Looking Toward Summer!

Summertime is always an exciting time of the year to look forward to. Depending on where you are in life, this can be exciting, or it can be difficult to decide what to do!

What are some of your greatest memories of summertime?   As a child and growing up in Minnesota, there was a lot to look forward to – out of school for the summer – spending time at camp – and spending overnights with friends.  We lived out in the country and there were not many kids that lived by us, so sometimes it was boring.  As kids we had plenty of siblings to hang out with, but that was not always exciting, but we made the best of it.  By the time I was about 8 or 10, my four older siblings were either married or living in an apartment with friends. Often, we would break up the summer by spending a couple of days with my siblings.

To me summer is always something to look forward to.  It seems the older we get, the more we anticipate a brighter tomorrow. As those who are mourning the loss of a spouse, it may seem like forever before we will look forward to brighter thingsIn 1 Peter 5:7 it reads: Casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you. That may be difficult to accept but it is so true!

When we are at the darkest part of our lives, the Lord seems so far away.  We wonder where he is and why He allowed this to happen to us.  We forget that He is in charge and has the right timing and answers.  Psalm 9:9-10 promises us this:  The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  However, while we are going through it, we have our doubts which are so natural.

I know it seems unlikely when we are hurting, but summer is coming.  The sun will come out. There will be those sad days of remembering but if we can turn our thoughts into happy days, it is amazing that we will smile again – maybe with some happy tears.   One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28 which reads:  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

My prayer is that you will feel God’s peace in you.  May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you.

Blessings to each of you!


Oh to find peace!

As we try to imagine how our life will be changing as we walk down this journey of widowhood – it truly is difficult to imagine life alone.   Who can we trust?  Who can we follow down this path with?  Each of us has a unique journey and handles things differently. 

None of us pays attention to those who have buried their spouse unless we are walking that journey.  I believe that is mainly because we do not want to or dream that we will ever have to go down that route. It is much easier to overlook the unhappy things in life and enjoy the happy things in life, right?

When we receive the news that our spouse has deceased, our reactions are either of disbelief or of horror.  Unfortunately, many of us have been near our spouses when this has happened.

  • We were sitting next to them when it happened.
  • Our spouses were ill and we were anticipating his death.
  • They either were in a car accident or a work-related accident.
  • Perhaps they were out of town when it happened.

Personally, I do not believe any of these are easier than the other! So many what if’s….  Unless you know someone well when they lost their spouse, one doesn’t think about these things.  I Corinthians 4:2 (NIV) reads:  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

There is a lot of good info in scripture regarding widows of the Bible.   Miriam Neff has written a Bible Study by the name of Not Alone.  It is an excellent study and one I would do again.  The widows she has studied in this book are:

  • The widow who gave two coins – Luke 21:1-4 – generosity
  • The widow of Zarephath –  Keturah   part 1 – I kings17:  8-16 – focused
  • The widow of Zarepath – Keturah   part 2: – I kings 8: 17-24 – Independent
  • The widow and the Unjust Judge – Luke 18:1 – 8 – Persistence
  • The widow and her pot of oil Jezabel – II Kings 4:1-7 – Faith-filled
  • The widow Naomi – book of Ruth – Experienced
  • The widow Ruth – the book of Ruth – Courageous
  • The Widow Anna Who Prayed – Luke 2:36-38 – Prayerful
  • The widow Mary – the mother of Jesus – Luke 1:26-38 – Tenacity/Determination
  • The widow Abigail widow of Nabal then bride of David – I Samuel 25:2-42 – Industrious
  • The widow Tamar – twice widowed and childless – Genesis 38 – Risk-Taker
  • The widow Bathsheba – II Samuel 1:11-26 and II Samuel 12:24 – Resilient

We can learn from each of these widows in the Bible.  I would suggest reading this book to help you move forward.  There is a lot of good insight in this study.

As we handle each new step along the way, we do have peace. 1 Timothy 5:3-5 reads:  Honor widows that are widows indeed.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, trust in God, and continue in supplications and prayers night and day.

It seems we just need the confidence that we can do it.  And we can with God’s help!  We may also need the guidance of other widows.  In Matthew 25:40  it reads: – And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I would encourage you to meet regularly with another widow.  Perhaps for coffee, texting back and forth or on the phone.  Rest assured you will be able to move forward and live life whole again.  Does that mean we will not miss our spouse – absolutely not!

Scripture suggests we put our trust in the Lord.  Proverbs 3:5-6 reads:   Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. May you feel God’s blessings and peace in your life. 


New Beginnings!

What is you’re feeling about coming into a New Year?  For the most part, I look forward to the new year.  In reflecting in the past, my reflections are based on the previous year as to how that went.  If it was a good year, I would think on what happened and how I handled it.  If it was a year of challenges, I would ponder on what I could do to handle things differently. 

In checking scripture, I found this verse and was surprised as I had not heard it before.  Exodus 12:2: “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.  At first, I took it literally.  But then realized the first month could mean any month that you have changed.  However, being it is the beginning of the year, I am going to suggest you think about what you may want to change in your life.  That certainly does not mean you CAN change anything right now, but you can pray about it and think about it. 

God promises to be there with us.  In Revelations 21:5 He says:  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”   God IS seated on the throne and is in charge.  As he states, these words are trustworthy and true.  But when we are going through tough times, this is so hard to believe isn’t it?  When we are hurting and wondering what is next, a lot goes through our head.

It is easier said than done to put behind us what is driving us crazy.   Philippians 3:13-14 reads: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the “goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Schedule an appointment with a counselor.
  • Study the scriptures to help you through this.
  • Speak with your priest, pastor, or Rabbi.
  • Talk with a fellow widow who has gone through this journey who may have some helpful hints.
  • Keep a journal.

This does not happen overnight but with time you will be able to get through this journey.  Take your time with this process!  May I suggest you also make a list of pros and cons about what you are going through.  Many times, we just need to analyze on paper what is happening.  Not everything we able to change, but we can look at our lists to see what we can.  Cross off those things that are too much to handle currently.  Start with the small things.  Try to meet new people who have gone through what you are going through. 

Another promise from God is Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads:  “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  This scripture stands true to so many things in life that we go through.  Please keep in mind that Christ Jesus is there for each of us every step of the way.  Will we continue to have some tough days – absolutely!   However, there will be fewer and fewer tough days.   Will they totally go away – they will not.  We certainly do not want to forget those we have loved and lost. 

May God direct your path as you look forward to this new year.  Be patient with yourself and allow God to be in charge!

Blessings to each of you!


Transition to a Different Life!

This may be your first or second Christmas without your spouse.  You may be wondering how or why I would suggest newness in your life when this time of year may be so difficult.  As we walk step by step into our new journey, we will learn how to take a step at a time.  Will it be easy?   No.   However, with proper guidance, and the help of Christ, we can learn how to walk in this life.

There is so much between the Old and New Testament which relate to Jesus’ birth.  In the Old Testament, Isaiah 7:14 reads: Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  In the New Testament, Luke 2:10-14 reads: But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt regarding being told they were to be the parents of Jesus.   You may think, how does this relate to  with widowhood. Think of this as a metaphor.  Can you imagine what they were going through?  To those who have not lost a spouse, they can not imagine what you are going through either.  We do need to trust Jesus to help us walk through this new stage of life just a Mary and Joseph did.   Unfortunately, we are not told when we will become single again.  

While searching what you are going through, consider Psalms 34:18  which reads:  The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.  In the New Testament in Matthew 11:28 reads: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Perhaps another word for rest would be peace.  The promise from God is that He is there with us each step of the way.  He promises to give us peace but we need to rely on Him! 

Can we do this?   Yes, we can but for each one of us it is a different journey.  Rest assured that down the road, it takes time.  There will be days you may be feeling this just is not happening.   There will be days of sorrow and days when you feel like God is definitely not with you at that time.  Rest assured that He is!

In Psalms 67:7-8 it readsFor You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  This is God’s promise that he is our help.  In Luke 2:14 it reads:  Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.  Again, God’s promise is to give us help!

