Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Widows Witnessing Series


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

Monday, May 26, 2014

In the flurry of activity …


Hello Ladies ~ In the flurry of activity with our south FL Easter meeting/luncheon and trying to get everyone’s photo with the Easter bunny, I somehow missed Corinne and she was the winner of the most beautiful hat. (I think that was the title she was given by Josie.)

I emailed C. and asked if she would please bring her hat to our next meeting and she did.  Would you believe it, I almost forgot to get her picture again?  Here she is.


I have not been perfected yet, therefore, I sometimes miss photo shots.

Thank you ladies for being such good sports in posing with the leprechaun and then the Easter bunny, or any time I ask you to bunch up together and ask you to ‘smile’.

I am looking forward to our next meeting as we will be having a ‘celebration’. It’s only a couple of weeks away, so mark you calendars and bring a friend.

Have a great week all of you in NJ and in FL.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our south Florida group meeting 19 May 2014


Good afternoon Ladies ~ It was so good to see some of you yesterday. Our attendance was down, but there are graduations and vacations starting and our northern visitors have gone back home too. We still had a great time and the meeting was good.

Below you will see some of the ladies visiting before the meeting begins. It’s always a nice time to do a little catching up, to give and receive hugs and to laugh together.


Peggy gave a very encouraging speech about keeping on with something a little at a time.  You will be rewarded. Sometimes we get discouraged and feel like quitting, but to see positive results we must choose to move forward and do what we can.  Remember, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”


Our guest speaker this month was Aaron Papero.




He spoke to us about prescription drug abuse and other ways we as widows can be taken advantage of with fake physicians and medical facilities.  We always need to be aware, to ask questions, to look things up.

We need to keep prescription drugs out of reach of children whether they be young or adult ages. Even in the best of families there can be drug abuse.

Let me refresh our memories of the visits of:

Reid Scott


Chief of Special Victims Unit

shared ways for we widow ladies to protect ourselves from human predators.


Bill Minton


spoke on white collar crime ~ fraud ~ financial and theft.


These three gentlemen gave us valuable information to help us as we go about our daily lives.

Because of this information we ladies have made some changes in our lives and we are appreciative for the time and the caring of the Assistant State Attorney's Office for sending out these special people to inform us so that we are more aware of what is going on around us.

The Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun”.

In Exodus 22:22 we read where God tells the people "Ye shall not afflict any widow".

Verse 23 says ~ "If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry";

We are very thankful for the time and knowledge  shared by these three gentlemen.


Let us remember:

   For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power,

and of love,

and of a sound mind.

2Timothy 1:7


Let us take what we have learned from these three gentlemen, apply it to our lives and walk in the strength of our dear Lord and Savior each and every day.

Have a great week ~ Rainey

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Gift of Tears


“The Gift of Tears” is one of several poems written by Diana Clark after she lost her dear husband.

Here is her testimony/intro at the beginning of her booklet of poems, “Simply Put ~ Inspirational Poems of Hope as You Journey Through the Valley”


In 1994 my husband, George, had a heart attack at the age of 52.  It shocked everyone.  He was an active outdoorsman, sportsman and athletic coach, who exercised regularly and followed a healthy lifestyle and diet. For one fleeting moment he asked, “Why me?” and in the next moment he thought, “Why not me; I’m no better than anyone else.”

With his exceptional physical strength suddenly taken, he discovered a strength and peace that only comes from God. From that point on, George gradually became a “new creature in Christ” as described in the Word of God.  Bible devotion and prayer on bended knee became part of his daily life.  George was “born again.” Christ is his Saviour.  George regained his strength, resumed his active lifestyle and grew spiritually – life was good!

Then, out of nowhere, in February 2000 George was stricken with lymphoma.  What he endured for the three months that followed is a true testimony to our Lord.  He never pitied himself.  George, like the apostle Paul, believed that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  The Bible says, “… when I am weak, I am strong.”  Our family witnessed that strength.

We miss him more than we can possibly express, but through Jesus Christ we have “hope beyond the grave.”  I believe the Lord has provided a way for me to share this “hope” through the poetry you are about to read – TO GOD BE THE GLORY!


The Gift of Tears

If I could thread my teardrops
Upon a golden chain,
They would sparkle from His Light,
For they are gems by any name.
More precious than diamonds,
A gift from God above,
My tears release the sorrow-
An expression of my love.

