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Posts Tagged ‘God’s plan’

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What do we do when our life falls apart and we can’t put it back together the way it was? It’s as if we worked all weekend putting together a puzzle with 1000 pieces. We only have about 20 pieces to go when the dog runs through the family room chasing the cat, slams into the card table sending the puzzle pieces flying through the air. Pieces land everywhere; in the fish tank, in sis’s plate of food and glass of wine and even between couch cushions! We realize we’ll never be able to put the puzzle back together.

Isn’t that the way it goes in our lives sometimes?

It may be an earthquake, flood or tornado that scatters our material possessions all over the place. Or a divorce that scatters family members into several different states. Perhaps there’s an illness and an early, unexpected retirement surfaces. Or what about an accident that causes someone to become a paraplegic. They can no longer drive their dream car.

So now what??? First we must go through the grieving process and come to accept our loss. Maybe then, instead of seeing our glass half empty we can see it as our glass half filled.

When our material possessions are scattered from a natural disaster, we may find the sugar bowl and creamer set from our fine china that was intact. We might place it on the mantel or table as an even more cherished item. In a divorce, or death of a spouse, it may be establishing a better relationship with our children. In other life altering situations from illness or an accident, it may be giving up a career and going back to school for more education to pursue another passion.

For the paraplegic who had to give up his job, perhaps with a settlement, he’s able to pursue a passion for painting and become an artist. Having the funds to travel the world and paint the most amazing paintings. These are goals to give us hope. It’s finding a new path in life and viewing new scenery along the way.

So like putting a puzzle together, we have to put a plan together….

For some, we may need a life coach to get us started or to guide us through the process. It’s a matter of making goals and breaking it down into one step at a time and “To Do Lists”.

In a divorce or family death, a goal may be getting counseling for the children. What would be the first step? From experience, my first step was to research professional counselors. Step 2 was calling and setting up an appointment. The third step was taking my children to the appointment. Once we managed to get there, the counselor then had steps for us to meet our own goals.

I’m sure most of us have had a life detour at one time or another. As we made a new normal, it was like taking a different path on our journey and experiencing new scenery.

In my situation of becoming a widow, I had to give up my job. This led me to go back to college at the age of 37. You’re never too old for an education! I took an Anthropology course and traveled to the Yucatan in Mexico. I was able to climb the incredible Mayan Ruins and sleep on the Guatemala beach listening to the howling monkeys near by in the jungle.

This only enriched my life as I began putting my life back together with new pieces and making a new picture. So despite our life detours, we can always regain our hope in a new journey!

 

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A_Widow's_Pursuit_Cover_for_Kindle

“A Widow’s Pursuit” was released on November 3rd, 2015. I want to shout out, that I’ll be doing a book signing today, Saturday 11/7/15, at Espresso Theory in Duluth from 12 and 2 pm. Come on out and if interested in purchasing a book it will be on sale 20% off!

I’m including links for anyone wanting to purchase a book on the following websites:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Tate Publishing

If not able to make it today, I’ll be doing a 2nd signing next week at LATTEA on Saturday 11/14/15, in Duluth from 12 to 2 pm.  Hope to see you there!!

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Cropped pictureFrom my experience, as a young widow raising children, this is not an easy answer. First, I had to work through my grief. There’s no specific time limit for grief. It’s when a widow has worked through the stages and has accepted the loss. For me, it took two years before I could see the light of joy again.

I believe the parent must first work through grief to be capable of entering into another relationship. If they don’t, they could have unresolved grief and the children might have compounded grief. However long it takes, widows must work through their grief to then help their children complete theirs.

Once I was in a healthier state of mind and accepted my loss, I then realized my children still had a ways to go. After two years of widowhood, with an 8 and 9 yr. old, I had a marriage proposal. I really had to pray about it. A counselor told me that children can take on average four and a half years to work through grief.

So I put my heart and wants to the side. My children were my top priority and I had to make sure they resolved their grief before I moved on. I had them in support groups and children’s grief camps. I brought them to see counselors when I saw it was appropriate. And I always prayed for God’s direction!

So all my sacrifices and hard work paid off! It has produced the most beautiful joys and rewards. It wasn’t easy! I did remarry once my children were grown and on their own paths in life. My one daughter is married and my other is engaged. They have both been making very good decisions in their lives. Read my book to find out all the details of how the three of us made it through.

A Widow’s Pursuit: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief

 

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stock-photo-transform-your-thinking-on-blackboard-background-238546603[1]What does it take to transform a widow’s grief into a renewed life?

My friend, Ferree Hardy, has compiled 5 Turning Points in scripture to be aware of to help in a Widow’s Transformation. As Ferree writes on her blog, Widow’s Christian Place, she states that grief is not our destination but part of a journey of love. “We grieve because we’ve loved.”

Ferree suggests how we can watch for turning points in a widow’s grief with Wisdom, Knowing God Better, Contentment, Gratitude and Purpose.

Follow Ferree’s link to her website and see how she uses scripture references to help in 5 Turning Points That Help Transform Grief for Widows.

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Blessing[1]Are you feeling overwhelmed being a WIDOW? There are many retreats and conferences to help, encourage and support widows in their grief. I attended a conference last November through, A New Season Ministries. I highly recommend going to one if you can. It helps to know that you are not alone. Widowhood is similar to a journey that many of your friends and family may find it hard to understand. You may have a hard time understanding this grief journey as well. But it can be easier if you connect with other widows that understand what you’re going through.