I pray you feel God’s presence in your life as you go down this journey.  May you be able to hold another widow’s hand as she walks this path.  Just as God has helped so many from Biblical times to today’s times, He is there for you!

Blessings to each of you.  If you feel like you need to chat, please let me know. 


Precious Memories

An older quote of Snoopy said, ‘To always hold on to the beautiful memories Snoopy’.  Its ok to cry sometimes.  Take solace in knowing that who we have lost will forever live on in our hearts.  Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and fall down my checks.

That is just so true.  Even though for some of us it is recent, for others it has been years.  How we decide to handle these losses is up to us.  Or maybe it depends how deeply affected we are.  Once again, we all handle things differently.

Let us think about us as individuals being it is close to the holidays.  Considering we are feeling down right now and thinking about what we remember, let us think about doing a few of these things:

  • Schedule a massage, pedicure, or manicure for yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to turn down events that you are having a difficult time deciding if you want to attend. 
  • Be open with your family and friends on what you are feeling.  Unless they have walked in your shoes, they may not understand your choices.   But that is ok.  For now, it is about you!

Some of the best conversations you may have, is to talk about the memories you have had that you no longer share with your spouse.   Some of these memories can be fun stories or things you really miss.   Perhaps you can claim this verse from Psalms 34:18 which reads:  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  What a sweet thought to remember that the Lord is right there with us.

Some of the special memories you may remember are:

  • The vacations you two have had.
  • Your children and grandchildren.
  • The favorite things you did together.
  • The silly things you two have done together.

These memories are so important.   Not just in the beginning, but for a long time.  It seems the longer one is widowed, the more important the memories are. 

Things to do to remember your spouse over the holidays: 

  • Put together a memory book of your spouse.  Invite others to add memories to this book. 
  • Make or purchase a holiday decoration in honor of your loved one.
  • Donate to a charity of your choice or your late husband’s favorite charity.
  • Continue to hang the stocking of your loved one.  Let your guests know ahead of time to bring a written note of your loved one.  As they arrived, put the note in the stocking.  During the down time, share the stories with all.  The stories can be funny memories or something special they remember.
  • Hang onto your spouse’s favorite coffee cup and bring it out for each holiday.

I had often wondered how I would share our memories, especially with our grandchildren.  At the time of Dan’s death, my children were out of high school but no one was married, nor were there any grandchildren.  I knew I would just have to wait to see how we all handled that when the time came.  Over the years, I became involved with genealogy.  Little did I know that would help in telling stories.  As the grands got older and started asking more questions about their Grandpa Dan, it became easy to talk about him.  These just became easy stories to talk about, laugh about and share with them.

Let’s take time to think about those memories to share!   One of the many things I have learned over the years is, these memories are so important.    One of the many promises in the Bible is from Joshua 1:9 which reads:  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Be patient with yourself these first holidays without your spouse.  May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you.

Hugs, peace, and blessings to each of you!


Changing Friendships….

When I reflect on the friendships I had when Dan died along with those I had met over the years, it seems they belong in categories.  Just thinking about this, it brings back good, bad and some sad memories.  However, I wanted to reflect on this as we need to take a look at those who are our good friends and those who were only in our lives for a while.  I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, but a way to reflect with things just being the way they are.

Most of us had friends who were couples which is/was terrific.  Others of us had separate friends – I had separate girlfriends and Dan had separate guy friends.  Seldom did we do separate things and if it was, it was a coffee, a lunch or a movie.   We treasured the things we did together as a couple and with other couples.  May you remember that God is your intercessor.  In Job 16:20-21 reads:   My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man, he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.

I often hear from widows that no longer have separate friends, as the friends they had before, were friends of their husbands who passed away.    However, as these friends seem to drift away, they feel as though they are left alone.  When I observe these sweet ladies along their journey, I watch how other widows begin to walk by their side.  Before long, they are walking along the side of another new widow. 

There is a great old hymn by the name of ‘Great is they Faithfulness.’  I often think of this hymn when I am questioning God.  This hymn reminds me that God is great and is by my side at all times regardless if I think He is or not.  The lyrics of this hymn are:

 1, Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; 
there is no shadow of turning with thee; 
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; 
as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness 
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, 
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, 
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Refrain

This hymn is written based on Laminations 3:22- 24 which reads:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”

I know it isn’t easy when we are down and out or we feel as though we do not have a close friend to share what we are going with.  Rest assured that God is always with us!

We may need to remember that:

  • You may feel second or third to anyone else and think no one notices.  It’s amazing how someone will step up to the plate that you had no clue who they were.
  • You may go several days without hearing another human voice.  James 1:27 reads: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Scripture encourages Christians to visit the widows and orphans. 
  • As we go through this new journey, what is God asking of you?  What are your gifts which you can share with other.  This may be a little early in your journey to consider, but I would encourage you to discover where God would have you serve as a healing process for you. 

May you honor those who have been in your life and the new friends you are meeting along the way.  My prayer is you will find that special friend if you are feeling lonely.  I know this sound cheesy, however, God is ALWAYS with you.  May you find peace in Him!

Blessings to each of you my friends…


Talking to our adult children after a loss!

We certainly grieve differently as a spouse than our children who have lost their dad. It seems in the beginning of our loss; we all grieve differently and often neglect or forget to check to see how our adult children are doing.  Perhaps, we assume that they will let us know how they are doing.  Or they may not be ready to talk to us about their dad.  Perhaps all involved, are not sure what to say or how to say it.   Grief Share counseling is a good way to start if you are struggling with this. 

There are several practices in parental grief.  They are:

  • #1 – Face your grief face to face with Christ.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) reads: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. If we as adults are not dealing with our own grief, we will be less helpful to our children. It is best if we are comfort receivers from the God of all comfort.
  • #2 – It’s normal to feel the emotions of grief, sadness, fear and anger.  Grief has a piercing sting that wounds deeply. We need to allow our children to vent and lament.  It isn’t easy especially when we are going through the grief of our spouse. One of the scripture verses reads:  Romans 12:15 (NIV):  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Easier said than done when you are unable to communicate with your adult children.
  • #3 – It’s helpful to prepare when possible. If your spouse died suddenly, it isn’t easy to prepare ahead of time.  However, once you acknowledge your spouse has died, it is so important to talk about what happened and what is expected going forward.  Be sure to talk openly with your children with any questions, concerns apprehensions and fears they may have. If this is difficult for you, your minister or funeral director will be able to help with the questions.
  • #4 – It is possible to hope.  The hope we have is in Christ.  Christ is the Father who hears and cares, the Holy Spirit gives compassion and the Son gives us peace.  Remember that life triumphs over death, hope over hurt and Christ over the devil and evil.  Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV) promises:  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This may be the first death you have grieved.  With that being said, how do we help our children no matter what their age is.   Keep in mind, the ages of your children will differ because of their age.  If you have adult children, I would encourage a couple of things.  One would be to go to counseling as a family or each go individually.  Keep in mind, we all grieve separately. If you have younger kids, I would suggest the following books:

Every situation is so unique.  We cannot compare our situation to anyone else.  With that being said, there are some things that are often similar.   Unless one has gone through a death of a parent, they truly do not understand what it is like to go through this journey.

As a parent, it isn’t easy to know who to handle this situation.  We want to be there for our children but it isn’t always easy.  We can only take a day at a time.  We must realize that each one of us has a unique relationship with who we have lost.  Thank goodness for patience and forgiveness as that is what will get us through our process of this journey.

Hugs and prayers to each of you.  Remember to be patient with yourself.  God is with us each step of the way and will continue to be with us.


What directs your choices in your journey in life?

It is so easy to let things like fear, difficulty and trouble in our lives to direct us on how we handle what we are going through.  We often think we are not going to make it through this journey.  Depending on how low we are, may depend on if we make it through or search for help.

Try not to let fear fuel your choices.  It is so easy to do: 

  • Don’t worry about what other people think. 
  • Focus on you at this point. 
  • Don’t forget to be true to yourself.
  • No matter how weird this sounds, love yourself.

