Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Widow Needs Your Advice!

... Mark - Free Clip Art Here's a note that came in my email recently and I thought some of you would have some wisdom, advice and insight for my "perplexed" friend. Please add your thoughts in the comment box or email them to me at WCplace@gmail.com and I'll paste them here for you. This is a situation I know many of you have unfortunately encountered but bringing it out in the open can help us learn how to respond in a way that will glorify God and build up His people.   ♥ ferree

Hi Ferree,

My husband died little over a year ago.We were married for 39 years.  Thank you for writing your book on Ruth.  Your web site is  very helpful to me also. 

When my husband died I prayed and ask God to let me the best Christian woman I could be.  I  cling to HIM daily. I pray that when people look at me they see Jesus. That I glorify HIM in every way.  I know I'm not perfect but I want to please him.  In my walk, talk, dress, and actions I want to reflect His presence. 

However, I do have a question, we have some single men at our church and when I just talk to them some people raise their eyebrows and such.  Could you shed some light on this for me?  Should I shy away from them?

I do not want in anyway to be inappropriate.  I am not interested in getting remarried at this time.  I want to be the best Christian servant for HIM that  I can be.
Thank you,
Perplexed

Monday, March 20, 2017

Word of Life -- Wish You'd Been With Me

Hello everyone! I can hardly believe that one week ago today I was in Hudson, Florida at Word of Life! I had the privilege of speaking to over 300 women about "The Two Most Important Decisions in Life." It was great to see and hear these ladies respond with laughter, sympathy and a yearning to know Christ Jesus as I spoke. I asked for a show of hands for widows and it was a sacred privilege to meet many of them, to sense that deep bond of suffering, and the even deeper faithfulness and love of God to them.
Amy Bush, a WOL staff person and emcee extraordinaire,
Caroline Ersig who knew she had to call and ask me to speak
when she could not put my book down, and me :)

Uh-oh, looks like I'm telling about Tom's motorcycle
accident at this part--was I afraid I'd lose another
husband?
The RV Park residents started hosting ladies lunches about three years ago as a community outreach. During January, February and March they invite new friends for a delicious luncheon, special music, exciting features (it was a PURSE auction this month!) and an entertaining speaker with a touching testimony.  Proceeds fund camp scholarships and impact hundreds and hundreds of kids who would never experience a week of camp without these full scholarships. It was wonderful to be part of such pure generosity and God's means of reaching the world.

Word of Life Florida is a multi-tasking ministry hub that includes a Conference & Retreat Center, a Bible Institute campus, an RV Park for year-round retirees and snowbirds, and Youth Camps. I encourage everyone to visit and be blessed by the wonderful fellowship and activities!

Tom and I went to a concert on Friday night and heard a very cool and talented group called Southern Raised--- they're amazing! We spent Saturday afternoon like lizards soaking up the sun at the pool, and on Sunday we went to a great church service with Doug and Joan Bagg of Grief Care Fellowship. It was a weekend packed with blessings.
Feeling grateful!
♥ ferree


Monday, March 13, 2017

Making A Change Can Help

When it first happened, life blurred like hitting fast-forward on an old video tape. Get up, brush teeth, make coffee, fumble around, lay down, it's night. Doesn't mean sleep. Insert crying at every pause. Rewind. Repeat. Insert funeral. Hello, good-bye, kiss kiss. Insert memorial service. Rewind. Repeat.

The phone rang incessantly, a wagon train of food--sandwiches, chicken, lasagne, roast beef, casseroles, tossed salad, pasta salad, potato salad, casseroles, brownies, cookies, pies, casseroles, donuts, cakes, breads, and more casseroles rolled in through the front door.

The family descended from the four corners of the earth, I think they took over a hotel. I don't remember exactly. My living room was stuffed with them before the funeral, bodies pressed in, and I liked that. I felt like I was a patient in an emergency room, eyes open but paralyzed--poked, prodded, loved on. "She'll live," I heard them tell my broken heart through tears of their own.

And then it was over. Everyone had to go home. It was me, Brad and Lisa.

We picked over the leftover food until it finally had to be thrown out. Eating wasn't very interesting. When the kids got hungry I handed them a few dollars. Lisa could drive to Wendys or McDonalds. She didn't mind.

But one day I made supper. Put the plates on the table. We sat down.

We weren't prepared for that empty chair. It sat there cold and hard. We suddenly lost our appetites after a forkful or two, cleared the table and went off to other things. No amount of beautiful table settings, gracious dinner music or gourmet cooking ever warmed it up. I tried to imagine God as our unseen guest, but my imagination wasn't that good.

Man, that was hard! That simple, stupid empty chair. An inanimate object I couldn't avoid or get around.

Did you have obstacles like that in your journey through grief? Maybe for you it was a family picture, coming home to an empty house, trying to sleep in an empty bed, visiting your husband's family or even going to church?

Lets talk about it. How did you deal with these painful reminders in your life? If you got over them, how you do it? Your comments will be life-giving encouragement to us all.

