Wisdom for Widows’ Nuggets #6


 

Remarriage

 In this blog, we’ll discuss the M of the acronym Wisdom. (W idows,

 I solation, S uffering, D ecision M aking, O vercoming, M arriage).

Marriage meets the needs of companionship and intimacy. God created us with two needs; love and impact. The love we receive fills our need for a relationship and for intimacy. The impacts our marriage fills is our feelings of significance and meaning. Even though God wants to fill these needs, most of us depend on our mates to provide them for us. As widows, we now feel lost and empty. Many widows feel they have lost their “reason” for living. Continue reading

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

Does Time Really Heal All Wounds?


According to Jim Berg, a pastor and author whom I heard preach, time does not heal all wounds.

Have you ever had a deep cut or wound that took forever to heal and when it did, the scar remained sensitive? I have a scar like that. It has been healed for 20 years or more yet; if I bump that area; yet, it still hurts.

When we lose a loved one, it leaves a deep wound. Years later there will still be some things that can bring the hurt back to the surface. That hurt is a reminder that things are not as they used to be.  Healing is when we are restored to normal function.

A deep cut or wound requires a lot of care. Sometimes either it requires stitches, salve, and maybe even a dressing.

It’s the same with our soul. We need a lot of care for our souls for a very long time. We nurture it by reading God’s Word, by prayer, and by reaching out to others. Wounded people can help others to heal. If we look around us, we can see many hurting people. This, in turn, works as a balm to our own souls. I know as I reach out to others, it helps me to feel useful and it helped me to realize that I’m not alone with my grief.

I’d like want to share with you the following that is also from Jim Berg:

The greatest loss in the entire universe was God’s loss of the fame, allegiance, worship, and obedience. He deserved when we in Adam joined Satan in defacing His image in us. We can’t adequately overcome the effects of our own personal losses unless we see them as a part of this bigger picture. We must allow ourselves to see Satan’s intent behind our losses, and we must turn to Christ for comfort, for instruction, and for the enabling to once again reflect God. Yes, even in the midst of our losses.

As I listened to this pastor speak, I realized what he was saying was true. We can’t fully move on in our grief until we realize this world is not the way God intended it to be. It is because we now live in a fallen world that we must suffer these losses and afflictions.

No, it’s not true that time heals all wounds, but with service to God, depending on Him, and reaching out to others, we can move on and continue to be a contented Christian… even in our grief.

May God richly bless you as you trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piece by Piece


Piece by piece!  is what I thought as I looked at my husband’s reloading desk, the last of “his” areas to be cleaned out. Everything else in Phil’s cave had been moved, sold, or given away over the past 31 months.  His desk was the heart of that cave. A corner so familiar and special to me, it shouted out his name whenever I came near. I can still see him sitting there bent over his work. He enjoyed making special loads for his long-range rifles. He would twirl his chair around and look at me over the top of his glasses when I would enter to speak to him. The tools he used for so many hours still lie there. But, yes, it was time to move on. 

We all have to come to the place in our hearts when we know it’s time to “take care of” our beloved’s possessions. I have done this little by little. I took my first big step when I had what I called “a man’s yard sale.” Unfortunately, I realized too late that I wasn’t ready to part with my husband’s “toys.”  As men came and made purchases or even tried to bargain for better prices, I regretted having the sale to part with Phil’s things so quickly.

I do feel that each widow should consider carefully removing her late husband’s belongings. If you don’t need to sell them to help pay bills, wait until you’re sure you’re ready. Just don’t rush into it.

I couldn’t part with my husband’s clothes for quite some time. I removed them from the closet after just a few months, but I kept them until it didn’t hurt so badly to see them or to move them out. Even then, I sometimes gave them to my daughters and asked them to do it for me. I still have Phil’s housecoat and a few special shirts, and I’ve found I can use some of his heavy outdoor items for myself. Little by little I do notice I no longer feel the need to keep some items that months ago were near and dear to me.

I’ve kept a small drawer with a few special things of Phil’s that I’ll always keep as a memory. I also have a little display box with some items that I treasure and my daughters or grandchildren may like to have someday.

Now after almost three years since Phil’s homegoing, I’m tackling this special corner of his, which was once his private spot. As I look at the almost empty desk, I feel like more of him has gone. But it’s time. He no longer needs the things of this earth, and I must move on also. As I work on clearing out the area, I still feel like he’s going away, as well, piece by piece.  However, he’s already been gone for 31 months.

