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.

Give Thanks


Thanksgiving pic

I’ve been thinking about how I can say to others, “Give thanks.” If you’ve recently lost a loved one or are still grieving the loss of a loved one, you may think, How can I give thanks?

As I thought about what I wanted to write to you this Thanksgiving week, I thought, Can I say that I’m thankful that God took my husband home to Himself? Can I say I’m thankful that I am a widow? “No.”

I realized I’m not thankful for those precise things. But I can say that I’m thankful that God didn’t allow my husband to linger in great pain and suffering.  I’m  thankful I know Phil is in heaven with our Lord.  I’m thankful God’s promises have continued to be true. He’s remained faithfully by my side. God promises that He’ll work all things for good if we just trust Him. I have experienced that in my own life and am eternally thankful.

I’m thankful for the normal things in our lives: my family, my church, food, clothing, and health. But I’m also thankful for so much more. I’m thankful for my salvation, that Christ gave His life for me. I’m thankful God never leaves nor forsakes His own.  I’m thankful  I had a loving husband and the evidence of that love that still surrounds me. I ‘m thankful for the healing of my grief and strength for those first few years. The beauty of this earth, even in its fallen state, can’t go unmentioned.

I could write pages about all the things I’m thankful for. Instead, I’ll close with this verse, “Jeremiah 33:11 “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Let’s praise the Lord for His goodness to us, which  is everlasting!

  “Thank You, Father”

(by Marsha Hubler)

 Thank you, Heavenly Father
  for your strength
which has seen me
through many trials.
Because of you,
I have had the courage
to face tomorrow’s unknown.
Your wisdom
from days gone by
now guides me
to make the right decisions
when I reach the forks
in the road of life.
Thank you, Father,
for the cherished cloak
of family ties
which has molded me …
now enfolds me …
… and fills me
with love and gratitude.

Alone with God


 

“Retreat from the world’s noise and the clamour of your worries. In silence you can hear the whisper of the Infinite.” (1) These are the words I read on the pamphlet in my silent retreat packet. Preparing for the five- and-a-half hours drive to my favorite retreat, I felt so ready!

There’s something about driving away from everything and going into a quiet spot. Some people feel close to God by listening to music. Others can sit in a cafe with people around them and immerse themselves in their own private world. As for me , I need to be away from my normal surroundings. I relish being surrounded and immersed with nature. Most of all, I need to be in quietness without distractions.

Last year as I read one of my favorite blogs by Ferree Hardy, “A Christian Widow’s Place”, I read about a retreat called God’s Quest. As I read about taking yourself away from your usual busy life and surrounding yourself by God’s nature, talking to no one but him, I found myself thinking yes, this is what I need! While reading the information, I read that the second day is called a “hermit day.” Silence starts at 9 o’clock the first evening and continues through the next day,” hermit day,” and ends 10 a.m. the third day.

There’s something special about this length of silence and solitude without interruption while talking only to God. Jesus often separated himself from  others to be alone with His Heavenly Father and gave us this example to follow.

God speaks in a still small voice. How will we hear him unless we take time to sit still and listen?

Arriving after dark, it wasn’t until Friday morning that I was greeted by the once-again beautiful foliage. The air was brisk, but as I nestled in a blanket relaxing on a glider next to the pond, I felt God’s peace and love. Once again I pulled out my journal and started listening to what He had to say.

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latest pond pic

I imagine  many secrets are hidden in those waters, as others over the years have sat there and talked to God.

After Friday night’s delicious Amish-cooked meal, we attendees met for devotions. Following that sweet time of fellowship and song, we went our silent ways to focus only on our Lord.

Pampering myself in the Jacuzzi in my cottage and sleeping late the next morning were both extra bonuses I enjoyed. It was great knowing that nothing was awaiting me to attend to that day. What a great way to clear one’s mind of all distractions than to remove yourself from them!

I had previously determined not to drive so far for my retreat nextyear, but as I walked across the vacated ski slopes enjoying the view while I talked to the Lord at this special place, I’m afraid I may find myself on that drive again next year.

