Words of Wisdom Nuggets Part 3 “Suffering is Universal!”


 

I look forward to the weekly Bible Study I’ve been attending now for several weeks.  As I share highlights, I trust you’ll receive even a little ray of what I’m able to glean. One thing I’ve learned is you can never be too far into your widowhood to receive a blessing from fellowship with other Christian widows, and you also are never beyond learning about any subject.

The topic for the third week was suffering. A beautiful book was read during this session and will be in the following session:  My Beautiful Broken Shell written by Carol Hamblet Adams. I shared a portion in my last posting. It’s well worth  reading that post if you haven’t done so. If you’re interested in purchasing that little book of hope, it’s available on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/My-Beautiful-Broken-Shell-Refresh/dp/0736908706.) No matter how broken we are, how much we’ve suffered or are suffering, God will give us strength to continue on if we allow Him. (The author is also a speaker and her information can be found online, as well.) http://carolhambletadams.com/speaking/

No one can live this life without experiencing suffering in some way. Continue reading

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03/28/2014 Spiritual Preparation for Haiti Missions Trip


An important aspect of our trip to Haiti is spiritual preparation. We want to share the love of Christ. It may be through sharing our drinking water with them, meeting their medical needs, helping with construction, or actually sharing God’s plan of salvation. Our goal is to encourage their lives to be changed and for them to be self-supporting people.

The time has gone quickly, and I have not had the chance to write this blog as I had desired.  In my last blog, I touched briefly on a few things needed when packing for Haiti.

We’re now down to 13 days before we leave. I have been busy gathering many other things to take with me. Since we’ll be away from the Haitian compound all day, we’re taking many protein bars and various other snacks. We’ll take several of these snacks with us each day for ourselves and for our translator. We also are packing plenty of peanut butter and tuna and flat bread, including bagels. We’ll take a sandwich with us for lunch. I have collected pencils, spiral notebooks and erasers for the children in the school. My grandchildren’s Awana club collected many little items for me to take for the Haitian children. Needless to say, my list keeps growing as I think of more things I should take.

While I’ve been working on my list for packing, I also have realized I need to think of my physical needs and preparation. I’ve even packed a little battery-operated fan and lots of batteries! Along with that thought, knowing I’m not used to the heat, I purchased several bandanas that can be moistened and help keep me cool. We’ll do more walking than I am used to, so I’ve tried to start walking near my house, although I’ve not been too faithful. However, I have lost some weight to be in better shape. I’ve also received the necessary immunizations and shots required along with any meds that the doctor recommended “just in case.”

The second area I’ve been preparing is my mind. I’ve had to learn how to use the wordless bracelet and the few variations that are necessary for a different culture. For instance, how could a child understand that God will make their hearts as white as snow when they’ve never seen snow? Instead we’ll say, “as white as the little girls dresses in church.” It’s also important I remember all the scriptures  I  want  to use. We all have given the leader our testimony and need to be able to give it anytime we are asked.

The third and most important preparation is that of my heart. I have responded to God’s stirring and made myself available; however, if my heart is not prepared, I’ll leave nothing of eternal value in Haiti. Our team was given a spiritual preparation worksheet to complete before we leave, and also the team leader recommended a daily devotional book called, Before You Go by Jack Hempling. This little book is excellent. I feel everyone should read it before going on a missions trip. With the help of this book, I’m able to concentrate on areas of my spiritual life I may not have realized were important.

Jack Hempling writes that anyone who goes on a missions trip needs to go with a servant’s attitude. A sweet spirit is necessary to live beside the others in the team and to work together. I need to enter Haiti sensitive to the Holy Spirit  so I can hear His prompting and guidance, whether it be to witness to someone or to be aware of a need as small as sharing a cup of my water.  If I leave on this trip without spending extra time every day with God, allowing him to prepare my heart, I’ll be wasting my time by even going.

My last and fourth area to prepare is my prayer support. I’ve already received my financial support, but prayer support is vital as well. I ask that you pray for me and ask God to prepare me to be a willing vessel.

