AWMHisGraceisSufficient

Unexpected Moments

II Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ESV

On Easter Sunday of 2000, I was hanging out with our church band between services. All of a sudden, everyone left except the drummer and me; it was that awkward moment when you realize the room is too quite but don’t know the other person in it. I felt the need to make conversation and found myself saying, “I’m hungry.” It was all I had at the time. So that day, I went to Easter Brunch at a 5-Star restaurant with my future husband. I didn’t know his name, when he picked up the phone to book the reservation. Funny how life works out; sometimes we want to know everything and sometimes it’s okay not to know much of anything.  It was an unexpected invitation, which led to a VERY unexpected marriage, and an uncommon love.

As you know, we can also be hammered by unexpected moments that are not so perfect. I HATE unexpected grief waves! They can slam us when we are feeling weak or strong, sneak up on us from behind, or hit us head-on at a hundred miles an hour. Last Saturday, before Easter, I was in a head-on collision with grief during a church service.  It hit me so hard that I was afraid I would have to put down my microphone and get off the platform.

During our service, we had watched a powerful video and began transitioning into our communion song. I heard a man’s voice to my right. I turned and saw a dear friend kneeling beside his wife and daughter; praying over them, and sharing communion with them. It was a beautiful picture of a godly man loving on his girls and God. It took my breath away. In that moment, I LONGED for my husband. I longed to be prayed over and loved by his tenderness and quiet strength.

Hear my heart; our marriage was not perfect, it was dependent. We had both suffered through horrific marriages before and knew how blessed we were for grace and second chances. We counted on God every day to make it work and we prayed together each morning. Daryl would often thank God for his, “beautiful wife”, his “treasure”, or his “forever”. How I miss our prayers of thankfulness and need that we poured out to God. They, in and of themselves, were often unexpected moments; gifts of powerful words for one another and our Savior.

They are priceless memories but I had pushed aside. Somehow, I had put them in the back of my mind and hidden them away. Maybe I pushed them back because missing them was too hard or they were too lovely to remember in detail. I had not realized what I had done until that moment when I heard and saw my friend praying over his girls. Then it all came back; full-speed, head-on at a hundred miles an hour in that unexpected moment of grief. It was hard, very hard, my knees almost buckled, but I thank God for giving me some of my detailed memories of our daily-life back. In my weakness I NEEDED Christ’s power and strength. His grace was and is sufficient.

God,  help us to lean in and lean on you when we face unexpected moments; be they bitter or sweet, Amen.

 

Resurrection Joy

Resurrection Joy

by Rene Zonner

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not hear; he has risen!”

Luke 24:5-6

We in the Christian world just celebrated the event that defines our faith…the resurrection of Jesus…Easter. 

For most of my life I’ve had a hard time truly understanding the despair of Jesus’ followers after his death. After all, I had the advantage of knowing how the story was going to end.  I knew that there was a happy ending.  I can look back and see that I really couldn’t understand the depth of their joy when they saw Jesus alive on that first Easter morning.

Until my husband died…

The first Easter after his death was different.  For the first time, I could really empathize with the loss Jesus’ followers must have felt.  The person they spent almost every waking hour with for three years was dead.  They, like me, were surely questioning what they were supposed to do next.  Who were they now that they weren’t a Jesus follower?  There was probably a sense of disbelief.  Could this really be happening? I’m certain they felt that sickening feeling in their stomach, the one that happens after you wake up in the morning and for a brief moment have forgotten that your husband is gone…then the truth smacks you in the face.  I’m sure their futures looked bleak, there was uncertainty, questions hurled at God.  All feelings that I knew so well.

That Easter was the first time I could truly understand what Mary felt when she encountered Jesus in the garden. I imagine that she was confused.  I’m sure she doubted what she was seeing at first, wondered if she was imagining things.  But then, once it sunk in that Jesus was alive….oh the joy!  Can you imagine what joy you would feel upon seeing your loved one again?  I don’t know if there are even words to describe it.  And of course, I would run to tell everyone I could about the miracle that happened….just as Mary did.

None of us will be able to experience what Jesus’ followers did by having our husbands walk this earth with us again. But the promise of the cross is that we will be reunited at the time of Christ’s return. When Jesus returns and restores things as they were meant to be, we will once again see those who have gone before us in Christ.  Can you imagine that day?  The joy of seeing all those who we knew in this life but lost, the excitement of seeing face to face all those saints of the Bible that we never met, fellow believers from all over the globe and time together in one place.  What a glorious day that will be!

