Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On The Road to Discovery

If you could go anywhere in the world--- pretend that $$$ is no problem, people are no problem, you're free as a bird! --- Where would you go and what would you do?

A blogger widow friend is doing just that. In 2011 she loaded up her RV with life's necessities and KitKat the cat, and said goodbye to her home in Illinois. She claimed she was going out to find herself. Visit her at Teri's Travel World to see what's happening with her today. 

I love that phrase going out to find herself. Her dreams of discovering herself remind me of a little poem that rose to creation within me a while back. I had flown out to see one of my daughters, and arrived in Bremerton, WA, north of Seattle.

On our descent, the plane had to curve out over the coast of Puget Sound. Morning light crept over the jagged mountain ranges behind me, dawning stronger and more certain with each minute but fog still misted the coastline. Indigo islands, black and rugged, poked up through depths of cold water and fingers of fog. Like chunks of coal, inpenetrable and black, impervious to the brilliant blue sky and saphire ocean.

I wish I could sing you the tune that played these words in my head. It's gentle and clear, full of wonder and yearning.

Indigo islands arise from the sea
Shrouded in fog they are calling to me
Where are you going and what will you be?
Indigo islands are calling to me

They are made of stone
And they stand alone
But I always hear
them calling my name

Do you hear them calling to you, too? Where are you going, and what will you be? Have you found the real you on this journey through widowhood? Widowhood is not a destination or a life sentence. You're not condemned if you're on this road. You might not be in an RV like Teri, but nevertheless, it's a journey you're travelling, and along the way there's much to discover.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Memorial Wall for April 2015

Here's the April listing from the Memorial Wall here at Widows Christian Place. I hope you'll use it throughout this month to pray for everyone. If you'd like to add your own tribute to the Memorial Wall, please follow the directions mentioned here. I'd be honored to add your precious memory.
ferree

