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No Longer a Slave to Fear

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

Fear – it’s one of the many emotions we experience in grief. Fear gripped me tightly early on. The darkness wrapped its arms around me and tried to take control, like a relentless evil that would not stop pursuing me. I felt alone and afraid of anything and everything.

The fear was so strong, it nearly paralyzed me. I could not walk into a room alone. I could not drive. I constantly felt like someone or something was after me and felt evil was following me at every turn. I was at war and wondered how I would ever live my life.

Though the feelings of fear are not as heavy, it is the feeling that continues to try and take hold of me.

Most recently I was planning to attend a concert in Texas a day after a terrorist attack took place during a concert in England, where 22 perished. The next morning, without any evidence of something happening at the concert I was going to attend, I hesitated to go. There are other days when fear’s lies tell me I may lose my son or my second husband. Fear can make us afraid and convince us we cannot step forward after the loss of our husbands. But that is what Satan does … he sees vulnerability and uses fear to attack. Don’t let him. During those moments, let your knees hit the floor and pray.

When we lean on Jesus, that all-consuming fear won’t last forever. I chose to attend the concert, and I choose to continue stepping forward in my life after loss, because I know who is in control. The Lord never intended for his children to live in fear.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

From those first few days, after the shock subsided some, I remember feeling the Holy Spirit at work. Though my life was full of chaos and devastation, I found peace and strength in knowing the Lord is sovereign, and though I did not understand, I trusted Him. But the darkness and fear didn’t go away without a fight. I’ve mentioned this before, night after night, for months, I clung to a wooden cross whispering the words, “Jesus, help me.”

And, He did. His faithfulness protected me. He has rescued me from the all-consuming fear. Today, when fear tries to pursue me and feels too strong, I lean on the One who is stronger.

Lord, We need you. Protect us from fear and anxiety and from the evil one. You are in control, and you will give us Your strength when we turn to You. Help us step forward, without fear, to share Your story of strength and faithfulness. There will not be a day when we do not miss our husbands, but we know there is still joy to be found on this earth. Help each of us to find it. In Your precious name, we pray. Amen.

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Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

Want to read another article by Jennifer? Two Years and Trusting in Him

Want to read another article about fear? Fear at 35,000 Feet

 

When the Days Pile up

One after another. Though it’s been nearly two-and-a-half years since my husband Michael made his way to heaven, it seems the anniversaries and holidays approach faster and faster, and then pile up. The two days that are most difficult, outside of the day I lost him, are within just a few weeks of each other – Last month was our wedding anniversary. Last week was our son’s birthday.

These difficult days continue throughout the year. Sunday is Mother’s Day. June is his birthday and Father’s Day and so on.

It is obvious he isn’t here, but those days – the anniversaries, birthdays and holidays – are such in-your-face moments of his absence. But the Lord is never absent, and He is the One who can help us get up and show up, each day, after our life falls apart. He never promised life without pain, but He did promise our sufferings on this earth would be worth it when we reach eternity with Him.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)

Though we have hope, as Christians, and know we will see them again, we miss our husbands on this earth no matter how much time passes. The pain from their loss will always stand, but as each holiday, anniversary and difficult day comes and goes, the Lord stands stronger. He comforts, strengthens, protects, heals and guides us through this earthly life, until we one day join Him and are reunited with our husbands.

The Lord Comforts. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

The Lord Strengthens. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

The Lord Protects. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

The Lord Guides. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

The Lord Heals. “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Lord, There are days, especially holidays and anniversaries, without our husbands that can be so difficult, dark and full of despair. Direct us to Your word, and help us to depend on You for comfort, strength, protection, guidance and healing. We know You are the only one capable of transforming our lives. We are so thankful we have you to lean into. Amen.

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Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

 

Give it to God

The trauma my body and mind went through that day is indescribable. I still have aftershocks from that day and the moments leading up to my husband Michael’s death. These aftershocks trigger my mind, making me believe something awful is happening or about to happen. In fact, seeing an ambulance or fire truck parked outside of a home brings extreme stress that, within seconds, can build to anxiety.

The aftermath of death brings so many emotions – anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, shock, loneliness – and these feelings can continue thoughout our grief journey. It makes sense that our emotions are so high. The Holmes and Rah Stress Scale rates the loss of a spouse as the number one most stressful life event, not only because you lose your husband, but also because of the numerous secondary losses.

