Archives for category: Grief




There are so very many friends out there who have had a rough season way beyond what they thought they could ever bear (“bare” seems more fitting).  Loss of a child. Chronic Illness. Addictions that won’t go away in them or their loved one.  Medical diagnoses they never saw coming. Loss of parent that is no longer here, and some that are, but aren’t. Shattered Dreams. Relationships lost.  This post is for you, and for me, and for us. I don’t have answers or simple sayings. I just want you to know that…. I see you.

I see the look in your eyes. I see  the grief, and the pain. I see it. Even when I don’t. Even when you hide it so well.

And I don’t want you to have to hide it …any of it.  I know that you feel like all you can to is just try to hang on…minute by minute… This season doesn’t define you. You have nothing to prove in terms of how strong you are or aren’t. Nope, times like these can’t be boxed up and labeled and defined. Not at all.


Am thinking that grief has lots of colors and shades and shapes and looks different on everyone. And there’s no perfect way to navigate the path that grief takes for each one.  And those who see those colors and shapes and shades…well, lots of times we don’t know how to navigate being in there any more than those in grief now how to navigate the pain..


Some journeys are similar, but none, none are the same.  And the sad truth is that sometimes when we need people the very most, we just want them to go away. It’s just too much. We think they won’t understand. And maybe they won’t. But tearing down the facades that build walls can be a beginning.


So as the holidays approach that seem to bring grief and memories to the surface, I want you to  know that I see you. I want to walk in it too.  Sometimes it’s just good to have people with us along for the ride, no matter how difficult the navigation…or turbulent the tide.


And then sometimes there come waves of joy and laughter and grateful grace that come out of nowhere and leave as quickly as they came. I want to laugh with you during those times. To celebrate with you the blessings and remind you that it’s just as okay to laugh as it is to cry…just as okay to be thankful as it is to grieve.



I just want to remind you that you’re not alone, and that even though this journey has parts that only you can face, that there are people who want to get in there…but may not know how.  Me, for instance. Sometimes I just don’t know how to get in there. I so believe in prayer…that God can fill in the gaps where we could never hope to. And I’m praying. And I’m awkwardly sharing truths as I see them and there’s an open door. But I see in part…and feel in part. I haven’t walked in your shoes.  But I see  you. I do.


Maybe grace comes in as we stop trying to hold on so tight and “do grief right”, and let go. Maybe I need to let go of some things to. My fear of hurting you more by opening up wounds even more just as they’re beginning to heal. Or saying too much or too little. Those are some of my fears.


So is sounding so lofty. I’m not lofty…I’m right here right now in this world and want to be in the mess with you too, but lofty isn’t who I am even if me fumbling through my words might appear that way. Kind of hard to navigate this new territory. Nope, no loftiness here,…I just want to meet you where you are…and sometimes moving forward is scary because I don’t know if you want me to meet you where you are. I know there are times we all need to walk alone. I just want you to know that I’m here, and I see you, I do.


I want to remind you that you’re not alone. Even in the darkest hour, you’re not alone. He sees you. And He knows you, all of you and where you’ve been and where you haven’t and what you’ve said and what you haven’t, and what you believe and what you don’t.  He sees you.  And He L O V E S you. And nothing, NO THING, can separate us from that love. That’s what the Bible says.  When the fog of grief settles in and surrounds, I hope that that truth can be a candle that burns brighter and brighter in your heart and warms you with the awareness that He sees you.  It sure did for me. (He saw me , too)….and I see you.  I do.



No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39  

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

I John 1:5




His mom is beautiful.  And the beauty on the outside is only surpassed by the inside.  She’s compassionate. Fun. Artistic and creative. I remember her as one who loves well and laughs easily. She loves to dance. Actually teaches dance and is still in an adult community ballet as far as I know. She’s a woman who loves well and laughs easily. Years ago, as our trio sang, she danced during one of my favorite songs and did a beautiful job of bringing the words to life in a visual way.  The song and her dance made us all experience a sweet moment of understanding…of all being on the same page at the same time for that moment. 

His sisters are beautiful and spunky. That’s what I remember. My daughter and one of the sisters were church and school buddies. They were fun and active and funny and interactive. There was lots of laughter when my girl was with his sisters.

He was a little church buddy of one of my sons when they were young. Big brown eyes. Brown hair. Freckles. A lighthearted attitude with an easy smile. Intuitive. Funny.  That’s how I’ll remember him. Jake Meade.

