Widow's Corner

The Potter knows you . . . the clay
Thank Him even in your Winter Season . . .

There is beauty in our Winter Season . . . beloved! Look for it . . . it's there!

"Thank You for Your kindness
Thank You for Your mercy
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the price You paid

Thank You for salvation
Thank You for unending grace
Thank You for Your hope
Thank You for this life You gave

There is no one like You
There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You
Jesus, Jesus

Thank You for Your promise
Thank You for Your favor
And thank You for Your love
And everything You've done for me

There is no one like You
There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

To Your name
We give all the glory
To Your name
We give all the praise

You're alive
Our God everlasting
So let Your face shine on us

There is no one like You
There is no one like You, God
And all my hope is in You
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

To Your name
We give all the glory
To Your name
We give all the praise

You're alive
Our God everlasting
So let Your face shine on us

To Your name
We give all the glory
To Your name
Visit http://www.xtralyrics.com
We give all the praise

You're alive
Our God everlasting
So let Your face shine on us
So let Your face shine on us
So let Your face shine on us"

Please understand beloved . . . God will take care of You!
He will care for you and yours!
You are mine . .. forever

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. . . 1 Peter 5:7 . .. Beloved

Casting all your care upon him - Compare Psalm 55:22, from whence this passage was probably taken. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Compare, for a similar sentiment, Matthew 6:25-30. The meaning is, that we are to commit our whole cause to him. If we suffer heavy trials; if we lose our friends, health, or property; if we have arduous and responsible duties to perform; if we feel that we have no strength, and are in danger of being crushed by what is laid upon us, we may go and cast all upon the Lord; that is, we may look to him for grace and strength, and feel assured that he will enable us to sustain all that is laid upon us. The relief in the case will be as real, and as full of consolation, as if he took the burden and bore it himself. He will enable us to bear with ease what we supposed we could never have done; and the burden which he lays upon us will be light, Matthew 11:30. Compare the notes at Philippians 4:6-7.

For he careth for you - See the notes at Matthew 10:29-31. He is not like the gods worshipped by many of the pagan, who were supposed to be so exalted, and so distant, that they did not interest themselves in human affairs; but He condescends to regard the needs of the meanest of his creatures. It is one of the glorious attributes of the true God, that he can and will thus notice the needs of the mean as well as the mighty; and one of the richest of all consolations when we are afflicted, and are despised by the world, is the thought that we are not forgotten by our heavenly Father. He who remembers the falling sparrow, and who hears the young ravens when they cry, will not be unmindful of us. "Yet the Lord thinketh on me," was the consolation of David, when he felt that he was "poor and needy," Psalm 40:17. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up," Psalm 27:10.

Compare Isaiah 49:15. What more can one wish than to be permitted to feel that the great and merciful Yahweh thinks on him? What are we - what have we done, that should be worthy of such condescension? Remember, poor, despised, afflicted child of God, that you will never be forgotten. Friends on earth, the great, the frivilous, the noble, the rich, may forget you; God never will. Remember that you will never be entirely neglected. Father, mother, neighbor, friend, those whom you have loved, and those to whom you have done good, may neglect you, but God never will. You may become poor, and they may pass by you; you may lose your office, and flatterers may no longer throng your path; your beauty may fade, and your admirers may leave you; you may grow old, and be infirm, and appear to be useless in the world, and no one may seem to care for you; but it is not thus with the God whom you serve. When he loves, he always loves; if he regarded you with favor when you were rich, he will not forget you when you are poor; he who watched over you with a parent's care in the bloom of youth, will not cast you off when you are "old and grey-headed," Psalm 71:18. If we are what we should be, we shall never be without a friend as long as there is a God.

I cast all my cares upon YOU Jesus!
He is faithful beloved . . . to the end
laughter maketh like medicine . . .
Annie's Testimony . . .
His grace helps me . . .

"The Widows Prayer of Empowerment"

 

the Widows Ministry Center, Sevierville, TN

 

"Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank you for your Word! It is alive and full of power!

It is active, operative, energizing and effective! It goes to the deepest part of

my nature! (Heb 4:12 amp) It does not return to You void, but will accomplish

that which you please and purpose. (Isa 55:11 amp)

 

When I pray according to your Word, my tongue becomes "like a pen of a ready writer",

writing on the tablet of my heart (Ps45:1) Lord, you actively watch over your Word to

preform it (Jer 1:12 amp) You have given your angels special charge over me to keep me

in all my ways (Ps 91:11) I thank you Lord, that your angels harken to the voice of

your Word on my lips (Ps 103:20,21) to do your pleasure!

Father, according to your Word, I cry out in travail and break into singing for new birth!

As a widow (or a desolate one) I abound in spiritual children!

My territory is enlarged as I spread abroad to the right hand and to the left to possess the nations (Isa 54:1,3 amp)

I thank you Lord, that you establish the borders, boundaries (or territory)

of the widow and you keep them secure.

 

(Pro 15:25) Thank you for the harvest of souls reserved for the widow. (Ruth 2, Deut 24:19)

 

Your Word says that you certainly hear the cry of the widow (Ex22:22-24)

 

I do not fear, neither am I confounded or depressed. I forget the shame of my youth

and I remember no more the reproach of my widowhood;

for you Oh Lord, are my Maker and my Husband! (Isa 54:5,6)

 

I thank you that you provide for me and bless all the works of the hands of those who feed me

and make sure that I am satisfied. (Deut 14:29) You defend the cause of the widow and

call others to plead my case! (Deut 10:18,Ps 68:4,5 Isa 1:17)

You sustain the widow! (Sustain means to heal, fortify and bolster.)

Thank you for that strength in my life!

 

Thank you that you send people around me that "make the widow’s heart sing" (Job 29:13)

You have declared that pure religion (or worship) that you accept includes caring for or visiting the widow in her distress.

Thank you that you place that kind of value on my life! (James 1:27)

 

You have commanded the church to honor the widow. This includes to prize, revere and to respect. (1Tim5:3)

Lord I am humbled by your love. I thank you for the spiritual leaders you

have placed over me, and that as I submit to them, they keep watch over my soul and guard

my spiritual welfare. (Heb 13:17 amp) I praise you that I have a call and a purpose!

That your thoughts and plans are for my welfare and peace, and not for evil;

but to give me a hope in my final outcome.

I praise you Lord, that when I called upon you, you heard me;

and when I searched for you with all of my heart, I found you (Jer 29:11-13)

 

Thank you that nothing can separate me from your Love! (Rm 8:35)

________________________________________________________________________

Pray daily and see what God does!

Love,CarolMarie.

"A widow with MIGHT!"

A New Perspective

When a Spouse Dies

Excerpt from a pamphlet

When human hearts no longer beat and human lungs no longer breath a person is said to die. But, as is said in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, “We are not human beings because of our bodies but because of our spirits.” This is offered as encouragement to those of any faith who know in their hearts that they are still connected to and will be reunited with their married partners in the world to come.

Comments are from people who grew up with these beliefs as well as some who were introduced to them as adults. “Conjugial love” is used to describe a faithful, loving married relationship of body, mind and spirit that begins in this world and is perfected in the next. This love is for all who desire and work toward an eternal marriage.

The following quote, and quotes throughout the book, are from Swedenborg’s writings.

“When anyone passes from the natural

into the spiritual world, he takes all things

belonging to him as a human being

except his earthly body.”

Heaven and Hell

THE USES OF GRIEF

Knowing that our partners are alive and well in the next life is of great comfort, but does not eliminate the need to grieve.

The intensity, of course, varies according to circumstances, but for most it is a painful process that cannot and should not be avoided. It is a necessary part of survival and growth. Grief is actually a gift that might be compared to the benefits of going through painful physical therapy. The more work we are willing to do, the better our physical outcome will be. Grief involves physical, emotional and spiritual effort to adjust to this dramatic change in our lives. To try to avoid it only prolongs it. We have no choice. It forces us to examine what we’ve learned and what we truly believe. It is emotional and spiritual work that can strengthen and sustain us. You may identify with some of these descriptions of the grief process from members of our group.

* “The grieving process…is amazingly painful, physically as well as emotionally.”

* “When my husband died I was mostly in a daze.”

* “Loosing my wife was the greatest struggle of my entire life.”

* “The hardest part was going to church. I sat alone. People shied away.”

*”I got a new job…not on purpose…it caused my grief to be delayed…later however, grief did come.”

*”At first the pain is constant and inescapable.”

*”I miss holding my husband.”

*”When I felt I was making progress I was discouraged by relapses which I’ve learned since are normal.”

“Temptations are spritual labor in us.” Swedenborg

God does not will or cause prolonged illness or what may appear as untimely death, but must sometimes permit these for eternal reasons. This is true of all difficulties during our lives on earth. The longer we all live, the more evidence accumulates that the Lord can turn our most difficult challenges into blessings. When we dwell on the pain and feelings of injustice, we obstruct our ability to discover possible reasons and even blessings of our temporary separation. This change in perspective does not come quickly or easily, but my experience with many people tells me that after a period of time, most have no difficulty recognizing positive growth and change in their lives. The following are quotes from members of the Widows/Widowers group.

* “I have become a better wife to him since our separation.”

*”This experience has opened me to a new awareness of God and His mercy.”

*”I have become stronger and more worthy of my partner.”

*”Since his death, I feel I love him more than I ever did before.”

*”I feel her love and presence in my life.”

*”I’ve learned to pray.”

*”I feel positive I will actually see him again and be with him and that is the greatest joy and comfort of all.”

*”I realize my natural marriage is now done..but now notice my spiritual marriage.”

