Tag Archive | Grief

The hidden places..

This is a post from a year ago.. it seems to be the topic that God has been focusing on in my life .. it relates to the last post so I thought I would publish it again.. dscn4151

 

We have these places in our lives. They are like closets full of things that we don’t want to look at too closely. The truth is they are not hidden from the Lord. He sees and knows all the things we are keeping from Him and from ourselves. This closet may hold secret sins and idols.. but it also holds pain. Pain that we put in the back under everything. Why? So we don’t have to grieve and face the losses that happen in life. So when God goes into that closet and begins to pull out things.. He has only one purpose in mind and that is healing. How do I know that.. because I have experienced healing from His hand over and over again.

He wants to bring us into freedom. To touch our wounds and heal them. To bring out the poison.. the toxins that have developed because the wound is old and is covered with band aids that are filthy.. underneath there is an infection.. His desire is to clean the wound and heal it so that it is finally unable to keep us in bondage. Why do we resist this process? because it is painful. It order to receive this healing you need to open up and feel the pain that is stuffed down inside. It is not as though you have to relive it is.. but there is pain in remembering and releasing grief that is unresolved. The beautiful thing is realizing that God can take this process and change you.. He can ” create a clean heart” in you.

I am writing about this because I am concerned about Believers who run from this process. They hide their pain deeper and deeper because they are either embarrassed, ashamed or fearful. We are here on earth for a reason..not just waiting for the day when all this over. Eternity is here now.. we have entered the kingdom of God and He is at work restoring us. We need to let Him in fully if we want to begin experiencing the abundant life He promises in John 10:10.

Our God is pursuing us daily. He desires to go deep with you.. to take you to your hidden places and help you bring them out into the light so you can be set free to walk with Him without always looking back and without fear of the future. I want to encourage you to allow Him to come into those places.. if you are unable to do it alone, find someone to help you.. there is nothing wrong with needing help. The Holy Spirit is the counselor and He leads the way when it comes to unraveling your past and unveiling those wounds.. but He often works through counselors..especially those that walk with Him. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the right person and take a risk.. you won’t be sorry. He has only good things for you!

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18)

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The hidden places..

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We have these places in our lives. They are like closets full of things that we don’t want to look at too closely. The truth is they are not hidden from the Lord. He sees and knows all the things we are keeping from Him and from ourselves. This closet may hold secret sins and idols.. but it also holds pain. Pain that we put in the back under everything. Why? So we don’t have to grieve and face the losses that happen in life. So when God goes into that closet and begins to pull out things.. He has only one purpose in mind and that is healing. How do I know that.. because I have experienced healing from His hand over and over again.

He wants to bring us into freedom. To touch our wounds and heal them. To bring out the poison.. the toxins that have developed because the wound is old and is covered with band aids that are filthy.. underneath there is an infection.. His desire is to clean the wound and heal it so that it is finally unable to keep us in bondage. Why do we resist this process? because it is painful. It order to receive this healing you need to open up and feel the pain that is stuffed down inside. It is not as though you have to relive it is.. but there is pain in remembering and releasing grief that is unresolved. The beautiful thing is realizing that God can take this process and change you.. He can ” create a clean heart” in you.

I am writing about this because I am concerned about Believers who run from this process. They hide their pain deeper and deeper because they are either embarrassed, ashamed or fearful. We are here on earth for a reason..not just waiting for the day when all this over. Eternity is here now.. we have entered the kingdom of God and He is at work restoring us. We need to let Him in fully if we want to begin experiencing the abundant life He promises in John 10:10.

Our God is pursuing us daily. He desires to go deep with you.. to take you to your hidden places and help you bring them out into the light so you can be set free to walk with Him without always looking back and without fear of the future. I want to encourage you to allow Him to come into those places.. if you are unable to do it alone, find someone to help you.. there is nothing wrong with needing help. The Holy Spirit is the counselor and He leads the way when it comes to unraveling your past and unveiling those wounds.. but He often works through counselors..especially those that walk with Him. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the right person and take a risk.. you won’t be sorry. He has only good things for you!