Sadly, you don’t have to tell us. As widows, we know this firsthand. We lost our husband, our best friend, lover, father of our children, confidant, financial advisor, prayer warrior, spiritual leader, our supporter, trash taker outer and partner in this life.

Whether it’s anxiety over the day you lost your husband, the stress of change or having to do everything on your own – raising your children without their father, figuring out finances – or the loss of relationships that were once close, what do we do when these feelings become so overwhelming that they almost paralyze us?

I attended a Suicide Survivors group and also went to counseling for several months following my husband’s death. I truly believe the Lord places people, like counselors, in our lives to help us sort through feelings and emotions. The time I spent in a group and with my counselor also helped me find a way to cope with the anxiety and trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) caused from it. I use these coping skills regularly, but there are times when they don’t seem to fulfill my heart or bring peace and comfort. That’s when I turn to the only ONE who can.

I find that when I try to do things on my own, I can’t seem to fully get past that moment and those feelings. But when I give those feelings to the Lord, I know He can do more than I ever thought possible.

The Lord says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

When I find myself in a place consumed by darkness and overwhelming circumstances, I pray and look to this verse. I have and continue to find comfort and peace here. Though I know what waits for me after this life, I have always trusted the Lord would bring goodness here on earth, too.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm  27:13)

From day one, after my husband passed, I saw this goodness in our son and in the people who surrounded me. God had placed these people in my life, not necessarily for the time I met them, but for that time of need when my world fell apart. And, presently, I am recently remarried and have seen so much goodness that the Lord has provided through my husband Keith.

As we continue to walk this journey of grief, and trauma and anxiety attempt to creep their way back in, let’s remember to pray and give it all to the ONE who knows our heart and our circumstances. Because He is the only one who can heal what is broken.

Lord, Each of us have our own story, but we all have been impacted by the trauma from our husbands’ deaths. Comfort us and remind us of Your eternal perspective. And though, we know eternal life with You awaits, we are confident you have goodness in store for us on earth. I pray you open our hearts and minds to listen to know where You are leading so we can experience Your goodness. Amen.


Jennifer was widowed by suicide in January 2015. She is recently remarried and lives with her husband Keith in north central Texas. She is now the mom and step mom of three sons.  When she’s not running after three energetic boys, Jennifer loves running outdoors, enjoying nature. As her grief journey continues, she is sharing her story to help others know that it is only in the Lord that hopeful healing and walking forward are possible.

 

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.

Our Earthly Treasures

Our ministry has seen many sweet, wonderful and gifted sisters move onto other life callings.  But only one left us to join her Savior, and her beloved husband Don in heaven.  There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of our sister, our Care Bear, and miss her.  So, today we thought we would share some of Karen’s special and valuable words with you.  We pray this blesses you as much as she truly blessed us. 


Earthly Treasures by Karen Emberlin

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

For fifteen months my husband and I lived in a suburban neighborhood in the comfort of a three bedroom home with a finished basement, double car garage, and attic.

We were normal.  In other words, like most Americans, our home was “filled” with all of the “stuff” we had collected over forty-eight years of marriage. Even after moving several times during those years, we always took our “stuff” with us, sure we would eventually need it.

Things changed! Once I lost my husband, that “stuff” we thought was so valuable no longer seemed valuable, and I realized the only real value it ever had was because it was “ours”.  What good would that do me now?

Overnight all of my “stuff” became a real burden.

The unexpected loss had my relatives and me scratching our heads–where would I go?  And what would I  do with all these things?

First I relocated to another state to be with our daughter and family. With no room for a house full of my stuff, my daughter asked me to downsize. And I did–from a three bedroom house to the twenty-two foot trailer I used to move to Florida.

In order to reduce my treasure to what fit in that twenty-two foot trailer, I sorted. I don’t remember where it all ended up, but I was always happy when someone I knew took an item I may have had a hard time letting go of.  At least I knew where its new home would be!

As my son and I pulled away from my home, I thought about the trailer we were towing behind us. My husband  had bought it a few years earlier for  a “local” move, so we could take our time. I had always thought it to be in the way. “Let’s  sell it,” I’d say.  “Naw,” he’d say, ‘Someday we might need it!”

In God’s perfect plan, He knew I’d be the one who would need it. That trailer “housed” my treasures for a whole year.

