Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Widow Running On Empty


Welcome to WCP, although that's always awkward to say, because I'm sure we'd rather not meet this way if you're widowed. However, I am glad you're here and hope you'll find some benefit. Wednesday is the day for widows' stories, whether they come from history, the Bible or among ourselves.



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


I encourage you to read the Scripture passage, and I'll give a little bit of background for you. This story is from the Old Testament but I think you'll be surprised at how relevant it can be for widows today.


"Zarephath" was a coastal village between north of Israel, in Phoenicia. This widow wasn't an Israelite; she lived in the heart of idol worship country but by her works we know she trusted the Lord Jehovah.



During a drought the prophet Elijah came through her town and said “Feed me before you use the last of your food for yourself and your son.” 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 this widow would agree with Lamentations 3:22, 23 which says, "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. Not always more than we need, but we can be thankful it's never less than we need.

ferree

Monday, April 20, 2015

Is There Really A Reason?

Why did tragedy strike? What's the reason for suffering? What's God up to in this situation? These classic questions blurt out from each of us going through trials. They've come from me lately with a series of minor aches and pains that are stacking up like dominoes. The latest was when when I woke up one morning with my right wrist aching so much I could hardly move it! Being right-handed I quickly found out how much I depend on that little appendage! Cooking, cleaning, dressing, driving, blogging, etc, etc...oh my!

I went to a Bible study group the next day and met many women that have been through much worse---loved ones dying one right after the other, cancer, wheel chairs, surgeries... I feel foolish considering my problems as suffering. In fact, my problems would make for a hilarious sitcom, except they're mine and they're very frustrating. But they've reminded me of times when real tragedy did strike. When those questions put me on the edge of despair. Times when I sought answers and seldom found them satisfied from the pulpit or from books.

One time in a church group discusson about pain and suffering, someone asked me point blank about why my first husband died.... They wanted to know if his death brought other people to come to the Lord and be saved and born again....? What was the reason and justification, because obviously, in their mind, there had to be a reason?

Here's what I told them: "There's no reason my husband had to die so others would turn to Christ. God could have worked some other way for them to get saved rather than having my kids grow up without their dad."

Yea, I can be brutal. Life is brutal! But what I said was true---God has an infinite number of ways to draw a person to Himself. The God of the Bible is Almighty and Holy, Faithful and Good! He does not kill off one person so another can be saved, that's ridiculous. God will use these awful things for good, but this person's question revealed a warped view of God.

Another time my husband, Tom, and I were in a Bible study where the leader arrogantly had it all figured out. He knew God's plan. There was a reason for everything, he told us. We needed stronger faith. We should pray more, work harder, give more, repent of the personal sin that was obviously causing our suffering. Like if we lived right we wouldn't suffer (nevermind what happened to Job).

Tom and I remained silent. Tom was widowed the same year I was and we met and married two years later. There wasn't time to begin to question or correct this guy. But we talked about it afterwards. Is there really a reason?

Yes, Tom wisely said. The reason we suffer is this: we live in a fallen, imperfect world. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers ... (Romans 8:22a NASB) The whole creation! That includes all of humanity. Me. And you. I know you've groaned and suffered...

The other day a friend called me from her home near the West Coast. We are like dopplegangers ---like we're living the same life, but on opposite coasts. We talked, and laughed and cried together about all our matching aches and pains. We're just a mess! We groan and suffer for no reason at all except one: we need a Savior! We need Him every day, in every way. He alone can save us from our sin, ourselves, our circumstances. We pictured our lives as helpless lumps of clay, dirt, and pain at the foot of The Cross. We live in a fallen world and we need Him!

That reason calmed me; it eased the fretting and the nagging questions. How about you? Do you look for reasons that could justify your suffering? Anything that can serve as payback for what you've been through?  A million dollar settlement? A new husband? Happiness? A new purpose for you? Knowing that he was a hero, perhaps? Knowing he's in a better place?

Those things can provide fleeting comfort, but not a satisfying reason.

Bottom line-- the reason for suffering?---We need Him. The self-help gurus, the fairy-tale endings, the follow-your-heart philosophies? They are side tracks and dead ends on this journey. Join me on the path to The Cross where we can all collapse and admit it---We need Him.

The amazing thing is that God doesn't leave us grovelling in our need. He doesn't merely observe and take notes from a distance. He responds, He loves, He rushes in...
Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 
Come to the Lord today...He loves you so much!


Dear God,
I come to you today because I realize that
I
need
You.
I can't carry this burden any longer. The emotional roller coaster of shock, anger, despair and this fallen world is too much. Forgive me, Lord, I need Your forgiveness because I fall short of handling this. I need You! I surrender my ways to You. I give them up, I repent. You love me! Forever!
You sent Jesus to bear me and my sins on that cross--yes, I believe! I come to You, please come to me. Show me how to rest in You and find peace as I follow and love You. Thank you for saving me, for loving me, Lord.
Amen

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Parenting Our Children: Whose Job Is It Anyway? Part 2

Yesterday my friend Joann told how her view of parenting was challenged to shift when a man looked her in the eye and  quoted Psalm 68:5, that God---not she--is a father to the fatherless. Turns out that wasn't the only time she'd wrestled with that issue. Here's from an encounter she had with her daughter... 