“A wife becomes more and more a wife and a husband more and more a husband as they become more and more interior.” Swedenborg

You can make it through this time . . . .
Through it all . . . .
He has you on His mind at all times . . .

The Widow Wagon . . .

Standing by her SUV, Joyce juggles her suitcase in one arm, camera and purse in the other. Setting them all down, she opens the back of her car and begins to organize.

Nineteen years have passed since her husband died, and the joy for her Lord and her life continue to mirror her soul. With a last deliberate shove, she rearranges the food box she had put in earlier and standd up to see Marlene driving up the driveway. Joyce grins as Marlene jumps out of her car, ready and raring to go. Marlene, a widow for seven years, never lost her joy nor her energetic excitement for life. She continues to shine. Oh, how she does shine.

" Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

After loading her luggage and boxes, they grab a chair and wait. These two know Modree all too well. They have time for a glass of sweet tea and a short talk as they wait for widow number three to show up. Modree lost her husband five years ago, and the joy? Well, all I can say is she truly radiates with the joy of the Lord. Within minutes, she drives up smiling and happy. And why not? They are going on a road trip together in the ‘Widow Wagon.’

What’s the ‘Widow Wagon,’ you ask?

It’s a sign placed on the back window saying just that – ‘Widow Wagon’ – announcing it to all who happen to glance at three God-loving women piled in a SUV headed for a fun destination.

Is it silly? Maybe. Is it fun? Absolutely. Does it make God smile? Without a doubt!!!

Do you have joy in the Lord? Do you glow with His love? Do your eyes sparkle with His reflection?

Joyce, Marlene, and Modree have the joy, in spite of experiencing loss, difficulties, health issues, trauma: all that life can dish out. They know their Savior has a plan, a purpose for their lives and until they take their last breath, they will live the joy.

These three ladies are my aunts. I am blessed. I love their sense of fun, joy and laughter as they do life together in or out of the Widow Wagon.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

What is the secret to their happy life? Gratitude. Gratitude begets joy.

Are they always happy? Heavens no! All flesh and blood have times of sadness, but these three women search for the positive and they find it, express it, and are grateful for it.

So, if you’re driving down the highway and see this sign in the back of an SUV, just give a big ‘ole smile, wave and maybe honk your horn, because you are passing the presence of joy: the joy of the Lord in their souls all bundled up in one special Widow Wagon. You will be blessed, I promise.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

 

I'm waiting for YOU!

On her bed weeping and crying, the Lord spoke to the Intercessor early this morning . . . “You are not an outcast beloved!” “You are an apple of my eye!” “I will NEVER leave your nor forsake you!” “I have a very special place in My heart for you!” “Draw close to me, precious one—draw yourself close!” “I want you more than you want Me!” “So come sweet one—here I am waiting for you to draw close. . . I’m waiting.”

"Close your eyes beloved and focus on Him"

Thanksgiving 2012

 

Thankful for What We Do Have, Carolyn Moor

 
Seven years ago around this time, I was homeless with two small children. Why? Because Florida had 3 major hurricanes hit within a few months and although, my home did not suffer any damage, I was about to deal with another kind of catastrophe that would take State Farm insurance adjusters over 2 weeks to respond and give me funding and instructions on where to go next after my....

.... accidental house fire.



Started by a candle off my Master Bedroom when a friend unknowingly set an inflamed votive near my outdoor porch draperies and a plant with some dry brush. Somehow, it caught on fire while I was downstairs and lit up the east side of my home very quickly. Fortunately, my neighbor saw it from her window as it spread onto my roof and she ran over immediately to help me evacuate my two sleeping children and take them to her house as to spare them the harsh reality about to transpire.

I returned trying to put out the fire myself with no success until the firemen arrived and insisted I leave my home immediately. Leave my valuables, computer, photos. It's hard to explain the devastation of a house fire. The senses are what I remember the most. The smell on everything. The suet smeared felt everywhere. The charred pieces of twisted iron, shattered glass and black water dripping from the ceiling. The silence of any kind of life existence. The voice in my head wondering where I will go now because Thanksgiving was coming.

I needed clothes, underwear, food...I was scared and weight of the world was felt on my shoulders.

My dear neighbor who saved us, a woman I dearly love, invited us to stay in her studio apartment about her garage. A very small space with a full sized bed and guest kitchen ironically looked out onto my burned house across the way. What a new, awful perspective.

My daughters clothes were saved. I washed them and preceded to go about life and take them to school as if it were another normal day. Truth be told, they saw this as an adventure and honestly, my attitude and approach with them was this- 'you keep doing what you do and be kids' and 'I will take care of all this mess as the leader of our family'. No worries. But I was plenty concerned as I laid on that bed unable to move with the tears falling down my face at what to do first. It was paralyzing.

I was struggling once again. Was it not enough to loose my husband 5 years prior? Looking back, that one year of renovating my home, maintaining my business, caring for my daughters solo and simply surviving again gave me a new appreciation for what I do have.

This catastrophe gave my dear friends the opportunity to do kind things for us. I learned to let them do it. My ego was demolished, just like my home. I lost many 'things' and realized those 'things' can be rented and borrowed. As an interior designer, I rented a whole home of furniture in our new rental home around the corner. I found myself making it ok.

The long hours of burning my 'personal candle' at both ends went towards an existence between two homes: one we lived in temporarily and one I owned that we'd move back into once I renovated. It was the worst year of my life! This dream home I loved was designed by both my late husband, an interior architect, and myself, an interior designer like I said. So this renovation was a very new start in many ways for me. I re-designed it the way I wanted, for Carolyn and not the way 'we' were in that house as a couple.

I think you will find it interesting to know that the ONLY area of my home that was damaged comprised of the Master Suite, porch, closet and bathroom I used to share happily with Chad... The area I could not bear sleeping in again after he died. Since then, I had occupied the Guest Bedroom and was quite content being across the hall from my young sleeping daughters. So, I often wonder, why did all this burn away? I believe God was at work here. In many ways, I was forced to move forward and to see what my future would hold.

One year later, a week before Thanksgiving, I moved back into my newly renovated home that was truly all mine. A home I felt was mine to do whatever I wanted from this point forward. I had earned that right fair and square. No one could say I had what I had because of my late husband.....I felt empowered that I was capable and I felt I could accomplish anything!! All my hard work inside and out was paying off. I will always remember this Thanksgiving of GREAT joy and gratitude. I was home once again.
Prayer for you . . .

God has a place for YOU in His heart . . .

   
  Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
(Exodus 22:22)

For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
(Deuteronomy 10:17,18)

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
(Psalm 68:5)

They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
(Psalm 94:6)

The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
(Psalm 146:9)

The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
(Proverbs 15:25)

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
(Isaiah 1:17)

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
(Jeremiah 49:11)

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
(Malachi 3:5)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
(Matthew 23:14)

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
(Acts 6:1)

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
(1 Timothy 5:4-6)

4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Stay Healthy . . .

Bereavement is Stressful

Bereavement is an immensely stressful event that can take a huge toll on the body, potentially causing all sorts of physical problems, including physical exhaustion, uncontrollable crying, sleep disruption, palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, recurrent infections, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, stomach upsets, hair loss, disruption of the menstrual cycle, irritability, worsening of any chronic condition such as eczema or asthma, and visual and auditory hallucinations.

Effects on the nervous system

Lethargy and tiredness are common physical symptoms of bereavement. The loss of a loved one sets off a powerful stress response in the body, with release of high levels of natural steroids and a heightened state of awareness in the nervous system, especially the autonomic nervous system (the 'flight or fight' system) which controls the body's readiness for action.

The heart responds to this greater nervous drive with an increase in pulse and blood pressure. Even if the person seems slow and down, inside they're in turmoil.

Decreased immunity

The stress response also affects the immune system. Bereavement causes a fall in activity of the T-lymphocytes, cells that are very important in fighting infection. So colds and other minor infections are common.

Pre-existing painful problems such as arthritis may get worse and other chronic health conditions often flare up too. It's common for conditions that need careful control such as diabetes and high blood pressure to go awry.

This partly explains why people who experience personal loss are at higher risk of dying during the first year. Men are at greater risk than women, perhaps because they have fewer support systems among family and friends.

Physical and mental

Psychological problems are also common during intense grief and, as mind and body are interlinked, these can also cause physical problems. Depression can disrupt sleep and appetite, and cause the body to slow down.

Anxiety is also common during grieving, and can cause a racing pulse, hot sweats, poor sleep and loss of appetite.

The bereaved may turn to alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs at this stressful time, compounding their problems.

It's not unusual for people who have lost a partner to clearly see or hear the person about the house, and sometimes even converse with them at length. These visual and auditory hallucinations are part of the normal grief reaction and a very real physical occurrence to those who experience them.

Sometimes these grief reactions are mistaken for signs of dementia or severe psychiatric illness. The end result can be that the surviving partner is given unnecessary medication or even put in a home when what they actually need is help with grieving.

The effect on children

Children are just as likely to show physical effects during bereavement, particularly complaining of tummy pains, headaches, bed-wetting and insomnia.

They may also show behavioural problems, becoming wild and unruly or withdrawn and sulky because of difficulties expressing their grief while at the same time coping with all the normal struggles of growing up.

What grieving children and adults need most of all is quiet support and understanding, a chance to share feelings and worries as well as time to work through their emotions.

Appropriate treatment for physical symptoms is important, so do seek medical advice. But while this may mean medication, many symptoms, such as sleep and appetite problems, get better with simple therapies or even on their own as the person works through the stages of bereavement.

Disclaimer

All content within BBC Health is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the BBC Health website. The BBC is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

BBC.COM.UK

I will focus on You now Lord . . .
You are a diamond in the rough . . .

