Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Being a New Widow this Christmas

2Mary

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

συμβάλλω

symballō

“to throw together, confer,” etc., has the meaning “to ponder,” i.e., “to put one thing with another in considering circumstances,” as in Luke 2:19

Other definitions of the word, pondering, in other Bible verses are: to combine, i.e. (in speaking) to converse, consult, dispute, (mentally) to consider, (by implication) to aid, (personally) to join, attack:—confer, encounter, help, make, meet with, ponder.

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But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.  CSB

…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  NLT

…and Mary was preserving all these things, pondering in her heart;… YLT

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As they listened to Simeon speak of their child…

And His father and His mother marveled at what was said about Him.  Luke 2:33

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And seeing their 12 year old child sitting with three teachers, listening to them and asking question…

And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  Luke 2:51

***

To be given these words would make one think about the future of this child:

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

***

Thirty-three years later, Mary stood near the Cross watching her son.  Before Jesus took His final breaths, He made sure Mary, His mother, would be cared for by John.  We do not know when nor how Joseph died, but he has not been written of in the Bible since Jesus was twelve and he is not around when Jesus is teaching.  So Mary is, most likely, a widow.

…but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  John 19:25-26

***

As I have walked through this Christmas as a widow, I have found my mind and heart wondering and pondering hard things.  I cannot imagine Mary watching her son hanging on the Cross.  Yet, I am making note of Mary’s ways when Jesus was born, when he was growing up, as well as when Jesus was 33 years old and Mary being a widow (in all probability).

There is a calmness about the way she ponders and treasures and listens.  I desire that calmness about me too.  Then God provided for Mary through John.  I must say that this season of my life has far more peace and tranquility than it does fear.  This first Christmas season without Kenneth has been very difficult…hard.  Yet the Lord has been with me all of the way, and has provided for me all the way.  It is in the arms of Jesus that I want to be for He comforts me and loves me and will until I am in His heavenly arms and then through eternity.  Hallelujah!!

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.  Hosea 14:9

Father, I thank You from the deepest place in my heart for all You do for me each and every day.  I thank You for loving me.  Thank You for blessing me with a loving and kind husband in Kenneth.  I am so grateful for 25 years with him.  I am so in love with him and cannot help but cry tears of sorrow alongside tears of joy for being blessed by Kenneth himself and then by the beautiful marriage we shared.  I thank You, Abba, for walking with me through this difficult first Christmas season as a widow.  I believe you are going to walk with me for always.  You are such a loving God.  I want to honor You in who I am, how I behave, and the words coming from my mouth as well as the words of my heart.  I want You to be glorified in the way I represent You.  I desire to walk the steps that You have assigned for me.  You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36 I praise You and pray in the Name of Jesus, Your Son, born so that He could die for me.  Amen.  

 

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photo: origin unknown

graphic: https://southatlanticcoaching.com/a-treasured-pondering/

painting:  by Arent de Gelder, 1645 – 1727, (also: Aert de Gelder); Dutch painter.

YouTube: Voctave performs with original songwriter Mark Lowry “Mary, Did You Know;” arranged by Jamey Ray: https://youtu.be/uaRpeMT1tjQ

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

On Being a Widow

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I would call becoming a widow (widower) going through deep waters.  AND then God promises to be with me (you) during these deep-water times.  Absolutely beautiful and so very reassuring.

WIDOW!  A word I have never given much thought to for myself, but the reality is that I am one now.  I saw (and sensed) my mother become one when she was only 46 with three girls ages 13, 10, and 7 to raise.  But me?  I am into this new pathway for a wee bit over one month now at age 70 with no children, no grandchildren.  The precious peace that Kenneth and I felt during the last five months has continued to envelop me, keeping me held and gently rocked.  I cry and know that God is okay with all of my tears.  I know that His plan included this loss as part of my life.

YET…it is not easy.  I miss Kenneth so very much.  Then there is all the paperwork, changing titles, probating the will and…and….  On top of all that stuff, there are buckets of tears!  And not just from the eyes but from this heart.  It is hard Those three words say it best!

