Monday, January 21, 2019

Dealing With the Loneliness of Widowhood


Do you find yourself with a lot of "alone" time now? A widow once told me that it wasn’t being alone that bothered her; she was used to that because her husband had travelled a lot for work. “I’m OK with being alone, but being lonely really hurts.”

Many widows will attest that loneliness is one of their hardest problems. It’s pervasive. Like a weed it fills the cracks and chips in our broken hearts with an ache that keeps coming back. God himself declares that it’s not good (Genesis 2:18), yet people die and their loved ones have to live alone. How do we adjust? How can we be alone but not lonely?

Here are some tips and ideas that can aid us like steps on a path.

BE AROUND PEOPLE. When it feels like the walls of the house are closing in it’s time to get out and be around other people. Go for a walk at a mall or farmers market. Sit at a McDonald’s or Starbucks with a coffee and a magazine or newspaper. Simply being around people is good. Visit a friend or relative and pitch in to help with cleaning or cooking. The sounds of everyday life like dishes clattering in the sink, a tea kettle whistling and children running up and down stairs are sweet to a lonely person.

STAY WARM. If you have a fireplace, the warm blazes from it can ward off both a cold night and the icy grip of loneliness. Drink a cup of hot cocoa or chamomile tea. The University of Toronto reported a connection between loneliness and feeling physically cold. Warmth helps.

STICK TO FAMILIAR ROUTINES. Routines provide structure for our day and help us know what to do next. Life isn’t so overwhelming and lonely when routines keep a semblance of order and control. In the evening prepare for the next day—lay out what to wear, plan meals, and check for appointments and chores. After that work on handcrafts, sewing or puzzles to pass the time, relax, unwind and get sleepy.      

READ. The well-known author, C.S. Lewis, once said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” I don’t know if he said that before or after his wife died but he certainly knew the loneliness of widowhood. Reading is another good night-time routine and hobby. It’s informative and relaxing. Stories of real people, other lands, history, nature, travel can perk up our interest in life once again and ease pangs of loneliness.

HELP OTHERS.  In Chera, a Christian magazine for widowed people, widower Bill Lake wrote about how he dealt with loneliness: “I had to remind myself that idleness is not God’s will for a person. I am not talking about activity for activity sake. But as I exercised my spiritual gifts in serving others, I began to leave loneliness behind.”

LEARN FROM BEING ALONE. One widow told me this: “For me, it has been important that I not miss what God is teaching me through this journey. It seems as though He has deliberately taken me into the wilderness to teach me more about Him. I tend to “forget” God when I have people to take away my loneliness…”

Making peace with loneliness means finding new ways to be around people, staying warm, employing healthy routines, reading, helping people and learning what God intends. It’s a journey, not a race. Each little step you take will leave the lonely path further and further behind. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Widow's Journey Retreat March 1 - 3 I hope you can come!

Last year I got to meet Sandra and her mother. Her mom wasn't
a widow but several widows, like Sandra, brought along a dear
friend or relative for company. They are welcome to attend!
I often hear widows talk about how much they want to get together and here's a fantastic chance to do it. 😄 Click here for the info about it.
It will be at Sandy Cove Ministry Center in North East, Maryland. Costs are based on the number of people in your room. If you want to stay with other women to reduce your cost I think you can call in and ask.
Once you register, please email me at [email protected] so I can be sure I get to meet you.
💗 ferree
A "Naomi" group from Pennsylvania started by using my
book, Postcards from the Widows' Path. Their leader, Denise, is
in the front in the blue print shirt and I'm right behind her.
Over 150 women from all over the country attended.
Sweet memories!





Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Great Help for Widows--Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

The very best thing a widow can do to help herself is to read and meditate on God's Word every day.
Why? Because it is food for your soul and just like good nutrition it will help you heal and be restored.

Daily devotionals based on Scripture are a good place to start. Visit a nearby Christian bookstore to look at all the selections. Your church might have free booklets with devotions for each day of the month. An excellent resource for devotionals for grieving people is to sign up at GriefShare.org --they're delivered to your email every day and they are free. Specifically for widows, please visit my friends at A Widows Might.org for their beautiful and heart touching ministry.

