Monday, December 26, 2016

A New Year Alone?

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....
We wish it would go away but it won't; it's too big to handle ourselves and nobody wants to talk about it. 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.

Or, perhaps you are SO DONE with the old year? Are you 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. With God we are not alone.
Jeremiah 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.

Are you ready? You can do this! Lean on me, and we'll step in together.
ferree

11 comments:

  1. It is three years 9 Dec. 2012 since my dear husband went to be with Jesus. The raw grief has passed, but not the missing him every single day. But knowing I will be with him again one day blesses me.

    I am looking forward to 2016, to see what Jesus has in store for me. My thought for the new year is this "The joy of the Lord is my strength."

    Have a wonderful 2016 dear Ferree and thank you for this haven for widows.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Hi Flower Lady ! Thank you for being a kind and positive comforter. I remember you encouraging me in a message here a while back ;-) Happy New Year may you have an abundance of flowers !

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  2. While I have been encouraged by Life Boat and Going Ashore during my last 3+ years of widowhood, the following statement resonated with me. "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." I have worked and prayed hard to reinvent myself in widowhood and many of the sad, complaining posts on Going Ashore make me wonder if there's something wrong with me for actually feeling joyful most of the time and looking forward to the future. Is everyone else sobbing every day? Yes, I had those days early on but rarely do now. Sadness, yes occasionally, but feeling depressed most of the time, no. I almost don't want to read the Going Ashore posts anymore. I would love to hear widows writing about their successes instead of the constant drumbeat of misery.

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    1. Hi! I just want to thank you for sharing. I can relate very much with what you so very well shared ;-) I'm almost 2 years in now and 3 kids still at home.Your message helped to give me that little extra push in things that need to be done today. I need to hear that other widows are moving forward at a speed close to mine....sorry lack of better words/description. I need to hear the strength and hope in their words and that they are living it out. So today I'm going to get both my house and rv (yep, this widow has both a house and rv...neither one high end but I got them!!) Winterized and my family rig serviced. I'm taking care of business cause Christ provides for me! Will also be doing some chores today to prepare in the upcoming listing of this house that never really became a home. I'm looking forward to making the next house my/our home. Just wanted to share some with you and let you know I appreciate your message ;-)

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  3. Dear FlowerLady Lorraine, it's always a joy to hear from you and I'm encouraged too, too see what Jesus has in store for me in 2016! For each of us! God renews our strength with His joy, and it always shines in everything you say. <3

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  4. Dear Anonymous, It's a joy to hear from you too. The "boats" aren't meant to last forever so I'm always pleased when I hear from widows like you who find they're feeling joyful most of the time. Let me assure you -- joy is good! Don't let the Going Ashore posts drag you down. In fact, take a break from them for a month or two. G.A. sometimes does get swamped in the backwaters of grief but I've seen it "right itself" time and time again--it's a self-correcting group. Usually when individuals review what they've posted over a period of time they realize its just half the story and its time to mention the positives; or sometimes others will call them out on it! Grief can become toxic and I wouldn't want Going Ashore or the Lifeboats to wallow in it. On the other hand, I have seen women who I thought would never get over the raw grief begin to blossom and grow (and then they leave! lol, but that's how it's supposed to work). In the meantime, for you, in order to hear about widows' successes I'd urge you to check out my Archives and the Wednesday/Widow stories. Also my blog roll where you'll find FlowerLady Lorraine and other encouraging widows. Thank you for your valuable comments and I hope we can stay in touch through this blog.

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    1. Yes! Thank you both anonymous and Ferree ;-)

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  5. I find that it is easier and less stressful for me to simply take life one day at a time because if I try to look ahead, I can easily get bogged down with all the "what ifs". That may just be my personality/temperament. I do find myself talking to God out loud off and on during the day and Into the evening before I go to sleep whenever something comes to mind that I need to just tell Him. I've found God to be my ever faithful friend that will never leave me or forsake me.

    Rarely does a day go by that I don't share with my Lord how much I miss my husband and my parents. I don't see that as wallowing in my grief, but it is acknowledging this great loss in my life. I believe that every widow handles grief differently and at a different pace. The depth of grief depends on so many things such as personality, length of marriage, type and closeness of the relationship one had with their spouse, etc. And, there are times when those grief triggers hit you and you must be allowed to cry and perhaps vent in one of Ferree's groups or to another widow friend who really "gets it".

    There are those widows, too, who are predisposed to struggle with depression. That is hard for those widows to understand who find the return of their own joy to happen more quickly. That is where grace and love can be extended.

    I am just so very thankful for all the resources and wisdom that Widow's Christian Place puts into the hands of widows as we walk this journey without our spouses. It is a lifesaver for so many.

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  6. Well said! You brought up so many truths to light. Our grieving varies tremendously from person to person, and for so many reasons and factors. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experience today.

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  7. Thank you Ferree, Tonia, Anonymous, and Flowerlady -- all of your words were spot on and exactly what I needed to hear and/or had been thinking.

    This is one of the reasons I moved from LB to GA, and I will definitely give GA a good try, but I will stay connected here as well as I lean in for 2016.

    Thank you,

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  8. Mary, someone alluded to grief like flying on a trapeze---always reaching the next hand before you totally leave the swing, and having a big safety net beneath. Its good to keep that variety of connections and supports, and I know that you are a big help to many of the widows you've met too. thanks for sharing today! It's always so amazing to see how the Lord provides exactly what people need to hear, affirming their thoughts.

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