By Norma Shull Smith

Sometimes in life we get blindsided and the blinders make it difficult to see beyond the moment! I am currently beginning to experience how easy a person “can allow” their sight to be darkened by circumstances.
As I was meditating and pondering on my current whirlwind that seems to be swirling around me, I began to wonder just how many men and women lose their spouse to death in the United States alone. According to a study in 2001 by AARP, There are more than 13.7 million widowed persons in the United States, over 11 million of these being women. (American Association of Retired Persons 2001) According to the 1999 US Census Bureau, 800,000 people are widowed each year in the United States. “Nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands each year. That is astounding. On days I begin to feel pity on myself, I am quickly reminded that I certainly am not alone in my situation, with me being 1 of the 700,000.
I did not look up stats on how many adults are orphaned at the loss of both parents, but I did see the overwhelming numbers of children who are true orphans and need adopted. It is estimated that 140 million children worldwide are orphans. (UNICEF), as posted on the website. I also discovered through my research that 1 in 5 children lose a parent or both parents by the age of 18. I was one of them, losing my father as a senior in high school.
In January 2015, 564,708 people were experiencing homelessness. Because my home that my husband and I shared for the last 18 years of our 53 year marriage and because I won’t be relocating and purchasing a new home for some time, I’ve felt that emptiness of “oh my gosh, I’m homeless!” Now I know, that I know, that I am not truly homeless, like the ones in shelters and on the streets, but when I think deeply about not having my comfortable shelter I know as home, anxiousness rises up within my spirit. I cannot imagine how the true homeless feel.
As I dwell on these three words, Widowed, Orphaned & Homeless, I realize that there is one word that all those who are experiencing need. HOPE! Charles Spurgeon said, “Don’t you know that day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then, HAVE HOPE! Hope forever, for God will not fail you!”
When we face any circumstance in life, we need to claim God’s Word.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans: 15:13
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely. Psalm 68:4-6a
The key to overcoming anything is to praise Him even in your desert times! Eternity Matters

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