Monday, October 14, 2019

The Exponential Power of Widows to Widows

Two women in Warsaw Indiana became widows within 4 months of each other in 2015. Both husbands died unexpectedly--one from a heart attack, one from a plane crash, both 50 years young. Both of their wives were unknown to each other.

Then a mutual friend who was a widow hosted a support group and the two new widows, Michelle and Stephanie met.

During their second year of widowhood they came across my book, branched off from their friend's group and went through it.

Then Michelle opened up her home and they took a group of 14 widows through it.

Then their pastor heard about what they were doing and asked if they'd come do it in the church!
So they did! And now they are going through my book a THIRD TIME!

Well I just had to find out how they do this. Maybe I could do it too.

Here's how they work it:

Meet once a month for five months. Monday evenings, 6:30 - 8:00 in the church cafe′ area. They push tables together so everyone is together in one group. They've had around 10 - 14 women attend. Michelle and Stephanie are at the 4-year mark in their widow journey so they especially have a heart for newer widows although all are welcome.

Stephanie works in the church office so she calls and invites each woman who's been recently widowed in their church, and then the rest of them come by word of mouth. Some repeat the group, but "Most of them are not from our church," said Michelle. It's becoming a great community outreach!

They start casually at 6:30 asking everyone, "How was your week? Is there anything we can pray about?" And then they get into the "Postcards..." Everyone has come prepared, having read one section/five chapters of the book. They discuss the parts that stood out to them personally while reading. They ask questions like---
  • What caught your attention in the chapters this month? 
  • What did you underline or highlight? 
  • What was the best thing you learned? 
  • Which questions or scenes in the book touched your heart? etc. 
Everyone gets a chance to talk. Michelle is conscientious for everyone's time and dismisses promptly right at 8:00.

Newcomers are always welcome. When a new widow comes, they usually take a break from the book and spend the time introducing everyone to her and giving group members a chance to tell their stories so the new widow will realize she is not alone. Widows minister to widows. Isn't that good?

Thanks Michelle and Stephanie for your compassion for other widows! And thanks Pastor Denny Wilson and Warsaw Community Church for caring for widows! God bless you all!
Order your copy of "Postcards..." here at my Bookstore.
P.S. It seems to be turning into a year-round ministry. After going through "Postcards from the Widows' Path" they use a book from GriefShare.org called "Grieving With Hope." What a great balance!

Are you part of a widows' group Bible study? I'd love to hear what you do too. Please email me at WCplace@gmail.com. 
๐Ÿ’“ferree

Monday, August 19, 2019

You Are Loved

I need this reminder today, how about you?  Keep looking up! ๐Ÿ’—

photo courtesy of Brooke Christian 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Unexpected Blessing from an Unwanted Encounter

From Nancy in Washington state:

Widow Blessings~


During Grief Share 2 years ago one of the assistant facilitators came up to me and said, "Nancy I want to be your friend." She hands me her number, and shockingly at the same time in private she "confessed" that when she first met me she DIDN'T LIKE ME! 

I thought, that's COOL-- I didn't like me either when I entered the class! lol.

She was a widow and has since remarried and we don't visit much as she is a newlywed. I reached out a couple weeks ago and thought I would ask her to lunch. We set a date for yesterday. 

My confession, as the date came closer was  I SO DIDN'T WANT TO GO. No real reason but I prayed "Lord, forgive my selfish heart," and in obedience I went. 

We greeted each other and ordered and chatted and even giggled a while. Then she gently touches my arm and confesses, "NANCY I told my husband I didn't want to come to lunch with you." 


She just felt like staying home gardening. I put my hand over my mouth--literally--when she finished.

I said NEITHER DID I !!!!!!!! 

WE LAUGHED SOOOOOOO HARD! And we both agreed AREN'T WE GLAD WE DID SOMETHING WE DIDN'T WANT TO DO! 

Confessions between Friends ๐Ÿ’ž continues to Bless. The Lord Blessed our visit in soooooo many beautiful ways. Even though she has remarried we will always be friends!

SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA DO WHAT YOU MAY NOT WANT TO DO!!!!!!!๐Ÿ’ž




Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Perfectly-Timed Reminder of God's Presence

A reminder of God's faithfulness ... My friend Becky posted this on Facebook yesterday, July 3rd. 
Six years ago today...SIX YEARS and my God has not once left me wanting or alone. 
How am I reminded of this? On the ground, once again this morning, I saw a feather (His constant, personal, perfectly-timed visual reminder just for ME). 
Shortly after Walt passed, I was overcome with such sadness, overwhelmed at the thought of moving forward alone, without my helpmate and best friend. The emotional burden paled by the even more demanding physical burdens of the farm, the livestock chores, our kids’ schedules, my teaching job, the new house we were in the midst of building, and the maintenance and upkeep of it all. 
Through my tears as I carried heavy buckets of feed and water to the livestock that morning, I saw it for the first time. A feather in my path. A needed and clear reminder that in my fear, I am loved and cared for by a God who didn’t want me to worry how I would possibly manage it all, but to never forget that if He chooses to feed and care for the birds of the air, wouldn’t He also take care of me? 
Since that day nearly six years ago, I’ve collected numerous reminders; each feather highly significant and specific to the day’s burden. What a relief to find true refuge under His protective wings as I am reminded consistently of the magnitude and depth of His love!
Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

copyright 2019 by Becky Copas-Chitty

PS. This would be a very good devotional reading for your widows group. Pick up a bag of feathers from a craft store for each lady to take home. She could place it in a vase, use it as bookmark, or add it to her own collection of the perfectly-timed and tailored-just-right for us reminders we receive from the Lord. ๐Ÿ’“ ferree

Monday, June 17, 2019

Where's Life Going for You?

Is a new day dawning,,, or is darkness descending....

A friend recently sent me this. It was so timely for me personally, and her italics helped me read it with meaning. I thought someone out there might be touched by it too...
C.H. Spurgeon was a well-known preacher of the 1800's.

FROM SPURGEON'S "MORNING" June 1
"The evening and the morning were the first day."—Genesis 1:5.

Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then little wonder is it if I have also changes in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the blaze of noon even in my soul concerns, I must expect at seasons to mourn the absence of my former joys, and seek my Beloved in the night. Nor am I alone in this, for all the Lord's beloved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and of mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and of delight. It is one of the arrangements of Divine providence that day and night shall not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation till we reach the land of which it is written, "there is no night there." What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.

What, then, my soul, is it best for thee to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order, and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good. Study next, to make the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset, sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, pour forth thy notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously amid the darkness of grief. Continue thy service under all changes. If in the day thy watchword be labour, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour has its duty, do thou continue in thy calling as the Lord's servant until He shall suddenly appear in His glory. My soul, thine evening of old age and death is drawing near, dread it not, for it is part of the day; and the Lord has said, "I will cover him all the day long."

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Prayer for Boys Without Fathers on Father's Day

Dear Lord,

I'm not saying that daughters are easier to raise, but there's a certain heartache when I think about boys without fathers. There are way too many of them, for a variety of reasons, but today I bring the widows' sons to you, my own included, even though he's an adult now and I'm remarried.

Help me cling to you, Lord. To put my hope in you for your mercy and grace on our sons. Whether they turn to you and draw close to you as their father God, or whether they turn to the world as prodigals, help us turn our burdens for them over to you, in full faith of your love and faithfulness.


Fritz Zuber Buhler (1822-1896)
Let us know you as the one who promised, "my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30)
Let us realize that you are aware of their situation and unwilling that any should perish. Quicken the inner man of our sons to make them alive in Christ. Draw them to yourself, strengthen them to desire you and to choose to obey you.
Help us as mothers to walk in obedience to you, to model a growing love for you and a desire to serve you with delight rather than a list of demands. Help us know the difference between your commands which bring life, and Pharisee-like demands which drain life.

Lord, too often the men who would be so helpful to our boys are either too blind or too busy to see how our sons need them. It hurts to see our sons so neglected by the church and our families. We ask, we suggest, and then give up; they don't understand what a painful effort it is to ask. Nor how discouraging it is when promises and good intentions aren't kept. We do notice, we are hurt, and our sons are very wounded by the disappointment and added grief of neglect and disinterest. Strengthen us and move on our behalf. If they still don't budge, help us forgive them, and cause your Holy Spirit to fill in this gap for our sons.

Lord, you are my defender! You are a father to the fatherless! You daily bear my burdens! Give me faith to believe those promises!

I cover this in Jesus name,
Amen


A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens
Psalm 68:5, 19 (NIV)