Scripture promises God will help us along the way. In Psalm 37:5 (NLT) It reads:  Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.  Sometimes it is easier to read than believe – but it is true. 

When fear, trauma or difficulty threatens you, try to resist the fear that overwhelms you.  Again, I know it’s easier said than done.   God will carry you through as He promises in Psalm 55:22 as it reads:  Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.  We need to focus on God as His promises and His power to fight on our behalf.  There are times when it is really difficult to keep our focus towards God. 

The book of Psalms has so many promises that God is and will continue to be there for us.  Psalms 145:15 (NLT) reads:  The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it.  Many times, for me personally, I just need to step back and let this settle in me to believe God is and will be there for me. 

While we are going through this journey, it feels like we are going through the wilderness and it can seem so draining, doesn’t it?  Perhaps we need to be in-between for now for us to grow nearer to God.  Before we were married and at some point going forward, we will feel God’s peace.  Hebrews 10:36 (ASV) reads:   For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.

Take a few minutes to think about your ‘in-between time’.  Think about a time what you were going through or have gone through!   How did you or have you handled the situation?  What did you learn from it?  How did you renew your faith, trust or patience?  In James 56:11 (NIV) it reads):  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy!

It seems everything we go through in life; we go through for a season.  Sometimes it seems forever and other times it is just for a while.   Remember, no matter what we go through in life, God is there for us every step of the way.  This doesn’t mean it will all be easy but if we can look back at previous times in our lives and see where we have been, it does make it easier.   I pray each of you has someone to talk to about what you are going through.  Or perhaps journaling works for you as it often does for me. 

Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 (NLT):  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Another great promise!  However, be patient with yourself!   What you are going through isn’t always easy to go.   But rest assured, if you take a one step at a time and talk with someone you trust, you will succeed with God’s help.

Blessings to each of you.  Remember you are awesome and we are here for you.  


What’s my next step?

It seems we certainly remember going a lot of places when we were married with our spouse don’t, we?  Now that we are alone, in the beginning, it is just easier to stay home than go out alone.  There comes a time when we need to take that next step.

Over time, we will be able to do this.  We had quite a discussion about this at our last coffee.  Some of the new widows thought they would never be able to do this.  However, as we talked about it, they realized how far a lot of our widows had come.  We were able to remind these new to our group that for them, just coming to coffee for the first time was a huge step.  Timothy talks about being alone and states in 2 Timothy 4:16: “No one stood by me the first time I defended myself; all deserted me.  But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength.”

Be careful though, as it is easy to either become a busy body or become secluded.  You may be thinking it is easier for me to accept than it is you as I have been a widow a lot longer.  However, the reality is that God is with us each step of the way all of our lives.

Often times, we are hardest on ourselves.   Are you able to give yourself grace without feeling guilty?  In Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) it reads: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  This could mean something as simple as being ok with having cereal for dinner.  Or perhaps trying to decide if you will accept an invitation but not sure you are ready to depending on where you are in your stage of moving forward.

Be aware that God’s goodness is with us always!  When we are down and out or second guessing ourselves, we often question God being with us each step of the way. Often times we just need to ask God for His help and rely on His goodness. That’s not to say there may be times we question our decision.  Remember, God is with you each step of the way.

Once we take the first step of getting out and about, it will become easier.  May I recommend meeting up with a widow’s group or a widow within your church, perish or synagogue. 

May I suggest starting with small things first. 

  • Things such as going through the drive thru to purchase a cup of coffee. 
  • Or perhaps going inside the coffee shop with a book and read a bit. 
  • This may sound off the wall but going to a movie by yourself. 
  • Grocery shopping.  I mention this as a lot of times grocery shopping was done as a couple.
  • Or perhaps going for a walk outside by yourself.

Within time, God will reshape your broken heart.  Scripture tells us in Psalm 94:19:  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.  Perhaps allow God to reshape your heart like His. You will begin to do things you never thought you would be able to. Remember to take one step at a time. 

Rest in the Lord that He will be with you each step of the way. 

Blessings to you!


What to expect of your new life?

Oh, how life seems to be changing since the beginning of Covid 19 from a couple of years ago! It seems like many lives have changed regardless if they have become widowed or not.  Life certainly changes a lot with becoming widowed and we seem to feel so alone!  With that been said, our lives all changed on what we were able to do because of Covid. 

If your spouse has died within the last couple of years, you are aware of the how you were or were not able to plan their funeral. Many went ahead and had a small funeral and later on planned a celebration of life for their spouse.  Also, many of the Grief Share groups were not meeting or meeting via Zoom.  Although Zoom works for most people, it is not as personal as meeting together.  At our last coffee a couple of weeks ago, there were about 12 that have not joined a Grief Share Group either because they were new to widowhood or the groups were not available to them when they were ready for it

Each widow who was there, was there for a reason.  Some of us have been widowed for many years and some brand new.   I am working on figuring out how we can put together a Grief Share session soon for our ladies.

For each of you who had a loss, what to expect in your new journey is difficult to understand.  In 1 Timothy 5:3 and verse 5 reads:  Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. Honor widows who are truly widows. … The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.  These verses are so real but when one is going through this journey, it may be difficult to totally understand.  We truly need to have someone who understands this journey to help us along. 

So much of the scriptures talks about how we can rely on God to help us through so many things in life.  If we do believe this, God will put those in our path to help us through this stage of our lives.  Acts 9:41 reads:  He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.

You may have had many events in your life which you have needed to heal from the wound.    Each of us processes things differently even though many parts of our journey are similar.  As you have gone through difficulties in your life, how have you reflected on what did or did not help you?  Some options of hope may be:

  • Meet with someone who has walked down your journey to see how they handled different situations.
  • What is your belief in God?  Do you have a faith that would help you sustain what you are going through?  
  • Talk with your pastor, priest or rabbi where you attend church.
  • If it is medical, speak with the hospital to find out who you can talk with.
  • What about your trusted friends?
  • Perhaps join a support group that helps with what you are going through.
  • I also recommend a counselor to help you through this difficult time.

Remember God is there to be with us each step of the way.  Psalms 68:5 confirms He is with us by reading:  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. I so understand that as you are walking this path, there are times you may not feel this.  Take one day at a time or one step at a time!   You may need to open up to someone you trust to help you through this. 

His promise in Romans 8:38-39 reads:  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Remember, even though sometimes we do not feel God near us, He is!

Please know you are in my prayers.  This may be a tough journey right now, but you will get through it.  I highly recommend you talk to someone on the list above.

Blessings to each of you!!!!!


Loving Yourself

As we learn to live our lives in a new role of being just one, we will learn how to love ourselves as one and not as a couple.  This sort of sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  Yet, the reality is, as we remember what we had as a couple, we may learn to live uniquely by ourselves.  Even though some days may be tough, with God’s help, we can do this!

I just finished reading a book called, The Inner Voice of Love – A Journey through Anguish to Freedom by Henry J. M. Nouwen.  There was a period in his life where he journaled while he was struggling with who he was.  He decided to put his writings into print.  How often have you felt this way and wondered if you were truly loved Do you truly love yourself?  What are you truly feeling about yourself?  Proverbs 19:8 reads:  To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.  At what point do you believe this?!

I’m not saying that by being married or in a relationship you always felt loved.   But once you are alone, one realizes that you were loved most of the time.   Every relationship has its days, but just knowing you have someone to come home to is such a big relief.   We often get lost in who we really are, until we are alone. 

What do we do now?  Many have moved with their husbands and families to a new area at some time in their life.  Then they became widows and have moved from where they raised their children or were married and left family and friends behind.  When they move, they were looking for new adventure and ideas of how they would get involved with others to help with the process of meeting new friends.  This happens more times than not!  My heart aches for those who do not have close family or friends near them at this time in their lives! 

So how do we do this?    Scripture reads:  Luke 21:28 (NIV) When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  When I first read this, I thought there is no way this applies to widowhood.  But it applies to all things in life that we go through.  It is so important to stand tall.  However, it is easier to complain, have self-pity or be overwhelmed.  I am not saying this is wrong, but it is easy to go down that path.  There are many days, it is easier to feel sorry for ourselves no matter how long we have been it has been.