Phil is no longer a part of this life, and I’ve just entered another stage of letting go. As I look at the handwritten notes he had attached to the file cabinet next to the desk, I start to remove them.

But then…suddenly, I realize, it’s not time yet.

It still needs to be done piece by piece.

Phil's den picture (1)

A New Year


To many of you reading this blog, the start of a new year brings sadness. It may be the first new year you have entered without your loved one. It is another dreaded first. It seems strange to realize that you are going to be living in a year that he or she never will.

To others it may represent a new year in which you can try to put the past year behind you. This new year may stand for a year without fresh sorrow or grief.

Some people comment that it is just a new date. It means nothing to them. One thing is certain, time will always continue on. There will always be a new second, hour, month and year. That is, until we reach Heaven where there is no sense of time.

We have no choice but to keep putting one foot forward. In Philippians 3:13-14 we read, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus .” We all need to keep pressing forward. With God’s help and with Him walking beside us, I hope we can all keep moving forward and looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2014.

May God bless you, Kathy

My third Christmas


This was my third Christmas without my beloved. I remember when my first Christmas was approaching. I declared to my daughters that I would not be decorating that year. However, as the days passed, I began to think of my small grandchildren and how I wanted to impact them. I had been telling them that it was a wonderful gift for their pap to have been able to go to heaven. They knew I missed him and that I was sad, but I wondered if I may give them the wrong message if I did not decorate at all. I decided in order for me to be able to decorate, I would have to change some things. My husband and I had always purchased a live tree, so I invested in an artificial tree. I also bought new ornaments. As far as the rest of the house, I decorated some, but not my usual amount.

My second Christmas seemed to be a little easier. I still grieved but not as strongly. I again used different ornaments. New Christmas traditions were starting to form between my daughters’ families and me.

This year brought me to the third Christmas. I was surprised to find myself actually worse than last year. I had read that for some widows the third year of grieving is the hardest. Unfortunately, I have found this to be true for me. I entered my third year of widowhood on June 4th of this year. In some ways, I have grieved harder this year than last year. I do not cry as often, but my husband’s birthday hit me hard this year just as the holidays have. For some reason, it reassures me to know that I am not the only one to which this has happened.

As I dealt with my feelings of grief over the past couple weeks, I have tried to find a balance for myself. I feel that we should not fight our grieving. However, I feel that I have reached a place where I need to help myself to keep moving forward. I can’t embrace my sorrow. I need to direct my steps forward as I continue to seek God’s will.

I am glad that our God is a God that cares.   Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” I pray you have the comfort that God can give as well.

Kathy

Feel free to share how your holidays were for you. I would love to hear from you.

Thrive Where You are Planted


How many times have you heard a new widow say, “I feel like I can’t go one without my husband”? I have had widows say this or similar. I, myself, dragged my feet moving into a new life. I wanted my old life back. Of course, this was impossible and still is. I’ve been transplanted into a new life. Psalm 1:3 says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season…”  Each time we suffer a new loss we move on to a new season in our lives. How we move on is actually up to us. The verse Psalm 1:3 says that our delight must be in the law of the Lord. We are to meditate in His word both day and night. You see, it is not by our own strength that we can move on, but with God’s help. Just as plants need food and water to thrive, we need the food and water from God. His word is what we need. God is the Living Water. In John 6:35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” If we are to thrive where we are planted we need to keep ourselves fed and watered from His word. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to look at life from a different perspective. It takes time on a journey of grief before you reach the place where you realize that you need to take that step into the new season. With the loss of my son, I remember still, seventeen years ago, I fully let go of the possession of him. I finally understood that God was telling me that Matthew was His before my son was mine. And along with that, I was God’s child more than I was a mother to my son. Once I accepted this fact, I was able to move on into that new season of my life. It has been the same with the loss of my husband. As fall approaches, I realize that this fall I am looking at my life differently. At some point toward the end of these past 27 months, I grasped onto my new identity as a widow. My new life, half of what it once was, has turned into a whole. I need to daily seek what God wants for me in this season of my life. As all seasons come and go, I know that someday this time in my life will also change again. Until then, I plan to “thrive where I have been planted.”  I pray that God will help you to do the same.

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*

“Call Back!”


I have been praying about what to write to you as it nears Christmas time. During my devotions this morning I decided to pull out my 1979 edition of  “Streams in the Desert,'” by Mrs. Charles Cowman.  The devotional I read for today reminded me why I write this blog. I write it because I feel God wants me to “call back.”