For me, that empty chair had to be filled with guests. That was hard to do, especially with the crazy schedules people keep--families seldom eat together anyway. But I enjoyed having dinner guests and I learned that God commanded us to practice hospitality as much for our own sake as for another's. If we didn't have guests, I relaxed the standard of us all having dinner together. I went more casual and we ate at the smaller table in the kitchen or took our plates in front of the tv. Instead of butting my head and heart against the immovable chair, I opted for change.

Hang on to this roller coaster ride through grief, my sister! With God, good things can still happen, and opting for change can help.
ferree

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Echoes of Loneliness and Prayers

As a little girl growing up in rolling Wisconsin farmland I remember playing outside after supper in the summertime. Just before sunset the air would cool and freshen and my brother or my cousins and I would start yelling "Hello! Hello!" to hear our voices echo off the hills. During the school year we sang a song in school about echoes. Just a silly thing about "Little Sir Echo..." but the last line of the song and the last echo on the hills at sunset carried the same message---"but you're always so far away...away." Now that I think of it again, it was a song about loneliness...It was a sad song covering a wound with the innocence of childhood.

Loneliness and finances vie for the #1 spot on the list of problems widows face. Here's a short, honest prayer about loneliness, very much like many of the psalms. See if it captures any of your thoughts and use it frequently. God is never tired of hearing from you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

There are days when I feel suffocated and overwhelmed by loneliness. It's like a heavy, dark blanket pressed to the face and I'm powerless to pull it away. It drains my strength and hope; its like arthritis of the soul---it just won't go away. How can I live like this? How can I go on when my soulmate--the one person I can't live without, the one who was a part of me, who completed my sentences, who filled my thoughts, pleasured my existence, and gave purpose to my days? How can I go on when he's gone?

Life has blown up and been scattered to the wind. I am a solitary speck in a lonely wasteland, a wandering soul in a dry, empty desert   . . . 


I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake;
I have become like a bird alone on a roof.
Psalm 102:6,7

. . . Amen.



Have you been in such a lonely place? Like a bird on the rooftop, watching life pass you by? Prayers and verses like the ones above are labelled as "laments," by theologians. They provide no answer, they only express the honest cry of the heart.
 
What?!! No answer? No three-point sermon or 12-step plan?
 
Nope. A lament is just a simple, honest heart cry.
 
God's OK with honesty, with laments. He wants us to bring Him the loneliness and pain we feel. He understands and accepts us; if we've confessed our sins He hears our prayers even though we wonder about that at times.
 
If you're lonely today, tell the Lord about it. If you're not, then please pray for widows and many other people who experience this echoing silence moment by moment. ♥ ferree

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bible Reading for March 2017

Here is our Bible reading calendar for March. I pray it will bring comfort and guidance to your heart. If you missed the introduction to this plan, please click here for important information. 

This month we will read the earliest books that were written to the church---James, Hebrews, and Galatians. 

You'll notice widows are included in the very first book to the church, the book of James! But first we start out picking up another section of Psalm 119 because it reminds us of the importance of God's Word and how beneficial it is for life. Other Psalms that I thought paired well with the New Testament chapters are interspersed this month too. 

I hope you're keeping a notebook of significant points from your Bible reading. If you haven't started yet, start one now, it's never too late. For some tips about keeping a notebook, click here.

Please share your thoughts and insights during this coming month. I'd love to hear how the Lord is speaking to you through His Word! And please don't mind the extra line on Sundays between the day and the Scripture reference. I don't know how it got there and I wasn't able to erase it either. Sometimes blogging is mind-boggling, lol.

♥ ferree

March 2017

Sunday
Monday
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Friday
Sat
1
2

3
4



Psalm 119:17-32
James 1 *
Psalm 7
James 2
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
James 3
James 4
James 5
Psalm 85
Heb. 1
Psalm 102
Heb. 2
Heb. 3
Psalm 95
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Heb. 4
Heb. 5
Psalm 110
Heb. 6
Heb. 7
Heb. 8
Heb. 9
Psalm 51
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
Heb. 10
Psalm 40
Heb. 11
Psalm 149
Heb. 12
Psalm 97
Heb. 13
Psalm 36
Psalm 66
Gal. 1
26
27
28
29
30
31
Gal. 2
Gal. 3
Gal. 4
Gal. 5
Gal. 6
Psalm 139

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Solemn Pause

February 15, 2000 started out
like any ordinary day
but life changed
forever-in-an-instant
before we could sit down for supper

Bruce, me, Lisa, Brad
The food sat cold in the kitchen
I must have thrown it out the next day,
or the next
or the next

Brooke was in Chicago at MBI
She rushed home right away
(I cannot remember how)
but Bruce was gone
before any of us could say good-bye

Mostly I wondered how he could be happy
if Heaven was such a happy place
How could he not miss us
But I would never ask him to come back
here halfway to hell

Today calls for a solemn pause
Respect. And love. And gratitude.
Complaints and comparisons
sometimes beat my brain like
moths in the dark

I keep them out the open window
they'll not put holes in me
Truth be told (Tom's common phrase)
Bruce knows the happy outcome
and I'm halfway to heaven, not hell