he now resides in heaven without pain, without worry, without cancer eating him away from the inside out. Then I entered the fog of deep disbelief, putting one foot in front of the other for pure survival. Finally, I slowly started to drown in my own attempts to create a life out of my calling to widowhood. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s the moment you realize your life must take on a shape of its own without the defining title of ‘wife’. It feels like replacing appendages after sudden amputation and figuring out how to function again.

Strangely, I don’t want to forget any of those fretful moments. Mostly because God was in every single detail doing what He does best: loving me, saving me and molding me into more of who He wanted me to be. Looking back I see the amazing truths revealed to me that were once buried under all the tough stuff, beneath all the mud and the muck leading up to the today ‘me’. My suffering and struggling dug out characteristics God desired to surface and mature in me. Sure, I lost it…ummm…a lot! But in my losing it I learned to love harder, surrender to my Savior, serve with a greater depth of heart and trust God with all things.

Now, truth is, I still stager and stumble. Sometimes I forget to surrender, trying to take back the control and retitling myself ‘chief mom in charge’ (it’s that Type A tendency I tangle with!). Other times, I hold back my heart for fear of loss or failure until God reminds me He defines my success. But amidst my slips, I’m still steps ahead in my faith and relationship with Jesus because of what I went through. And that’s what this life is all about, right? The process of sanctification until we receive our eternal title in heaven!

Back to my still fresh perspective as a ‘remarried widow’.  It means I’m redeemed in an earthly way with another chance at love and life alongside a wonderful man! But it reminds me of the lessons I learned and defines my present alongside all the details God so perfectly planned for my past. After all, we are products of His hand’s plan, all parts included!

I bring all I am into my marriage today, which at times makes things interesting (probably more specifically defined as challenging) for my new, very patient man. But I’ve realized when God is in all the details, it’s amazing what He can do. Here’s where I’m telling a little more of my love story one year later on Happily Whole, where I usually write about wellness from a faith perspective: One Year Later…and He’s still in all the details

So, I ask you: How do you title yourself today? How does your self-titling define your experience in your role as widow, woman, mom and on and on?

You may or may not be on a path towards remarriage. But, you ARE on a path someplace. And when God’s in all the details, He’s defining you and He’s refining you. So, no matter where you on in His plan, posture yourself upright in Him. Stand tall and title yourself His daughter. It’s a title you take with you everywhere! Daughter of the KING. We are all redeemed!

Lord, Father God, no matter where each of these precious daughters of yours are on their journeys I pray you reveal all you offer them through the perfectly planned details of their lives. Love them, guide them and carry them to a place where they stand tall, titling themselves first as Your daughters. Amen

Totally Blessed but Still so Broken

Recently I’ve felt all broken, like a puzzle pulled apart right in the middle of plotting my new life portrait. I mean, when God gives us a second chance aren’t we supposed to focus our eyes in front of us, hearts overflowing with unheralded hope? But instead, I feel like I’m betraying Him with blinders on my eyes and hurt in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you know you’re blessed but still you feel broken in pieces. So instead of praising Him you’re imploring Him.

Maybe we can work through this together.  Widowhood’s puzzle comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, colors and contours. So even though my picture may look a lot different than yours, we all begin with one piece: death, loss of a large part in the puzzle we once knew.

Right now, I’m in the first year of putting pieces of the ‘remarried widow’ portrait together. I’m blessed because of my sweet second chance! The colors, contours, truths, type of love and fears of another loss create an entirely new appearance. It’s exciting, awesome and downright wonderful….really, it’s also very scary.

Someday I’ll tell the full story of how it all happened, how God was the One working against me as I resisted remarriage. He went ahead without my consent (as if He needed it!) and put it all together so beautifully that I had to welcome His blessing!

But now I’m here with all this newfound hope somehow feeling broken in the midst of my blessing.

You see, saying ‘I do’ for a second time did not put me all back together again. The loss of my first love sometimes lingers. I’ll say it straightforward: Grief doesn’t just go away, replaced by remarriage. Past puzzle pieces remain intact because God gave them purpose. And for me, they occasionally resurface although fewer and further between.

