Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Just Me, but WE...

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

One of our youngest, and newest pastors, Adam Eaton, spoke to the congregation this past Sunday morning about why the church exists". (http://www.harvest.org/media/watch/we-not-me-by-adam-eaton-20141012.html) My mind is still marinating in what the Lord shared. through Adam. He spoke of the early church, seen in Acts 2, and how they were about community, coming together in fellowship, exhortation, and prayer. They existed to build one another up, to glorify God, and to evangelize the world. They were there to spur each other on to do good works, as well as provide comfort when the "bottom dropped out" from beneath them.

Today, the church is intended to do the same. Pastor Adam spoke of what happened when the bottom dropped out from his world when his wife left him, and he spoke of how the church, OUR church, was there for him to encourage him to continue to do what the Lord had called him to do. He was upheld, exhorted, held accountable for his reaction to what his wife was doing, and when the bottom completely dropped out the day his wife decided to file for a divorce, our church stood in the gap, stood by his side, and even carried him when he needed it.

The same was true for me when the bottom dropped out from underneath me in July 2009 when my husband passed away and my church family surrounded me, carried me, and prayed me through the devastating loss of the man that I had spent half of my life with. Without the love of my brothers and sisters in the Lord, I do not know how I would have survived the treacherous path of grief!

I have been thinking about the path. My path. The road no one ever wants. The road that everyone dreads. The road that is inevitable on this side of heaven.


I am the widow chosen to be the coordinator of our church's widows' ministry. I am so blessed to be chosen for such a calling. A calling that I am only equipped for by the grace of God. In the beginning months of my ministry, my main burden was to minister to those who walked through the doors of the church looking for the comfort and guidance that they so badly needed. And while that is still a burden on my heart BIG TIME, my heart is sensing that the Lord wants more.

When we first started the ministry two years ago, me and my co-coordinator Susan Campbell, were focused on providing a way for our girls to fellowship and create friendships. In making this our focus, we have held many events and brought the girls together for Bunco, movie nights, BBQ fellowships, musicals, weekend trips, volunteer work, and we have joined in the fellowship at the church's Surf Fellowship that takes place every summer, every other Saturday. These opportunities for fellowship have brought LIFE back to the widows! So much so that we have been dubbed the "Wild Widows" because we have such a wonderful time getting out there and doing what the Lord has asked us to do...give GLORY to Him. We experience God's JOY when we are able to give Him glory through our circumstances. Is it always easy? NO! But we get out there and hopefully show other widows that they don't have to dress in sackcloth and ashes and curl up into a ball and cry ourselves to death to mourn our husbands. Do we cry? YES! A LOT!! Probably more than anyone that hasn't been through it can imagine. But the enemy loves nothing more than to kick us when we are down, so it is our hope that other widows that see how much LIFE we have in us will encourage them to take the steps necessary to start living again.

Seeing that our ministry has had such an impact on so many other widows, as I said previously, I believe the Lord is calling for something more. I believe the Lord wants to use this ministry to show the married women of our church that when their time comes to be called to widowhood, they will see that they will be blessed by God! The church, just like the Lord, has a heart for the widows. The Lord brought this ministry at the perfect time! There will be widows added to the church today, and in the days and years to come. I used to cry thinking that I didn't want another widow added to our ministry! "NOT ONE MORE", I would cry out to the Lord. But the Lord has given me eyes to see that because death is inevitable this side of heaven, this ministry is a provision from HIM...a gift...for those who will, one day, walk this road. Now they don't have to travel the road alone. The beautiful women of our ministry will be able to come along side each woman who has been given the "assignment" of widow, and walk the road with them so that they will know that they are not alone, and not just that, they will be able to live again.