APRIL
4/2/2012
* Darlene * John, age 54 * Melissa 27, Shawna 24, one granddaughter age 21 months * Cause of Death - Drowning *John was an avid Hunter and Fisherman all his teenage and adult life.
The fact that he only had daughters didn't stop him from teaching them everything he enjoyed, and when they got married passed it onto his son-in-laws as well. John left for his final ice fishing trip with friends on March 30, 2012 and on April 2nd the ATV he was on fell through the ice, he tried making it back to shore; the friend he was with tried to get to him, but it wasn't meant to be. John's last words to his friend were to tell Darlene "I Love her and to pray for him"! My life since then has been a roller coaster of emotions, and I thank the Lord for sites like this that let you know you are not alone. John was the love of my life and so much more. I praise God for the 31 years we had together, and the chance he got to experience being a Grandpa. God is my strength!!! * Manitoba, Canada
4/3/2012 * Teri * Jack J. Brandstatter - Massive Heart attack * Stacey age 20 1/2; Kevin 19 (on 4.2.12) * Our anniversary date 9/17/83 - together since 9/17/77 - 35 years; I know he is at peace from the stresses of life and is in heaven preparing a place for me and his family - awaiting our reunion.
* Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Ill
4/7/2012 * Sue * Mike* - My precious husband battled a skin cancer for 40 years and always won, until a new cancer came along and took his life. He was a precious soul. He always stayed positive, grateful, and thankful for each day, even though he underwent over 14 major surgeries to his face, resulting in the loss of his right eye, skull bone, palate and was left with his face badly disfigured. We were together 23 years, married for 16. He loved me more than any person could and I have been so lost without him. I know God has a plan for me and I hold on to His promises every day. His promise of eternity is my focus. Thank you for this site, it has already brought me great comfort. God bless all who mourn, it has been pure anguish...
4/13/2014 * Carla Cass. * Johnathan, in a motorcycle wreck. * We have 3 children: Emily then 13, Nate (Johnathan jr.) then 11, and Andrew then 8. * Johnathan was killed instantly in a motorcycle crash when a truck pulled out in front of him. I felt and still feel lost and confused, but the number of people his life touched was amazing!! There was literally no room left in the church! People had to park down the road and many stood outside the door! I've never seen that many people at a funeral before! It was truly awesome.
4/16/2012 * Tammy * William * Killed in automobile accident * William IV/ 23, Alexander/ 21 * We had a deal! We die old and I go first! Obviously God had a different plan. * Rhode Island
4/18/2012 *Joanita * Ian, Lung Cancer * Shane (8) and Elana (7) * You were my Love, my best friend and biggest cheerleader . It's really painful that I never got to say goodbye. * United Kingdom
4/18/2011 * Patti * Shady Mays-- in his sleep an hour before I awoke (the Lord tapped him on his shoulder and he left -- no goodbye) * Ricky Litteral age 33, Matt Litteral age 23; Amy Beth Mays, age 33. His special buddy, Ellis Litteral, age 13. * -- we had just returned from our district church assembly and he had preached on Sunday (seemed fine and had been to his uncles visitation service Sunday night as his uncle was buried on the day he died -- very hard for his dear mother). We have been married 21 years (both our second marriage) although we dated in high school. He had left his direction with God and when we got together he was saved and took up his calling again to pastor. He became an ordained elder. He was getting ready to graduate with a BSN in ministerial studies. He was the pastor of a small Nazarene church (a great family). He was my husband and I loved him very much. He is missed by many and by me.
4/20/2012 * Abby * My soulmate and husband, Karl, died from melanoma at age 52. A thirty year GA State Trooper * Children include a daughter and three sons * We love you and miss you greatly. You taught us much in life AND death.
4/20/2012 * Gina * “Ricky” * In Loving Memory of Reginald C. Tardy Sr. “Ricky” * He was the wind beneath my wings and on April 20, 2012 he died of a heart attack. For four long years he battled diabetes with the love of Christ for others in his heart for the saved and unsaved. He sojourned through several bypass surgeries. Our wedding anniversary was April 17. Day by day I think of how much he supported our sons, grandchildren and friends with simple kindness and faithfulness. I will always love you. Gina
4/21/2012 *Janice * Johnny, accident * Joshua (9) Caleb (7) * Christ in me is to live, to die is to gain. O God, where do I go from here? * Southern California
4/24/2013 * Dale * Dean, died April 24, 2013 age of 58 from an 8 month battle with melanoma * Jonathan 30; Jason 29; Kristi 24 * He was looking forward to being a grandfather. His grandson was born 5 months after his death. He was always my encourager....a gentle Godly giant. We were married just shy of 33 years. Ps 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. The verse that keeps me moving forward.
4/24/2011 * Barbara * Phil died on Easter Sunday. We were married 33 years * Daughters: Laurie 32, Jennifer 29, and Lisa 26, and Granddaughter Evie-9 months * He was an amazing and compassionate husband, father and grandfather. * Iowa
4/26/2011 * Kathy * Ron, age 62, Stroke * Heath, age 37; Josh, age 34 * I hold you in my heart until I hold you in Heaven! * Texas
4/30/2013 * Gina * Xavier, non-Hodgkins lyphoma. * Stepson, Christopher 35. * I lost my precious husband and best friend on that day. I carry on as he would want but miss him everyday. He is with the Lord and his body is whole once more. * Texas

Saturday, March 28, 2015

THE PROMISE THE MARTINS WITH LYRICS

Last week I was able to go to a concert by the gospel trio "The Martins." As I heard the words to this song I couldn't help but think what a precious encouragement it would be for my readers. Actually for everyone! But I know that some of the phrases are just right for what you're going through.

The Martins have been singing in harmony since childhood but their testimony is that their lives aren't perfect either----although they're on stage, in real life they're just like you and me. They sing from their hearts to our own...ferree



For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, 
neither the present nor the future, 
nor any powers, 
neither height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:38,39 (NIV)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter Plans, Anyone?

I "climbed aboard" one of my Lifeboat widow support groups on Facebook yesterday. These groups are for peer support. I seldom lead or add anything to the conversations because I can't sit and keyboard for very long before my spine begins to object. I just check in from time to time. But they have wonderful dialogues without me!

It's like the Lord uses the Lifeboats as a rescue and revive operation! The women pray for each other, listen to each other's problems, and tell their own experiences about how they manage and resolve many of the challenges of widowhood. It's great to "talk" with other women who "get it." When your old friends are tired of listening to you there's always someone you can turn to on Lifeboat.