Words spoken now of him are of grief and sadness and a huge void. Words spoken and photos shared are laced with grief that he was gone way too soon.  This 23-year-old left the world way before anyone was ready to let him go. Way before any 23-year-old should. Heroine overdose.

I couldn’t sleep the other night for thinking of the mom with a huge unspeakable void… Didn’t sleep till four and then woke up at 5:30 instantaneously thinking of the void that this sweet mom was feeling. And not just her…sisters, dad, friends, family members, teachers, coaches… The list goes on. And the circle of relationships of those who held him dear spirals outward and outward and outward.  Even reaches folks who haven’t seen him for years and years, but knew him. Who he was. Who he is. And the ache is one of those that will run deep and wide and linger on and on. In our story book, it should’ve never happened…

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Jake and his mom, Ashley


But Jesus came to heal the broken. To comfort the afflicted. To be in it all. ALL. That’s what the Bible says. Lots of people are needing to be comforted today. Because Jake mattered. His life matters to a lot of people. It matters to God.  Jesus came to redeem what’s unredeemable. To make whole the fragmented. Jesus came to save. You. Me. All. Not to condemn. To save. To make whole. To take what sin can eat alive, what sin can stain,  and then, make totally clean, free. To take what’s broken and redeem. In you. me. all.

There’s an epidemic in our community, in our state, in our nation…and it’s reaching our homes. It’s creeping in the dark and stealing young lives away from their families, their friends, their futures. And we need to shine a light on the darkness that is stealing away our loved ones. So, here i am, trying to hold up a little candle. Not just to shine a light on the darkness of the opioid epidemic, but to hopefully shed a little ray of light to comfort those who are left behind with a huge loss.

I want them to know that I’m remembering them…the parents, the families, the loved ones lost. I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. And I find myself as I’m writing saying, what right do I have to get in there and talk about this subject? What right do I have to write a post about a young life lost to addiction? And all I kept thinking was…it’s being human…a human right. Loss is loss. Loss effects us all. I’m so far removed from the families that have recently lost loved ones and even I have had restless nights praying for them. I’ve wept with them from miles away. I remember the fully-alive-ness of their wide-eyed boys. I remember the beauty of who their children are. I want them to know that I remember.

And I know that none of us are immune. I know that. Death doesn’t discriminate. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. We can try to safeguard ourselves, our families all we want, …and we should, yet in a weak moment, even the strong and well-insulated can fall prey to any demise.  I want to get in there and I don’t know what to do other than pray…and hit a “like” when they share their thoughts on Facebook. I “like” to let them know that their son should be remembered. I like that good, even little tiny bits of good, can come out of tragic loss. I love that an army of weeping moms and dads are coming together not just to remember those lost to the opioid epidemic, but to shine a light on it and rally and say, what next?  I love that good can come out of horrific things. Great even. But the pain, the grief walks hand in hand with it all.

Ashley…I remember you dancing…and the way that the heart of what was in you drew us all in as we watched.  I loved how we were all on the same page as you danced and your vulnerability was healing and good and encouraging.  And this dance that you’re dancing now is not one that  you would ever choose. But it’s one that’s drawing us all in…and making us all aware and feel things that need to be felt and see things that need to be seen. It’s shining a light on things that need to get out of the shadows, out of the darkness. Praying God comforts you in ways that only He can and that you sense His presence in the dance one step at a time. 

Here’s one of the songs (below) that you danced to way back when. To dance in the midst of adversity…to hope though there are no signs….to trust in a world of uncertainty when there seems to be more darkness than light….Praying you find the strength and will and that in the comfort of our Savior’s grace…you dance.

Love and Hugs and prayers and thoughts and memories and hopes,





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So, Mother’s Day is a sweet one. Memories kind of fill the air on this day as we stop and remember our moms, and being a mom, and the mom-figures in our lives. And it’s a day to celebrate the incredible gift that it is to be a mom and to have a mom.

But…this especially aware of so many who have an ache right around now. That ache is a  pit-in-the-stomach, ache-in-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut kind of feeling that comes from the void of knowing that their mom is no longer around.

So, I just wanted to share a card that I made for a friend of mine whose wife passed a little over a year ago.  There are very few words to fill the huge void that grief can create, but, sometimes, just being remembered can help fill the voids. So, to my dear friends and loved ones who have experienced the deep loss of their mom or wife or loved one, and it makes Mother’s Day sting, well, just wanted to share that you’re being remembered today.

