When the Anniv Gift Isn’t on the Lists

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As I understand tradition, there are specific types of gifts for each year of marriage.

What if there were gifts for each year POST marriage?

Here are mine.

Year 1: cowboy boots (someone sent me a check for the exact amount before the fact!)

Year 2: for some reason I cannot remember!

Year 3: I traded in a broken Silpada necklace for 6 stacking birthstone rings representing my kids

Year 4: a new bed frame since I didn’t want to take the one from our Day 1- I got this great deal on a metal frame which is very different from the solid wood from before.  But after watching a few episodes of any BBC series, I now believe it looks like a hundred year old hospital bed.  Insert smiley face here…

Year 5: I had considered looking for a keepsake from the James Avery store for this anniversary but got worried they would send me to the “full FINGER” area of the store after shopping for “unmentionables” earlier in the day.

But I ventured into the store finally and found a ring to commemorate this 25th wedding anniversary. It has Hebrew letters that say the verse from the book of Ruth. “Wherever you go, I go.” It will be my constant reminder that I am following God on this journey, wherever it leads me. It kind of goes with the heart necklace I bought the first year with the German phrase “Allein Gott”, meaning God alone.

On this journey I need to be continually reminded of my connection to Christ. Do you? It is so easy for me to get distracted by the glittery things of this world and this culture.

So now I wear the six stacking rings to represent my children, my thumb ring we found while cleaning out the garage that was an unknown man’s wedding band that I wear to represent 3 men in my life who have gone ahead of me (my brother, my husband , and my dad), and now a ring just about me following God.

Ruth was a widow who left behind all she knew and was comfortable with to go with her mother-in-law to a new land, new language I’m guessing?, and a new culture. She was not part of the Israelites. She was an alien.  She had no way to provide for her little home. But she followed her bitter mother-in-law to her homeland and did all she asked of her. And her obedience helped turn her mother -in-law’s bitterness around to sweetness. Her obedience and new faith put her in line for the Messiah. She became King David’s great-grandmother! I believe she is a great model for me from Scripture. She modeled obedience, love, purity, faith, and trust. Exactly what I want said of me.

And the largest readership I have ever had was this facebook post I made on my 25th wedding anniversary. If you missed it, here it is. I had over 5000 people see this. Crazy.

This.
Is.
The.
Day.
The. 
Lord.
Has.
Made.
I
Will.
Rejoice.
And.
Be.
Glad.
In.
It.

Twenty-five years ago I married this man. I dreamed of this anniversary because we had big plans. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. At least we covered all our bases. Married life seems like a faraway dream. So much has changed. I’ve forgotten what it is like to be the number one person in someone’s world. I’ve forgotten what his whiskers felt like against my face. Hugs are different now. All the movie quotes and song lines that I repeat just fall to the floor with no understanding. The stories I want to tell someone but no one will understand or care. But life is good. I miss all those things but I have so many blessings. So this, this 25th wedding anniversary, is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice. I WILL. and be GLAD. in it. Glad? Yes, Glad. Glad for all the 30 years of memories with Mr Mark. Glad for these six children we had. Glad for his smart genes that have been passed down to my kids. Glad for his biblical knowledge he shared. Glad. Because 25 years ago he gave me his name. Happiest of anniversaries, honey. I miss you each and every day.

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The Tale of Two Widows

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She who is truly a widow, left all alone,

has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day,  

but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

1 Timothy 5:5-6 ESV

Widow

Did you despise the word the first time you heard it applied to you?

Were you repulsed by the classification?

The word is kind of a “show stopper”, so to speak. When you are asked about your husband and you respond with this word, the crickets can often be heard in the background! The conversation comes to a screeching halt. As my teens at home would say, “Drop the mic…”, meaning the show is over.

God made special laws concerning widows and their care by the Hebrew people. In the early days of the church, the Apostle Paul made special comments regarding their care.  Sometimes I get caught in the “care” part, complaining why the “church” isn’t doing what Jesus taught “them” to do with widows, wishing the “church” would just meet my needs. But beyond their care, I found two types of widows discussed in the New Testament that are directly pointing at me. And as I studied it got personal real quick!