As much as I am looking forward to seeing all those that have gone before me, there is an even greater joy waiting for me on that day.  Seeing Jesus face to face.  I imagine that moment will far exceed anything I have ever felt before.  To see the love in his eyes as he welcomes me home, the gentleness in his voice as he calls me by name…oh, what a sweet day that will be!

Sisters, as we come out of this Easter season, let us not forget what it’s really about.  The promise of being reunited with our husbands and other believers is a sweet and precious gift.  It’s one of the reasons I have been able to walk this journey and not be beat down as one without that hope. But it is so much more.  The promise is really about being reunited with Christ.  It’s about being restored to communion with God as it was meant to be all along.  It’s about finally being all that we were meant to be.  That, more than seeing John again, is what I look forward to with anticipation.

Father, I thank you for the hope we have in the resurrection of Jesus.  I pray that each one of us would remember, when we are sad and beaten down with grief, the promise the cross gives us. We look forward to the day when we can be with our husbands again and worship you with fellow believers we never met here on earth.  While we look forward to that day, help us to keep our focus on the greatest joy, Lord.  The joy that will come when we stand face to face with you, our Savior.

Amen

jesus christ on the cross the empty tomb

The Hope We Have

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?  My only hope is in YOU.” Psalm 39:7 NLV

Do you ever wonder why we all sound so hopeful?  How we have such faith?  Why we can write such meaningful things?

Well sisters, it’s not us at all, but it’s Christ in us.  It comes out of our obedience to His leading and humbling ourselves before Him, trusting His plan for us.

Let us share….

Today is the day all Christians no matter their denomination stand united saying “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed.”

What does that mean?

God sent His Son Jesus to earth.  He was fully God and fully man.  He walked this earth and was tempted. He saw suffering. He saw hurt. He saw pain. He rejoiced and celebrated. He had friends.  He had loved ones.   He experienced and witnessed every human emotion and trial.

Except He was without sin!

Then He made the ultimate sacrifice… He humbly took on death and the consequences of sin at the cross.

He did this willingly!

Through His death, burial, and resurrection He paid the price once and for all for each of us.

The Bible is clear, if we believe with our whole heart and confess it with our mouths, we are immediately forgiven and we are saved, our name is then sealed in the book of life.  (Romans 10:9)

Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can comes to the Father except through ME.” John 14:6 NLV

As Christian widows we speak of hope and faith because we know that Christ died on that cross for us.  We’ve professed our faith in His sacrifice.  We’ve invited Him into our hearts and lives.  We’ve vowed to not live perfect happy lives on our own strength, but to live imperfectly messy lives in Christ Jesus.

It’s not about religion sisters, but it is about a personal relationship with Jesus.

We know the hope we have comes from God.  We grieve not in a hopeless manner unsure of where our husbands are, or where we will end up.  We are not vessels floating around in a sea just haphazardly swaying here and there.  We have Christ at the helm of our lives, and we know for certain because of our faith, we will stand in glory someday before God, and we will be reunited with our beloved husbands.

That’s called hopeful grief! 

We’d like to ask you…

Do you have this same hope?

Are you standing with us today arm in arm professing the same faith?

Do you have Christ in your heart?

If not, or you’re unsure, then this is what you can do.

Pray sisters. Invite God in.  Profess your faith in Christ’s sacrifice at the cross.  Accept the free gift of salvation.

If you’re not sure how to do that then pray this prayer:

Father God, I believe that you sent Jesus to this earth, and that He was the true son of God.  I believe that Jesus did die on the cross for my sins, but then rose again victoriously.  I ask that you come into my heart and mind and that you reveal all your truths to me.  Lord I commit my life to you, and I choose to live a life that will please you.  Lord I ask for your forgiveness for my sins.  I pray that as I move forward now that my eyes will be opened to all you want to teach me.  In your precious matchless name, Amen

Sisters, if you just asked Christ into your heart the Bible says there is rejoicing in Heaven (Luke 15:7).  How amazing!

Please let us know you have made this decision and have chosen to walk in faith.  Email us or comment here.  We would love to talk with you and pray for you.

We hope each of you have a peaceful and blessed Resurrection Day.

He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!!

 

 

 

 

scroll memories remembering my loved one

Building Our Own Scrolls of Remembrance

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name. – Malachi 3:16

My husband Keith used to say that I had 5000 words to speak every day.  He appreciated when some of them were spoken to someone else other than him.  Five thousand exceeded his capacity for listening.

