God’s Goodness in Our Lives


Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to all that love God….” How can good come from the loss of a husband? As I prayed about how to explain this to the ladies at my church, I found it harder to explain to others than it was to believe it in my heart.  This verse does not mean it is good for a woman to lose her husband.  It does, however, mean that since all things work together for good, God can work good things into our lives even through the loss of a husband.

As I was searching how to approach this subject I read online about the Harm’s family. They were told that their baby would be born with a rare chromosome abnormality. This couple searched their hearts to learn how this problem with their precious child could possibly work for good. They loved God and knew that He is good. The new father said that one day after his baby was born the light bulb went on. He was able to see how God was taking care of them through their trial and how He had been faithful to them. He recognized that having this child in his life made him depend on God in a way he never would have.

As time went on, this family had another beautiful baby. After many bouts of sickness and seizures, they learned that she had a rare disease called Alexander’s disease. Through this new grief, just before she passed away, the Holy Spirit reminded them of that same truth again. God is good. They knew that God would be with them. Just as it was unexplainable to their minds how a baby dying can be for good, it is unexplainable to me how a husband dying can be good. But as this family accepts it, I also accept it. I know that if it were better, if it would bring more glory to God to have their baby here, or my husband here, then both would still be here. As God revealed to the Harm’s that their lives were touched by God’s faithfulness, that He has always been good, I too, as a widow have been able to realize this truth. The fact that He never fails to direct me has strengthened my faith and has given me peace through my loss.

I will admit that for a while I could not see beyond my sorrow. I wanted my old life back. But as I allowed God to heal me and to work in me, I saw how He was using my loss for good. Once again, I do not mean that it is good that Phil is gone and that I am a widow. But through that trial, God has worked in my life for good. When God handed me widowhood, He gradually handed me other things as well.

“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.” (Jer. 29:11).

God has shown His goodness to me over and over. He filled my arms with a new grandbaby. He surrounded me with loving children and grandchildren, not to mention my church family.

He moved my daughter and her family not only to Pennsylvania, from Arizona, but right next door to me.

He has filled my heart and life with joy.

God prompted me to start this blog and reach out to other widows. He has used this blog to truly bless me and to bring other widows into my pathway. God has allowed me to reach out to many people who are hurting for various reasons. I think of one person that is living one of the worst nightmares I can think of, but as I read his blog and see how he praises the Lord, I am blessed richly. Without my trials and heartache I would never have had this opportunity. Writing this blog has truly enriched my life. I can add this ministry as one of many ways that God has fulfilled His promise of good in my life.

I dragged my feet about going to a Christian Writers’ Conference a few months ago. However, I knew that for some reason God wanted me to go, and He provided the finances. While there I met a sweet Christian lady, who is an author. She also works for a company that has an online devotional site. She was looking for others to help write devotions for this site. She was willing to work with me if I would send her my devotions. There is no monetary pay; it is considered as tithe to the Lord.  I do not have God – given talent to write anything. But when God prompts me to write something, whether it is another posting for my blog or another devotional, He always gives me the words to write. That in itself is a huge blessing.

God worked good in Phil’s life by rewarding him with eternal bliss in Heaven. I can share with confidence that God has used that trial in my life to continually bless me as well with good things in my life.

How has God used your loss to bring good into life? Share your trial and God’s goodness here. I look forward to hearing from you. Let’s continue to look for God’s goodness.

Kathy

A Little Humor Helps


I like to spice life up with a little humor. Usually this humor comes from laughing at myself and all the crazy mistakes I make while walking along life’s pathways. What some people try to hide from others I love to tell, embellish, and make others laugh. Someone will say, “Kathy, tell them about the time you….” Soon they are laughing at my sharing what most people would rather die than tell! Then there are the times when people say, “You are so funny!” and I reply, “The sad thing is, I am not always trying to be!”

Since my husband has passed away, I have still tried to keep humor in my life.  I thought I would share with you some of my latest things I have added to my décor here in the house.

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And on my car..

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Try it for a day or two. Turn your frustrating times into laughable moments. It will surely make for a lighter heart. “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

You may want to check out Feree Hardy’s blog   http://www.widowschristianplace.com.Once a week she posts “funnies”. She also feels we need to add some lightheartedness into our lives.

Kathy

Twenty-six Months into My Widowhood Journey


The further I travel on the road of widowhood, the clearer the picture becomes of my husband’s present state. With that realization the picture of his last days on earth becomes dimmer each day. Instead, I have a constant visualization of him being just behind the veil. The veil is what I  like to call the separation between heaven and earth.