According to Scripture, widows can fall into two categories: consumed with prayer or consumed with self. The word “widow” is used over a hundred times in Scripture, so I took the time to read every verse in every chapter in every book, in context. Here are some of the descriptions:

  • Place their hope in God (1 Timothy 5:5)
  • Have a reputation of good works (1 Timothy 5:10)
  • Busybody (1 Timothy 5:13)
  • Self-indulgent (1 Timothy 5:6)
  • Having passions that draw them away from God, their physical desires overpowering their devotion to Christ (1 Timothy 5:11)
  • prayerful (1 Timothy 5:5)

There are no 10 Commandments of Widowhood to follow or a list of dos and don’ts of widowhood. For each of us it will look different. I must stop judging the other widow for her life – instead look at mine and see how I measure up to the list from Scripture.  God may show me areas where I am a busybody in ways He hasn’t led me. God may show me areas where I can pray more or be more hopeful in ways He hasn’t shown me.

This is what it looks like for me today:

  • sets her hope on God“= my hope for the future cannot be linked only to the hope of a future husband and father for my children or the hope of financial security. I have to place complete trust in God who has written and redeemed my story from beginning to end, even when it doesn’t make sense here on earth.
  • continues in supplications and prayers, day and night“= I have fought the lack of sleep “beast” for about five years. I have taken various medicines to help with sleep but recently, in the last six months, I have changed my focus. I have decided God has gifted me these “wee hours” to pray. I pray for friends whose marriages are in crisis, for rebellious teens running from God, for widows with hopeless situations, for my own children, etc. My grandmother used to remind me to pray through the alphabet – A for someone whose name begins with A, B, C etc. I do not turn on lights or open my phone, just plain old-fashioned praying.
  • self-indulgent“= there are certain things I want to do for my own sanity but I don’t always have the money for them. I make sure I give money to my local church and pay all the bills first, of course. But after that, I might want to sit at coffee one morning with a friend, enjoying a breakfast scone and a latte. Or if money is tighter, it might just be sitting on a back porch with a fire in the chiminea, sipping on hot chocolate, talking over the day with another single parent. If you pray for God to show you if you are being “self-indulgent”, God will point it out to you clearly. If He has given you peace, then enjoy the sanity break and breathe in deeply.

I encourage you to pray over these verses today, and consider which of the two widows you are.

Let’s commit to being the widow of hope, the widow of prayer, the widow of good reputation. That is the path of true joy.

Lord God, I put my hope in You completely today. Take away the passions that pull me away from following You as closely as I can. Forgive me for judging others for their journey and open my eyes to my journey. Keep me close to You in prayer throughout the day and the night when I wake. And when You provide moments of relief, help me breathe deeply of the peace You send my way. Amen

 


 

Recently our team members Erika and Lori wrestled with some really tough issues dealing with the missing physical aspect of widowhood. You can read their articles here and here. They both made the point that each widow must look at her own life and ask God for discernment concerning areas that are not spelled out in Scripture.
Eli12615501_10207224865214213_1344952754011757354_ozabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

 

Would you like to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here!

If you are looking for speakers for your next event, contact us at admin@anewseason.net

 

This article first appeared on awidowsmight.org on March 9, 2016

2016 State Fair

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2016 State Fair

I keep thinking that this tradition is going to die but I keep resuscitating it!

I have a long history with our state fair. When I was a child, my parents worked with a Christian ministry who had a booth at the fair. They would tell Bible stories to the children coming through. In those days, the kids would stay and sit and listen while the parents hung around in the area. We even had this strange contraption like a Ferris Wheel but for animals! I’m sure PETA would have been on us like ugly on ape nowadays. In the midway, there were freak shows and rides and any kind of unusual person you could imagine.

After college, I moved back to this great state. In the first months, I was working a job at a Christian talk radio station (no, not as a DJ or a talk show host…) and they needed me to cover their table at the fair. They even gave me 4 tickets to get in so I could take a couple friends. I had met some neat people, some cool cats, at the church class I was going to, so I asked these two handsome young men to go with me (and a gal who looked sweet on one of them just for good measure) and we went to the fair. I had an awesome cinnamon roll that day.

Those two handsome men were MarkandNeil. It became the one name for the two of them. They were best buds and I was their third wheel. We did everything together for five years.  We took road trips to Dallas and small plane trips to eastern Oklahoma. We even took a trip around Europe. Best times.

The week Mark proposed to me, he took a state fair cinnamon roll out of the freezer and warmed it up. He saved it for months for that moment.