Now, my children have to wait on me – often – while I visit with just one more person at church, just one more friend I meet in the store, just one more stranger I meet in the grocery line.

It’s just the way I am wired.

But on this widow journey, sometimes it is hard to find someone to talk to. 

Oh, I have oodles of friends and they will often listen to me, but do they hear?  Do they understand?

Only a few.  Why?  Because they do not walk the same journey.

Recently, we had the joy and extreme privilege as a team to bring some of our readers in to retreat with us.  It was a glorious, God-ordained, God-honoring time.

But part of it broke my heart.  The stories are so raw, the emotions so real…and some of these ladies had never had the opportunity to share with someone who gets it.

Over and over, there were tears of both pain and joy as we looked into each others’ eyes and saw reflected pieces of the same journey, the same sorrow, the same loneliness…and yet the same hope in Christ.

And because we understand, because we have been on a similar journey, we can help each other build our own scrolls of remembrance, much as the faithful followers in Malachi’s day.

We have to come to the point on this journey where we can take the sum total of all the events, good and bad, that have happened to us and give them all to the glory of God.  We have to be willing to bare it all, and to remember.  Lessons can be learned from the past in what not to do, but also lessons can be learned about how much God loves us and cherishes us and is with us – even through all the sorrow, all the pain, all the long, lonely days where no one understands our words or our hearts.

Most people in the times of Malachi were turning from God, not running to Him.  They were shaking their fists at the Heavens like willful children.  We have the same option with the trials that have been given us.  But will that scroll be worth anything to anyone in future times?

My Bible study this morning asked me if finding a reason for my suffering (some positive to come out of it to cling to) made it worthwhile to go through it.

I have come to the point where I can say yes, sisters, it does.  For scrolls can last forever (literally and figuratively) and can be brought out to help numerous people in the future…in ways I probably cannot imagine.

What does your scroll of remembrance say?  Are you willing to share it with others?

Dear Father, we walk a difficult path as widows, so full of why’s and what if’s.  But You are sovereign, Lord, over all of our days, all of our tomorrows.  Help us to see our lives in terms of eternity.  Help us to be willing to share with other widows, and with the rest of the people in our lives, how You are working in us, growing and changing us for Your glory, using all we have been through.  You are King and are worthy of all our praise.  Help us to see that, now and forever.  In the Name of Christ, Amen.

easter, jesus death, cross, beach

Take It Back

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26: 38-39 (NIV)

 

“I’m sorry Mommy, I wish I could take it back!”

That’s what my daughter said through tears, as she was reprimanded for getting frustrated with her sometimes pesky little brother and pushing him head over heels off the bed.

How about you? Like my girl, do you ever wish you could take something back? A harsh word…A sticky situation…A painful time.

For me, there are really far too many “take it backs” to list.  But I do have one that stands out the most; the day, almost four years ago, that my husband took his own life.  That horrific day, I stood in the funeral home and cried out to God, pleading from depths I didn’t know existed.  I begged Him to take it back, believing He could do this miracle!

But “take it back” wasn’t possible, so I shifted my prayers and my cries rather quickly.

“Please Lord, use this…for Your glory!”

My husband’s life wouldn’t be defined by one horrible moment, because I serve a God that’s so much bigger.  Even as my faith was being tested beyond anything I could have fathomed, I believed God would use it if He chose not to take it back or prevent it.

I’ve seen Him doing that every single day in both big and small ways.  He has been there through the dark times, when I could barely muster up the strength to get out of bed, when my kids cried themselves to sleep, or woke up from a nightmare crying out for their daddy.  God healed us and moved us beyond those early dark days.  He’s provided us with so much help and support.

He has restored us a little more with each passing day.  He has brought joy and hope back to our home.  God is using our story to bring honor and glory to Him every time He gives me the opportunity to share it.

When I needed it most it brought me great comfort to read in God’s word that I am not alone in the “take it back” department;  Moses (Exodus 3:11), Jonah (Jonah 1:3), Job (23:4) and even Christ himself all at some point wanted God to “take it back”.

Yes even Jesus!!

In the book of Matthew, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and the full awareness of what lie ahead weighs heavily on Him.  He prayed and cried out because Jesus knew full well God could take it; but He also knew if God didn’t remove this He was going to use it.

Did He ever… Jesus died on the cross for us all, so through Him we may have eternal life with Him.

How awesome!

Sisters, no matter where you are in your grief journey, no matter how you lost your beloved husband, we can trust His will.  We can rest assured that in this and all things whether the Lord takes it back or not, He will use it for His glory (Romans 8:28).