Not many who are married now actually think about the future in this sense, but it is my prayer that when they see our sweet ladies out and about, or they see our pictures on Facebook, or they hear us hooting and hollering at the top of our lungs while we are playing a game of Bunco...they will tuck those pictures and sounds away in their hearts so that when the day comes, they will know in their heart of hearts that they will be okay, and that the Lord is OH SO FAITHFUL! Praise Jesus!
"For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord." Psalm 117:2

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." Psalm 46:5

This scripture has proven to be quite the promise from the Lord, and dare I say, was written just for ME! God knew the path my life would take and knew that I would need a special word from Him that would help me to persevere and keep going. This verse has seen me through the best and worst of times. It has kept me strong when I have been so incredibly weak. It has given me power by the Holy Spirit as I have received it into my heart and allowed it to transform my life. It has given glory to God as I have continued to walk the path set before me knowing that at the core of my being God resides and stands firm and others are a witness to this. A widows' journey is never easy, but with a promise such as this, the path most certainly CAN be navigated and the experience empowering...by God alone.

This week (July 12th) is the 4th heavenly birthday for my Jay. I celebrate and rejoice that I know where he spends his eternity and that one day I will see him again. But what a journey this has been for me since he departed!! God has shown me so much about myself. For the things that the Lord wanted changed, He has forever changed. For the things about me that He wanted to enhance, He has refined and magnified! He has given and He has taken away. I have been transformed! Blessed be the name of the Lord! I will never know if any of this would have happened if Jay hadn't been taken to heaven. Having that answer really won't even matter when I get to heaven...but I can be thankful right now that the Lord saw fit to use such a traumatic experience to bring forth a "new and improved" ME!

At the 4-year mark of my widowhood, I know that Jay would be very proud of who I have become in the Lord, but more important to me now is that I AM PROUD OF MYSELF! Not proud as in being prideful, but proud because the Lord has accomplished SO much in my new life. When I first became a widow, I lived my life as someone who wanted to be the person I knew my husband always wanted to see me become. As I have learned to live my life completely and sold out for Jesus, I no longer find the need, nor have the desire, to seek that earthly approval. And in seeking the Lord, and discovering His plan to use me for His glory, it is only God's love and His ways that I seek and that is SO fulfilling to me.

So the adventure continues as I learn more and more about who I am in Christ Jesus! I identify more now with being a single woman than being a widow...although I am still a widow. That is some serious healing right there folks! My heart is open to whatever plan the Lord has for my life. I may not always agree on the path, but being obedient to stay on that path that He has ordained for me is what I desire to do and is what I seek after. "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 says it exactly as it is. If you can trust the Lord no matter what the situation; acknowledge that He is in control and LET HIM BE...then He is faithful to guide you along in your life. I have not always been able to do this, but I know that when I am faithful to allow God to work in my life THIS is the end result! God's glory is revealed!

So in my adventures now, I desire to do new things...go to new places...experience life! I want to travel, and try new foods and new cultures. My greatest heart's desire is still to travel to Israel. My heart yearns to walk in the land that my Savior walked and performed miracles...and offered Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for my sins so I may be reconciled to God, my Father! I don't know if I will ever be able to go, but I hold out hope that God hears my heart's plea and will grant me a trip there one day.

Okay, so one of my newest adventures was attempting to SURF! Oh my gosh, so hilarious! But I did surf! I got up and rode a wave in! So cool!! I can't wait to do it again! Check that off my bucket list! LOL
I am always encouraging my widows to not be afraid to try something new. Or to go somewhere on your own. Taking ownership of the life the Lord has allowed for us is the way to receive His ultimate healing in our hearts. I have to live this by example. I desire to show other widows that although you might think that this big of a loss might kill you; it really will not. That is not God's desire. God's desire is for us to find out what His new plan is for our lives and then strive to LIVE in that new life.
Next up on my "trying something new" list is a mud run in September. Wish me luck! But more than that...PRAY FOR ME! LOL. I am excited and terrified...but I will do it! That is how I live my life now. I am excited and terrified, but I will do this for the Lord!
Ready or not, HERE I COME!!
Thank You, Lord, for all that You have accomplished in my life thus far. I look forward to the plan you have for my life. I know I don't always see the road before me, but You are always faithful to take me by the hand. You are my God Who sees ME and loves me and guides me on my specific path that You have ordained for me. Lord, I long to glorify You on this journey that is my life. Help me to see through Your eyes. I love you eternally. I am Yours! In Jesus name. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reflection of His Glory...