If you want a deeper look into God's Word as a whole, though, consider a Bible reading plan. You'll get a grasp of the whole world of the Bible plus the sense of accomplishment as you check off the chapters and books you've read.

In addition to the reading, I like to keep a small notebook. Every day I jot down my "ABC's" --
  • A is a title of what I just read. I make one up and you can too, no expertise is necessary :)
  • B is the best verse that stands out to me personally that day. 
  • C is a command to follow or a comfort to claim. 
I love this simple but profound little outline and one of the best blessings of it is to look back and notice the many ways God actually guides and directs me when I apply what I've read!

There are many yearly Bible reading plans to choose from--just Google your favorite ministry site and they will probably have some.

The selection might be too overwhelming if you're dealing with widow fog though so I've created my own Bible reading plan just for widows.

Here's the beauty of my Bible reading plan:
  • You can start it at any point during the year. 
  • You'll read the entire New Testament and corresponding Psalms, plus Proverbs and Ruth. 
  • Each season you'll read a gospel: winter--Matthew, spring--John, summer--Mark, Christmas--Luke.
  • The first day of every month (except February)a section of the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 will encourage and remind you of how great and effective God's Word is for daily life.
  • And last but not least, an * marks chapters that contain the word "widow."
It took me a couple years to do this and test it out on myself! And then a friend who's a graphic designer helped me format it and set it up here so all you have to do is click on the pages in the sidebar ---> and print them off. (If you don't have a printer send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I'll mail you one: Ferree Hardy, PO Box 5024, Florence, SC 29502).
No matter whether you choose to go with a devotional or try a Bible reading plan, the important thing is to start today. Do it in the morning, before bedtime, after a meal or as many times a day or week as you want! Just Do It! You'll be so glad you did! And if you miss a day? Just pick it back up, don't try to catch up. God will meet you where you are.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Are You Facing A Lonely New Year?


Do you find yourself with a lot of "alone" time now? A widow once told me that it wasn’t being alone that bothered her; she was used to that because her husband had travelled a lot for work. “I’m OK with being alone, but being lonely really hurts.”

Many widows will attest that loneliness is one of their hardest problems. It’s pervasive. Like a weed it fills the cracks and chips in our broken hearts with an ache that keeps coming back. God himself declares that it’s not good (Genesis 2:18), yet people die and their loved ones have to live alone. How do we adjust? How can we be alone but not lonely?

Here are some tips and ideas that can aid us like steps on a path.

BE AROUND PEOPLE. When it feels like the walls of the house are closing in it’s time to get out and be around other people. Go for a walk at a mall or farmers market. Sit at a McDonald’s or Starbucks with a coffee and a magazine or newspaper. Simply being around people is good. Visit a friend or relative and pitch in to help with cleaning or cooking. The sounds of everyday life like dishes clattering in the sink, a tea kettle whistling and children running up and down stairs are sweet to a lonely person.

STAY WARM. If you have a fireplace, the warm blazes from it can ward off both a cold night and the icy grip of loneliness. Drink a cup of hot cocoa or chamomile tea. The University of Toronto reported a connection between loneliness and feeling physically cold. Warmth helps.

STICK TO FAMILIAR ROUTINES. Routines provide structure for our day and help us know what to do next. Life isn’t so overwhelming and lonely when routines keep a semblance of order and control. In the evening prepare for the next day—lay out what to wear, plan meals, and check for appointments and chores. After that work on handcrafts, sewing or puzzles to pass the time, relax, unwind and get sleepy.      

READ. The well-known author, C.S. Lewis, once said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” I don’t know if he said that before or after his wife died but he certainly knew the loneliness of widowhood. Reading is another good night-time routine and hobby. It’s informative and relaxing. Stories of real people, other lands, history, nature, travel can perk up our interest in life once again and ease pangs of loneliness.

