Monthly Archives: July 2017

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