Words of Wisdom Nuggets Part 3 “Suffering is Universal!”


 

I look forward to the weekly Bible Study I’ve been attending now for several weeks.  As I share highlights, I trust you’ll receive even a little ray of what I’m able to glean. One thing I’ve learned is you can never be too far into your widowhood to receive a blessing from fellowship with other Christian widows, and you also are never beyond learning about any subject.

The topic for the third week was suffering. A beautiful book was read during this session and will be in the following session:  My Beautiful Broken Shell written by Carol Hamblet Adams. I shared a portion in my last posting. It’s well worth  reading that post if you haven’t done so. If you’re interested in purchasing that little book of hope, it’s available on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/My-Beautiful-Broken-Shell-Refresh/dp/0736908706.) No matter how broken we are, how much we’ve suffered or are suffering, God will give us strength to continue on if we allow Him. (The author is also a speaker and her information can be found online, as well.) http://carolhambletadams.com/speaking/

No one can live this life without experiencing suffering in some way. Continue reading

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Wisdom for Widows (continued)


In our last two sessions, the book “My Beautiful Broken Shell” by Carol Hamblet Adams was read. This book would be a wonderful asset to anyone’s collection of books, especially someone who likes to encourage others. With Carol’s permission, I am going to share a few portions of her book:

This is my first morning at the ocean, and as I walk to the beach, Continue reading

Wisdom for Widows


Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment. Solitude is not first a place but a state of mind and heart.

(Richard Foster “The Celebration of Discipline”)

In my last posting I shared some “nuggets” I learned from the first week of a Bible study called Wisdom for Widows. Today I’m continuing with the second week of the same study. This week’s topic was Isolation.

Let’s review that first week’s theme to give the acronym from which the study was created:

W idows – Comprehend the Bible’s portrayal of God’s heart for the widow

I solation – Learn how to face the biggest obstacle – Loneliness

S uffering

 

D ecision Making                                                                                                                                 O vercoming                                                                                                                          M arriage

F orgiveness                                                                                                                                             O pportunities                                                                                                                                       R elationships

W ealth                                                                                                                                                               I ntercession                                                                                                                                                                     D ifferences                                                                                                                                                    O rganization                                                                                                                                                   W orship                                                                                                                                                     S ervice

Information taken from “Wisdom for Widows” by Mary Ann Kuechler

 

Sometimes widows tend to think of themselves as the only lonely people. However, there are many people in lonely situations. Along with the widows and widowers, those divorced and/or separated from their spouses deal with the same loneliness.

Did you ever stop to think that even some married people have no real relationship and still live lonely lives? If we really take a look around us and study others, we’ll see there are many who live in isolation. There are latch-key children, teens who just don’t “fit” in, immigrants, many homeless people, prisoners, and those who have never married. Even those in Christian service can find themselves leading lonely lives. Illness can separate us from others. Did you know we are one of 800,000 in our ranks as of today? I certainly didn’t know that, and I realize now I’m not the only one who’s alone.

It would be too much to try to share everything discussed in the study this week, but I’ll review some nuggets meant particularly for widows.  In our situation, we know the cause of our loneliness is the loss of our spouse.

Some women in their loneliness choose to keep themselves from others. This decision by itself isn’t good. Often the pain of loss keeps one from going out and about, which only adds to the isolation. Choosing solitude as a way of life and staying away from others on a consistent basis is a wrong choice.

However, choosing to be away from others for solitude and meeting with God is a spiritual discipline we all need. Some of us choose to go on silent retreats such as I have written about in a prior blog. Spending time with God, reading His word, and talking to Him are all spiritual assets and help in healing. It should be a part of our daily routine. When we spend extended time alone thinking only about our loss and not feeding our soul and spirit encouragement, we add depression to our lives. Time spent reliving what we once had with our spouses and what we no longer have will expand our feeling of isolation. “Loneliness is always a negative experience while solitude is often positive and renewing. “ (J. Oswald Sanders “facing Loneliness” p15)

It’s true that widows face challenges they had no idea they would face. Most of us don’t know how to fix a leaky faucet or repair a broken hinge on a door, to mention only a few things. Some of us had never even hung a picture alone!  When we face these everyday things, it certainly can make us aware that we’re “alone.” Eating alone, going places alone and handling finances are just some of the things that add to isolation.

