Saturday, April 8, 2023

God’s Heart for Widows

This Holy Week we stop and remember Jesus came to earth to save humanity by dying on the cross on Good Friday and resurrecting on Easter Sunday. He endured and defeated death as the perfect sacrifice to save each of us so we can choose eternal life. He swung open the gates of heaven, allowing our sins to be forgiven and ushering us in the presence of God.
But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! Romans 5:8
Imagine what Jesus experienced to be our sacrifice. He was betrayed by His closest friends, unfairly tried in a court with liars and false witnesses, beaten mercilessly, tortured, mocked and ridiculed. Then He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha where He was nailed to the cross and hung. It is believed He hung there for about six hours in complete agony.

Did you know God cares about the plight of widows so much He mentions them more than eighty times in His Word—both in the Old and New Testaments? The first Resurrection Sunday after my husband moved to Heaven God touched my heart with a revelation I never heard before. As I was meditating on the sacrifice Jesus made for me, God highlighted a very special and seemingly insignificant portion of the story most people tend to gloss right over.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was standing next to His cross, along with Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus looked down and saw the disciple He loved standing with her, He said, “Mother, look—John will be a son to you.” Then He said, “John, look—she will be a mother to you!” From that day on, John accepted Mary into his home as one of his own family. John 19: 25-27
We don’t know when Jesus’ earthly father died. As we study God’s Word it never comes out and says Mary is a widow, but it only speaks of her during Jesus’ ministry from His first miracle changing the water into wine all the way to His death.

What God spoke to my heart that day was how much He loves me. He showed me Jesus cared so much about the plight of widows, He made sure His own widowed mother would be cared for when He was gone. He charged John, the disciple known as the one Jesus loved, to be a son to Mary and care for her. He knew she needed someone to be physically present to assist her with things she couldn’t do, to protect her, and especially to love her and comfort her in her sorrow.

Jesus was pierced, and Mary was too. She stood with her son and watched the horrible sight. Her beloved son, brutally mutilated, being mocked and humiliated. She saw the child she spoke baby talk to now groaned in unforgettable anguish. The child she swaddled, nursed, and held, was now wrapped in death, nursed by anguish, and held up by nails which stapled His flesh to wood.

I tried to imagine how much agony Jesus was suffering hanging there. Every minute that passed He bore excruciating pain and struggled to take each breath. Still, in spite of all He endured, He made sure He commissioned John with this very important task, and He showed His mother how much He loved her and made clear to her who she could now trust to help her going forward. In His dying breath, under the wrath of men, He considered her well-being.

Jesus tells us in John 8: 28-29:
“You will know me as ‘I AM’ after you have lifted me up from the earth as the Son of Man. Then you will realize I do nothing on My own initiative, but I only speak the truth the Father revealed to Me. I am His messenger and He is always with Me, for I only do that which delights His heart.”
Death brings a hurt we cannot defend, a pain we cannot forget, an injury which will never fully heal. Our precious Heavenly Father cares so much about the suffering this hurt brings to widows, He even addresses it right in the middle of the greatest story ever told, and at the height of Jesus’ suffering He endured to take all our pain in Himself so we can live and be free.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of deep sorrows who was no stranger to suffering and grief. We hid our faces from Him in disgust and considered Him a nobody, not worthy of respect. Yet He was the one who carried our sicknesses and endured the torment of our sufferings. We viewed Him as one who was being punished for something He Himself had done, as one who was struck down by God and brought low. But it was because of our rebellious deeds He was pierced and because of our sins He was crushed. He endured the punishment that made us completely whole, and in His wounding we found our healing. Isaiah 53: 3-5
Grief will ever be Jesus delivering me from the crushing grief pit and setting me on my feet again. I know my Redeemer lives. He died so I can live. This is the message He wants you to hear today.

You are not alone, even though that may be what you are feeling. God sent His Son to die for our sins. When we give our troubles and heartaches to Him, He brings healing and answers. He cares deeply about the plight of widows and He cares about you.

