Grief: Learning to Believe

Grief:

You never “get over it.”

You simply learn to live through it.

Walking the journey of grief is different for every soul on the planet. How a person processes this life event is as different from one person to the next, as day is from night, as black is from white. You cannot expect it. You cannot predict it. Death comes when it is time, and no matter if it’s sudden or prolonged, if we have truly loved, we are never completely ready for it.

It seems some would say, “Just get over it. You’ve got living to do.” Others would say, “Relish in it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Let no one tell you you can’t.” Some would declare victory in an instant: “Your emotions are vindictive of your actions; so, shape up, soldier up, and suck it up.” Still others would proclaim your justification in reacting in any given fashion you choose, no matter the damage to another, and proclaim your innocence in staying in that emotional depth and despair for the rest of your life, no matter the destruction that it brings to you, your family or anyone nearby.

After walking this trail of sorrow several times in my life and walking alongside those, too many to count, who were doing the same, I have concluded four things:

1. Grief comes in many different forms.

2. Grief is a process.

3. Grief is different for each person.

4. Grief cannot be measured, dictated nor contained.

When you experience grief, it can be the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-wrecking experience you’ve ever encountered. Nothing can prepare you for it, and no one can pre-determine your reaction to it. And sometimes, the only thing you can to do is learn to harshly suck in spurts of air through a solid, clinched jaw while you attempt to survive the next few moments of agony simply to (eventually ) fall asleep until awakened again by the same afflicting anguish of the heart.

I cannot tell you how to properly process grief. I will leave that to the “grief share” experts among us. I cannot tell you the appropriate actions and reactions you will need along this journey. I will leave that to the professionals in counseling and therapy. I cannot even tell you the time allotment for when the pain should lessen and when it will increase; even though, some of that measurement can be equated to certain dates on the calendar.

However, I have found one helpful source that will carry you through those grief-stricken days when no daylight seems to shine. I have found one solace that will stay faithful beyond the traumatic beginning moments, the doubtful, chaotic middle moments and can remain until your very last breath on this earth. If you can possibly believe for one second that this comfort I have found is able to surround you in your darkest hours and bring you a peace beyond measure, if you will but believe and grasp it, you might just be amazed at what is on the other side of your embrace. There is but one refuge, one rock, one sustaining, everlasting rescue that can be found.

His name is Jesus.

Some may say it’s a fallacy. Some may say it’s a hoax. Others may claim fantasy, fairytale or fable to be this truth. Yet, I can testify by my very being that what I say is inerrant, unfeigned and veracious. He is able. He is faithful. He will carry you.

Maybe you doubt my words. After all, you don’t know me. You don’t know my story. You don’t even know my God, but I challenge you to give Him a chance. Give Him just half a chance. I promise you, He won’t disappoint. Simply believe, and let Him surprise you.

Advertisements

Only One

I wonder how it feels to walk without shame. I wonder how it feels to run without guilt. I wonder how it feels to fly without regret and remorse as your wings.

Some seek solace in a bottle. Some seek refuge in a friend. Still others seek redemption in work ethics, rule setting or a religious embrace.

Tears shed for the years lost. Weeping is heard for the innocence stolen. Wailing is released for the lives bound by sin and disgrace.

Peace cannot be found in the chaos. Rest cannot be found in the confusion. Silence cannot be found in the clamor of opinions and directives.

Only One can bring Truth to shatter the veil. Only One can bring mercy to crumble the chains. Only One can bring justice to destroy the bondage.

One Name is Truth. One Life is Mercy. One look is Grace. One breath is Freedom.

Jesus.

Do you know Him?

Grief Like An Ocean’s Tide

Grief is such a difficult journey, and it’s different for every person who encounters it. Some scream, some cry, some wail, some cling, and some push away, and some even still simply walk away.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the reactions to grief. Grief is not selective. It doesn’t skip the wicked and only hit the believers of this religion or that. It doesn’t skip the rich and only threaten the poor. It is no respecter of persons. It is not bias to name, prestige, status, heritage or race.

