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

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What If


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

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

My sister starts the letter by saying:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We too would have ordered something different for your lives.

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

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

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

God bless you.

Passing Through the Storm


June 4th marked the third anniversary of my husband’s home going. As that day approached, I realized I had reached a milestone in my journey of grief. As I look back at the previous years, all I can picture is a violent storm, as though I have fought my way to the calm at the end of that storm. I visualize my emotions thrashing to and fro with the winds and waves, sometimes crashing violently. But then I can see my Lord in the midst of the chaos, picking me up and holding me close each time I fell. He would then gently send me on my way, always waiting for me when I would reach out to Him.

Isaiah 43:2 reads, “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee….” I’ m thankful that His Word is true, and I can testify that He didn’t let the river overflow me. There’ve been times when I felt the storm might have indeed, overtaken me, times that I thought I might never stop crying again.

I carried a sadness within my soul that I truly was not sure would ever leave. Still, even with that sadness, I had the joy that only comes from the Lord. I’m sure that’s what sustained me.

I’m not fooled into thinking that I’ll never feel sad again. I know sometimes I’ll still shed a few tears, but I see my pathway so much clearer now. I can see my life as Kathy, instead of as Kathy and Phil as I was for 32 years. Just as God had a plan and purpose for me as a wife, mother, and grandmother, I know He also has a plan for me as a widow, mother, and grandmother.

I’ll always love my husband dearly and miss him every day just as I do my son. However, I also know that I’ll keep on walking to the calmer shore, as God makes “the crooked places straight…” Isaiah 45:3.

I pray that each of you will be able to see the shore- line Him to guide you there. God bless 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.

Poem “OUR BOY” – One Year Later


I am reposting this blog this week in honor of the one year anniversary of the home-going of  sweet Jeremiah Ulmer. I have watched his family sorrow, yet not without hope.  I have grieved in my own heart with them as well.  We continue to remember him daily. February 6th will represent the completion of a year of “first’s”. It is not, however, the end of grieving. Grieving does not come with an expiration date. Everyone’s grief is different. Still,  I know from the loss of my own dear son that their grief will continue to lessen over each new year. As each wave tosses them out into the sea of grief, each wave will also bring them back closer to the lighthouse on  shore.  As I have watched them travel this first part of their journey, I have seen the entire family keep their eyes heaven-ward and lean on their Savior.   This week is bringing to close one year of  indescribable joy and peace for Jeremiah as well as one year of learning to cling to God for His healing and peace for his family. May God bless them as they they start another year in their journey with their Lord.

“OUR BOY”

by Charlotte Ulmer Minium on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 2:44pm ·

Our Boy”

by Stephanie R. Ulmer

I heard your prayer from up above,

For another boy to hold and love,

And so I fashioned one with grace,

A beautiful boy with a handsome face,

I gave him twinkling eyes of blue,

His baby skin was soft and new,

He had ten fingers and ten little toes,

Big chubby cheeks and a cute little nose,

A hearty laugh, an adorable grin,

He was as sweet as a boy could have been,

And so I was finished, my planning was done,

I sent him to earth, I gave you your son.

Take heed though, I whispered, his time won’t be long,

Make each moment count, for soon he’ll be gone,

And so I watched ‘or him from heaven above,

Our boy was growing, he was showered with love,

He teased his sisters and played with his brother,

He respected his father and was sweet to his mother,

He liked hunting and fishing whenever he could,

He picked on his siblings like little boys should,

He loved knives and guns and trucks that were loud,

He was boy to the core and he made us all proud,

But just like I told you it didn’t take long,

Our boy grew up. He was tall, he was strong,

No longer a child, He was more like a man,

You had hopes for his future, but that wasn’t My plan.

I missed the boy, he was Mine from the start,

I knew all his thoughts, I knew him by heart,

And so when his time on earth was all passed,

I called My boy home, back to heaven at last!

He came in an instant, My bright happy child,

And when he caught sight of the angels, he smiled.

He’s up here in heaven, he’s sheltered from harm,

He’s safer than ever he was on your farm,

His eyes are still sparkling a beautiful blue,

His skin is remade, its again fresh and new,

The memories he left are all yours to share,

They’re sweet and they’re precious, so handle with care,

And so when your feeling discouraged or blue,

Remember he’s Mine, but I shared him with you.

In Loving Memory

Of

Jeremiah Justin Ulmer

5/27/93 – 2/6/12

Jeremiah with his big 7 pt. buck. He shot him from 750 yards away straight through the eye. He couldn’t have been more proud.