Let’s take this a step closer to who we are.  Yes, God is our healer and totally understands who we are and what we are going thru.  For those of us who have friends and family close by, we know we have support.  Perhaps many of you have a strong faith and that helps.  However, when we go through something traumatic, our emotions go way out of whack!  Many of you have received information from the funeral home you went through for a list of what to do.  If you need to check to see how you are doing, go to:  https://www.widowmight.org/where-to-start/

If you are new to this journey, I would suggest you become involved in a grief group.   You can check out where there are locations close to you by going to:  https://www.griefshare.org/.   Or go to Brighter Days Grief Share at:  https://brighterdaysgriefcenter.org/about-us/.  This facility has grief groups for children that are very good.

Please connect to someone who has gone down this journey.  No one knows how to handle this better than one that has gone through it.  The Widow Might Organization has several groups around the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  They also have a lot of information on there web site.

Please take time for yourself!   Evaluate what stage you are at.   No matter how long you have been on this journey, it is important to take a look at ourselves to stay on track.  Deciding on what you want to do with your life going forward may be difficult to do, but it helps to take a look at where you are at, to move forward.  Reading Ephesians 5:2, it says:  And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Live a life filled with love …

Perhaps remembering the love, you have had with your spouse or significant other, the love of God helps you through this and meeting new friends will help you also.  My goal for each of you would be to get connected with a group of widows who understand what you are going through.  They will be there to hold your hand that first year and help you get through it.  With in time, you will become the widow that is holding a new widow’s hand to help her through it.   This happens time and time again.  For some, the change is in six months to a year.  For others it is two or three years, but it does indeed happen with support of others. 

Within time and with God’s help, you will find you have become confident and truly love yourself! I remind you that it takes time, one step at a time and having someone walk with you down this journey.

May you feel the love of God’s arms wrapped around you.  He is there for each step of the way.  Blessings to each of you reading this.  God does love you and is there for you!


Bored – Sad – Happy

It seems that we are often bored and need to figure out how we are going to move forward.  Just remember it takes time and often we need to figure that out!  Each of us handles this a bit differently.  Being involved with a widow group helps us to work through this.   Job 8:21 reads: “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”  What a great promise! 

Chuck Swindoll has said, “Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.”  How do we get to the point that we can smile and have laughter as part of our daily life again?

Sadness is such a big part of grief.  We often wonder if we will ever be happy again. As we think about those we loved, these memories will help us heal and once again laugh.   Proverbs 14:13 reads: “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.”

I am aware that often it is easier to seclude oneself as we are feeling so alone.  My prayer is that you have a couple good friends that are watching over you at this time.  This may also be a good time to journal or keep notes on what you are doing or going through.  If you find you are isolating yourself quite often, I may suggest making an appointment with a grief counselor, meet with your pastor, priest, or rabbi.  Another idea may be to talk with your doctor.   Each of us handles this type of stress differently.  Pay attention to your body.  Our bodies have a way of letting us know that our emotions are affecting our bodies.

For any of you who I refer to as seasoned widows, perhaps keep an eye open to someone who has just lost a loved one.  This may be a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, or a good friend.  God does have a promise for us all.  Proverbs 31:25-26 which reads:   She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  The day will come when joy and laughter in our lives again!

In my early years of widowhood, I often felt like I had a fake smile.  It was easier to have a fake smile than a sad face then be asked what was wrong.  Ever felt that way?  As I began to heal, I was able to talk about what I had gone through and how I was working through it.  There are a lot of great books on widowhood to read to help you.  These are just a few that you may want to check out:

With time joy, will come in the morning.  Luke 6: 21 promises:  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled.   Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.  As I often say, be patient with yourself.  We will always miss those we have loved and lost.  The time will come when you will once again laugh, be not so bored and not so sad.

Blessings to each of you.  May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you!


Love – Guilt – Loss?

It seems with the holidays behind us, and spring around the corner (or let’s hope it is really around the corner), this time of year gives us time to reflect.  We reflect on the good times we have had and things we may be looking forward to.  What do you or I want to do going forward?  What are we holding onto from the past that we need to let go of?

When we have lost someone, we love, sometimes it seems we think there was more we could have done.  Or things we wished they would have said more often. Many of you have been blessed with amazing marriages.  Others really had to work at it.  Still others, there marriages seemed like a roller coaster ride.  No matter what your marriage was, we probably all have a few regrets.  Along with a lot of great memories.  Try your best to remember the good times. 

 Micah 7:19 reads: “…He will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Let them go because you have been forgiven.  To me this says, God forgives us no matter what we have gone through in our lives.  We definitely are not perfect here on earth but someday, when we get to heaven, we will be.  We can not undo what we wish we would not have done…

Every once in a while, I ask widows how they handle this.  The answers are different but often the same.  It just depends on their marriages.  One thing I love to hear is when they decide to do things that they enjoyed doing together even though they are no longer together.  Many travel with new friends or alone.  Others will get involved with things that they wished they would have before, but their spouse didn’t like to do. While others get involved with volunteering. 

Something I rely on is found in Isaiah 50:7 which reads: “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”  My thought is, God has been there for me before and will be with me again.   With that being said, that doesn’t mean life will always be wonderful.   I have said many times, just put one foot in front of the other and eventually it does get easier.  We will always miss the loves of our life and that seems to be a given. 

Others have shared with me that their spouse loved butterflies or birds.  It seems when they are missing them or wishing they were close by, all of the sudden a bird or butterfly will be nearby.  A friend of mine, her husband loved yellow butterflies.  If one stopped on a flower on her deck, she would say something like ‘Hey Steve thanks for thinking of me today’ and then go on about her business.

 I totally understand how lonely it can be and there are days it is ok to feel sorry for yourself.  However, keep tabs on yourself as to how often you may feel this way.  It depends on how you are feeling and where is God during these times.  Rest in Christ that he will be with you as he says in Romans 8:1 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  He is with us even when we think he isn’t! 

When times are tough, please reach out to someone who has walked down this same journey as you are.  Things may be different between you but they are often very similar.  Join a widow’s group.   If you are not attending a church, may I suggest you find one.  Seek a counselor in your area or perhaps your pastor, priest or rabbi. 

We cannot change the past, but we can move forward by taking one step at a time.    Remember to know that each person goes through this journey at their own pace.  Some ladies go through grief share 3 or 4 times, some only once and some never go.  You need to do what is best for you!

Blessings to each of you my friends…   God loves you and is with you each step of the way.


What to expect during the holidays!

Well folks– it’s that time of year already!   The time during good times, we look so forward to! We may have looked forward to the holiday with the traditions of the past or perhaps the new traditions we have decided to make.   Easier said than done on making changes, isn’t it?!   So much has happened to a lot of you during the last year or maybe even two years.  Go easy on yourself!  I know I have said this many times, but please just take one day at a time or just one step at a time.

Anyone who has gone down this path, totally understands how tough this time of year is.   One verse that comes to mind is Psalms 34:18 which reads:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  This verse is God’s promise that He is there for you and I.  This doesn’t mean life will be easy.  It’s a promise that God is always with us.

Let’s take this blog in sections.  Let’s remember what you have had:

  • The vacations you two have had.
  • Your children and grandchildren.
  • The favorite things you did together.
  • The silly things you two have done together.

Consider changing things up such as:

  • Plan and take a trip over the holidays.
  • If you have always done the entertaining, consider suggesting someone else to prepare the dinner.
  • Invite someone completely different for the holiday.
  • Give yourself permission to spend the holiday by yourself.

Ways to remember your spouse at Christmas: 

  • Put together a memory book of your spouse.  Invite others to add memories to this book. 
  • Make or purchase a holiday decoration in honor of your loved one.
  • Donate to a charity of your choice or your late husband’s favorite charity.
  • Continue to hang the stocking of your loved one.  Let your guests know ahead of time to bring a written note of your loved one.  As they arrived, put the note in the stocking.  During the down time, share the stories with all.  The stories can be funny memories or something special they remember.
  • Hang onto your spouse’s favorite coffee cup and bring it out for each holiday.

