Tag Archive | Grief

How Long Will I be Haunted?

It is concert season.

Orchestra and band concerts.

Chorus concerts of every ilk.

Solos and group performances.

All concerts. All the time.

So many that they often run together.

The thing that makes them special is WHO is performing.

In my case, all seven of my grandchildren love music of some sort.

They know that when they look out, they will see their Gramma and Grampa there.

A few weeks back, at one of the many concerts we attended, I heard a song that haunts me still.

I had never heard it before, so when I got home I looked it up.

It turns out it came from ‘Les Miserables; which I have never seen. (I know, I know)

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.

The song about a group of friends that sit at a corner table, and consider their futures. There is talk of a revolution and a new born world.

As I said, I never saw the show, so I don’t know why, but their future never came.

Unfathomable grief, when he lives, but his friends die.

So what is it that haunted me?

Well the survivors grief of course; the remembering of a future now, suddenly, gone.

But perhaps even more than that, for me, is the realization of how much time that can be wasted.

How many ideas and dreams I can talk myself out of.

I can’t. I won’t. I don’t want to. I’m too tired. I too something…..

It has spurred me on a bit.

To not let those ideas and dreams in my head go to waste.

Many times, I have missed a window. A time made expressly for one certain thing.

Fortunately, my dreamer friends are still alive and in tact, and we encourage each other whenever possible.

But tomorrow, as the song tells us, is not promised to any one.

So we need to stay awake. Stay on task. Consider the future, and run toward it.

Survivors grief would be horrible for certain, but can you imagine how much worse it would be if you had not really lived your life?

If you have not pursued your dreams?

If you survive, then don’t waste the sacrifice of those that went before.

They helped create your ideas. They even helped you dream your dreams.

Continue to carry the flame, even if you’re wanting to give up.

Heartbeat – Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled

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These words have been on my heart for a while.

I believe they are key to our survival in this place that is not our home.

Lately, I have noticed them every where.

In movies.

In people’s speech.

In photographs.

And digging their roots deeper into my heart with each passing day.

They are the heart of God.

The words are His.

Written to us in a love letter.

Won’t you click the links and let them seed themselves into your heart as well?

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

3:00 – 3:20

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

2:30 – 4:04

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

3:52 – 3:50

There is much in this world that would cause us to be afraid.

We must be strong and courageous,

not afraid.

We must not let our hearts be troubled.

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You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Significant Encounters; Death of a Dream

In this post – http://wp.me/p1Deai-FE – Fingerprints, Heartbeats and Fresh Fruit – I said that “my past is not where I want to go, or stay” but I will need some examples from there to describe the journey to here.

I had a dream once, a big one. That dream was that my Mom and I would be in ministry together.

Her heart was to reach out to those who the world considered unlovely, to let them know that there was a Creator God who loved them so much, that He would wait for them to hear His still small voice, and come to Him for all their needs. He is infinitely patient, infinitely kind, and infinitely loving.

She told people that. She shared His love with them over and over until they got it. In essence, she was being just like Him.

Little did we know that her diagnosis in September, just six days after 9/11, would bring her to her eternal rest by Thanksgiving.

Her care fell to me, since we lived the closest to her. My new grandson, whom I was babysitting for, and I took the 40 mile trek every day to stay with her in her own home. In the evenings, the sweet ladies in her church stayed with her. Overnights became a nightmare for her, and it was decided that she would come and stay in our home until the inevitable happened.

Holy Spirit stayed with us too. He was a constant comfort as care became more and more difficult. The pastor from the local Hospice mentioned that the spirit in our home was different than most she encountered in homes with these circumstances. I was doing fine.

Mom’s funeral was the day before Thanksgiving. It was lovely. God’s love and an invitation to know Him were of course included at her request.

The following day, we emptied most of her home. An empty house in her neighborhood was just asking for trouble. I was doing fine.

The next little while was full of learning how to do things without having her along. I knew we were “Sidekicks”, but I never really knew how much.

Adjusting to her absence was not going to be easy, but, I was doing fine.

I had never experienced grief that closely before, so I really did not know what to be looking for. One by one, one thing at time, I began to have symptoms, strange symptoms. I ignored each one, until they could not be ignored any more. Lying on the floor, barely able to move from the pain, I knew it was time to get something done. I went with a list of 32 different symptoms to my doctor. I was not doing fine.

He said alone, all these symptoms seemed like nothing, but together, they became something, his tentative diagnosis was Fibromyalgia, for which he began to medicate me for. To no avail, I was still not fine.

After literally months with no relief in sight, and a recommendation from my gynecologist, I decided to leave the doctor I had known for all of my adult life, and go to one she knew personally, who would look further into what might be happening to me.