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. " 1 Peter 5:10-11

I am still "chewing" on this scripture after having attended a widows' retreat this past weekend in which this scripture was the "theme". The weekend was so powerful, and filled with the Lord's love. 104 widows from several different states coming for a respite from their daily lives filled with every imaginable emotion as a result of the loss of their husband. Each widow with a similar, yet different, testimony to be shared. Widows shouldering each other's burdens to lighten the load...truly as the Lord intended the path of grief to be...comforting each other with the comfort we ourselves have received. His love perfected in the broken hearted.

I have read 1 Peter 5:10-11 before, and of course God's Word is always impactful...ALWAYS alive and can be applied to every situation as you are experiencing it.  And the same scripture can speak differently to you in the various circumstances you go through...so no matter how many times you have read the same scripture...its meaning is significant where you are at...right this minute. So this weekend as I was fellowshipping with my widow-sisters, and as I was contemplating this scripture...it took on a brand new meaning for the place that I am in right now in my widowhood.

The road has been a long one for the 3 1/2 years that I have been widowed. Some days seemed much longer than others...but I have persevered and traveled this road, putting one foot in front of the other even when I didn't feel like moving...AT ALL. Truly, the suffering has been extensive for more years than I have actually been a widow. It began the day my husband Jay was diagnosed with cancer and continued on long after he died from it. So, when I read something like this scripture that tells me that my suffering will be for "a little while"...the next question is, just how LITTLE is little?? Well, if the Lord has a different plan for each individual person...then obviously, the answer would be that it is different for everyone...and it is up to the individual to WAIT upon the Lord for His still, small voice to tell you that your time for suffering from a certain situation is over.

And with that, the Lord whispered in my ear this weekend that my time of suffering from the loss of my husband has ended. Let me make myself clear...my grief HAS NOT ended...I still think of and miss my husband...but the physical, emotional, and monetary suffering that came with Jay's death has come to an end. I am no longer sickened at the thought that Jay is in heaven. I am no longer extremely emotional. And I am no longer suffering the financial straights that I was left in when he passed. I have been set FREE from my suffering!! Praise Jesus!

I was already feeling this very thing in my heart these past few months, but over the weekend at this widows' retreat, the Lord confirmed to me that because I have suffered "for a little while" He is now at work perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling me. What a tremendous GIFT!! The Lord saw fit to show me just how far I have truly come in my grief process. This gift is my reward for being diligent to follow His road, His plan, and His Light no matter how difficult it was! This is an amazing testament to His faithfulness to meet me where I am at and grow my faith in Him and to add to my own personal testimony...and to be used for what purpose??? TO BRING HIM GLORY! Will there be more suffering in my life...absolutely, YES. But my suffering for this season has come to a close and I am ever so grateful for His healing touch on my heart. May His work in my life and in my heart be perfected according to HIS will and HIS plan!

To God be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. AMEN!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

When I gave my life to Christ, I had no idea what HE would be able to do with a simple minded, wretched woman like me. As I look back on what the Lord has done for me in my life, I am blown away at the extent at which He has seen fit to use me, and my circumstances, to reach out to others.

I started writing this blog when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and I recognized my absolute need for Jesus and I set out to seek how He would use that trial and everything that came along with it. It was my own personal journey with Jesus...my faith-walk. It was my reminder to myself of what the Lord had accomplished through my peeks and valleys...

And then people actually started reading it, and being encouraged in their own tough circumstances...such an amazing feeling for me because I never thought my life, and the events of it, would speak to anyone...except me. But God uses every THING and He can use everyONE!

All of these years later, and I just found out through Google that my blog has been visited thousands of times, and in several countries! SERIOUSLY! People in other countries, not just my little corner of the world and not just my sweet friends who want to encourage me and help me feel good about my writing! LOL

People in the USA, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa and Latvia have read about my journey. I don't even know where Latvia is! LOL! But it's true...you just never know what the Lord will do with your circumstances in order to glorify Himself! You don't know how the trials you are experiencing will touch someone else's life.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

That says it all...