I pray God would give all of us the grace to grieve with weighty tears messily wrapped up in the perspective Jesus overcame the world. He lives and His sacrifice bought and paid for our freedom to live. Seek Him in His Word and pray confidently knowing He will answer our heart cry.
I won’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. I’m saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering my faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. I tell Him every detail of my life, then God's wonderful peace that transcends human understanding guards my heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4: 6-7
I am contending my heart is wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This gives me access to all the riches of God as I experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ. My spiritual wealth is in Him, like hidden treasure waiting to be discovered—heaven’s wisdom and endless riches of revelation knowledge. Colossians 2: 2-3
This is God’s Word on the subject: … I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Jeremiah 29: 11-14
If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I invite you to receive Him right now. Don’t waste another moment trying to live this earthly life afraid and alone. I wrote a post on my other blog, Freedom Focused Faith, to help people who want to turn their life over to God and start fresh in a new freedom only He can give. Go here to learn more. 



Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Resilient Faith

 I listened to a great podcast with Crystal Paine and Michele Cushatt.

10 Practices For When Your World is Falling Apart

These lovely ladies discuss Michelle's new book scheduled to be released on March 28 titled, A Faith that will not Fail.

Loss looks different to all of us. Michelle shares her story of her journey through over thirty years of a succession of losses that left her riddled with suffering. She asks the question on so many minds today… how do you believe in a good God when your world is falling apart and so many things are going wrong?

As a widow, I’ve been struggling for over three years now with questions for my Father God I believe loves me and will see me through. I am at a point where I can acknowledge the majority of the pain I feel is not as much about missing my beloved husband… it is about not knowing how to navigate all the new circumstances I find myself in because I feel so lost and alone. It’s like starting from scratch in life with everything from relationships to what I think is real. Life has made such a paradigm shift I need God more than ever to help me just keep taking that next breath and to reveal to me what is truth and what is fake.

I like that Michelle brings up the very real need to lament. I read a book in my first year as a widow that taught me the Bible teaches a lot about lament and it is a God thing. The book is Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, by Mark Vroegop. It was my key to discover God welcomes our laments. I could go to Lamentations, Psalms, Job, and other books in the Bible and see where kings, everyday believers and even Jesus Himself cried out to God in their times and seasons of experiencing great sorrow and despair. Most churches today don’t teach or recognize the importance of allowing hurting people to express their grief in the form of a lament.

Michelle acknowledges so many faith-based circles emphasize the goodness of God and focus so strongly on making people stay positive they fail to give people the space and freedom to lament and express their sadness. There is a very real danger of going too far in that expression and getting swallowed up in grief, but loving someone who is hurting needs to recognize the reality and significance of the pain we suffer when we experience loss… and the many facets of our existence that pain touches and influences.

The first step to finding new life in the wake of overwhelming loss is to go through the grieving process. A profound statement from Michelle is, “Grief is just as much a form of worship as praise.” Weeping and feeling the pain we experience in loss is a critical part of a faith that will not fail.

Worship is an act of religious devotion to the God we recognize as our creator, savior, and supreme ruler we believe loves us and created us to have a relationship with us. The most important people we choose to build a relationship with requires us to be open and honest with our feelings, and to open our hearts to hear and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of that person we are sharing with.

My dear husband often told me God’s shoulders are big enough to handle whatever I say or feel. He said God loves to hear what makes us happy, but He is just as interested in what makes us sad, or angry or confused. God knows us better than anyone else because He created us and He knows our thoughts and feelings even before we bring them to Him.

Michelle goes on to explain how she learned to journal her grief through writing down the losses she experienced. This gave her a way to give voice to those losses so she could then have the words to express her feelings to Jesus and lay them at the cross. I love how she tied this to a pathway to follow that can help you finally progress enough to start healing and begin to find ways God can redeem the situation for good. It leads us to find new purpose because of the pain we experience.

She goes into the way fear comes in and tries to take up residence in the midst of the journey of grief. She quotes CS Lewis who said, “I didn’t realize grief would feel so like fear.” When we experience loss, we are forced to come to terms with the fact that the worse things will sometimes happen.

We have to learn not to anchor ourselves to an outcome, but to anchor ourselves to a person. Outcomes always change. We can choose to put our faith in our Father God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That is the anchor that will ground us. God is bigger than us and our circumstances and He is able to take care of it all. It changes your focus from the unknown to a person who is with you no matter what happens.