Each tear releases sadness;
Each tear releases pain.
Designed by our Creator,
I praise His Holy Name
For tucking deep within me,
This balm to soothe my soul,
To spill upon my sullen cheeks,
To cleanse and make me whole.

Don't hide these jewels inside you
When they threaten to appear.
Humbly wear this treasured gift;
Invite Him to draw near.
Then kneel before the Father-
You are precious in His sight-
And soon your tears will sparkle
Beneath His healing Light.

"O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me." Psalm 30:2

(READ: Psalm 126:5, Matthew 5:4, John 11:35)


With permission by: Diana Eileen Clark from her booklet

"Simply Put ~ Inspirational Poems of Hope

as You Journey Through the Valley"



Monday, May 12, 2014

Giving Thanks in All Things


'Real Answers' by Pastor Bruce Sofia'


Great question. There are many passages in Scripture that seem contradictory to life.  Certainly this is one of them.  Let’s take it one step further: How does a husband who is a Doctor by profession give thanks for a mother, 40 years of age, suddenly taken, leaving four boys ranging in age from 11-18? How do the parents of an 18 year old give thanks for the loss of their son?  How does a parent give thanks for a young teenage daughter who takes her own life? (These are real life situations of which I have had to deal with over the past couple of years.) Certainly these are tough questions – but they are not without answers.

Let’s look at the verses that reference “giving thanks” in and for all situations.

Ephesians 5:20

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will sat it again: Rejoice!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; (17)pray continually’ (18) give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Why can we give thanks in all and for all circumstances as Christian believers?

1. We do not see the whole picture – God does.

I Corinthians 13:12 tells us:

For now we see through a glass darkly; then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

With that in mind, the question is: Can we trust Him? Because evil/harm comes our way does not mean God is the orchestrator of that evil, however since we belong to Him, as we ask for His divine intervention in the daily routine of life (Matthew 6:11) we can rest upon the promise of Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28.

2. As believers nothing can touch our lives without His permission.

Consider Job – Satan had to ask permission to touch what belonged to him. Consider Peter – Satan had to ask to touch Peter. God gave Satan permission and told Peter He had given the Enemy permission and that he (Peter) would fail.  But look at the why:

Luke 22:31-32

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (32)But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

3. We may not understand it here, but one day we will understand that there is always a reason why.

With these three thoughts in mind: 1) There is always a reason why, 2) As believers nothing can touch us without God’s permission, and 3) We do not see the whole picture but God does, we can rest in the promise of Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Genesis 50:20

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is the day, to save many people alive.

Why should we give thanks when we have lost a loved one or spouse?

When we give thanks for what we do not understand, when we give thanks for what appears to us, “who see in part,” for what seems to make no sense, we remove from ourselves and entrust to God the burden of “working out all things for our good.”  Whether we made the mess (as in the case of Abraham and Hagar), or someone else made the mess (as in the case of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery), the end result was for good.  In the case of Abraham, God mercifully made of Ishmael a great nation (the Arabs of today); in the case of Joseph, God used him to save an entire nation, Israel.


When we do not understand there is always a better and bigger picture.  Hence, when we “give thanks” our mourning turns into dancing and our gloom into joy for we are trusting one who is all powerful in all circumstances.  Even if you must force yourself to “give thanks in all things,” do it –it will be life in the midst of death, joy in the midst of sorrow and peace in the midst of confusion. Psalms 30:11, Philippians 4:7

Pastor B. Sofia


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Co-Parenting in Biblical Times


As we near Mother's Day, our thoughts are immediately drawn back to our own childhoods and our mothers, and, just as often, our grandmothers.  Both women played a major role in shaping who most of us are today. Women can come into the roles of mother and/or grandmother under different circumstances, and there are two stories in the Bible, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament, that bear this out.
Let's look first at the Old Testament story. It's a familiar story to most of us and I want us to look mainly at the relationship of two of the principle characters: Naomi and Ruth. The story is recorded in the book of Ruth, one of the shortest books in the Bible.  As you know, Naomi, her husband, and two sons traveled from Bethlehem to relocate in the nation of Moab because of a serious drought in their home country. During the course of their stay there, Naomi's husband dies, as do her two sons who had married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Keep in mind that the Moabites were enemies of the Israelites and didn't follow God, Yahweh, and it must have been difficult for Naomi to rear her sons in this culture, and perhaps even heartbreaking to watch them take wives from it.  After the deaths of the two sons and the subsiding of the drought in Bethlehem, Naomi decides to leave Moab and journey back to her own people.  Her two daughters-in-law travel a short distance with her after which she tells them to go back to their own families and start a new life. Orpah does so, but Ruth would not hear of it and insisted that she would go where Naomi does. She clung to Naomi and stated that Naomi's people would now become hers, and her God would become Ruth's God. Ruth went even further and stated that nothing but death would part her from Naomi.  Even after the death of Naomi, Ruth continued to live in Bethlehem and after death was buried there, thus identifying with the Israelites to the greatest degree possible.