Mark and I got married and we had a room in our house that was ‘Neil’s room’ for many years. Until we needed it for kids. But probably every year, Mark and I attended the fair. With stroller. With babies. With toddlers. We always had a cinnamon roll.

The last year we attended the fair, Mark was not very healthy. He mostly sat at the cooking demonstrations while I swept through the aisles of the buildings with the kids. We continued to make state fair memories. He always liked to look at the leather booths while I was suckered in by the free things.

As the kids have gotten older, schools don’t let out for ‘fair day’ any more, so we don’t get to go with the whole family. Two years ago I went with one child on her school field trip. Last year my sister and BIL took two of my kids, and included freak shows this time….thanks. This year I am homeschooling so I took those two during the day and we nearly passed out from heat stroke. Seriously. I even offered them to go on a ride, which I NEVER EVER do, but they actually said it was too hot! We did receive a small evergreen tree to plant. And the kids got some caterpillars that will hopefully turn into butterflies. They are pretty excited about it.

So the fair… I have loved it for so many years. I’m not sad when I go. I am thankful for the memories. And I want my kids to have memories to share with others. Sometimes those memories are good. Sometimes they are strange. Sometimes bittersweet. But all the memories together make a beautiful tapestry of life.

And this year, I just had a corn dog, for the record. No deep-fried Oreos or bacon-wrapped chicken-on-a-stick. Just an old-fashioned corn dog.

Collect memories today, friend. 

And now, back to your regular programming…

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And now, back to your regular programming…

That is how I feel. I am back to “normal” after a momentary lack of joy and sanity.

Certain days on the calendar are more difficult because of the anticipation of the day.

Yesterday was my birthday.

A couple years ago I was so glad to find an idea that seemed to work with my kids. I have written about it on several blog sites. I guess even the best laid plans even fall apart. The idea was that all the days on the calendar where a celebration or small gift might be in order, one of my children was assigned to a day. It really helped them think about someone other than themselves. One kid had my birthday, one had Christmas, one had Mother’s Day, etc. They seemed to get the hang of things so we didn’t need to assign anything after the first couple years.

Enter this year.

Early in March the topic of my birthday came up and the kids assured me it was settled.

Ahhhh, a sigh of relief. My kids are growing up. They are looking beyond themselves. I have succeeded as a parent!

The night before my birthday arrived and the fingers began to point in all kinds of directions – HE didn’t this and SHE didn’t that…In other words, NOTHING got taken care of.

My attitude began to sink into the sewer. I have always had trouble with high expectations. And this was no exception. Those unrealistic expectations that my children/family/friends/enemies/people-I’ve-never-met would shower me with cards and gifts and various surprises.

So as the day loomed ahead of me, I worked up a wonderful pity party for myself. If no one else was going to throw me a party, I might as well throw myself one- a huge stinking pity party.

I had a few wish me birthday wishes on facebook but the close local friends? One called and we talked a while and hung up without her ever mentioning my birthday. Another called and, again, we talked a while, but no mention of birthday greetings. Another texted about various things, none of which were my birthday plans. I even invited one friend to dinner, my treat, and she had other things going on! I couldn’t even bribe a friend to eat with me. I did run into a church friend at the store who offered to join us for dinner that evening (Thanks, you-know-who-you-are!).

To the various friends who texted me birthday greetings, I responded with “thanks but birthdays pretty much suck nowadays.” What a show stopper. In retrospect, I guess I should have just stopped at “thanks”. Guess the last part wasn’t really necessary?

And, truth, my mother had already celebrated my day on Sunday with some of my siblings and my kids. So I wasn’t nearly as forgotten as I pretended to be!

But they do stink–these days. I miss having someone think about my birthday without being bribed or coerced. I miss being married. I miss being a wife. Birthdays, and Valentine’s Days, and Mother’s Days, holidays – they all can stink. How do I NOT let them stink?

Attitude. And having friends who think about me non-stop. But since that isn’t likely, guess I have to stop at my attitude. Why can’t it be someone else’s fault? Because I have to own this stinking attitude I have.

By the end of the day, all three friends who had forgotten my birthday had contacted me with apologies. They are all competing for “worst friend of the year” they think. But actually, I am probably closer to “worst friend” because I can feel so “needy” and “unloved”. Grow up, Liz! Acting like a 4 year old is really unbecoming!