Thank You, Father, for the reminder that I need to allow others to see YOU through me and through my circumstances. Thank You that there isn't anything that I go through that goes to waste. You use everything! I praise You for Your guidance. Thank You for living in my heart. May YOU receive the glory for anything good that is in me. Help me to continue to shine Your light, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

All Things Work Together...

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Well, here it is...I have finally reached the point where I can actually SEE the Lord's handy work and greater purpose for my life! It is a milestone I didn't think I would ever reach.Throughout all of the grit and gore of my mourning, the Lord has proven to be faithful to me and He promised me through His word that He would use everything for His purposes. This promise I have held onto with a death-grip since even before Jay passed away!

When you are the one swimming in the "sea of grief" it is very difficult to fathom that the Lord could use such a devastating circumstance to encourage others and bring glory to Himself. This would be why HE is God and I am NOT. My quickly failing, over-the-age of 40 human eyesight, has given way to divine clarity in recent days...and MY GOD will receive the glory for what He has placed before me.

I have a heart to minister to other widows. I have had that burden on my heart for a couple of years now. The Lord has strategically placed widows in my life for me to encourage throughout my mourning process. He was preparing me all along for this calling. I will be the coordinator for the new widow's ministry at my church! This is a BIG responsibility and I am taking it very seriously. The enemy would love for me to be distracted or scared, but I am so excited for this opportunity to love on my widow-sisters. It fills my heart with such joy to be able to encourage a sister on her journey through mourning the loss of their husband.  The Lord is healing me more and more with each time I am able to encourage someone to not give up hope. It is true - you really do receive comfort by comforting others. God's word is more alive now than ever before!

For a very long time there have been no ministries that I truly felt like I belonged in because of my widowhood. When you become a widow, you sort of feel like an alien. You're "technically" single, but you certainly don't feel single. You're "biblically" married to the Lord (Isaiah 54:5), but that feels foreign because you are used to having your human husband with you and he is now in heaven. You have no single friends, only married ones, and you often feel like a third wheel when you hang out with them. You just don't feel like you "fit" anywhere.

So NOW is the time! The Lord has given me the gift of a "place of belonging"...and I am blessed to help other widows find their place of belonging.

Romans 8:28...Oh yes, the Lord truly does use everything to serve HIS purpose and bring glory to His name!

He is faithful.

He is good.

He is ever-present.

He is merciful.


Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Salt and Light...

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." 

~Matthew 5:13-16

One of the pastors of my church just spoke about this scripture this morning for our staff devotions. First, it is such a blessing to work for my church...second, it is a blessing to be held accountable to the Lord through a staff devotion...God is SO GOOD!

The message this morning pierced my heart with the spear of TRUTH. The first verse, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?", reminds me that, as a believer, I need to keep my walk right with the Lord so that He may use me to speak HIS truth. If I don't keep my heart right and get the junk out and fill it with God's Word then I am not allowing myself to be that salt in a world that is desperate for healing.

Salt is a preservative. Salt is an antibacterial agent used to ward off disease. Salt promotes healing.

I was exhorted to look within my heart and ask the Lord what things He might want me to change, idols to be gotten rid of; find what might be holding me back from fully serving Him. I am still allowing Him to search my heart and speak to me. I want to be fully yielded. I want to be that open vessel used to help others for His glory.

The second part of the scripture, "You are the light of the world...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."...WOW! That one packs a punch!  Being "the light" is never an easy task for this dark world we live in. There are things and people that I experience everyday that try to dim the Lord's light within me. I have to admit that the past few years have proven to be a trial so difficult that I really felt as though the light in my heart was dimmed to a small spark. But as the Lord so faithfully reminds me, even a spark, when properly provoked, can become a forest fire! I have been praying for the Lord to fan this flame in my heart that it might bring about a massive wall of fire. I SO desire to shine a light for Jesus' sake.

