Lessons From My GPS

One of the first purchases I made after the death of my husband was a GPS.  I have always been directionally challenged, but never needed to be concerned about that because my husband was great at finding our way around even before a GPS was ever available.

On Thanksgiving afternoon I made what was to have been a 1 1/2 drive alone from one place to another.  Now I had made this same drive a few days earlier.  I programmed my destination into my GPS and began to listen to the voice as it gave me directions.  I noticed immediately that I was not taking the same route that I had taken earlier.  My first thought was that perhaps the GPS knew something that I didn’t know and I continued on in the direction that it was taking me.

I felt some fear and trepidation as I drove on roads through Pennsylvania that I had never seen before.  I had a choice to make.  Either I could trust that this little device knew where it was taking me or I could turn around and try to find my way back using the route that I had taken a few days before.  The problem with turning around was that it was going to add more time to my drive and I wanted to get to my destination before dark. So, I decided that I would continue on this new destination that I was given trusting that it was the right one.  Despite the uncertainty that I was feeling, I also felt peace that I was not alone in this journey because God has promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Because I spend so much of my time as a widow alone, I am able to better hear and recognize when God is showing me something.  Many times when my mind is going and I find myself with another question, a verse that I have learned will pop into my mind giving me the answer to my question.  Then there are other times that I am fully aware of God using something to make Himself real to me.  This was one of those times and as I was driving along those back country roads of PA not knowing where I was or where exactly my GPS was taking me, the thought came to me that this is just how I am supposed to be trusting God.

Why do I find it harder to trust that God is working everything out for good in my life than I do to trust that my GPS is taking me where I need to go?  That’s the question that I was asking myself as I was driving.  Why is it easier for me to trust a man-made machine than an all-knowing Almighty God who created me with a specific plan for my life?  Why I am so afraid to completely trust that His plan is the very best for me?

When I first got my GPS, I found it hard to really trust it because I like to know my destination.  I like to know in advance and have experience with knowing exactly where I am going.  It was difficult for me to sit back as I was driving, give control over to a little machine, and take one step at a time toward an unknown destination.  I find that this is just as hard for me in life – especially now that I have no life partner going through this journey with me.  It is God and me and I can’t physically see God.

The longer I use my GPS, the more I am learning to trust it and the longer I walk alone with God, the more I am learning about trusting Him.  Losing three of the dearest people in my life – my husband and both parents – has stripped me of my co-dependency on them forcing me to become dependent on God and God alone.

What has God used in your life as a widow to teach you some new things?

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Where Do I Go From Here At The Holidays?

On the second hour of Moody Radio’s Chris Fabry Live, he talked to widow Miriam Neff about unwanted change in your life and how to handle it especially during the holiday seasons.  You can to to http://www.moodyradio.org/chrisfabrylive/,  click on “Past Programs”,  Air Date – November 16, 2012, and listen to what Miriam had to say during Hour 2.  Miriam’s new book for widows is entitled WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

Dear Dad…..

Our youngest daughter Tshanina wrote a blog post to her dad today that I want to share.

by Tshanina on Saturday, November 10th, 2012

dad

Dear Dad,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since you went to be with Jesus. Some days it seems like it was just yesterday that we were laughing together and then other days it feels like it was an eternity ago! Boy, how I miss you!

I think of you so very often! Every time I drive past a Checkers I remember the nights you would bring a bag of burgers home! Whenever I hear someone speak with a thick Pennsylvania accent you come to mind! And, when I see your favorite foods or a lawnmower that’s for sale on the side of the road you are on my heart!

We are all doing well and you would be so proud to see your grandsons and granddaughter; they truly are great kids that you would be proud of! They are growing up so fast! Oh how Joel reminds me of you in the way he talks and his mannerisms; he’s always making us laugh. Jacob will soon be driving (yes, a car!). Levi and Lincoln are outdoorsmen just like you (they both drive a mean go-cart)! Elizabeth is turning into a beautiful young lady! And, although you haven’t yet met Cole, you’d love how he always has a big smile on his face. He calls me Sheena.

You’d also be so proud of mom and how well she’s doing. You asked us to make sure she’s taken care of but she’s doing a great job taking care of herself. Like all of us, she misses you terribly.

Thank you for all that you taught me through the years. I wouldn’t have become the person that I am today had you not instilled so many wonderful values into my heart. Sure, you were strict at times, but I’m so thankful that you cared. Thank you for being a godly example for all of us, for taking us to church each and every Sunday, and for showing us what it means to be hard workers and strong individuals!

I can only imagine how beautiful Heaven is and how much you’re enjoying it there! I know you’re also enjoying time with your grandson, Max. Please let him know that I can’t wait to meet him someday. Tell my two grandmas and grandpa hi for me!

I sure do miss you dad and I can’t wait to see you someday soon and give you a big hug!

Your loving daughter!

God’s Will or My Will?

This week I have had 2 conversations with widows concerning the question that we all ask ourselves – “What is my purpose now?”  This is something that I have spent much time thinking about.  For awhile, I struggled with trying and trying to find it, but in the last few months I have decided that this is something that is revealed to me one day at a time.

God’s purpose for me should be my purpose.  Think about it.  God made me and with my creation He included a plan and a purpose.  God also gave me a will.  Now I will be the first to admit that I am strong willed and I don’t like His purpose and plan for me at this time in my life because it is not what I want.  There’s my will coming into play!

I think that I know better than God what is best for me.  How ludicrous is that kind of thinking, though!  I know better than God?  I think not!  But, that’s the way that my willful heart and mind thinks in a time like this.

I have to make the choice daily to surrender my will to His plans and purposes.  Is it easy? No!  It’s hard because I want my way just like a 2 year old child.

Think of it like this.  A master potter takes a lump of clay and puts it on his potter’s wheel with a plan and purpose in mind for it.  He begins to turn the wheel and work that clay making it into his own creation.  But the clay has a stubborn will and begins to question the potter about his intended purpose.  The clay doesn’t want to be a water jar.  It wants to be a beautiful dainty teacup.

The potter (God) knows that the water jar would have more purpose and help more people.  The teacup would have a it’s purpose as well, but water jar would affect more people’s lives.  Yet the clay refuses to be formed into that water jar and never becomes the best that it could be according to the Potter’s plan and purpose.

You and I can kick and stomp our feet refusing to accept God’s plan and purpose for us.  And God will allow us to do that because He gave us a will to choose His way or our way.  IF we really believe Him, though, we will bow our will to His will trusting that even when we don’t like something in our lives, His plan and purpose IS the best – even when it hurts us and we can’t understand what He is doing.

This is a hard thing to do.  For me, it is a moment by moment choice.  Am I able to do it all the time?  No, because my will gets in the way.  Yet, I know that I must continue to surrender my will to His in order to be the best daughter of God that I can be.  Today is my husband Bob’s 3rd birthday in heaven.  During all of our married life we were never apart for longer than a week.  I never thought I could survive this long without him.  I remember the moment we drove into the cemetery for his graveside service.  The verse that popped into my head was I Thessalonians 4:13 – “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those which are asleep, that you sorrow not even as those who have no hope.”  I am surviving through the HOPE that is in me – my HOPE in Christ.