So today, it is back to normal for me. I’m not wallowing in self-pity or wondering why there isn’t a pile of gifts at my bedroom door waiting for me. Because, like, when has that ever happened anyway? So apparently expectations don’t even have to be realistic.

In the grand scheme of things…this is really a pretty small thing. I would like to help my children think outside of themselves. And they do that sometimes. I love my friends even when they forget about me. And it will be in reverse more often than not, I’m sure.

And I already have next year’s birthday planned a year in advance. Yes, it involves a plane ticket and a suitcase. So there you have it!

 

 

A Land I Never Planned to Visit

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A Land I Never Planned to Visit

This was my most recent article for AWM. I believe it can relate to anyone though. 

Widowhood.

Do you ever imagine we are on an extended trip, living in a land we never expected? I would never have chosen this trip. I didn’t pack appropriately for it. I don’t even like the accommodations! You too?

But when I read Scripture, I find this happens more often than not.  Some of the Biblical characters went willingly to the unknown, some fought it the whole way. Some were there because of other people’s actions, some were there because of their own. Let’s see…

Joseph

Abraham

Ruth

Moses

Daniel

John 

I was thrilled recently to find someone else in the Bible who was sent to a land she never planned.

Esther

But I was struck by something I never noticed before.

Esther 2:8 (ESV) So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.

It never occurred to me that Esther was most likely there against her will. I guess I had this romantic image of her attending a voluntary beauty pageant.

But this verse leads me to think otherwise. The king made a proclamation for the gathering of young virgins in the land. She was taken away to the king’s palace to prepare for the “pageant”. I’m preparing for a “pageant” also–  God is preparing my heart for the Bride’s feast in Revelation!

Esther went through lots of preparation before and during the pageant, but I find great encouragement knowing that Esther was ready for her uncle’s statement and the climax to the story in chapter four.

Esther 4:14 ESV And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Can I ever imagine that I could be used for God’s Kingdom when I am in the “land” of widowhood, where I never planned to be? Could I be at this point in history for a reason?

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Car being towed recently after dying in a parking lot

I sometimes fall into the trap of my fantasy–my marriage lasting into old age, ministering to my friends from the vantage point of a wife, raising my children with my husband, etc. What I am living now is far from that fantasy! I get so frustrated having to make decisions regarding  an old vehicle and lots of kids to transport around town. I am “over” living in this “land” and wish to be back in the “land” of married wife, taken care of by a car guy. Son broke his glasses. Cat had an expensive vet visit. My best friend is going through tragedy of her own.  I want to pack up and move back to the other land–the “land” where I don’t have to make all the decisions, where I had an adult to share responsibilities and worries with.

But could I be in this “land” for a reason? I realize, if nothing else comes of my time in this “land”, I have such empathy for my friend going through personal tragedy and a love for widows. For such a time as this…What is my “this”?

My perspective needs to change from looking inward at being in the “land” I never planned, to looking outward for such a time as this.

Lord Jesus, turn my vision outward. Give me eyes to see a purpose for being in this “land” of widowhood. Help me to encourage others in my home to see their purpose as well. You have put us here, for such a time as this. Give me a new perspective today and a compassion for others going through tragedy. Amen

***Here is a link to the book of Esther in the Old Testament.  If you really want to research the history surrounding the book of Esther, it is believed to fall between the chapters of six and seven of the book of Ezra. The name of God is nowhere in the book of Esther, but His sovereignty is found on every page. The Jewish people even celebrate the Feast of Purim as a way to remember the delivery of the Jews through Esther.

Elizabeth DP16-b8fb6yer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

Want to read more from Elizabeth’s journey? Click Here!

Looking for an article to read more about Esther? For Such a Time as This by Sheryl

for such a time as this esther414ps04

A Biblical Charge

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Sunday was such a special day.

We had a prayer for my eldest child during the service at church. Our pastor asked Stephen to stand and the congregation joined in prayer for his upcoming trip to University of Leicester England. He will  be continuing his  study of political science and economics.

I was concerned about sending him off by himself, like any mother would be, and God provided a traveling buddy for him. My best friends, Neil and Carol Stratmeyer, are traveling over with him and staying to vacation for a few days as an anniversary trip. What a blessing to have someone nearby for Stephen if he needs it.

