Archives for posts with tag: 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

weeping6

signs of spring 11

When grief rushes in like a raging river

When grief whispers into my aching soul

When grief invades like the chill of winter

When grief barges in and takes a hold…

silent sunday2

I will run

I will run to the sanctuary

I will come

To the One who calls to the weary

I will run

I will come to the sanctuary

I will fall at the feet

Of the One who loves me.  

I will run

I will come

I will breathe

weeping17

When grief rushes in and my heart starts racing

When grief settles in and takes control

When grief stirs my mind and my spirit

I will hold on, be still and know

silentsunday11-08

I will run

I will run to the sanctuary

I will come

To the One who calls to the weary

I will run

I will come to the sanctuary

I will fall at the feet

Of the One who loves me.  

I will run

I will come

I will breathe

dad 31

When grief comes again and my fight has left me

When numbness begins to dull my world

When grief comes again in a wave of anger

And fuels a fear that takes a hold

I will think on what I know and I will run…

sins forgiven.JPG

 

(Bridge)

And when those tears fall like rain

When the dam just gives way

I will come to You and say

Let it rain, (Let your mercy rain)

When the winds start to blow

May your Spirit refresh my soul

Help me be still and know

Your mercy reigns

(through this rain)

wordless wednesday

When grief rushes in like a raging river

Lord let Your wind refresh my soul

Your Spirit is Life, Lord renew me

Fill me with Your great winds of Hope…

As I run

As I come to Your Sanctuary

Lord I come

And I know that you are with me

When grief rushes in

Your hope always wins

This I know.

Grow

For a dear friend facing that one year mark of a deep, deep loss.  May the love of Christ reach deeper still.  Love, hugs, prayers and gratitude for being in this journey together.

 

 

 

 

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Silent Sunday 

ties

Sometimes, we have absolutely no idea what  people around us are going through.  Whether they be close friends and family, or strangers, it’s amazing how the littlest of things can form bonds, ties that bind, that make a big difference.  I was reminded of that tonight, so on this Thankful Thursday, I just wanted to share of how I’m thankful for God’s gentle reminders to trust Him with where He leads and to be thankful for and aware of the people whose paths we cross… For sure, we never know what people are going through.

So, he looked like just an ordinary teenager. Clad in a high school baseball cap, a tank t-shirt and jeans, he would’ve been able to blend in just about anywhere in this small town.  But  what wasn’t ordinary  was the fact that this teenaged boy was walking up and down the aisles of the men’s department, looking at suits, ties, and dress pants, as his grandmother followed along.I had seen the grandmother pacing back and forth  looking for him and let her know which part of the store he was in.   “He’s over there, ” I said as I pointed to where he was.  They then continued looking through rack after rack of formal men’s attire.

As I stood and waited for my son to try on clothes in the dressing room, I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop on the grandmother and the boy.  But it was a Thursday night, and there were very few people in the department store, so I couldn’t help hearing their conversation. “Do you know how to tie a tie?” the boy asks his grandma.  “No, do you?” the grandmother replies.  “No.” he says.  Then silence.

The little conversation brought up a funny memory for me, regarding my son, (the one trying on the pants in the dressing room), and learning to tie a tie. It was about 5 years ago, and he was in high school.  He had an important interview the next morning and we had laid out his suit and…his tie.  But did I know how to tie a tie?  Nope.  Did he know how to tie a tie?  Nope.  His Dad was unavailable, and this mom…well, it was up to this mom to figure out how to tie a tie pre the early morning interview when this young man in man’s clothes would need to have a tie tied to that collared shirt and suit he was wearing.  So, of course, I did what any mom would do.  I googled “how to tie a tie”.  Who knew there’d be a hundred links.  And who knew that even the “easy” sites would be…not.  Not easy at all.  No, they were not easy to follow for this mom who had a long to do list that night and was admittedly a bit stressed out trying to patiently follow directions for what should be a simple task. When it’s late at night and you’ve still got tons to do before getting some rest and you need to drive your son a few hours away in the morning for an early morning interview, well, it’s not easy to concentrate on what the guy on the googled video is saying about tying a tie.  Just saying.