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18)

Grief.. a very long and very lonely journey

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I decided to write about grief again. It used to appear more regularly on this blog, but it has been quite a while since I posted on this topic. There seems to be some misconceptions about what happens when we suffer losses.  All losses involve grief at some level, but some are more intense than others. Of course the loss of a loved one is at the top of the list. We encounter deep grief when someone close to us dies. Our hearts are filled with a heaviness that is indescribable.. loneliness at the deepest level possible. One thing that troubles me in our culture is the absence of information on grief.. the denial of grief and the way people feel like they need to hide their grief. What a tragedy this is. God allows us to feel grief and it is a very natural part of life. No one gets through this life without going through losses and the older you get, the more you will experience. In the light of that information.. we need to know all we can about this journey we call grief.

It is impossible to say when your first big loss will occur. Sometimes children have their first huge loss in childhood.. a grandparent, friend, or sibling. Their feelings are deep and troubling and we can only hope and pray there is an adult present to help them process the loss. You may not experience this level of loss until adulthood.. that is quite common. When you do.. it will hit you hard.. your capacity to understand how you feel will be very limited. Unless the person who died was very ill for a long time.. you will not be prepared. Even if that is the case.. you may still find it totally disorienting and scary. Sudden tragic death is even harder to deal with..everything in us wants to cry out No.. this did not happen.

Grief has a life of its own and cannot be controlled. It often starts out slowly.. God’s grace for us includes a period of shock.. we don’t actually realize what has happened.  Slowly the shock wears off and each time a season changes or a holiday passes..we feel the loss all over again… almost as though it just happened. People who have lost spouses will often say the second year is worse than the first.. this is because as time passes the loss is more and more real. Your loved one is not there to celebrate holidays or witness important family events.. Feelings of grief are hard to understand unless you have an awareness of the process.. you may feel angry, frustrated, depressed, sad and lonely at different times or almost all at once. People have wondered if they were losing their minds because their grief was so confusing and intense. You may be very alone with your grief.. others can express their sorrow and understand your loss from a distance, but they are not with you every night when the lights go out. Many people spend sleepless nights crying and wondering if life will ever return to normal. Eventually.. you will come to a place of acceptance, but no one can tell you how long that will take. It is different for every person.. each of us grieves differently and uniquely.

No… Life will never be the same. You have joined a club you never wanted to join. You will never get over your grief.. you will learn to live with it.. if you process it and don’t stuff your feelings. Most depressed people suffer from unresolved grief.. many addicts become addicted when they encounter a loss and are unwilling to face what has happened. Not allowing yourself to cry and to suffer will only hurt you more in the long run. In our busy culture, people feel like they need to look like they have bounced back even before the grieving process has started. There is no time to waste.. life must go on.

My purpose in writing this is to give you permission to grieve.. not only your personal losses but the loses we read about every day online or hear about in the news. the losses our friends experience that tear our hearts apart. These things affect us deeply and we don’t need to block these feelings or pretend that they don’t. We live in a fallen world and there is suffering every single day all around the world. God grieves for those who are hurting and He gives us the capacity to do that same thing..

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  

Jesus wept.

Prepare Ye the Way

His Kingdom Come website is currently running a series of advent devotionals. They are posting a new one each day until Christmas. This is the one that I wrote for today.. enjoy.

As we enter the season of advent, we can begin to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Christmas season. Of course, in our materialistic culture it is always a great challenge to keep our focus as we resist the temptation to run around madly after the “ things of this world.” We have a choice and this is the right time to decide how we are going to spend this precious time.

As those who follow the Lord, this can be a very rich opportunity.. a time to prepare ourselves for a greater experience of His presence as we begin to focus on the Son of God in a more intentional way. Christmas is a consumer holiday, yet reminders of the Lord shine through into our lives if we are attentive. There are sights, sounds, and smells that may trigger memories from the past. For some of us this is a difficult time. We may be grieving as we remember those who are no longer with us. We need to stop and let the tears flow. It is important that we experience fully whatever emotions come to the surface allowing God to comfort us and fill us with hope for the future.

As I was preparing to write this devotional, the Lord gave me an acronym for this season. He often does this when I want to focus on something important. I love this method for remembering significant words and thoughts.

Anticipation
Desire
Value
Every
New
Thing

We are entering into a short season of anticipation. Looking forward to the new things that God is going to do in His time. We have the opportunity to search our own hearts and to examine our desires. It is a time to look deeply at our values, to set new priorities bringing our desires into line with His and preparing ourselves for the coming year. I love having this emphasis throughout advent and into the end of the year. If you keep a journal this is a perfect time to look through it and remember what has happened over the past year. Reflection and remembering are two important keys to keep in mind as we journey through this season.

