Wisdom for Widows Nuggets #8


When dealing with the topic of opportunities, it’s important to realize that our spouse’s life has ended but God has allowed us additional time. We need to seek what God’s purposes for us are.  A good study to help determine our purposes is by looking up all the widows in the Bible. There are also historical widows to learn about. We might personally know widows who could be good role models of Godly widows serving the Lord.

There are many situations around your community in which you can help others. Maybe you know of elderly in your vicinity who would love to have you visit them. Make yourself aware of the current events in your area and think you may be able to be involved in helping those involved. 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

March Came in Like a Lion!


March certainly did come in like a lion! Let’s hope it goes out like a lamb.

This morning as I hear the wind chimes ringing steadily, I keep thinking of that saying about March: “If March comes like a lion, it leaves like a lamb”.

That’s a lot like grief, isn’t it? Fresh grief seems to roar at us like a lion and hunts us down as prey. I remember those first two years when it was often too hard to run away from the grief. I had to give in and let grief grab me. But I’m thankful that God never let that lion of grief devour me. My wonderful Lord always grabbed me from grief’s clutches and held me close to Him while grief sulked away. I have learned to run to Him more and more until, finally, over the last two years, now all I have to do is keep gazing at Him, my Lord and Savior. As long as that I keep my mind and eyes on Him, I seldom fall. I believe that old lion of grief has learned that He can no longer get near enough to succeed in having a hold on me.

Oh, yes, sometimes I get fearful and think I feel him sneaking around, and I can’t help but succumb to a few tears. I try not to look at him, and it makes him fade away. It happens less often now. I know the Lamb is waiting in the shadows, and all I have to do is call on Him and He’s by my side. I’m slowly learning to hold him close all the time and bask in His peacefulness.

The truth is the Lamb of God has always been right beside me. He has never left me alone.  It has taken me almost four years to grab hold of that full joy and peace He offers.  In the meantime, He has patiently collected my tears and carried me when I couldn’t not run, let alone walk. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” God can never break a promise. Aren’t you glad?

If you don’t know how to have God as your protector and peace , please contact me. He’s waiting for you with open arms.

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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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.)


New hope


As spring approaches each year, it always makes me think of new life and hope. As a person works his way through grief, it sometimes feels likes they will never rise above it.

Much of God’s beautiful creation does not show its’  “face” until springtime arrives. As we experience a long, cold winter we see only barren ground and bare trees. Then one day we notice little buds on the trees and tiny shoots coming up towards the light.  The sun shines a little brighter and a little longer. Seeing new life bursting forth, we realize that they things in nature aren’t dead, and they’re not something to toss aside. Instead, they are displaying God’s perfect order of His creation. In the spring they come forth fresh and invigorated again. They have completed one of God’s intended cycles of life. All of these signs I see in spring renew my hope, and I know that I also can come forth with an invigorated spirit.

Another reminder of this hope that comes with springtime is the hope that Easter brings us. Our hope isn’t in whether the sun shines, or flowers bloom. Our hope is in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that we have hope. Because He was crucified on the cross for our sins and rose again the third day we can have hope! We know that He sits at the right hand of God the Father. We know that all of His promises will be fulfilled and are being fulfilled every day.  “Because He lives that I can face tomorrow!”

This will be my second spring without my beloved Phil. However, when I think of him, I not only have hope, but I have full assurance that he too lives. He lives in a place that is beyond our human words of description. He’s been rewarded fullness of all joy! How do I know that?

I know that because God promises that if we trust in Him, and believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, if we believe that He truly did take our sins to the cross, and rose again the third day, we will live  eternally with Him. My husband did confess with His mouth that Christ is Lord and believed in Him.

I also know that not only does God love my husband, but he also loves me. God has a plan for me also. At this time of the year I am reminded that as long as I continue to love and follow my Savior and Lord, I can always rise above my loss. He promises in Isaiah 43:2 that He will never let the waters overtake you.  I can rise above my loss if I trust Him and allow Him to take my hand and lead me.

Not only does God have an intricate plan for the nature He created for us, but He also has a plan for each one of His children. When God fulfilled His plan for our loved ones and allowed them to go to His glorious home, He did not forget us. He has a plan for each one of us who remain. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He put a new song in my mouth…” Psalm 40: 1-3. I feel excitement with this new season coming upon us, and can rest in peace as I walk each day in His plan for me!

My prayer for each of you who are grieving is that you will be able to feel hope in the midst of your sorrow. God has not forgotten you.

For those of you who do not have Christ as your Savior, and therefore, can have no peace, my prayer is that you will look to the cross and receive Him this Easter season. It was during the Easter season many years ago that I received my faith. You can have the hope that only Christ can give.  I pray that you will seek Him now.

*Feel free to email me if I can be of help to you. Christ said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37*

Ponderings at Thanksgiving


As Thanksgiving approaches I think of so many things I could thank God for. First and foremost I thank Him for my salvation. I thank Him for loving me just the way I am and for sending His son to pay the penalty for my sins. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to hear of Jesus and the leading to give myself to Him at the age of 16.