So, I got it. When the boy in the department store and his grandmother realized they didn’t know how to tie a tie, I so knew what that felt like. I thought about offering Austin to help them tie the ties, but by the time he was out of the dressing room, I didn’t see them.  So it was a cool thing when, later on,  they turned up at the same fast food restaurant in the mall at the same time that we did. And that’s when I quietly told my son, Austin,  that they didn’t know how to tie a tie, and asked if he’d be willing to tie a tie.  He said yes.

I have to admit it was a little awkward walking up to them and saying I had heard their conversation and could we help them tie the tie.  But, the awkwardness melted away in seconds as relief washed over them. It was such a cool thing to see the smile on the little grandmother’s face and the teenaged boy’s eyes light up.  Phew.  Relief.  One less thing to worry about.  And like I said, I got that. I know tying a tie is a little thing, but often the occasions which merit wearing a tie are not, so the pressure to  make it ‘just right’ can feel big.

As Austin tied the tie for the boy, the grandmother and I sat at the table in the fast food restaurant and she quietly leaned across the table, looked me straight in the eye, and quietly whispered, “His mom was killed in a car accident on Monday….” That was 3 days ago.  I sat in disbelief and watched the brave boy standing there as my son tied a tie for him.  He was preparing for an occasion that no one would choose.  He was preparing to go to the funeral of his mom.  In the midst of all that he was going through, he stood straight and tall, thanked my son wholeheartedly, asked him his name, and shook his hand with a firm hand shake.  Never in a million years would I have guessed that he had just faced a huge tragedy in his life.

After the tie-tying was accomplished, we all smiled and said good byes and my son and I walked to the parking lot and  drank our frosted lemonade as the grandmother and the boy stayed in the restaurant and ate their chicken sandwiches and fries.  But it felt like something big had happened.  A little bit of a load was lightened…for them, and for us.  The last thing this young boy needed to worry about on the day of his mom’s funeral was how to tie a tie.  As we walked to the car, I thought  about how often I just don’t listen to those little ‘nudges’ and wonder how many incredible moments and stories we miss out on…how many connections…how many ties…we miss out on.  What’s beautiful though, is how many ties, how many connections, we really have with the people around us and how teeny tiny little attempt to reach out, can make a big difference.

I have a feeling that boy will wear the tie with pride as he goes to his mother’s funeral on Saturday.  I pray that he’ll feel loved and embraced and connected to the people around him.  I pray that he’ll know that he’s not alone even through the grief of losing his mother.  I pray that he’ll know the grace of God that fills voids and is like a bridge that joins people together.  We aren’t meant to walk alone.  We need each other, with big things like overcoming tragedy, and little things like tying ties. We never know what people are going through…or how reaching out can really help them through whatever it is they are facing.

Sometimes needs can be a bridge to help us to build connections.  Sometimes we’re on the need side.  Sometimes we’re on the “able to meet the need” side.  But irregardless, we all choose whether we’re going to walk across that bridge and meet the need or accept the help.  And when we do?  Well, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, and it reminded me that God orchestrates so much more than I could ever imagine.  He cares about us. He cares about our connections, our hearts, our relationships, and He even cares about our ties….not just the figurative ones, but even the literal gray and black first time tied ties of 16 year old boys who just need a hand.

Blessings~

Heather

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand

that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:10

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_event/thankful-thursday/

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…

just passing through

I went to school in a rush today, and left behind me a wake of needs answered and needs unmet.  I walked into work with a myriad of needs to be addressed, some ordinary, some extra.  I checked things off the list, and tried to be “all there” in the midst of putting out this fire or that, checking off this list or that.  And at 11:00, it hit me.  The funeral was today.