Finally, she discusses the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness looks different for everyone and is often needed in multiple ways. The practice of forgiveness is ongoing. Refusing to forgive only creates a cancer in yourself and hurts you.

I believe this podcast will lift you up and bring hope. I strongly encourage you to take the time to listen and be blessed. Turn your eyes to heaven and let God wrap you in His love as He offers practical help in the midst of a world that feels like it is falling apart. I pre-ordered Michelle's book. It looks to me like a wonderful resource to have.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

New Beginnings

Here is a link to my latest post on the Hope for Widows Foundation website.

New Beginnings

I began writing for Hope for Widows in April of 2022. They posted they were looking for additional volunteer bloggers and I saw it as an opportunity to connect and share with fellow widows. 

The Hope for Widows Foundation is a support system for and developed by widowed women. It is a website and platform that utilizes social media resources to help their widow members find a place to voice their pain and struggles by sharing their experiences. It provides opportunities for widows to learn from experts, get involved in health and wellness initiatives, volunteer in various ways, and connect with fellow Hope Sisters. Their non-profit arm seeks to support widows by providing life transition resources and immediate connections. You can learn more by going to their website at .

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Life Altering Storms

They all got into a boat and began to cross over to the other side of the lake. And Jesus, exhausted, fell asleep. Suddenly a violent storm developed, with waves so high the boat was about to be swamped. Yet Jesus continued to sleep soundly. The disciples woke Him up, saying, “Save us, Lord! We’re going to die!”

But Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you gripped with fear? Where is your faith?” Then He stood and rebuked the storm, saying, “Be still!” And instantly it became perfectly calm.

The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, “Who is this Man? Even the wind and waves obey His Word.”
Matthew 8: 23-27
The covid crisis that began in early 2020 brought chaos, confusion, and relentless change to our previous concept of normal. Like Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 8, we could compare it to being on a sea voyage in a tempest so fierce we can’t help but experience some measure of fear. First of all, we need to recognize this reaction is very normal and human. The human body is designed to pump adrenaline when it senses danger, which can be triggered by facing something unknown. This unknown threatened the entire world. Our family, friends and loved ones were all in its crosshairs. It created uncertainty in jobs, security, health, and freedom. It altered every sense of normal we knew.

Many widows feel like they are being tossed in a violent storm they have no control over. It washes away every sense of ordinary life, normal routines and wipes out the support beams of security we once trusted. The winds of grief over the loss of our husband grow overwhelming. The fog invades our minds and impacts our ability to focus or concentrate.

It's in these disturbing upheavals of life we need to remember Jesus is also in the boat. The raging storm attempts to bring fear and despair. Jesus speaks peace. The winds and the waves obey Him. I love Psalm 46 in The Passion Translation. Here are the first three verses, but it continues with even more encouragement for the saving power of the marvelous God we serve.
God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble—more than enough and always available whenever I need you. So I will never fear even if every structure of support were to crumble away. I will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea. For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode my faith in You.
Psalm 46: 1-3
Moving forward in the midst of storms we can’t control requires us to yield to God to do what we aren’t able to do. It starts by us taking the steps we can take. It begins with refusing to yield to fear. I go before God and submit to His care and declare this prayer out loud. Our words are powerful and will blast through the spirit realm and build our faith as we hear it spoken.

I take power over every spirit of fear and condemnation. Fear is not welcome here. Fear I bind and cast you out in Jesus’ name. Nothing can touch me. I belong to the Lord God Almighty. You have no right to come near me with your scare tactics. You can’t touch me. You can’t touch my land, home, car, family or nation.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. Genesis 26: 24
Condemnation is powerless. I send you back to hell. Negative events of the past have no more power to harass, haunt, or take up residence in my thoughts. Divine inner peace and emotional wholeness is mine. Godly assurance, confidence, and faith replace all past brokenness. God’s great and miraculous hand is working for me in every situation. I have no reason to fear.
God stands with me. Who can be against me? Romans 8: 31
We need to remind ourselves God is with us if we want to find calm. Remember His abiding love and His desire to care for His children. We can’t pray too much. Prayer is having a conversation with our best friend and Father who loves it when we spend time talking with Him. If we ask Him to be with us in our boat He will be here.
For hasn’t He promised you, “I will never leave you, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!” Hebrews 13: 5
I cling to my faith God will see me through. I get frustrated sometimes because it feels like it is taking forever. There are times I’m not sure I can keep trusting. Some of the pain in my heart gets so overwhelming. Yet, here I am… living another day. His grace continues to be sufficient for the day. The anguish softens and I choose to keep putting one foot in front of the next. I confess out loud I will trust God and I believe He will see me through. Eventually my heart will hear my words and believe them.