Two months into my third year of his passing on, I still miss him very much and think of him often throughout each day. But, now when I think of him it is not with sorrow, instead the thoughts come to me because he is still a part of me. After 42 years of marriage he is intertwined with my thoughts and decisions. I have learned that I have to control my thoughts. If I start to entertain thoughts of his last days, or other sorrowful thoughts of the years of his illness, I realize that I have to stop myself. I am past needing to go through those thoughts for healing and for learning to deal with those times. I now am to the point that the only purpose those thoughts fulfill is to pull me back into sorrow. I know that he has just left his earthly tabernacle and moved into his house “not made with hands.” II Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” That is where I need to picture him. He is in Glory Land, where I will be someday also.

As I go through my day, my husband is right there in my mind’s eye. He is not really that far away from me at all. As Christian’s, our ultimate victory has been to one day stand before our Savior and Lord. God allowed Phil to see Jesus face to face much sooner than any of us expected. However, I know that one day I, too, will be in the same place as Phil is, standing before my Lord.

Will I still ever shed tears again now that my husband is gone over two years? Yes, I am sure I will. But I’ll shed them because I miss him, not because I grieve for him. One day, I will meet him again never to be separated throughout eternity’s endless time.

A Glimpse of Heaven


Two years ago, on June 4th, my husband entered heaven. Two pictures come to my mind when I think back to that day. They are contrasting pictures.

The first picture is one forever etched into my mind, a memory of how my husband looked as he was dying. Because of the chemo he had no hair. He had not been able to keep his food or drink down, so he was very skinny. He had lost his immunity with a previous bone marrow transplant, so he had developed a bad case of chicken pox which covered his entire head and body. All of these factors added together gave him a very ghastly appearance.

As I now envision that heart-breaking scene, I then shift to the other picture etched into my memory. This picture is actually more of a scene.

While my husband, Phil, was taking his last breaths, he opened his eyes and looked above his head and smiled! He did this three times! The last time he had a look of surprise mingled with his smile. Both my daughters and I were so blessed to have witnessed this. We knew that Phil had seen a glimpse of those who were waiting for him. Was one of them our son? Phil’s mom?  Jesus himself?

Genesis 49:33 says that Jacob “yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”  I believe that all believer’s will be gathered unto their own. There was something very sacred about standing there and witnessing the tunnel of eternity opening to my dearest loved one.

May we all remain faithful until that day that we meet again.

 

A Anniversary Letter to my Husband


Good morning,  honey,

The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the birds are singing. There are lots of  flowers blooming outside. You know how I love spring! A morning like this warms my soul.  God gave us such a beautiful earth. What beauty you must be enjoying in Heaven! I praise the Lord for His wonderful love and goodness! While feeling this joy, I realize that I have a still, small sadness trying to creep inside my soul. May 10th keeps popping into my head. Yes, we would have been celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary this week! Even before I realized it, this sadness was creeping in. However, this year I can say that I have sadness, not sorrow. Last year I felt very sorrowful. There is a difference between the two feelings, and I am so thankful that God has brought me through the deepest of the waters and I am now on the shoreline.

I can’t help but think, “How nice it would have been to have if we could have been together and one day celebrated our 50th wedding Anniversary.” But then my thoughts turn around to realize that to be in God’s will is the only way to have real happiness. You are now in “fullness of all joy”  forever. Psalm 16:11 says, ” …in thy presence is fulness of joy….”  However, I know that this verse applies to me also. As I read this entire verse, ” Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of  joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,”  I take these words to heart. If I strive to live daily in His presence, I can always have that joy He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  I am very thankful that God allowed me to have you for my husband. Our marriage was not perfect,  as no one’s is. But we loved each other deeply. I know that God fulfilled His purpose for you down here on earth, and He now has a further purposefor me. He gave me those precious married years, but He has a plan for me now as a widow. I strive daily to walk in His will and to be sensitive to His plan for me now.

Thank you, honey,  for choosing me as your wife and for being by my side all  those years we had together. You are still my hubby.

We may not live together any more, but my heart is still tied to yours. I love you very much.

Yours forever, Kathy

New hope


As spring approaches each year, it always makes me think of new life and hope. As a person works his way through grief, it sometimes feels likes they will never rise above it.

Much of God’s beautiful creation does not show its’  “face” until springtime arrives. As we experience a long, cold winter we see only barren ground and bare trees. Then one day we notice little buds on the trees and tiny shoots coming up towards the light.  The sun shines a little brighter and a little longer. Seeing new life bursting forth, we realize that they things in nature aren’t dead, and they’re not something to toss aside. Instead, they are displaying God’s perfect order of His creation. In the spring they come forth fresh and invigorated again. They have completed one of God’s intended cycles of life. All of these signs I see in spring renew my hope, and I know that I also can come forth with an invigorated spirit.

Another reminder of this hope that comes with springtime is the hope that Easter brings us. Our hope isn’t in whether the sun shines, or flowers bloom. Our hope is in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that we have hope. Because He was crucified on the cross for our sins and rose again the third day we can have hope! We know that He sits at the right hand of God the Father. We know that all of His promises will be fulfilled and are being fulfilled every day.  “Because He lives that I can face tomorrow!”

