Thursday, November 7, 2019

What Are You Resources?

This page is a supplement to chapter 11 in my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path.

Asking for help to find resources is a dreaded situation, I know. But don't give up, help is out there! In most cases the widow must take the initiative and reach out for help. (People cannot read your mind). And be persistent!! Luke 18. Contact people and organizations that can help you. From people you know (individuals, family members and your church) to those you don't yet know (government programs, grief groups, and financial and biblical counselors), there are a variety of helps available.

Biblically, the first line of help is your family and then your church (I Timothy 5), but not exclusively. Don't quit searching! 

Look what Proverbs says three different times:
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 15:22  Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.
Proverbs 24:6  For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. 

When you find many wise people telling you the same thing you can be more certain it's the better path to take. Be wary of those who will profit from your decisions but don't decline paying for expert, professional advice. Also, choose your "counselors" much like you'd choose a doctor--the first one you go to might not always be the best one. Find someone you can talk to comfortably without intimidation, but who will be honest with you and not just say what they think you want to hear. 

Family members you can talk to:

Pastors or Bible study/small group leaders you can talk to:

Counselors or chaplains that your church or denomination uses for referrals:

Financial advisers recommended by friends and relatives:

Other widows your can network with and socialize:

Grief support groups in your area:

Widowhood basics: (widowers see some resources at the bottom of this page)

Miriam Neff's "From One Widow to Another" is like a handbook for widows and full of practical and emotional helps. Also her 5 session DVD series along with workbooks. Check out her website: Widow Connection

Postcards from the Widows' Path guides you through phases of widowhood--Grieving, Changing, Working, Waiting and Blessing--and can be used individually or with a group. This book is loved by thousands and walks you hand-in-hand through the widow empowering Book of Ruth. It's a life changer!

Finances:

I'm sorry but you've got to know your finances. Here are some a good places to start. Also use Google or other searches for the most up-to-date information.

Widows Connection Finances Page  This page also has the link to Social Security and some of the basics you need to get started.

Crown Financial has a variety of online financial studies you can enroll in at very little cost. They also have financial mentors and career counselors.

Online and other support groups:

A Widow's Might  (Facebook)

Widow Might   (Minnesota)

Grief support:

Loss of a Spouse seminar. This is from GriefShare and my friends Marisol and Ronett are among the participants.

GriefShare  this link should take you straight to the page where you can type in your zip code and find a group near you for this national and international ministry.

Grief Care Fellowship  these dear people, based in Florida, veterans of Word of Life ministry, have created an entire course for churches to train people for peer ministry to those who grieve.

Journeying Through Grief booklets by Stephen Ministries. I've sent these out to special friends over the years. For approx. $10 plus shipping you receive a set of 4 wonderful booklets to give to people at various points during their first year of loss.

For Widowers:

National Widowers Organization (secular)

A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser

The Group (secular) video clip from The Today Show. The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life by Donald L. Rosenstein and Justin M. Yopp


Monday, October 21, 2019

A Recipe for A Great Widows Group

After the telling you about the widows group in Warsaw, Indiana last week I heard from another reader about her group in the Chicago area. Plus she gave me her menu and a recipe to share.... Thank you Carole! (I've interjected some comments). ๐Ÿ˜‰

"I always enjoy your posts. Confess I have not read your book. (That's OK!) I have been a widow for 9 years now. Shortly after becoming a widow, I joined a local widow and widowers group. I could not face staying home alone all the time. I have met wonderful men and women there. I have five children but did not want to make them accountable for my social life.

Eventually I read a book by a widow from Moody Radio here in Chicago. (Carole and I figured out later it was Miriam Neff's "From One Widow to Another"--it's like a handbook for widows and I highly recommend it. Plus my own! lol) I mentioned it to my closest widow friends.  We began a Bible study from that book.  We all loved it and the comments were, “she really gets it.”  Gave us such a good way to talk about our new lives as widows.  

We meet every two weeks and I serve dinner and dessert.  I love to cook and they love to eat!  I decided early on it was more trouble to have everyone bring something than it was to just make a casserole, salad, rolls and dessert.  Works for all of us.

We are still going to the big group that we initially joined for activities but our little group of 12 has become another family to us all.  We have survived together!

We just started up again in September ... our Bible discussions seem to have picked up right where we left off and our discussions have been great!"

Tuesday night Bible Study Menu

Parmesan Chicken (breasts and thighs)
Corn pudding
Tomato salad (Have tons of tomatoes right now from my whiskey barrel gardens)
 Dessert – probably pound cake with blueberries and whip cream

 Crazy Good Corn Pudding 

Cream together:
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar

Add:
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. corn muffin mix (8 & ½ oz.)
½ cup milk
1 can corn or frozen (better)
1 can creamy corn
Image result for corn pudding with jiffy mix
Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50/55 minutes. (I made this for my small group at church last Wednesday night and they all loved it too!)

Carole, it's a good thing I don't have your address because that sounds like a delicious dinner and a great group to fellowship with! You'd have a crowd on your doorstep! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

I'd love to hear about more groups too. Please email me at WCplace@gmail.com  ๐Ÿ’—ferree

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