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Posts Tagged ‘renewed life’

puzzle-vector[1]

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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Taken from a facebook friend, Mary Kate Cranston, who has a blog “Cry Laugh Heal”:

How do you deal with change? Here’s a new post about when life pushes us in a new direction. It sounds funny to say but change is definitely a constant of life. As David Bowie wrote in his classic hit song, Changes, you not only have to turn and face the strange but you also have to turn and face the strain because life is making you move on by rewriting your script.

On a morning walk in my neighborhood yesterday, I came upon a middle-aged man standing inside a huge moving van parked on the street. He was calmly…
crylaughheal.com

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photo%20storefront[1]What’s on your agenda next Saturday….12/12/15???? Shopping???

Whether you’re shopping by the Mall of Georgia or wanting to escape the mad rush, please stop in and say “Hi” if you’re in the area. I’ll be doing my very first book signing at an actual book store next weekend. It’s a fairly large store so if you’re looking for shopping ideas and books fall in that category, please stop by, Books For Less, by the Mall of Georgia!

Books For Less: 2815 Buford Drive, Buford, GA 30519  “I hope to see you next Saturday (12/12/15) between 1 and 3 pm.”

Always a 20% discount on cash purchases for “A Widow’s Pursuit“. Buy one for someone struggling through grief over the loss of a loved one during this Christmas season. It may give them hope and encouragement to know that there’s more to life than grief!

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1420215826zh4ns[1]Becoming a widow eventually begs the question…”Now what do I do?”

An article I published this year, on an online website, Open To Hope, reaches out to let widows know that they are not alone. This happens to the best of us!

Grief is a major part of a widow/widower’s life. Although everyone works through grief in their own way, there are still some similarities. I’d guess the majority of widow/widowers go through various stages of shock, denial, guilt, anger, depression, and hopefully acceptance. But every journey will also be unique.

Read the article, When Grief Subsides…What’s Beyond?

In my book, A WIDOW”S PURSUIT: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief, I wrote about my challenges that I went through in grief and beyond.

What about you….is it time to…

CONQUER CHALLENGES & MAKE NEW GOALS?

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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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MC900444925[1]It’s the beginning of a New Year. This usually means new goals and new dreams. But what about when all your dreams have been shattered. It’s like starting from scratch again. Just doesn’t seem right. Just doesn’t seem fair!

But it is what it is. And I have found that the beginning of a New Year has always been a good time to reevaluate my life, my dreams and my goals. If my plans weren’t working out, maybe God had something better planned for me. As it took me some years to figure out…His plans for my life reaped many joys and blessings.

An article I wrote several years ago was published last month on The Grief Toolbox website about how I managed to work in A New Year and a Fresh Start despite my grief of becoming a young widow.

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Do you sometimes feel alone in your grief? No one quite understands you? You are definitely not alone! There are many widows that are experiencing similar feelings and wondering what to do now. Please consider going to a Widow’s conference in February in Texas.

A New Season Widows Conference is a three day event that offers insight and approaches to the difficult process of grieving after losing a spouse. It is Christ centered  around Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” For more information please follow link to, Dallas Conference 2015 Registration and Information.

They are offering discounted hotel rates up until January 25th, 2015. This could be a New Beginning in your New Year.

crossroads

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The Godly Widow Confiding in the Widow's GodIn my widowhood, over the years, I can now look back and see how much I listened to God’s voice by the way my life turned out. My transformation began after my spouse’s death by surrendering my trust over to God. Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not  lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him. And He will make your paths straight”.

Living in this world can be very confusing when a loved one has passed. There’s a lot we don’t understand. We don’t know what the after life will really be like. We only know that we have to trust God that He knows best and has our best interests at heart. I craved to be closer to God knowing only He could get me through grief.

The first thing I did to hear from God was to pray. I prayed for direction in my life. I prayed for my children without a father. I prayed for God to watch over and protect my children because I couldn’t always be with them. Rarely did a day go by without having a prayer to start my day. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

The second thing I did to hear God’s voice was to be obedient. This began at a time when I was desperate and God was all I had. It seemed the more obedient I was to God’s Word, the more the channels were open to hear from God. I rested every Sabbath (Sunday) and kept it holy. Though I dated, I reserved ever having sex again unless I got remarried. You got the picture. It was really a simple equation for me: Prayer + Obedience = Hearing God’s Voice.

The third thing I did to hear God’s voice was to listen and watch for signs. Sometimes it was a feeling of peace that washed over me when I was doing what I felt He wanted me to do….

Two years into widowhood as I prayed for direction in my life, I considered a move to Puerto Rico to live with my in-laws for a year. I felt my two daughters, 8 and 9 years old at the time, would benefit from having the love of their father’s family ingrained in their hearts forever. I just happened to cross paths with an individual that had moved to Puerto Rico for a year and he stressed how beneficial it worked out for him. I considered it a sign and began working towards that goal for the following summer. It wasn’t easy and it was a huge sacrifice for me. I had to rent out our home in Florida then pack our belongings and car in storage for a year. But everything fell into place PERFECTLY. That’s when I felt God’s peace and knew I had heard His voice!

Sometimes there were signs after I prayed that seemed so obvious….

Five years into widowhood, I had journaled 450 pages of my grief journey. That summer, at a friend’s home, I was typing them up on my vacation. Each day I’d spend a few hours every evening typing up a chapter. On the third day, I was wondering if this was worth it. I prayed to God that day for a sign to continue this laborious project on my vacation. As I was typing up my third chapter that evening (being obedient), my friend came rushing into the family room. “Cindy, you have to watch this program that is on!”. It was titled “Mere Coincidences” about spiritual occurrences that happened after loved ones passed and signs that they were still around. My mouth dropped, I said, “Carol! Look at the title of the chapter I’m typing up tonight!” I flipped it over to the title page and it revealed, “Mere Coincidences- or signs from above?”.

And so I completed my book, “A Widow’s Pursuit, Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief”.

And not only did I hear God’s voice through the years, God also heard my prayers. My daughters had God as their father growing up and are now 2 beautiful young ladies pursuing their own goals and dreams in which I am so proud of!

 

 

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