Tips for Christian Widows . . .

Ten Tips for Christian Widows

A Christian counselor friend says, “If you were my sister, my mother, or a dear friend and your husband had just died, here are the ten things I’d tell you to successfully navigate the waters of widowhood.”

  1. Trust God. Easier said than done, I know. But just do it, one step, one breath at a time.
  2. Trust yourself–for the most part. Don’t let others make decisions for you like what to do with his clothing, when to change your pillowcases, etc. You can do this. On the other hand, realize that this huge jolt in your life can put you in a spin and make some irrational actions seem perfectly logical. Now’s not the time to start an affair, make large donations or rush into plastic surgery. “Don’t make a decision in a storm that you wouldn’t make in calm weather”. ~Max Lucado
  3. Breathe, cry, walk. Kind of reminds you of Eat, Pray, Love doesn’t it? But I wouldn’t advise any of those yet. They’ll happen on their own. Breathing, crying, and walking are what you simply must do.
  4. Don’t worry about sleep. It’ll happen sooner or later.
  5. Take care of your kids and/or grand kids. They just lost their father and/or grandfather; they don’t need to lose their mom or grandma, too.
  6. Read these 3 books right away. First, read Widow’s Key by Linda Lindholm. This is a practical comprehensive step-by-step guide through all the before, during and after aspects of loss. Second, Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace by James R. White. This is a short book that describes the patterns of grief and God’s part in it, so you know you’re not going crazy. Then read Miriam Neff’s From One Widow to Another for some other tools in dealing with widowhood.
  7. Find your support group/board of directors as mentioned in Miriam Neff’s book. Use these people, call on them frequently to help with your many decisions and new way of life. Don’t worry about payback, you’ll do the same for someone else someday.
  8. Get counseling. Attend a GriefShare group, join a Widow’s Walk calling group, find a local grief or widows support group like Widow2Widow, or see a professional Christian counselor. Look up Christian Websites for Widows .
  9. Give this chapter of life to God. This problem is really His problem anyway. Widowed author, Sandra Aldrich, decided to “tithe” her years of life like she tithed her financial giving. This gave her great freedom in the use of her time and in setting priorities.
  10. Rest. It’s OK to do nothing at times. Grief is physically exhausting. Lighten up and give yourself time to recover. Schedule a check up with your doctor, allow yourself some breaks, and don’t feel guilty about laughter or feeling happy again. Don’t feel guilty about feeling sad, either. I love the example authors Ron Marasco and Brian Shuff offer. In their book, About Grief, they write, “Truth be told, as long as mom is not boarded up in her room with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and an Uzi, the situation may not need immediate intervention.”
  11. Oops, I just have to add one more. Give yourself something fun to look forward to. For example, my best friend/cousin couldn’t come to the funeral, but she scheduled herself to fly out to visit me a month after the funeral. I really looked forward to her coming! After she left, a trip to San Francisco to visit my daughter went on the calendar, plus lunches with various friends, everyday walks with my friends, long-distance phone calls, pedicures, long drives (because I love to drive) . . . all sorts of activities I enjoyed gave me things to look forward to and helped me endure those down days when the house was one person too empty.

Posted by Widow’s Key

Darkness - Excerpts from "Tears in the Bottle" . . .

Tears in the Bottle - Darkness

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Creation of the light

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Gen 1:1-5 (KJV)

The Intercessor fought desperately against the rise of the overwhelming fear gripping her soul with so much anxiety that she began to cry out to God for relief in this night season. The snow storm outside had turned into a vicious ice storm, creating much damage to the already taxed power lines that transformers literally blew up with vengeance in exploding from the surges created by the ice and heavy snow already fallen in the area. The explosions filled the sky with a bright blue light as if releasing the tremendous pressure.

This storm that brought snow, ice and powerful winds left a mess of fallen trees and power lines as tens of thousands of residents without power faced the prospect of cold, dark days ahead. Much of the state was without power now and as the Intercessor lie wide awake plunged in the black darkness early that morning, she realized that there was not even a flicker of light for her to see. All was “black.”

Despair slithered in and surged her soul as she now felt extremely hopeless and lonely. “Is this like Hell?” she thought shivering.

The heat was dispelled by now from the power outage and the temperature fell into the low 50’s in her home, as they turned off their generator each night. Pulling her covers over her head, she whispered to her beloved Father, “Oh God, please help us!” She couldn’t take another night without power and the warmth of heat and light. Oh how she had taken it all for granted. “Please help us and let them fix the power lines!” She relentlessly cried out in her hopelessness. The anniversary of her husband passing away had come that same week and she was already experiencing a surge of grief and extreme loneliness.

As she could no longer take the cold darkness, the Intercessor quickly grasped for a flashlight and turned it on. She sighed in relief as she lit a small candle. The grip of fear loosened as she looked around her room. It was her favorite place in the world. It was still there! This was her hiding place where she met with the Lord each day as He waited patiently for her to seek His face. She began to cry in relief as her focus turned to her Beloved. Her thoughts soared as she thought about this moment of despair. “This too will pass!” He responded.

She took a deep breath and whispered, “Thank You!” “Oh Lord, thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me!”

She wasn’t alone . . . He was there . . . waiting patiently—as always. She clung onto His words as tears of relief flooded her soul and gradually washed the relentless fear away. “Why hadn’t she called out about this dilemma two days earlier in her prayers?” She thought. She was sure that it would end sooner. It was kind of “fun” at first, because she would be able to use candles and the new generator she had invested in.

"Why hadn't she used the generator through the night?" Her children and she lived in the middle of town and you can't leave the generator outside at night. If they lived in the country as they used to, it would be safer with less chance for someone to steal in the night seasons.

However, by the third day, it was no longer fun and she carried this burden too long. The force of it all overwhelmed her. She thought about the many others without any kind of generator for heat and cooking. Moreover, the business owners in towns were losing money each day they were closed. She thought about the kids having to stay in their homes not able to go outside to play as it was too dangerous from the fallen lines and trees. This “adventure” had become a nightmare for many. She thanked Him for all her blessings, and prayed for others.

Most importantly, Yahshua was teaching her about the importance of Light for without the “Light of the world” it becomes a dark void, unable to see clearly and extremely lonely. People are desperate to fill that void with anything and everything else. But the only One that could fill that empty black hole in our souls is our Beloved Savior, Jesus. More tears of relief burst forth and fell upon her pillow. Quietly, she wept until she could weep no more. The spirit of fear was finally dispelled and she felt His unconditional Love cover her like a warm goose down comforter. Later that same day the power came back on! Thankfully, she prayed, “I am so grateful that You answer my prayers!” She realized that without Him to comfort her or be with her, she was destitute.

“Father, as I lay down to be refreshed in my natural sleep each night, I send forth before me, all the way to the dawning of a new day, the Blood covered Light of Yahshua HaMashiach who will refresh my body and soul in your eternal mercy, grace and love. I am redeemed from the curse of the law, and the original creation is restored because my Redeemer lives today and He is the source of my restoration! Thank you, my Daddy for allowing your Son, my Beloved to taste death and remove the records held against me forever! My sins are forgiven, past, present and future! Be glorified and magnified each and every day! In Jesus Name I pray . . .  Amen!”

John 8:12

King James Version (KJV)

12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Isaiah 60

1Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

KJV

Father God,

I petition for a covenant of protection over all the widows in the winter seasons, when the ground is frozen and the air is cold, forcing us into darkness. Let the Light of you shine brightly in our lives, despite the darkness covering the earth and the peoples. Let our light shine brightly. Please provide for us and keep us as the “apple of Your eye.” Give us the warmth of Your precious Love, helping us through each and every season. When the holidays come, bring us friends that will never leave us nor forsake us. Reveal Yourself to each one of us in our loneliness. Send laborers to answer our prayers. Thank you for your Love and acceptance. In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen!



To You . . .

To: the widow/widower

To one who has loved and lost their love to death. If you have recently lost a mate in your life and you are going through all of the different emotions you never realized that you had, it is a thing that you think you shall never endure. Losing a mate. But take heart child; you shall be alright.

Trust God, and do not fight the loneliness - it is a part of the grieving process. If it has been such a short while since your love passed away, place this letter away until you can stand to read it.

I do not know exactly what to write, but I have asked God How to write this letter and He has never led me astray. If my deductions are about right, you should be about in the place I was in about right now. Just about to accept what we can never change again. No, it is not easy. I will never say that. It is one of the hardest matters you shall ever go through.

One half of you is totally gone, and it is not coming back, no matter how hard you pretend it is only a dream. It does not stop hurting, not one speck less, but a coping will very soon start to happen. Meanwhile, do not be ashamed to cry. You have lost, your loved one, and your loss is a dire one.

The only reason I know this - I have been there. I did not think I could live, and there were days I did not care if I did live or die.

Death is no respecter of people. Death is a real word, and it is a very real happening. It happened with losing both of my husbands, and I was so torn up and did not think that I could ever get over the loss. But with the Lord's gentle concern and my friends all trying to help, I finally started to come around.

Have you gone through the stage of just being peeved at him for leaving you yet? Then, the feeling of the unbearable guilt that covered you for suddenly having such a hurtful feeling? Then numbness sets in, as if you are in a land far off and cannot find your way back.

I would sit and look at picture albums of hubby , myself and the children and new tears would come out of my dry empty (I thought) soul. Some pictures I tore up. I was mad at him and the world for leaving me alone. I was even mad at God; I had myself several pity parties.

Then I would sit and feel so very guilty. Then suddenly, you think "How on earth could I have ever felt this for my other half?” Yet I was really mad at him for leaving me alone.

