Joy! and Peace
It has been 8 months since I last sat down to write a blog post. I have to say that it feels very, very good to once again be writing to you all. Not only does it feel good but it feels "normal" and considering all that has transpired in my life, anything that feels somewhat "normal" is absolutely wonderful! I am not using the word "normal" to imply that writing a blog is mundane or ordinary but rather, I view anything "normal" as something that gives me joy and peace and sitting down to write this blog to you indeed fills me with joy and peace.
For the past 8 months, my thoughts of serving the homeless have never been far from me but I have to honestly say that the focus of my time and energy has been on figuring out how to do life as a widow. My days as a new widow seemed strange, odd, unfamiliar and abnormal. I did not know how to be nor did I want to be by myself but I was determined to create a new, very different and also very good life for myself. I knew that I had to look for ways to once again fill my life with joy and peace even though I was by myself.
There were some very specific and concrete things that I purposefully did to once again have peace and joy in my life. All these things had a common theme....they gave me joy! I realized that filling my life with things that brought me joy was an important and necessary aspect of moving through my grief. If I was once again going to have a life that I loved, even though I was single, it was absolutely necessary to surround myself with things and people that brought me joy. Things that bring us joy are different for each person, but for me I found that some very simple things filled me with peace. I found that I love a lit candle early in the morning along with making myself hot tea in my favorite teapot and teacup. I also enjoyed lingering over breakfast in the morning as that was one thing that Ed and I really loved doing together as retired people and I realized I still enjoyed doing that as a single person. Lingering over breakfast is a wonderful time to also linger in God's word and sometimes my lingering in God's word has taken me right through the morning. I have found that having fresh cut flowers in the house also brings me great joy along with having a flower garden outside. I have enjoyed thinking and planning out what I wanted "my house" to look like. Just for the record it has taken me forever to get use to thinking of things as "mine" instead of "ours" never mind actually saying "my house" or "my dog" or "my car" out loud. I realized things were just "mine" now and so if they were just "mine" I had to change things around a little bit. I got rid of an old couch and bought a pretty blue couch with lots of fluffy pillows. Yes, it is a girly couch and Ed would have hated it but having that girly couch gives me joy and makes me giggle when I think about what Ed would have said about this new couch! I also bought myself a brand new comforter for my bed with more fluffy pillows. I have spent many joy filled hours listening to Christian praise music as it is nearly impossible to not have joy when you are praising God! I have really enjoyed watching funny classic tv shows and movies on television. Dick Van Dyke and I Love Lucy are two of my favorites and I am a huge fan of TCM where I can often catch a very funny, classic comedy movie. One of my greatest joys has been spending time with my family and friends. They fill my life with joy like nothing else. It quite often takes time, planning and money to get together with them but it is absolutely worth it and when I say good-bye to them I am already looking forward to our next visit together. These are just a few of the things that I have done to bring joy back into my life and to create a new life for myself as a single person. It has taken effort and sometimes I still find myself wishing that life was the way it use to be when Ed was with me, but that is not going to happen and so I purposefully move forward seeking joy in each day.
If you are still here with me reading my blog you are probably wondering what in the world does all this have to do with serving the homeless? Let me explain. I have come to realize that there are many similarities between being homeless and being a widow. Both are traumatic. Both involve pain. Both involve wishing you had a different life than the one you are living. Both require digging deep in order to move forward to a better life. Both require the support of loving, caring people in your life. Moving out of widowhood is three steps forward and two back...so is moving out of homelessness. I am sure that you can add more similarities of your own to this list. My point is that having nice things around me and spending time with loving, caring people was definitely part of my healing process and I believe that a homeless person also requires a healing environment with the love and support of caring people. The big difference between myself trying to navigate through widowhood and a homeless person trying to navigate out of homelessness is that their journey is one million times harder than my journey. I had no barriers that prevented me from pursuing joy. All I had to do was get out of my own way in order access my new joy filled life. The homeless have multiple layers of barriers to overcome before they can even begin to think about having a life filled with joy and peace.
Our goal at Soaring Wings Ministries has always been to create wholeness and an empowered future for homeless and hurting young adults through the love of Jesus. Most of you reading this know that we have sold the property at Trinity Lane in Colorado and most of you reading this have recently received a letter in the mail explaining how we will use this money to help the homeless move out of homelessness. Soaring Wings Ministries recognizes that homeless people need financial assistance in order to move out of homelessness into a healing environment. We also know that financial assistance alone is not the sole answer to helping people in need. The financial assistance needs to be combined with genuine love and care from at least one other person. Are you that one other person? Do you know a homeless person or a person in need who would benefit from your caring support? If you do than you can make a difference in their lives. You can begin by directing them to the Financial Assistance Form at this website. They will need to fill out the form and submit it to Soaring Wings Ministries for review; however, directing a person in need to filling out the Financial Assistance Form is only the beginning. It is our prayer that you will be that one caring person in their lives who walks along with them on their journey out of homelessness into a life filled with joy and peace.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." I John 3:16-18
May God be with you all and may God help each one of us to love others not with words but with action and truth.
All for His glory,
Founder, Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is writer of this blog. She, along with her husband Ed, founded Soaring Wings Ministries to serve the homeless. The purpose of the blog is to tell the story of Soaring Wings Ministries and to give glory to God.
Soaring Wings Ministries