Don’t forget about you!   For those who are mom’s or grandmother’s, it is so easy to take care of everyone else and forget about ourselves.  Part of that maybe we just do not want to deal with the holiday and it’s easier to worry about other’s than it is ourselves.  Consider a few of these:

  • Schedule a massage, pedicure of manicure for yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to turn down events that you are having a difficult time deciding if you want to attend. 
  • Be open with your family and friends on what you are feeling.  Unless they have walked in your shoes, they may not understand your choices.   But that is ok.  For now, it is about you!

Remembering that this is the season of changes from the birth of Jesus through today.  Does that mean life will be easy, absolutely not!  The promise regarding Jesus from the Old Testament says:  Isaiah 7:14:  Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  As with the promise of Jesus birth from the Old Testament to the reality of the New Testament, is we have the hope that we will be able to move forward and see our loved ones again. 

I often get pretty sentimental over the holidays.  I miss the fact my ‘helper’ isn’t here to help.  However, my kids have been amazing on helping out with the holidays. 

Believe me when I say that one day you will smile and laugh again.  God wants you to be happy and smile again!  The reality is, so would your loved one!        

My prayer is that you find God’s peace as you do your best to get through these first couple of holidays without your loved one.  May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you. 

Hugs, peace and blessings to each of you!


Missing love or to love again?

We certainly do miss our loved ones, don’t we!  But at what point do we consider dating again, or do we. If we do, are we disrespecting our late husband?   Oh, how times have changed………   It’s amazing what goes through our heads as we process widowhood and think about the future.  Each of us handles this differently, but many are very similar in how they handle it. 

There are so many things that go through each of our minds.   Many choose to marry again.  Others wait for a year or two.  Yet others begin looking right away or choose to go online for dating.  So much has changed over the years depending on your age.   

Many have been fortunate to have found a new love in their lives.  It’s a different ballgame from when we were teenagers and dating.  Many things change just because we are much older.  Our goals change.   Unfortunately, many women become widows at a young age and have small children or perhaps did not have children with the spouse.   For these gals, there is a decision to make if they want more children.

In talking with other widows, many have no desire to remarry.  Others start dating to soon as they are so lonely.  The divorce rate is high if one remarries within the year of losing your spouse. What are you feeling about dating?  A couple things to consider:

  • Am I ready for dating?
  • Am I secure with who I am as a single person?
  • Am I content with myself?

When or if you are ready to date again, proceed with caution, joy and anticipation.  The Bible does have something to say about remarrying.  In 1 Corinthians 7:39 (NIV) reads:  A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

I would encourage you to take your time – allow yourself to grieve.  Perhaps join a Grief Share group either on line, through your church or through a hospital.  Check online at:  www.grieffshare.org to find a group near you. 

Your financials will change.  I would encourage you to consult a trusted financial advisor to go over your pensions, Social Security, life insurance policies and your late husbands’ pensions.   There may be options out there that you are unaware of.

So often we as widows tend to be vulnerable during this time of grief.  Are we concerned about being loyal to our spouse?  What about his family or even our kids?  There are so many emotions involved!  Also, it often differs because of the age of your children.  If they are young, you may be considering having someone help with raising of your kids.   But then, you may be very fortunate to have close friends or family that are filing in that gap.  Many times, teenagers or adult children are concerned the ‘new’ person in our lives wants to take over.  Keep the communication open or consider counseling for all involved.

One of the greatest fears about getting involved with someone new or remarrying is becoming a widow again.  Be careful not to compare one to your late spouse.  Others may have their own opinion on what you should or should not do.  Remember – this is your life and keep God in control of all decisions.

Pay attention to yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally.  By doing so, you will become aware that you are healing and are ok with being yourself.  That is a great feeling!  God is in control of your life!   By studying His word and prayer, He will direct you down the path He has for you.

Does any of this mean you will not remember what you had with your husband?  Absolutely not!  I have had widows tell me they talked about remarrying with their late spouse before he died.  I do not recall any of them saying this was not a decent conversation!  It was hard to talk about, but it gave them peace.

Just remember that God has you in the palm of His hands and is there for you always.  If you are fortunate to find a ‘new love’, consider it all joy.  If not, God has other plans for you!

Hugs, peace and many blessings to each of you.  This isn’t always an easy topic to share or to talk about.  But God loves you, past, present and always!!!!  


Giving & Receiving while Grieving

This title may seem somewhat unusual for a new widow or anyone who is grieving.  However, life does seem to be about us at the time and it probably should!  While we often reflect on others and why they are not helping us at the time, we tend to forget how little we may have done for others when they have lost their spouse.  Often, it is because we had never walked down that path before and didn’t know what to do.  Scripture reads:  Acts 20:35 (NIV) In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

As you go through this journey, I would encourage you to take notes or write a journal of what you are going through.  A couple things will come across down the road as you read what you have gone through:  First it will help you see how you are healing through this journey.  Second, it will help you understand what may be helpful to someone going down the road.  As you reflect, you will sense what helped you as you received from others, it will also help you to give to others down the road.  

This is quite a process that does not have a time frame tied to it.  You will need to be patient with yourself!   Be patient with those who mean well and with others going through the journey of widowhood.  I Timothy 5:5 (NIV):  Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help.  I remember reading this scripture and thinking it was so superficial…  My thought was God really doesn’t understand.   As time went by, I really did realize God did understand!  By resting in him, I learned a valuable lesson.  The more faith and trust I put in God, the more he carried me though the journey. 

The lessons I learned then, I am able to apply in today’s journey.  This doesn’t mean each day is easy or perfect.  What it does mean is, God is there for you and in turn you can be there for others going.  Remember each of us is unique and walk the path a bit differently.   With that being said, the pain of losing a spouse is similar. 

Just talking with someone going through this, helps so much!   As you are holding their hand and helping them through this, it doesn’t seem long before that person is holding a new widow’s hand.  Luke 6:38 (NIV) reads:  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I hope this helps you understand that by receiving help when you are hurting, turns into giving help to another widow going down the same path.  God is with us each step of the way.  We are here on earth to help each other.   Many times it is someone who has gone through what we have gone through, that truly helps each of us.

May you feel the blessings which God had given you to bless others.   Hugs and prayers to each of you.  May your use the healing from your pain (no matter what it is) to help others along the way! 

Blessings, hugs and prayers to each of you!


Uncertainity – Hope- Grace

Where are you at in your journey of widowhood?   If you are a fairly new widow, you are probable oblivious to what is going on outside around you.  You are just trying to get through the day.  There are so many uncertain things that come up on a regular basis!

For me, making lists was a big help.  However, some days the list seemed way to long.  And some days, I was able to cross things off easily.   One thing I did discover, was I needed to categized my lists by importance.  That seemed the best for me to make sure the important things DID get done.  There are times I still do this.  Once I was making my lists while listening to a sermon years ago (apparently the sermon was boring and I had to many things on my mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever done this).   My friend sitting next to me whispered wanting to know what I was doing.  I explained I didn’t want to forget the important things that need to be done.  She totally understood. 

One of the scriptures that gives me hope when I’m feeling uncertain is Romans 15:13 (NIV) which readsMay 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.  I have had to claim this verse time and time again!  It is so easy to get discouraged when we are feeling uncertain on what seems to be everchanging in our lives!

This seems to be such a cliché when we say God is always with us.  But even when we do not sense he is near, he is!  However, scripture tells us in James 4:8A (NIV): “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Often times we just need to believe this to help us get through the uncertain times.   I wish I could wave a magic wand that would help you believe this.  But our God does not work with ‘magic wands’.  However, the promises we have are amazing.  You will be ok!!!!

When we make mistakes, and we all do, God’s grace is sufficient.  In Acts 20:32 (NIV), it reads:  Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those are sanctified.  What an amazing promise!  Be quick to forgive yourself when you have made mistakes!  Take note of the times you have seen God work in your life.  Neither the good or the bad, need to be big things, but just for you to become aware of what you are going through.   It’s a way for you to  reflect that you indeed are healing.