While living with less at my daughter’s home. I discovered how comfortable with just a very small amount of my belongings around me.

But God wasn’t done pruning my earthly treasures.

A few months ago I moved yet again–this time over a thousand miles away, to a community with an even smaller space to fit my belongings.  Faced again with the decisions of getting my “stuff” there, I began again the process of sorting and deciding what was really important, this time placing my “stuff’ in a 5×8 Uhaul trailer.

From a house to a twenty-two footer to a 5×8 trailer–God’s forcing me to adjust my definition of success.

It was not easy to “let go” of things that I once thought were so important, especially some of the things that my husband enjoyed so much (like the cargo trailer)!

However, as I made those choices, I was reminded that my husband left this world with none of our “stuff”, and I too will leave without it. He has so much more in his heavenly home than we ever had here!!

Yes, I miss my husband so much, and I want to be comfortable and have some of the things we enjoyed together near me.  I have been able to do that.  Best of all, I have a heart full of memories, and I love that I do not ever have to “give up”!

I realize that by not having the burden of moving, storing, or caring for so many things, I am freeing myself to be all I can for the Lord and can prepare myself for the plans He has for me.

He promises to give me hope and a future (even without my husband). I want to be ready to follow wherever He takes me, and am excited to see what is next!

Lord, I pray that you will be with all of us on this journey who are finding it difficult to give up “earthly treasures”. Help us to find contentment in You and to store up “heavenly treasures” that will be waiting for us when we get to our home with You.  Amen

Fear at 35,000 Feet

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

 Psalm 94: 18-19 NIV

It started out as an ordinary day.

Little did I know that evening I would face a brush with death 35,000 feet in the air; arriving in a far away city, surrounded by unfamiliar faces.  And in my despair and anguish, all I had was my faith and my Lord.

The morning of May 29th, my mind was focused on the trip I would be taking that afternoon. Employed as a flight attendant for 32 years, I have been on many trips. Thankfully, most have been uneventful and there was no reason to think this day would be any different. It was a quick one hour flight up to Charlottesville, Virginia from Atlanta. Nine hours in a hotel and a quick flight back to Atlanta the next morning. Sure seemed easy enough. This day, however, easy was not part of God’s plan.

We departed from Atlanta on time. As we took off and began our climb, I made the welcome announcement to our passengers. We leveled off and the captain signaled that it was safe for us to be up in the cabin and begin our service. I went into the aisle and leaned over to offer our snack basket to a passenger seated by the window when a sudden and severe pain wrecked havoc in my chest. It was searing and debilitating, but I did my best to keep my smile and continue the service.

Returning to the galley area, I doubled over from the physical pain and from the mental fear that was entering my thoughts. Lord, what is this, what is wrong here? I was pleading to Him to allow it to pass. Struggling, I was able to make the requested drinks and deliver them to the passengers.

By now the pain had gravitated between my shoulder blades and it was all I could do to stand. I went to sit on my jumpseat away from the view of passengers and leaned over in intense pain. Fear grabbed me. I knew I was in trouble and needed immediate medical attention. I instructed another flight attendant to call the cockpit and request paramedics meet our flight.

I have done that many times in my thirty-two years of flying for passengers – BUT, never for myself. I was blessed to have two gentlemen on the flight with medical backgrounds to assist, and I was fortunate that we were already on our descent into Charlottesville and on the ground in less than twenty minutes. Once at the hospital, it was immediately determined that I was having a heart attack and I was prepped for surgery.

Wait. This can’t be happening, Lord. No. Please. My girls have already lost their daddy. Please, spare me, Lord. They still need me. 

Pleading. Frightened. Hurting. Questioning. I was rolled into the surgery area. One of my main arteries was 90% blocked and a stent was placed. Five hours after the onset of this nightmare, I was finally placed in the ICU.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.  Psalm 94:19

During those five hours of uncertainties in my life, I could hear the words of the medical staff explaining the diagnosis and the procedure to repair my heart. Most of those words were jumbled in my head. But, the words that I did hear loud and clear came from the great I Am. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Our mind is a complex machine. It can digest a multitude of thoughts in a matter of minutes. Many of those thoughts come and go with no aim or purpose. Yet, in a crisis, there is only one area that gives us comfort; those pertaining to God. It is here we find rest and peace. It is here where calmness can control our anxieties. It is here where God is our refuge, an ever helping presence. No matter how many thoughts cross our mind, there are thoughts of God, of Heaven, of hope, of faith, of love.