His visa and finances for the trip have all come in and he is ready to go, short of packing!11996578_10204918497137290_1464797380_o

11995194_10204918496817282_1071047551_oSunday evening we were invited to Janet and Robert’s house for a goodbye dinner. Besides the awesome food, we had great conversation. At the end of the evening, we gathered to listen to Robert share from Scripture exactly what Stephen’s father would have wanted Stephen to hear. It was almost like I could hear Mr Mark sharing the “charge” that the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy. I was taken back to Christmas mornings when Mr Mark would always read the Christmas story to the kids before we opened presents. It tortured the children but also showed them the “reason for the season”.

Please remember to pray for Stephen and my family during the next year. I have no clue what emotions we will experience during this time. I know we can skype and email and call and facetime and whatever else. We certainly didn’t have that when I lived across the “pond”. Mr Mark and I earned airline miles for all the phone calls we had! Pray for his spi11995061_10204918495577251_1114217880_oritual and emotional strength. Pray for his opportunities to travel. Pray for safety. Pray for protection from evil. You know, all the things you would pray over your own child!

 

It’s That Time of Year Again

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It’s That Time of Year Again

Back to School…

It always brings a plethora of mixed emotions.

I wrote this a year ago and think someone needs to read it this year. Back to School

We all know a single parent. Probably, honestly, we know many more than just one. In fact, since I wrote that last year, I know of several more. Please keep these ideas in mind as you prepare for your coming school year.

 

 

This year I will be sending Stephen to study for a year in England. You can pray for my parenting from far away. I REALLY want to go visit though… He has worked all summer at the Science Museum of Oklahoma. Before you get excited that he was putting his grand education to use, he worked in the concession stand! He has played with the rest of us in the church orchestra this summer. It has been so nice having all of us together this summer.

 

 

 

I have a senior. We have already taken our senior pictures and they turned out wonderful. If you need to take pictures, I would highly recommend Coach Lyons at www.hoofandhornsupply.com Josiah is taking a decent load of classes plus band and swimming. We are very excited about this coming year. He is continuing his time with Expeditions in Etiquette, where he is one of the teen ambassadors.He is continuing his saxophone playing, alto, tenor, and bari.

 

 

I have another high-schooler this year, entering tenth grade. Caleb is our first to try his hand at Francis-Tuttle during the school day. He will be taking computer science and his math and science every morning at this campus. He is looking forward to forging his way on a new path. He is still continuing cross country but has had to let his band career come to a screeching halt. After much prayer and discussion, we felt that doing the computer science was a better match. He had a great summer trip to Dominican Republic with his church team.  Expeditions in Etiquette is also one of his extra curricular activities. His great joy has been playing guitar with the “praise team” in the youth area at church. He even gets asked once in a while to play in the main service.

 

 

 

The girls are entering eighth and sixth grades. They are at different campuses but head out to the bus stop at the same time. Erin is playing oboe at school but flute in the church orchestra. Mary Grace is beginning clarinet this year. It is so nice to already have so many instruments to choose from! The girls also participate in Expeditions in Etiquette. It has been such a great experience. Erin had a big singing part in the school play last spring and did a fantastic job. She is looking forward to more drama this year. This summer, she went with the church to minister in St Louis. Between that and church camp, she had a lot of growing opportunities.

 

 

Micah is bringing up the rear, entering second grade.  You will be happy to know he isn’t into zombies like he used to be! We have moved to hermit crabs. Two are actually still living! That has been our summer addition. During the summer he developed a throat infection (not strep) that moved into an auto-immune disorder called Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP). We have a new dr due to insurance changes and she was a blesssing. She recognized it right away, but did several blood tests in order to rule out leukemia, cancer, mono, tick illnesses, and a variety of other illnesses. This HSP manifested itself with arthritis like symptoms, severe abdominal pain, and broken blood vessels. It lasted nearly 4 weeks and went away as quickly as it came. We are thankful we were able to treat it with pain meds. He was quite the trooper with shots, urine tests, and blood work. I am not above bribery! There was a chance of kidney damage long term so we are thankful there are no indications of that.

So that about wraps up our lives. I am continuing writing and publishing with A Widow’s Might. We have 4 devotionals available through our website. We are working on other projects as well. This does not bring in any income for me so I still have that concern on the horizon. What do I want to be when I grow up??

 Thanks for all your prayers. Here’s to another great school year.

