What Helps and What Hurts

I am committed to continue to trust Jesus and to look to the Word of God for my hope and direction in this life and in the one to come.

I speak truth to my heart through Scripture, worship songs, testimonies of others who have gone before and remaining in community with other believers.

But I’ve yet to reach the place where I can plan on most days being better days rather than hard ones.

I’m trying.

And I’m working to tease out the influences that make a difference-both the ones that help and the ones that hurt.

So here’s the list so far:

WHAT HELPS

  • Starting the day with Bible reading
  • Writing out a verse or two that speaks hope to my heart
  • Listening to worship music
  • Feeling well-less physical pain translates to an overall sense of well-being
  • Having a plan for the day-even if it is simple and created in broad strokes, knowing what I plan to do gives me a reason to get up and get going
  • Seeking companionship with other believers either via Facebook groups, telephone calls, in person get togethers or messaging.
  • Allowing myself a set time to grieve-cry, pray, lament, or whatever-then moving on with the day
  • Mixing up physical activity with rest-changing my body position often reorients my attitude.
  • Striving to get proper sleep, eating good food (not junk and not mindlessly), exercising and stretching.
  • Crying-if I need to cry I’ve found allowing the tears to fall is much better than fighting them off all day.
  • Retreating when necessary-if I find a situation is too much for me to handle, I give myself permission to retreat.  Most things can be done another day.  Sometimes just granting myself permission means I have the courage to press on and face it.
  • Planning for hard things.  If I know I’m going to have to face a hard thing, then I try to plan it.  I prepare myself by thinking through (as much as possible) various outcomes.  I’m more prepared and usually it goes better than I anticpated.
  • Not overscheduling my days/weeks-it is harder than it used to be to get going in the mornings so I take that into consideration when making appointments.  If I have a busy day on Monday, I will try to make Tuesday open and relaxed.  Having space between commitments gives me time to recoup and minimizes anxiety.
  • Doing as many things via Internet and telephone as possible-I can do needful things even if I’m having a bad day if I don’t have to get dressed and go out to do them.

WHAT HURTS

  • Neglecting my spiritual life-if I don’t read Scripture, don’t engage with other believers and refuse to acknowledge and thank God for the blessings He still bestows-I can quickly succumb to the dark whispers of the enemy of my soul.
  • Ignoring physical needs-when I don’t prioritize sleep, good nutrition, adequate exercise and appropriate pain control (for my RA) then sadness is multiplied and it is so much harder to climb out of the pit of despair.
  • Carrying unnecessary burdens-I cannot MAKE anyone understand the pain and ongoing challenge of child loss.  So when people outside my immediate grief circle question my feelings or try to make me conform to their expectations of what grief should look like and how long it should last, I have to shake it off. If it’s an important and ongoing relationship, I try to help them understand but if they choose not to or if it is a tangential relationship, I let it go.  I refuse to carry the burden of others’ expectations in addition to the burden of burying my child.
  • Being ignored-it hurts to be ignored.  It hurts when someone asks how I am yet doesn’t allow the space and time for me to answer.  It hurts when I answer and they ignore my pain or dismiss it with a story or platitude or Bible verse or just don’t say anything.
  • Being shamed-it hurts for others to shame me by implying that I am not strong in my faith or not trusting Jesus or not hoping hard enough for heaven when I admit I still struggle in grief and still miss my son.
  • Disregarding my triggers:  There are certain situations that I know will guarantee a breakdown, panic or a crying fit.  I avoid them when I can.  If I can’t-then I make a plan of escape (just in case).
  • Being “on display” for others-I am one woman doing the best I can to walk faithfully with Jesus through an unbelievably painful experience.  I am not the Author and Finisher of your faith-Jesus is.  It hurts when I feel like others are watching to see if I’ll make it, if I’ll say the “wrong” thing, if I’ll admit that I doubt.  I want the same freedom others have to grow in my faith and to make mistakes and learn from them.  I don’t want to be a “poster child” for anything.
  • Friends staying away.  I know it is hard to be my friend right now.  You never know what you might get when you call.  But if you ARE my friend, please don’t stay away.  Please reach out even when it makes you uncomfortable.  A good word at the right moment is often the difference between a very bad and very lonely day and a pretty good and generally hopeful one.
  • Hiding my sorrow-when I try to pretend I am stronger than I really am or when I try to hide my tears it takes so much energy and makes me so less capable to do the other things life requires.

These are just some of the things that help/hurt me in my journey.  I would love to have others share what helps/hurts them in theirs.  There’s strength in community.

Leave your thoughts in the COMMENTS below!

 

 

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

7 thoughts on “What Helps and What Hurts”

  1. I love what you wrote! Very well said and helpful. Reading scripture; and changing positions stand out as some things that have especially helped. If I’m feeling too sad I get up and perhaps take a walk or move somewhere else. I also find telling others what you need to be helpful.
    Thank you! Blessings to you on this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you have found ways to help your heart in this journey. Walking is my go-to most days. When Dom first left us, I felt like I could walk miles and miles and miles. May the Lord continue to give you strength for each day. ❤

      Like

  2. Great list. Agree, agree, agree.
    A kind, empathetic conversation with anyone (even a stranger! …even briefly!) regarding hardship and loss tremendously helps me. I love what one grieving mom told you, “We’re holding hands walking home together.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this 2 years ago and promptly forgot all it taught me. I came across it again today and realized I need to read it every day until it soaks in. Thank you for allowing God to use you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can print the post if that’s an easier way to access it it frequently. WordPress makes it pring out really large and it takes several pages. Sorry about that-can’t change it 🙂 I’m thankful the post helps your heart. Praying that the Lord will meet you where you are and provide for every needful thing today and always. ❤

      Like

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