Jesus died for me, for my sins! It is my desire for people to know that and recognize the fact that I truly am a JESUS FREAK! His love for me will never die. I am saved from an eternity of death and despair because of what Jesus did on the cross. This is what I want the WORLD to know...that they have a Savior that loves them and there is an abundant life awaiting them if they only open their hearts to believe. I want to have a BOLD faith! I don't want to disguise or hide my faith in Jesus Christ. I want my faith to be a beacon of HOPE for those that feel like they have none.

Listening to the exhortation from our pastor really made my heart JUMP with excitement! I desire to serve in missions. Pastor Rick serves over the missions ministry. He spoke of the many opportunities to serve throughout the United States, Mexico, and now Haiti. As he was speaking and showing the pictures and describing the scene of destruction that they often find themselves serving in. People whose souls are downcast, and they only need one person to throw arms around them and pray for them and show them the love of Christ.  THAT'S ME!!! THAT'S ME!! Send ME Lord!!

So that will be the thing that I seek after the Lord for. Provision and prayer, asking the Lord to provide a way for me to serve Him and shine His light in the missions. That is my heart's desire. I will be actively pursuing the Lord's will and timing for serving in missions field.  Until then...it starts at home. How can I help others who live near me? What can I do to glorify the Lord in my own little town? How can I be that salt and light?

Thank You, Lord! I wait expectantly for an answer from You. YOU are faithful! May You receive the glory for anything that is good within Me! In Jesus name. Amen!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Stillness in the Lord...

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

This scripture is ever present in my life. I can't tell you how many times this scripture has "somehow" (we all know how...or should I say "Who") been placed before me. Nearly every question that I ask of the Lord can be answered with this scripture...

  • Lord, I am not comfortable with this circumstance. How long will it be like this?
  • Lord, why do I feel like things just aren't the way they should be?
  • Lord, I need to make some changes, what would You have me to do?
  • Lord, I desire to have someone new in my life, is that what You have in Your plans for me?
  • Lord, I don't know what to do in this situation. Will You help me?
All to be answered with..."Be still and know that I AM God."

No one likes to sit and wait. Everything in life is rush, rush, rush...but I am being continually reminded that when God says "I AM"...that means HE IS! And you just don't question it. God is in control, and when the weight of the world rests on my shoulders, I have only to remember this promise, that He IS God and I am to BE STILL and trust Him for His plan to reveal itself to Me in His perfect time.

There are stirrings in my heart for things that I'd like to do as a ministry. I have been praying for a long time about a widows ministry. For obvious reasons, I am drawn to the care of widows. The Lord is slowly revealing things to Me and prayerfully it will lead to a ministry at church, but if it's not His will for it to be a ministry at church, it could just be that I need to make it my personal ministry. My heart has received much healing from the Lord as I have ministered to women I know, and some that I don't know, that have become widows. We share a common bond that not many (thankfully) women share. But as I get older, it is happening more and more. I believe the Lord has gifted me with a heart of mercy so that, as I have grieved the loss of my husband, I might be able to comfort other widows with the Lord's comfort that I have received for myself. I know for a fact that the Lord is using my testimony to speak to other women who have suffered this loss so that they can see that it is possible to survive, and thrive, after such a deep wound has been opened in their hearts. God is faithful to bind those wounds!

Another stirring I am experiencing is to visit cancer wards at hospitals to minister to patients and their families. I have witnessed for myself that there are many people who endure these things completely alone, with no loved ones by their side. And then you have those patients who have entire families there by their side. My heart goes out to both! I have been the caregiver, but not the patient...but I do have an understanding of what the patient goes through. I am seeking the Lord so that I know how HE wants Me to serve these people. All in His time.

No matter the circumstance, there comes a season in which we have to BE STILL so that we can hear the voice of the Lord speak and know how to move forward...and also so we don't get ahead of Him and HIS work! And in every bit of circumstances that we are to go through, we are to recognize that HE IS GOD and act accordingly. Yield to Him for the circumstances that have been allowed to come to us. He is faithful to lead us through them as we trust Him to guide our steps.

Lord, my life is Yours! I wait on You. Amen.