I am thankful that God led my husband and myself to each other later on in that year. He too was a Christian. I have come to realize that God gave Him to me for a season. As much as I wish our time together as husband and wife could have been many years longer, I still am so thankful that God allowed us those 32 years together. After my husband became ill, he apologized to me saying he was sorry I married someone who “was sick”. Naturally I told him I did not feel that way at all. I am thankful that I was the one that God ALLOWED to marry him. The Bible says , “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me” , or in other words, “He will fullfil His purpose for me.” God fulfilled His will for my husband and will continue to fill His will for me.

My house sits on a hilly piece of  land.  I do not have to walk very far to be uphill where I can look down and see most of our property. Each time I look back down from the top of our yard I am thankful for the way my husband provided for me.  I realize that he worked hard for that provision and to give me this security. My home is not a new home, but it is comfortable and I am secure. In many ways I feel like he made me safe and secure in my earthly home before he moved on ahead to our heavenly home.

I am very thankful that God has surrounded me with my family. They are very close both in proximity and in our relationships together. He has also provided me with a wonderful caring church family. Aside from my Lord, I would never have made it this far down my journey of grieving if it were not for all of them.

Although I could write all night on the things I am thankful for, I will end with this last thing. I am thankful that I will never be alone. God promises He “will never leave me nor forsake me.”  Hebrews 13:5.  In Isaiah 54:4-5 it says “… for thy Maker is thine husband…” in reference to widows. So with those thoughts in my mind I say, “Praise be to the Lord for all His goodness and mercy He hath bestowed upon me.”  I could never thank the Lord God enough for what He has done for me!

Quiet my heart Lord


10-31-1012  written during a battle…of sorrow…won with the Lord.

Oh my soul, why art thou dishearten within me?

Knowest thou not that God is with me? Do not look back! Keep your hands to the plow and your face forward! Or better yet, heavenward. How can one feel so calm in their spirit for days, even weeks, and then fall so far in the other direction? Why does my heart suddenly yearn for my loved one so very deeply tonight?

Why did my mind take me back to the days, weeks, just prior to my dearest husband’s death? Why did I need to remember the night I sat up on the couch and sobbed loudly, awakening him from deep sleep? Why must I remember that sweet man, rising from his couch to shuffle over to me try to comfort me? Or why must I remember the time I started quietly crying in the restaurant after his last treatment? I can hear him now responding to my apology, “It’s alright. I would be the same if I were you.”

Did I say all of the things I feel now would have been important to have said? But does it really matter? Why must I allow Satan to torment me? My soul, arise up and pick the torch back up. Continue to be a comforter, not one that needs comforted. Know that you have loved and been loved, and that is one of the greatest gifts here on earth. Know that you are surrounded by the extension of that love daily by his children and grandchildren. You have been left comfortable and well taken care of. You can look everywhere and see where your beloved’s  hand has been and where he left a reminder of himself. Faint not. Forge on ahead and continue to pave the path for others to walk on after you too are gone.

All the possessions left here will deteriorate unused. But the memories, the love, the example in dying, will be remembered in my heart and soul for as long as I am still here.

God, lift me up again, that I may hold my head high and forge forward again. Please give me wisdom in all areas of life. Keep my path straight. Thank you Lord, for giving me all your promises and for fulfilling them day by day.  Thank you for never failing me.  My soul is lighter once again, Lord.  I will praise your holy name forever.

life goes on


Sometimes when you are grieving it feels like your world has stopped while the rest of the world moves on.

What comes to my mind so often is that I will now “grow old alone”. I see so many couples growing old together. They are holding hands, hands that have weathered all of life’s storms together.  I miss the fact that there will never be a picture of us grey haired, old, wise and loved. Their will never be a “50th” wedding anniversary. There are no “good-night honey” said any more. “I love you. ”  “I love you too honey.” These are among the many things that I  miss. Who will hold me when I cry over another grief ?

The answer to that question is “my Lord”. When those thoughts come to my mind and my heart aches I need to run to Jesus. God told me He would be as a husband to me. It seems to be easy to for me to slip out of that habit. I need to make the fact that God is as a husband to me as natural for me as it is to breathe. Those of us that have Jesus to cling to need to keep ourselves fully aware of that. When I feel lonely I need to talk to Him, because He is always there with me and I am never alone.

It is easy to look at my grief and losses and get my eyes off of the pathway in front of me. When this happens I stumble and fall. I wander around aimlessly with no direction.  Proverbs 21:20 tells us that there is a treasure to be desired. There are treasures to be looking for.  These treasures are only found in Christ Jesus. V 21 goes on to tell us that ” he that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life…”. My life in Christ can be abundant and full of joy. If we allow God to direct our paths we will not wonder around aimlessly feeling lost. I hope you will join me as I follow God on a victorious pathway of victory and joy.