Yet, at the same time, I sense the joy of the Lord, His strength, and His love abounding in my life.  He is bringing the right people onto my path.  He sends me to a church Sunday that rained peace all over me.  He is blessing me with the peace that passes ALL understanding.  I love Him so.  I may not comprehend it all so, but I certainly will not turn any of this away for it is my journey.

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my Salvation.  He only is my Rock and my Salvation,
My Stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Behold, God is my Helper;
The Lord is the Sustainer of my soul.  Psalm 54:4

To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my Defense,
My God of mercy.  Psalm 59:17

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my Refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works. 
Psalm 73:28

“Behold, God is my Salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my Strength and my Song,
and He has become my Salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

Oh, how these verses tell Who God is to me…He is all of this and so much more.

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The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.  Psalm 15:25

אַלְמָנָה

‘almanah

a widow; also a desolate place:—desolate house (palace)

A widow is most often described as a woman who has lost her husband by death and has not remarried.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.  Psalm 146:9

“Leave your fatherless children,
I will preserve them alive;
And let your widows trust in Me.” 
Jeremiah 49:11

God cares about me, about us.  He did before I became a widow and He still does.  Praise You, Father.  Praise You. 

Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.  Isaiah 1:17

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 1: Seek opportunities of doing good: Relieve the oppressed, those whom you yourselves have oppressed; ease them of their burdens.  You, that have power in your hands, use it for the relief of those whom others do oppress, for that is your business.  Avenge those that suffer wrong, in a special manner concerning yourselves for the fatherless and the widow, whom, because they are weak and helpless, proud men trample upon and abuse;….  Speak for those that know not how to speak for themselves and that have not wherewithal to gratify you for your kindness.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

I do not consider myself weak.  I can stand up for myself…sometimes.  I can be gullible…sometimes.  Right now, as a one-month-old baby in this new widowhood, I am vulnerable.  I know that because it is hard.  I have just lost my dear Kenneth, my husband of 25 years, this man who loved me as unconditionally as any human being can.  He cared for and about me like no one else.  So I truly am vulnerable and must look to my Lord.  Focusing my eyes and the eyes of my heart upon Jesus is what I am doing.

When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.   When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.  Deuteronomy 24:19-21

God planned for widowhood.  He knew and still knows what needs to happen for them.  I think of the many widows and orphans in the world today with so many wars and such violence occurring all around this globe.  I do not consider myself one of those precious women or those innocent children.  I have so much more than they do, it seems.  I have a roof over my head and know that I have a meal.  Many of those widows are so strong in the midst of their huge struggles.  God knows each of our needs.  He knows from whence we came and where we are headed.

Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.  Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.  But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.  1 Timothy 5:3-6

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She sets her hope on God.  Oh, how I desire that for myself.  I pray, Father, that I walk the path that You have chosen for me, a straight and narrow path.  I rejoice that I have You to trust, to hope in, to love and to cherish.  Oh, I am so very grateful.  I have no parents alive now and have no children.  I come to You for You are my Redeemer.  Guide me each day, reminding me Whose I am.  Be with those widows and orphans in Africa, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other areas of this world.  Provide for each one in ways that will direct their eyes to You. 

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10

Father God, I praise You even in the midst of my sorrow.  I was so very blessed to have Kenneth for 25 years, yet I miss him so.  I know that he is free from the body that was decaying.  I know he is with You.  I know those things in my head, but my heart still is filled with pain and sorrow.  And this heart is also filled with joy because You are my Husband.  You are the One I trust.  You are my Hope and my All, Lord.  Oh, how very blessed I am. I thank You for being willing to perfect, to confirm, to strengthen and to establish me as I grow in You for the rest of my years.  The strength I have is because You are my Strength.  You are my Shield and Protector.  You are my Peace, my Jehovah-Shalom, my Healer, Jehovah-Rapha, my Provider, Jehovah-Jireh, my Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah.  Thank You for being my All.  I am eternally grateful to the One Who is Present, my Jehovah-Shammah. In the Name of Christ, I pray.  Amen.  

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Graphics:

#1:  http://godisheart.blogspot.com/2013/09/when-you-go-through-deep-waters-i-will.html

#2:  https://armyofcompassion.me/2014/09/13/lesson-2-one-god/

#3:  https://quotesblog.net/best-famous-hope-quotes-2015-hope-quotations/

 

 

God's Word · Pondering

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

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