A teacher who had retired had just lost her husband on Tuesday. Although he had many health concerns as a result of an aneurism 20 years ago, it was a shock that he had passed.  I had never met him, but had heard stories of him.  His wife always spoke affectionately of the down-to-earth man named Walter.  Well, at the funeral I learned more about Walter.  Half of his body was paralyzed so his speech was very short and intelligible mainly to those in his close circle of family and friends.  He kept people on their toes so to speak as he checked things like whether they had brought their Bibles to church and he was very involved in helping in whatever way he could.  He did what he could.  When I said to his wife that I wished I had known him, she looked at me and said, “I do, too!  He was wonderful!”  Yep, a few tears fell at the funeral for sure.

He did what he could in the midst of a lot of limitations.  Accepted them, pushed through them, and impacted the lives around him in the midst of them.  He was adored for who he was before the aneurism, and for who he was as a result.  Through it all, he was Walter.  Walter whose wife had to take the keys away from him as she discovered one day that he had been driving his truck to see his friends at his old work place.  He, who, once the keys were taken away, used the lawnmower to drive through the city to see whose friends.  He who replied “Good Lord!” to his spirited wife Phyllis as upon seeing him drive through town on his tractor one day, stopped traffic and cleared the way for her beloved, stubborn, tenacious, and also-spirited self to make it home safely.  She helped him pass through town safely, and was with him in the journey.

He will be dearly missed.

Yes, I had forgotten the funeral that day and was a bit mortified to be showing up in khakis, a simple shirt, and …flip flop type sandals.  Not the attire I would’ve chosen, and because of that, I almost didn’t go.  I didn’t want to be disrespectful in my attire. But…I’m so glad I showed up.  Because to me, it was all a beautiful reminder of how we’re all just passing through.  All of us.  And I don’t think his wife minded what I was wearing.  It was a reminder to me that just ‘showing up’ a lot of times is what matters. Being there for others, side by side, wherever we are, as we’re just passing through.

He was laid to rest in a beautiful cemetery with military honors.  Flags, bugles, uniforms, dresses, suits, leather jackets, jeans, and flip flops were all there at that ceremony.  The grass was green, the sky was blue, the wind was blowing freely, and it was just sweet.  People said their goodbyes….and those who loved him will probably take years to truly let go.  But that’s the beautiful thing.  We’re all just passing through, alongside each other for who knows what amount of time.

That night, I had a little time with my young 16 year old son.  I told him the story of Walter.  I took him to the beautiful cemetery lined with trees that had been present through many a funeral procession.  These trees had been passed by people coming and going, to lay loved ones to rest, to visit, to grieve, or just to enjoy the beauty of a serene place.  We drove through in our four door sedan and I talked to my son about Walter.  I wanted him to hear the story of how a man made the most of his time in the midst of some life challenges that would seem overwhelming to some.

He listened, and seemed to be taking it all in until his Dad called and said, “Yeah, it’s tough having to be 16 and not have your license and have to drive through a cemetery with your Mom talking and taking pictures.”  And the son?  He made a joke, too.  But he got it.  We were driving through that cemetery for a short time, but he got it.  The Truth of how we’re all  ‘just passing through’, and making the most our time where we are wherever we are.  Whether we’re in a limousine, a four-door sedan, flip-flops or a lawnmower, we’re just passing through.

And when we get to our final destination?  What we are driving or wearing won’t matter a bit.  Not one single teeny tiny bit.

Blessings ~

Heather

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” …

Revelation 21…

forgetmenot

sometimes

when we least expect it,

we have little reminders of those we have lost

Reminders that make us remember and smile, and appreciate

the beauty that was not lost

but that is just now hidden

from our view

Like forget-me-nots

that emerge from the ground in the Spring

these memories emerge from our hearts and we remember

those who are never forgotten

and appreciate the beauty of their presence in our lives

even though they aren’t seen in full view.

souls are eternal

And ….Easter…is not just a Holiday

It’s a reality of Resurrected Life

Little blue forget-me-nots

not only make the remembering sweet,

but give me hope that what seems gone forever,

like the forget-me-nots over a long winter,

will emerge with a trumpet sound

and their life is  Eternal.

