Monday, December 29, 2014

A Brand New Year Ahead

Even though all the Christmas packages have been unwrapped, maybe the tree is already gone, there's still one big package to open. For most widows I suspect its like the proverbial elephant in the living room; we're trying to ignore it and that's really awkward because the beast is obviously there; we wish it would go away but it won't; it's too big to handle ourselves. The elephant--this mysterious, unopened package--is a brand new year.

Maybe you're not done with the old year, you say? Maybe it's too soon, the grief too fresh, the shock still a constant companion? Ahh, then here's what to do: lean into the new year, looking forward to it as a time of rest and recovery. Learn about the grief journey, collect and preserve your memories, find mentors or role models, and spot and follow your Shepherd through the valley of Psalm 23.

Perhaps you are SO DONE with the old year? Do you feel like you're suspended in limbo, waiting for your so-called life to happen again? Do you wonder if there's any meaning, any purpose, any reason why you're still here? Do you worry that twelve months from now life will be exactly the same as it is today? Then I invite you to gather your courage and step into the new year. Like before, spot and follow your Shepherd. Continue to work through your grief, but begin to awaken to God's promises, many of which are summed up in Jeremiah 29:11.

As I constantly scour the Internet for resources for widows, I'm continually convinced and impassioned for the need for Widows Christian Place. Widows gasp for hope, and this is one of the few places to find it. Constant venting and groveling in grief merely perpetuates and ingrains the grief. While grief is acknowledged here, I believe it's also important to address the whole of life because the rest of the world will not stop when life explodes and a woman is widowed. The widow is pretty much left to herself to pick up the pieces. My hope is that WCP will help widows do just that--pick up the pieces, adapt to the new normal, discover hidden strengths and talents that God formed deep within before they were born, and with God at their side, step into the adventure of this new phase of life.

Let's unwrap the new year together. Even if it is an elephant, with God we can handle it.
Jeremian 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


ferree

6 comments:

  1. Thanks Ferree. I just posted on FB about letting go and going into 2015 with a deliberate focus. My big elephant is that I can't let go of the sadness, of the disappointment I feel in my life in being alone; not knowing where I fit in; who is my go-to good friend to do things with. Though I want to move forward, during this time I find myself feeling alone. I wait for an invitation. Sometimes there is none. My kids do a great job of watching out for me, but that's where it stops. I just don't fit in anywhere. And I don't want these feelings to go into 2015 but it will take more time before I can stand on my own 2 emotional feet.

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  2. It is wonderful to see how positive you are in the new year and future! But too many years of "elephants" has made me numb with no good expectations and wondering what shoe will drop next! Wish I had your faith, but life after his death has been a continuous string of disappointments and I am tired! I just don't have the strength and faith to believe God has a special place for widows. Whether you post this or not, I am just being honest. I truly admire those who seem to move on, forward or whatever! But I am done!

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    1. Please don't close your heart off to what could be. I have lost my husband, mother, and a brother in less than 5 years. Other "elephants" would also pass by as well. I saw no reason to exist. As you, I felt done. All my efforts and dreams seemed then to be in vain. But, I knew with only a speck of faith remaining, to pray to God for strength and mercy from what had happened. This first prayer was spoken after hearing discouraging thoughts questioning my faith, I knew by hearing such hopeless words (from what could only be Satan), I was at my lowest point. That is when a coward attacks. With only a tiny bit of faith I chose God at that moment to help me. That was when I surrendered. He was to become my everything, my one hope in this crazy world. He alone got me off the path of those elephants and onto a different path of living again. I would be a prisoner inside my own head if I did not know Jesus has my heart & back always and forever. Don't let those elephants flatten you. Call out to the only One who saves. He alone will lead you to a promising path of safety and hope. I pray you will find your way back to faith. Each time you feel His presence beside you, your faith is being restored until nothing can extinguish it. You must chose the path that leads you forward.

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  3. If yielded to..... grief, despair, confusion and anger can devour you and even consume you - it's part of the journey, - Psalm 77:2 the Psalmist says "my soul REFUSED to be comforted" Just like Jacob's agony of grief when he thought his much loved (son) Joseph had died and when is beloved Rachel died, he was almost consumed with grief. (pray and ask the Lord - "please don't let me be consumed by this unwanted intruder")
    I believe it is a right thing to refuse comfort from the upbeat I have it all together pious platitudes that is everywhere.
    Just as I also believe it is wrong to refuse the comfort that comes from God, his promises and from our Christian friends. In many ways this is modeling a spirit of unbelief. When our hearts are broken and our spirits are crushed and we haven't the strength or desire to get back up our Father sees and understands. Just a simple stretching out of your hand is a prayer gesture. just a cry "help me" God hears -
    Our unbelief blocks our healing and our blessings. I've prayed many times even in anger and in great confusion "Lord I believe, please help my unbelief and forgive me"
    I learned a new word last night while listening to a Pastor - he said "when your life has been overcome and over whelmed with sorrow begin on a daily basis in your Christian walk to deliberately venerate life, venerate the things God has left you with and the things that surround you, give a special reverence to a sunrise, or a bird singing - venerate the gift of all life around you - of dew on a fallen leaf - and yes... begin again to venerate your own life with a reverence and respect.

    Anonymous I pray that God will give you the grace just to lift your eyes upward and if you can't pray anything, the Lord will pray for you, he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. He is so familiar with our sufferings and loneliness.

    in Christ's Love

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  4. Great post Feree,
    I am so grateful to God for how far He has brought me since the night of 31st March,2012. I always say its not an easy journey but I am defiately not where I was in 2012. WCP, Life Boat, Going Ashre, Widows Might and other blogs have contribute tremendously in the progress I have made. I can remember just wanting the world to end but today I look forward to this year 2015 believing God will bless me richly and make me a blessing. I still miss my husband and life is sometimes filled with many challenges but I choose to move forward often with tears in my eyes or even pain in my heart but Jeremiah 29:11

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    1. Beautifully expressed, Halima. It was a great comfort to read your thoughts...my thoughts...our thoughts. Thank you.

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