Good morning dear Ladies,
I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. May the rest of your week be lovely too.
Let us remember:
We are all beautiful creations of God and He works in all of our lives differently. He speaks individually to each of us, to our hearts and souls.
Part of our life as a widow is sharing and encouraging others through stories in our own lives as to how God is lovingly caring for us.
Today we have some dear sisters from our NJ group.
Grief Tip: Demonstrate compassion, calmness, inner peace via your presence and tone of voice. Be a good listener and slow in giving advice. Identify with feelings expressed minus long stories of personal experience.
During this time of grieving my special song that kept going through my mind was "Jesus, Jesus, There is Something About That Name".
During my time of grieving there was a deeper awareness of God's availability for comfort and peace and my need to be patient. Life had changed, adjustments were a reality and my faith and trust in God required me to make decisions. God gave me needed wisdom and lowered my stress and anxiety levels.
Grief Tip: Allow yourself to grieve and trust in the Lord to ease the pain.
The song I love to listen to during this time is "I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee".
During this time God gave the the ability to go back to work after a week post my husband's funeral. It was very difficult to care for my patients because it reminded me of my husband's last days in the hospital. The Lord held me up and sustained me through those tough times.
Seventeen years ago, my life changed, not only as a widow; but, the owner-operator of a farm, fortunately a few years before we had downsized from over 200 acres to 20.
With the Lord's help (prayed a lot) and my son-in-"love" the already planted crops made it through the summer and were harvested successfully. But what would I do next summer? The fields had to be planted. I wondered, worried and prayed! That fall, my neighbor stopped in and said he would like to plant my field in hay. He needed more ground. The Lord had answered my prayers! As a hayfield usually lasts 10-12 years, my problem was not only solved, but I wouldn't have to worry about planting again for awhile (right now they are a beautiful green and growing.)
In church, one Sunday that September, I read a notice for an upcoming basic lay speaker class to be held in October. I thought that's not for me, I can't speak before a group of adults and turned the page. The rest of the day, my thoughts kept going back to that notice. I didn't know why, but those thoughts bothered me. I prayed, Lord, why am I think about that notice? I can't be a speaker. I am too old to start over, to go back to school. It would be a waste of time. The space is limited. I'd be taking the place of someone much better qualified and younger.
The next morning, as I put on my jacket to go get my paper, that bulletin fell out of my pocket. It fell to the floor opened to the school application form. I hadn't even noticed that form before.
I knew then! I had to apply to go to that basic class. I felt it was a sign from God. Give it a try. I went! I liked it! I became a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church.
From that first class, the Lord has led me to preach several Mother's Day sermons, preach at Pitman Manor, preach in my own church, to even officiate at a funeral, and to my favorite place - "Friends Needing Friends". God is Good! Just follow Him. He will lead you and guide you on your journey through widowhood.
Joanne has served with Friends Needing Friends Ministry for over 20 years.
I have been a widow for 22 years and I now live in N.J. Do you remember after your loss when all the flowers were gone, the cards and company stopped? You think to yourself, "How will I ever manage?"
Soon I noticed the grass needed cutting and realized another chore to assume...suddenly I heard a lawn mower. My neighbor (my husband's close pal) simply did it. That was in 1992 and I have never cut, fertilized or edged since.
Now, my neighbor is stricken with a terminal disease - how gladly I volunteered to help in any way for all his kindness. Then there is church. After shortly becoming a widow, I became an usher/greeter at church and have become more active.
Lastly is "Friends Needing Friends”. Coming in as a middle-aged devastated gal, my association and volunteering as well as the sweet ladies who are each my special angels has shown God's plan for how He touched my life after becoming a widow.
Thank you ladies for speaking from your hearts.
I hope you were as blessed by these testimonies as I was. I also was encouraged and inspired to keep trusting Jesus to be my strength through each and every day.
Here is a verse to close this series today:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11 NLT