Grief comes to us all, and if you think you’re excluded, well, just keep on living, my friend…

I read these two pics, and they seemed to just sum up almost all there is to know about grief. It is like a morning’s tide, except there’s no gadget, computer or orbital phase to help you schedule its rise, fall, or turbulence.

Sometimes, the waves roll in, and you just have to roll up your pant legs and wade until they roll back out. Other times, the sea rushes in so swiftly, without warning, and you just have to sink or swim, as you work hard just to keep your head above to catch a breath. Still other times, the tide pulls back awhile, giving the appearance that you can walk a little deeper, out to a sandbar or two, in order to find a bit of a reprieve.

As I struggle to describe the different phases of grief I’ve observed, I can’t claim to know all the answers of “Why?” “When?” or even “How much longer?” Yet, I may be able to give someone an answer to the “How?”

How can I go forward? How can I ease the pain? How can I be left here? How can I go on living without them?

For, I may not know much, but this one thing I do know! HE is an anchor that holds. Jesus is the Rock that I can cling to. I stand as a testimony, as a witness, that He will bring comfort in our darkest hour. He will carry us through every single step of this painful journey. With Him holding your hand, and sometimes, even picking you up to carry you, you CAN make it.

Afterthought…

This is one thing that He is absolutely amazing at doing: bringing comfort to the broken and giving grace to the desperate. I stand back in awe each and every time as I watch someone experiencing grief and leaning on Him as their source of strength.

Sometimes, it almost seems instantaneous the grace He gives, and other times, the depth of pain seems almost insurmountable; yet, each and every time, without fail, He comes through for those who believe. His promises are true. His love is unfailing, and His grace is so sufficient.

It doesn’t mean there everything is instantly washed away, and you never feel another moment of pain. It doesn’t mean you all of a sudden feel giddy and lightheaded, because the sorrow is no more. It doesn’t even mean, just with a snap of a finger, you somehow stop longing for the return of the one you lost.

No, the pain still rocks in like the tide. The sorrow still awakens you in the night as you reach for their hand. The longing in your heart still stretches to eternity. But the peace He brings, the grace He sustains, the stability He instills is worth giving Him the chance.

All we have to do is simply believe. When we believe and place our trust in Him, we are releasing His Holy Spirit to do what He does best. He is called The Comforter for a reason.

Crush the Pain

I absolutely love crushed ice. I love it so much that it makes me drink water when I need it. We don’t have an ice crushing machine at home, and I don’t really want to take up the counter space to get one; so, I crush my own. I have found that if I will just take the few extra minutes to crush the ice, I will drink almost a whole quart of water in one sitting.

I have also found that crushing ice, often times, releases tension and even frustration within me as I take the spoon firmly within my grasp and “pop” each ice cube into nice little slivers of crunch. It will usually bust holes in the ziplock bag I use, but that’s ok. I just consider it the vessel that’s “suffering for a good cause.” There have been moments when I’ve looked at each cube of ice and taken true “vengeance” out. It is truly a refreshing moment. 😂

It’s a great little lesson in “proper venting methods” that maybe someone reading this might find helpful.

This may sound silly to some, but for a moment, just think about it. I’m not screaming at my kids because of my frustrations. I’m not fussing with my husband, because I’m angry or feeling tension, and I’m not kicking a wall or driving erratic, because I’m struggling with trying to find some sort of ever evasive ‘inner peace.’ (not that I necessarily would do the latter, but just stay with me here…)

Maybe someone out there has been down this road of reactionary discontent, and you need to find a different outlet to release your stress. Now, this simple exercise might not work for everyone. You may truly need to go to the gym and run or hit a punching bag, but if you’re a “steam kettle,” like me, and you just need to release a little steam from time to time, you might want to try it.

Once, all the ice is crushed, pour it in your glass, fill it with water, and Enjoy! You’ve succeeded in refreshing your mind and your emotions, and you’ve done something beneficial and healthy for your body as well, without some medical application, crazy substance abuse, alcohol consumption or erratic behaviors.

Welcome to the world of emotional self control! 😉💕

Character: Next Right

When you are a person of character, you won’t question IF you should do the right thing, because you’ll know the right thing must be done.

