Monday, April 23, 2018

Will Life Ever Be Right Again?

QUESTION: Does it ever feel right to be a widow? I now feel as though I am only a partial person, yet somehow I manage to live a fairly normal life. How can that be?

ANSWER: These questions capture the incredulous feelings of a survivor: is it right that life goes on, that I manage in spite of this huge loss, that life looks fairly normal even though it's so very different?

There is hope, though, when we look at the situation in light of what the Bible says. From a human standard we simply can't say it's "right" to be a widow. But if we have given our life to Christ, we can understand that God is in control, He loves us supernaturally and we are safe in His hands. Nothing about our relationship to Christ has changed. He chose us and saved us as an individual-- not because we were married-- and He will continue to relate to us on an individual basis.

I read in 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 and other passages that God makes us stand firm in Christ, He has anointed us, He has set His seal upon us, He has put the Holy Spirit within us, and has guaranteed our redemption and eternal life to come. With credentials like that, I believe that when we find ourselves in any condition of life we can trust God that it is right--and although it's hard, we will get closer and closer to being at peace with our life. See Romans 8:35 and 37-39, too. Nothing can separate us from God and His love, and although we might not be able to humanly say it's "right" to be a widow, we can--in time--understand that with Christ, there's nothing wrong with being a widow.

This does take time, though. I can't tell you how often widows wonder at how "cut in half" they feel. I believe feeling "like a partial person" is perfectly normal, and even to be expected. Remember how in the Garden of Eden God declared that man would be united with his wife and the two would "become one flesh?"

This is just my opinion, but maybe God meant that in more than just a sexual way. I think of how two branches of a vine can curl and twist around one another. If one of them were cut off, the other would surely suffer lack of support and a change in the flow of nutrients--it must physically grow over and heal before it can gain strength on its own. Once it does, we hardly notice where the pruning has occurred and the other half removed.

Having a fairly normal life while feeling like half a person is like having the branches of a vine pruned back. The vine will recover and grow even more fruitful, life will go on as normal, but it's very different. And healing is essential.
I used to hate that word "healing." Grief is not a disease! It's not a sickness! But now I realize healing is essential because widowhood is a severing of those lives that have grown together and twined around each other like a vine. The surviving branch will grow back stronger and more fruitful than ever, but first it must heal. A key to remember during this process are the words of Christ, "I am the vine; you are the branches . . ."
If we cling to Christ, if we choose to draw life and recovery from Him, there will certainly come a day when we will be whole again.
I hope this has been an encouraging answer that gives you hope. God has good plans for you, dear widow. He loves you, He sees you and He stands by to help you. ferree

Monday, April 16, 2018

Welcome Back to Both You and Me

I'm finally back, and I thought you might understand (and empathize) if I showed you pictures of why I've not blogged since Easter.... drum roll.... ta-da! This is grandbaby Maggie, turning 2 years old!
I've missed blogging, but as you can see--just look at that little face-- I couldn't have possibly missed the birthday party. And since she's 2900 miles away these things take time.


Thank you for understanding. I look forward to sharing soon some really good resources I've recently found.

One plus about my offline travels is that I haven't taken down my annual sale yet! It was supposed to end a while back so if you haven't yet ordered a book at the discount price now's the time to get it for 20% off -- only 11.99 plus shipping. Click on the ANNUAL BOOK SALE tab above. (If this post comes to your email please click the title to get to the website, thanks).

Have a good week,
ferree

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

This Easter Season...


In John 16:22
Jesus said,

“Therefore
you too have grief now;
but I will see you again,
and your heart will rejoice,
and no one will take your
joy
away from you.”

Happy Easter

May your heart be filled
with the joy
that comes from the
promises of Jesus.
                                                                                                           ♥ ferree                   

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Blahs, Blues, Bummers

Yes, I get them too. Especially after some really good but really busy spiritual times like the past two weeks have been for me.

Here are some struggles I wrote in my little notebook last Friday:
ENVY - wishing my life was "normal" like other people's....people who I think happily live in their own little world and have fun with family and grandkids popping in all week. When I get like this I can't even walk through the baby aisles at Walmart. sigh.
DREAD - Living here in SC is like a big speed bump in my life. It's so far from our family that moving again seems inevitable. But it's a no-win situation: hard to stay, hard to move. I fear both with the loneliness and hard work of trying to fit in somewhere else.
JOY - It's like I don't have room for it. Heavy other things snuff it out.

I knew I had to pray about this junk. I didn't really know where to start though (plus I just didn't want to). I often felt this way during widowhood. Blah. Let's face it: prayer can be hard work for those of us who don't get spiritual goosebumps or have times when we don't feel "special" to God. It's also hard work when we're numb with the pain of loss (physical, emotional, and spiritual loss--pick your poison), when we've been disappointed, when expectations have failed, when we're running on fumes... when life just sucks.