What a comforting promise!

Father God, help us to trust You and Your plan for our lives.  Even though we didn’t get to see You “take it back”, help us to see and feel the many ways You use our loss and our stories to bring glory to You.  In Your Matchless Name, Amen.

 

 

 

God is with you

The Duo

Recently a famous actress and her equally famous rock star husband made headlines after announcing their separation. They chose to call the dissolution of their marriage a “conscious uncoupling”. The media had a field day with this and ridiculed the couple for describing the end of their union in such terms.

While I was saddened to hear the news of this couple divorcing, there was something about the way they were describing the demise of their relationship.

“Conscious uncoupling”

The road they were choosing to travel was now one where they would go from life as a twosome to life as an individual.

As I mulled over this description I realized why it struck a nerve with me. Because conscious or unconscious I’ve spent the last 9 months since losing my husband learning how to uncouple. When you lose your love, there’s the emotional component: the tears, sadness and heartache. But there’s also something we don’t talk about much and that is how it feels to seemingly go from a “we” to an “I”.

My separation from my husband wasn’t a decision we made, like the couple mentioned above. My separation from my husband was a choice that was out of my hands, losing him to an extended illness.

I’ve spent all of the months since learning how to be “me” without him. It’s the small things; like going to a friends house and having him be the first to walk through the door, break the ice and be the life of the party. It’s the days where I want to eat at a restaurant, but not alone, so I sit and eat in my car-alone. It’s the days where running an errand is dreaded because he’s not there with me to make even the most mundane moments in life, fun and exciting.

We had learned to become fully integrated as a team and it has been extremely difficult to do life without my teammate. I enjoyed life as a duo. It can be extremely lonesome as a single.

It’s in those moments where I have to remember, my husband and I weren’t just a “we” we were a “three”. Meaning it wasn’t just my husband and I in this relationship but The Lord was the third person in a chord that cannot be easily broken. And you know what? He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s still with me.

During the moments where I am overwhelmed and feeling fearful and alone, I have to remind myself He is right by my side.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

What was a strand of three is now down to two. Certainly there is pain and heartache because of that. When the thoughts try to come in telling me how alone I am, I will not believe those lies. It may take everything within me to change my perspective but I will fight to do it.

To not just look at myself as a single.

But as a duo.

For all I’ve lost, my God is the one thing I still have, and will never ever lose. I am never alone.

Dear Jesus: I thank You that You will never leave or forsake me, but that You are right by my side. Help me to feel Your nearness each and every day.

widow support guitar

“Papa Promised to Teach Me to Play”

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

A precious friend to our ministry shared a story about two loved ones in his family whom he misses dearly, but whose legacies live on through his daughter.

His father died just a month ago, so his loss is fresh, and as a ministry, we pray for his mother, newly widowed and having to endure the pain of having a part of her swept away and learning to stand alone for the first time in decades.

The loss of his brother many years earlier only accentuates today’s pain and brings each member of his family to a decision within themselves to either grow sadder and angrier over their losses or to draw closer to their Creator. Those that recognize this life as but a glimpse of our eternal lives have hope. With Him, there will be no more tears, no more suffering.

In the midst of the two losses, a story emerges–one of legacy and belongings.

His brother was an amazing guitar player. The twelve-string acoustic is a difficult instrument to play because the neck is longer and the frets are bigger.  It’s a guitar meant for very clean, open, octav-ish chords, played in unusually beautiful songs like Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds. His brother played in churches, prayer meetings and youth groups with simply amazing and inspiring music.

During those years his father would sometimes pick up and try to play his brother’s guitar without making much headway in being able to bring the beautiful music out of it like the brother did.

Miraculously after the brother died, his father picked up the guitar and played it. He says miraculously, because the beautiful sound didn’t take years to develop. Rather, within weeks, his father was strumming like a pro. It became a legend among the family–some saying the son taught the father to play. But we know where miracles come from.  God alone. Perhaps this gift God gave of a sudden musical talent was God’s way of letting my friend’s family know that his brother would never be forgotten.

But now the father, who so miraculously learned the guitar has, himself, gone home to Christ.

Returning home from the funeral last month, my friend told me how sad his children were over losing their grandpa–Papa, as they called him. His daughter was particularly sad.  She had gotten a guitar recently to carry on the family’s tradition of guitar playing. She looked up and said, “Daddy, I am sad. Papa promised to teach me to play guitar. Who is going to teach me now?”