HELP OTHERS.  In Chera, a Christian magazine for widowed people, widower Bill Lake wrote about how he dealt with loneliness: “I had to remind myself that idleness is not God’s will for a person. I am not talking about activity for activity sake. But as I exercised my spiritual gifts in serving others, I began to leave loneliness behind.”

LEARN FROM BEING ALONE. One widow told me this: “For me, it has been important that I not miss what God is teaching me through this journey. It seems as though He has deliberately taken me into the wilderness to teach me more about Him. I tend to “forget” God when I have people to take away my loneliness…”

Making peace with loneliness means finding new ways to be around people, staying warm, employing healthy routines, reading, helping people and learning what God intends. It’s a journey, not a race. Each little step you take will leave the lonely path further and further behind.    



                                            

                                                     

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Something Special for 2019

Well I must confess I've been floundering this year. For the past 8 - 10 years I've kept Bible reading notebooks and loved jotting down thoughts, prayers, and all the cool things God showed me in his amazing book.

Those notebooks are my little treasures --probably the first thing I'd grab if my house were going up in smoke.


But this year I've just been a scatterbrained hot mess. Maybe it's because my mom died and the huge adjustment and personally re-visiting to grief, or maybe it was travel, or other excuses. But I'm now looking forward to a fresh start and a new year. How about you?

I think I'll try something different for 2019 though. I ordered a Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner from a Christian organization called Youth With A Mission.

Please visit this link so you can see it all for yourself, but I'm pretty excited about it. Our world is in a bigger mess than I am! But little old me (and you) can do something about it by joining thousands of others in prayer.

The prayer journal brings everyone together in praying for world wide situations and nations. To me, that's the important thing. That's the hope-- not us praying, but that God hears and he really does answer! "Ye have not because ye ask not." James 4:2.

What will you ask God for in 2019? Please let me know so I can also pray for you. ❤

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Christmas Prayer for You

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us.
Matthew 1:23 (NASB)
Dear God,
You've embedded our seasons and calendars with remembrances of you. The stars shine brighter in these long nights of December, the earth demonstrates your widom as it gives way to seasons of rest and replenishment. Weather fronts swirl both snow and balm around our globe, the moon pulls tides in and out, and planets follow their courses in a cycle of centuries.
Nations rise against nations, republics succeed and fail; houses are built, lovers are loved, babies are born-- some grow old--some do not... But whether only five years old or ninety-five, all eventually die. Yet against this massive and brutal canvas of nature and man your prophets and Scripture lay this claim:

Immanuel: You. Are. With. Us.
You are with the widow too. Such knowledge is too wondrous! We ask, as Mary asked the angel, "How can this be?"
How is it that the Creator of the universe--each galaxy, star, solar system, planet, continent, nation, people group, family, and person-- how is it that you come to us as Immanuel?
Renew and revive our sense of your presence in the cold beauty and long nights of December and grief. For when we know you are with us, we know we can make it through. When our own strength and hope are gone, "God with us," is all that matters.
When our Creator reaches through all of his creation to touch our life and enter our world, we begin to live again.
Grant us this peace and life through your presence this Christmas, Immanuel.
Amen

Wishing you a sacred and precious Christmas through the touch of Jesus Christ, ❤ferree

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Widows Retreat 2019!

Treat Yourself to A Widows Retreat -  
Make It A Christmas Present for YOU 
Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet women who "get it" about widowhood? Who know by experience that the Lord will not leave you stranded, but also know the pain and the struggle? That's what happens at a widows retreat. The best one to minister to a widow is another widow and that's what will happen the weekend of March 1-3, 2019. Gayle Roper, author of "A Widow's Journey" and many other wonderful books hosts this retreat. 
Wouldn't you like to be in on this time of encouragement and strengthening? Start praying about going today, and sign up soon! Please email me as soon as you register so I can help you get to know some mutual friends a bit ahead of your stay. [email protected]
The link below is from the Sandy Cove Ministries website. Sandy Cove Retreat Center is located near the town of North East, Maryland, "serenely situated between Boston and Philadelphia." It's on Chesapeake Bay and is  beautiful! I will once again facilitate one of the small groups and I'd love to meet you. I really hope you can come!   ferree
 Being a widow is to be in a very lonely place.
People say, “Isn’t it wonderful he’s with the Lord,” and you want to yell, “No! He should be here with me.”

