by Kit Hinkle
On whom do you lean, sisters? Listen to what God says through Jeremiah:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV
“Kit, this is so unusual,” my friend and mentor told me the other day. “This year has brought you so many clear cut changes in relationships that I have to wonder if God is showing you something.”
I sometimes wonder how I wake every morning and feel the joy of the Lord running through my veins. Then I remember why. While the ground has shifted beneath my feet so many times this year, I remain not only standing, but grounded—on the rock I chose to stand on from the start. The rock of God, not of flesh and man, which are like shifting sands.
I wanted to write about it here for my friends on A Widow’s Might, because I’m quite sure many of you have struggled with shifting sands. And I wanted to inspire you to have hope and joy, and not be bewildered by it all.
Nothing and no one in life remains the same. Solomon points out in Ecclesiastes that generations come and go and the earth remains the same. He’s pointing out that changes will come—sands shift. Later Solomon goes on to show that you must be anchored in something deeper than what’s in the flesh.
So here’s a running list. It’s been five years since losing Tom, and the Lord’s given me many supports—friends, a local family member, a great church, and a great pastor. And last year, He allowed a sweet man into my life. He’s a kind and gentle person who asked me to marry him. He wanted to take on my whole family and love and support us, even financially, for the rest of our lives.
So what was my mentor saying about relationships?
First my family member—it was always a difficult one, but still comforting to have while I went through the early signs of grief. But as I got stronger and healthier, this family member became toxic in behavior and was pulling me down. I had to learn to detach lovingly in order to focus on raising my kids without that negativity.
Second, a breakup with my fiancé—Friends around me told me God was blessing me for my obedience to Him by matching me with a wealthy man. I shrugged that off because I don’t agree with that philosophy—it’s not Biblical. God won’t give me riches because I obey Him, so that’s not why I obey Him. He will provide, and that’s enough to trust. I fell for my fiancé because of his sweetness and integrity.
During the process of planning our lives together I realized the marriage wouldn’t have been on solid ground and decided against it. He’s a wonderful person, but it takes far more grounded faith and emotional strength than he had to take on four children who wish to place God first in their lives.
Third, friends began to show their true colors when I decided not to marry. Some wanted to see me provided for so badly they tried to bully me into marrying him. End of friendship. I lost two of my closest friendships that way.
So this summer I found myself without the family member to lean on, without my fiancé’s security, and with two less friendships.
And I found myself happier. Maybe the Lord was showing me that while these friends were wonderful when I first lost Tom, I was leaning on them like a crutch rather than walking with Him on my own.
But He wasn’t done.
Now my pastor and his family are moving on from my church community. They have been personally supportive and guiding my family for years. Another relationship less accessible for support!
I look at my four boys and ask myself—“where do I go for support now?” New friends step in, and I engage with them. But I’m carefully choosing them, and carefully choosing how I share and trust in them.
In the Bible verses I’ve quoted above, Jeremiah is giving the Israelites a clear warning from God not to trust flesh, but trust Him.
The new change with the pastor moving on is fresh, sisters, so please pray for me. It’s funny how as each of these changes hit me, I found strength in my relationship with Christ and stood on the rock and felt strong.
This one feels different. It really feels like a rug pulled out, but since it’s such a new change, I’m trusting that I will feel strengthened as God works on me in the coming days.
Meanwhile I stay the course—trust the Lord, and focus on what purpose He has placed in my path.
Encouraging words would be appreciated, sisters, as I love to write encouragement, but also sometimes need to be filled
Yours, in honest reflection.