A couple of months ago my 18-yr.-old daughter was away for three weeks and when she came home she sat on my bed and we had one of "those" talks. You know, the long, teary, emotional teen talks. Anyway at one point she said "I guess I don't need a Dad right now."

When I began to protest she said, "Mom, God promises to give me all that I need and I don't have a Dad, so I must not need one." Well, that was pretty hard to argue with.

I was reminded of that once again early this morning. It is all part of filling that father gap in our lives. God is showing my daughter that He is meeting her needs. That does not mean that a physical father wouldn't be good and helpful and well, just plain nice! But it means that God is taking care of us in a way that I would never have dreamed.

I watched the movie “Courageous” a couple of weeks ago. I will admit I struggled because it's the story of a marriage, but at the same time, I had a peace all the way through. The fact is, there is a difference between a father who has died, who had no chance of sticking around, and one who leaves the family by choice.

It's just not the same and a widow's children are indeed fatherless….. a child who's dad is not there, still has a dad, even though he's a lousy one (and I believe God cares for those kids too, just in a different way).

So if God is father to the fatherless AND supplies all our needs then we can truly relax in His arms and let Him take over and KNOW that it will be OK.

Not merely hope, but know!!! God does not go back on His Word.

  • "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
  • "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23:1
  • "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
  • "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Matt 10:29,31
He knows what our kids need, when they need it, and He will fulfill that need. Will it be hard some times to wait?
-- Yes! Is it the right thing to do? -- Yes!
  • "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Lamentation 3:24-25
The question for me is… when will I get out of God's way and stop trying to do His job for Him??? Sooner rather than later I hope! Praise His holy name!!!!!  --Joann B.
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fathering Our Children: Who's Job Is It Anyway? Part 1

My widow friend Joann shared with her Going Ashore group some new things the Lord is helping her understand about parenting. It stirred up a great conversation with the group so I asked her if I could use it here too. Add your feedback in the comment box, or if you have personal notes for Joann, please email me at WCplace@gmail.com and I'll pass them along to her. Please visit tomorrow for Part 2.


As some of you know, I attended our state home school convention recently. It's a wonderful time that I look forward to each year. Although I was working one of the booths part of the time I still was so encouraged and blessed. Even amongst all the "happy whole families"!! (now there's a praise!!)

Anyway, there were a couple of workshops I wanted to attend, one aimed at raising sons, one for daughters. Since the speaker who was doing the workshops has a ministry called Family Man, and I know that his purpose is to get father's involved, I asked him beforehand if the focus of the talks would be aimed at dads or parenting in general. I explained that as a widow, it can be discouraging to sit and hear how the father's role is so vital.

He looked straight at me and said "God promises to be a father to the fatherless and I think you need to claim that and believe that promise."

Wow!!! I had never really looked at it that way. I am not one to "claim" things but the way I took it is to own that promise from Psalm 68:5. God does not say things lightly; therefore I need to take it seriously!

I thanked him and told him that he was right, but it was hard when after 4 years no man in our family or friends has stepped up to spend time with my son. He gently reminded me that God could fill those gaps, all I have to do is ask.

And you know what? That man was right!

say that God is father to my children but then I wear myself out trying to do it all. Oh me of little faith! (Or is it me of big pride?)

How can I possibly expect to measure up and compare what I can do, to what Ephesians 3:20 tells me that God can do?  “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”   

I can think of alot that my kids need, but God can do “exceeding abundantly” more than that! I need to also remember why He not only can do all this but will do all this; it is stated in the very next verse. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:21)

I am beginning to understand that I need to get out of the way so that God can do His thing.   I also need to remember that when God does need me to be a part of His plan, He will enable me---“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

I am still praying through how to walk this but I feel like so many of us can benefit from this shift in thinking! --Joann B.

How would a shift in thinking benefit you? I'd love to hear your thoughts! And I want to say a special "thank you" to Joann for sharing this learning experience with us today. You'll be equally challenged tomorrow when you hear "the rest of the story..."




Thursday, April 9, 2015

I Was Interviewed On British Radio!

Good news and bad news at the moment: the good news is that you all are excited to hear this interview! The bad news is that the file has maxxed out because it can't handle all the traffic. There's nothing we can do to recover it, but I'll try to post it again after a few days and see if it will refresh, OK?
Oddly enough, the same thing seems to have happened to my wrist! I'm experiencing some painful tendonitis. The sooner I let it heal, the sooner I can start using it again. I'll be taking a typing free weekend and next several days but you'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
ferree


Click for Options
Visit www.ucb.co.uk for fantastic
Christian broadcasting in the United Kingdom
If you didn't get up at 4:25a.m. Eastern Time yesterday to hear me on British radio, I don't blame you, LOL! Sleep is a precious commodity. But if you'd like to hear it, the staff at United Christian Broadcasters kindly sent me this audio file of the 10 minute interview. Thanks, Josh, Rebecca, Bill and Paul!

