Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ruth's Photo Blog: The Storms Around Us

One widow ministers to another... Visit this link and you will see how...

Ruth's Photo Blog: The Storms Around Us

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Is There Really A Reason for Widowhood?

(Reposted from 2015, but well-worth a second reading. Also the video is fantastic! If you subscribe to this blog and can't access it in the email, try looking it up on your computer instead of by cell phone. Read the comments too, and chime in. I love to hear from you!)
ferree

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.

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?, they asked, 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, 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.

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Prayer for Anxiety Vs. Relief

Wow, my email had so many responses to Anxiety Vs. Relief! Before I posted it and offered to pray specifically for the requests, I intended to also personally write back to each person too; I truly want to reach out. But I apologize that this time there are too many for me to write back to. I have prayed though, and I will continue praying for those I hear from by name.

Let's pray together right now, OK? Just take a few moments and join me. Anxiety and Relief are two words that resonated with widows' experiences on Monday, and we all need to join together and support each other in prayer. Let's pray ...

Dear Heavenly Father,

I'm just going to use one word, one heart cry--- Help! Lord, save! like Peter cried as he started to go under the waves, so too I cry out for my widow friends. I remember that deep, yearning loneliness, the echoes of an empty house, wondering why You took my husband instead of me, and how could I go on?

Yet there are piles of other things my friends face too: starting over with nothing but debt, fear of the future, and dread of the present day. Some have been cheated or robbed! And most feel abandoned and have a hard time really trusting You, if I were to be blunt. 

And I can say honest things; I can be blunt, for You know my heart and every word I will speak. Better yet, You know each situation and You've seen their hurt and pain. It comes as no surprise to You. 

There's a soft layer of comfort in that---in knowing You are not surprised. You are our rock, fortress, strong tower, and hiding place. So we run to you for refuge, mercy, protection. Save! Yes, save us! Protect my friends from the fiery darts of loneliness, emptiness, purposelessness, and pity. Renew and restore their spirits. Revive them with your love and faithfulness.

I ask these things because Jesus gave His life for us, so truly there is no good thing You will hold back from us in Your perfect time. Amen, from Your daughter, Ferree

P.S. Lord, could you send some good friends alongside each of them too? 

Dear ones, if you want to add a line of prayer to this, please click the comment line and type something in. Click "Anonymous" for the easiest identity choice if you'd like. I know your prayers will mean a lot to everyone, and the Lord will bless because of them.
ferree

Monday, August 7, 2017

Anxiety Vs. Relief

Proverbs 12:25 says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

This verse reminds me of two very different loads I can choose to carry every day---anxiety or relief.  I'll bet you face that choice too. When I wake up in the morning I must decide: anxious words or kind words. Which will I listen to today? Which will I allow to stew in my heart?

You’d think the choice would be easy! Take the kind words and be cheered up! But that's not a popular option, many people would say it's not realistic either.

The anxious words were so familiar when I was widowed. I was used to them. Some people would say I had a right to them. Here they are:
  • It’s not fair . . .
  • If only . . .
  • What if . . .
One day even my wedding ring was sending me anxious and discouraging words. I know that sounds a little crazy! But I didn't hear voices or hallucinate. I loved my ring and never intended to take it off. But that day, it seemed like every time I looked at that ring, instead of stirring memories of the good marriage I had enjoyed, it would say, “You’re not married any more.” Of course that was true, but looking at my ring had become negative and painful, and no longer a sweet reminder.

I had recently been given my grandmother’s diamond ring. So when the wedding ring started sassing me, I took it off and put Grandma's on in it’s place. The new ring sparkled and seemed to say “good things can still happen.”

In the same way, even years later today, I can take off the anxious words and choose kind words. Well, kind of in the same way, but this is a bit harder than simply replacing a ring (and some days I know even that's too hard). Stay with me though...

Instead of “It's not fair...” we can pick up on Eph. 1:3 which isn't very fair either, but is a much better deal. It says that God has “. . . blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ...” I sure don't deserve blessings like that, yet God is gracious and generous.

