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

Thanks to Easter!


Another Easter week end has arrived. This will be the fourth Easter since my husband went home to be with the Lord.  Just over the last couple weeks, I was rather melancholy as I thought about that last Easter he was with me. I came across a picture of us on his last Easter and was amazed at how good he looked. I’m sure he had had a few treatments that had his tumors at bay for that time. Then I saw pictures of him the following month at my granddaughter’s birthday party. Again, he looked good. However, I remembered that he said he wasn’t feeling well as we left that day. The next month he was home with the Lord. The pictures of my husband that last month do not look like him. They look like an old man and just a skeleton of one at best.

All the pictures and memories have given me mixed feelings. They make me sad and make me miss him more than ever; yet, they remind me of God’s great love. I had asked God to take Phil quickly if He was not going to heal him. I didn’t want to see him suffer. That’s exactly what God did. It felt like a hurricane blew through that house and took Phil him with it. When I remember that, I think of how gracious and loving our Heavenly Father is. The pictures I have of Phil are the evidence of just that. Our Lord didn’t allow him to suffer for long. From when the doctor said Phil would have only a few months, it was three weeks.

I continue to think about God and His goodness during this week-end. Without Easter, I would have no hope. As Christ died on that cross, bearing my sins for me, He made a way for me to have that hope. As a teen-ager  At the age of 16, I realized that even though I believed in Jesus and that He died for me and rose from the grave the third day, I had never taken that fact from my head and trusted Him with my heart. Since that day, He has been with me in Spirit. I know I will spend eternity in Heaven.

I can remember many times that He prevented me from falling during all those years and held my hand through many trials. When our son was killed along with his girlfriend, even though I grieved, it was not as one without hope. I knew they both had allowed Christ into their hearts, as well, which meant that one day I would be reunited with them again in Heaven.  I knew they were safe and in His presence. I knew God had just taken two of His own.

Last evening as I sat through a special Easter service in church, commemorating Christ’s crucifixion, I realized just how much that meant to me. When I became a widow, I was not alone. I had Christ to talk to any- time day or night. I had His hand of protection, and I had His constant companionship.

Did I grieve and weep over the loss of my son and husband? Of course, I did. The Bible tells us that even our Lord wept. But I wept not as one without hope. I wept over losing my other half while I remain here on earth. I wept over the loss of my life as a wife. However, I’m not at a loss as those who don’t have the Lord.  They have no one to call out to, in their loneliness and fear. I can’t imagine living my life without knowing that He’s there by my side at all times. He even promises to be “as a husband to me.”  In Isaiah 54:4 it reads, “…For your maker is your husband…”.

The service last night commemorated Christ’s death and burial. The services tomorrow, Easter Sunday, will celebrate His resurrection! It’s because He arose and stands at the right hand of the Father that I can praise Him! That’s why I can say thanks to Easter, and I can face tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

I pray if you don’t have Christ as your Savior, this Easter season will be the time of your new birth! Ask Him to come into your heart and save you! Thank Him for dying for you!

May God bless you,

Kathy

God’s Love


When I think about the many widows that dread the approaching Valentine’s Day, I wonder what I could possibly say to those who are hurting. It hurts badly to lose the love of your life, and everywhere you look, you see sweethearts being promoted and their giving flowers, candy, jewelry and many other gifts to each other.

As I was thinking about this, praying, and later talking to a friend, these thoughts came to my mind. God was the first one to love us and the only one who will never leave us. He will love us for eternity and will always be by our side.

One of my favorite hymns is “The Love of God.” This song tells us “the love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.” Imagine! “It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell!”

The chorus: “O love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.”

Frederick M. Lehman

The end of the song states “if we filled the ocean with ink and tried to write the love of god above, it would drain the ocean dry. And no scroll could contain the whole of His love, even though it stretched from sky to sky!”

 

In the devotional book, “Loved Beyond Measure” from CTA, the author expresses God’s love the following way:

God’s love is: Giving— “He gave His only begotten son…” (John 3:16).

Unstoppable – even by death

For Life – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John3:16 ).

Sky High – “Great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 57:10).

Above the Clouds – “Far as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:1).

I pray that special love, which God has for you this Valentine’s Day and every day, will comfort your hearts. God bless you.

Happy 4th Anniversary Sweetheart!


Today marks the 4th year anniversary of your home-going. For you it’s another day of eternal bliss. For me, it is the 4th year of living as a widow. God has been so good to me. Remember how I told you that God could only do good? We knew for you to be allowed to go home with Him would be good, but we also knew that, somehow, He promised to work things out for good for me also. That didn’t mean it was a good thing for me if God took you with Him, but I have learned that once again, I could trust in His promises. (Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God….”)

I know there were times during that first and even second year that I wondered if I would ever be able to move on with my life. I remember sobbing until I was sick many nights. However, I also remember that those times became less and less. The wonderful daughters you gave me would sometimes help me figure out how to move past those days. I can even remember telling God once that I wanted my life back like it was. But you know that I would never really want to bring you back down to this fallen world. I have always been happy for both Matthew and now you, that you were released from here to the presence of our Lord and in fullness of all joy.

By your third year in Heaven I was started to function better. November of that year I started back to work part-time. I still carried a continual sadness within me and I hoped that I wouldn’t always have to feel that way. But God had been drying my tears and healing my heart. I have to tell you, though, that it was still a lot harder that year than I had expected.