Spend a weekend with other widows where you are with people who understand. Come share your heart and your hurt and be encouraged as we remind ourselves that, hard as it is, our God is able. Learn from women who are where you are, women who have weathered grief and difficult times.

This weekend is for widows of all ages and at any point in the journey. Find out everything you need to know--rates, location, schedule, speakers--by clicking right here.



Sunday, December 2, 2018

Book recommendation: "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" by Lysa TerKeurst

Hey, wait! "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" is what I hear from widows
all the time! 

Plus, I have my own list of "It's Not Supposed to Be's...) And it's growing.

So I got the book. I started reading it a couple weeks ago, dropped it because the first chapter or two were a bit elusive and not gripping enough. But then my "not supposed to be's" got stronger so I picked it up again this morning. Took a highlighter to it. I'm almost halfway through this Sunday afternoon.

The author's not widowed, but suffering is suffering in many ways, and much of what she says will apply to widows in profound ways.

If you're looking for a quick "How I claimed victory and God gave it to me in 3 easy steps," then this book is not for you. There's no quick fix for suffering, and I am grateful to find an author honestly admit that. She is also willing to be transparent, vulnerable and honestly (and perhaps unintentionally) model how to hope.

And as far as unanswered prayer? Here's one quote I need to carve in my every doubt and fear: "God loves me too much to answer my prayers at any other time than the right time and in any other way than the right way."

Let me put it in lines so the words can explain themselves better:
God loves me too much to answer my prayers at any other time
than the right time
and in any other way
than the right way.

Click here to order from ChristianBook.com at a really good price.  It'll be one of the most meaningful gifts you'll receive this Christmas. 💓 ferree


039851: It"s Not Supposed to Be This Way It's Not Supposed to Be This Way

By Lysa TerKeurst / Thomas Nelson



What happens when life looks very different from the reality we long for? In It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa TerKeurst offers a Biblical perspective and hard-won advice to encourage readers facing their own challenges. Find unexpected strength while wrestling between faith and feelings and learn how to stand through uncertainty and trust in God's goodness.

PS--If your phone doesn't accept the link to the book, click on the title of this blog post. That way you'll go straight to my blog and it should work from there.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Beating the After -Thanksgiving - Blues

I'm sure if you saw a widow who could use your help, you wouldn't hesitate to reach her, right? What if that widow is you? 

If you see yourself getting further down, unmotivated, and dragging after the Thanksgiving holiday here is something that you can do to provide your body with some help--Exercise. (I hear those groans, my own included!)

Physical activity can increase your 'feel-good' hormones. When we feel good, we can handle grief and other challenges much better than when we don't. Look at this tip from webmd.com. Skipping exercise for only a week or two adds up to very negative results! Let's start skipping the donuts and mashed potatoes instead and get back to getting some exercise.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Missing Exercise Can Be Depressing
 
Who knew a little couch could
do so much harm?
Skipping exercise for a week or two may change your mood, says a study that turned regular exercisers into couch potatoes. "We were able to measure negative results from withdrawal of exercise in just two weeks," says researcher Ali Berlin. "After one week we began to see changes.

After two weeks they were significantly more tense, tired, and less vigorous. The more out of shape they became, the more their mood and energy level dropped. What this tells us is that any interruption in a regular fitness routine can have a negative impact," Berlin adds.
Once you start exercising, keep it up! The more active you are, the more energy you have. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more days per week.
Source: webmd.com
Please pass this along to a widow you love. 

