Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blessed Through Rest

Taking a sabatical reminds people to cut some time into their schedule to "Come apart before you come apart." Widows need sabaticals too. It's a time to read a verse, say a prayer or just sit down for a moment to practice the fine art of doing nothing.

I don't know if you've ever read the book of Numbers in the Bible, but honestly? It's a little dry. Unless you get excited about finding out how many men age 30-50 were in each tribe of ancient Israel it's probably like reading the US Census report.

Every once in a while, though, God bursts out of those numbers with a blast of blessing and rest for our souls. Just like He does in daily life; in the midst of the grind we find everyday grace.

Won't you take a moment of sabatical this weekend and be still? Big breath in, big breath out. Let the words of this blessing cover you and your day:
 
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
In closing this week I'd like to say a big "Thank you" to Linda Lint for filling in for me. There's so much to glean from her posts covering the 1st - 3rd year anniversary dates of her love's passing. I highly recommend visiting yesterday's post on Sparrow Scrolls to find out about the 4th year of "Happy Heaven-Day." 

Looking ahead to next week I know you'll appreciate the reflections of my blogging friend Kathy. Have a very good weekend and a precious Memorial Day here in the US on Monday. ferree

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The 3rd Year

Three . . .
Well, my love, here we are at year marker three. From my perspective it hardly seems possible that over a thousand days have passed since you left for heaven. Yet, it has indeed been that long.
 
For you I imagine the time has sped by quickly, for we know that time in heaven is not measured as it is here on earth.
 
I still ponder how it is that my days have sometimes seemed so painfully long, and yet, after a thousand of them have passed I am amazed at how quickly they have gone by.
 
Counting these "anniversary" days is not at all like counting the other special days we had together. And there is the key word - "together". We did those special days together - and we did them well didn't we?
 
It came to my mind today that we no longer have those days to celebrate together - because you are there and I am here.
 
But, I am not yet ready to let go of having at least one special day to celebrate with you - even though we are apart so...........
 
 
 
Yes, love, Happy Heaven Day! Did you hear me sing the song as I lit the candle and blew it out? I am thinking you did.
 
The first year I hibernated. The second year I cried a lot. This, the third year, I determined would be different. I no longer want May 22 to be a day of mourning. Therefore, in the years to come May 22 will find me lighting a candle on a cupcake or a muffin and singing Happy Heaven Day to you.
 
To be sure I still grieve; I still miss you like crazy; I still shed some tears. I struggle with loneliness and finding direction but it's getting better.
 
I've started this blog. I have become a contributing writer for A Widow's Might. I've lost enough weight to cause a medication adjustment. And - get this one - I bought a string trimmer, assembled it myself, and cut the weeds down! Bet you never thought you would see that did you!
 
Life alone is certainly not easy. However, you taught me so much in the years we were together and that has served me well. There are so many times I have needed to get something done by myself and I "remember" something you taught me.
 
So, today my love, I celebrate your 78 years of life here on earth; but more importantly your 3 years of eternal life. I am overcome with joy to know that you are there - healed and whole. You have no more pain, no more sorrow, no more wheelchair or useless limbs. You have heard Jesus say "Well done, good and faithful servant".
 
And that my dear is definitely reason to celebrate. And with that I am at peace.

© 2014 by Linda Lint. Used by permission. Visit Linda's blog, Sparrow Scrolls and view the original post and comments here.http://lmlint.blogspot.com/2014/05/three.html
 
 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The 2nd Year

Burgers and Fries


     Today is the second anniversary of my beloved's home going. Early in the morning, just before dawn, he did exactly what the song said - he flew away into glory.

    Allow me please to share this memory with you as my tribute to my beloved.

    We frequented a local place in town when neither of us felt like cooking, getting a burger for each of us and splitting a large order of fries. One evening, many years ago, we headed out to this place and upon arriving saw what we would gently describe as " a homeless man" standing by the door. This was quite unusual for our town. We had lived here for many years and had never encountered one before. His eyes were empty, his shoes didn't match and his gloves had holes in them - and it was cold.

     Upon getting our food, it was difficult to eat, knowing he was outside in the cold. We asked the counter people about him and were told that several people had provided food and coffee for him in the few hours he had been there. They weren't happy, however, with him coming inside to eat so the food was taken outside to him. That knowledge eased our minds a bit - but still......

     The next day I went to work and when I got home my beloved said that he had returned to the restaurant that morning and insisted that the man come inside with him to join him for a meal. The man resisted the invitation, saying "They don't want me in there" - but my beloved opened the door and said "It's ok, you're with me". There were some strange looks, and  I am sure some whispered comments, but my beloved ignored them all as he ate with this man.