May I encourage you to take this verse to heart and memorize:  Romans 12:12 (NIV) which reads:  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   So, in the uncertainty in our journey, there is hope and grace.

My prayer for you is to find hope and grace.   May I also suggest you check out The Widow Might Website at:  https://www.widowmight.org/.  They have a lot of great material on their website.  If you have a prayer request, please send it my way! God’s blessings to each of you!


Making Choices or Decisions!

Making decisions isn’t always easy to do!   Especially now that we are making decisions or choices on our own.  The one we bounced things off of is no longer here to help make those choices.  Many times, the decisions were easy and often times we had quite the discussion on what we should do!  Now that things have changed, the big decisions need to focus on God for direction.

Over time, I did realize I needed to figure this out, but knew I could not do it on my own.  I needed to rely on someone who truly had the answers.   Believing in God was always instilled in me from an early childhood.  So, I knew I would go this route first.  One of the great scriptures for me was Deuteronomy 31:6 which reads (NIV):  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

My thought was – how do I be strong and courageous when I am hurting emotionally!  However, if I truly believed in God, I was going to have to learn to lean on him to allow him to be there for me.  Of course, that may take time and patience isn’t a virtue of mine.  But I did have enough faith to believe he would be with me each step of the way.

Things I needed help with, I wanted trusted people to contact.  In reading Miriam Neff’s book ‘Where Do I Go From Here?’: she has offered some great advice…  She calls these people her Board of Directors.   Miriam’s thoughts:

  • Choose a godly person who has experience a similar loss. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Choose a person who has financial wisdom who you trust.   Psalm 24:1
  • Choose a practical friend.   Proverbs 15:22
  • Chose a friend who is an encourager.  Philippians 4:8-9
  • Choose a friend with spiritual discernment and courage.  Proverbs 27:17
  • Choose a friend or relative whose priority is your wellbeing.  Proverbs 18:2

These people will change over time and that is good, I know mine have. There are times you think you really know someone, but they are not necessarily looking out for you in the best way. 

I would suggest to get connected with a Grief Share Group, The Widow Might Organization (https://www.widowmight.org/) or your church or synagogue to give you some direction. 

The changes in your life take time so please be patient with yourself!  When getting direction from others, you will be able to look back and know that you will begin to make better choices.  In Romans 15:13 (NIV) reads:  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  In time it will.  And he will.

For me, reflecting on what I have gone through in my live, it has taught me to look at the whole picture.   Some things were more difficult to go through than others that’s for sure!  Not all of our choices are good ones.  But with time, we will learn to rely on God and the advice from others.   Keeping that in mind, our decisions will become easier and we will make better choices….    Assurance of that is found in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV):  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Blessings to each of you as you walk through this journey.  Many of you have come a long way and others are still struggling. 


Old Friends – New Friends

Life is ever changing, isn’t it?   Sometimes change is easy and sometimes it is very difficult.  Things change with family and friends we had prior to the loss of our spouse.  If you are new to widowhood, please take this part slowly.  More often than not, people who have never gone down this path, are not sure what to say or often just back away.

There seems to be so many changes with the loss of a spouse.   Not only are we no longer a couple, but there are so many emotional changes.  And who understands more than others who have walked this path!!!!!  God promises in Psalms 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Some of the emotions are:

  • Moodiness
  • Painful thinking – negative thoughts
  • Sleeplessness and loss of appetite
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Delusional thinking
  • These are all normal issues and you/we are not going crazy

However, many of our former friends often stop calling or call less often when we go through any of these emotions.  They often are ready to give us a phone number of a counselor to call, when we are only looking for an ear that will listen!   With that being said, there have been a few times when I have suggested a counselor to a couple of widows.  One of God’s greatest blessings or promises is found in John 14:27 (NIV), which reads:  I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

If we are going to have a healthy recovery, we need to change!  We need to change to accommodate the reality of our new life alone. How do we go about this?

  • Accept what we cannot change.
  • When depression seems its right there, pay attention.
  • We need to make adjustments to things that have changed, such as income lost or loss of friendships.

Connecting with those who have gone down this journey is so important.  Watching new widows come into our group not knowing how they are going to get through this journey, is sometimes difficult to watch.  However, watching them learn from other widows and how they have moved forward to help others is so helpful.  I have watched ladies come into our group in tears, and within about a year, they are the ones holding the hand of a new widow letting her know she will be ok. 

There are so many promises that God is our protector.  It reads in Psalm 91:4: (NIV) He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. For those of you going through the early stages of the journey, it may be difficult to understand this.  Let me assure you, God has His arms wrapped around you and often is carrying you each step of the way.

Many times, our true friends are with us along the way.  Other times, we meet new ones to be with us who understand what we are going through.  There is a saying written by Selina Man Karlsson which is: “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.” 

Cherish those who are there for you to help you along this journey.  Early on we are so unaware of what is going on, we struggle with ‘new’ people in our lives but remember unless they have walked our path, we need to give them grace.  You may be thinking this statement is a little strange being you are the one going through this journey!  However, if we can keep this in mind while we are going through this, it does help us heal.

Blessings to each of you.  You continue to be in my prayers…….


Strength During Loneliness

Whether or not you are widowed, feeling alone or lonely is a natural emotion.  It’s hard to separate our needs with what God has for us.  Do we allow God to provide for us?  Is He truly going to take care of all of our needs?!

In 2 Kings 4, the story is of the widow who goes to the temple to bring her money, but she has none and the creditors are coming to take her sons.  All she has is a small jar of olive oil which she was instructed to sell.   She collects all she has and can find, and had enough to pay off her debts and keep her sons.   This widow was down and out and had no idea what to do!  Normally her late husband would take care if this.  She had felt so alone – now what was she going to do?  

Throughout scripture there are many promises of God being with us each step of the way.  In Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) it reads:  But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.  I do believe this widow believed God would be with her each step of the way after this experience.

Oh, how our lives change when we become widows or perhaps you have found that with other big changes in your life as well!  We certainly find out who our true friends are don’t we?!  Unless someone has actually walked down the journey you are walking, they do not understand.    Many have good intentions but often do not think first before they speak.  Scripture even talks about this.  In Proverbs 18:24 (NIV):  There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.  Each loss is different whether it is a spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandchild or dear friend.  A word of advice, even though it may be difficult, perhaps just nod your head and excuse yourself. 

Do you remember when you were first married?  It seems like your single friends often took the back seat.  Once you were married, you began doing things with your married friends as you had more in common with them.  As a ‘couple’ you now bounced thing off of one another to agree on what you were going to do.  We often were referred to as ‘Dan’s wife or Naomi’s husband’.  As scripture says, two become one.  If you were married long enough, you thought alike.  Perhaps many of you had friends, family or even your own children (if you had children together), would comment how much you have changed now that you are alone. 

Yes, you have changed as you have had to change.  Prior, you were a team and now you are single.  Things do change and we need to change along with that, or we will sink. This also becomes a coping mechanism to help you get through this journey. 

Many of our friends will stay, but others will not for many reasons.  They feel like they do not belong, they feel uncomfortable being you are now widowed and things have changed being you are no longer a team.  Miriam Neff explains how scripture lists the word friend three different ways in scripture.  They are: 

  • One who loves – Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV) He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.  They will love us unselfishly and just keep showing up.
  • One who is a companion or partner – Proverbs 18:24 (NIV) which reads: There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.  Be careful with these friends as they may tend to take advantage of you.
  • One who persuades or influences – Proverbs 14:20 (NIV) The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.  They tend to gain personal information that will harm you in the long run. 

God will heal us during our time of sorrow!  So much of the book of Psalms is so reassuring. In Psalms 147:3 (NIV) it reads:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Aren’t you glad for these promises?  Each of our journeys is a little different, but His promise is the same for each of us.  He will heal our wounds in his timing…

This journey may be difficult but with God’s help, he will help you with each day!   Be patient with yourself!   There will be those who think you should be over your loss within six months but for many it can take a couple of years.  God’s timing is perfect!  In 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT) it reads:   In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

God’s blessings to each of you as you walk this journey.  May He direct you to find the friends to help you along the way. 