Then after about three months, I started to feel like I was the only (I mean ONLY) one who had ever loved him. It seemed the rest of the family steered clear of even talking to me. It was then I got this protective feeling over his memory, because all I did was cry, and I had a need to tell someone how much I missed him. After all we were a part of one another and I had been through the bit of crying until I thought I would go dry, because the tears would just fly out of nowhere.

It was then that I started to write a little about how I felt every few weeks. Eventually I thought of all of the other people in this world who suddenly lose their other half.

I want you to keep this letter and see how many of these steps you go through,

One day I got good and tired of being shunned, like I had the plague or something. Friends did not know how to console me, and I also knew that no matter what they said it was not going to help things one whip-stitch! Only God and time can heal a broken heart. I finally noticed that they had totally quit coming to the house, as they had before His passing away. Our home had been the gathering place for the whole community that lived in our area. We would always gather out on the front porch, with the whole neighborhood resting after work.

We would have coffee and maybe soup when it got chilly, and even sampled new recipes or simply watched the kids play hide and seek or catch fireflies. (Lightning bugs)

Sometimes we would watch hubby run off the stray dogs with his BB gun. We would get so tickled - he would make such a commotion getting up shuffling his body about so dramatically that we just knew he was going to shoot them. We the adults and children cringed at the commotion. The poor dog fairly flew over the hillside with its tail sucked under; just knowing they would soon feel a familiar sting! (When, in reality, most of the time he had even forgotten to bring out the gun, which stayed behind the front door, handy for unwanted strays.) The gun would be in the house.

He would laugh as he made this great big 'kudu' about nothing. Porch sitters would holler and laugh at the nut who had fooled the dogs once more (and we people to boot). My Cager was a fun guy. He would tell stories about when he was this ragged pitiful and poor little country kid and they (the stories) grew bigger and more pitiful and with each telling, over the years, with him being the big macho hero in each and every plot. The hero who always comes out the winner. I never remember him being anything but the main character, and also hero, in each tale.

He never failed to have the glider swing full of enraptured little ones, who looked at him as their hero. Eyes wide with anticipation. Even I could hardly wait to hear how the dragged out story was going to end ....this time.)

My Husband sure could make you sit on the edge of your chair as he elaborated on his new found glory. With his sneaky, unnoticed by others, glances as he looks over at me to see if I was about to once more correct him, or just give up and let him fill the kids heads with his rambunctious stories. (Stories which, I had to admit, even I enjoyed, at times.)

If I failed to correct him, that was his cue to let his imagination go free rein. His tales had a way of running away with him, as all old time story tellers are prone to do, as they are heroes of their own making.

I remember when my children would look at him (almost in ruptured idol-worship) as he talked. They would ask, "Daddy tell us one of your stories------PLEEEEEASE!"

"STORIES?" he would retort. Then, acting almost insulted that they called his childhood a series of adventures. Just plain old stories. Yes, it was hard to lose my Cager and it felt like the better part of me had suddenly disappeared.

There I was, picking up the pieces of my shattered life, which had only truly began to grow after the rearing of our two children. (Our off-spring had lived nearby.) Then it seemed that everyone moved away and suddenly there I was in a house on a hill, all alone. So I shook myself off and said, "It is time to get on with my life, with so many changes. It seems that life is forever in a change." (Even today, it still is.)

I really got upset and one day about two months later when the weather was still warm, I sat on the empty porch, so lonely and all alone.

Suddenly I called Mrs. Smith, my neighbor Colette and Marvin, across the street; I called them from the front porch. Their doors were open and they heard me. I hollered "Help: Hey you guys!"

Boy did that get attention? You bet!

Screen doors popped open and people came running to their porch, "What it is? Jenny? What is wrong? I was crying so hard by then that I could hardly speak as they come through the gate into our yard. I was suddenly scolding them as still others ran up the hillside to my home.

"I am still alive, Just my husband is gone.” I sobbed. "It was him who died. I am alive. I am alive." When I said that I was convincing myself, it seemed.

-----------

Our meetings and front porch days began anew, starting right then. Coffee and chatter was soon heard with just one family member missing, but he left behind some of the funniest tales and many happy memories. I still pull out a memory or two every once in a while from a packed memory cushion just for getting close with him again or trying to show a wanderer the way back to the fold. It hurts to lose to death.

I hate that you have been hurt so badly. I know what it is you are going through. I wanted to help you dear, in some way, and all I could do is share a memory with you. An Idea, I want you to look anew at your own children (if you have any). There you shall discover parts of your mate, still alive, hiding in each one of them.

They are still living, right now. Search for the part - it is there- a little mannerism, or a way of talking, or phrases said, or even, like with me, in tall tales being told on the front porch.

More and more each and every day you shall start to realize that this is only a temporary separation with you two. Keep that clearly in mind, dear. Remember the good and the bad times; you will notice the bad memories will not show their face too often, soon you will find that.


Like I have, that my hubby in my recalling of happenings is still the 'hero' in my memories. Even after thirty years just as if he is here with me. Once more tonight, as I reminisce life long ago.

I close to you, with much love. Know that God is your companion now and He will provide and supply your each and every need. Read Isaiah, 54th chapter. You shall find that He is the mate to the mateless and He will never die and leave you. This as He has so beautifully done for me.

Love, Your friend
in Jesus Christ

Jenny wren

 

Death of a Spouse . . .

Death of a Spouse

By: Beverly - Bolivia


"FAITH, the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen." Hebrews 11:1

This verse is often referred to as the verse that teaches us what faith is, something we cannot see and yet we know exists. This story refers to my Abuela (Spanish for mother-in-law) and my Abuelo (Spanish for father-in-law) which blessed me by allowing me to "See" faith.

My Abuelo and Abuela had come to visit us from Bolivia (their first time in the United States) for a 9 week visit with their son, my husband, and his family. Abuelo spoke some English, however Abuela spoke only Spanish. She had become blind and was now totally dependent on others, particularly her husband.

Near the end of their visit, Abuelo's health failed, he was hospitalized with hope of a recovery that would allow him to return home. In the hospital, on the morning of their 60th wedding anniversary, Abuelo, in his confused state, did not recognize the date, nor was he sure who Abuela was.. Abuela simply clasped his hands and quietly wept, 'Te Quiero, Enrique ( I love you, Enrique)' and then quietly prayed words of honor and praise, thanking God for sixty wonderful years of marriage with Enrique.

I felt that I was tending to an angel in the days that I helped feed, clean and simply pat the feverish forehead of my father-in-law. However, it was in Abuela's presence that I felt I was in the presence of a Saint. Yes, she wept. Yes, she was uncertain of her own future and well-being, but not once did she ask God, 'Why?' or 'How?' Rather, she praised God that He is and will be her comfort and strength.

On the eve of withdrawing all feeding and medication, she thought about spending the night, but we all knew it was not good for her, nor was it necessary any more. She and I quietly knelt by the bedside as she again prayed. She asked not for a miracle to awaken her comatose husband, but rather prayed for God's will and the strength to carry out his will. She recognized God as sovereign, and submitted to His will for their lives. I will never forget that powerful prayer. Here was faith in the face of the darkest moments. (Remember, she was in a foreign country, did not speak the language and now would be returning home alone, with no gravesite where she can visit her Enrique).

I have walked closely with Abuela and have seen faith and love in her presence. I am not talking about just the last few days lingering beside Abuelo's bedside as he slipped into eternity. A woman who prays first thing in the morning, throughout the day , and into the evening before retiring. She has been called a fanatic, super-religious, and close-minded. Yet, after getting to know her more deeply during her 9 week visit, I call her a woman who knows God personally and intimately like no one else I have ever known.

I SAW faith and His powerful love in the face and actions of an elderly "fanatical" Christian, who had and has what it takes to walk through "the valley of the shadow of death," knowing that God makes no mistakes. I'll never be the same. We can comfortably be nominal Christians, just religious enough to say a grace before meals and go to church when it is convenient. Or we can decide to live a life of faith, a life often misunderstood by other, but that does have a reason to exist and believe. A life, that is "...certain of what we do not see." It took a blind Abuela to teach me that. Gracias Abuelita

A Widow's Cry

A WIDOW’S CRY

"I felt so helpless, I sat watching him die
I just had to scream "OH LORD WHY? WHY?"
Lord, I seemed to turn my fury on you
You understood - that's what grief can do

It can break your heart and mar your soul
Death helped old Satan to attain his goal
I felt my world suddenly come to an end
When I lost my husband, my lover and friend."

Never ever in my life have I felt so alone
Being split in two the best half of me, gone
Reassuring myself I say "He'll come back."
Death’s storm is still raging, swirling to black

I plummeted there upon life's troubled sea
With no one to cling to, Lord, except Thee
Lord, do not let the waves carry me away
Hold my hand, as you did Peter's that day.

Anchor my life, so these waves I can ride
Then safe in your bosom, Lord, let me hide,
Then help me to live life, one-day-at-a-time
Lord, then show me how make-one-day-mine

Now stay close beside me, help me rearrange
From my 'old' life to 'new', help me to change.,
Take all hurts-and-longings, show me the way
Then help me to accept life, .as it is today

You know my heart Lord, help me to let go
Of a precious dear one that I've needed so
Tenderly hold me in your big loving arm
Love me, protect me, Lord from all harm

I don't seem to handle this affliction well
I know old death comes straight from hell
Like other diseases, taking loved ones away
Breaking the hearts of your children today

written in love
by Jenny wren

You will never be forgotten . . .
It's okay to grieve . . . let those cleansing tears run like a river, beloved.

A widow's story . . .

