Wisdom for Widows Nuggets #7


Many would ask, “What does forgiveness have to do with grieving or healing from grief?” Unforgiveness is bondage. 2 Peter 2:19 says, “…for people are slaves to whatever masters them.”  Author Mary Ann Kuechler in her book states: “Unforgiveness binds us in a spiral of bitterness and resentment that takes all of our strength, destroys our joy and limits our usefulness. 1

Why must we forgive? We are commanded to. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you.”

Christ gave us the example to follow. Luke 23:34 tells us, “Then Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Another reason to forgive is that unforgiveness delays the healing process and could even stop it. Once we forgive, we are able to live in the present, not the past. Continue reading

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Wisdom for Widows Nuggets *


Decision Making

Part 4

Several weeks ago I started sharing some of the things we’ve discussed in a Widow’s Bible Study. Unfortunately, some things in my agenda have greatly delayed me continuing. In part one I discussed how much God loves widows. Part two covered Isolation, and in part three, I shared a section of a little book, “My Beautiful Broken Shell.” Lastly, I discussed Suffering. Today I’ll share a few things we talked about concerning Decision Making.

Decision making can be very difficult.

Many widows were used to their husbands making the majority of the decisions Continue reading

Wisdom for Widows


 

“The darkness of our trials only makes God’s grace shine brighter.”

I have the privilege of attending a Widow’s 8 week Bible Study at my daughter’s church. For the next several postings, I’ll share some of the nuggets I’ve been gleaning from the study. The title is “Wisdom for Widows.”

The ladies who attend the study range from in their 50s to 90s. The length of time spent into the journey of widowhood range from 2 weeks to 8 years. Grief’s like a thumbprint. All thumbprints are different; yet, they’re still a lot alike.

It’s the same with widows. Although we’re walking different paths as widows, we still have many things we experience that are the same.  Because of this common thread, regardless of our age or where we are in our walk, we benefit from studying together.

Grieving is a process, and it’s painful. Oh, how glad I am that we don’t have to go through it alone. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1(KJV)

Part 1 in this study: God’s Heart for the Widow

In this first part of the study, we’re reminded of the many places in God’s Word that give reference to widows.

In Exodus 22:22-24 (NIV), God warns the people, “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do, and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused….” He goes on to tell of strong consequences for those that do.

Instructions in regards to treatment of widows:

Do you know there are several scriptures in the Bible concerning how widows are to be treated?

For instance, in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 24:17-22: God gave Moses laws for the Israelites concerning how to treat widows, strangers, and the fatherless. He told the Israelites to leave grain, olives, and grapes behind for the needy when harvesting. If the laborers dropped any, they were to let them lay so the needy, including widows, could have food.

Jeremiah 7:6-7: God commanded that no one was to oppress strangers, the fatherless, or widows if they wanted His blessing. They were commanded to treat them fairly.

Zachariah 7:9-10: God warns of any social injustice toward the widows, fatherless, stranger or poor.

God continues to give instruction in their treatment in the New Testament also:

Acts 6:1-7: We see a concern over the neglect of ministering and caring for widows as the early Christian church grew. Because of that, God said they were to seek out seven men to relieve some of the duties, allowing enough time to care for the widows.

James 1:27: In this scripture we are challenged to be doers, not just hearers.   We are to visit the fatherless and the widows.

God also shows us His love for the widows by several examples in both the Old and New Testament:

1 Kings 17:8-24: God chose a widow to meet Elijah’s need. He also used a miracle to save her and her son.

2 Kings 4:7:  God sent Elisha to miraculously help a widow get out of debt.

The Book of Ruth gives us the beautiful story of Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth. He used those widows to depict our Redeemer as well and to show us the wonderful way He can use widows. Ruth went from deep sorrow to becoming the great grandmother of King David!

The examples God gives us of His love for widows, continues in the New Testament.

Luke 2:36-38: These verses tell us about Anna, who lost her husband after just seven years of marriage. She chose to give the rest of her life to serving God in the temple.

Luke 21:1-4 and Mark 12:41-44: You’ll read in this passage about the poor widow and the two mites she gave in the offering and how much that meant to Jesus.

Luke 7: 11-18: We read about the widow of Nain. Jesus touched her son who had died and raised him up.

Acts 9:36:  We read how Peter raised the widow Tabitha from the dead.

Yes! God certainly has a heart for widows! Although I have read all of the previous passages many times, having them all presented in one hour of study helped me to realize how many times our Lord showed His special love for us.  We truly do have a wonderful caring heavenly Father.

I encourage you to sit down with your own Bible and read each of these passages I’ve listed today. You will be blessed!