Paul Hammond had some thought-provoking and insightful questions for me. He started out the interview with this question: 

Has society's attitude towards widows actually changed;because so many marriages break up and so on, it's not something we talk about an awful lot---caring for those who've been widowed---or understanding those who've been widowed---is it?

Click this link to hear my response and the rest of the interview:
sorry, this is not currently available.

For those of you who receive this by email and cannot open the link, just go to the blog itself by clicking the title of this post. 

Want to hear me more on the radio? You can help by contacting your local Christian station. Tell them about this interview and that they can contact me right here or by email at WCplace@gmail.com. Let's see what God does with this!!
ferree

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Welcome, UCB Listeners!

Description: Description: Description: United Christian BroagcastersI had a special privilege this morning in the United Kingdom! A pre-recorded interview with Paul Hammond aired on United Christian Broadcasting.

If you are visiting this blog today because of that radio spot, please let me welcome you and introduce you to this special place for widows.

You see, I know what it's like. The day before my 44th birthday my first husband died instantly from a brain anuerism. In a mere moment life changed irreversibly for me and our three teenagers. I thought it was the end of my life, but now I can say that the Lord made it a new beginning. Not a better life, but an equally good one, it's just entirely different than I expected. And that takes some adjustment and strong faith!

So, knowing some of the challenges and loneliness of widowhood, I set up this blog in 2010 and have connected with thousands of widows all over the world. I sort of walk alongside widows for a while. I post many articles, prayers and stories to help along the way. The best thing is that I can assure them the Lord has a future and a purpose for their life. With Him, they can survive and eventually thrive again. It takes time, but God is an expert at giving life! It's my extreme privilege to see that there truly is "life after death" for widows.  

Please browse here as long as you want and visit again and again! There are many features to explore:
  • The Memorial Wall
  • Lifeboat Groups
  • Search boxes
  • Comments
  • A Blog Roll of widowed bloggers and websites for widows ministries
  • Sign up to receive this blog by email
  • Archives and Labels which will take you to many resources
Also take a look at the reviews below for my book, Postcards From The Widows' PathUCB listeners in the UK may order it this week at a reduced rate through this special offer. You'll get it at the group rate, with priority shipping which should deliver it to your mailbox in 6 to 10 days. Two books will ship for the same price as one! Just click the Buy Now button below for this special offer. Email me at WCplace@gmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog today. May the Lord be with you,
ferree

UCB listeners, here's the Buy Now button to order your 1 or 2 copies today. If you're ordering from the USA, please use the Bookstore link at the top of this page.


 
 
Reviews for Postcards From The Widows' Path

touched my aching heart
"... this book touched my heart at a time when it was hurting so much. I have read and re-read this book and still get so much insight each time I read it. it gives me hope that even in the deepest hours that not only God loves and cares for me but also other widows walk beside me in this journey. thank you Ferree for writing this book. love it. Terrie k.


Ferree speaks from a widow's heart to a widow's heart.
I loved this book! Ferree speaks from a widow's heart to a widow's heart. Not only did "Postcards From A Widow's Path" encourage me on this horrible journey, it reminded me that I wasn't alone. The author gently leads us down the road, shows us where the bumps and holes are, and shows us the finish line is just ahead....and that we can make it with Lord's help! If you or someone you know is a widow, this is perfect for the grieving heart!!! Amanda M.


A "MUST READ" for Widows...
Whether you are a recent widow or have been a widow for several years Ferree's book is one that is a must read for you. She "gets" all the grief and emotions that a widow feels because she is/was a widow. When Ferree could not find the answers to all those questions that she was asking, she turned to widows much further down the road......Naomi and Ruth found in the Bible's book of Ruth. What she learned from them after an exhaustive study is shared in her book. If you aren't a widow, but know a widow, buy this book for her. It's one of the two best books for widows written by a widow that I have read. Candy F.
A light in the widow-y darkness
There is not much I can say the previous reviewers have not, but I wanted to add a comment about the thought-provoking questions after each section. Ferree helps widows "peel the onion" (so to speak) of their own grief and infuse it with the lessons from Ruth. The book is encouraging, and since Ferree herself is a widow (albeit a remarried one), she has traveled the whole widow path, and she GETS IT. If you only buy one, then don't let it sit on your shelf after you've read it - keep it handy to share with another widow in your life. Better yet, get two, so you can write your own thoughts in one and give one away. Kelly C.

This book meant a lot to me...
This book meant a lot to me at a time when I needed it most. At a time of deep loss and searching for some way to survive I read this book. I found someone who understood this journey and found her way though it. This was an invaluable resource to survive this journey. Dorothy P.

Outstanding book on the Book of Ruth with much relevance for today.
Did you know that there are three widows mentioned in the book of Ruth?
This is a detailed study of most the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament but it is so much more than that. This book is an encouraging, insightful, personal look at the journey a widow takes following the death of her husband. The writer writes from first hand experience and truly understands the journey. This is a must read to gain a deeper understanding of the story of Ruth and also to be aware do the widows journey today. Ann B.

This book was so wonderful and really helped me
This book was so wonderful and really helped me. It seemed like the words were actually reaching into the deep hurt that I felt after losing my husband. I wish every widow could read this. Mrs. Virginia T.