One of the conversations yesterday was about Easter and what a widow would do with her children after church. You know---those hours between noon and suppertime that can drag and ache. I won't give you all the details because Lifeboat is confidential and closed to the public, but the gist was that this year would be very different. A favorite family time, a sacred celebration, had become a challenge. This widow wanted to embrace the event, celebrate the resurrection, and raise her children to do the same---- but life wasn't the same anymore. She was in uncharted waters and didn't know what to do.

As she explained the loss of another key family member in addition to her husband, her Lifeboat friends began to come alongside. Some would pray, some could empathize, some gently gave her  ideas, others helped by mentioning what they'd done in years past or about their plans for this year.

Facing holidays alone can be overwhelming. But on Lifeboat we're not alone. God didn't intend us to be the Lone Ranger. We need fellowship and hope; that's why we crave it! And that's what so many widows receive on my Lifeboats. Jesus Christ is the "captain," and the Holy Spirit comes alongside as the members share Scripture, encouragement, and hope; breathing life back into the "survivors." We all speak out and take in the expressions of our hearts. Breathe in... breathe out... together! The message of Easter---the resurrection---is true! Not only is there life after death for our husbands who are in Christ, but there's life after death for the widow who's been left behind.    

If you don't have local widows to fellowship with, click here to find out exactly how to join a Lifeboat group. You need to have a Facebook account, and you need to send me 2 things on Facebook: a friend request and a message. I'll look forward to saying Welcome Aboard. ferree

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Widow's Story: Almost 4 Years Later

My blogging friend, Kathy Bellows, posted this last week and was kind enough to allow me to copy it here for you today. Please visit her blog, Sorrow to Victory, and see what happens in the weeks ahead. I'm sure she had no idea four years ago that she'd be planning for this today! I wonder what she'll be doing four years from now? According to Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord knows! And He knows where you'll be and what new adventure you'll be on too.

Here's what Kathy had to say about her widow's journey so far...
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. “
haiti airport runway
The landing strip at the airport in Haiti.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dealing With Loneliness and Longings

Dear Reader,
Monday's topic is grief. The process, the twists and turns, the questions, the hope . . .
The following words are from a widow about a really dark time that many have gone through. The details are different from widow to widow. . . ages of the kids, the length of the marriage, cause and suddenness of death . . . But the outlook is the same for many widows --- a vast and lonely future. The pain seems unbearable.

This week, with the hope of Easter in less than two weeks, how do you think she can carry on? What has helped you? Please tell what pulled you through, won't you?

     In the last year I turned 37, and my husband of seventeen years was killed by a large object flying off a tandem truck. He had just turned 39. We had four children who are still in school. I homeschooled them and was a stay-at-home mother since our first child was born.
I found people in the very beginning! But now no one visits or calls. I am alone so much that I cannot bear it. I am seeking the Lord through it. But I long for love with skin on.
My prayer is that God brings a husband. In my age group other people do not have time for others. They are more interested in their own lives.
It is very hard.
I remember well the same sort of struggle! The loneliness was like someone had beat up my soul--I felt so bruised and sore. Psalm 34:18 described my condition,
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I was brokenhearted and crushed.
 
The verse also described my hope---The LORD is close--and He saves--- but I didn't "feel" like God was close. In fact, I completely forgot that God promised to never leave us or forsake us. I kept blindly crying out to Him over and over. But I can now see that my need and loneliness were what God used to steer me to meet people who would build me up and fill me up with God's truth.

I replied to this dear widow the following: In my opinion it's fine to ask God for a husband, but realize that a husband may not be the best solution. Watch for other ways God may come to your rescue. Perhaps God will use your loneliness to connect you to a new set of Christian friends through attending a grief support group, finding a Christian counsellor, or reaching out to help other single moms who are trying to honor God by homeschooling.

What I know is that God loves you and has a divine purpose for you. He will enable you to carry on and raise your children well. It's really hard to make all the decisions by yourself so just take one day at a time. Present each moment to God, and--as the experienced widow and Bible teacher, Elisabeth Elliott says, "Just do the next thing."
 
However, there is wisdom in many counsellors and I know that many of you can offer insight and direction for this situation too. Please comment today. Share your experience and how you seek God in similar circumstances. Your words are part of the process of grief that God uses to restore and renew us.
ferree