~Liz

Shelters

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Shelters

From A Widow’s Might today…

I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,

and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.

Psalm 73:28 NLT

 Spring.

Most people think of flowers blooming and trees budding. While I think of those things, my mind goes straight to tornadoes. I have lived in “tornado alley” most of my life. I remember as a child throwing coats and seasonal items frantically from the closet under the stairs. I hid there with my dog, cat, cage of mice or gerbils, and my flute, while my father, like most true Okies, stood in the yard watching the clouds! I have seen the destruction of these storms, big and little. So this spring, my stomach has begun to churn more as I am now the sole protector of my little band of Dyers.

While I was married, my husband would often call from work, telling me whether storms were coming to our side of town or tell me a national news story that just popped up on his computer. I loved the feeling of security that came from this man loving us and taking care of us. However, with his death came the added responsibility of protecting my family like I have never felt before. Yes, I KNOW God ultimately takes responsibility for our protection, but my children still look to me in this home. If I panic, they will panic.  If I remain calm, they will, well, panic too! I have some children that resemble their mother in this way!

With all this going around in my head this spring, I was completely caught off guard when my phone rang the other day. To my surprise, on the other end of my phone was a storm shelter company. I was informed some friends of mine had collected money to combine with a large sum from the company, to present me with a shelter for my family.

I have such wonderful, caring friends!

The day before they were to come to install the shelter, I was reading my “One Year Bible” (which, as it turns out, will take me longer than one year) and came across this verse—my shelter is the Sovereign Lord.shelter

As much protection as my shelter provides my family, my ultimate shelter cannot be found just in the underground shelter. I still have to trust in the Sovereign Lord as my shelter.

One thing I have learned over the last four or five years is that storms come into our lives. Big storms. Storms that rock our foundation. Storms that strip away everything we held precious. And sometimes tornadoes wipe out entire neighborhoods.

When these storms come, those who found shelter survived. They survived with only their lives, stripped of everything material they held precious. I have seen the footage of people exiting their storm shelters, with the view scarring them forever. All they do is cry because they are so thankful for their lives. They come to realize our lives are most precious. When the storms of job loss, widowhood, and marriage failures hit us, we must find shelter in the Only Shelter who matters.

Our storm shelter is quite small for a reason. The obvious reason is because I have a lot of people to hide, but another is because the only thing that matters to me in a storm is my children’s lives. That’s it. There is no room for all those precious photo albums, my piano, my quilts, my cookbooks, my framed photos. While many of those things cannot be replaced, the only thing that matters to me now are my children.

I was so thankful I found this verse at just the time I needed it. I am also thankful for friends being the hands of God for my family. And I am thankful for these crazy, wonderful, loving, freckled children of mine.

Sovereign Lord, You are my shelter. Many storms have come into my life and I am thankful for the foundation of truth I have in You. Help me to always be ready to share Your wonderful deeds with all those around me. Amen

 

Elizabeth Dyer is aelizabeth 325x325 writer/speaker with  A Widow’s Might/A New Season Ministries, Inc.. She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, and guinea pigs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend.  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

Worship at the Throne

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Worship at the Throne

i heard a widow once say she feels closest to her spouse in heaven when she is worshiping. Since her spouse is gathered around the throne of God, her worship is getting mingled in with the heavenly worship. I love that image.

This week at church, I imagined God saying to Mr Mark, “Come, listen to My children singing praises!” And Mr Mark coming close to God to peek into the earthly realms. And, as Mr Mark peeked down, he was pleasantly surprised to see his thirteen year old daughter, singing in a trio, beautiful praise to God.

And at that moment, father and daughter were nearer than ever.

Perhaps I have finally discovered why playing in the church orchestra is so important to me. Praising God with my heart and my flute goes straight to heaven where Mr Mark is.

 

Be Like a Widow?

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…but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. Mark 12:44 ESV

*fiction based on these verses from Mark chapter 12

I entered the temple with my tiny offering.  My head was covered as I walked past the wealthy religious leaders.

I knew.

I knew it was all I had.

Earlier today I had done some sewing for Ophnia. She has been so good to us.  Her husband has made a good home for their family and she was able to pay me to help her with some sewing.

But I brought the coins she gave me today, to the charity box at the temple.  I can’t explain why–I just felt this compulsion.  My little coins wouldn’t go very far, but together with other coins, I could really help someone.