Let’s pray.

Precious Father, thank You for everything You do for me. Thank You for Your unwavering promises and Your loving care. Help me love You back with the same measure You love me. Please heal all brokenness. I renounce all fear, and I keep my eyes on You. You are my good Father. I abide under the shadow of Your wings, I am safe and completely protected. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Re Solving the Future

Widows face unique and challenging obstacles as they progress through the process of grief in search of their future. For however many years they spent building their lives with their husbands, the vision and embodiment of the future was a combination of their entwined dreams incorporating the two of them together living out that future. When death invades and removes the husband, the surviving widow is faced with resolving— that is re-solving — or solving all over from scratch, what her future will be.

Everyone wants to experience a full and healthy life. When you spend nearly all your adult life and most of your existence in the company of your husband, naturally your dreams and expectations for the future were built combining the passions and strengths of both people to fashion a vision you shared. It was stretched between you as you each clutched to hold it up. Removing one of the poles sends the canvass falling to the ground, no longer visible.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29: 18
Widows face the daunting task of finding a new future… void of the person they counted on to share the unknown. They must figure out how to describe themselves – no longer a wife, no longer a part of a couple. They have to consider the likelihood of keeping the future they always dreamed… is it even possible… will it still bring fulfillment… could it be altered—or should it be left on the heap of loss.

I still don’t know what I want my future to look like. I’m learning I need to heal enough from the trauma of loss. I needed to start slowly. In the beginning it was breath by breath. Eventually I could make it step by step—quite literally making my feet move one step forward at a time. After a while I could sometimes plan something a little into the future… though it was hesitantly. I tried some things that worked. I tried things that didn’t. I would plan something and completely forget I did. I would want to do something and find I didn’t have the courage when the time came. It was like groping around in the dark and constantly stubbing my toe.
Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.
Proverbs 16: 9
We make plans and set goals to turn dreams into action steps. The best plan I can make right now is to seek God for guidance and ask Him to direct my path. I feel like a toddler learning how to walk and keep falling down. It’s like my legs are still trying out new muscles that need to grow strong. I need to trust God to help me have the courage to keep getting back up and trying to walk again. 

Your future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away. As you listen to Me, My beloved child, you will grow in wisdom and your heart will be drawn into understanding, which will empower you to make right decisions.
Proverbs 23: 18-19
Please pray with me.

Father God, please help guide and protect us as we adopt new ways of living in this world as we adapt to life without our beloved husband. Show us the future You planned for us… a future filled with hope. Please comfort and heal our hearts. Reveal the desires and gifts You created in us and make clear our dreams. Help us find the right people and resources to encourage and promote these dreams. Give us the courage and fortitude to pursue them with passion and give You all the glory and honor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Friday, April 22, 2022

National Widow’s Day – May 3rd—Who is a Widow?

In a little over a week, on May 3rd, we have an opportunity to take part in fulfilling a lesser talked about commission in the Bible.
True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.
James 1: 27 CEB
God cares about the plight of widows so much He mentions them more than eighty times in His Word—both in the Old and New Testaments. This was always explained to me as necessary in the past because women were extra vulnerable due to depending on their husband for all their needs because they stayed home and did not earn an income. Many of these scripture references included orphans so it just meant to care about people who are defenseless and in need. We tend to rationalize away and water down the significance of our obligation to earnestly and thoroughly commit ourselves to obeying God’s Word. Perhaps it’s time to take the Bible more seriously and seek God for His revelation knowledge.

The loss of a spouse is the number one stressor on most stress scales and is considered one of life’s most devastating events. Most widows lose about 75% of their support base when they lose their husbands. This includes relationships with family and friends, and after just three months that number grows even higher. Their in-laws usually disconnect with most widows after just a year. The risk of death from a broken heart is at least thirty percent higher for widows after just six months of this loss. About seventy percent of widows over the age of 65 live alone.

