Monday, May 14, 2018

God Gives Widows Enough

Welcome to WCP. I am both glad you're here, but very sorry if you've been widowed. Nevertheless, this is a place you'll find some benefit. Here's an inspiring widow's story from the Bible.

I Kings 17:7-16 "The Widow of Zarephath"

During a time of drought and famine, the prophet Elijah went to the house of a widow and said, “Feed me before you use the last of your food for yourself and your son.”

Now I don't know if Elijah said the word "me" all bold and italicized, but being a mom, I'm sure that's how the widow heard it. And we have to note that her town, Zarephath, was a coastal village north of Israel, in Phoenicia. This widow wasn't an Israelite; she lived in the heart of a pagan, idol- worshipping country. She might not have known Elijah from Adam, so her response to him is pretty astounding.

Instead of saying, "What? Are you crazy? I can't let us starve to death! Hit the road!" she used the last of her ingredients to bake him a little cake of bread.

After that though, oddly enough, she found enough ingredients to make some more for her son and herself. They'd live another day. Day after day she’d bake more bread to feed Elijah, herself and her son. She would use the last of her reserves and resources every day, but with each new day there was always more. Always enough.

Do you use up the last of your reserves every day? When you go to bed each night are you running on empty? So was this widow. But each new day brought her what she needed to survive. Her little bit of trust in God was renewed each day. God always provided just enough.

I think the widow of Zarephath would agree with Lamentations 3:22, 23.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!"

Day after day God provides for us day by day.

It's not always more than we need, but we can be thankful it's never less than we need.
ferree

Monday, May 7, 2018

Groups on Facebook


We pick up survivors and help
each other on the ocean of grief.
Have you heard about the free, confidential widows' support groups I have on Facebook? Don't feel bad if you haven't, I seldom promote them. Plus, they're "secret" Facebook groups and do not come up on any searches. People find out about them only through the few times I mention them on this blog or through friends.

They started in 2011 and hundreds of widows have used them. That's not a large number for Facebook groups but the purpose is to provide a small group of Christian women who can ask honest questions, and share prayers, praises and burdens. Friendships grow, and faith does too. It doesn't last forever though.

One of the most valuable benefits is when members realize they don't really need it anymore! Whenever they're ready they opt out. It's totally self-monitored. It's peer support, not professional, and your participation is under your control. Some members read along quietly and rarely say a word. Others are very active and enjoy the growing friendships and support.

Lifeboat and Lifeboat2 are the entry groups. They welcome women who've been widowed for any length of time. Throughout the week I receive requests to join and I add new members on Tuesdays or Fridays.

My other group is called "Going Ashore." It's for widows who have passed that one-year point of widowhood.  They want to address the issues and challenges of the second year and beyond.

So how does one join? First, if you haven't already, get a Facebook account at Facebook.com
Then it's easy, just ...
  1. Send me, Ferree Hardy, a Facebook "friend request."
  2. Then - VERY IMPORTANT- message me on Facebook with 1). your choice of Lifeboat or Going Ashore and 2). the date you were widowed. 
I will confirm your message and friend request within a few days and add you to a Lifeboat group on a Tuesday or a Friday. It's that easy! Just be sure to send me BOTH. I'm sorry but I don't have time to follow up and remind you if you don't.

Re: LIFEBOAT---if you're still in the first year of widowhood Lifeboat is the only option for you even if you think you are beyond it. I've had members request Going Ashore before they've passed their one-year anniversary of widowhood but I always kindly deny them. Afterwards they see the wisdom of having their Lifeboat sisters support them through that momentous day. Also, Lifeboat2 is not more advanced, it's just a designation for another Lifeboat group. Someday maybe we'll have Lifeboat3!

Re: GOING ASHORE---if you're past your first year of widowhood you may go directly to Going Ashore. However, since I don't know you personally I recommend joining both Lifeboat and Going Ashore so you can decide which is the best fit for you.

Please note: Lifeboat is for widows only. I do not add men or organizations. If I happen to find either on board for some reason, they are immediately removed, no questions asked.

Monday, April 30, 2018

My Psalm for Mother's Day (and Other Days Too)


Mothers Day is coming soon and it can be difficult to handle if we dwell on our losses. I hope the following will provide a life-affirming alternative for any day we're feeling low. The Psalms, as you know, is a book of songs and prayers. When we're weary and sad, when grief weighs down our mind, a psalm can step in and speak to God on our behalf. When we open the book of Psalms we'll find laments for the bad days and praises for the days when life feels fine.

But have you ever wondered what God might say to you, personally, in the Psalms? I recently took a look at Psalm 139, one of my favorites. The phrases familiar, the heart cries always genuine and fitting, its rich truth nourishes and sustains me like a long-time friend.

I've spoken this psalm to God many times. But what would it be like if God replied, I wondered?

The words that follow are my paraphrase of the Lord's response to my personal Psalm 139.
I hope you'll feel the voice of the Lord saying them to you too.  And I hope they'll help carry you through Mothers Day and every day.

Dear widow, my child,
I have searched you; I know everything about you.
I know when you sit and when you rise;
I perceive your thoughts even when you're far away from Me.
I understand your going out and your need to lie down;
I'm familiar with all your ways and habits.
I even know the words you'll speak before they come out of your mouth.
I have hemmed you in--behind you and in front of you.
My hand is on your shoulder, but you don't always know this.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for you, and too lofty for any human mind to attain.
I am always with you. Where could you go from My Spirit?
Where could you flee from My presence?