This will be my second spring without my beloved Phil. However, when I think of him, I not only have hope, but I have full assurance that he too lives. He lives in a place that is beyond our human words of description. He’s been rewarded fullness of all joy! How do I know that?

I know that because God promises that if we trust in Him, and believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, if we believe that He truly did take our sins to the cross, and rose again the third day, we will live  eternally with Him. My husband did confess with His mouth that Christ is Lord and believed in Him.

I also know that not only does God love my husband, but he also loves me. God has a plan for me also. At this time of the year I am reminded that as long as I continue to love and follow my Savior and Lord, I can always rise above my loss. He promises in Isaiah 43:2 that He will never let the waters overtake you.  I can rise above my loss if I trust Him and allow Him to take my hand and lead me.

Not only does God have an intricate plan for the nature He created for us, but He also has a plan for each one of His children. When God fulfilled His plan for our loved ones and allowed them to go to His glorious home, He did not forget us. He has a plan for each one of us who remain. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He put a new song in my mouth…” Psalm 40: 1-3. I feel excitement with this new season coming upon us, and can rest in peace as I walk each day in His plan for me!

My prayer for each of you who are grieving is that you will be able to feel hope in the midst of your sorrow. God has not forgotten you.

For those of you who do not have Christ as your Savior, and therefore, can have no peace, my prayer is that you will look to the cross and receive Him this Easter season. It was during the Easter season many years ago that I received my faith. You can have the hope that only Christ can give.  I pray that you will seek Him now.

*Feel free to email me if I can be of help to you. Christ said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37*

Celestial Shore


Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven!

Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s,Reminds us of heaven

Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial air,

Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality,

Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm,

Of waking up, and finding it Home!

Anonymous

The words above were sung at my son’s funeral. They were such a comfort to me. Just imagine it! You reach out to a hand and realize it is the Lord’s! You go from this life that is full of trouble to absolute continuous peace and calm. Home forever! I Peter 1:17 says that we are just traveling through this world. Our stay here in this world is temporary. We are just passing through while we await our turn to go to our real home, the celestial shore.  What comfort and joy this can give us! Our loved ones just travel on a little sooner than us. One day if we have Christ as our Lord and Savior we will travel on also and rejoin them. There will be no more separation, pain or sorrow. No loneliness.

My son’s death was sudden. One minute he was driving and the next he was breathing celestial air. One minute he was clutching the steering wheel, and in the next instant he was holding God’s hand. There is no way to describe  the joy he had to feel.

As my husband was dying, he opened his eyes three times to look up and over at someone waiting for him on “the other side.” Just a few minutes after he shut his eyes the last time, he was gone from his earthly body and opened them the final time to see the face  of  Jesus. He too, stepped onto the celestial shore, and I believe he was embraced by our son whom he missed so much.

As we await our reunion with our beloved husbands, it is a comfort to us if we picture them as they stepped on that heavenly shore. We can look with anticipation for our own  time of “passing from the storm and tempest to an unbroken calm.”  Until that time we need to continue to follow Jesus one step at a time.  He will lead us on the right pathway if we allow Him.  May God bless you.

Kathy

Why, God?


The following is an excerpt from my book “God Never Fails.” This section is talking about the time God taught me not to ask why.

“Kiersten has acute leukemia.”

My sister’s devastating words were on the other end of that phone call.  Kiersten was my beloved niece who was just four years old. During the year that followed, my sister and family lived in the vicious cycle of that big “C” world.

Since my husband and I lived 98 miles from my family, we watched and suffered with them from a distance as their daughter fought for her life. We watched as she lost her hair and grew new, dark, curly hair in its place. We watched, from afar, as that sweet  angelic child went through painful treatments far from home. I watched while she and her mother lived in hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses for weeks at a time, leaving the other three children with our parents. Kiersten’s father divided his time between work, home chores, and staying with his daughter at the hospital.

We heard how little “Ki-Ki” braved the storm that lay before her. One time she stood up front in her church and sang “Jesus Loves Me” all by herself before leaving for her bone marrow transplant. Did she know it would be her last time in her beloved church?  A few weeks later, we listened to my sister telling us that the child was suffering inhumanly while her body fought against itself, rejecting the transplant. Yet, we were in awe to also hear how she and her parents continued to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and other favorite songs in the midst of that suffering.

Late one night, we received a call from my sister asking us to “pray for God to take Kiersten home.” The next morning she was in her Savior’s arms.

It was at that time that I cried out to God, “Why? Why? Why did you have to take her? Why didn’t you heal her?” As I sit at my desk now, I can visualize the exact place I was when I heard my Lord whisper in my heart, “You would not understand if I were to tell you.”