And, I want to thank you as well. Because through watching others grieve the loss of their moms, and say the words, well, I’m so reminded to cherish the day. To cherish our loved ones. To say the words, embrace those we love, and make the most of the time we do have. Because each day is a treasure, a gift. Even the days that we grieve. Am thinking that the ache of grief and loss, and beauty and gift and of what we have lost can walk hand in hand. Am hoping that the beauty of the gift of who she was in your life outweighs the ache for you today… and that you can remember her with a smile and laughter and tears that cleanse. I have a feeling most moms would long for that for you. Just a few thoughts on this Mother’s Day…



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“NO MORE.”  The 72 year-old woman said the words as clear as a bell, and her daughter understood her loud and clear. She put down the spoon that held the food that she was offering her mother.  Her mother had been stricken with Parkinson’s nearly 15 years ago.  From the stories I have heard, this precious woman endured those years with grace, tenacity, and courage. A woman with a doctorate in education, she had invested in many schools and countless students in the area both as an educator and as an assistant principal. She was a mother and a grandmother who adored her grandsons.  She loved music, played piano, and sang in the choir.

But Parkinson’s slowly and methodically invaded those areas of her life.  There was no more teaching, singing, piano playing.  No more independence and no more of the freedom to invest and impact her world at will.  Like so many diseases, Parkinson’s can slowly overtake the functions of the body until the brain and the body just don’t work together.  So, when this precious lady who was struggling with speech summoned up all of her will to communicate clearly and emphatically to say “NO MORE”, her daughter knew it was about a lot  more than her mom just rejecting the food that she was offering to her.

“No more.”

Less than a month from the time that she had declared “NO MORE”, I sat in this woman’s sweet memorial service, and listened to music and heard more about this faithful and caring woman who loved the Lord, loved her family, and impacted her community in quiet yet far-reaching ways.  I watched as her family listened and quietly took it all in,  knowing that so much of what we endure in life, things that we would never choose, may very well end up being the things which help others see the glory of God in our lives that wouldn’t have been nurtured on an easier path. It is one thing to be faithful and courageous in easier times.  It is quite a different story to see grace, faith, and courage through extremely difficult circumstances.And then, as the Pastor continued to preach,  I heard those words again.

“NO MORE”.   But this time, it definitely wasn’t at all about food.   No, the Pastor was saying it loud and clear: “No more pain.  No more suffering.”  And I smiled from ear to ear and the tears welled up in my eyes because it was clear. She was no longer bound to a body that betrayed her.  She was free.  No more pain.  No more suffering.  No more. NO MORE. NO MORE.

I think that day that Dr. Janice Sale said, “NO MORE”, she knew the reality of the “no more” that was to come. She knew the Bible and what it said about eternal life.  She knew the verses of No more pain, no more suffering.   She was ready to let go and to help others she loved to let go.  And now?  Now they can focus on the beauty that she is free to speak loud and clear.  And in a way, I think that is what she actually did that day. She spoke loudly and clearly. Those she left behind can hold on to her words, “NO MORE”.  No more tears.  No more suffering.  No more pain.

For now, the tears are falling for those who will so miss this precious lady.  But thank God we are so not without Hope. We have a living Hope who calls us to live fully with what we have, where we have it.  But one day,….one day, there will be so much more than what we can even imagine. According to Ephesidan 3:20, God has way more in store for us than what we can even think or imagine.   “IMMEASURABLY MORE of the great things. NO MORE of the pain.

So in the grieving, am hoping that those who loved Dr. Janice Sale well as an educator, mom, grandmother, friend, sister will smile with the hope and courage that she infused in them not only in the impactful way that she lived her life, but also in the way she was willing to let go when it was time to let go and move on.  Praying that God will wipe every tear, for the tears will fall for sure. Here’s to the beauty of a life well lived and a woman well loved.  Praises to our God who so knows our limits and who gives immeasurably more than what we can ask or imagine.  IMMEASURABLY MORE.  Praises to our God who makes all things new.  Not just for Janice Sale, but for all of us who will call upon His precious Name.

Blessings ~


And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  Revelation 21: 3-5

Photo taken from a plane on May 21, 2015 somewhere between Shelby, NC and New Smyrna Beach, Florida…


I love Bridges.  They kind of make you aware that you’re on your way to reaching a destination.  There’s the beginning.  There’s an ending, and there’s an in between. They are metaphors for so many things, and one of those is the journey that begins with the loss of a loved one.  And that is what the following poem is about…with a bridge as the metaphor.

The Bridge of Grief

An ending………………………………………………….A beginning

A bridge between the two.

The distance oft determined by the allowance to renew

Grief……………………………………………………..a purging

The walls come tumbling down

Hope………………………………………………….a surging

of God’s grace so deep profound


You’ll rise, you’ll walk again

Until then, rest knowing that

He’ll carry you my friend.