If you ascend to the stars of the heavens, I am there;
if you descend to the deepest pits of the earth--if you make your bed in the depths--I am there.
If you rise on the wings of the dawn, flying away to settle on the far side of the sea,
even there My hand will guide you. My right hand will hold you fast and secure.
If you say, “Surely this darkness will hide me from God's sight, for my loss and despair snuff out the light of day; light has turned to night around me--!"
Even that dark night of the soul will not be dark to Me;
The night shines bright like the day---I see you clearly, My child.
Darkness is as light to Me. I see, I care, I love.
For I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made; I'm fully confident of your quality; My works are wonderful---and you are one of them---I know that full well.
I saw your frame at the very inception of your life. I wove together your DNA molecules as they formed your body in the pre-born soft darkness deep inside your mother.
I have ordained each and every one of your days. I've written them in My book about you. I wrote them all out before you ever existed. I know your whole story. I see beyond today's pain-filled page to the chapters of hope and happiness that await. Your husband is safe and secure in My arms. He knows, too, that it will be worth it all when you turn the page and see how I've worked all these things together for your good.
Yet there's the emptiness, the anger, the mistrust, the fear you've been betrayed . . . I know. I let my Son go through that, too. And then He was raised to life! Only believe. Be still. Watch and wait.
Aren't these thoughts of My watchcare, interest and love for you precious and vast?
If we were to add them up they would light your dark grief like the the sparkling points of a city at night. To count them would be like trying to number the grains of sand on the seashore.
Sleep well, my beloved one.
When you awake . . .

I am still with you.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Will Life Ever Be Right Again?

QUESTION: Does it ever feel right to be a widow? I now feel as though I am only a partial person, yet somehow I manage to live a fairly normal life. How can that be?

ANSWER: These questions capture the incredulous feelings of a survivor: is it right that life goes on, that I manage in spite of this huge loss, that life looks fairly normal even though it's so very different?

There is hope, though, when we look at the situation in light of what the Bible says. From a human standard we simply can't say it's "right" to be a widow. But if we have given our life to Christ, we can understand that God is in control, He loves us supernaturally and we are safe in His hands. Nothing about our relationship to Christ has changed. He chose us and saved us as an individual-- not because we were married-- and He will continue to relate to us on an individual basis.

I read in 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 and other passages that God makes us stand firm in Christ, He has anointed us, He has set His seal upon us, He has put the Holy Spirit within us, and has guaranteed our redemption and eternal life to come. With credentials like that, I believe that when we find ourselves in any condition of life we can trust God that it is right--and although it's hard, we will get closer and closer to being at peace with our life. See Romans 8:35 and 37-39, too. Nothing can separate us from God and His love, and although we might not be able to humanly say it's "right" to be a widow, we can--in time--understand that with Christ, there's nothing wrong with being a widow.

This does take time, though. I can't tell you how often widows wonder at how "cut in half" they feel. I believe feeling "like a partial person" is perfectly normal, and even to be expected. Remember how in the Garden of Eden God declared that man would be united with his wife and the two would "become one flesh?"

This is just my opinion, but maybe God meant that in more than just a sexual way. I think of how two branches of a vine can curl and twist around one another. If one of them were cut off, the other would surely suffer lack of support and a change in the flow of nutrients--it must physically grow over and heal before it can gain strength on its own. Once it does, we hardly notice where the pruning has occurred and the other half removed.

Having a fairly normal life while feeling like half a person is like having the branches of a vine pruned back. The vine will recover and grow even more fruitful, life will go on as normal, but it's very different. And healing is essential.
I used to hate that word "healing." Grief is not a disease! It's not a sickness! But now I realize healing is essential because widowhood is a severing of those lives that have grown together and twined around each other like a vine. The surviving branch will grow back stronger and more fruitful than ever, but first it must heal. A key to remember during this process are the words of Christ, "I am the vine; you are the branches . . ."
If we cling to Christ, if we choose to draw life and recovery from Him, there will certainly come a day when we will be whole again.
I hope this has been an encouraging answer that gives you hope. God has good plans for you, dear widow. He loves you, He sees you and He stands by to help you. ferree

Monday, April 16, 2018

Welcome Back to Both You and Me

I'm finally back, and I thought you might understand (and empathize) if I showed you pictures of why I've not blogged since Easter.... drum roll.... ta-da! This is grandbaby Maggie, turning 2 years old!
I've missed blogging, but as you can see--just look at that little face-- I couldn't have possibly missed the birthday party. And since she's 2900 miles away these things take time.


Thank you for understanding. I look forward to sharing soon some really good resources I've recently found.

One plus about my offline travels is that I haven't taken down my annual sale yet! It was supposed to end a while back so if you haven't yet ordered a book at the discount price now's the time to get it for 20% off -- only 11.99 plus shipping. Click on the ANNUAL BOOK SALE tab above. (If this post comes to your email please click the title to get to the website, thanks).

Have a good week,
ferree

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

This Easter Season...


In John 16:22
Jesus said,

“Therefore
you too have grief now;
but I will see you again,
and your heart will rejoice,
and no one will take your
joy
away from you.”

Happy Easter

May your heart be filled
with the joy
that comes from the
promises of Jesus.
                                                                                                           ♥ ferree