Is it any wonder God asks us to fulfill His commandment to love one another by taking care of widows? Perhaps you’ve never thought about what it means to be a widow. Consider this description of widowhood shared by Alisha Bozarth.
“Widowhood is more than missing your spouse’s presence. It is adjusting to an alternate life. It is growing around a permanent amputation.

Widowhood is going to bed for the thousandth time, and still, the loneliness doesn’t feel normal. The empty bed a constant reminder. The night no longer brings intimacy and comfort, but the loudness of silence and the void of connection.

Widowhood is walking around the same house you have lived in for years and it no longer feeling like home. Because “home” incorporated a person. And they’re not there. Homesickness fills your heart and the knowledge that it will never return haunts you.

Widowhood is seeing all your dreams and plans you shared as a couple crumble around you. The painful process of searching for new dreams that include only you amount to climbing Mount Everest. And every small victory of creating new dreams for yourself includes a new shade of grief that their death propelled you to this path.

Widowhood is second guessing everything you thought you knew about yourself. Your life had molded together with another’s and without them you have to relearn all your likes, hobbies, fears, goals. The renaissance of a new person makes you proud and heartbroken simultaneously.

Widowhood is being a stranger in your own life. The unnerving feeling of watching yourself from outside your body, going through the motions of what was your life, but being detached from all of it. You don’t recognize yourself. Your previous life feels but a vapor long gone, like a mist of a dream you begin to wonder if it happened at all.

Widowhood is the irony of knowing if that one person was here to be your support, you would have the strength to grieve that one person. The thought twists and confuses you. If only they were here to hold you and talk to you, you’d have the tenacity to tackle this unwanted life. To tackle the arduous task of moving on without them.

Widowhood is missing the one person who could truly understand what is in your heart to share. The funny joke, the embarrassing incident, the fear compelling you or the frustration tempting you. To anyone else, you would have to explain, and that is too much effort, so you keep it to yourself. And the loneliness grows inside you.

Widowhood is struggling with identity. Who are you if not their spouse? What do you want to do if not the things you planned together? What brand do you want to buy if not the one you two shared for all those years? What is your purpose if the job of investing into your marriage is taken away? Who is my closest companion when my other half isn’t here?

Widowhood is feeling restless because you lost your home, identity, partner, lover, friend, playmate, travel companion, co-parent, security, and life. And you are drifting with an unknown destination.

Widowhood is living in a constant state of missing the most intimate relationship. No hand to hold. No body next to you. No partner to share your burden.

Widowhood is being alone in a crowd of people. Feeling sad even while you’re happy. Feeling guilty while you live. It is looking back while moving forward. It is being hungry but nothing sounding good. It is every special event turning bittersweet.

Yes. It is much more than simply missing their presence. It is becoming a new person, whether you want to or not. It is fighting every emotion mankind can feel at the very same moment and trying to function in life at the same time.

Widowhood is frailty. Widowhood is strength. Widowhood is darkness. Widowhood is rebirth.


is life changing."

By: Alisha Bozarth
The widows in your life just want to be seen, acknowledged, and encouraged. Most of us have given up trying to explain how we feel and what we need. Most of us have things in our lives we need or would appreciate help with, but either don’t know how to ask or have been hurt or wounded in some way when we tried, so we decided not to try again. The longer we are widows, the less understanding most people are, so we protect ourselves by not talking about it. Hopefully we eventually find safe people who understand and let us share our hearts, but you might be surprised by how many feel very alone.

This National Widow’s Day I encourage you to choose at least one widow in your life and reach out. Maybe its your Mom, or sister, neighbor, or someone in your church. Share an encouraging card, some flowers, or a gift card. Offer to take them to lunch or go for a walk. Invite them to tell you about their husband. See if there is something they need help with, such as lifting or moving something, decorating for a holiday, finding a repair person, or help them with their computer.

Being a light on someone’s journey through grief will not only bless the widow you take time with, it will bless you right back. You’ve heard the saying, it’s better to give than receive. It is a gift that will warm your heart too, and Father God will smile from ear to ear!

God’s Heart for Widows

This Holy Week we stop and remember Jesus came to earth to save humanity by dying on the cross on Good Friday and resurrecting on Easter Sun...