When I celebrated my first love’s birthday last week at the memorial given by his comrades, his fellow firefighters, I fell flat. The puzzle of my new life portrait came apart like a sudden pressing pause, then quick rewind to raw loss.

I was reminded this journey is much too complicated to reconcile with a walk down the aisle. Of course, in my mind I knew remnants of grief over Kevin would always remain. But it wasn’t until I couldn’t catch my breath that I realized how paradoxical it would feel. My new husband holding my heart listening intently about my lost love. He sweetly saw my struggle as I poured out my heart.

Listen, ladies. Don’t get me wrong! New love is amazing, fresh, a God-given gift if it arises on your widowhood walk. It adds depth and opportunity to fill new dreams. It’s been an awesome display of God’s love in my life! But we have to remember: it’s not all about happiness and healing….although both are byproducts of any relationship done right. (Here’s more about that on Happily Whole: It’s Not All About Being Happy)

I’d never steer you away from another man if your puzzle pieces are put together with prayer and God’s purpose. But, as widows, we have to be real. New love sometimes underlines what we’ve lost. I’m pretty sure, as God continues putting my puzzle together, I’ll always feel a little unmade.

And, you know what? That’s okay with me. Because one thing I can say I have learned without a doubt as I continue to reconcile my past and present puzzles is that God is my number ONE. He is my ONLY constant, my first Comforter and my life’s Creator! I will follow Him wherever He leads!

So, I suppose it’s also alright the way we sometimes know we’re blessed but still feel all broken, pulled apart and pieces missing. He leaves some pieces out of our puzzles so our constant, our Comforter, our Creator has space to fill us in.

No matter how broken we feel, the blessing is still always real!

If you were wondering about more of my second chapter struggles, here’s one on Happily Whole all about the blessing of blending… families and buttercream: Buttercream Blending and Messy Motherhood

Now, with you all in my heart and in my prayers, I’m headed back over to Happily Whole to continue writing a new recipe!

Live Well and Be Blessed,

Katie

How Blind Faith Blind-Sided (and blessed) Me

Giving up my desire to understand has been hard. Surrendering my unknown plans to a known Savior didn’t come easy for me. After my sweet Kevin passed through the pearly gates, I recall imploring (begging to be exact) God to rid me of my desire to understand His painfully perfect plan for my life. I no longer wanted to wrestle with why the daddy of my precious baby girls had to leave for heaven and what it meant to me as a mom.

Over time I’d come to accept his death and my role as a widow in this world. But I still struggled with what I was supposed to do with my new role on my unfamiliar stage. If He would just outline the script and reveal the plot, I could live my motherhood and grief out-loud for His glory! If I knew destination I could continue to run the right race!

Yeah, there’s a little control freak in me, some Type A tendencies. But shamefully and more accurately, it was my weak faith revealed. My insecurity and desire to have a handle on everything kept me from growing in blind faith. Our sovereign God doesn’t need us to understand. He simple calls us to trust, surrender and obey.

Isiah 55: 8-9 says,For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…” (ESV)

Blind faith. I need not understand anything. Instead, as daughter of the King, I needed to surrender.

You see, God doesn’t train us to the tune of our own will or self-perceived needs. He loves us more than that! He only gives us what He sees we need in His right timing, which is always just in time.

So I finally stepped aside as He taught me to surrender. He slowly revealed my new future. Gradually as I grew through grief learning to trust His mysterious ways, my Type A tendencies faded into blind faith.

This piece on Remembering, Reliving and Redemption captures my heart at the very time I became satisfied with His sovereignty.  I wrote it before I had heard a whisper of what was coming next.

What was next? Well, my gift of blind faith blind-sided me! God knew I may not want to comply with His plan so He began blindly preparing me for it. He had a man in mind and knew it’s not what I wanted. (And now that I know how beautifully hard blending families really is, I may have sprinted in another direction had He revealed too much too soon.)

He first created a canvas and then pried open my heart to receive with reverence and love a wonderful man and a surprising new plan. God also painted in me the purest kind of guardian love for three girls who came as an extension of my man. Now…well, now life is all upside-down and seems only a semblance of what it was.