May God bless you,

Kathy

“Haiti 8” Missions Trip


This June will mark the fourth anniversary of my husband’s home-going. The past four years held many ups and downs. However, I am thankful my Lord has brought me through those deep waters without letting them overtake me.

At one point I thought, perhaps, I would always carry sadness within me. I learned since then that I have a choice. I could keep looking back and thinking of my loss and what could have been, or I could look up instead. I chose to make an effort to look up to God and to help myself move on.  I started to realize that God had plans for me. He planned for my husband to go home with Him, but what were His plans for me?

He promises to “makes our crooked paths straight” (Isaiah 45:2).  I feel content in the path He has chosen for me. God has opened up new exciting adventures in my life. He led me to start this blog, and recently He directed me to start a fellowship for widows in my area.

Today I want to share with you the recent blessing He has given me. I’ll be joining a team from a local church on their 8th missions trip to Haiti. Because it is their 8th trip they call it “Haiti 8” missions trip.

Step one was to send in my application and references. I praised the Lord when I received acceptance. There will be a few on the team that will be doing fluoride treatments on children, others will be giving eye exams, and some will be working with a doctor on the team.  Because I am an LPN, I’ll be helping  the medical team. Others in our group will work on construction.

I attended my first meeting a few weeks ago and was given a spiritual preparation work booklet and guidelines of what must be accomplished before we leave.

My second challenge was raising support for the trip. Writing a  letter of appeal and sending it  to friends and family was not something I was accustomed to doing, but I realized it would give each of them a chance to be a part of helping those in need in another country.

Next, I had to start the process to receive a passport.

“Did I have my birth certificate?” I was asked.

Hmm…. I found the birth certificate, but it appeared I was hatched, since it had no parents’ names on it. Now obtaining an acceptable birth certificate as soon as possible became a top priority on my list of things to do. After a trip to Harrisburg, Pa., I came home four hours later with the official document in my hand. (Thank you Lord!)  Not too long afterward, I opened the mailbox to find my passport had arrived!

The next very important task took me to the doctor’s office to receive my inoculations. Then the second week of March I received news that my total support was in. This was definitely another praise to the Lord. I started the process late, but God blessed the process in a short amount of time!

The trip will be from April 18th to April 25th. Due to the lack of electricity, and the need to use a generator for a couple hours each evening I will not be able to send regular updates in my blog. Once I am back home I will share the trip with you. I hope you’ll follow me with my preparation and eventual journey to serve the people of Haiti and share Christ’s love with those who need his gift of salvation.

God bless you,

Kathy

Proverbs 4:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct thy paths. “

God’s Blessings in 2014


I could never begin to mention all of God’s blessings I have received. I thought about what to write for my first 2015 blog and I could not help but think how good God has been to me. He promises to never leave nor forsake us.

Since Phil has gone home to be with the Lord, I am more aware of God’s presence than ever before. It’s natural to call out to your husband when he is still with you. I know I depended on mine for so many things. Now that he is not here I call out to the Lord more readily than I did before. I am more attuned to His presence in my life and I have drawn closer to Him because of this.

Someone said to me, “You are completely different than you used to be.” I would say that’ is because I am different now. I am a grown up version of the single person I was before I was married. However, I was only 18 at that time. I had to learn who I was as a single/widowed woman.

When you are walking through the deep waters no man or woman can go there with you. Only the Lord Jesus can be by your side, who helps you to mature by the time you reach the other side.  Just as the monarch butterfly has to struggle and change to become what God intended it to be, so do we. I love the story about the butterfly.

The Cocoon

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, so the man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. And we never could walk through this life the way He intended.

God has blessed me with good health, a great family, a wonderful church family, a part-time job I love, and the ability to make a lot of good memories during the past year. I could never list all of His blessings, but what I am the most thankful for is the peace and joy He has given me.

I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do in my life during 2015! How about you?FREE Butterfly Clip Art 18

God bless you, Kathy

Overwhelmed?