Character is proven in moments of difficulty or trial when it’s easier just to walk away. Character is sustained when a crisis arises, and criticisms and ridiculed may be at their worst. Character is deepened each time the right choices are chosen, regardless, the sacrifice or struggle that may be endured.

Ask yourself today, “Are you a person of character or a person of reputation (conformity)?” Do you stand alone to make the right choice, or will you bend and sway like a daffodil, depending upon the wind and waves to guide you?

For He Is Your Cause

I see you standing there as you patiently wait for the end of his game.

You have things to do, responsibilities to fulfill; yet, you wait to show you care.

You and he are alone in this world, but you fight to make it a good one for him to grow, to succeed.

You have no promise of another to join you in this cause, but that is no matter.

For he is your cause and your reason for this time.

I see you crying in the shadows as you receive another blow that knocks you to your knees.

You never scream. You never retaliate. You simply take what life might give. You make it the best you can, and you smile…for him.

The love from those who birthed you strengthens your resolve, but this fight is yours alone to consume.

You win it for him, to impress upon his memory the reward of dedication, faith, and love.

For he is your cause and your reason for this time.

I see you resting there in the Father’s arms as you gain purpose for the journey.

You will soon soar with the eagles as he begins to find his wings and fly.

You will soon, once again, charge the enemy and slay the dragons for the victory of your own dreams.

Yet, for now, you patiently wait as his game grows momentum, knowing one day, it will come to a close.

For He is your cause and your reason for this time.

Penned MG 6/4/16

*I wrote this for a friend a few years ago when she was going through a difficult divorce. She became a hero in my book, as I watched her deal with her own pain privately as she fought and clawed for the protection of her child and for the protection of her own sanity through the storm, all the while holding steadfast to the only anchor that holds: Jesus. ❤️

No matter what storm of life you may be walking through, He is the anchor that holds. He is the refuge and solace for your soul. He will walk with you through the fire, and He will hold your hand through the deepest, darkest of nights.

I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”

I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”

I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”
— Read on suespen2paper.com/2018/12/14/i-am-devotional-style-short-stories-the-potter/

Beautiful!

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*

A Trade Off

Sometimes, I have to remember that I don’t have to continue in my weakness, thinking somehow, it’s going to magically turn into greatness. When the Scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) that’s what it meant!

I am only strong when I admit my weakness and allow Christ to rule and reign in my heart AND in my actions! I am only refreshed when I throw my weakness into His greatness! I am only encouraged and able to carry on when I release my pride and stop pretending to be strong and realize I am only strong because of Christ living inside of me!

Thank you, Jesus, I don’t have to muster up some pretend faith to be a valiant warrior when I am just a truly, the warrior is a child. Thank you for trading my weakest moments with Your strongest power! Thank you that you are able! You are faithful, and You are strong! ❤️

The Weight of the Broken

So many broken hearts all around me today. The weight of it all tugs on my own to weigh me down. My mind swirls with the endless possibilities, the various scenarios, circumstances, and outcomes.

One heart is trampled after years of devotion, self-sacrifice and provision. Deceit and lies run rampant. Another is captivated by mistrust and fear, threatening to become the self-fulfilling prophecy through the tears. Still another is full of anger, bitterness and rage while pretending to love and adore a fantasy fabricated within the mind.

Oh dear Lord, how do we help them? How do we stop the bleeding? Can we even intervene? The pain is so great. The brokenness seems beyond repair. Is there any glimpse of hope to be found?

The questions thrash about like tornadoes through my head. Twisting and turning without end. We look to a book, a counsel, a song or a situation to correlate, to somehow make sense of this unfathomable reality.

Yet, no answer can be found in the carnal. No solution can be brought forth in mere words. No ears have the capacity to hear the true heartbeat of the broken.

The only answer is Jesus. The only shred of hope is Him. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. There is no promise of reconciliation, or even redemption, without His mercy and grace.

It may sound too cliche. It may sound like just another punchline, but I have found He is the only source of Truth. He is the only anchor that holds. He is the only Rock that stands when the whole world falls apart, and you’re wondering if you can even take the very next breath.

I can’t even walk without holding onto His hand.

He is all I need. ❤️