Because He Lives….

Resurrection cake 001

Jesus is LIGHT….Shattering all darkness.

He is TRUTH….Silencing all doubts.

He is LIFE….Defeating death.

Because HE lives,  I can face tomorrow!

Because HE lives,  all fear is gone,

Because I KNOW,  HE holds my future!

And life is worth the living JUST because HE lives!

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!!!

Advertisements

Are You Looking Forward in Anticipation?

Jesus says in John 14:1-3, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also.”

One day during the two weeks before I began my second year of Bible school when all of the work scholarship students were enjoying a picnic after working so hard to ready the college for in-coming students, I met the man God had prepared for me to marry.  He was this strong, well built, blue-eyed, handsome blonde man who had an air of confidence about him that wasn’t arrogance.  Our momentous meeting occurred as I slid into him at home plate during a game of soft ball.  He was the catcher for the opposing team and was not about to give up a run.  I, on the other hand, was not about to give up scoring a point.  The results were torn ligaments in my right ankle and the beginning of a wonderful relationship that blossomed into a very committed marriage of unconditional love.

I never dreamed he would ask me out much less want to go “steady” with me.  He was the first and only man I ever dated.  Our love for each other grew quickly and steadily.  We met in August, got engaged by the end of December and were married six months later on June 22, 1973.

From the end of May until two days before our wedding we were living apart in completely different states.  He was working in a paper mill in Pennsylvania preparing a place for me to be with him.  I was in Tennessee making my wedding dress and doing all those things that a bride does preparing for her groom.

The wait to be together again seem interminable.  Hearing his voice over the phone each time he called only heightened my desire and excitement to see him and be with him.  I cannot remember a more happier time in my life as this time!

We are to anticipate Christ’s return with those same feelings and emotions that a bride feels as she is waiting for her groom.  You remember those feelings, don’t you?  There’s the pure joy of knowing that someone loves you so much that he wants to spend every day of the rest of his life with you.  There’s the impatience of hardly being able to wait another moment to see his face, feel his embrace, and hear him say “I love you!”.

The presence of anyone else in your life is nothing compared to the presence of your groom.  He alone is the most important person in your life.  Your heart is his completely!  You are filled up to the brim and overflowing with so much love and all of the many hopes and dreams of your future together!  The sun shines with a radiance you’ve never seen!  The air is intoxicatingly sweet!  The songs of the birds are more uplifting than ever before!  Even the flowers are more a deeper hue and more beautiful!  And it is all because of his love and the anticipation that you are feeling as you wait to see your groom.

As a widow I find myself not only anticipating seeing Jesus face to face, but also reuniting with my husband.  No.  We won’t have the same husband and wife relationship, but I think whatever relationship that we do have with each other will be far more glorious, absolutely perfect and filled with more joy than the one we experienced together here on this earth for 36 years, 4 months and 19 days.

Do you have a one-on-one love relationship with Jesus Christ?  Is your life working?  Have you ever realized that no matter how much good you do, there is still sin in your life?  Have you ever confessed your sin to God and asked for His forgiveness?  Would you like to ask Christ into your life?  What do you have to lose?

If so, you can pray this simple prayer right now so that you, too, can live in anticipation of a love life eternal with God in heaven one day when either your life ends or He returns for you His bride.

“Thank you, God, for loving me and for sending your Son to die for my sins.  I sincerely repent of my sins and receive Christ as my personal Savior.  Now, as your child, I turn my entire life over to You.  Amen.”

 

Trust the Wisdom of God

“There is some wise end to be answered; some object worthy of  himself (God) to be accomplished–in your bereavement.  He may not, and will not, perhaps, reveal it to you now, for reasons which he can justify.  But if it were proper or possible for you to know it, you would exclaim, ‘Oh the depth of the riches both of his wisdom and knowledge!  How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!’ 

If you could see the wisdom of his plans, and it were then left to your choice to take back your  husband again from the grave, you would not dare to do it, on account of the disarrangement and disorder which you would see must ensue.  Have you not sometimes required something from your children, without assigning any reason, or explaining to them what it would be improper for them to know, or impossible for them to comprehend–and required them to confide in your known prudence?  Is it too much for God to expect this confidence from you?  He is wise–trust in his wisdom.”

John Angell James/The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God

Introducing Georgia Widow Michelle Foster

Michelle, Greg, Kate & Garrett

On April 5, 2012, Greg Foster went to heaven leaving behind his wife Michelle, their 7 year old daughter Kate and 5 year old son Garrett.  Michelle is a friend of  my #3 daughter Charity.  Approaching the 1 year anniversary of Greg’s death,  Michelle wrote something this week that I felt would be a blessing to other widows and I have her permission to share it with you today. 

Turning a corner

March 20, 2013

I think I have turned the corner in the grief journey……..whatever that corner might be. And I say me because the kids don’t know they are on a journey yet.

I know there isn’t a prescription for going through the process of grief and it’s different for everyone. My way of getting through something difficult is being super busy. In that, I have done a remarkable job. I feel like a Gerbil on a wheel lately. Actually, as I look back, it’s pretty much been since Greg passed away. And it has accelerated leading up to these last weeks before the “last of the firsts”. For some reason I keep thinking of baggage the last couple weeks. In terms of life experiences that shape us. As I was thinking about it I made an interesting connection.