I was blindsided by my blind faith. God changed my course so someone could captured my heart. And I’m living a life blessed by the beautiful challenge of blending families. Here’s much more about how He blind-sided me with a husband: If I’m Being Honest…

In case you’re curious, I consider myself a remarried widow. It’s how I reconcile deeply loving a new man yet still cherishing lost love for another. It’s complicated. It’s harder than hard on days when blending families feels more like banging my head on the wall than a blessed new beginning.

But I can say with certainty that learning to walk in blind surrender towards my beautiful Savior fills my life to overflowing with unexpected hope and un-containable joy!. It’s ALL for His glory. The emotional exhaustion and incredible responsibility alongside the bounty of new blessings reminds me of God’s loving preparation and the gift of blind faith. 

Sisters, we all walk a unique path of blessed weariness in widowhood. We each bear burdens differently. But our lives are knit together with a common understanding of how the earth shakes when death destroys our dreams. None of us knew exactly what we’d meet on this path and we never know what purpose God’s prepping us for. But walking blindly towards Him in surrender blesses us in ways only He knows we need. It’s complicated and it’s hard. But, believe me, it’s amazingly, breathtakingly mysterious!

I pray He pulls you deeper into blind faith and pricks your heart with the desire to surrender all your ‘whys’ and human needs to His unknown but always loving ways. 

Turn to His Word to reassure your heart: Psalm 37:4-6, Psalm 55:22, Proverbs 13:6

Re-Root Your Legacy After the Earthquakes

As widows, it sometimes feels as if the earth beneath our feet has been shaken causing deep, unrepairable cracks of devastation. I remember many such days with earthquakes nearly shaking the foundation of my faith loose until I felt His mighty hands scoop me up from my wreckage as He walked me back to safety. Then there were those days when the hurt created more subtle quaking, like quiet vibrations in my heart, just enough to keep me keenly aware of Jesus’ presence in my life and a new purpose being born.

I know the vast spectrum of hurt and heart-quaking, pain and earth-shaking grief we experience as sisters on this road of recovery. And now as a re-married widow, my world still sometimes quivers with confusion at how to heal past hurts.  Mostly my days have taken on a new normal and my mind remains steady in this surprising, at times overwhelmingly transformed life of mine. But occasionally when the challenges of transition from widow to wife, from only-parent of two to co-parenting five, I shake with reservation as I reconcile still loving who my lost husband was to me and so completely feeling this new unconditional love for the man I now live with and my soul dearly loves.

Each time I feel the shaking of earth underneath me, my footing comes loose and I’ve wondered if I’ll ever really plant my roots in solid ground again! I adore right where God’s put me today as a wife of a wonderful, Christ-following man. But fear of losing love again or any kind of life-shaking change causes those heart quivering earth quakes.

I mean, my story keeps changing and what’s behind me looks blurry like a mixed up, discombobulated legacy! And when life seems like a roller coaster, how can I live out the legacy I want to leave?

Yeah, the notion of leaving a legacy left its mark on my heart when I lost my first love.

Legacies means much more after we’ve watched our loved one leave one. You know, ladies, not everyone has the privilege of knowing how meaningful legacies really are! It’s one of those blessings of wisdom through widowhood….

But while we’re left with the wisdom, all the shaking and earth-quaking leave us at a loss with how to find a new purpose in our lives. Living our own legacies seem, well, disjointed and discontinued. Here we stand, each of us in different places on this widowhood path, feeling uprooted, confused and careening with an uncertain future.

Don’t we sometimes wonder who we’ll be after our lives take such sharp turns and our identity has been shaken? I know I have!

But we must remember what’s really rooting us. It’s not our husband’s past. It’s not our earthly homes. It’s not our children or our careers. And for those of us who have started on some new chapter, it’s not even a new man or life mission. The only thing rooting us in unbreakable, unshakable fertile ground is GOD! What a relief! God NEVER changes.

We can exhale, even during earthquakes. In all the life-shaking challenges and in every twist and turn, I’ll gladly take His strong hand, bury my feet into my faith and find solid ground in His unchanging grace! Won’t you?