Two things I learned from widowhood kicked in though. 1). Put my "big girl panties" on, just do it--pray! and 2). Use somebody else's prayers. (Yes! It's OK to copy-cat pray. That's why the Psalms are in the Bible).

Here's page two from my notebook. (I took notes while I prayed through Psalm 30).
What God wants to do for me:
  • to lift me out of the depths
  • to not let my enemies gloat (I only have one human enemy that I know of, but I have many spiritual enemies which I don't see--God is against them! yay!)
  • to heal me
  • to bring me up from the grave
  • to spare me from going down
What God wants me to do: to sing and praise his name (hmm, how about if I just hum along for now?)
He also wants to do the following:
  • to favor me for a lifetime
  • for me to experience rejoicing
  • for me to place my confidence in seeing his face, not in my feelings of success and security (v. 6)
  • for me to call to him for mercy
  • for my goals to be to praise him and proclaim his faithfulness
  • for me to ask. Just ask! Is that so hard? (v. 10)
  • he wants to turn my wailing to dancing, and clothe me with joy and a heart that continually sings thanks 
I'm honest enough to tell you that I did not immediately get up from prayer and walk away with a light heart and dancing feet---but a few hours passed and so did most of the blahs, blues and bummers. Once again, God's Word met my need. Try it--take Psalm 30 and list what God wants to do for you. I'd love to see your notes like I've shared mine with you. You're His favorite too. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Pictures With Friends!

Lisa and Judy now know my secret shame--
I'm a failure at line dancing! I promise to 
practice, be able to do it longer than 5 minutes,
get more coordinated,
and dress better for it next year. ;) 
Here I'm with Janice and Ann--I didn't know
they were coming but they sought me out
because they read this blog! Ann was in my
small group too and it was a sacred privilege
for me to meet them and to feel that instant
kinship we have in the Lord.
Hi Everyone! Here are some of the other widows who read this blog! I met them in person at A Widow's Journey Retreat! If you have other photos please email them to me--I'm sure everyone would love to see them. WCplace@gmail.com  
♥ ferree

It was such a blessing to meet Sandra! She lives in California 
and happened to be out east to help her parents just at the
right time attend the retreat. Her mom, Mildred, not widowed,
but graciously came along. Many women brought a family
member or friend and I think they enjoyed it too.

This special group started about 3 years ago with a lot of prayer,
using my book "Postcards from the Widows' Path," and the
faithful commitment of the lady in the front with the blue print top, 
Denise Sweeney! It was an absolute delight to meet them all
and to have Marge (back row, first on the left) in my small group.
How cool that so many from this group in
Pennsylvania could all come together!

My roommate Bettie! She's been a widow
for 19 years but you can see from her smile
that it doesn't keep her down because
of the joy and comfort she's found
in the Lord. She was also a small group
leader and has helped with the retreat every 
year since the start. Maybe she'll be your group
leader next year if you come---you'll love her!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Widows Journey Retreat with Tammy Trent

Here's another highlight from A Widow's Journey Retreat at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland, two weeks ago. Plan now to attend next year! Mark your calendar for March 1-3, 2019 and start funding your piggy bank. Prices for a quad: $215/person; a triple room: $265/person; a double room: $315/person; single room $425. (Prices include delicious meals and beautiful facilities overlooking the Chesapeake Bay!)

Tammy Trent
graciously let me get a photo op after she spoke
and touched our hearts on Saturday morning. 
Please click here and then click the play arrow for the 5 minute video of Tammy's profound story and you'll catch a bit of what we heard at the retreat. (If you're reading this on your email and the links or photo do not appear please click the title of this page to go directly to the blog for them).

Here are a few quotes from my notes for the rest of Tammy's encouragement to the group at Widows Journey:

"God's intention is always to move us to a place of wholeness and healing."

"Things are allowed to happen when God sees it will serve a greater purpose."

"What do you need? . . . Without healing we spread brokenness."

That question "What do you need? was reiterated the next day. I always perk up my listening when I catch the same messages. God loves us and I've found He's willing to repeat things until we hear and pay attention.

So exactly what do you need? Let's talk about it.

If you've been working, working, working, trying so hard to get through this on your own, one thing I can tell you is that widow after widow I talked to that weekend said the same thing: How do people get through this without the Lord? 

If you wonder whether or not God and his promises really exist and operate like Tammy said in her video--even when we are numb with sorrow and heartbreak--add your comments here today or email me with your questions at WCplace@gmail.com. This is a safe place to examine our questions and doubts.  
♥ ferree