What exercise works best for you? Do you go to a gym? Take a walk around the block? Go up and down the stairs in your house? Walk the dog? Bike? I'm looking for some ideas because I need to get more exercise too. Leave a comment today. Thanks so much!  💗  ferree



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pilgrim & Widow: Elizabeth Warren

I've posted this previously, but looking back on history always helps me put life in perspective, and gives me a lot to be thankful for.

Can you imagine crossing the Atlantic in a hand-built wooden sailing schooner without bathrooms, electricity, heat or running water? Did I mention you have five daughters in tow, and you're going from England to America to meet your husband who sailed there three years previous on the Mayflower? 
Did I mention the year is 1623? 

This was the life of Elizabeth Warren. Kind of makes you glad you're you, doesn't it?

When Elizabeth arrived in Plymouth, her husband, Richard Warren was waiting for her. He hadn't died yet. That would happen in 1628, after the birth of their two sons. Did I mention there were no hospitals or anesthesia or Lamaze classes, and she had 7 children in all?

Hardly anything is known about the women of Plymouth, and even less about the widows among them. But Elizabeth, who lived well into her 90's, over 45 years without Richard, broke through the social conventions of the 17th century and lived out her life in goodness and victory.
  

"A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value…
Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds."
Proverbs 31:10
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day, and live each day to its fullest for the Lord.

♥ ferree

For more about Elizabeth Warren visit the Pilgrim Hall Museum or this essay by Peggy M. Baker.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Shirley's Journey

If you're curious about a widow's journey--what it might be like at year 2 or 3 or beyond--I think you'll appreciate Shirley's honesty and her insights into God's faithfulness.  ❤ferree

Nov 16...the date comes up once a year, but it's one I'd rather skip.

In 2012 and years prior, this day was just another ordinary day on the calendar. 

Nov 16, 2013 was a day that will forever be etched on my memory as being the worst day of my life, but the best day ever for my husband. You see, it was the day that he began a new, perfect, pain-free life in heaven.

While he was doing that, I was beginning a grief-filled journey here on earth. It is an uncertain, ever-changing journey. The first year passed in kind of a blur; there were lots of tears and sleepless nights. I learned that "widow fog" is a real thing.

Then came year 2 when reality hit, and I knew this was not a nightmare that I would wake up from. My best friend really was not coming back. Someday I will go to him, but he won't come here to me (and I wouldn't want him to--he's so much better off than I am!).

Year 3 brought growth and continued adjustments.

Last year was my 4th year as a widow, and it brought some hard struggles. In Sep 2017, I went on the kidney transplant list. Exciting, right? I guess it was, but I struggled with doubts, depression, and anger. I was angry with Mark for leaving me to go through my physical issues without him. Eventually I came to realize that it wasn't his choice to go; he was in God's hands.

My dear daughter-in-law Joanna shared with me a definition of peace that really helped me.
"Peace= accepting that God knows better than I do what is best for my life."
I am in a much better place today on this 5th anniversary of Mark's home going. I still don't have God's perspective on how this is best for my life, but I DO know that He has been faithful in taking care of me, and He has blessed me in totally unexpected ways! At this point in my journey, there are still moments of grief and tears, but the deep despair is gone. I can look ahead with hope, joy, and anticipation about my future and what God has in His plan for me.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." 
And once again, Jeremy, Jo, Tim, Bonnie, Graham, and Paula remind me that though they are far away physically, they are near in thought and heart. They sent this beautiful flower arrangement to remind me this morning!




Monday, November 12, 2018

Ever Have One of These Weeks?

My widowed friend Lynn had one just a few days ago...
I've reprinted her update with just a few edits so um, well, you'll see why she preferred to be rather anonymous...💗 ferree

🔎🔍
Okay....something's going on here. Can we talk about this week??

My car dies and still isn't fixed, my water heater breaks, I'm seriously running out of cash, and behind in bills. I can't take a shower when I want to, or do dishes in warm water. My son is off school for three out of five days, and thinks every night there's a party at our house. A Christmas charity packing party is looming in the distance on Sunday and I am NOT even close to being prepared. I had no food in the house yesterday, and today my period started. Honestly, God.....