Ruth, in essence, adopted Naomi as her mother and the customs that are relayed in the book of Ruth regarding the character of Ruth are done in the context of Naomi as mother and Ruth as her daughter.  Naomi arranged for Ruth to meet and marry a man within the family, as their custom dictated, to take care of her and give her children to carry on the family heritage. And in so doing, Naomi was blessed beyond measure. Naomi must have had a generous and kind heart to be so loved by her daughter-in-law who chose her over her natural mother, forsaking her own culture and its gods.  In a culture that elevated the sons over the daughters, after the birth of Obed, Ruth and Boaz's son, the women of the town came to Naomi praising God and stating that her daughter-in-law loved her and was better to her than seven sons. In obedience to Jewish custom, Ruth gave the boy to Naomi, surrendering the child of her womb into the arms of her mother-in-law so that Naomi would not die childless. And Naomi mothered that child, along with Ruth; and that little baby became the grandfather of King David who was in the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Messiah.  Is it any wonder that the book of Ruth is the festival scroll read at Pentecost.

In the New Testament we have the mention of another mother and grandmother commended by none other than St. Paul for their godly lives. We first learn of them in II Timothy 1:5. These two women, Eunice the natural mother of Timothy, and Lois, his grandmother, had raised him and were his first teachers of Holy Scripture.  Not only that, but they instructed him in the study of Sacred Writings, and one theologian stated that "the whole Church, for the past two thousand years, owes to these two women an immense and unpayable debt of gratitude." In Lois and Eunice we have a mother/daughter team that raised up a man of godly character who was the apostle Paul's most trusted companion and disciple. There are numerous grandmothers mentioned in the Bible, but did you know that this is the only place where the term "grandmother" is actually used?

As I reflect upon both of these stories of mothers (and grandmothers) in the Bible, I think of you precious women. Most of your children are now grown and your immediate influence on them is minimal. Yet, you are able to impart to your grandchildren in those special moments together your love for Christ and His reality in your lives. And let me remind you to never undervalue the importance of prayer for your children and grandchildren. That is one of the things that we can do, regardless of age, physical mobility, or distance from each other, that will have the most impact upon the lives of our children and grandchildren. So, as this Mother's Day approaches, whether you have natural born children or adopted children, (or have been "adopted" as a mother or grandmother) remember that your sphere of influence is great, even to the next generation. Happy Mother's Day to each of you!

Reflection: If you are reading this blog and have not asked the Jesus of the Bible to become your Lord and Savior, I implore you to do so now. The greatest heritage you can leave your children and grandchildren is a godly life, one that has trusted in Christ for eternal life through His death and resurrection. Jesus himself said that if you come to him, you will become a child of God and joint heir with him in all the wonderful things that God has prepared for those that trust in Him. It is the best decision you will ever make.

By Shari Hervold


Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Meeting in New Jersey


Hello Ladies ~ I hope you all are able to get out to enjoy spring in all of it’s glory. There are gentle breezes, scents filling the air and birds singing their little hearts out, plus flowers in a rainbow assortment of colors. It’s a wonderful time of year to take in God’s beautiful creation. 

Our dear sisters in New Jersey are more than glad that spring is here, no more freezing, snowy weather, making it easier to get to their meetings.

Here are some photos of our dear lovely, ladies up north. What a nice place they meet in.



Here is a new lady being introduced to the group. Being a widow is ‘not’ something we would ask for, but it is wonderful and a blessing to have  ‘Friends Needing Friends’ to help us through our grief and on through our years.

Our faith grows in the God of all comfort, we are encouraged in many ways, and lasting friendships are made.


Here were the guest speakers for the day, a group from a local Christian school, and what a nice looking group.



Today is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. May we walk in faith, trusting in God for all of our needs.