Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
Starting From Scratch When You're Single Again
23 women share stories, encouragement, and
when starting over
was all they could do
Authors Sharon M. Knudson
and Mary Fran Heitzman
I’m neither divorced nor widowed, but I, too, have a heart for those who are starting from scratch. My father died when I was 16, and although she was never aware of the impression she made, my mother was an inspiration to me. While my faith in God faltered, hers remained intact. I watched how she made decisions—how she continued to put one foot in front of the other—how she guided my younger brother and me.
Today I work with my husband in the financial services business. We meet many women who, because of the loss or absence of their spouse, are faced with decisions that were once shared.
I wanted to offer all of these women hope and encouragement so they wouldn’t feel alone or overwhelmed. I want them to know that others have survived and that they will, too. I also want them to know—if they are young mothers—that their children are learning how to cope through the example they set. Children are not harsh judges, but will admire them for their willingness to learn new skills, and for listening to, talking with, and leading them even when the road is strewn with uncertainty.
When my marriage failed after thirty years, I was filled with tremendous guilt and shame. I had been a devout believer in Christ, an active leader in my church, the parent of two beautiful daughters, and the kind of person who loved both my own and my husband’s extended family. It was as if I had received a ten-foot tall letter “F” on my imaginary “Report Card of Life.”
Widows don’t carry that kind of shame around, although they are consumed with grief, as was I. Friends and relatives know what to say to a widow—they offer counsel and comfort.
Many of the women we visited with often spoke of turning to Scripture. While some had a strong faith that allowed them to draw comfort from great passages in the Bible, others questioned God at first, or had feisty conversations with Him.
All were needy of, and appreciated, kind words and gestures from friends and family. But I was struck at how they all found comfort when their supporters were not available. Many of the women we visited with mentioned a devotional, a workbook, or some special story that encouraged them. Some started blogs or began a ministry. Many swallowed their pride and accepted help from others, including the government, recognizing that this was just for a season.
For most of these women, dependency on God Himself seemed to be the key ingredient when tragedy first struck. After that they allowed others to minister to them. And then eventually they took that one small step necessary to move forward and accept change.
When I suddenly got divorced, no one knew what to think or say. It was a complete shock to everyone (including me), and it felt like a bomb had gone off in the night. People want an explanation, and if one is not readily apparent, they make their own guesses as to what probably happened. Some gossip and take sides. Some get very angry and feel betrayed: in a way, their own security is threatened and they wonder, “If that could happen to her, could it happen to me?”
“Telling”came right out of my journal. It was written as I grappled with how to tell people what had happened just a few months after the divorce. We have included this as a book excerpt on our blog.
Mary and I designed beautiful bookmarks to give away, and they express what the stories in this book convey. The bookmark says, “Be thankful for whatever God is doing in and through your suffering. TRUST that eventually He will make everything right” (from page 212). God is in the business of redeeming and restoring lives, and this holds true for those who believe in Him no matter what.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18 KJVR
Fall Into Reading 2008
Free to Be Me
Seeing Through the Lies
18 Oct 2008
12 Noon GMT
And then read a little more.
And then read a lot more.
As one of those parents who do not celebrate Halloween, I believe it should be kept out of the school - just like Christmas and Easter should be kept out of the school.
It is each family's right and privilege to believe and celebrate in whatever way is best for them, and it is NOT the right or privilege of the public school system to allow the children "to be kids at school-regardless of what their parents believe." That approach takes parental respect and rights away from parents, and teaches the children that "anything is okay, as long as it's at school."
It is subtleties like this that help make our children today less respectful of parents and allows the government to gain more and more control over citizens. As our children are taught that the origins of holidays don't really matter and that they can celebrate anyway despite their parents' teaching, they are also taught that what their parents have taught them doesn't matter and that can do whatever the government says despite the rights and privileges granted to them by the Constitution. It is already taking place with the Patriot Act.
Our country and government were established to create freedom for our citizens to believe, worship and celebrate how they wish, and to protect those that believe differently from being proselytized by them. The public school system is a place of academic learning. The separation of church and state provides religious learning in the home, church, or church schools. The public school should be devoid of ANY religion, whether Christian, Pagan, Wiccan, Buddhist or Muslim.
I am a 32-year-old Christian that believes our Wiccan, Buddhist and Muslim citizens have just as much right to NOT be exposed to the Nativity as we have the right not to be exposed to Halloween, Buddha or Mohamed.
What has destroyed every previous civilization has been the tendency to the unequal distribution of wealth and power.
He who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it.
That which is unjust can really profit no one; that which is just can really harm no one.
Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power.
How can a man be said to have a country when he has not right of a square inch of it.
Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew, but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting among themselves, or in pulling in different directions.
Poorly paid labor is inefficient labor, the world over.
How vainly shall we endeavor to repress crime by our barbarous punishment of the poorer class of criminals so long as children are reared in the brutalizing influences of poverty, so long as the bite of want drives men to crime.
Besides singing and teaching a class for kids birth-5 at church, I make noise by standing up for my beliefs and not being afraid to be vocal when someone questions me about my beliefs and values. As Christians, we need to be just as comfortable discussing God and His place in our lives with non-believers as we are with believers. I never hesitate to share what God has done for me or my family, no matter who they are or what they may (or may not) believe.
I live in a Bible-belt community where halloween carnivals are "sanctified" as fall festivals, trunk-or-treats, and other "Christian" names for celebrating a pagan holiday. My family will not participate in these events because of our beliefs, and I'm never afraid to share what God has shown our family when confronted about it. Sometimes it's more eye-rolling and accusation than conversation, but by being loving, tactful and non-judging I can make some noise for God, whispering His "I love you!" to their hearts.
I also try to live compassion and teach it to my kids. Every year, we participate in Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child through our local Mothers of Preschoolers program. We send boxes to children the same ages and genders of my three kids so they learn that they can help someone just like them. My family gets to yell "God loves you!" clear across the world to needy children - how cool is that?!
They say silence is golden. Sometimes the loudest noise is made by the gentlest whisper... or no words at all.