Unload Your Baggage


When the rug was pulled out from underneath me at the death of my husband, I began to do a lot of introspection and really take a good look at myself and my life.  I call it having the lid of my Pandora’s Box taken off.  For the first time in my life I have been forced to see all of those pieces of baggage that I’ve been unknowingly carrying around for so long.  And now I’ve got more baggage to add to those pieces.

The big question is am I willing to take each piece out one by one and deal with them?  It’s unfair to others around me not to have the courage to do that because all of that baggage is going to affect the way that I relate to everyone in every area of my life.

Here are a list of  some encumbrances in a person’s life.  Take a minute to look at them and ask yourself, “God, are any of these true in my life?”

Poor Self-Image      Defeatist Attitude      Feelings of Rejection      Perfectionism      Fear of Failure    

  Procrastination      Suspicious

Lack of Self-Control           Negative Attitude     

Then there are those sins that are possible entanglements in a person’s life.  Take a minute to look at the following and ask yourself the same question, “God, are any of these entanglements in my life?

Unforgiveness      Critical Spirit      Jealousy      Greed      Pride      Deceit      Lust      Unbelief      Anger      Bitterness      Fear

Once you recognize these pieces of baggage in your life and decide to take responsibility for them, if you find you can’t do it alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You may find as I have that recognizing and unloading your baggage is a process and not something that you do all at once.  It takes time.  The most important thing is that your heart is open to the Holy Spirit so that when He is ready to hold up another piece, you are able to see it and willing to unload it.

Recently I heard a message by Charles Stanley on this very subject.  Below is a link for those who want to take the time to listen to it in more detail.

This Week on TV


An excerpt from When Your Soul Aches by Lois Mowday Rabey:

When I was single, people used to tell me, “You are in a vulnerable position when it comes to relating to men.”

“I know,” I would reply.

But I didn’t.  Oh, I theoretically understood that loneliness influenced my thinking, but I never thought I would be tempted to become involved with men in any ungodly or unwise way.  Then the months of singleness dragged into years, and my loneliness intensified.  I found myself surrounded by married men, with few single men in sight.  I began to accept the conclusion that statistics support:  The odds of my remarrying were decreasing with every passing year.

Temptation simmered around and within the community of believers.  I recognized my own undeclared emotional attachments to some of the married men around me, and I was stunned to admit that the ground on which I stood was more shaky than I had ever imagined.

Our culture’s acceptance of morally compromising relationships has seeped through the walls of the church.  Believers are buying the lie that we can follow Christ and at the same time be involved in affairs of the heart that do not honor God.

So be careful–careful of your feelings and rationalizations, of the compromises of others, of the influence of the culture, of your loneliness.  We live in a world that provides loopholes for justifying all kinds of ungodly thinking and behavior, even inside the Christian community.

Questions Widows Ask

Taken from When Your Soul Aches by Lois Mowday Rabey

“……the number of widows who become involved in an inappropriate way is greater than many people think.  While I am not aware of any statistics to support this statement, I can say that I am continually surprised at the number of women who tell me their stories when I am speaking at conferences.  Just when I think I am with a group where this wouldn’t be true, woman after woman comes to privately ask about her relationship with a married man.

Here’s what they want to know:

Should I feel guilty for having sexual desires?   No, sexual desires are normal.

I think a lot about a married man I know.  What should I do?   Recognize your loneliness and vulnerability and the naturalness of your attachment to him.  Don’t be alone with him.  Make a deliberate decision to turn your thoughts to something else when he comes into your mind.  Accept that this temptation may be a struggle, but make no moves in his direction and don’t tell him you are attracted to him.

Some of my married women friends act strange when I am around.  What is going on?    They may feel insecure and threatened by your presence around their husbands.  Try to focus on them and don’t, in any way flirt with their husbands.  Their strangeness may be due to their own insecurity and have little to do with you, but be sure your actions don’t feed their fears.

A male married friend (pastor, leader at church, counselor) frequently calls me late in the evening and talks for a long time.  Is this okay?    If his conversations with you are a secret, this is a red flag.  Protect yourself and end the phone calls.  If you don’t answer his calls–get caller ID on your phone–he should get the message.

Having said all of that, let me also say that if you set clear limits and boundaries for your relationships with men, you can enjoy wonderful friendships with married friends and single man.”

To My Heavenly Father on Father’s Day

Father, you know that this earthly Father’s Day is a hard one for me now that not only my Dad but my husband aren’t here to honor and give gifts and words of affirmation and thanks.  So, I thought maybe I could in some way celebrate with You today.