In our study, Wisdom for Widows, we discussed seven “cures” for overcoming loneliness:

  • You need to know, and accept yourself for who you are NOW. Know yourself. I had to learn that I was no longer part of the couple, “Phil and Kathy.” Widows are no longer married women, the other half of someone. I had to learn who I really am. The reality of who we were does not resemble who we are now. This doesn’t happen overnight. I remember the day that I realized that I’d become just “Kathy.”
  • Move from living FOR the dead to living WITHOUT the dead. This sounds harsh, but we do have to learn to live beyond our deceased loved one. I learned what “I” liked to do, which was sometimes different from I did as a married couple. Someone in our group said she likes to listen to different music than her husband did, and now she does. There are little things you may start to change in your life, and that’s all right. Give yourself permission to do so.
  • To face the most difficult times you need to form a plan. One lady shared that Saturdays was always her hardest day. Her husband had always planned that day, and they did things together either at home or away from home. After her husband passed away, Saturday came and she had no idea what to do, adding to her loneliness. She started making a list the night before of what she would do that day.  In fact, that’s a great idea for every day. Before you go to bed, plan the following day.  It gives you a purpose to rise each day and helps you not to wander aimlessly, feeling lost. One lady suggested leaving a paper and pencil in every room. When you’re in the room and you notice things you want to do, or should do, you can jot them down and have a reminder of these things. It was also mentioned by one lady that she couldn’t handle going to weddings alone. She learned to ask if she could bring a friend or even her niece. This allowed her to not sit alone and helped to alleviate feeling lonely or left out. Maybe you would want to ask someone to go grocery shopping with you or walking with you. Whatever you find the hardest to deal with, develop a plan.
  • Find someone needier than yourself and reach out to them. Write letters to lonely people such as prisoners or someone who can’t get out of the house. Go visit a neighbor or take a meal to someone if you have enough energy. (Grieving takes a lot of energy). Pick up the phone and call someone who’s alone or suffering. Look for opportunities.
  • Develop new relationships or renew old relationships. This can be difficult. I found that as I reached out to other widows, I, in turn, gained new friends. As you heal, you may want to start a small widow’s group. I’ve found that even though the fifth anniversary of my widowhood is approaching, the fellowship of other widows is very special for me. There is a common bond. We glean from one another. It’s a good way to develop those new relationships. I always say, “No one understands a widow better than another widow.”
  • Don’t live in denial. Sometimes a widow doesn’t want to face the death of her husband, and she postpones her grieving. However, this just delays the grieving process and eventually makes it even more painful.
  • Face your pain and don’t run from it. Grieving is painful, and the crying that goes with it is unwanted. Some widows run from allowing themselves to experience it. If you’re running away from your pain, you must turn around and face it. God gave us our tears to release our grief.

Remember, being a widow does get better, but it’s never the same. Learn to be the captain of your life. And, most important, reach out and be a comfort to others, and you will, in turn, be helping yourself to remove your loneliness.

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted.”

Psalm 25:16

God bless you,

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

“Haiti 8” Missions Trip


This June will mark the fourth anniversary of my husband’s home-going. The past four years held many ups and downs. However, I am thankful my Lord has brought me through those deep waters without letting them overtake me.

At one point I thought, perhaps, I would always carry sadness within me. I learned since then that I have a choice. I could keep looking back and thinking of my loss and what could have been, or I could look up instead. I chose to make an effort to look up to God and to help myself move on.  I started to realize that God had plans for me. He planned for my husband to go home with Him, but what were His plans for me?

He promises to “makes our crooked paths straight” (Isaiah 45:2).  I feel content in the path He has chosen for me. God has opened up new exciting adventures in my life. He led me to start this blog, and recently He directed me to start a fellowship for widows in my area.

Today I want to share with you the recent blessing He has given me. I’ll be joining a team from a local church on their 8th missions trip to Haiti. Because it is their 8th trip they call it “Haiti 8” missions trip.

Step one was to send in my application and references. I praised the Lord when I received acceptance. There will be a few on the team that will be doing fluoride treatments on children, others will be giving eye exams, and some will be working with a doctor on the team.  Because I am an LPN, I’ll be helping  the medical team. Others in our group will work on construction.

I attended my first meeting a few weeks ago and was given a spiritual preparation work booklet and guidelines of what must be accomplished before we leave.

My second challenge was raising support for the trip. Writing a  letter of appeal and sending it  to friends and family was not something I was accustomed to doing, but I realized it would give each of them a chance to be a part of helping those in need in another country.

Next, I had to start the process to receive a passport.

“Did I have my birth certificate?” I was asked.

Hmm…. I found the birth certificate, but it appeared I was hatched, since it had no parents’ names on it. Now obtaining an acceptable birth certificate as soon as possible became a top priority on my list of things to do. After a trip to Harrisburg, Pa., I came home four hours later with the official document in my hand. (Thank you Lord!)  Not too long afterward, I opened the mailbox to find my passport had arrived!

The next very important task took me to the doctor’s office to receive my inoculations. Then the second week of March I received news that my total support was in. This was definitely another praise to the Lord. I started the process late, but God blessed the process in a short amount of time!

The trip will be from April 18th to April 25th. Due to the lack of electricity, and the need to use a generator for a couple hours each evening I will not be able to send regular updates in my blog. Once I am back home I will share the trip with you. I hope you’ll follow me with my preparation and eventual journey to serve the people of Haiti and share Christ’s love with those who need his gift of salvation.

God bless you,

Kathy

Proverbs 4:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct thy paths. “

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