A New Season Ministries has started a Blessing Fund for those that are struggling financially and want to attend the retreats. Please visit A New Season’s Blessing Fund on this blog.

Know that when you are strong again, you will then have the resources to repay this favor, whether it will be giving back to the fund or having time to minister to other widows.

God Bless You with His Peace and Blessings!

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footprintsHard to believe… 20 years ago my first love passed away. I became a 34 year old widow with 2 daughters, 6 and 7 years old. My life changed in a matter of weeks when my husband died of pneumonia. This wasn’t what I planned. My plan was to continue living in our Florida home, going on yearly vacations, and enjoying our children as they grew up. But apparently, it wasn’t in God’s plan. He had another plan for me.

As I look back over the last 20 years, life turned into a journey where I never thought I would travel. It took a couple years to work through my grief before I could see the light of day again. But once I pulled through, with continuous faith in being led by God’s peace and guidance, I emerged as a new being.

I went to college and found a career to help others going through grief and hard times. At 37 yrs old, I started my adventure in social work. My children came first so school took awhile. I received my bachelor’s degree (BSW) when I was 46 and 4 years later, I received my master’s degree (MSW) followed by a Licensed Master’s of Social Work degree (LMSW). I was 50 years old with an education and life experience.

I raised my children for 14 years on my own. I refused a marriage proposal because if I had taken it, I would have regretted it. My children did not need a replacement and didn’t need any other grief in their lives. I wanted them to know that they came first until they were adults and on their own.

Today, at 54, I’ve been remarried for 5 years. My oldest, at 27, is in nursing school and working in the hospital as a nurse tech. My youngest, at 26, will be getting married in a few months. She completed her bachelor’s degree and then moved to California. We live on opposite sides of the country but my main concern is that she is happy. And I believe she is!

To sum it up, this year I finally obtained a full-time job position as a social worker for a home health agency. I actually pursued my dreams and I’m able to serve others now that are having a difficult time with illness, grief and loss. It comes full circle and down to one thing…..

II Corinthians I: 3,4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

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griefhealing%20homepage[1]Definition of “Grief”:

Intense emotional suffering caused by loss, disaster, misfortune, etc; acute sorrow; deep sadness

There are many reasons that people grieve.

There are many ways that people handle their grief.

So how can we say “Grief” is good?

Let’s think about some of the reasons why people grieve:

  • Death- such as when someone loses a loved one to death…the grieving widow.
  • Divorce- Or when there is a divorce, we understand that family members are separated which causes another form of grief….intense emotional suffering.
  • Natural disasters…when homes are destroyed by earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc. Even if individuals were blessed enough not to lose any family members, they have lost sometimes all their material possessions they’ve ever owned…pictures…sentimental things. These people have to grieve over their losses.
  • Pets- There’s grief over losing a pet that is someone’s family member.
  • Moving- And do we give much thought about individuals going through grief that have moved because of a job change to a new city, or a new state. Do we realize that all the family members in that particular family are going to have to grieve? They will have to leave behind their family and friends.
  • Illness- This can be chronic, new diagnosis (cancer), amputation, aging (loss of memory, vision, hearing, etc.) This list can go on and on, but you get the idea.

Sometimes because it isn’t a death or a divorce, we don’t think about it as grief. Do we?

So what are some of the ways people handle their grief?

There are healthy ways and unhealthy ways.

  • Unhealthy ways are when people resort to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain. Perhaps someone experiencing depression may need a short-term anti-depression medication to get them through the shock, which is common. But other individuals have a way of abusing prescription drugs.
  • Some people resort to instant gratifications such as gambling, shopping, or eating. These are gratifications that I resorted to when my first husband died. I drank my Margaritas until I felt no pain. I gambled the sympathy money away. I gained 20 lbs. in 2 months which caused me to have to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Once I got hooked into these instant gratifications to numb my pain, it was almost impossible to stop until I had my wake-up call from God and suffered consequences.
  • Other ways people fall into handling their grief may seem healthier. They may work more, maybe becoming workaholics, or even become obsessed with exercising and healthy eating. Usually it’s a matter of doing anything to get your mind off of your grief.

But is this really healthy? Probably not!

Everyone must work through their grief by working through the various stages of grief. The majority of us, work through stages of shock, emotions such as depression, anger, and/or guilt, physical symptoms of grief, we then resist going forward until we gradually find hope and affirm our new reality.

Grief is hard work. We can’t bury it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Nor can we continue to numb our pain. We have to face it and deal with it. It’s normal to be depressed for a while. It doesn’t mean we’re going crazy. All it means is that we are acknowledging that we are sad because things will never be the way they used to be. And that’s OK! As long as we can move on and not get stuck in a stage, we are moving forward.

When God gave me my wake-up call, I was going down a dangerous path. I surrendered to God to help me through my grief. I’m not sure I could have done it without His help. He provided me a healthy way to work through my grief. As I worked through the stages and transitioned into a new life, I can now help others walk through their valleys of grief. I can help them realize that what they feel is normal, and encourage them that they will find hope one day just as I did.

If we can handle grief in a healthy manner, we grow from the experience and it becomes a “Good Grief”.

 

 

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