BUT......I have seen GOD, and felt HIM every single step I've taken. And Lord Almighty, has He shown up!!! It's almost getting ridiculous! 


It's like He is screaming at me, "LYNNE, I LOVE YOU!! TRUST ME!!" 

So long story short....the water heater is in the works and will be installed later today. 

The car? I'm still waiting for an answer there. 

Funds just appear, when I need them. Just enough, a little, a lot...a gift, a loan to be worked off, a favor.....

My sister has offered her shower every night which is better than no shower, and I am grateful for the friends my son has because it means we are loved. His girlfriend's mom drove me to vote, and I also got to the grocery store. Little things like that. 

So while I was at the grocery store yesterday, I couldn't stop myself from buying ingredients for chicken noodle soup. I remember thinking, "This is weird. This is a stupid idea. You don't have time for this this week. Why are you doing this?" But yet....I could NOT stop myself from reaching for every ingredient. 

Today I made some, and it's really quite good. So I decided to throw together some bread as well, because why not? I finally sat down after being in the kitchen ALL morning. 

I went on my town's "Moms Page" and there was this big red post from a young mom whose husband just had shoulder surgery this morning. I don't know her at all but the post asked, "Where do you get the best chicken noodle soup in town?" Mind you....I was sitting there with my phone in one hand and a bowl of "taste and see how it turned out" in my other hand. 

I just about spilled the whole bowl when I read it, and just said, "REALLY GOD???? AGAIN You're going to do something amazing??" 

So after thinking it through and arguing with myself, I agreed to reach out to this young mom and she was SO grateful for my offer of soup...and bread. AND it turns out that she lives down the block. 
GO FIGURE!!! 
GOD IS ABSOLUTELY BEYOND AMAZING!




Monday, November 5, 2018

Q. Isn't PTSD Only for Soldiers?

A. No, it can happen to civilians too, even widows. Most people understand how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder might arise from traumatic combat and experiences that soldiers go through, but civilians who've survived torture, car accidents, rapes, and other unthinkable events are also at risk. I know widows who've been diagnosed with it after their husband died so I think it's something we should all be aware of.

Life isn't always safe. Death isn't always peaceful. According to the book, "Wounded Spirits - A Biblical Approach to Dealing with the Effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," some of the symptoms of  PTSD include
  • suicidal tendencies
  • fear, depression, sleeplessness and anxiety
  • guilt and survivor's guilt
  • anger and irritability
  • nightmares and flashbacks
  • avoidance of conflict
  • apathy
  • and a large array of other symptoms. 
Many of these symptoms accompany grief, so don't be alarmed if you've experienced some of them--it doesn't mean you have it.  It doesn't mean you don't though. Do seek help for things like suicidal tendencies, depression, panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks. Only a qualified clinician can diagnose what you're going through and this little blog post is not a substitute for medical advice.

There's hope, though. By its very name, PTS "Disorder" means that "things are out of order." It's nothing to be ashamed of. We're human, trauma should affect us, it's not a stroll through rose gardens as if nothing ever happened. The good news is that God is an expert at putting life back in order.

For information and help on PTSD from a Biblical approach, click here for an excerpt from the book, "Wounded Spirits." I attended a seminar on it recently and have 2 extra copies free to the first two people who ask. Just email me today at [email protected] and include your mailing address.

UPDATE:  I'm sorry but the book requests have been quickly filled! A huge interest and a huge need! The revised edition seen here is available for purchase for $6.95 plus shipping, just click on this link. (If it's not working on your phone or email, click the title to this post to take you directly to the blog.)

Do you think you might have PTSD? Don't suffer in silence. Chat with the people at Wounded Spirits blog or your doctor, pastor or therapist.

Monday, October 29, 2018

At Eleven Years

When life instantly changes forever we hold our breath wondering what's next. What will it look like 10 minutes, 10 days, 10 weeks, months or years from now?