We now have reached your 4th- year mark. I am relieved to be able to say that I have made it through. I still think of you daily and miss you. I still wish I had you by my side. I still sometimes feel sadness, but I can control it instead of it controlling me. I still shed a few tears, but they are fewer and farther apart. Our daughters and family have been super to me. They are always there for me; however, it isn’t the same as having you. We were one. That’s what has taken me the longest to learn; to live life as one, not as a

couple. I have tried to learn to make right decisions without your guidance. Of course, that is not always easy, nor do I always get it right. I can feel good about life again now. I have been seeking what God’s new will and purpose for my life is.

I have started my own widow’s group this year. It has been a little rocky getting started, but I feel God will bless it. I experienced serving God on my first mission’s trip, and I know He is asking me to keep on serving in that capacity. You see, God has been “making all things good” for me. By this time next year I am hoping to have my own silent retreats started. That is still in the beginning stages. So you see, God did not forget me, and He has kept His hand on me. He has taken my crooked pathway and made it straight again. (Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight…”)

You would be very proud of all of our family. We have precious grandchildren and I wish you could see them and watch them grow. One day you will greet them on that glorious shore. All have accepted our Lord and Savior except, of course, our little two-year-old grandson.

Well, I just wanted to wish you a Happy Anniversary. I love you with all my heart.

Kathy

4/14/15 Final Preparations for Haiti Trip


This past Sunday we had our mission team’s last meeting. We skyped with the team from Calvary Church in Los Gatos, CA.  This team consists of 10 members, one who is Dr KIM JEE HEE, an ophthalmologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ophthalmic conditions, medical and surgical eye care, including LASIK, Premium multifocal lens Cataract Surgery, and Corneal Surgery. We are so fortunate to have someone with her knowledge on our team. As our team performs the regular eye examinations, she will be able to see the ones that need further or more extensive eye care. No surgeries will be able to be performed on this trip; however she will determine if she could do so in the future. We will have prescription eye drops/ medications available for her to prescribe. We are also taking a wide range of prescription lens and frames. These will be very basic for near – far vision. Our team provides 300-400 glasses. What a blessing to be able to help someone to finally see! 600 adult, 400UV, sunglasses will also be given out.

God blesses our pharmacist by enabling him to access resources to obtain medications that add up to thousands of dollars. The final packing of supplies in extra-large suitcases, one per person, was completed today.

We will be setting up clinics in five mountain villages. Along with the medical supplies we are taking volley- balls , Frisbees, and outdoor items to play with the children. Lord willing, as we show God’s love and share His word, many will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

It was good to meet several of the team. I feel more now like I have faces to names. I am so excited to work with these precious, God-honoring people. I pray for Satan to be defeated in any of his attempts to attack us as we near our time to leave. I’m thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of what he is doing in Haiti.

Some have said, “Why don’t churches just send the money to them?”  This can be answered by the words of one of the Haitians. “When we see you show up, it shows you care.” They love seeing some of the same faces return again and again. Proverbs 25:25 says, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”

I hope you’ ll be in prayer for us as we leave this Saturday, April 18th. We need prayer for safe travels, both to and from the country and while in the country as well. Pray for all of us to have the wisdom of God and to be able show His love. We want to fulfill His purpose for sending us.

God bless you for following me in this new chapter of my life.  Kathy

 haiti shirt2Haiti shirt 4Haiti shirt 1

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

Valentine’s Day Comfort


Valentine’s Day is one of many special days when we miss our husbands. When we are with our friends, we hear them talking about what they usually get from their husbands. Even if you and your mate never exchanged any gifts, with so much focus on the romance and love, it can make us miss them more as the holiday approaches.

This year as I have a luncheon with a small group of widows I plan to focus on the love of God. He is the creator and master of love.  Ephesians 3:19 tells us that the love of Christ is too great for us to fully understand. We can’t understand the length, the depth, the breadth, nor the height, of his love. Romans 8:28 says us that for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have a small book called Born to Love. It consists of short devotionals about love. Some of them focus on different songs or poems. I particularly like the one called Heaven’s Love. It meditates about the song  The  Love of God.  As Frederick M. Lehman penned these words:

The love of God, is greater far

Then tongue or pen can ever tell!

It goes beyond the highest star

And reaches to the lowest hell .

As he reached the third stanza our writer tells Mr. Lehman was looking for more thoughts about God’s grace and love when he found this poem in his file:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on the earth a quill,

And every man a scribe to trade,

To write the love of God above,

Would drain the ocean dry.

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.

He then concluded with this refrain:

O Love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure

The saints’ and angels’ song .

I encourage you to think about God’s love for us as we celebrate this day. God’s love is a love which we can never lose!

*I have included below some interesting facts about the above poem/song*

Frederick M. Lehman, “History of the Song, The Love of God,” 1948

Music: Fred­er­ick Leh­man; ar­ranged by his daugh­ter, Clau­dia L. Mays (MI­DI, score).

Words: Frederick M. Lehman; he wrote this song in 1917 in Pasadena, California, and it was published in Songs That Are Different, Volume 2, 1919. The lyrics are based on the Jewish poem Haddamut, written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany; they have been translated into at least 18 languages.

One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song…Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish po­em) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.

May God Bless you and Comfort  you this Valentine’s Day,

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!