When I think of baggage it’s usually a heavy load to carry around or something that restrains me. For instance, it’s fun (at first) getting to ready to travel or do something special. You pack all the goodies you might need. If you are like me, you do drive by packing on the way out the door just in case. By the time you get to your destination you are weary of dragging around all the “stuff ” even though it started out light.  Take that analogy and apply it to life or relationship baggage. It’s the same sort of situation. You are excited about learning and collecting all the new info available. You spend time and effort to get things just right!  Then if anything happens, that time and information can become heavy. For the most, having a life partner pass away from an incurable illness would be considered heavy and produce some serious emotional baggage. We didn’t have that type of situation so sometimes it’s hard for me to figure out what is going on with me!

What I have realized is that my “baggage” is trying to attach Greg or his memory to everything we have done. It has been an attempt to keep him close. To continue sweet memories that included him even though he is not here. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t translate to reality as life continues to move on. It also adds weight to a lot of potentially easy things.

I realized I was turning the corner when I didn’t have to put my wedding rings on everyday or eat ice cream every night. It’s not that we don’t think about him or talk of him almost everyday. But I can go through my day without the added pressure of that attachment. And most of all, it’s alright if I don’t! It doesn’t dishonor his memory or lessen the sweet time we had together. It gives us more freedom to branch out, explore, and thrive the way he would have wanted us to.

The cool part is I can always keep a Greg travel pack close by. I can open it and be refreshed. I can keep him close without it becoming to heavy to bear.

Feel free to send Michelle some words of encouragement or tell her what her writing meant to you by commenting at the bottom.  I’ll be sure that she gets your messages.

What Keeps a Widow from Sinking?

In his book THE WIDOW DIRECTED TO THE WIDOW’S GOD, John Angell James talks about the widow in the moments and days after she is told that her husband has died:

“Astonished at her  own calmness; at her tranquility amide such a wreck of earthly hopes–she at first questioned whether it was indifference, stupefaction, or true religion.  It could not be the first, for she was as sure of her love to her husband, as she was sure of her existence; nor the second, for she reasoned, reflected, and anticipated.  It must therefore, be the last–it must be faith laying hold of the promise, and staying itself in this dark dispensation, upon the name of God.  It must be the power of God perfecting its might in her weakness–the flowing in of grace into a soul, which grace has first made willing and able to receive it.

What else could have sustained her, bereft as she was of what gave to earth its chief interest?  Let that true religion still support you.  What it has done–it an still do.  It has proved to you its reality and its power–still trust it as the anchor of your soul, sure and steadfast.  If it prevented you from sinking, when the shock came first upon you, it can do the same through every future stage of your solitary journeying, and every future scene of your now unshared sorrow.”

What a Widow Has in Christ

Here, say you, is the grave of my dear husband–there, I say, is the cross, the grave, the throne of your Redeemer! 

Here, say you, is his vacant seat at my table, his vacant place at my side, his vacant chair at my hearth–there is God, with his smiling countenance, his heart of love, his covenant of grace, his all-sufficient resources, to fill the vacuum! 

Here, say you, is the weight of woe and care pressing upon my heart, like a huge unsupportable load–but there is not the burden of unpardoned sin, sinking down your soul to the bottomless pit! 

Here, say you is my now gloomy house–there is the house of your God, always inhabited by his gracious presence! 

Here, say you, I am a forlorn creature upon earth, having lost all that rendered the world delightful–there is heaven glowing like a brilliant sky over your head, into which your departed Christian husband has entered, and where you will soon join him in glory everlasting!

John Angell James/The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God

Grief Changes You

In her book Inside the Broken Heart Julie Yarbrough talks about how grief changes us –

Inherent in grief is its power to change us.  Grief can impact us negatively or positively.

Grief can make us:

Stronger                    or               Weaker                       or               Embittered

More Faithful          or               Disillusioned            or               Spiritually Isolated

More Capable         or               Disabled                     or               Dysfunctional

Independent           or              Dependent                  or               Helpless

Wiser                         or              Stubborn                     or               Willful

Deliberate               or              Impulsive                   or               Rash

Change offers two possibilities. We grow, or we remain rooted in a physical and emotional past that no longer exists.  To grow or not to grow is the central choice of grief.  We are forced to change, but we choose whether we grow.  When we grow, we claim life moving forward.  When we resist, we succumb to the past, spending our days in frustration and self-pity.

Life continues to unfold when we dare to grow.  Growth moves us to a new place in life that inspires our reinvestment in the future.  Our faith emboldens us to grow and change through the experience of grief.

For me personally even though grief has made me vulnerable it has also made me stronger and more independent.  Grief has made me much more aware of the needs of others – especially those who have suffered a loss.  It has forced me to take a look deep inside my heart and see things that have been shut up inside a closet behind a locked door.  Grief has caused me to be much more willing to be honest about exactly what I am feeling and to voice those feelings. I am able to now stand up for myself when necessary.  Because of grief, I am trying to do things that I would have never thought I could do.

How has your grief changed?

How has grief changed you?

2 Curriculums for a Widow to do Alone or for a Group for Widows

For those widows who are interested in starting a widow’s group, there is a curriculum that just came out last year by a christian widow named Julie Yarbrough. It contains  a DVD with segments to be played for each of the 8 lessons plus a leader’s guide and a participant book. Here are some links about it and a link where you can purchase it.
cover

Christian widow Miriam Neff also has a curriculum for widows that contains a DVD with segments to be play for each of the 5 lessons along with a leader’s guide and a journal for each of the participants to work in after each lesson.  Here is the link where you can view segments from the DVD as well as purchase that curriculum for either yourself or to be used in a group.