With a new doctor in tow, we began a long process of testing and testing and more testing, until finally the problem was found. The main problem was my thyroid. I was going to be fine.

That being found out, the medication began. It was about a year long process to find the right medicine with the right dosage level things out. When I asked him how a thyroid gets all wonky in the first place, he was quick to tell me that a number of things could cause it, but in most cases, it is due to some sort of trauma, a car accident, loss of a job, family trouble.  Had I experienced any trauma? When I gave him my laundry list of symptoms, he said “That would do it!”

All this to say, a death of any sort, whether it be a close friend or family member, or the death of a dream or a way of life, and in some cases even grieving the lost of a childhood, it must be grieved. If it is not grieved, it can turn on your insides, and eat you up, one symptom at a time.

That was 12 years ago, and now, I am doing fine. There have been a few traumas since, but Holy Spirit has taught me step by step, how to grieve them, and release them to Him so they cannot do the same damage as before.

My Significant Encounter came at a time when I had no other options. I did not know where to look. God gave me the proper people with the proper knowledge, at the proper time, a time when I could acknowledge my lack of ability to “Do fine”.

My Significant Encounter came in the form of these doctors who went above and beyond the call, so to speak, to find the answer to the riddle that was locked inside my body and actually causing it to attack itself.

Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) says this, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Keep your eyes, heart and spirit open for that Significant Encounter, the one that will change everything.

Perhaps the most Significant Encounter of all, will be the one where you encounter Jesus, and invite Him in to help make you “Do fine”.

Related reading;

http://wp.me/p1Deai-cE  – Significant Encounters Friday

http://wp.me/p1Deai-tW – Distracted Encounters

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Psalms 139:13-16  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Wood, Hay and Stubble

Husband and I returning home from errands in another town.

Quick, get a picture of that!

Storm Coming One

Oh my that looks really evil!

Then things began to rock!

 

Storm Coming Two

Behind us, our lovely church.

Right in the path.

 

Storm Coming Three

Reminded that our lovely church building,

is simply wood, hay and stubble.

Here today, and gone tomorrow.

Sanctuary One

Our people are safe.

One casualty in a business next door.

May his family find peace.

May we love his family and our community well.

These, our pastors words today as we paused to pray.

 

My daughters words follow;

May our hearts agree;

We are the church.
We are unharmed.
The church is in tact.
This is our meeting place.
It can be replaced.
It can be fixed.
We are the church.

We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made,

and God our Father never leaves our side.

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Grief Choices #3

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For the final installment on the topic of grief,

I want to share a Bible story with you.

You will find it in 1 Samuel Chapter 30.

 

David and his men lived in Ziklag.

Upon returning from one of their trips, they had found that the Amalekites had raided their town, burned it to the ground and  captured all of their women and children.

The story goes on to say that David and his men were quite distraught.

One can only imagine the grief that they felt when losing absolutely everything they cared about, lived for and fought for. Having it all destroyed in their absence. 

The Bible tells us the steps David took after his horrific findings;

1. He wept aloud.

                There was no place for holding in his emotions.

                They are God given. 

                Letting them out is indeed cathartic.

2. David then found strength in his God.

                When he was done weeping, his strength was gone, and he knew that his God would restore him.

3. David inquired of God.

                What could he possibly do to remedy the situation?

                God is always faithful to give truthful answers.

                David knew that God’s answers truly work, and that they would not be simply be a bandage for his wounds.

4. David pursued his enemy.

                God revealed the enemies position to David and in the end, David recovered all that had been  taken from  him.                        

And then some, enough to be share with everyone.

                When we find out who and where our enemy is, then we can take appropriate steps to stop him from doing

his evil deeds again.

 

I pray that we will be able to ask God how He might be able to use our process of grief to share encouragement with others who are not as far along in the process.

 

Scripture says that He holds our tears in a bottle.  Psalm 56:8

Oh that they would not be wasted.

 

We get to choose to be better and not bitter after grievous things happen in our lives.

 

Choose wisely.

 

And remember –

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Grief Choices #2

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My prayer is that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were calm, and shiny, and bright.

Where ever you physically found yourselves, and in whatever circumstances you found yourself in.

Some have had a particularly hard year, while others have found 2012 to be a year of more ease than they may be accustomed to.

But still, in either case, with Christ in us, the Hope of Glory, our hearts can be calm. And shiny. And bright.

 

My husband and I decided to run away from home.

Our run took us to three different states to see three different families.

Different cultures every one.

New Year’s Eve and New Years Day were spent together at home.

Quietly.

We are refreshed.

 

I want to share with you a few more choices to consider so that your grief process can continue to its completion.