One of the biggest things caregivers and widows deal with is the feeling of being overwhelmed. I remember feeling that way for a while when my husband was battling his cancer. Even when he was in remission, he didn’t have the strength to do the things here at the house that had always been his responsibility. Caring for a loved one it is a huge task.
Allowing others to help when they offer may be out of your character. However, I eventually learned that not only was it a blessing to me to be able to respond, “Yes, if you want, to you could plow my driveway,” or do such and such,” but it gives them the opportunity to be blessed as well.
After I became a widow, it took a couple years to be able to adjust to all of the added responsibility and to learn how to prioritize the many things that I felt needed to be done.
Letting others do things for us and prioritizing certainly help us when we are overwhelmed. The most important thing that I remembered is when I’m weary or overwhelmed with this life, I fall into God’s arms. He is waiting for us to rest in Him. He says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me all ye that labor and I will give you rest.” God wants to be “…our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Tell Him how you are feeling and remember the Bible says that our load is heavy, but His is light. Ask Him to carry your burdens for you.
Although we find ourselves walking or swimming in deep waters and it feels like we will drown, we can be assured that He promised to never let the waters overtake us. I learned I needed to trust in that promise and to rest in that truth while I reached out to Him and allowed Him to pull me out of the waters and up to the other side. Once I realized my need and turned to Him, my burden became light. That weight I was carrying was gone.
It has been three years since my beloved went to Heaven, and I am still learning. However, the more I remember to turn to God and rely on Him as my husband, the calmer my pathway becomes. Remember, we do not have to walk this life alone!

Read also: Psalm 43:2 “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee….”20150424141635 (1)

What If


When I became a widow, I started my blog to reach out to others such as myself. However, I feel all encouragement we share with each other can be helpful, regardless of who or what we are grieving.

On Jan 2nd, 1996, our beloved son, Matthew went home to be with the Lord. He and his girlfriend were killed in an automobile accident during a snowstorm. Recently, I came across a letter that my sister wrote to me the following March. She too knows profound loss. Her precious daughter went home with the Lord after losing her battle with Leukemia shortly after turning five.

My sister starts the letter by saying:

It is only natural for our minds to look back and to think of all the “what if’s,” even in the future. “What if” they were here with us now? But they aren’t. Thinking, “what if” is futile. We can’t help but wonder and question. Of course, we will always miss them and selfishly wish they were here with us again. Our perfect will for their lives was never realized, and now it never will be. But how fearsome for any of our children to be living outside God’s perfect will for their lives. And so we have to obediently submit, although it is painful. It is bittersweet.

God understands our human feelings and feels sorry for us. He gives us His word to reassure and comfort us. We need to return it to our minds often in order to turn our thinking around and bring it back to where “the joy of the Lord can be our strength.” We always pray for His help. Even when we don’t know what we need, he knows.

The problem that could develop would be we could allow ourselves to remain stuck in reverse and nurse our regrets or bitterness. If we dwell on our “what if’s,” that is, our questions and our longings for things to be the way they once were, Satan gets a foothold and uses the tool of discouragement to disable us. Satan wants to keep us down. Christ wants to lift us up.

I know it doesn’t seem fair that it is even possible for us to maintain our sanity and go on living…for life to go right on…for our world to develop a new normal. But a hard fact of life is that it marches on. It is cruel and ironic but true.

We need to use God’s tool of His Word to survive intact and keep pace with life. We need to find a few helpful verses and write them down and dwell on them whenever we need to. We need to use His Words to help ourselves gain the ability to purposefully and forcefully take ourselves by the shoulders and turn ourselves around again and again.

It is natural for us to stumble and fall and keep looking backward for those who are no longer with us. Picture yourself on a rocky trail. Imagine trying to walk on it when you are crying and looking out for someone you have lost from the trail. How hard it would be!

It is not natural, but necessary, for us to keep picking ourselves up, applying the salve of God’s Word, turning ourselves around, and forcing ourselves to continue on ahead. With time, it gets easier; however, while it is still hard we need to keep forcing ourselves.

We too would have ordered something different for your lives.

Cling to Him. There are times He picks us up and moves us farther along the trail.

God always carries us through the trials; He never leaves us stuck in the middle.

I hope sharing this letter encouraged you as much as it did me, both then and now.

God bless you.

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.