Monday, January 7, 2019

Widow's Journey Retreat March 1 - 3 I hope you can come!

Last year I got to meet Sandra and her mother. Her mom wasn't
a widow but several widows, like Sandra, brought along a dear
friend or relative for company. They are welcome to attend!
I often hear widows talk about how much they want to get together and here's a fantastic chance to do it. 😄 Click here for the info about it.
It will be at Sandy Cove Ministry Center in North East, Maryland. Costs are based on the number of people in your room. If you want to stay with other women to reduce your cost I think you can call in and ask.
Once you register, please email me at wcplace@gmail.com so I can be sure I get to meet you.
💗 ferree
A "Naomi" group from Pennsylvania started by using my
book, Postcards from the Widows' Path. Their leader, Denise, is
in the front in the blue print shirt and I'm right behind her.
Over 150 women from all over the country attended.
Sweet memories!





Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Great Help for Widows--Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

The very best thing a widow can do to help herself is to read and meditate on God's Word every day.
Why? Because it is food for your soul and just like good nutrition it will help you heal and be restored.

Daily devotionals based on Scripture are a good place to start. Visit a nearby Christian bookstore to look at all the selections. Your church might have free booklets with devotions for each day of the month. An excellent resource for devotionals for grieving people is to sign up at GriefShare.org --they're delivered to your email every day and they are free. Specifically for widows, please visit my friends at A Widows Might.org for their beautiful and heart touching ministry.

If you want a deeper look into God's Word as a whole, though, consider a Bible reading plan. You'll get a grasp of the whole world of the Bible plus the sense of accomplishment as you check off the chapters and books you've read.

In addition to the reading, I like to keep a small notebook. Every day I jot down my "ABC's" --
  • A is a title of what I just read. I make one up and you can too, no expertise is necessary :)
  • B is the best verse that stands out to me personally that day. 
  • C is a command to follow or a comfort to claim. 
I love this simple but profound little outline and one of the best blessings of it is to look back and notice the many ways God actually guides and directs me when I apply what I've read!

There are many yearly Bible reading plans to choose from--just Google your favorite ministry site and they will probably have some.

The selection might be too overwhelming if you're dealing with widow fog though so I've created my own Bible reading plan just for widows.

Here's the beauty of my Bible reading plan:
  • You can start it at any point during the year. 
  • You'll read the entire New Testament and corresponding Psalms, plus Proverbs and Ruth. 
  • Each season you'll read a gospel: winter--Matthew, spring--John, summer--Mark, Christmas--Luke.
  • The first day of every month (except February)a section of the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 will encourage and remind you of how great and effective God's Word is for daily life.
  • And last but not least, an * marks chapters that contain the word "widow."
It took me a couple years to do this and test it out on myself! And then a friend who's a graphic designer helped me format it and set it up here so all you have to do is click on the pages in the sidebar ---> and print them off. (If you don't have a printer send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I'll mail you one: Ferree Hardy, PO Box 5024, Florence, SC 29502).
No matter whether you choose to go with a devotional or try a Bible reading plan, the important thing is to start today. Do it in the morning, before bedtime, after a meal or as many times a day or week as you want! Just Do It! You'll be so glad you did! And if you miss a day? Just pick it back up, don't try to catch up. God will meet you where you are.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Are You Facing A Lonely New Year?


Do you find yourself with a lot of "alone" time now? A widow once told me that it wasn’t being alone that bothered her; she was used to that because her husband had travelled a lot for work. “I’m OK with being alone, but being lonely really hurts.”

Many widows will attest that loneliness is one of their hardest problems. It’s pervasive. Like a weed it fills the cracks and chips in our broken hearts with an ache that keeps coming back. God himself declares that it’s not good (Genesis 2:18), yet people die and their loved ones have to live alone. How do we adjust? How can we be alone but not lonely?

Here are some tips and ideas that can aid us like steps on a path.

BE AROUND PEOPLE. When it feels like the walls of the house are closing in it’s time to get out and be around other people. Go for a walk at a mall or farmers market. Sit at a McDonald’s or Starbucks with a coffee and a magazine or newspaper. Simply being around people is good. Visit a friend or relative and pitch in to help with cleaning or cooking. The sounds of everyday life like dishes clattering in the sink, a tea kettle whistling and children running up and down stairs are sweet to a lonely person.

STAY WARM. If you have a fireplace, the warm blazes from it can ward off both a cold night and the icy grip of loneliness. Drink a cup of hot cocoa or chamomile tea. The University of Toronto reported a connection between loneliness and feeling physically cold. Warmth helps.

STICK TO FAMILIAR ROUTINES. Routines provide structure for our day and help us know what to do next. Life isn’t so overwhelming and lonely when routines keep a semblance of order and control. In the evening prepare for the next day—lay out what to wear, plan meals, and check for appointments and chores. After that work on handcrafts, sewing or puzzles to pass the time, relax, unwind and get sleepy.      