Never forgotten.

Always remembered.

Just a few thoughts as I think of those who have gone on before us this past year.  Missing some very much and feeling for others who I know have lost deeply cared for loved ones. I love the way God speaks in the ‘little things’, like little blue ‘forget-me-nots’ covering the grass in the Spring.

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/

Habakkuk

I love the book of Habakkuk in the Bible.  I love it for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons, to be honest, is because it’s short.  You can get a full grasp of beginning to end in one sitting.  I love it because it’s real.  Habakkuk is questioning God on some things.  Questioning without doubting…that’s an important distinction.  I also love the book because it ends up with this beautiful verse that is often quoted:

“Though the fig tree not blossom and there be no fruit on the vine,

though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food, and there be no herd in the stalls-

Yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet.  

And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Habakkuk 3: 17-19

To picture someone who has experienced great loss hoping and rejoicing and not wallowing in the depths, but ‘walking on the high hills’, all the while trusting God for every step is a beautiful visual.  I’ve always loved that picture.  But here’s what makes me love the book of Habakkuk all the more:  his name means “embrace, cling.”  Yesterday morning as I read up on Habakkuk, I couldn’t help but smile as I read that his name is derived from the verb habaq, which means embrace.  So his name means, “one who embraces” or “one who clings”.

Why does that encourage me to the core?  Because to have hope, to have faith, to rise above the depths of loss and struggle and uncertainty of why God has allowed certain things, one must be very good at clinging.  Clinging to hope is a tenacious, determined effort.  It is a determination to hold so tightly knowing that your very survival may depend on that clinging.

The word “cling” brings up some word pictures in my mind.  One makes me laugh and although I’m a little embarrassed to share it, here goes.  In the elementary school gym, we had a rope that went from the floor to the very high ceiling.  Periodically, the P.E. teacher would require us to attempt to climb that rope.  I was one of the only girls who could climb to the top and touch that very high ceiling.  Why?  Because I was determined to cling to that rope with everything I had.  I would cling and climb.  Kind of like Habakkuk:  cling to the hope in the Lord, climb to the heights and rejoice.

The other word picture that it brings to my mind is much more sweet.  One of the greatest gifts in my life has been to be a mom six times over.  The early years were so busy, but so precious.  When there was a need, a fear, a time when my children were aware that something was so not right, they would run and cling.  To what?  To me.  There is nothing like the vulnerability of a child who knows there is a deep need and seeks out one who loves them who will cover, protect, and seek to meet that need, or at least comfort in the absence of it being met. What a picture of how we are to be with the One who loves us more than we could ever imagine.  We run to our God with our needs, loss, aches, and we cling, knowing that He is One who loves us and knows what is best.

One more thought:  I can remember like it was yesterday, the joy and feeling of satisfaction that would come when I would cling to that rope in the elementary school gym and touch that high ceiling.  For each of us that reached the ‘heights’ it was a victory worthy of celebration.  So it is with clinging to hope and getting to that point of rejoicing in the Lord. There is an ache and grief with loss that goes so deep.  But to rise above, we must cling to hope and get to the point where we choose to rejoice.  We choose to rise above and not wallow in the depths, but seek to rise to the heights, to ‘walk on the high hills” and allow Him to be our strength. We choose to say, “Yet”  (I acknowledge the loss, the grief, the circumstance, but I choose to move on with a “yet”),” I will rejoice in the Lord.  I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  (Habakkuk 3:18)

and then?  “God will be my strength.  God will make my feet like the feet of a deer.”  Then? “He will make me walk on the high hills…”  Somehow, things look quite a bit different from the heights than they do in the valley.  Just a few thoughts on the book of Habakkuk from one who is learning to cling to the One who is worthy of our Hope, our faith, our praise.

Rock and view

Blessings~

Heather

Looking  Up

http://www.cosmicgirlie.com/silent-sunday/

http://www.mochabeaniemummy.com/silent-sunday/

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