The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains

The fatherless and the widow,

but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Psalm 146:9

 

God Bless you,

Kathy

A Shelter in a Time of Storm


I am so thankful that after four years of widowhood, I have safely reached the shoreline and the storm has gone out to sea. Today in church we sang “A raging seaShelter in a Time of Storm.” The chorus says, “Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm.” My, what a storm those first few years were! Without my Lord’s rock as my refuge, I don’t think I would have made it through. God not only helped me make it through the storm, but he also helped me across the weary, rocky land on the edge of grief’s shoreline. When I finally made it through the storm, I crawled to dry land. Standing up, I found the shore very rocky. I would be on my way, making good headway to the land of a new normal, when one of the jagged rocks would trip me. It was discouraging to find myself down again. However, my Lord always lifted me up and filled my heart with encouragement. Each time I fell I’d be stronger and eventually I could rise up without much effort. I’ve traveled far enough away from that jagged shoreline that I’ve come to mostly smooth ground. But, sometimes, I fall into a small pothole the swirling winds and water have left behind. I am stronger now and easily stand back up. I’ve found that I could still look backwards, and if I look hard enough, I can see all of the heartache I left behind. I quickly turn away and don’t allow myself to gaze more than a few minutes or even seconds. The Lord has taught me that I should be responsible for myself now. I have to keep my hands to the plow and not look back. If I look back, I will lose my foothold and slip again. I want to encourage all of you who are grieving, to not give up. Our Lord is, indeed, a shelter in the time of storm. He won’t let the raging storms overtake you. Trust Him and He will carry you through.

Ps. 18:2 – “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I trust, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

God Bless You, Kathy

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

Holidays

Holidays


Holidays and other special days are always a challenge for those who have lost loved ones. This is especially true for the first few years after this loss. The first year is usually the toughest year. However, I know for me the third Christmas after losing my husband was my hardest one. We are all different, and, of course, we all grieve differently. There is no set rule or way to know exactly how each of us will react with these special days.
My husband’s birthday was October 10th. I have realized, with some help from one of my daughters, that my emotions started churning around that time every year. Hunting season follows with everyone talking about hunting, their deer, and adventures. My husband loved to hunt, so my emotions churn more. The hunting leads into Thanksgiving, and then of course, Christmas. I also lost my son in an accident on January 2nd, 1996. It is after that time passes, that everything will starts to go back to normal within me.
For the first couple years of my husband’s passing, I was fully aware of my grief and tried to control my thoughts and emotions. This year, my fourth year, it seems my sub conscious has taken over. I am no longer consciously thinking about a certain day, like his birthday. I start to get emotional and ask myself why. It’s only then that I realize it was in my sub conscience! How do you gain control over that? That’s something I have yet to learn. However, there are many other things I have learned. Our heart does control our emotions and our conscience, but it also is the place where our faith lives. It is because of my faith in God, that I can continue going forward, step by step.
There are many things that we can control. Thankfulness is one of many things that is a choice. If we choose to be thankful in all circumstances, we will be able to lighten our steps.
You may ask what you have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for the basic things; my immediate family, my church family, God’s provisions, and too many things to enumerate. If you struggle to be thankful for these things right now, we have many other things to hold onto and to add to our list of blessings. Psalm 136 lists many things we are to give thanks for: that God is good, His mercy endureth forever, for His wonderful works to the children of men. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls for perfect peace. On the top of all of these things is the gift of God’s Son to make a way of salvation for us.
These are the things I want to consciously think about during this Christmas time. God’s gift to my son and his girlfriend almost 19 years ago was to allow them to enter into His glory. He also allowed my husband that same gift over three years ago. God’s goodness endureth forever. He saw fit to leave me here to “hold the fort.” I’m thankful that He’ll never leave me alone. He’s with me daily. I need only to reach out and take His hand. I can have peace and joy even in the midst of missing my son and husband.
You can have this peace and joy as well if you accept the greatest gift of all, God’s son. I pray you will reach out to Him over these holidays.
Please contact me if you need help in doing so. Merry CHRISTmas! Kathy

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Why Did Those Tears Come?


Three years and three months into widowhood, I was sailing along. I had learned not to look back, but to look forward or up. I was really getting a grip on who I am now. I am a different person now than when I was married. Who can remain the same as a widow as you were as a wife?
I had cleaned my husband’s man cave out some time ago; however, I have recently been redecorating it to be pleasing to my eyes, instead of a man’s eyes. I also have developed my own routines now. I felt I had moved on with my husband always in my mind and heart minus all the grief.
I was totally unprepared to be knocked off of my feet like I was last week. As I scrolled through my Facebook, I looked at a picture of several couples from my church that had a fun night of fellowship. It immediately hit me that my hubby and I were not in that picture and that we never will be again. “Wow. I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this anymore,” I thought.
Someone whom I really respect reminded me that there are many losses we need to grieve when we lose someone. I had grieved the loss of my other half, a large part of my identity. I had grieved the loss of my best friend, my carpenter, plumber, and my all around handy- man. I had grieved my decision maker and my person to vent to. Of course I had lost my one to love and the one who returned that love.
Evidently, there was one loss I had not stared in the face yet. I had already started fellowshipping with mixed groups and sometimes with singles, and I was fine with that. But I had not really grieved the loss of no longer having fellowship as a couple. I had been saddened by the thought of it, but it had not become so blatantly clear to me as in that picture.
I am thankful that the Lord always lovingly picks me up when I fall. He never grows weary of my tears. In fact, Psalm 56:8 says, “… put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
With this hurdle behind me I plan on smooth sailing from now on, that is, until something else blindsides me!