It is when His promises meet us face to face and the prospect of eternity with Him is revealed, that our hearts are warmed and our souls experience joy.

And in that five hour crisis of the unknown, it was only Christ that could offer me this peace. It was only Christ that assured me of His love for me and all that He still has planned for me. It was all I had.

And, it was all I needed.

So, while I could look at this bump in the road as another trial, another headache, another annoyance, I choose to look at it as another moment to glorify God for His graciousness in my life. We are each called to walk individual journeys. And along these journeys we may face obstacles and trials. Some of us may get bigger challenges and some of us may get more frequent challenges. As widows, we have certainly walked and continue to walk many trials. It really does not matter what they are or how many there are; what matters is how we respond to them.

What matters is that we claim His truths for us and allow Him to work through these rough spots so His glory may shine.

As I recover from this physical challenge, I am grateful for life. I am grateful I can go forward tending to the business God still has in store for me. And while I tremendously miss the support of my husband walking this challenge with me, I will lean even more on God to see me through. Yes, sisters, He is all I need.

Sweet Father, Thank you for every moment, every challenge and every blessing in our lives. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You and Your plans for us. I am so grateful You were with me during this moment of crisis. It is such a blessing to know You are with us in any situation. Amen


Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she 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) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

Read more about faith during illness from Lori and Sherry

I AM Near

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Three. Two. One. Smile! Snap. A moment caught in time.

Memories flash. A picture from the past can flood a mountain of thoughts, memories and emotions. Often times, they cause us to smile. But sometimes, they cause pain to arise.

Such was the case when I stumbled upon a picture of my husband the other day. A picture taken by his mother in the last weeks of his time here on earth. A picture revealing the throes of a battle with cancer. A picture I had forgotten, until I stumbled upon it. A moment caught in time that caused me to catch my breath.

It is not how I wanted to remember him. That picture is not who he was. I threw it on the floor, willing the image out of my mind. Try as I might, the image sat there, boring it’s unpleasant memories in my thinking process, penetrating and reminding me of a time that was anything but pleasant. It was like a thief coming to plunder through my being and to steal my joy.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that I acknowledged it and let it drop more quickly. But, I can not. Thieves are just like that. They linger. They rob. They seek to destroy. And sometimes it is so hard to shake them off, which was the case on this day. And not only did it sear my vision of the once robust guy I had married, it conjured many images of that last month we spent together. Most, not pleasant. Thoughts and memories I had toiled through, packed down and placed in a secure part of me. Things that were blurred in my memory were now perfectly clear again, as if called up for a “white-glove inspection”. What followed was an avalanche of moments that bore my tender heart to more painful reminders. Our wedding day. Big events where his absence was felt so deeply. I closed my eyes to shut out the images and thoughts.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

As I cried out in anguish, seeking answers, God arrived. He did not tell me why this was my lot in life. He did not tell me that the pain would go away. He did not tell me that life would be free of troubles. But, He did come to me.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We can boldly dismiss these joy robbers as we stand firm in biblical teachings. God came to Moses as he hesitantly led thousands into the desert, to Daniel in the lion’s den, to Job in his suffering and loss, and to Mary and Martha for their brother, Lazarus.

God showed up and He showed up BIG.

If we allow Him, He will show up for us as well. We can shake off those bothersome moments that seek to crush our spirit. We don’t have to remain stuck in a life marred by circumstances and struggles. Those moments from times past do not have to determine the purpose and plan for our future. There is a voice that whispers love and hope. “Remember who you are in Me, you belong to Me.”  His love over us is permanent. His plan for us is to live victoriously. He is the key. He will walk with us as we confront the sadness, the loneliness, the fear, the brokenness and the confusion.

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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)    ESV

When these moments appear (and they surely will), I encourage you to call out to Him and allow Him to sit with you. When sorrow overwhelms our spirits, God wants us to come to Him. Our sensitive and anxious souls need the truth and we can quiet our souls with truths from Scripture. As I gave Him my tears and heartache triggered by that picture, I heard His words – “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

Let Him come to you and give you rest.

Lord, I ask as we struggle with life’s struggles and pain, that You will please come near. It can be lonesome and hard for the widow’s heart; may they feel Your presence in these moments that tear at our hearts. Thank You, Lord, for loving us and giving us rest. Amen.