Regardless of where I spend my retreat, I hope I always take time to go someplace alone to be refreshed. If our Lord needed this, how much more do we?

You may be saying, “It’s not necessary to drive a distance or even to go away from your home to meet with the Lord.” This is true; however, in the busy world in which we live  and the hectic life we live, for me, I know I need to retreat at least once a year.

In Exodus 33:14, God told Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” This is the verse God  gave  me as I prepared to retreat. Still, His promise is true in all of our situations. As long as we have God’s presence, we can have rest. No matter what trials we face or where we are, we’ll always find a quiet rest in the Lord.

I pray that I keep my mind stayed on Him while I continue in my everyday life.

IMG_20141018_192511

May God bless you and help you to find your private “retreat.”

Kathy

  • 1.  texts from the Elf-help Therapy book “Acceptance Therapy” (by Lisa Engelhardt).

A Good Quality of Life


Take time to read this. Bill is such an inspiration to all of us!

Unshakable Hope

I’ve been thinking a lot about quality of life issues lately. More specifically, I’ve been trying to figure out why some people that (in the natural) possess virtually everything we think would make for a good quality of life, yet they’re miserable. Conversely, many others have almost none of the ingredients that we think must be in the mix for a good quality of life, but they seem perfectly content.

I think about this issue more and more as life with ALS becomes an even greater challenge. If ALS takes its natural course, the victim will die of respiratory failure. The muscles needed to breathe become weaker and weaker to the point where you just can’t breathe anymore. Oftentimes the flu or pneumonia are just too much for those with advanced ALS and can speed up this respiratory failure.

I had a severe case of the flu in February, and…

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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

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

Haiti Mission Trip Epilogue


May 21, 2015

Thank you for following this blog of my mission trip to Haiti. It was a wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord.

As we rode on the tap-tap on the two hour trip to our destination, I marveled at the sights. Haiti is such a beautiful country; however, the people live with very little. I saw many vendors along the roadsides. People lived in humble dwellings often in the midst of rubble; yet, they took pride in themselves. Even though they had no running water or bathroom facilities, they were clean and well-dressed. I saw very little, if any, immodesty. Sometimes I’d see a woman sweeping the dirt away from her little section in front of her home while women  nearby did their laundry  in a basin with lots of clothes hanging over fences.

I had the opportunity to worship with Haitian Christians on Sunday. Although the believers have little or nothing in material goods, they worshiped and sang with all their heart. The joy of the Lord was present, a reminder that we all serve the same God and have the same Holy Spirit. One young lady came forward that morning during testimony time and became a believer. My heart rejoiced as I left the service that morning.

We had two-day clinics in two different areas. The first two days were set up in the church in Petit Guave. The last two days of clinic we spent in a mountain village.

Besides helping with my nursing skills, I also learned to help check vision. The second day in clinic the Lord allowed me to lead a young woman to salvation. What a glorious answer to prayer that was!

Our medical clinics and glasses probably served 750-800 people. On Friday two very ill children in the clinic were driven two hours away to a hospital for tests. We distribute 900 pairs of sunglasses, 208 pairs of reading glasses, and 47 pairs of distance glasses. We also gave away bags of rice and beans.

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any reports of how many children were seen for fluoride or whether any prayed to receive Christ. But we did witness by handing out Gospel bracelets to many children while an interrupter explained what the colors on the bracelets meant.

In the afternoon of our last day, I enjoyed some free time by the Caribbean Sea. I have never seen such blue water. God allowed me to find several seashells to bring back home for the grandchildren and myself.

I praise God for the answered prayer of giving me stamina and health. I didn’t even have my usual headaches. Another answer to prayer!

I know God wants me to continue to serve Him in short-term missions. At this time, I don’t know for sure where He’s leading me to for my next trip. As one person stated at our first training meeting, God allows us to peek into many doors, but eventually He opens one wide for us to enter.  I’ve been presented with several opportunities, and at this point I’m praying and waiting for His leading.

May God Bless You,

4/14/15 Final Preparations for Haiti Trip


Sorrow to Victory

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…

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