That is if it is ever completed.

As with many things in our lives God heals us in levels, continuing to surprise us with His grace and love towards us.

Here goes;

*I CHOOSE to embrace the changes brought on by current losses, without grumbling. To learn from the bad, and to remember the good. I will tell a good story.

Philippians 4:7-9 (KJV) 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.    8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.      9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

I CHOOSE to look for the resurrection. New life is brought through crucifixion. Grief is a path to restoration. I choose to see and participate in the restoration process.   

John `2:23-25 (NIV1984) 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

 

*I CHOOSE to allow the stripping of the “old way” of doing things. I choose to allow God to scrutinize me at my core, and to re-define His call on my life.

Note; This stripping will occur over time. In my own case, I was down to zero in the stripping down department. After current events, I found there was much more. So at his point I cannot say that I know exactly where zero is any more. What I DO know is that He is by my side. He is holding my hand over the rocky ground. He carries me when needed. I know I can trust Him, so “It Is Well With My Soul.”

This transition time is lengthy and exhausting, both mentally and physically, but as in the birthing of babies, transition is the most difficult time for the mom. She feels vulnerable and overwhelmed. She becomes frustrated, discouraged, irritable disoriented and restless.

YUCK!

However, the result is the ultimate in joy. The reward is great.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So it is with the new birth of myself, that is unencumbered by the stabbing pain and heavy load of grief. Though the process is lengthy and exhausting, both mentally and physically, I can trust in my Savior that the outcome will be ultimate joy.

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

*I CHOOSE to remember that this time will end.

As time goes on my old mindsets will be dropped. They will go out kicking and screaming as any bad habit does, but if I stay on track and focus on Him, they WILL drop.

I will tend to want to go back to them because they are familiar, but the old mindsets will not work in the place God has for me, so I must resist looking back.

God alone knows what I can take to this new place, and what will fit. If I try to take too much, it will be back to the desert for me to unpack some more.

What I need to do is make a demand. Not on God, but on myself. A demand that requires me to spend more time inquiring of Him, meditating on His word and seeking to follow Him on this new path.

I am confident that adhering to this process will be as rewarding as it is difficult.

As time passes I will begin to feel in me what He has already started. A renewing and a refreshing and a restoring that will lead straight to whatever it is that God has planned for me.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (NLT) 10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV1984) 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Then, when I look back, I will not only see how far I have come, but I will also notice that indeed, the desert is blooming.

As grief subsides, clarity will come. After taking a deep breath, I will look to my future with hope and a promise from God.

Peace and confidence will be my allies.

*I CHOOSE to allow it.

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Fearfully and wonderfully made

Grief Choices #1

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The process that has been working in my heart concerns making quality decisions.

Not the kind of decisions like New Year’s resolutions, which are gone in two weeks, leaving behind shame and guilt, but the kind of decisions that stick. The kind of decisions that can change an entire lifetime.

Proverbs 4:23 in the English Revised Version says –  Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.

When making these choices, there is a knowing that there will no doubt be some sort failure ahead, but with these types of choices, we are determined to assess where we went wrong, and begin again.

These kinds of choices lead us to be more like our Father in Heaven, and to have the type of fullness in our lives that God intended for us from the beginning.

Excerpt from Joshua 24:15 says choose you this day who you will serve.

I am quite aware that some will believe my approach to be over simplified.

Please know that while I in no way think my process is conclusive, I do believe that it will start the wheels turning for some in the right direction, beginning to help to find the way through any blockages they may be experiencing.

The losses I grieve began early in life, and ran through childhood to adulthood, in relationships, emotions, lifestyle and finances.

These losses led to a deep sadness of heart, and a long journey seeking wrong ways to fulfill the sadness inside. They also led to a poverty spirit.

The poverty spirit says “That’s just the way it is, get used to it”. That’s the spirit that prevailed over most of my life.

This is so opposite of the purpose that God had stated for my life from the beginning.

Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Jeremiah 29:11 says – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

With that said, I want to share two choices here that got my wheels turning;

*I CHOOSE to let the losses in my life mature me into understanding the grace that God has for me.

James 1:2-4 (NIV1984) consider it pure joy, my brothers; whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

*I CHOOSE to have joy. To allow God to raise my capacity for it – so that it can be shared. I choose to believe His word that says that joy comes in the morning. That joy will help me to regain any strength I have lost in the grieving process.

Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Colossians 1:10-12(KJV) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

 

Scripture tells us something about Mary when she knew that she would give birth to the Savior of the world. Here is what it says; In Luke 2:19 – But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

 

Won’t you ponder these things in your heart with me until next time?

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Fearfully and wonderfully made