The words of loss from a child can bring us to our knees, and my friend started to cry.  But his mother, the newly hurting widow, knew how to comfort.  How many times did you find the Lord giving you just the right words to comfort others, when you yourself were reeling from the loss?

“Papa will teach you,” she said. Her words immediately brought to mind God’s miracle of her husband’s sudden ability to play.  She knew the gift of music is one God will also bring to her granddaughter as a legacy that will continue through their family for generations.

So what miracle and gift did God leave you after your husband died.

All these miracle and gifts pale in comparison to the ultimate gift of  God letting his only Son take our sins upon Him. He took our sins so that He could pay for them–erase them from us forever by paying the ultimate price for them by dying on the cross.

If you haven’t already accepted this Truth that He has paid for your sins so you can be in Heaven with Him, won’t you do so now?

We have sixteen writers on our team, and each of us have been at the crossroads in their life at some point where they had to make that decision–do I just say I’m a Christian, or do I really believe He died for me and get true Salvation once and for all.

Each of us love to talk with our readers and do so every day.  Many have made decisions to follow Christ and found true healing from Him.and then letting that Son pay the price for the sins by dying so that we don’t have to pay for them eternally.

Won’t you contact us and let us pray for you or with you?  You can send us a prayer request from the drop down Contact menu at top of this page–here.

-God is so good.

pink, widowhood, seeking God, God's purpose

Empty Corner?

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 NIV)

He was so special – that man I loved. It seemed that in his eyes I could do nothing wrong. Even when the broccoli was “overdone”, he sprinkled it with some salt, added some butter and convinced the girls that this was a “special” recipe. And when the biscuits were a little too brown on the bottom he patiently took a sharp knife and shaved off the offending parts.

At times when I said, “I don’t think I can do that,” he said “Yes, you can. You’re my wife.”

He was ever-present, with a strong shoulder to lean upon and fortifying words of encouragement.  Even in the care center in the last weeks of his life, when a staff member was less than pleasant with me, he quickly took her to task. He was always on my side.

He was in my corner.

And, having that assurance, I was able to move confidently through the days of motherhood at 42, rebellious teenagers, my job with special needs students, adjusting to winters in the Midwest, and so much more.

As I wandered through those early months of widowhood, the emptiness of that corner was so very painful. Making decisions was daunting. Learning something new was unthinkable. I longed to hear an “atta girl” – you’re doing good”.  Yes, my children and friends were present with their encouragement and love – but it wasn’t the same. Nothing could replace the words I heard from him.

Then I came upon Romans 8:31 in the Message Bible: “With God on our side, how can we lose?”  Making it more personal I rephrase it, “Linda, with God on your side, how can you lose?”

God is on my side! (And yours too!)

“He defends the cause of the widow” Deuteronomy 10:18 NIV

“The Lord sets the widow’s boundary stones in place” Proverbs 15:25 NIV

“I will contend with those who contend with you” Isaiah 49:25 NIV

God has always been on my side; ever-present with a strong shoulder, sending messages of encouragement throughout the scriptures, defending me against all the “enemies” of loneliness and uncertainty.

God is in my corner.

Now, as I quietly move into the fourth year of widowhood, I will remember what He promised in Jeremiah 29:13, “When you come looking for Me, you will find Me.” (I’ll be in your corner)

Dear Father – learning to live without the encouragement of our husbands is so very difficult for us. I ask You, please, to gently lead us into a place of understanding how much You love us. Teach us how to listen for Your voice in the quiet, encouraging us and letting us know You are always on our side and in our corner.

swim, race, false starts, widowhood

Take Your Mark

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. – 1 Corinthians 9:23-25

Have you ever seen a swim meet?

At the start of the race, the swimmer steps onto the starting block and bends over in the starting position.  You can almost feel the muscles full of energy poised, ready to race.  The silence of the crowd as they hold their breath and wait for the starting signal to sound is palpable.

Have you ever seen a false start?  Everyone in the entire pool area is waiting for the start signal and one (or more sometimes) takes off before the signal.  The release of breath from those present is almost like a gasp.  The swimmer takes off down the length of the pool only to realize the race has not started.  They gave their all and it wasn’t time to race…yet.  They have to make their way back and climb out of the pool, shake off the excess water, get their head in the right place, and take their mark again.  The entire energy of the area is changed as the swimmers again take their mark.

Think about the training involved for the swimmer to get to the point of being ready for the race.  They have to do hours of repetitive strokes, perfecting their timing, the angle of their arms as they slice through the water, their turn at each end of the pool lane.  It takes a coach who sees the end potential to push the swimmer beyond what they think they can do.  It also involves conditioning.  Swimmers have to run and lift weights too.  They have to eat right and sleep right and have their thoughts on the end goal – competing and winning their race.