Oh, but I wondered how I would explain it to Jonah, Hosea, and Hannah. How would I fix our meal tonight?  There is nothing left. Nothing.  I am taking this tiny offering to our God. Will they understand? Will they question me?

Just before my husband died, we were listening to the Great Teacher speak. He speaks words of Truth like no other.  We sat there listening with such peace in our hearts, overcome with the desire to share this love and compassion with others.

And then my husband died so suddenly.  We never anticipated the illness that would take over his body.  We hardly had time to find the doctor, and, when we did, there was nothing left to do. I held his hand in mine as he slipped away to paradise.  His last words to me were a muffled whisper but they will ring loud and strong forever in my heart.  “Share the Messiah’s love and compassion.” Share. And then he entered eternity.

I was stunned. Share love and compassion? I am crushed with grief! I am nothing in society now.  It will be all I can do to hold onto these children of ours.  The relatives have offered to take them. Take my children? Are you kidding? That would be a double heart break.  I couldn’t let them go.  They need me…I need them…We need each other desperately.

Share? Really?

So that is what brought me to the temple. Here I am, bringing all we have and giving it to God.  I will share the love and compassion with others. I will.

But still I wonder, What have I done?

Oh, what have I done…

I needed to act before I changed my mind.  I had watched many walk past me as I stood waiting.  They took bags of coins to drop in the treasury box. You would be amazed at the noise their coins made.

As I quietly moved forward, I gained confidence that this is exactly what I should do. I was not proud of my coin, but I was not ashamed, either.  God’s love has compelled me to share, so sharing I am.

The children will understand, won’t they, God? Will You help me show them and teach them?

I dropped in my two small brass coins, really amounting to very little. A sense of great relief passed through my body. Relief that I had done exactly as the Messiah had instructed us. Exactly as the Messiah had instructed ME.

As I was leaving the temple, I noticed a small group of men, staring at me. I looked into their faces, recognizing one in particular—the Messiah, here on this particular day!  Why were they staring at me? Could they tell I gave so little?

“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

How did he know? Do I look that bad? Is it written on my forehead? Poverty? Really?

But, how His words comforted me instead of offending me.  He saw me.  He knew me. Surely He is the Messiah.  Who else could know those things?

Did He point me out to His followers as an example? Me? How could I be an example to anyone? I am without the means to care for my small children and myself. I am without the love and security of a husband. I am without the standing in the community to be anyone now.  I am without. Plain and simple. Without.

But the way He talked about me, it sounded almost like a compliment. I have never looked at my situation as a compliment.  Does He think His followers should be like a widow? Now there’s a new one! No one has ever said that before. Be like a widow…I just don’t know.

I rounded the corner near our place. At least it is ours for the time being. Not sure how long we will be able to keep living here. Be like a widow

Hannah came running out first, followed by the big boys. She was full of emotion most days but to have her brothers yelling too, what was going on?

Shhh, children, you’ll wake Miriam’s new baby!

Mama, Miriam lives three streets over!

I know, that’s my point! What is all the raucous? One at a time. Okay, youngest first.  Hannah?

I am only half-way listening while my mind keeps repeating, Be like a widow.

Be like a widow…

 ***

We don’t know the end of the story. We could make up a happy ending like in the movies. Or we could make up an ending like in reality. Sometimes when we give our all, we are repaid in financial blessings. But sometimes we are repaid in huge eternal blessings.  We do not know how this widow lived after she gave her all in the treasury. We would love to think that maybe the religious leaders had beat her home and were there to share the treasury with HER. Maybe a long lost brother of her late husband showed up, just getting word of his brother’s death, in order to take care of the little family. Maybe they were asked to move in with her parents. Maybe the neighbor was there to offer more sewing jobs.  We don’t know.

What we DO know is that Jesus pointed her out as an example. And she is included in Scripture as how we are to live.

Widows hold a special place in God’s heart. He mentions them over a hundred time in Scriptures and we are deeply loved by God.  He is our security now.  He alone has our heart.  We may feel invisible in society but not to God.

Be encouraged today.  Everyone is called to be like a widow.

The widow in our story gave money out of her poverty.  Some of us may have poverty in other areas.  We could be experiencing poverty in Love. Grace. Mercy. Joy. Peace. Kindness. Faith. Where do you see “poverty” in your life, other than in financial areas?

Blessings….