Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Testimonial - Rainey

Dear Ladies ~ I wanted to share my little story of finding FNF.
My dear husband of 43 years went to be with God on the morning of 9 Dec. 2012.
We have no children, the closest family is over an hour away. I prayed to God to find a Christian widow’s group. I Googled and came up with nothing close.  I did find Grief Share and signed up for their daily devotionals. They had meetings in various places but none close to me.
I read my Bible, and various books and writings on being a widow. I started a blog about my life as a new widow called The Continuing Journey, in hopes that I might be a witness of God’s love at this time, and to help with my own grieving.
While reading my devotional again one morning, from Grief Share, I got the nudge to check them out again to see if they had any groups meeting locally.  I found one meeting at South Palm Community Church, but it had already started. While on the church website I decided to see what else they had and lo and behold, there was a group called ‘Friends Needing Friends’ for widows only. I was thrilled.
I emailed the lady who was the contact person. She emailed me back right away and said the next meeting was just a day or two away and she hoped to see me there.  She said to ask for her when I got there.
I was excited. The day of the meeting, I walked up to the entry and the sign in table, and asked for Dotti and before we could even meet, I was greeted and enveloped with love by dear sweet ladies. They had twinkles in their eyes, smiles on their faces, and they told me the grief would get easier, as it was just three months for me, and they all knew just how I was feeling.
I was then given a paper to fill out, and another sweet lady took me to a table to sit and as I was hanging my purse on the back of my chair, she said about the lady I was going to be seated next to, “This is Lois”. I hadn’t looked at the lady yet, and I looked up and said “Lois?”. We looked at each other and she got up and we hugged and I sobbed.  She patted me and said sweet words. She had heard about my husband but didn’t know how to get in touch with me. You see, I know Lois from many, many years ago.  She knew my husband when he was a lad, she was a friend of his late mother. Amazing.
I filled out my paper, took it back up to the sign in table, and oh my goodness, I looked up and there was Diana, a sweet lady, my age, we’re in our early 60’s. We had gone to the same church back before we got married, the same one Lois went to also. I just couldn’t believe it and couldn’t thank God enough for working all of this out.  Diana told me another dear friend of ours from the same church also came there, Jeanne Rhodes.  I didn’t see her until the next meeting and I cried buckets then.  (Her husband had taken my husband and other lads from the church out on camping trips. I had worn her daughter’s wedding dress when my husband and I got married.)
The love, the friendship, God’s goodness was filling the space there my first meeting. My heart was overflowing, tears were streaming.  The music touched my soul.
I left that day thanking God for bringing this all about.  For Dotti, the dear, sweet contact lady, who happens to be the founder/director of FNF. (I didn’t know it at the time.) For being reunited with old friends and for the start of new friendships.
Being a widow is very lonely! Only another widow knows what you are going through.  When I looked in those dear ladies eyes that first time there, I was swamped with love. I will never forget it.
I look forward to every meeting and getting to know all of these dear ladies better.
I am glad to be a part of the ‘Special Sisterhood Selected by God’. It isn’t something I would have chosen, but God brought me to this place, at this time in my life.  I don’t know what He has in store for me but He is my strength when I am weak and He will never leave or forsake me.
My prayer is that  we all will grow in God’s grace and love and share with others what He has done and is doing in our lives.
Thank you dear Dotti for starting FNF all those years ago.  Your work has touched and blessed many lives.
Love and hugs ~ Rainey