Life uproots us.

But God uplifts us.

Life on earth changes us. 

But God always sustains us. 

So, sisters, we know exactly where to plant our life’s legacy alongside all the quaking change. We know just who we are in Jesus. Because no matter where we are on the path of hurt and healing, living a life shining His light will always create a certain and strong legacy worth leaving.

I got to thinking more about my roots and what’s behind me defining me during a quiet time chopping up some roots for a new recipe…that’s right, deep roots covered in earth’s dirt cleaned and used to create something nourishing and new (it’s true…food often inspires me!)

Maybe you’d like to see what happened next during my quiet time and how my kitchen always gets me thinking….here’s the post on Happily Whole all about re-rooting our lives into fertile ground PLUS the root soup recipe I came up with.

Here’s the link:  Simple Roasted Root Soup…and Nourishing Their Roots Through You. 

Let’s all remember, with the power of Christ, we can walk with Him and redirect our roots away from the results of painful pasts, sin or struggle and live a new legacy in Him!

Living Well in Widowhood

As widows, it’s easy to lose motivation to care for the beautiful bodies God gave us. Living alone means no one is watching. Or even those of us with children still find ourselves searching for something soothing to munch on as we sink into the couch cushions wishing for comfort…comfort food can’t give.

Why would a widow really care about wellness!? After losing that one person we felt this life was worth living for, what’s the point of caring about what we wear, how much we eat or if we exercise at all?

I know how that feels. I recall wondering whether I’d ever feel appealing, if my ‘presentation’ truly mattered or if caring for my own body’s health was enough to make me want to move again.

But because, before the death of my husband, I already possessed the professional mindset and personal passion for eating well and exercising regularly, I forced myself into my old healthy lifestyle. I felt relief at first simply because I could return to something that felt normal to me.

But, it was still different. As a widow, even my most ingrained habits felt surreal and uncomfortable. What was I doing it all for anyways? My drive, my motivation and even my energy waned when I thought about living well all alone. I certainly didn’t need to try to look good naked!

But then my perspective started changing. I felt this conviction to live well but in a new ‘inside-out’ way. You see, I sought healthy habits starting with my soul and then let that perspective seep out into how I treated my body. Living well in widowhood had nothing to do with what the world taunts us with–all those empty messages of diets, fitness fads and socially acceptable aesthetics held no weight in my new little world.

I had learned that living well as a widow, my own self-care, had a lot more to do with my sanity than any opinions or my appearance. I lost the love of my life but gained a new perspective as a woman working in wellness.

Even after I started dating (under protest, I might add…more on that in THIS POST), I refused to admit I cared about my aesthetics. And you know what? I honestly didn’t! Even if I married this guy, I wanted to maintain the more soul-satisfying, ‘inside-out’ approach I’d been exploring.

What’s so interesting about this new approach to my old habits is that I’d never felt so comfortable in my own skin. It’s like God was blessing me with peace and new purpose in an area I’d always felt I was racing in.

I realized, like all the other aspects of my life, self-care was another area I needed to surrender to my Savior. I mean, if God made my body and then sacrificed His Son for my salvation, I’d better honor the vessel He gave me for my process of sanctification!

And when I embraced that belief, God got all the glory and my mind relaxed with new motivation to live well.

Sisters, God gave us our bodies. He calls us to care for the temple of His Holy Spirit out of honor, no matter what stage we are in. And as long as we’re alive on earth, let’s remember we are each blessed with a mission to carry out and we need our bodies to do it.

I have so much more to say about your inherent worth in Him and how lovely you already are! But for now, feel free to read more in this post on Happily Whole: Prepare to Surrender for Self-Cleaning

Love and Prayers to you…now go and LIVE WELL as WIDOWS!

~ Katie

If I’m Being Honest….

I’m not sure how to say this. Maybe it’s a little risky or maybe you won’t agree. Perhaps you’ll want to place me in a different category since I recently remarried. Will you think I’m not a widow like you? Will you disregard my messages because you feel I’m not walking alongside you in loss?

