Tag Archives: Brenda J. Wood

Rest or Rush? 4 Links that Resonated with Me

Photo of a peaceful bench in a park, with the words "Be still in His presence, and know that God is good."

photo credit: Janet Sketchley

It’s been a while since I’ve posted links to things I’ve read online that have encouraged or resonated with me. Apparently, there’s a name for this sort of post: curated content. I just call it passing on material that I think you might like.

I collected these links a year ago but didn’t do anything with them. It was good for me to go back and re-read these blog posts, because resting and rushing are timeless topics.

Here goes:

Ginny Jaques unpacks “four elements of God’s rest that can revitalize us and bring fresh excitement into our walk with Him.” Something About the Joy: Four Steps to Finding True Rest

To view it from the flipside, Carolyn Watts offers 3 Sure-fire ways to burn out.  (at Hearing the Heartbeat)

Brenda Wood asks us, Why Rush? (at Family and Faith Matters)

And Jeff Goins shares 3 Lessons We Learn While Waiting (an excerpt from his book, The In-Between, at Goins, Writer)

Review: The Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. Wood

Cover art: The Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. WoodThe Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. Wood (Word Alive, 2013)

“I’ve trusted God and His promises for years. Will they hold true in widowhood? I don’t know yet.” [p. 4]

So begins Brenda J. Wood’s poignant account of her “first trimester of widowhood” after the loss of her beloved husband, Ron. The book is written as a series of journal entries, in a conversational style as if Brenda were talking with the reader via email.

She writes about whatever’s on her mind that day, from spontaneous tears in public to fear of forgetting Ron to what she’s learning from God on how to cope. As hard as this new life is, she’s determined to push forward into it, even to laugh again. Ron wouldn’t want her to give in to the misery.

Most of the book is written during the third month ‘AR’ (After Ron’s passing), but the final pages include Ron’s testimony of the difference God made in his life, with brief notes from Brenda taking us past the anniversary of his death.

Brenda and Ron weren’t a perfect couple, but they loved each other deeply and for almost 50 years. One of the main take-aways from this book is the call to love our family and friends well, while we have them in our lives.

It’s a book that can help those who haven’t lost a spouse to understand the thoughts, emotions and needs of a grieving widow or widower. For example, I didn’t know that finances are often in short supply in the early months until the government, insurances etc catch up on the paperwork.

I think it would be a good resource to let newly-grieving readers know what they’re going through is normal.

One of the things I found most encouraging was Brenda’s determination to remember how God had looked after them in the past and her choice to believe that even in this new, painful place, God still had the power and the compassion to care for her.

Brenda J. Wood is a motivational speaker and writer based in Ontario. She’s also written a book to help children deal with grief, The Big Red Chair. You can read the first chapter of The Pregnant Pause of Grief or learn more about the author on her website, heartfeltdevotionals.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Accept the Gift

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].
Proverbs 15:15, AMP*

I’m reading Brenda Wood’s evocative book, The Pregnant Pause of Grief: the First Trimester of Widowhood, and most of her scripture quotes come from the Amplified Bible. This one hit me in a new way that I hadn’t seen in the versions I usually read.

It echoed what my husband had said only hours earlier: “You have the choice to enjoy each step of what you’re doing, or to let it make you miserable.” (Okay, I didn’t take notes… this is my paraphrase. But he’s a wise man.)

That, in turn, followed something God helped me see a few days earlier. I’m stepping into a writing opportunity that has me a bit scared. It’s also really exciting for me, but that day anxiety was following me around like the proverbial rain cloud. In the middle of the grocery store, I realized I had more choices than just the vegetables.

I could choose my attitude.

I was the only one choosing the anxiety-cloud heaviness. I could just as easily choose anticipation and a bit of glee. So I did. I let myself accept the good thing He wanted to give me, instead of letting fear turn it into a burden.

I guess for some of us, troubles aren’t the only things that test our faith and build endurance—gifts are, too.

This learning to take every thought captive and to let God renew our minds is one hard lesson. We’ll be still working on it when He calls us Home, but let’s encourage one another on the journey.

God our Creator and our loving Parent, every good gift comes from You, and You are not the author of fear. Help us learn to bring our thoughts under Your rule and to cultivate joy and contentment whatever our circumstances. And when You give us a good gift, help us not be afraid to open it.

What more appropriate song than “Seize the Day,” by Carolyn Arends?

*Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation