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)

Never Alone


This blog is one I posted before, but I felt it was important for us to be reminded of God’s presence in our lives.

When you have lost someone you love, it’s  easy to feel alone.  However, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are never alone. I am very aware that since my husband went to be with the Lord, humanly speaking, I am alone. That is, I live alone. However, in reality, I’m not alone. It’s impossible for our friends and family to be with us at all times, but Joshua 1:5 says, “Only God can stand with us all the days of our life.” Our lifetime mates and our children can’t make that promise. Psalm 16:8 states that God is at my right hand.  “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

As a deceiver, Satan wants to make us forget that God is always with us. He wants us to look at our circumstances.  It could be you’ve lost a child as I have. You may be a young widow such as me. Satan wants us to focus on these losses and to feel like no one understands. He wants us to feel alone in our grief. He doesn’t want us to focus on God. Don’t  misunderstand me. God knows we will grieve and that we need to grieve.  He gave us tears. He doesn’t want us to forget our loved ones. However, He does want us to feel His presence and His comfort in the midst of our grief.

Today, keep your mind focused on God and his presence, and remember that He is with you always.

(If any of you  don’t  have that peace and comfort to carry with you daily, please feel free to contact me, and I’llbe happy to show you how you can receive it. May God bless you.)


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.

Merry Christmas!


christmas pic for 2013

“To God be the Glory for the Things He hath Done!”

 

I pray God will richly bless your lives as you remain faithful to Him!

 

Always remember to trust Him with all your heart. He loves us more than we could ever realize.

 

Merry Christmas! 

God bless you,

 Kathy Bellows

 

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

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.

God’s Umbrella of Love and Protection


As I hear the thumping of my grandchildren’s feet running down the hill and across my back yard or I hear the back yard gate slam shut, I am reminded of God’s love and protection for me.

Often circumstances that look bleak or unfortunate to us are really God working out His gracious plan for us. When circumstances forced my daughter, son-in-law, and children to move from Arizona to Pennsylvania, all we could see was the rough- knotted side of the tapestry. We had no idea that on the other side of the tapestry, the side that God sees, a beautiful pattern was being formed.

After we heard the words, “He will have months,” referring to my husband’s prognosis, it was comforting to hear the pounding of hammers and other construction noises coming from a new home being built in field behind our house. While God was transitioning my husband closer to heaven, he was also planting my daughter’s family right next door.  Someone would always be close by to look out for me.

Many times I feel like God has put an umbrella of love and protection over me when I sit in my living room and know that in a matter of minutes family members someone would be at my door if I needed them. Friends often say, “Isn’t it amazing how we can look back and see how God had all of that planned?”

Yes, thank you, God, for always looking after me.

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