With two preschoolers, Diane's life required her to move forward as a parent alone, even though she was feeling consumed and overwhelmed with grief. She shared her story. Yes, we wept with her, hugged, and prayed.

She and her husband, Jerry, had just experienced the miracle of the birth of their second child just months before Jerry was killed in a tragic biking accident. One day she was delighting in their growing family with her athletic healthy husband. In one evening, everything changed. Diane was suddenly left not only as the sole caregiver of a four year old and a newborn, but without the love of her life.

It was hard enough for her to get out of bed at all after suffering such a devastating loss, let alone waking up for 3am feedings. She experienced many emotions. Shock, denial, and grief were intense and rocked her world. Left completely alone and extremely overwhelmed, Dianne relied heavily on the help of family and friends.

 
LIFE AFTER LOSS:

Joyce entered her life, became a wonderful friend and mentor, and introduced her to the widows’ group at her church. Besides coming to the group, they took long walks together, shared family events, and met for coffee or icecream. While Diane would say that Joyce has brought her strength and friendship, Joyce declares that Diane is a huge blessing in her life. Comforting each other has strengthened them both.

Yes, Diane considers it a huge blessing to be part of a group of women who provide her comfort and reassurance. We see her already reaching out to the young widows who come with understanding and great wisdom.

Milestones in Diane’s life include vacationing in Disney World as a family of three. She intentionally honors Jerry by talking about him with her children and telling them about the person and Dad that he was.

 
As we got acquainted, I wanted to make sure I pronounced her last name right. She gave me a precious key to pronunciation and insight into her love for her children. She simply stated that her children are her ‘two rubies.’ Indeed they are!

As she taxis to soccer games, parents, and grows in her faith and strength, one recognizes that God is investing in this precious family.

She was quite busy, which actually helped her through this journey. As each day passed, the sting of death, grief, and despair quickly lost it's pain and before you knew it, a year came and passed away. At first, the pain was excruciating and unbearable but as each year came, the pain became less and less. She learned how to cope with her loss and continue on with her life.

Diane’s words today, “
When I began this journey I was feeling all of this, consumed and overwhelmed, but my faith in the Lord guided me through with his strength and this verse is one I really cherish and realize how true it has been through my grief journey.

a woman's group


You will pass through deep waters. But I will be with you.
You will pass through the rivers. But their waters will not sweep over you.
You will walk through fire. But you will not be burned. The flames will not harm you.

~Isaiah 43:2

He is your hiding place . . . trust in Him!
In His time . . . be encouraged!

Spouse dies . . .

When a Spouse Dies

Excerpt from a pamphlet

When human hearts no longer beat and human lungs no longer breath a person is said to die. But, as is said in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, “We are not human beings because of our bodies but because of our spirits.” This is offered as encouragement to those of any faith who know in their hearts that they are still connected to and will be reunited with their married partners in the world to come.

Comments are from people who grew up with these beliefs as well as some who were introduced to them as adults. “Conjugial love” is used to describe a faithful, loving married relationship of body, mind and spirit that begins in this world and is perfected in the next. This love is for all who desire and work toward an eternal marriage.

The following quote, and quotes throughout the book, are from Swedenborg’s writings.

“When anyone passes from the natural

into the spiritual world, he takes all things

belonging to him as a human being

except his earthly body.”

Heaven and Hell

THE USES OF GRIEF

Knowing that our partners are alive and well in the next life is of great comfort, but does not eliminate the need to grieve.

The intensity, of course, varies according to circumstances, but for most it is a painful process that cannot and should not be avoided. It is a necessary part of survival and growth. Grief is actually a gift that might be compared to the benefits of going through painful physical therapy. The more work we are willing to do, the better our physical outcome will be. Grief involves physical, emotional and spiritual effort to adjust to this dramatic change in our lives. To try to avoid it only prolongs it. We have no choice. It forces us to examine what we’ve learned and what we truly believe. It is emotional and spiritual work that can strengthen and sustain us. You may identify with some of these descriptions of the grief process from members of our group.

* “The grieving process…is amazingly painful, physically as well as emotionally.”

* “When my husband died I was mostly in a daze.”

* “Loosing my wife was the greatest struggle of my entire life.”

* “The hardest part was going to church. I sat alone. People shied away.”

*”I got a new job…not on purpose…it caused my grief to be delayed…later however, grief did come.”

*”At first the pain is constant and inescapable.”

*”I miss holding my husband.”

*”When I felt I was making progress I was discouraged by relapses which I’ve learned since are normal.”

“Temptations are spritual labor in us.” Swedenborg

God does not will or cause prolonged illness or what may appear as untimely death, but must sometimes permit these for eternal reasons. This is true of all difficulties during our lives on earth. The longer we all live, the more evidence accumulates that the Lord can turn our most difficult challenges into blessings. When we dwell on the pain and feelings of injustice, we obstruct our ability to discover possible reasons and even blessings of our temporary separation. This change in perspective does not come quickly or easily, but my experience with many people tells me that after a period of time, most have no difficulty recognizing positive growth and change in their lives. The following are quotes from members of the Widows/Widowers group.

* “I have become a better wife to him since our separation.”

*”This experience has opened me to a new awareness of God and His mercy.”

*”I have become stronger and more worthy of my partner.”

*”Since his death, I feel I love him more than I ever did before.”

*”I feel her love and presence in my life.”

*”I’ve learned to pray.”

*”I feel positive I will actually see him again and be with him and that is the greatest joy and comfort of all.”

*”I realize my natural marriage is now done..but now notice my spiritual marriage.”

“A wife becomes more and more a wife and a husband more and more a husband as they become more and more interior.” Swedenborg

If you could see me now . . .

Dealing with Depression . . .

One of the best ways to keep depression at bay is to get involved in a good exercise program. Get your body moving, keep your heart pumping, allow your brain to stay spiritually fit and above all, serve the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. James 2:17-20: So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.
 
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.” Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this and they tremble in terror!! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, just do what your body allows. As you progress and your muscles get loosened up, stretch your exercise time a little longer. You might want to join a gym, walk with a friend, put on a video and exercise with it, or work out in your yard (pulling weeds is a great time to spend with the Lord and all the bending helps stretch your muscles).

I recently started an exercise program at my church for adults called “Fit In 10.” This is on DVD and is in 10 minute segments each: Tai Chi for Arthritis, Stretching, Balance, Endurance, and Strength. This is a University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture research-based video free exercise class that meets on Tuesday and Thursday each week for one hour. The fellowship of other Christian women is also encouraging!

•  Arthritis – Warm up exercises are viewed as a simple way to help prevent injury during exercise.  It includes agile steps and movements that may improve mobility, breathing and relaxation while warming up the muscles.
Stretching Exercises – Stretching exercises keep your body flexible by stretching the muscles and tissues that hold our body structures together. Stretching is not only recommended to prevent injuries but also to recover from injuries.
Balance – Balance exercises build up your leg muscles and/or focus on your stability. These exercises help prevent falls, a major cause of broken hips and other injuries that often lead to disability and loss of independence.
Endurance – Endurance or aerobic exercise increases your breathing and heart rate which improves the health of your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Increased endurance keeps you healthier and improves stamina for daily activities.
Strength – Strength training or weight lifting makes you stronger by building muscle. This increased strength allows you to perform daily activities on your own. (hand weights are suggested)

Research studies recommend 20 – 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Get your exercise in one of two ways: 10 minute chunks throughout the day or all at once. The research-based Fit In 10 video can be done for 50 minutes or you can pick and choose the segments to create your own exercise program.

As our body needs exercise to keep physically fit, so our soul needs exercise,
practicing being a better Christian; Spend time each morning talking with God, worship Him, and read the Word to keep fit spiritually.
 
Di-nana
I am already there . . .

Story . . .

Standing by her SUV, Joyce juggles her suitcase in one arm, camera and purse in the other. Setting them all down, she opens the back of her car and begins to organize.

Nineteen years have passed since her husband died, and the joy for her Lord and her life continue to mirror her soul. With a last deliberate shove, she rearranges the food box she had put in earlier and standd up to see Marlene driving up the driveway. Joyce grins as Marlene jumps out of her car, ready and raring to go. Marlene, a widow for seven years, never lost her joy nor her energetic excitement for life. She continues to shine. Oh, how she does shine.

" Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

After loading her luggage and boxes, they grab a chair and wait. These two know Modree all too well. They have time for a glass of sweet tea and a short talk as they wait for widow number three to show up. Modree lost her husband five years ago, and the joy? Well, all I can say is she truly radiates with the joy of the Lord. Within minutes, she drives up smiling and happy. And why not? They are going on a road trip together in the ‘Widow Wagon.’

What’s the ‘Widow Wagon,’ you ask?

It’s a sign placed on the back window saying just that – ‘Widow Wagon’ – announcing it to all who happen to glance at three God-loving women piled in a SUV headed for a fun destination.

Is it silly? Maybe. Is it fun? Absolutely. Does it make God smile? Without a doubt!!!

Do you have joy in the Lord? Do you glow with His love? Do your eyes sparkle with His reflection?

Joyce, Marlene, and Modree have the joy, in spite of experiencing loss, difficulties, health issues, trauma: all that life can dish out. They know their Savior has a plan, a purpose for their lives and until they take their last breath, they will live the joy.

These three ladies are my aunts. I am blessed. I love their sense of fun, joy and laughter as they do life together in or out of the Widow Wagon.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

What is the secret to their happy life? Gratitude. Gratitude begets joy.

Are they always happy? Heavens no! All flesh and blood have times of sadness, but these three women search for the positive and they find it, express it, and are grateful for it.