IMG_2758Bonnie is a mother of two awesome daughters who bless her life every day. When she’s not enjoying long walks along the Florida coastline, she is flying through the skies as a flight attendant. Life took a radical change in the spring of 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The walk through that journey was the hardest she had ever walked. How did she make it through? And how is she surviving? The answer is simple. Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace. He carried her when she was at her lowest.  And Bonnie carried Him in her heart even when she 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) Bonnie has been called by God to share her story through writing and speaking.

To book a speaker email us at admin@anewseason.net

For more articles by Bonnie, click here

 Read more about finding a new joy by Lori and Sherry

God is Good

Over the last three months we shared a series on the Names of God.  We hope that series blessed you as much as it did us.  If you missed any of it, you can read those posts here:

Jehovah Sabaoth, Jehovah Shalom, Immanuel, Jehovah, I Am, El Olam, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, El Shaddai, El Elyon

Today, we start a new series… on God’s goodness.  Because God is good even if, even when, even still.  His goodness is not found in our circumstances, in our pain and loss, or even our joy and triumphs.  But, His goodness is found in who He is and what He did for us at the Cross.  He is good all the time.  He is constant.  He never shifts or changes, even if, even when, even still.

Please join us today for our first post in this new series.


“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.” 

Psalm 27:13

As life has unfolded over the last few years, I’ve pondered this verse often.  It sits with me and it stirs my mind and heart almost daily.  It’s hard to understand or fathom at times, how this life and the horrific stuff that I see and experience could possibly be good or become good. How could God’s goodness ever be in some of these terrible circumstances? The suffering, the brokenness, the unfairness, the injustice, and just the messy world around me makes it seem bleak at times.

Yet, these are the things I do know: God is Sovereign and is always in control, ever working in our circumstances, walking alongside us, and allowing the good and the bad in life. As I pray and contemplate His goodness, I realize that God’s goodness is not found in my good or bad circumstances.  Focusing on my circumstances would cause me to never see His goodness, unless things were perfect every day and even then, my flesh would be unsatisfied.  Instead, I have learned His goodness is in His love and care for me, His constant presence and provision over me, and His healing power running through me.  And mostly, His goodness is in Jesus Christ and what He did for me at the Cross.

I am loved, cared for, and forgiven through Christ. I can experience that goodness every day, even if that day is the most gut wrenching, difficult day I’ve ever experienced.

~Erika


Please join us each Sunday over the coming months for our new series on God’s goodness. 

Immanuel – God with Us

His very name, Immanuel, tells us God is with us!

Do you really believe that the God of all creation, the Alpha and Omega, the Wonderful Counselor, Our Redeemer, Our Savior, is with us every second – of every minute – of every day?

It is so hard to wrap our minds around that truth and to rest in the peace of knowing He is with us.

As widows we can so often feel alone and forgotten, left to fight the battles all on our own.

But He is ALWAYS there.

He is with us the very moment we become a widow,

and the moment when we remember, we are His.

He is with us when we need to be comforted,

and when we comfort others.

He is with us each and every time the tears flow uncontrollably,

and when we discover we can laugh again.

He is with us when we feel helpless,

and when we have our victories of accomplishing something new.

He is with us when we think we can’t take one more breath because the pain is so excruciating,

and when we start breathing naturally again.

He is with us on those special days and holidays that are so hard to get through,

and when those days become days of sweet memories.

He is with us when we cry out “please take me home too.”

and when we can’t wait to tell the story of His faithfulness.

He is with us when we can’t get out of bed,

and when we jump, and shout, and praise His name.

He is with us when we give up,

and as we grow in our faith.

He is with us when we feel so terribly alone,

and when we are totally immersed in His Presence.

He is with us when we feel rejected,

and when every fiber of our being rejoices because we are loved.

He is with us during the lowest of the lows,

and the highest of the highs,

and everything in between.

The most amazing thing of all … He is always with us!

Immanuel – God with us!

We praise You and thank You for who You are!


Other posts in our Names of God series: Eternal God- El Olam, Jehovah, I Am, Jehovah Jireh, El- The Strong One, Adonai, El Roi, and El Shaddai

 

Fearless or Fearful?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22 ESV

 

Where do you feel the safest? Are there places in your life where you’ve settled? Do you want to be fearless? Since the beginning of January God has brought these three questions to my attention.