I thank You for the many blessings known and unknown that You have heaped upon my life.  You lovingly placed me into a family where both parents were following You and taught me to love and honor You.  You allowed me to get a taste of people from all over the world when our family moved from South Texas to Alberta, Canada for almost 2 years.  As I grew up, I had enough respect of You instilled into my life to keep me from making poor choices and thus helping me to have a happy childhood, tween, teen, and young adult years.

You knew how quickly I would fall in love with a man and how devastated I would be if that kind of relationship didn’t work out.  So, You sheltered me and kept me out of the dating scene until I met my husband to be at age 19.  I fell for him very quickly and thankfully he fell for me as well and became my one and only.  We weren’t perfect people, but I thank You for what I felt was a terrific marriage for over 36 years.  I always felt so loved by him and never ever doubted his love, faithfulness or commitment to me.

Thank you for blessing us with 4 daughters who are not only beautiful on the inside, but are beautiful on the outside.  You knew how much I missed by not having sisters and how badly I wanted to have all girls.  You gave me that desire of my heart and I am so grateful for my girls and for the relationship that I have with each one of them.  They are each different in personality and bring something different to the table.  Now that they are all grown and married, not only am I their mother, but they are my friends and friends that I would have chosen for myself.  They have wisdom far beyond what I had at their ages and always have such good advice for me.  There is no way that I can thank You enough for giving them to me and for having them in my life…..especially now.  Yes, they all have busy lives, but I know if I ever need them, I can call them.

You’ve given me 4 wonderful sons-in-law that are good husbands to my girls and good fathers to my grandchildren.  How very blessed I am to have 4 such strong men in this family who love my daughters and their children, are good providers for their family, and who would help me if I asked for their help.  Never do I have to be concerned that my girls and grandchildren aren’t being cared for in the right way.  Never do I have to be concerned that God is not the head of their homes.  How very blessed I am!

My grandchildren all light up my life.  Each and every one of them are so well-behaved and polite.  All 6 of them are getting good home training and spiritual training that makes such a difference in their lives.  They are a pleasure to be with and I love their hugs and words of blessing to me.  My Georgia grandsons just spent 2 days with me and as they were leaving this morning, one of them told me that he wished he lived here in Tennessee so that he could be near family.  The other one told his mother that he was going to miss Nana.  There are no sweeter words to hear from than those.  Thank You for that blessing, Father.

You know how much I am struggling with trusting You now.  I truly never thought I would ever be in this place spiritually – especially after accepting You as my personal Savior when I was 9 years old.  Thank you for not being disappointed in me because You knew before You formed me that this would be my reaction when three of my loved ones went to heaven so close together.  You know my heart and know that I cannot and will not turn my back on You even in this hard time.  Thank you for providing for me each and every hour of the day.  Thank you for loving me in spite of my weak faith and for never ever leaving me even though so many times I cannot feel Your presence.

I know that You aren’t ashamed of me even though I’m so ashamed that my faith isn’t stronger.  I expect perfection from myself in every area and I’m not nearly reaching my own expectations now.  But, You know my frame and remember that I am dust.  I can’t pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and faith, but like one of my daughters told me the other day, those are old pieces and don’t need to be picked up.  She believes that You will rebuild both my heart and faith with new pieces.

I do love you, Heavenly Father.  I truly do love You.  As messed up as I am help me not to be so heavenly minded and focused on what I don’t have that I forget what I do have and am no earthly good.  May my life as broken as it is somehow glorify You and may others in time be able to see that from ashes comes Your beauty.

Single Parenting as a Widow

Lois Mowday Rabey talk about single parenting as a widow:

“I’m afraid to discipline my children too much,” Judy told me with tears in her eyes.  “They’ve been through so much, I don’t want to hurt them.  But they are really out of hand.”  Children suffer the loss of a father in ways they often cannot articulate.  Surging emotions pull them to and fro as their little minds and hearts absorb the impact of their loss.  Because they don’t have the vocabulary to express their feelings, children often voice their grief through disruptive behavior or disobedience.

And sometimes children are just being children; sometimes they push the limits to see how much they can get away with.  Their behavior may be normal kid stuff and not intentionally aggressive.

When widowhood plunged me into single parenting, I dubbed myself a benevolent dictator, with the emphasis on benevolent.  My young children didn’t get to vote on many issues.  They were not able to make choices that fell into the realm of adult decision-making.

Your children need you to be the chief decision-maker in your family.  Kindness and firmness can go hand in hand.  Never abdicate your role as parent.  Children need guidance and help in learning to integrate their loss into their lives in a way that helps them grow, not to use it as an excuse for disruptive behavior.

“Daddy wouldn’t have done it that way!”