Sometimes it helps to hear from someone further down the road who will call back to us and tell us what their road looks like. That's what Carol's post does today.

Carol found my blog shortly after I'd started it, and I had the unique and sacred privilege of attending her marriage to her second husband Chris a little while later. If you'd like to read that chapter of her life too, please click here.

Hear about the journey at eleven years right here from her Facebook post.

Thanks for sharing your life and God's light, Carol! ❤ferree

Monday, October 15, 2018

One More Butterfly Story

Hello Ferree, 

I've had multiple butterfly encounters since Joe's passing but this is the one that tugs at my heart the most. 

My husband Joe suddenly passed on March 29, 2008. The good Lord never blessed us with human children, instead he blessed us with a golden retriever daughter we named Rommie. She was 5 1/2 at the time of Joe's passing...and just as ornery as any human kid. 

This is my story, my butterfly story, and my song. 

It was Friday, July 31, 2015. Rommie took a turn for the worse that morning after having been sick the night before. I made an appointment with her vet. My friend and a neighbor came over to help me get Rommie in the car as she could not walk anymore. She apparently had a stroke in the wee hours of the morning. 

About 6 months earlier I discovered the road that goes by my church is the most direct route to the vet's office. (Rommie was 12 and I finally figured out the best route to her doctors. Geez.) Once we got there, her doctor examined her and said prognosis was grim. After informing and consulting with my Mom and Joe's brother, I made the decision to let Rommie go live with Joe. 

I took the same route home and after I drove by my church, I had to stop at the next intersection. I immediately thought of the line "My chains are gone, I've been set free." from the Chris Tomlin song Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). Rommie had hip dysplasia for years so her chain was gone and she was running freer than she had here. The light changed and I started through the intersection. All of a sudden, a little yellow butterfly edged in black flew across my windshield from the bottom to the top. I gasped and figured it was Rommie telling me goodbye and confirming she was running like the wind with Daddy. 


Rommie did not let her hip dysplasia slow her down. From the moment she woke up until Mr. Sandman put her to sleep at night, she lived out this verse: 

This is the day the Lord has made.
    We will rejoice and be glad in it. 

Psalm 118:24

~ Michele

P.S. She was cremated on August 5th, 2015 - her 13th birthday. 

Michele Kearns

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Widow's Story--Lucy

I have another butterfly story for you, but my friend Lucy in Chicago area just passed a milestone yesterday. Here is a glimpse of her testimony as she's followed Jesus through some tough times. Thank you for sharing Lucy. ❤ferree

Image may contain: Lucy Reyes Rodriguez, smiling, standing and indoorTen years ago today (Oct. 9) I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. I passed the 5 year marker for remission. God gave me life again when all looked hopeless. I live with a disability, which made it difficult to be a teacher or a paraprofessional in a normal school setting.
But now I volunteer and co-lead a 3-day-a-week after-school program ministry through my church for CPS kids, grades 2-4.
I also volunteer at the food pantry. I lead a women's grief support class and I work with volunteers to support my pastor. When God says He is not done with me, He helps me to do His work. I thank God for all He has allowed me to do.
Losing my husband and mom and my health are tragic for me, but joy has come back to me. Like I told a friend yesterday, severe illnesses do not make us throwaway people. That's when God can do great things through us.

Image may contain: Lucy Reyes Rodriguez, smiling, sitting, shoes and outdoor
Lucy's first mission trip-- to Puerto Rico this past July. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Butterfly Story from Colorado

This comes from Joy in Colorado. It's such a beautiful story, and she's only told it to 2 or 3 people over the years so I hope you will count this a real privilege. It reminds me of Romans 8:18,19 in which Paul says (parenthesis are mine)...
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Isn't that amazing? Do you ever think about that "glory?" I wonder about it all the time!) The creation (including butterflies) waits in eager expectation..."
Joy's Butterfly Story

When my husband, Arthur, passed away on November, 4, 2009 his body was cremated.  My daughter and I picked up his ashes and I just kept them for over a year.  At the time my daughter, Laura, was living in Pagosa Springs, CO, which is a very beautiful area very close to the Rocky Mountains.  In the summer of 2011, my other daughter, Gayle, drove up from TX with her two children, to where I live near Denver.  We went down to spend some time with Laura and her family in Pagosa.  On a Saturday, Laura, Gayle and I took Arthur's ashes and drove out to the West Fork of the San Juan River.  Arthur loved the mountains so we thought this would be a fitting place to scatter his ashes. 