So, if you’re driving down the highway and see this sign in the back of an SUV, just give a big ‘ole smile, wave and maybe honk your horn, because you are passing the presence of joy: the joy of the Lord in their souls all bundled up in one special Widow Wagon. You will be blessed, I promise.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

 

Beware of those with Dishonest Gain . . .

On her bed weeping and crying, the Lord spoke to the Intercessor early this morning . . . “You are not an outcast beloved!” “You are an apple of my eye!” “I will NEVER leave your nor forsake you!” “I have a very special place in My heart for you!” “Draw close to me, precious one—draw yourself close!” “I want you more than you want Me!” “So come sweet one—here I am waiting for you to draw close. . . I’m waiting.”

I will say goodbye for now . . .

I can't believe that you're really gone now
Seems like it's all just a dream
How can it be that the world will go on
When something has died within me?

Leaves will turn, my heart will burn with colors of you
Snow will fall but I'll recall your warmth
Summer wind breathing in your memory
I'll miss you

But there will be a time when I'll see your face
And I'll hear your voice and there we will laugh again
And there will come a day when I'll hold you close
No more tears to cry 'cause we'll have forever
But I'll say goodbye for now

I can't imagine my life without you
You've held a place all your own
Just knowing you were beneath the same sky
Oh, what a joy I have known

On rainy days, in many ways, you'll water my heart
On starry nights I'll glimpse the light of your smile
Never far from my heart you'll stay with me
So I'll just wait

'Cause there will be a time when I'll see your face
And I'll hear your voice and there we will laugh again
And there will come a day when I'll hold you close
No more tears to cry 'cause we'll have forever
But I'll say goodbye for now

But there will be a time when I'll see that face
And I'll hear your voice and there we will laugh again
And there will come a day when I'll hold you close
No more tears to cry 'cause we'll have forever
But I'll say goodbye for now

http://www.metrolyrics.com/goodbye-for-now-lyrics-kathy-troccoli.html#ixzz25N...

There will be a time when I see your face . . . and I will hear your voice
. . . and we will laugh again
Listen . . . .
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
Be encouraged . . . He Loves you! Malichi 4:2 "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."

Letter from Heaven . . .

The Letter From Home

 

First, I had a safe trip. The angels carried me safely into Father Abraham's bosom. Oh, the thrill I felt when I met the one that died for me—Jesus my Savior!

And no matter what you've heard, there's just no words to describe the glories that surround him. I'm satisfied here; every need's been supplied. Just wait till you see my new home!

I'm satisfied because there's no sin here, no murders, no divorce, no abortions, and no need to ever have locks on the doors. Perfect peace reigns here. I'm satisfied because there's no sickness. Why, I've never felt better in my life! I have a brand new body just like Jesus.

And oh, I wish you could hear the singing. David played his harp today, and a great crowd gathered by the river of life and sang a new song. Of course, the angels couldn't sing that song, but they sure were listening. It's really wonderful here, because there are no strangers. Everyone knows me by name.

Why, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego showed me around. Seems like I've been here forever. The weather is great. There's a cool breeze blowing all the time. And you know one of the nicest things, night and darkness never comes. It's light here all the time, for Jesus himself is the light of the city.

Please, remember, I'm safe, I'm satisfied, and I'm not sick anymore. There will be no need for me to write again, because I was told today that nothing here ever changes. In closing, the only thing that would make this wonderful place more complete is for all my family and friends to join me here in Heaven.

I love you!

Author:

Unknown

I am not gone . . . I am in your dreams

 

Thankful for What We Do Have, Carolyn Moor

 
Seven years ago around this time, I was homeless with two small children. Why? Because Florida had 3 major hurricanes hit within a few months and although, my home did not suffer any damage, I was about to deal with another kind of catastrophe that would take State Farm insurance adjusters over 2 weeks to respond and give me funding and instructions on where to go next after my....

.... accidental house fire.



Started by a candle off my Master Bedroom when a friend unknowingly set an inflamed votive near my outdoor porch draperies and a plant with some dry brush. Somehow, it caught on fire while I was downstairs and lit up the east side of my home very quickly. Fortunately, my neighbor saw it from her window as it spread onto my roof and she ran over immediately to help me evacuate my two sleeping children and take them to her house as to spare them the harsh reality about to transpire.

I returned trying to put out the fire myself with no success until the firemen arrived and insisted I leave my home immediately. Leave my valuables, computer, photos. It's hard to explain the devastation of a house fire. The senses are what I remember the most. The smell on everything. The suet smeared felt everywhere. The charred pieces of twisted iron, shattered glass and black water dripping from the ceiling. The silence of any kind of life existence. The voice in my head wondering where I will go now because Thanksgiving was coming.

I needed clothes, underwear, food...I was scared and weight of the world was felt on my shoulders.

My dear neighbor who saved us, a woman I dearly love, invited us to stay in her studio apartment about her garage. A very small space with a full sized bed and guest kitchen ironically looked out onto my burned house across the way. What a new, awful perspective.

My daughters clothes were saved. I washed them and preceded to go about life and take them to school as if it were another normal day. Truth be told, they saw this as an adventure and honestly, my attitude and approach with them was this- 'you keep doing what you do and be kids' and 'I will take care of all this mess as the leader of our family'. No worries. But I was plenty concerned as I laid on that bed unable to move with the tears falling down my face at what to do first. It was paralyzing.

I was struggling once again. Was it not enough to loose my husband 5 years prior? Looking back, that one year of renovating my home, maintaining my business, caring for my daughters solo and simply surviving again gave me a new appreciation for what I do have.

This catastrophe gave my dear friends the opportunity to do kind things for us. I learned to let them do it. My ego was demolished, just like my home. I lost many 'things' and realized those 'things' can be rented and borrowed. As an interior designer, I rented a whole home of furniture in our new rental home around the corner. I found myself making it ok.

The long hours of burning my 'personal candle' at both ends went towards an existence between two homes: one we lived in temporarily and one I owned that we'd move back into once I renovated. It was the worst year of my life! This dream home I loved was designed by both my late husband, an interior architect, and myself, an interior designer like I said. So this renovation was a very new start in many ways for me. I re-designed it the way I wanted, for Carolyn and not the way 'we' were in that house as a couple.

I think you will find it interesting to know that the ONLY area of my home that was damaged comprised of the Master Suite, porch, closet and bathroom I used to share happily with Chad... The area I could not bear sleeping in again after he died. Since then, I had occupied the Guest Bedroom and was quite content being across the hall from my young sleeping daughters. So, I often wonder, why did all this burn away? I believe God was at work here. In many ways, I was forced to move forward and to see what my future would hold.

One year later, a week before Thanksgiving, I moved back into my newly renovated home that was truly all mine. A home I felt was mine to do whatever I wanted from this point forward. I had earned that right fair and square. No one could say I had what I had because of my late husband.....I felt empowered that I was capable and I felt I could accomplish anything!! All my hard work inside and out was paying off. I will always remember this Thanksgiving of GREAT joy and gratitude. I was home once again.

Dear . . .

Dear New Widowed Friend,
 
I am so sorry for your great loss. I know what it is like to lay down at night and to pile the pillows on the other side of the bed so that the bed doesn’t feel that big and lonely. I also know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and to look over hoping that you were just having a bad dream. I remember the many nightmares and sleepless nights... the endless phone calls and visits...the food that came pouring in and the beautiful flowers...the people that helped with my children, cleaning out closets and drawers, and the unanswered questions that would not leave my mind along with the ache in my heart. My husband chose to take his own life many years ago when my eight children were all under the age of ten. The days were dark, life was chaotic, and my circumstances were completely out of my control. BUT GOD comforted me, lavished His grace on me, and has been faithful day in and day out to walk by my side as my new Husband. Your new journey will take T.I.M.E. ~ Trusting In the Mystery of Eternity, hold on tight to God's hand.
 
Job is a familiar book in the Bible telling the story of a man who lost everything that was precious to him . . . his family, his possessions and even his own health. Many people came to comfort him, but no one had an understanding of what he was really going through. His comments during his peak grief season were, “Miserable comforters are you all!” Precious friend, I have not walked in your shoes because I am not you (perhaps a similar style, but not the same size shoe). However, I would like for the Lord to use me to be an encouragement in your life during this season. The kindest thing anyone said to me at the beginning of my new journey was— “Don’t just give yourself one year, take two or three to work through the pain of such a great loss.” My first reaction was, “I’ll be through with this grief process as quick as possible.” Looking back, it took every bit of two years and more! As we approached our third anniversary of the death (our remembrance day), the light began to shine through and the sting of death was not as intense. . .
 
In His Love,
Lori Apon

Since his death . . .

Since Harry died, I have received several notes of condolence from other widows. In talking with them on the phone or by e-mail, I’ve learned that we are all handling grief differently, each in our own individual way. If you are currently grieving the loss of your spouse, or know someone who is, perhaps this personal experience report will offer encouragement, hope, and new perspective. Other grieving hearts will also find helpful guidance in this report.

The message I received from Jan, a new widow with three children still at home, was especially touching. "It's been over five months since Phil passed away," she wrote. "My life with three kids is busy as ever, and I'm finally beginning to work at my weaving and spinning again, but the grief and guilt still hit hard nearly every day. How can I be happy, or excited about something, when he is gone and never coming back? I still cry nearly every day. Such a huge part of my life is gone. As you said, no one to talk to, hug, share with, and it hits you over and over that it will be that way the rest of your life."