Those words ring in the ear of every widow who is a mother.  Ii used to feel guilty because I knew Jack would have done some things differently.  I would try to remember things we’d talked about regarding the girls and second-guess what Jack would do if he were alive.

Then I heard my married friends complaining of similar attempts by their children to play one parent against the other.  I remembered my own ability to run between my parents to try to get my own way if one of them said no.  I realized that even if Jack had lived, I would still had had to wrestle with how to do things.

Children who have lost their father can sculpt him into a perfect figure, posing him high on a golden pedestal, and they use his image to make mom feel inadequate.  I finally stopped trying to live up to Jack’s image and admitted the obvious:  Daddy isn’t here, no matter how perfect he might have been.  “So, girls, you’re stuck with me.  What I say goes,” I told them.

Let go of trying to live exactly as you would live if your husband were still alive.  Do the best you can to instill those important values that your husband wanted for your children, and trust your ability to parent effectively on your own.

If you are struggling in this area, talk with some parents you admire about how they lovingly discipline their children.  Talk with your kids and assure them that you love them.  Let them know that with God’s help you are able to lead your household in an orderly and responsible fashion.

A Widow Needs Friends

“If I have learned anything during my journey on Planet Earth, it is that people need one another.  The presence of other people is essential–caring people, helpful people, interesting people, friendly people, thoughtful people.  These folks take the grind out of life.  About the time we are tempted to think we can handle things all alone–boom!  We run into some obstacle and need assistance.  We discover all over again that we are not nearly as self-sufficient as we thought.

When I look across the landscape of my life, I am able to connect specific individuals to each crossroad and every milestone.  Some of them are people the world will never know, for they are relatively unknown to the general public.  But to me personally?  Absolutely vital.  And a few of them have remained my friends to this very day.  Each one has helped me clear a hurdle or handle a struggle, accomplish an objective or endure a trial–and ultimately laugh again.  I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.  Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.

A special joy binds two friend who are not reluctant to risk danger on each other’s behalf.  If a true friend finds you’re in need, he or she will find a way to help.  Nor will a friend ever ask, ‘How great is the risk?’  The question is always, ‘When do you need me?’ Not even the threat of death holds a friend back.”

Chuck Swindoll/LAUGH AGAIN

Come Up Higher

“As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads wide her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him…”  Deuteronomy 32:11-12a

As a widow I have come to a place where it is time to decide whether I am going to stay where I am spiritually or move on up higher in the intimacy of God’s presence  finding my identity in Him.  I am struggling with this because I want to hold on to my life as it was.  It was a comfortable life that I was used to where I felt very safe and secure.  I was so cared for and loved.  But, that life is gone now and whether I wanted it to or not, my life has completely changed.

This morning I read a story about a farmer who found an eagle egg.  He took it to the hen house and placed it in with the other eggs of a setting hen.  In time all of the eggs hatched and one was the oddest looking chicken the hen had ever seen.  While the other chicks chirped, this one would screech.  When the mother hen clucked, all but this strange looking one would come running.  There simply seemed to be no understanding  between them.  They spoke two different languages.  He was an eagle who was trying to live a chicken life.

One day while he was in the barn yard, a huge shadow passed over him.  It was the father eagle soaring high above.  Father eagle looked down and saw the little eaglet.  He swooped down giving a loud screech.  The little eaglet looked up and father eagle said, “What are you doing down there?  You’re not a chicken.  You’re an eagle.  Eagles aren’t made for barnyard living.  The sky is your domain.  Come up here.”

Now the little fellow wondered what to do.  Up to now, the barn yard had been his home, but he just didn’t seem to fit in.  All of a sudden the truth of who he was hit him.  He discovered that he was no longer a chicken.  He was an eagle. Deep inside him he felt the urge to respond to the father eagle, but when he tried, he couldn’t seem to get off the ground.

Father eagle screeched again, ”Just make a jump and flap your wings.  You can fly if you try.”   The little eaglet made a feeble jump, flapped his wings and landed on top of the barn yard fence post.

Father eagle screeched again, “Child, jump higher.  Try again.  Make the jump and I’ll sweep under you and carry you on my wings.”

The little eaglet did what his father asked him to do and father eagle did what he said he would do.  A mighty jump of faith and the little eaglet was riding on father eagle’s wings on his first solo flight into the beautiful blue sky.

Oh God, you have stirred up my nest and I am no longer a wife but a widow.  I do not want to be in this place at all and I am fighting to accept this person that I so suddenly became.  I know that at some point I am going to have to choose to make a jump and flap my wings enough that You can sweep up under me and carry me on Your wings.  Help me when that time comes to have the strength to do that so that I can come up higher into intimacy with you and find my new identity.