    We decided that we wanted to do more and gathered some gloves, a warm hat, socks and a warm sweater and headed out to give the items to him and perhaps purchase another meal for him.  We were greatly disappointed to find that he was no longer there. We were told that he had just moved on as is the way with the homeless.

     Over the next several days through conversations with various business people and the local police it appeared that he had really "disappeared". He was there - and them simply gone - he had not been seen on any of the local roads heading into or out of town.

     We put the experience behind us although we thought of him often over the next couple of weeks. It was getting colder and we could not forget the image of those mismatched shoes and the gloves with the holes in them. In fact, my beloved even mentioned that he had driven around town looking for him; and, how disappointed he was that he had not been able to give him the warmer clothing that we had gathered.

     Then one morning, as I joined my husband for coffee at the kitchen table, I noticed he was quite distracted and a little shaken. I asked him what was wrong. He told me with tears in his eyes that he had had a dream. He dreamt that he was in what appeared to be heaven - he had not died - he was just in heaven. There in front of him was the throne and he could tell that God was on the throne with Jesus at His right hand. He could vaguely see another figure at God's left hand and as he walked closer he suddenly recognized him - it was the homeless man.......... Then he woke up. That dream took my breath away!

     That was my beloved - I was concerned about the man's condition - I was willing to buy him food - I was willing to give him money - I was willing to give him clothes.  My beloved took it so much further - he sat with him - he invited him into the warmth without any thought of what others would think. What an honor it was to be married to him!

     As I reflect on these last two years I recall that statement my beloved made to this man "It's ok. You're with me". This is what Jesus has said to me every day -" It's ok , you're with Me - I am walking with you - I am right here beside you - I will go with you into those places where you do not feel welcome - those places of loneliness - those places of sorrow - those places where you cry - those places that are strange and uncomfortable. It's ok, you're with Me in this place of widowhood."

     Tomorrow will be the first day of year three - and Jesus says "It's ok, You're with me.

     He is with you also dear one - be at peace this night - for He loves you so....


© 2013 by Linda Lint. Used by permission. Visit Linda's blog, Sparrow Scrolls and view the original post and comments here. http://lmlint.blogspot.com/2013/05/burgers-and-fries.html

Monday, May 18, 2015

The 1st Year

The First Year - Now What?
     When I awoke this morning the sun was shining, birds were singing in the tree outside my window, there was a gentle breeze from the west moving the curtains ever so slightly and I had been a widow officially for one year. 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,948 minutes; 31,556,926 seconds.

     It only took two of those seconds for the nurse to say the words "he's passed" - two words, two seconds and the landscape of my life was instantly and forever changed.  The man whose life had been intricately and lovingly intertwined with mine for the past 25 years had moved on to heaven and I was left alone.

     I lost half of myself in those two seconds - not really lost - more like torn away. Finding words to explain the experience to those who have not lost a spouse is difficult to understand.  I offer this example in the hope that you will come to an understanding of what it is like. Picture if you will a container holding two bonsai trees growing as one. Initially you think this is one tree but on careful examination you can see that there are separate root systems and separate trunks yet the trees have grown together so completely that each branch is intertwined upon another one and each supports the other completely.

     It's a beautiful picture isn't it? Now can you picture what would happen if one of those trees were simply removed? The tree left behind no longer has it's support system - it is left alone in that container to figure out how to manage on it's own, and left saying Now What?- crying in pain, suffering long days and nights of loneliness and isolation and no idea of how to be a single tree. I have heard some bonsai growers say that they are reluctant to grow two trees together like this for fear that if one dies the other will perish as well because of the dependency on each other.

     After that phone call at 3:36 am on Sunday, May 22, 2011 and that two second pronouncement I found myself like that bonsai tree - left alone to figure out Now What? I had had some months to prepare for his passing - it did not some suddenly, however, there was no way to prepare for the life alone that was facing me. I simply did what I had to do, one day at a time for an approximate total of 31,556,926 seconds - and some days all I could do was live one second at a time. I have heard many terms this last year such as "new normal", "grief journey", "new reality", "grief process" and I have experienced "the fog", "the disbelief", "the betrayal", "the anger", "the frustration", "the lethargy", "the loneliness" and so many, many more.

     Now, one year later I am beginning to have a bit of a new experience "hope". For you see on this day as I have remembered the past year I have seen that I have survived the worst year of my life. God came alongside and nursed me and held me and is beginning to revive me. He has shown me love through a special neighbor family up the street, through the kindness of strangers and through the love and support of some very special widows on Facebook. Yes Facebook - God is there too!

     I know that it will get better and I also know that I will still have times of mourning and tears - but I also know from looking back at what God has done for me this past year that He will continue on to complete what He started. He will heal me and revive me and bring me into the plan and purpose He has for my life.