Or maybe those are just my own fears, my own assumptions still causing me to ache with your pain, a pain I still feel but from a different perspective. It’s a pain I place in a special place in my heart so I can live freely inside a new love.

You see, I never really wanted to remarry. I was content, comfortable…to the point of a bit complacent…in my widowhood walk. I’d even found a certain kind of quiet happiness living alone with my two little girls as I cradled my life in comfortable grief.

Yeah, I carried my grief with care and treasured its comfort in a life I’d become a bit too comfortable in. I treasured the tears. Because if I ever relinquished my reality, would I lose sight of the love of my life? Would I forget to linger in my beautiful memory’s of love and loss?

God did this. He changed my life. He took my heart and held it in His hand until I was willing to walk away from my comfortable little complacent life. And here’s the thing: It didn’t make me happy. He didn’t show me how a new man with an entirely new life plan would transform my quiet kind of happiness into the crazy, giddy honeymoon kind of happiness.

Instead, He showed me how changing my life YET AGAIN is all about Him, not happiness. Sure, eventually the call into a new relationship rattled me from heart to bones! It was nerve-rackingly exciting at times. I fell in love with my new man with all my heart! He’s a man I can easily honor, love and respect. He tenderly cares for my girls and I in a way I could have never imagined. I am blessed beyond measure to hold his love in my heart. Today, sisters, he is the one my soul loves. (Saying it out loud awkwardly surprises me…it’s a strange kind of tender truth.)

So, it’s good…but it’s not all about happiness. I walked away from ‘content’ because it’s so much more about building Christ’s kingdom! The crazy happy only came after I realized my uncomfortable call to another kind of kingdom work.

So, no. I would have never married again unless I knew the call was closer to Him. I never would have followed my human heart to a home with a new man unless God gave me the plan. 

And, yes. I do feel crazy happy on this other side of calm and content. But, believe me, it’s not always bliss! I mean, who wants to marry a widow who’s self-proclaimed a bit messy and over-thinks everything?

But you know what? I’m no further away from the past love of my life. I linger there, I treasure the lessons and even I long for aspects of him. So, it’s complicated. But it’s all about His kingdom!

My sisters, I’m still one of you. I remain on the walk of widowhood, but in a remarried sort of way. My hearts and prayers are with you and that’s why I’m still here!

Here’s more of ‘If I’m Being Honest‘ on my blog, Happily Whole. Click Here: If I’m Being Honest. 

 

 

Perhaps

When I approach unknown territory, I bring with me a known. I stick to the Lord and trust His wisdom.

“…Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.”

1 Samuel 14:6 (ESV)

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone, sister? Are you making bold steps with your life as you progress out of the early grief? I want to encourage you to be obedient to the calling God places on this new season in your life.

Every great action in the Bible starts with an idea followed by a hope to win.

But winning isn’t the point. There’s a bit of letting go of the result—a “perhaps”. Every success, from Gates saying “perhaps the world wants an operating system” to Phelp’s mother saying “perhaps I should let my son train for the Olympics” to your husband saying “perhaps that sweet woman might want to have coffee with me”, has an element of risk.

Jonathan accomplished great things simply by being obedient to a calling from God. His father was King Saul—not a very good king because instead of confronting the Philistines (remember Goliath?), Saul hung out with 600 of his best fighters in the hillside. Jonathan didn’t agree with his father’s inaction, but what could he do?

Remember, as son of the king, he was protected by staying with his father among the 600. The Philistines would have to go through all of those soldiers before getting to him. If he decided to fight alone, he’d risk his life.

Isn’t that how some of us are? Comfortable, but with a lingering sense something isn’t right? Hanging out in our own worlds with our girlfriends, career, church or children? Maybe that’s easier than confronting that dating world or a new calling such as a career or ministry?

It’s tempting to stay where you are. It’s what you know, and for the time being, it’s safe.

But Jonathan knew he couldn’t sit. He knew what would happen if no one faced the Philistines. So he left the comfort of the entourage and struck out with his armor bearer to face the enemy.