 

To Jan and other widows who feel the same way, I would say this: It’s a mistake to think your life as you know it now is always going to be just as it is at the moment. Although some of us will surely end up alone for the rest of our lives, there are worse things than living alone. More important, however, is that we should not presume to know the mind of God or his plans for the rest of our lives merely because we don’t have a clue about this ourselves. Although most new widows (myself included) cannot imagine life with another man, I have two good friends, both of whom were married for a long time and who felt the same way when they lost their spouses. But God sent new mates to both of them a couple of years later, and they found themselves in love all over again. Both told me they could not explain the intense feelings of love they felt for their new husbands, who were totally different from their first husbands, but who were perfectly suited to them nonetheless. In short, never underestimate the heart’s capacity for love! As Pascal once said, "The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of."

 

At a time when I was exhausted from taking care of Harry, one of these new widows described her feelings like this: "All you and I can see now is a long dreary road stretching before us, with sameness of hardship and grief. The fallacy of that is that there are some 'turnoffs' that God may have us take. And we can't see around those bends. There may be joy and brightness and relief there. I can't say that my heart embraces this idea right now, but it is a glimmer for my mind to consider. I am doing okay, not weeping and sad around others, inflicting gloom on them. But I feel I'll never be HAPPY again. I'll find things to do and try to line up with God's plan for the rest of my life, but the joy is gone. It may be that it never returns, and if so, the Lord knows that I will still function and cling to him."

 

Obviously, my friend's joy has returned and she is once again married to a wonderful man and happy beyond belief. So we must remember always to have faith in God, and know that He has not forgotten us. We must remain open to the possibilities that lie ahead, and in the meantime, laugh whenever we can, and do things that give us joy.

 

I took my own advice by adopting a cat, something I had wanted to do for years, but something Harry didn't want me to do at that time. Yet when his end was near, Harry said I should get a cat when he was gone because he wanted me to be happy in spite of him not being there with me. That's what love is all about. We must remember that our husbands are still with us in spirit, and they want us to be happy again, and so does God. As my friends keep telling me—and I'm still forcing myself to remember—we must not feel guilty now or in the future when life gives us a reason to laugh and be joyful again.

 

Trying Not to Remember
Because It Hurts Too Much?

In my first widow’s report, I spoke about how important it was for me to hear Harry’s voice after he was gone and to gather all his favorite things in the room that used to be his office. But not all widows respond to loss the way I have done. Some have told me they could not bear to touch their husband’s clothes or other possessions for as long as a year afterwards. Others have indicated they could not listen to audio tapes or view videotapes of their husband because they just "weren’t ready yet." One woman who always played the piano for her husband couldn’t bring herself to play for a year after he died.

Clearly, widows grieve in different ways, and when we find ourselves in a position to counsel a widow in the future—or anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one—we must remember that what works for one grieving heart may not work for another. And it’s not just widows who have a problem here. A woman who lost her mother a year go told me she couldn’t bear to think of her mom because it hurt too much. "When I think of the good times I cry," she wrote. "So I don’t think of the good times because it is very difficult for me."

 

I can certainly understand this woman’s feelings. However, I believe she and many widows are making a big mistake in trying to avoid thinking about their lost loved one just because it hurts to do so. I’m no psychologist, but decades of just plain living have taught me that we can never solve an emotional problem or escape its consequences by running away from it. You have to meet it head-on and deal with it or it will haunt you for the rest of your life. (See confirming quote from William J. Diehm's book, left.)

 

The Healing Power of Tears.

In the first month after Harry died, I went through our entire photo collection and pulled out the most memory-packed photos I could find of both him alone and the two of us together—ones where we were obviously happy, arms around one another, in different places at different times of life. Yes, it did hurt to remember, and I cried puddles of tears as I framed these pictures and the many small personal items of Harry's in a glass-encased "memory box" (see left). I hung it on the wall above his chest of drawers (and his urn) where I could look at it whenever I needed to feel his presence in my life. And a funny thing happened as a result.

Each day as I studied the contents of this box and recalled new memories associated with each photo or nostalgic item in it, I cried again, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It wasn’t long, however, before I began to ask myself if I was crying for all that I’d lost forever, or shedding tears of gratitude for having had a great marriage and the love of such a dear man for so many years. All this is to say that it's a mistake to avoid remembering the good times because it hurts to do so, for these are the very memories you can stuff into that big hole in your heart. The fuller it gets, the less you will cry. Above all, don’t try to "be brave" by holding back tears when you’re hurting so much inside. Crying is a healthy thing to do because each tear you shed will bring some of your grief to the outside where you can better deal with it. According to the Bible, God saves all our tears in a bottle (see left).

Laughing Pain Away.I kept remembering something Harry always said, that "we two are ONE." Not just two people whose lives had intersected, but literally ONE in spirit. Thus, even though Harry is gone, his spirit still lives in my heart. In many ways, he has never left me, and never will. I can now look at this wonderful memory box without shedding a tear. In fact, as I show it to friends, I often recall a funny "Harry story" that makes us laugh. And that’s just the way Harry would have wanted it because one of his main goals in life was to make others laugh.

For example, the picture at the top of this page brings to mind this funny "Harry story" from 1976: While on a business trip abroad, Harry and I toured a magnificent palace outside the city of Warsaw. To protect the beautiful marble and inlaid floors, all of us in the tour group were required to put scuffs on over our shoes, which made walking hazardous because the floors were as slick as ice. Although most of us were fearful of falling and were shuffling along stiff-legged, Harry quickly developed his own method of maneuvering. He was leading the group as we started down one particularly long hall. Donning a big grin, he placed his hands behind his back in Hans Brinker fashion and merrily began to skate to a rhythm that was unmistakably that of the "Skater's Waltz." No one needed an interpreter to understand his message, and within moments the whole tour group was laughing and much more relaxed. I was the only one in the group who knew that Harry’s back pain that day was intense. But as he did throughout his many pain-filled years of life, Harry never let pain keep him from laughing or trying to brighten someone else’s day—most particularly mine.

Are You Laughing When Others Think
You Should Be Crying?

Some widows may be surprised to learn that they can actually be happy without their spouse, but probably not without some feelings of guilt. I’ve been keeping journals all my life, so it was only natural for me to begin writing letters to Harry when I could no longer speak to him in person. Perhaps the following comments from one of those letters about a month after he died will be helpful to those of you who are feeling guilty when you find yourself laughing at a time when others might expect to see you crying:

"Dear Harry: In remembering the happy three weeks I spent with my sisters after you died, I get guilty feelings all over again about how joyful I could be immediately following your death. I guess it’s because, as your caregiver, I had to suppress so much joy for so long that it took your death to finally release it. Please forgive me for all the laughter I released right after you died. It wasn’t that I was happy about you being gone, of course, but Iwas

relieved that my severe stress from taking care of you was finally over, and grateful that your pain had finally come to an end after so many years of suffering. I was also happy to be in the company of two sisters I loved, who were doing everything possible to give me reasons to laugh.

 

"By nature, I’ve always been a happy person, so it only seemed natural to laugh even when a part of my heart was breaking. But I did have guilty feelings when I found that I could actually feel happy . . .

. . .without you, and I’m still experiencing those feelings. In thinking about this, however, isn’t it natural that I would keep on laughing after you were gone because you and I literally laughed together for nearly 44 years, and laughter isn’t something you can turn off like a spigot. We either have the capability of finding the joy in our life and laughing throughout it, or we don’t. Thanks to my years with you, my ‘funny bone’ was finely honed, and in giving me the gift of laughter throughout our married life, you enabled me to continue on without you, still able to see the funny side of life."

 

As I reported to my subscribers the week before Harry died, his sense of humor was still intact at the end, but now it was sharply ironic rather than funny. In the face of death, it was hard to find anything to laugh about, but we kept trying. At that time, I could relate to something Linda Ellerbee said after winning her battle with breast cancer:

"I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can."

 

The Gift of Laughter

Harry would be amused to know that he is still giving me the gift of laughter when I least expect it. I laugh whenever I play one of his Big Band albums and see a title on the jacket that amused him, too, such as Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die (Les Brown); and I’m Looking for a Guy Who Plays Alto & Baritone, Doubles on Clarinet, and Wears a Size 37 Suit (my favorite Ozzie Nelson tune). I laughed the day I found an old cassette tape that included one of Harry’s favorite songs, I’m Washing Harry Down the Sink. And I must have laughed for five minutes the day I found another tape without a case, neatly wrapped in paper and labeled, "Barb Snoring." That Harry had taped it in the first place to prove I had a snoring problem was funny in itself, but the fact that he had savedthis tape for years (as evidence?) just cracked me up.

I also got a lovely bunch of chuckles the day I received a special gift from Doug MacLeod, a drummer friend of Harry’s who had played alongside him in all the Windjammers' circus meets through the years. They had corresponded for more than twenty years, and Doug not only saved all of Harry’s little hand-written and hand-typed messages, but gave them back to me. These were letters I’d never read, and they were stuffed with information about jobs Harry had played, music he appreciated, people he had met, and, of course, little bits of humor. And what better way to close this report than with some of the funny remarks I found in Harry’s letters to his old friend, Doug.

Barbara Brabec - Author

 

 

You don't love me!

Tears in a Bottle – Unconditional Love

“You don’t love me!” She cried. “You DON’T love me!” She screamed in pain with tears flowing down her cheeks like a river. The Intercessor trembled as she felt the extreme pain in her heart! With no way to alleviate the pain, she looked up to heaven screaming at her beloved Father. “Why does this have to happen!” “Why?” “WHY?” She took a deep breath and sighed, "Why?"

This wasn’t the first time she cried out like this at her Daddy in Heaven. She knew him to be her Father; she knew Him to be her God; she knew Him to be her Provider; she knew him to be her El Shaddai; she knew Him to be her Elohenu, Adoni, Jehovah, and she knew Him to be her Daddy. When she cried out, “You don’t Love me,” like this, it is to her "Daddy" in Heaven. She felt like a small helpless child, and it happens when the pressure is way too much for her.