Instantly, the Bible verse Proverbs 3: 5: “Lean not unto thine own understanding …” became very clear to me. “Your mind is too finite,” he whispered in my heart. I fully understood then, as I do now, that our finite, small minds, much more like an ant’s brain compared to God’s, simply can’t understand the events our God has planned. We must only trust because we never could understand even if he were to tell us the “why” of every situation.

It is very natural for us to wonder why things happen to us or our loved ones. There is nothing wrong in asking this. However, we need to be careful to trust our Lord that although in most circumstances God’s ways just do not make sense to us, He makes no mistakes. The verse above reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  Isaiah 55:8 & 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.” God loves us more than we could ever imagine. He can only do good.

When my husband went home to be with His Lord, I never asked God why. I had settled that issue so many years ago with the death of little “Ki-Ki,” and I never felt the need to ask that question again. We all need to find peace in our hearts that we can trust the Lord. Then we can hold His hand with the trust and faith of a child. It is then that God can lead us on the uncertain and new paths that lie before us.

I pray that you do all have this trust. Please feel free to contact me if you so desire. I would welcome the opportunity to be able to talk with you. You can contact me through the comments section below or via email, kbellows60@yahoo.com

Kathy

Ponderings at Thanksgiving


As Thanksgiving approaches I think of so many things I could thank God for. First and foremost I thank Him for my salvation. I thank Him for loving me just the way I am and for sending His son to pay the penalty for my sins. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to hear of Jesus and the leading to give myself to Him at the age of 16.

I am thankful that God led my husband and myself to each other later on in that year. He too was a Christian. I have come to realize that God gave Him to me for a season. As much as I wish our time together as husband and wife could have been many years longer, I still am so thankful that God allowed us those 32 years together. After my husband became ill, he apologized to me saying he was sorry I married someone who “was sick”. Naturally I told him I did not feel that way at all. I am thankful that I was the one that God ALLOWED to marry him. The Bible says , “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me” , or in other words, “He will fullfil His purpose for me.” God fulfilled His will for my husband and will continue to fill His will for me.

My house sits on a hilly piece of  land.  I do not have to walk very far to be uphill where I can look down and see most of our property. Each time I look back down from the top of our yard I am thankful for the way my husband provided for me.  I realize that he worked hard for that provision and to give me this security. My home is not a new home, but it is comfortable and I am secure. In many ways I feel like he made me safe and secure in my earthly home before he moved on ahead to our heavenly home.

I am very thankful that God has surrounded me with my family. They are very close both in proximity and in our relationships together. He has also provided me with a wonderful caring church family. Aside from my Lord, I would never have made it this far down my journey of grieving if it were not for all of them.

Although I could write all night on the things I am thankful for, I will end with this last thing. I am thankful that I will never be alone. God promises He “will never leave me nor forsake me.”  Hebrews 13:5.  In Isaiah 54:4-5 it says “… for thy Maker is thine husband…” in reference to widows. So with those thoughts in my mind I say, “Praise be to the Lord for all His goodness and mercy He hath bestowed upon me.”  I could never thank the Lord God enough for what He has done for me!

Quiet my heart Lord


10-31-1012  written during a battle…of sorrow…won with the Lord.

Oh my soul, why art thou dishearten within me?

Knowest thou not that God is with me? Do not look back! Keep your hands to the plow and your face forward! Or better yet, heavenward. How can one feel so calm in their spirit for days, even weeks, and then fall so far in the other direction? Why does my heart suddenly yearn for my loved one so very deeply tonight?

Why did my mind take me back to the days, weeks, just prior to my dearest husband’s death? Why did I need to remember the night I sat up on the couch and sobbed loudly, awakening him from deep sleep? Why must I remember that sweet man, rising from his couch to shuffle over to me try to comfort me? Or why must I remember the time I started quietly crying in the restaurant after his last treatment? I can hear him now responding to my apology, “It’s alright. I would be the same if I were you.”

Did I say all of the things I feel now would have been important to have said? But does it really matter? Why must I allow Satan to torment me? My soul, arise up and pick the torch back up. Continue to be a comforter, not one that needs comforted. Know that you have loved and been loved, and that is one of the greatest gifts here on earth. Know that you are surrounded by the extension of that love daily by his children and grandchildren. You have been left comfortable and well taken care of. You can look everywhere and see where your beloved’s  hand has been and where he left a reminder of himself. Faint not. Forge on ahead and continue to pave the path for others to walk on after you too are gone.

All the possessions left here will deteriorate unused. But the memories, the love, the example in dying, will be remembered in my heart and soul for as long as I am still here.

God, lift me up again, that I may hold my head high and forge forward again. Please give me wisdom in all areas of life. Keep my path straight. Thank you Lord, for giving me all your promises and for fulfilling them day by day.  Thank you for never failing me.  My soul is lighter once again, Lord.  I will praise your holy name forever.