     So, in answer to the question Now What? I say this:
I will continue to choose life, the life God has planned for me. I will set my face like flint and I will turn into the storm and move through it not trying to avoid it or bypass it and God Himself will get me through it because He has done so for the last year and will continue to do so.
     And so I ask you "Now What?" Will you choose life, will you determine to press in and trust Him? Please do. The road is a long one when we do it alone but He is there collecting our tears, holding us close and loving us all the while.  Dear ones, be at peace and know He loves you so.

© 2012 by Linda Lint. Used by permission. Visit Linda's blog, Sparrow Scrolls and view the original post and comments here. http://lmlint.blogspot.com/2012/05/now-what.html

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rest Is Best

On Saturdays I like to remind us all to set aside time for R-E-S-T. God himself rested on the 7th day, he set the example for us to follow.
Well, I have to follow my own advice, swallow my words, and set aside some time for rest too. Some rest that will hopefully bring about

transformation for me . . .

My body's been telling me for quite a while to step back from the computer and keyboard. Lately it's become quite insistent! And the Lord has brought some people alongside to help me take the baby-steps of change. So on Monday I will go get an MRI to see what's going wrong inside my back, and also on Monday will start a series of dear blogging widows who will carry on Widows Christian Place for the next month or two.

I'll still be here, but more behind the scenes. You can contact me at WCplace@gmail.com or Widows Christian Place, PO Box 4596, Florence, SC 29502, or message me on Facebook and I'll reply when I can. And don't forget to mail in your "Letter to Your Future" and reserve your space at "A Weekend with the Author" in December. (Click on "A Weekend with the Author" at the top of this page for info on both the letter and the get-together).

transformation for this blog . . .

Will this blog change at all? Yes! I think you'll love it even more because you'll meet other widows who are walking the same path. And according to the responses on the recent reader survey, we'll post 3 times/ week - on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and sometimes we'll add an extra special Saturday too. If you haven't done so already, please sign up to receive this blog by email so you don't miss a thing.

How about you? What changes are you facing? How can we pray for you? It's been said that "There's a God-shaped vacuum" in the heart of every person, but a widow friend recently told me there's "a people-shaped hole" too. For many widows this blog is a safe place where that hole starts to fill in as they join a Lifeboat, make a comment, read my book or use it to start a widows group. Check back on Monday to meet Linda as she shares reflections on her May 22nd anniversary of widowhood. Your presence will minister to her, and I know she'll minister to you! Together with faith in the Lord we'll transform our hearts and holes, and maybe even my back! ;)  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Transformation: The Prayer That Changes Everything

transformation . . .


947503: The Prayer That Changes Everything The Prayer That Changes Everything

By Stormie Omartian / Harvest House Publishers


What is the prayer that changes everything? Praise is the prayer that changes everything. In Stormie's book, The Prayer That Changes Everything, she defines prayer as communicating with God and "praise and worship" as one expression of our love. Part I of the book addresses 15 reasons to praise God now and Part II of the book speaks of 15 times when praise is crucial. At the conclusion of each chapter is a prayer and a series of study questions that provide an opportunity for readers to dig a little deeper into Scripure and apply the readings to their personal lives.

Dear Friends,

What do you think of the title of this book---THE PRAYER THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING - The Hidden Power of Praising God? Do you need some changes in your life too?

I hope you'll join me in reading this book this year. This year? Yes! Take a whole year to read it. It's saturated with Scriptures and prayers---too many for a quick read. Plus, Part II has prayers for certain situations so it's not a book to read from cover to cover; read it on an "as needed" basis.

I want to show you the chapter titles from Part II. They about jumped off the page at me because they address so many of the problems I find widows dealing with. Take a look at these chapters listed in Part II - Fifteen Times When Praise Is Crucial!
  • When I Am Troubled by Negative Thoughts and Emotions
  • When I Have Anxiety, Fear and Discouragement
  • When I Have Problems in a Relationship
  • When I Need to Forgive
  • When I See Things Going Wrong and I Feel Powerless
  • When I Long to Know God's Will
  • When I Seek Breakthrough, Deliverance, or Transformation
  • When I Need God's Provision and Protection
  • When I Fight Temptation to Walk in the Flesh
  • When I Am Attacked by the Enemy
  • When I Suffer Great Loss, Disappointment, or Failure
  • When I Sense that All Is Well
I don't do this often, but I want to urge you to order this book today as the final part of our Transformation series. If you really want to grow in the Lord through this season of life I know that if you do any of the projects I've suggested you'll see real change.

ferree
 
As always, if this post arrives in your email inbox and the links aren't showing up simply click on the title line at the top of this page to get to the WCP blog itself so you can view it. Thanks