In her desperation; in her depression,  she longed to go to sleep and never wake up, believing the lies of the enemy! Finally, in her emotional distress, she burst forth as her heart ached longingly in her loneliness, “Oh God, when will I be able to fill this deep void within my heart?” It was this deep void her husband had filled when he was here on this earth for 37 years of marriage and 40 years of being together as they were also high school sweethearts.

Tears once again welled up inside her and spilled over like a flood. She couldn’t prevent them from flowing like this any longer.

Life seems like a living “hell” when depression and self-pity creeps in. Literally, everything seems too difficult to deal with and is apparently without any solution. Nothing seems to go your way.  You feel hopeless, dejected, and hollow. Everything seems “dark and destitute!” How in the world did she get here?

When this depression slithers into your life, unaware, you look at life completely different, and it all seems dismal as if you are somehow being punished. Your heart aches and you feel the sting of rejection. Your body seems to have pains it never had before; Nothing seems to go right for you, and you feel that God has forsaken you! It's all a big fat lie!

As unreasonable as it sounds, you know what the Word says about you . . . but you dismiss the truth and believe the melancholy of your soul.  Thoughts like “there is no hope,” hisses in your ears from the enemy. If that's not enough, if the enemy can find a willing person close to you to be used as a vessel, he will use him or her to do his dirty work! You find yourself, believing the lies from the enemy and finally, exhaustion sets in.

Desperately, the Intercessor cried out in her agony once again, “Please help me!” “I need you God!” “Please . . . oh please help me!” “Fill this dreadful void in my soul, in my heart!”

Dream:

The Intercessor was flying in the sky watching her brother and sister-in-law driving a car flying in the air as well. They landed near a house on a mountain top, and went in with others to commune with one another. The next thing she knew, she was descending into a great valley. She remembers thinking . . . "Oh no, not another valley!"

This valley was unique and unusual, however. It was absolutely beautiful, and filled with  majestic waterfalls and crystal clear rivers everywhere! Each golden hue of the valley was exemplified and absolutely “heavenly” in color. The greens were greener than normal and brighter than usual, and the sky was bluer than blue! There were the sounds of the birds singing joyously and wonderful flowers painted everywhere!  It was a wonderful place to descend.

It bothered the Intercessor however, that she had to "descend" into this valley” as usually a valley is a place of unhappiness in someone’s life she thought. She thought about what was spoken in the Word:

Psalms 23:4

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

KJV

Logically, she also thought about death. Was she entering finally into some kind of death? How could she be “descending” into such a beautiful place? “Why wasn’t she ascending?” She pondered to herself.

Suddenly, her husband (who is now passed away) appeared to her as young as when they first started going together in high school, but seemed strikingly more handsome and extremely attractive to her. She felt drawn to him as he immediately gathered her into his arms and embraced her. Without hesitation he continued to kiss her with a long beautiful kiss to her amazement! She felt deeply loved.

She remembered tasting his kiss and it was truly him, for he had his own taste. She felt so loved and acceptable to him. There were no conditions or preconceived sensuality, but the comfort of true unconditional Love and approval. After all the depression, this was a breath of fresh air to her and truly encouraged her when she woke up. Was her season of winter coming to a close once and for all?

Hosea 2:15.

 

There I will give back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.

KJV

Stress . . .

Bereavement is Stressful

Bereavement is an immensely stressful event that can take a huge toll on the body, potentially causing all sorts of physical problems, including physical exhaustion, uncontrollable crying, sleep disruption, palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, recurrent infections, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, stomach upsets, hair loss, disruption of the menstrual cycle, irritability, worsening of any chronic condition such as eczema or asthma, and visual and auditory hallucinations.

Effects on the nervous system

Lethargy and tiredness are common physical symptoms of bereavement. The loss of a loved one sets off a powerful stress response in the body, with release of high levels of natural steroids and a heightened state of awareness in the nervous system, especially the autonomic nervous system (the 'flight or fight' system) which controls the body's readiness for action.

The heart responds to this greater nervous drive with an increase in pulse and blood pressure. Even if the person seems slow and down, inside they're in turmoil.

Decreased immunity

The stress response also affects the immune system. Bereavement causes a fall in activity of the T-lymphocytes, cells that are very important in fighting infection. So colds and other minor infections are common.

Pre-existing painful problems such as arthritis may get worse and other chronic health conditions often flare up too. It's common for conditions that need careful control such as diabetes and high blood pressure to go awry.

This partly explains why people who experience personal loss are at higher risk of dying during the first year. Men are at greater risk than women, perhaps because they have fewer support systems among family and friends.

Physical and mental

Psychological problems are also common during intense grief and, as mind and body are interlinked, these can also cause physical problems. Depression can disrupt sleep and appetite, and cause the body to slow down.

Anxiety is also common during grieving, and can cause a racing pulse, hot sweats, poor sleep and loss of appetite.

The bereaved may turn to alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription drugs at this stressful time, compounding their problems.

It's not unusual for people who have lost a partner to clearly see or hear the person about the house, and sometimes even converse with them at length. These visual and auditory hallucinations are part of the normal grief reaction and a very real physical occurrence to those who experience them.

Sometimes these grief reactions are mistaken for signs of dementia or severe psychiatric illness. The end result can be that the surviving partner is given unnecessary medication or even put in a home when what they actually need is help with grieving.

The effect on children

Children are just as likely to show physical effects during bereavement, particularly complaining of tummy pains, headaches, bed-wetting and insomnia.

They may also show behavioural problems, becoming wild and unruly or withdrawn and sulky because of difficulties expressing their grief while at the same time coping with all the normal struggles of growing up.

What grieving children and adults need most of all is quiet support and understanding, a chance to share feelings and worries as well as time to work through their emotions.

Appropriate treatment for physical symptoms is important, so do seek medical advice. But while this may mean medication, many symptoms, such as sleep and appetite problems, get better with simple therapies or even on their own as the person works through the stages of bereavement.

Disclaimer

All content within BBC Health is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the BBC Health website. The BBC is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

BBC.COM.UK

Ten Tips for Christian Widows

A Christian counselor friend says, “If you were my sister, my mother, or a dear friend and your husband had just died, here are the ten things I’d tell you to successfully navigate the waters of widowhood.”

  1. Trust God. Easier said than done, I know. But just do it, one step, one breath at a time.
  2. Trust yourself–for the most part. Don’t let others make decisions for you like what to do with his clothing, when to change your pillowcases, etc. You can do this. On the other hand, realize that this huge jolt in your life can put you in a spin and make some irrational actions seem perfectly logical. Now’s not the time to start an affair, make large donations or rush into plastic surgery. “Don’t make a decision in a storm that you wouldn’t make in calm weather”. ~Max Lucado
  3. Breathe, cry, walk. Kind of reminds you of Eat, Pray, Love doesn’t it? But I wouldn’t advise any of those yet. They’ll happen on their own. Breathing, crying, and walking are what you simply must do.
  4. Don’t worry about sleep. It’ll happen sooner or later.
  5. Take care of your kids and/or grand kids. They just lost their father and/or grandfather; they don’t need to lose their mom or grandma, too.
  6. Read these 3 books right away. First, read Widow’s Key by Linda Lindholm. This is a practical comprehensive step-by-step guide through all the before, during and after aspects of loss. Second, Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace by James R. White. This is a short book that describes the patterns of grief and God’s part in it, so you know you’re not going crazy. Then read Miriam Neff’s From One Widow to Another for some other tools in dealing with widowhood.
  7. Find your support group/board of directors as mentioned in Miriam Neff’s book. Use these people, call on them frequently to help with your many decisions and new way of life. Don’t worry about payback, you’ll do the same for someone else someday.
  8. Get counseling. Attend a GriefShare group, join a Widow’s Walk calling group, find a local grief or widows support group like Widow2Widow, or see a professional Christian counselor. Look up Christian Websites for Widows .
  9. Give this chapter of life to God. This problem is really His problem anyway. Widowed author, Sandra Aldrich, decided to “tithe” her years of life like she tithed her financial giving. This gave her great freedom in the use of her time and in setting priorities.
  10. Rest. It’s OK to do nothing at times. Grief is physically exhausting. Lighten up and give yourself time to recover. Schedule a check up with your doctor, allow yourself some breaks, and don’t feel guilty about laughter or feeling happy again. Don’t feel guilty about feeling sad, either. I love the example authors Ron Marasco and Brian Shuff offer. In their book, About Grief, they write, “Truth be told, as long as mom is not boarded up in her room with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and an Uzi, the situation may not need immediate intervention.”
  11. Oops, I just have to add one more. Give yourself something fun to look forward to. For example, my best friend/cousin couldn’t come to the funeral, but she scheduled herself to fly out to visit me a month after the funeral. I really looked forward to her coming! After she left, a trip to San Francisco to visit my daughter went on the calendar, plus lunches with various friends, everyday walks with my friends, long-distance phone calls, pedicures, long drives (because I love to drive) . . . all sorts of activities I enjoyed gave me things to look forward to and helped me endure those down days when the house was one person too empty.

Posted by Widow’s Key

Write a new comment: (Click here)

SimpleSite.com
Characters left: 160
DONE Sending...
See all comments

| Reply

Latest comments

27.06 | 09:09

nice post

...
27.03 | 16:12

If you have questions for Kat Kerr here is her email: inquire@katkerr.com

...
23.12 | 09:52

Bless you Jacky! I so needed this Word today!

...
22.12 | 01:04

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the convers

...
You liked this page