He’ll carry you my friend.

It’s been a year of so many losses, including loved ones and loved ones of loved ones.  For those of you who have experienced loss, I just pray that you seek and feel and know the incredible Presence of God that lifts and carries us when we aren’t even aware of it. I love how He just fills gaps that we didn’t even know were there.  And sometimes, He creates gaps where there’s a counterfeit “filler” of sorts so that space can be made for the real deal in our lives.

May the Love of Christ comfort and fill you in amazing ways this year so that you may not only be blessed, but be a blessing for those who have burdens to bear and long journeys to face.Nothing is wasted when laid at His feet. Love that.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction,

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1: 3-5


Stone upon stone, brick upon brick, the church has opened it’s wooden doors to countless souls throughout the years.  Yesterday, one by one, many walked up the steps, through the wooden doors, signed the guest book, and sat down on the antique wooden pews in the sanctuary.


To remember.  To Grieve.   To Celebrate.  To acknowledge.  To be a firm foundation for those who have lost a loved one. A dear friend’s husband has battled with illness for years.  He lost the battle on Monday.

The day was pretty dismal outside.  Gray clouds could be seen and although the rain was pending, there was a cold December mist. I was running late, but as I rushed up the sidewalk and came to the steps of this old church, it struck me of what a “firm foundation” it had.  It looked so stately there, but with a personal touch of the wreaths that welcomed folks in.

It got me to thinking about how we so need a firm foundation to stand when the storms come, don’t we?  Loss, whether it be personal or financial, emotional or material, momentary, or long-term, is real.  It has real effects.  Strong foundations come down.  So again, like I say so often to myself, to my kids, to those I love,…we need each other.

As I prayed for my friend in her time of grief, I got a real picture of Moses during the Exodus.  He had to hold his arms up during a battle, for when he let down his guard, the Israelites would start losing and as he raised his staff, they overcame.  Here’s the verse from Exodus 17:12:

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

So, they won the battle.   It was a group effort on so many counts.  Aaron and Hur saw the need, and gave a firm foundation (the stone for Moses to sit on), and lifted his arms. Was it easy?  Battle never is.  Never, by nature of the definition of battle, can it be easy.  The Bible doesn’t say anything about Aaron and Hur’s arms getting tired, but I’m sure they did as well.

Being there for someone takes effort.  It takes determination.  It takes strength.  But oftentimes, when we make that effort, we realize that the very ones who may be holding us up are holding us up as well.  Encouragement can often work both ways.  It did yesterday as I sought to encourage the ones grieving and walked away with tears feeling encouraged myself.  You see, we all have our own battles.  And the beauty is, that often when we reach out to encourage others, we can find a new courage in ourselves because again, we are not alone….and the connectedness that comes from reaching out to another, connects us as well.

The church that stands there so strong? It’s a mere building.  But the foundation that has kept the doors open for years and years?  It’s a belief system that puts Christ as the cornerstone.  Hope is not in and of ourselves, it is the One who loves us and won the ultimate battle over sin.  But He didn’t have anyone to hold up his arms.  He was even forsaken by God the Father as He could not look on the sin that His own son was to bear.  But the ultimate battle?  It is won.  Thank the Lord, it is won.

So as we face our own battles, some small and momentary, some life-changing and tragic, may we remember that we know the end of the story.  Victory is for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Because of Christ Jesus.  Christmas is about a gift not just for the season, but for Eternity.  And that gift allows us to HOPE when battles rage.  It allows us to be TENACIOUS when loss invades our secure worlds.  It allows us to KNOW that grief is temporary and JOY is eternal.

So, if you’re facing a battle, let some folks in. We need each other.  But more than anything, trust God to be with you in the Battle, and ask Him for the grace (which gives power) to stand.   To determine to stand with arms raised in worship to the One who can Win the Battles.  Christ Alone.  And somehow worship wins battles that fighting in other ways just can’t touch.  Acknowledging that He is our foundation, our hope, our strength…that gives a bit of perspective and courage in the midst of whatever we may face.

That knowledge allowed folks yesterday to sing and look on loss in a different light.  It allowed them to come together and laugh with tears in their eyes instead of merely grieving the intense loss of a life that ended with some dreams unrealized.  But those dreams fade in the Light of Eternity.  They just do.  And we can grieve with Hope knowing that this is so not the end of the story.

Below is a link of the song, In Christ Alone.   Love it and the Truth that STANDS the test of time…


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