So, back to the swim meet.  The swimmer has put the work in.  The coach has put the work in.  The swimmer puts his earphones in his ears to hear the song that gets him in the zone and waits for his heat to be called.  Now, they get to the competition and they are ready to go and the crowd kicks in.  The family is there screaming encouragement.  He is ready!

I think this grieving journey is like that.  We are called to walk this path – it’s our pool.  We have many false starts and have to get back to our starting place and try again.  God puts “coaches” along the way to teach us; work with us; beckon to us to keep on “swimming”; people who sense God’s calling in our life.  We are asked to lift heavy things that in the long run grow us and make us stronger to handle heavier things further in our race.  We listen to music that inspires us and read scriptures that feed us.  We have a Heavenly Father that gives us proper rest.  Then, as we prepare to swim our race, we hear our friends and family screaming encouragement from all around the pool area; whether it is a heartfelt prayer on our behalf, an encouraging phone call or an invitation to dinner.  Their enthusiasm that we can win this race keeps us going.  When we have the false starts, it is what gets us back to the poolside and back on the starting block.

God has specifically and lovingly chosen us for this race.  He doesn’t want us to experience grief, but He knows that we will be able to help others if we have walked a similar path and He can use our hands and feet to comfort others.  He won’t leave us and He will prepare us along the way.

Dear Lord, Thank you for choosing me to glorify You.  I don’t see the strength that you see in me.  I submit to Your Will, my loving Father.  I know You will give me what I need and You will be with me as I run the race that You have set before me.  I love you, Father, and with Your help I will finish this race.  Amen

 

butterfly, caterpillar, widowhood journey

His Plan ~ A New Life

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest. Jeremiah 29:11-13  (TLB)

For I know the plans I have for you…..

My husband and I talked a lot about our future and our plans, and yes, we daily sought God’s will for our future.  The economy had taken a toll on our small business and we did not know exactly what the future held, but we were looking forward to “growing old” together – no matter what God had in store for us!

God had a plan that I had never even thought about for one minute – His plan was to suddenly take my husband “home” and leave me here, alone!!  I could not understand how this could be for my good and certainly did not see a future and a hope.

Within three weeks of my husband’s death, I had sorted, sold, given away, and finally packed a small amount of our earthly possessions in preparation to move. As I sorted, I tried to keep things that were special to me and represented the 48 years we had together. Some dear friends from our church helped with this process and to this day I do not know what happened to a lot of “our stuff”.

After the funeral service, my daughter took the fresh flowers from the spray on my husband’s casket and hung them upside down in the garage. One of the last things I did before leaving our home was to take the then dried flowers and place them in a plastic box. The box traveled with me from Tennessee to Florida and back to Indiana over a period of 14 months and has now been in the garage for another year.  Even with all of the travel and storage the dried flowers survived! I did not want to give them up, but was not sure what to do with them.

Two weeks ago, my friend and I happened into a small gift shop by mistake. As I was browsing, a small glass box took my eye and I immediately thought about the dried flowers. It didn’t take long to purchase it and begin to think about how I could display them.

This glass box has special meaning for me, beginning with the original live flowers that were placed on my husband’s casket two years ago representing his life and the love I had for him.  Even though the flowers have died (as my husband), to me the butterfly represents new life or transformation.  It has been said that “what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly”. My husband’s life on this earth is over, but he is experiencing “new life” in heaven with our Savior!  The butterfly is also a reminder to me of the new beginnings in my life as I progress in this new season. And of course I could not leave out my favorite color, purple (amethyst). There are many definitions associated with the purple or amethyst stone such as, royalty,  peace, power, protection, wisdom and healing, however, the one definition that speaks to me says amethyst is closely linked to faith.  The purple butterfly, the purple flowers, and even my purple insulin pump are daily reminders to me of the faith I have in my Lord and Savior who walks this journey with me every day!

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Yes, God’s plan was to take my husband home – I know He has a plan for me and tells me “you will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest”.  Seeking does not always bring a “quick” fix but it causes me to realize I am part of a bigger story. One in which God resolves our disappointments in a way that exceeds our short sight. I have the glorious hope of not only seeing my Savior one day soon, but also seeing my beloved husband again!!

 Thank you Lord, for the plans You have for me and each of my dear Sisters.  Help me to continue to seek You and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.