Maybe you know you need to do a new thing. Maybe God’s telling you, “your surroundings will change–kids will grow up, and I don’t want you to miss the new horizons and new people I might have for your future.”

Enter the “new” obediently, trusting the Lord, Who is your husband and will guide you in every step. When you accept whatever the Lord has for you, you open possibilities for gaining more than you ever expected– You will learn about who you are and make some wonderful new friendships.

When Jonathan stepped out with the right attitude, he and his armor bearer killed twenty Philistines. The rest turned on their heels and ran, all because Jonathan was willing to act on a calling and a “perhaps”.

Who knows what will happen if you go on a calling and a “perhaps”?

Father in Heaven, each woman enters a new calling, knowing the pitfalls and the joys.  Help her know that the insecurities she feels are completely normal and that You have her in the palm of Your Hand.  Help her walk forward with the “perhaps” of a widow’s mite.  Amen.

Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was one of the original writers 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 to Sheryl Pepple and 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 her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net. 
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle
Other articles like this one: Dancing Through Tears and The Big Picture

 

I Said Yes

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

Joel 2:25a  

One year ago today, I said yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Other articles by this author click here.

Related articles: Moving Forward & The Window

 

Dating a Widow

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:39 (ESV)

Free to be married to whom she wishes.

But what’s it like for a man to date a widow?  Jack knows.  He came across our ministry and wrote me, because he is dating a widow and wanted to learn more about how to be sensitive to her grief.  Here’s what Jack wrote:

Kit,
I am currently dating someone who is a young widow. They were together for four and a half years and had a son together. My own insecurities and feeling like I would always be second best led me to your article about widows and marriage in heaven. I found it very helpful for me personally. I wanted to thank you for the post. It explained a lot to me. I find it comforting that all relationships are perfect in heaven regardless of who you are married to or divorced/ widowed from on earth. I think it will go a long way with helping me be the man I need to be for the woman I care so much about.
I hope I understood your post the way you intended.
Thank you,
Jack

It can be daunting for a man to date a woman who has lost her best friend. But hearing Christ answer questions about marriage in Heaven can be helpful to anyone wanting to take that step into the dating world.

Here are a few points from the article Jack is referring to titled Will We be Married in Heaven?.

  • Jesus tells us in Luke 20:34-38 that there will be no marriage in Heaven
  • Heaven’s grandeur will surpass anything we know of now–including marriage
  • Heaven is so perfect that we will not struggle with jealousy nor comparisons

Perhaps you are like me.  Grief at first consumed me, but as time wore on, a different pain overtook the grief–the longing for companionship in my life.  I knew I had the freedom to date.  But oh, it was hard to take that step and not look back. Especially since I knew the love I had lost was a good one.

The words Paul adds at the end of the verse above–“only in the Lord” comfort me.  They point me in the direction I need for confident dating. I am a believer in Christ, and if I choose to marry again, it will only be in the Lord.  It will only be with someone who has enough understanding to date and develop trust with a widow. The kind of wisdom that comes easily when the man believes like I do that there is a Savior, that in Heaven there is no marriage, and he and I are free to date without feeling like we are betraying the memory of the husband I lost.

When I meet a sweet man who simply doesn’t understand Who Christ is, I’m left reading very mixed signals from him about where he stands in relationship to God and me. Dating only “in the Lord”  helps me stay focused only on those men who will feel comfortable knowing I loved my husband, and I can love again.

Someone might be daunted by dating a widow, but if you yourself feel daunted, don’t!

Trust the Lord!

Have patience with yourself and with anyone you bring into your life.  They know what a part of your life your husband was.

Lord, would you help Jack be sensitive to his girlfriend’s grief and desire to move forward?  Please let the words from the article on Marriage in Heaven touch his heart and give him deep understanding of her grief so that he can be the man You want him to be for her.  Amen.

Find the article Kit refers to about marriage in Heaven here:   Will we be married in Heaven?

017_HinkleKit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a home school mother to four teen boys–one of them launched in college. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching. 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 dating?  Here are some articles you might try:

The Seven Signs by Kit Hinkle

You don’t have to Forget to Reset by Kit Hinkle