Archives for category: Grief

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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 year..am 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…

Blessings,

Heather

no more 3

“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 ~

Heather

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…

symmetry

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

Hope…………………………………………………….renewal

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

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/symmetry/

Church

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.

Why?

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…

Blessings~
Heather

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