Grace and Mercy

You may be wondering what grace and mercy has to do with widowhood! This is probably one of the areas at the time of my loss, I never even thought about. At that time, I was only concerned about myself along with my kids.

As a mother, knowing my kids were going through so much with the loss of their dad was heartbreaking. It surprised me of how some people had expectations of them and they had never gone through the loss of a parent. I remember how unfair I thought this was! I may have said things I shouldn’t have, but I felt I was being protective of them.

When life is tough, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the moment or the season of our grief or whatever we are going through. As we go through this journey and begin to heal, we soon realize how important it is to heal one step at a time.

The definition of grace is: A virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance. The bible states in 1 Timothy 1:14 (ESV): The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Some of these virtue’s which come from God are hard to accept aren’t they? I hadn’t thought of grace as a virtue before, had you? It is easy to give grace to those that treat you well, but not necessarily when someone does not….

When looking up the definition of mercy, it is: A blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion. Psalm 145:9 (ESV) reads: The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. How reassuring is that! Just knowing God’s mercy is over us is amazing!

Oh, how we need grace with mercy! Once I accepted that, it was easier to move forward. There will always be times in life when things are difficult. There will always be those people who do not think before they speak which that is often hurtful.

Billy Graham says it so well: Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.

Be gentle with yourself as you go through a difficult time. We all go through difficult times in our lives and wonder where God is. Remember, God promises to never leave you! This promise can be found in Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV): It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

God’s grace and mercy is sufficient for each of us. There may be times when we need to ask for forgiveness or approach someone who has hurt us. Regardless if forgiveness is accepted or not, God is with us!!!

My prayer is you feel God’s presence around you. Blessings to each of you!


Where am I and where is my hope?

Do you ever find yourself in a place where you know God promises to see you thru but you do not sense Him being nearby?  You feel so alone that you wonder if God is even close by?  How am I suppose to believe God is there each step of the way? 

There are so many scriptures both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament which give us assurance that God is with us each step of the way.  Deuteronomy 31:6 reads:  Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you.  If we go to John 14:27 it reads:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.   Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 

When we are living alone as widows, where is God during these times?  He promises over and over that he will never leave us!  But do you believe it?  We often need to look back before we are able to look forward. 

With this season of Easter, I often wonder how Jesus felt!   How often was he persecuted, rejected or betrayed?!  I’m not saying we are in the same boat as Jesus.  However, when our life has changed to the extent we feel alone, we are able to rely on how he leaned on God to help Him with what he was going through.   Isaiah 49:23 reads:  She who trusts in the Lord will never be disappointed.

There is so much hope knowing He is with us each step of the way.  The book of Psalms has so many promises regarding this.  Psalms 147:3 reads:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He promises to be there for us along the way.  To me that is amazing!  Does that mean I do not struggle along the way?  Absolutely not!  But the promises are there in the Bible!

This has certainly been a tough year with what we have gone through but to add a loss or several losses, it may have made your year even seem longer.  What have you found to help you through this year?  Is there anything you can share that can be shared with others to help along the way?  Everyone’s journey is a little different and we all handle our journey somewhat differently.  

Some of us extroverts, others are introverts and yet others all in between and just do not know where to turn when going along this journey.  Many times, it is the first time we have lost someone close or we do not have someone close to us to talk with.  If this is you, I urge you to reach out to someone.  If you have gone down this path, and know someone who could use an ear, please reach out to them. 

Remember God cares for each of us – ALWAYS!  1 Peter 5:7 tells us to:  Cast all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you!  Christ truly does care for each of us no matter what we are going through. 

Life is not perfect and never promises to be perfect!   And it will not be until we reach heaven!     In talking with many of you, the one thing I have noticed is, watching you go through the first year or two of healing.   You often are wondering if you will ever feel ‘normal’ again!  Within that first year, I have noticed you are holding the hand of a new widow and helping her through this journey!

Please let us know if we can talk to you, pray with you or for you.  Blessings to each of you!   God has his arms wrapped around you!


What’s for today?

Do you ever wonder what today will bring, when you have gone through something so great in your life that you could not even imagine?  Things would be so different if we wouldn’t have lost our spouse!   We wish for yesterday which is gone….  We hope tomorrow will be a better day, but we have no guarantees.

Max Lucado has said:  Here’s what you need to keep in mind.   You no longer have yesterday.  You do not yet have tomorrow.  You only have today.   This is the day the Lord has made.  Live in it!

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  None of us do!   James 4:14 (NLT) reads:  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  Isn’t that the truth!  How many times do I wish I knew what tomorrow will bring!  Many times, I think about that and decide what I would do differently.   Seriously – what makes me think I have that power?  

We can hope and dream that tomorrow will be a better day.   We can reflect on what we had yesterday providing we do not dwell on it.  What have we learned from the past?   Can we bring it back?  Absolutely not!

It is so easy to remember what we had!  However, all we have is today.   What are we going to do with today being we no longer have yesterday and we are not guaranteed tomorrow!   I found this scripture/quote and found it so true.

What are your dreams for today?  When you woke up this morning, you may have felt like you could not make it through the day.  Perhaps you thought ‘I can do this so how do I want to start today.’  Are you one that has decided to start a project of cleaning out a closet, go through files or maybe start cleaning out files?  These are all big projects for sure, but they do not have to be completed in a day or week.   Take one step at a time!  We are all on our own time schedule.  There is no need to compare yourself to anyone but you.  Besides that, it is ok to ask for help!  Some things or projects are just too big to do by yourself.

There are a couple of scriptures of the Lord’s assurance in our lives.  One is from Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) reads:  Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  The other is from Mathew 6:34 (NIV) which reads: Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

God’s promise is to be there for us no matter what we go through!  I totally understand that is hard to accept when we are going through tough times. Please rest in God’s promises that he is there for each of us every step of the way! 

We only have today to live for!!   Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet!  With that being said, what is your plan for today?   I am not suggesting you have something huge planned, just take those small steps.  Perhaps you have a project that you want to work on that is going to take a while to do, take a step at a time.  Eventually your project will be done!  Do not feel bad if you need to ask for help or for suggestions.  

However, Joshua 24:15 reads:   But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  With God’s help, He will lead the way that pleases him and us…… 

With every step we take with every new day, God will lead the way for us.   We need to trust in him that it will happen – and it will!  We all have days where we wonder if this will truly happen.  Even if it’s been years since we lost our spouse and we seem to be following a new path in our lives.   I have often thought when this happens to me if I am following what God would have for me.   The truth is, I do need to rely on God to lead me in the path that He has for me.   When I let go of what I think should happen and rely on God, it truly does happen!  We just need to believe!

Blessings to each of you!   God has a plan for you!  It may not be what we thought it would be. God often has another plan and He will lead us down the new path!



For me, with spring around the corner, there is always the anticipation of warmer weather coming soon.  There are many other things we tend to anticipate the first of each year.   But, how do we do this in a positive manner when we have lost someone close to us. 

According to Webster Dictionary, there are several meanings for anticipation.  

  • A prior action that takes into account or forestalls a later action
  • The act of looking forward
  • visualization of a future event or state
  • An object or form that anticipates a later type
  • The early sounding of one or more tones of a succeeding chord to form a temporary dissonance.

How may times have we anticipated where we will be in each stage of grief??!!  I remember thinking:

  • In three months, I will have all my paperwork done.
  • In six months, the holidays for me will be done.  Oh, how I dreaded those days.
  • In a year, I will be done with all the ‘firsts’.

I was fortunate at the time that Dan passed away, my two oldest brothers really walked beside me.  Gary at one point had lost his wife from a car accident so he had gone down that path.  My brother Bob always had good solid advise, but allowed me to make my own decisions without me feeling bad or guilty.  By the time the first year was done, I was ready to make major decisions and for that I am thankful.  Does that mean all my decisions were good ones?  No, but I was able to figure it out and knowing I had a lot of people praying for me certainly did help. 