All of these ideas are really stepping-stones to the ultimate goal of experiencing a deeper relationship with the Lord. We have an opportunity to examine our lives and to look ahead with joy, expecting Him to meet us in new and surprising ways. Even as I am writing this devotional I am filled with wonder that God allows us to draw near to Him. He sought us out and drew us in and now we have the privilege of seeking Him and pleasing Him. What an amazing truth that is!

My prayer for you during advent is that you come to your table on Christmas with a heart that is overflowing with gratefulness. If we use our time wisely over the next few weeks we will find ourselves filled with joy and peace on that day.

“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

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“Comfort, comfort my people..

..says your God” in Isaiah 40:1. He is the comforter and He wants to make us into those who are able to comfort others. It comes through the trials, tests, waiting, and wondering. As we walk with Him through experiences we never imagined would happen.. He does something deep in us.

We are taken to places of grief and suffering that we did not know existed. We wonder if there has been some kind of mistake. Where is God in all this? Has He left us in an unbearable place? No..He is right there with us in the midst of the storm. He holds our heads above water as we feel it rising all around us.

He is the author of the great story that we are living in and there are no mistakes in the script. He allows us to be wounded and then binds up the wounds so we are able to help the hurting people who come into our lives. His purposes are higher and greater than our own.

So our comfort zone is not His highest priority..our hearts and our character matter deeply to God. He doesn’t punish us..but He does stretch us, teach us, and prepare us so we can truly become His people in this broken world.

If you are in a season of sorrow and struggle right now..Watch and wait until God comes for you..showing your His great unending love for you as you trust Him. He is faithful.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”     2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Half the year..

2013 is half over. We’ve reached the half way mark today. God has been busy this year doing all kinds of things. I can only imagine what will happen in the months to come. Fourteen years ago I began my life over in the month of July. Since that time, nothing has ever been the same. I was widowed July 6, 1999. . the beginning of a new season in my life.

Because the marriage was extremely difficult, I grieved but I also felt a sense of relief. God was setting me free to experience so many new things that I could have never anticipated. So here I am, married again..for 11 years..rejoicing in the goodness of our God. I remember thinking that my life was over..how could I start over after a 25 year relationship? What would my new life even look like? It was very scary and a little exciting.

My new life started up almost instantly and it was filled with surprises. God blessed me with a new husband, wonderful son-in-law,  and three amazing grandchildren. .  I married into a wonderful faith filled family and acquired three grown step children and ten more grandchildren.. I was given the opportunity to go to seminary and start my own counseling practice. I’ve had time to spend many wonderful hours with my daughter.. making up for the years when we were unable to have the relationship I always wanted.

God continues to bless me with new friends and wonderful opportunities to do His kingdom work. All those years when I wondered if my life would ever change were not wasted. He was preparing me for this season when I would use my life experience to minister to the brokenhearted.

To God be the Glory.. He brings life out of death..He is always doing a new thing and today is the beginning of a new season! Rejoice in Him.

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Emerging from the darkness..

What darkness? I’m not exactly sure.. all I know is that things have been incredibly difficult for the last year. A year ago I was preparing to go on a wonderful trip to Hawaii..I was very fearful that I would not be able to make the trip because of the condition of my emotions and body. I was grieving over the death of my Dad ( a delayed reaction) and still grappling with the aging of my 90-year-old mom..watching her deteriorate.

A year later I am looking at pictures of that trip on my screen saver..still missing my Dad and Mom is now 91. This was a hard year.. but there is freedom in facing things. No one is prepared for the death of their parents. Very little is written about it..as though it is a rare phenomenon. With Dad I grieved long after he was gone.. with Mom I am grieving while she is still here. The loss is huge.

Mother’s Day just happened and Father’s Day is around the corner. Each of these days can be a trigger for old emotions that are trying to come to the surface. As you work through your grief and get in touch with your emotions, remember that this is a healing process. Holidays are often the most difficult time of the year when it comes to processing grief and loss.

This year I am going to remember Dad and rejoice in the ways he was a wonderful father while forgiving him for being human. As for Mom..she is who she is and I am accepting her knowing that God is at work in her life.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”                      (Matt 5:4)

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