Instead of “If only...” we can replace it with “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made... all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” Psalm 139:14-16.

Instead of “What if...” we can fill in the blank withwhat ever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

In fact, read all of Phillipians 4:4-9 today. It’s a pile of kind words. If you pick up this load of Scripture today, instead of you carrying it around, it’ll carry you! It's not always easy to replace our thoughts with Scripture. Sometimes it's spiritual warfare and a struggle, but God really can give us victory in this, I'm living proof (most of the time--I'll be the first to tell you I know the struggle, and I'm not perfect. Ever.).But if I can pray for you about this please let me know by emailing me at WCplace@gmail.com. We're not meant to struggle alone but rather to bear one another's burdens and I'm more than willing to listen and pray for you.

One of the most amazing things about being a Christian widow is that we can experience new life and true freedom in Christ. He lives within us. We experience grief, and grieve deeply (!),  but we do not have to be enslaved to grief and ruled by emotions alone. God has a much better way. We are not alone or abandoned, He is with us and He loves you deeply. Your life is not a waste and good things can still happen. There's new life in heaven for your husband, but there's also new life here for you. It starts with making a choice between anxious thoughts or kind words today. Don't worry about what you'll do about that choice tomorrow, today is the day for a victory.

ferree

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bible Reading Contest Ends Today---Email me ASAP!

Hello everyone,
I've been gone on vacation to see my in-laws and two of our kids, but I'm back now and anxious to hear who will win one of my books for completing the July Bible reading challenge!
Here's what the challenge was: July only---the first 10 people to email me when they have completed this reading schedule will receive a free book. Sorry, I can only ship to USA addresses. 
So email me at WCplace@gmail.com and let me know if you accomplished this! Be sure to include your mailing address and I'll let you know when your prize, Postcards from the Widows' Path, will ship.
Reap the benefits of daily Bible reading in August. Copy and print this page to keep in your Bible. Share with your widows group or other widows too.
 ferree

August 2017


Sunday
Monday
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Friday
Sat
1
2
3

4
5


Psalm
119:
97-112
Mark 1
Mark 2
Mark 3
Mark 4
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Mark 5
Mark 6
Mark 7
Mark 8
Mark 9
Mark 10
Mark 11
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
Mark 12
Mark 13
Mark 14
Mark 15
Mark 16
I Tim.
1
I Tim.
2
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I Tim.
3
I Tim.
4
I Tim.
5
I Tim.
6
II Tim.
1
II Tim.
2
II Tim.
3
27
28
29
30
31
II Tim.
4
Titus 1
Titus 2
Titus 3
Psalm
108 and
113



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Best Advice for Widows

Here's some of the best advice for widows:

For physical health 1. Exercise every day. 2. Eat right.
For spiritual health 1. (Exercise) Pray every day. 2. (Eat) Read the Bible every day.

When you stick to these basics the grief will have less of a chance to become complicated and add to your struggles. I know it sounds too easy, but it's the truth!

Do you notice how they correlate, the physical and the spiritual sides? Prayer is spiritual exercise, and the Bible is our spiritual food! You can care for your body and keep it healthy, and you can care for your soul's health too. No one else can ever do this for you--not even a husband. 

If you've never been in the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer it's not too late to start. Today is the perfect day to do it! There are many plans you can easily find on the Internet, but why not follow my Bible reading plan for widows? It's only 1 - 2 chapters a day (because I know how hard it is to concentrate). You can start anytime during the year because each month can stand alone. Click here and copy it to a blank page so you can print it off. 

Today our Bible reading includes a prayer too--God isn't a slave driver--your reading and prayer is all in one here. I've put the prayer in italics for you in these verses at the end of today's reading of Psalm 33 (NIV). Aren't these verses perfect for a widow to adopt as her attitude? 


We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield. 
21 
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.


O N ' t   !! 
Don't forget the prizes I'm offering this month, it's not too late to catch up! 
July only---the first 10 people to email me when they have completed this reading schedule will receive a free book! At the end of the month, July 31, I'll tell you how. Now, on your mark, get set, GO!
ferree