We tried to find a quiet and rather private spot along the river to have a little ceremony and scatter the ashes.  We pulled off in one place where we could easily access the river by stepping out onto some large rocks.  Almost immediately a huge monarch butterfly came soaring down the river to where we were.  We were so amazed to see a butterfly in that area and immediately felt uplifted by its presence.  It hovered near us for a bit and then flew away.  Gayle, Laura and sang a few songs and choruses.  I can't remember what they all were, except I think we sang "Because He Lives".  Then we prayed together.  We hugged each other as we sang and prayed.  When we were finished, again the beautiful butterfly appeared near us.  We felt so heartened by seeing this and felt as though, in some way it was sent to encourage us in the loss of our husband and father. It was a lovely ending to our little ceremony.

Thank you for sharing, Joy! May the Lord continue His goodness and comfort, and may He shine through you.  💛 ferree

Monday, October 8, 2018

Butterflies and Beyond

Do you have a butterfly story to tell? Please comment or email me and I'll post it here.

This one still has me amazed:

While I was telling you about my mom's love for butterflies last week I got a letter from a man who's wife passed away in July. He started out, "...Just a few lines in Jesus name..." and it was a warm and loving little note about how God "called her home to a better Home," and that he missed her so much but was so grateful she had no more pain. We all know that feeling right?

They'd been married 50 years and God was so precious to them. And then he told me about a comfort from God when he's feeling especially lonely. Can you guess what it is? Butterflies!

At his wife's funeral he wrote a butterfly was fluttering through the sermon---I don't know if this was inside or outside, but isn't that beautiful? So now whenever he sees a butterfly he's reminded of that and it brings him comfort like a gift from God and his dear wife.

Since that day he's had three butterflies land on his left side, over his heart and shoulder.

I'm going to write back to him on this note card.


A widow friend gave me this card because it's a print of a painting that hung in her husband's room at the hospice center and she cherishes it. I've been saving it for something special and I think I know who to send it to now.

Do you have a butterfly story?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Butterflies 2


The article about butterflies is here. It's called

Metamorphosis—A Symphony of Miracles
by Dr. Gordon Wilson on April 1, 2014. Answers In Genesis magazine.


There's also a video about Metamorphosis on the page. A picture is worth 1000 words, right? It got a bit technical for me but it was only ten or twelve minutes long.
I was struck with the similarities to widowhood in the following quotes from the video.

Speaking of the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly, a scientist said,
"...transformation to an entirely new way of living is nearly complete...
Widows also transform to an entirely new and strange way of living. They didn't volunteer for it either.

Another scientist said that the caterpillar needed to 
"switch gears and form a new body plan." 
I'd say that describes what a widow does too. How do you function when it's like half you body is missing?

Widows are often secluded and very lonely... It seems that caterpillars are too:
"This timeless drama of death and renewal is performed in the seclusion of the chrysalis without audience or applause." 
I'll bet you haven't heard any applause either.

So much goes on in a widow's grieving heart.
"...transitions have to take place in the heart...You've got a great big orchestra going on in there and you've got a conductor...that's responsible for it all." 
This isn't only talking about changing into a butterfly, is it? It sounds like what a widow goes through too. Except that the conductor of her orchestra loves her personally and so deeply that He once sent His only begotten Son to rescue and redeem her. He won't abandon her during the dark days one spends in the cocoon of grief, wrapped up in herself like the wings of a butterfly.

One day God will help her break free from the cocoon and spread her wings. We can't rush the process though. ❤ferree