READ. The well-known author, C.S. Lewis, once said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” I don’t know if he said that before or after his wife died but he certainly knew the loneliness of widowhood. Reading is another good night-time routine and hobby. It’s informative and relaxing. Stories of real people, other lands, history, nature, travel can perk up our interest in life once again and ease pangs of loneliness.

HELP OTHERS.  In Chera, a Christian magazine for widowed people, widower Bill Lake wrote about how he dealt with loneliness: “I had to remind myself that idleness is not God’s will for a person. I am not talking about activity for activity sake. But as I exercised my spiritual gifts in serving others, I began to leave loneliness behind.”

LEARN FROM BEING ALONE. One widow told me this: “For me, it has been important that I not miss what God is teaching me through this journey. It seems as though He has deliberately taken me into the wilderness to teach me more about Him. I tend to “forget” God when I have people to take away my loneliness…”

Making peace with loneliness means finding new ways to be around people, staying warm, employing healthy routines, reading, helping people and learning what God intends. It’s a journey, not a race. Each little step you take will leave the lonely path further and further behind.    



                                            

                                                     

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Something Special for 2019

Well I must confess I've been floundering this year. For the past 8 - 10 years I've kept Bible reading notebooks and loved jotting down thoughts, prayers, and all the cool things God showed me in his amazing book.

Those notebooks are my little treasures --probably the first thing I'd grab if my house were going up in smoke.


But this year I've just been a scatterbrained hot mess. Maybe it's because my mom died and the huge adjustment and personally re-visiting to grief, or maybe it was travel, or other excuses. But I'm now looking forward to a fresh start and a new year. How about you?

I think I'll try something different for 2019 though. I ordered a Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner from a Christian organization called Youth With A Mission.

Please visit this link so you can see it all for yourself, but I'm pretty excited about it. Our world is in a bigger mess than I am! But little old me (and you) can do something about it by joining thousands of others in prayer.

The prayer journal brings everyone together in praying for world wide situations and nations. To me, that's the important thing. That's the hope-- not us praying, but that God hears and he really does answer! "Ye have not because ye ask not." James 4:2.

What will you ask God for in 2019? Please let me know so I can also pray for you. ❤

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Christmas Prayer for You

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us.
Matthew 1:23 (NASB)
Dear God,
You've embedded our seasons and calendars with remembrances of you. The stars shine brighter in these long nights of December, the earth demonstrates your widom as it gives way to seasons of rest and replenishment. Weather fronts swirl both snow and balm around our globe, the moon pulls tides in and out, and planets follow their courses in a cycle of centuries.
Nations rise against nations, republics succeed and fail; houses are built, lovers are loved, babies are born-- some grow old--some do not... But whether only five years old or ninety-five, all eventually die. Yet against this massive and brutal canvas of nature and man your prophets and Scripture lay this claim:

Immanuel: You. Are. With. Us.
You are with the widow too. Such knowledge is too wondrous! We ask, as Mary asked the angel, "How can this be?"
How is it that the Creator of the universe--each galaxy, star, solar system, planet, continent, nation, people group, family, and person-- how is it that you come to us as Immanuel?
Renew and revive our sense of your presence in the cold beauty and long nights of December and grief. For when we know you are with us, we know we can make it through. When our own strength and hope are gone, "God with us," is all that matters.
When our Creator reaches through all of his creation to touch our life and enter our world, we begin to live again.
Grant us this peace and life through your presence this Christmas, Immanuel.
Amen

Wishing you a sacred and precious Christmas through the touch of Jesus Christ, ❤ferree

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Widows Retreat 2019!

Treat Yourself to A Widows Retreat -  
Make It A Christmas Present for YOU 
Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet women who "get it" about widowhood? Who know by experience that the Lord will not leave you stranded, but also know the pain and the struggle? That's what happens at a widows retreat. The best one to minister to a widow is another widow and that's what will happen the weekend of March 1-3, 2019. Gayle Roper, author of "A Widow's Journey" and many other wonderful books hosts this retreat. 
Wouldn't you like to be in on this time of encouragement and strengthening? Start praying about going today, and sign up soon! Please email me as soon as you register so I can help you get to know some mutual friends a bit ahead of your stay. WCplace@gmail.com
The link below is from the Sandy Cove Ministries website. Sandy Cove Retreat Center is located near the town of North East, Maryland, "serenely situated between Boston and Philadelphia." It's on Chesapeake Bay and is  beautiful! I will once again facilitate one of the small groups and I'd love to meet you. I really hope you can come!   ferree
 Being a widow is to be in a very lonely place.
People say, “Isn’t it wonderful he’s with the Lord,” and you want to yell, “No! He should be here with me.”

Spend a weekend with other widows where you are with people who understand. Come share your heart and your hurt and be encouraged as we remind ourselves that, hard as it is, our God is able. Learn from women who are where you are, women who have weathered grief and difficult times.

This weekend is for widows of all ages and at any point in the journey. Find out everything you need to know--rates, location, schedule, speakers--by clicking right here.