Friday, June 14, 2013


As Families Change, it is so easy to put up "fences." Consciously or subconsciously, we begin to fence-in and fence-out people, help, feelings and even emotions.   I absolutely love the story of the Widow of Zarephath, in the Old Testament.  Elijah enters the city and finds the widow "gathering sticks".  Sticks perhaps for a fence of sort.  In actuality, she is gathering sticks to build a fire that she might prepare a final meal for she and her son, who are starving to death.  Starving, no doubt,  physically and spiritually.  She is a widow, indicating she has suffered the ultimate Family Change, the loss of a beloved spouse.  Her emptiness is indescribable.  Financially destitute.  Emotionally empty.  Spiritually void.   Most likely, feeling betrayed even by that Higher Power she felt would see her through any and all life's challenges.  But now, feeling that perhaps that same God she had trusted has forsaken her, by taking away a most priceless possession--- a family member.  This feeling of betrayal by one's Higher Power, is definitely a "fence" or a wall we put up during hard times in our lives.  It is human to want to blame somebody for our circumstances.  So, in our quest for fault or reason, we fence Him out------ He who often times, is our only hope for renewal and healing.  We even fence out He who paid the ultimate price for each of us, that we need not suffer as we are------ for He already did!  Yet, the "fence" goes up.  We stop praying because of our anger with Him.  Then, completely out of the habit, we have created quite a sturdy "fence" of stubbornness between we and He!  Elijah reminds the widow and us all, when he asks, as she is in the depths of despair gathering sticks, to fetch him a drink of water.   Not just turn the sink on, in her sadness and fill up a glass.  But, broken hearted and weak, to go to the river and fill a vessel.   A great symbolic lesson given, that there may never be a better time to head to our source of living water than when we are in the depths of despair.  Elijah, in his desire for a drink invites the widow to take down her "fence" and follow him.   She responds and heads to her water source, in the prophet's behalf.  Then, Elijah asks her to also bring him something to eat, some bread.  She reminds him of her state of ultimate poverty, and even tells him that she only has a "handful of meal" and  a "little oil" left to feed her son.  He responds to the widow and to each of us, to take down our "fences" as he bids her to FEAR NOT.........then he promises her, that if she will make food for him first, then for herself and her son, that she will be blessed with plenty of nourishment for the future.  Profoundly so, when we reprioritize our lives, and put the Lord first, and even have the courage to serve when we are suffering, we are blessed with MORE than we had before. 
The story of the Widow of Zarephath, reminds each of us, that Families Change, and as they do, so must we!!!  Her family was not a perfect family with a father and a mother and a house full of healthy children.  Her family was a single parent home with a weak mother and a sick son.  And, it took a visit from a prophet of God to help her remember her core values and trust in her Higher Power again.  In the words of the Old Testament, the widow "went and did!"  After my husband left, I found myself thrust into a crazy life of hurt, pain, fear, and utter caos---- not to mention assuming the life of a full-time college student with a couple part-time jobs and being a full-time mother of 4 children, who also had broken hearts that needed my attention and love.    I found myself soon becoming a "fence" builder.   I "fenced out" many friends, as seeing their families and their resources were a constant reminder of those things I no longer had.  I "fenced out" events that would have filled my barrel and cruse.  I "fenced in" my children, afraid to let them go, out of fear of possibly losing them to the challenges this life currently offers.

 I remember vividly coming home from a study group, late one night.  A neighbor had brought dinner to my children in my absence.  I drove home empty, much like the widow, with nothing to give and barely a crumb for myself and my children.  I remembered there was a meeting at the church, that evening.  I felt so weakened by my trials and so empty at the loss of my husband, that physically, I could hardly move.  As I walked down the road to the church, I felt much like the widow as she headed to her water source.  When I arrived, the meeting had already begun.  I looked in the window and every seat was taken.  I thought about my options----- quietly unfolding another chair, sitting by someone that I did not know, or perhaps someone who knew me too well, and their eyes of pity I could not bear.  So, I turned and walked back home.  I did not fill the vessel for Him who could have healed me and blessed me and made my situation easier to bear.  That night, on my knees, I promised my Heavenly Father, my Higher Power, that I would NEVER put up another fence between He and Me!!!  I needed Him more than He needed a vessel of water or a cake.  I NEEDED the blessings that would come from serving, from putting Him FIRST and foremost in my life again.  I needed the blessings my whole family could receive----------- I knew that night, that if I tore down the "fences" that I had built , that our barrel of meal would "waste not" and our cruse of oil would NEVER FAIL!! 
Tearing down "fences" does not happen overnight.  Day by day, I have made a conscious effort to pray, to call and visit friends, to serve others and to allow others to serve me, to put other's needs before my own, making Him a priority in my life again, like the Widow as she "went and did."  Fearing Not has allowed me to become Faith Filled............... and the view, without fences,  makes it so much easier to see where we are going, and who we are going there with!! 
Fear Not!  Be Faith Filled!! No Fences!!!


  1. Your so brave. I am so proud of you. -Inez Harwood

  2. No one serves others like you do! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I could use some teaching from you on applying scripture stories to my life! Amazing!