God’s been speaking to me about how I perceive safety. The place I feel the safest is at my bay. Steep sand dunes and towering cedar trees surround it to the east and Northwest. I know every inch of its coastline. Although, it’s a completely secure feeling to know what’s around the next curve, it’s putting trust in what I see and what I know, not in who I serve.

Christ wants me to move beyond the shores. Like the ships sailing beyond the safety of my bay, who hurl their sails and trust in the wind to move them forward. I want to be like the waves and live in freedom beyond the shore. Not afraid to test the depths and thrive in any storm. Freedom and healing are just beyond your sight, over the horizon. Lean your sails into the wind and let the Star maker guide you away from the safety of your own shores.

For the last seven months I have been working tirelessly on getting to know how Christ views me, it’s been an arduous journey, and worth every bit of it all. I haven’t arrived yet, but I’m moving through life more attuned to His leading and His voice than I’ve ever been.

As I move further up the dune, the word “settle” keeps whispering to me. The sand settles on the beach and it only moves in the midst of a storm or when the waves pick it up from the bottom of the lake and throw it to and fro. If there is no storm, then the sand settles on the beach layer upon layer or slowly sinks to the bottom. It needs a storm to help transform it into beach glass. It needs a storm to produce a path more narrow or wide.

Frequently, like the sand, I settle and it takes a storm to move me out into the depths of uncertainty. Uncertainty leaves me feeling helpless and out of control,  and as a woman who lost half her heart five years ago, I’m not comfortable ushering in more uncertainty. However, Christ continues to show me it may be uncertainty for me, but He is always certain. He knows in order to not settle, I must trust Him even when the way seems outrageously perilous and screams in my ear of danger.

With a gentle whisper, God has shown me how fearful I behave. Fearful has a mutual relationship with safety and settling and not venturing out beyond the shore. I don’t want to be fearful, I want to be fearless.

Fearless occurs when I’m leaning into Holy Spirit and relying on Him to fill every part of me. Fearless happens when I’m being a “doer of his word and not just a hearer.”

Dear Heavenly Father,  Please use our safe places as filling stations, where You fill us with more of You. Help us to take time to calibrate our hearts so we can remember Your vision, Your purpose and Your plan for our lives.  We thank you for the certainty You provide in our daily lives, but we need Your help to exercise our faith and be “doers of the word.” Help us to not settle like sand on the ocean floor. We want You to move us into all You have set aside for Your children. Lord, Thank you for calling us out beyond what we see, so we can catch of glimpse of what You see. In Your Mighty Name, amen.

 


 

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

Interested in having one of our team members speak at your event, email us at: admin@anewseason.net

All articles by this author: Jill Byard

Other related articles:Fear Not, Courage over Fear, and Faith vs Fear

 

El – The Strong One

El Shaddai.  El Roi.  El Elyon.

The names of God usually start with El because El means God.

The word that follows “El”  describes something distinctive about God which sets Him apart from all the false gods people invent. A tribal group in a country far away might believe in a rain god who gives them enough rain, but El Shaddai is the God who is ALL suffient, providing ALL needs.

So what about when “El” is written just by iteself? Ancient text used “el” to describe any god, but as time went on, by itself, “El” referred to the one and only God–emphasis on the fact that no other god exists!

El means the One God–all powerful, all good, all knowing.

El is our strong tower.  And like a refuge for those seeking safety, He is Whom we run to.

Isn’t that what we long for? Don’t you sometimes wish you had that covering of a husband–someone you could run to and snuggle up to when the world around you gets rough?  Don’t you long to run for that strong tower where you can go inside, close the door and be safe?

The politically correct in this world like to say women are just like men. As for me–this woman needs her El, her strong tower.

And she has Him.  Looking back on eight years without that husband in the flesh, I see miraculous moments when El was my strength in Whom I completely trust for my future.

Let Him be your strength sister.  Shout His name out loud– “El!”  “El!”

El Adonnai  – not just sufficient but ALL sufficient!

El Roi – not just one who sees, but THE one who sees!

El Elyon – not just high, but The MOST High!

Sing and worship and praise your El, sister.  He IS your strong tower!


Other Names of God articles in our series: El Shaddai, El Roi, Adonai,