I am sure I wrote about that topic before. Luke 21:13 says, “And it shall turn unto you as a testimony.” Here Jesus is talking to His disciples about all the trials they will go through. He tells them they will be as a testimony for them. We too have our sorrow and trials to use as a testimony of the way God always walks with us if we love Him and turn to Him. That gives the connotation of calling back to others to help their rough road that is ahead of them.

I have realized that all of us are at different places in our journey of grief. Some are farther down the road than I am and some of you are newbies. As I compare my first Christmas in 2011 to this  Christmas I can see that I have had alot of healing and growing during the past year. I often sat down and wr0te a letter “to my husband” during my down times.

I am going to share portions of last year’s letter which was written two days before Christmas. Since it is a personal letter to my soul-mate I will not include the entire letter. I am sure you understand why.

December 23rd. (5 1/2 months into my journey)

I miss you so much. You were a gem… I did not always appreciate you. But we loved each other dearly. I want to clarify here that my husband took an early retirement due to his health. Therefore, we had his last two to three years with more time together. I went on to write… I am so thankful that we had the last 2 or 3 years together. Even though I know you were sick, we had so much time together. I know it is selfish of me, but if I could have you back here, even on the couch, taking care of you, I would love it. I’d rub your feet, your legs, and your hands to help with your pain just as I did then. But I know that is no way for anyone to have to live. You deserved to be able to go to Heaven and really start living! I know God will help me through this. You would not want to come back to earth. Even though you loved your family so much, I try to remember that fact. Why would you want to come back? Who would want to leave his Lord and Master? I know we will be together again some day.

I wonder if I am just starting my grief. Was I numb before? I say this because it seems to hurt so much more now. Maybe I am in a different stage now. I don’t know. I go through the day “pep” talking myself. ( Here I listed all the many things that he always did here at the house that I, at the time of this writing, still had to remind myself to do. I shared how, when I slip, I try to do better. I then went on to write of the many things he did that he did not need to do, but he had spoiled me and did them anyway. I wrote…) I miss not having you here keeping my car clean inside and out and always pumping my gas. I miss our bed time ritual. I say to the dogs, “Well, are you ready to go up?” when it is bedtime…like we used to say to each other.

I continued to write and to thank him for the way he always took care of me and told him how I can still look around and realize that his care was still carried over to that day. I told him things I had changed or did at the house since his passing.  I told him how I am learning to become more independent so I do not need to lean so heavily on others.

Then I closed by telling him that I still love him very much and that he is still with me in my heart and mind at all times. I then wrote,  “I know you are where you belong, and I am happy for you. I know I am where I belong also. It is just very hard to accept. Knowing what is best and being able to handle that fact are not always the same. Sometimes it does not seem real.”  (I then shared some personal things and continued with the following…) I know I will keep on keeping on. I hope I can get more strength and not collapse like this so often. I know that death is a victory. It allows you to be with the Lord. It is just a transition from better to best. My problem is that I wish I did not have to be left behind. However, I realize that our God knows best and that I must accept it and go on. If you know anything about what is going on down here, please ask God to give me more strength and to dry my tears. I know now why grief is called a “journey” or, as I just read in a book,  “one foot in front of the other each day.”

As I reread that letter, I became aware of the fact that now, just a few days shy of one year of writing this letter, I can call back. I can call back to those of you who are near, or even just past, that stage. I no longer wish my husband back. I have that settled in my mind and heart. I can picture him in heaven with my son praising our Lord. I long to be in that place myself, but I am content to fulfill God’s will for me down here. I have almost mastered taking over his role around this house and have also learned when to delegate it t0 someone else  (at quite a cost I might add!) I still love him very much and carry him in my heart and mind daily. However, I can do so without so much pain. The pain is usually now best described as twinges that come and go. I do still have occasional times of breaking down, but they are much fewer and I would describe those times as getting weepy instead crying.

God has been healing me daily. This year I have accepted invitations to my church friends’  homes and have gone to church functions. Last year to go alone was too painful and awkward. So you see, I indeed can call back and tell you that the journey does get better. God does fulfill His promises. You will smile and laugh again, and you will even enjoy decorating your house again! Hang tightly to Jesus’ hand as you travel through these holidays. He will bring you through them and you will continue on your journey to healing. Joy does come in the morning! (Psalm 30:5)

God bless you and Merry Christmas!