One thing that says a lot to me is found in Jude 1:21. It reads – Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  But when one is going through something, it is difficult to wait for the mercy of Christ.  But persistency and prayer sure will help us along the way. 

I think this quote by Anna Grace Taylor says so much:  

It seems many times we need to look back to move forward, doesn’t it?  With God’s help you can do this!  However, if you need someone to talk with, don’t be afraid to ask.   These verses are such a great promise to us.  They are found in Romans 8:37-39 which reads:  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we are down emotionally and things just don’t seem to be going our way, remember God is always with us!  He has promised us this in Deuteronomy 31:8 which says:   The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

So, with the new year upon us, may we look forward to God’s help with what we are going through.   I have faith in you that you can do this!  Just remember, there are many people to help you each step of the way.  Don’t hesitate to send me a note on my blog site:  https://encounteringwidowhood.com/.

One of the best anticipations is seeing our loved ones once again in heaven.  Blessing, hugs and prayers to each of you!!!!

Planning for the future?

As a couple we plan for things regularly about what we want out of life.  Things such as our jobs, where we want to live, kids or no kids.  Unfortunately, we do not think about planning what happens if one of us dies.  Being my husband was in the military, we were required to have a will on hand and we both had to sign it. I am so thankful we did as it made it easier when he passed away for planning. We had often discussed these things in case things had changed.  Believe me they do!   We moved a few times, and as the kids got older, we felt they had opinions on what was to happen.  We knew we were close to deciding on his retirement as to when that would happen and where we wanted to live when we did retire.

I am so aware this is not anything one wants to consider doing or afford to do. Having your information sitting in probate is not something you want to do.  Especially with the children involved!   Proverbs 15:22 reads – Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.   You do not need many advisors, but I am a believer in talking it over with a close friend who knows how to keep things confidential.  Then contact a legal guardian to get things set up.

The legal documents that are so important are:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Statuary Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Directive
  • Transfer of Death Deed in your county
  • Make sure you have someone listed on your mortgage that will access your account upon your death. Transfer of Deed for your property.

I would also suggest that you:

  • Have your wishes in writing regarding how you want your funeral.
    • Not everyone wants to be buried so please be specific in your wishes.
  • Take the time to write your obituary.   I know this sounds crazy, but I have seen so many obituaries that are not written well.
    • My kids have thanked me for doing this and I have a feeling so will yours.
    • Also, even though one has the power of attorney, all three have my information.  It seems every time I update something and send it off to them, they thank me.

 There is a lot of valuable information on making sure you handle all items correctly.  May I suggest looking at a couple of good websites. Take a look at these for some guidance.

These things may depend on the ages of your children (if you have them). It is a good idea to update your information every 3 – 5 years.  Things can change quickly. God does desire us to plan accordingly.  Psalms 20:4 reads:  May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

Those that know me well, know I have ‘preached’ this subject often!   None of us know when it is our time to die but having our plans in order makes it so much easier for those we leave behind. Be sure you have someone close who knows where you keep these documents.

I know this is not a topic we want to discuss.  However, it is so important as I know of many who have not done this and many who are sitting in probate because they have not taken care of it.

I pray each of you will pray for direction on this topic.  If you need advice, talk with your pastor, priest of rabbi or a close friend. May God richly bless each of you.  You all continue to be in my prayers!

Past Love Brings Strength!

Each of us has had a unique marriage.  Some have been totally amazing marriages.  I have had widows tell of how the strength of their passed spouse brings them strength today and going forward based on their relationship.  In researching scripture, if we accept that Christ is in charge, the scripture makes sense.   In Psalm 59:16 (NIV) it readsBut I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

The memories of our love with our spouses brings us much joy along with the pain of the loss.   The things we remember the most are holding hands, sitting together in church, going out for dinner, dancing, or a movie. Planning our trips.  Many of you have been able to have your spouse when your children were married or grandchildren were born.

That’s not to say their marriages were perfect.  However, from early on, they were able learn how to work on their differences.  Many things these couples have learned to agree on are:

  • Understand and respect each other’s differences.
  • Get support from family and friends.
  • Seek counseling.
  • Keep on showing affection.
  • Do not minimize your own feelings.
  • Continue to learn about your spouse.
  • Wait it out.

Many of you may be thinking, why did I put these items in this blog.  Partly because you may be thinking you already did several  of these things so I  must have had a good  marriage.  Or perhaps you thought you did, but none of the above applied per your memory!  Think about this:  Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

This scripture means so much to me.  Ephesians 4:32:  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  This may seem easy but to those who have had a sweet marriage, this scripture is so important. Even if your marriage was not so sweet, taking this scripture to heart, God will help us to be kind and compassionate.

The strength or lack of strength during our marriages, certainly will help us focus on the future.  If your marriage was strong, you have a lot of wisdom to go on.  If it was not so strong, one can focus on how to improve where you are at.  It is amazing how God’s strength helps us through life.  I Peter 5:10 (NIV): And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

Christ does want us to live in peace and help strengthen others!

What better way to do this, than help those who have gone through what we have gone through.  Hebrews 12:14 reads:  Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” 

None of us is perfect.  However, we can be there for each other with God’s grace.  Let’s use God’s help in helping other widows go through these tough times.   That way, they will also be able to help others. 

May God richly bless each of you.   Let’s let our lights shine to help others!

Blessings during the tough times?

Over the weekend I was listening to background music as I was relaxing.  I was thinking of how God has blessed me over the years even through tough times.  I have listened to widows during their early years of widowhood on wanting to know how they will get through the early part of this journey.  Many who have been widowed for some time, have been able to share how they have gotten through this section of their lives. 

As we walk this journey of widowhood, we find we truly need to rely on others and God to help us take one step at a time.  Over the years of being there for others, the one thing that stands out is watching these ladies move forward with confidence.  Does that mean it is easy?  Absolutely not!  However, with God’s help and the help of others, you can make it through this stage. 

One of the many things I have seen throughout the years, just blesses my heart.  There is a group of us which meet the first Saturday of the month.    All are at different stages of their widowhood.   We often chat about what is going on in our lives and share what we do for the holidays.  As we all know the first year or two are difficult.  Kleenex is a necessity whether there are tears of sorrow or laughter.  When a newer widow is sharing and is sitting next to a couple of widows who are seasoned widows, the seasoned widow often takes her by the hand to let her know she understands.   It seems like it is not a long time before that new widow, is taking the hand of a newer widow to let her know we are there for her. 

It also blesses my heart to get that phone call from one of these ladies letting me know that someone has called her to take her out for coffee or just chat on the phone.   Mainly thanking them for just being there for them. 

As I was thinking of God’s blessings, one of my favorite scriptures on blessings is:   Psalms 106:1- 6 (ESV) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

This scripture means a lot to me as it truly speaks to me.   It was also my mother’s favorite scripture.   The evening before she passed away, she had her Bible opened to this scripture.  Because this was so important to her, this was part of her funeral service.  I am sure there were a lot of times she relied on God being she was a mother of ten children! 

Over the years, I have kept a list of many blessings I have had.  There are times, many of them are still hard to remember but just jotting them down and writing the blessed outcome, makes a big difference.

Many of you may be wondering why I would be blogging about blessings just before the holidays.  To many this may seem odd and I totally understand.  If you follow my blog, last month I suggested for Christmas to continue to hang the stocking of your loved one.  Let your guests know ahead of time to bring a written note of your loved one.  As they arrived, put the note in the stocking.  During the down time, share the stories with all.  The stories can be funny memories or something special they remember.

I understand that this is a tough time, however, if we can remember some of the blessings we  had with our spouse, it helps.   We know it is easy to be down and out during this time and be wow is me.  If we begin to remember the good times, it helps us to keep on remembering what blessings we have had.  God promises in Luke 6:21 which reads:  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

As you go through this season of your life, may you be able to see the blessings God has given you.   Just know, I am praying for you.   God is there for you each step of the way. We just need to believe it!

Blessings to each of you!