Repost: Trust After Loss: Admit the Pain

Child loss is Unnatural-no way around it.

Out of order death is devastating.

When my perfectly healthy, strong and gifted son was killed instantly in a motorcycle accident on April 12. 2014 my world fell apart.  My heart shattered into a million pieces.  And after three and a half years, I’ve yet to even FINDall of those pieces much less put them back together.

So what does a heart do when that happens? 

Read the rest here:  Trust After Loss: Admit the Pain

One Little Word 2018

I used to spend every New Year’s morning with my Bible, my thoughts and my Lord.

I wrote each family member’s name in my journal and waited for the Holy Spirit to give me a verse to pray for them for the next year.

I would end with my own name and ask God what good works He had planned for me.

When I look back over these journals I realize that what I had essentially been doing for decades was asking God for “One Little Word” to focus my energy, resources and attention each year.

I honestly believe that every human on the face of the Earth is here for a reason. They are not a random collection of cells and neurons. They are created in the image of an Almighty God to impact the people around them in specific ways.

So I challenge you to ask the God of the universe to give you One Little Word for 2018. 

And then hold every potential commitment up to that light to determine if it is really part of God’s plan for you this year.

For some of my hurting parent friends the word may be “healing” or “rest” and that’s just fine.  For others it may be “endurance” or “perseverance” and that’s fine too.

It’s between you and God.

May you hear clearly and receive with open hands.

Repost: Learning To Trust God Again After

For the next few days, I’ll be sharing these previously published posts in a series born from a speaking engagement last October.

If you struggle with squaring God’s sovereignty, His love and man’s free will, then I invite you to join me.

I hope it helps your heart. ❤

If you’ve read the blog for very long, you’ve learned two things about me:  (1) I am up front and honest about my feelings, my doubts, my faith and my heart; and (2) I’m not afraid to explore topics that often make the church uncomfortable. 

So here I am again.

Read the rest here:  Learning To Trust God Again After Loss

 

Repost: Not as Strong As I Look

I wrote this originally two years ago-about  20 months after Dominic ran ahead to heaven.

While I continue to grow stronger, to heal a bit more, to find more joy in the every day and the special days, I am can still be felled by a single scent, thought, song or memory.

Truth is, I miss him.  I miss my son.

And there is no cure for that.

No matter how tightly I strap on my armor, grief sends arrows through the tiniest unprotected chink and pierces my heart.

There is no defense against the sound, the smell, the wayward memory that sends me back in time to when Dominic was alive and with me.

And once there, to drag myself forward to today—where he is neither—is torture. 

Read the rest here:  Not as Strong as I Look

Grace Gifts of Grief

It was a long time before I wanted to believe that I received any gifts worth keeping from this life I didn’t choose.

I knew I had tears, pain, agonizing sorrow, loss, heartache, dashed hopes, empty arms.

If I could give those back and regain my son, I would do it in less than a heartbeat.

I can’t, so I’m left here to ponder what else I’ve received from burying a child.

And I am learning that I have been given some gifts I truly cherish, although the price was higher than I would have willingly paid.

I call them grace gifts: heart-expanding, hope-enlarging.

I am learning compassion, which is something quite different than sympathy or pity which are just compassion’s paper stand-ins.

My heart is tuned to the suffering of others in a way I never knew before, even if their suffering is very different than my own.  

I have been given new eyes for the people around me.  I’m not as quick to decide I know someone’s story based on the clothes they wear or the car they drive.

I’m more patient with strugglers and stragglers although I am less patient with braggarts and bullies.

I’m more inclined to listen than I used to be.

My heart writes my “to do” list instead of my head-people over projects. 

Every. Time.

I love harder but more loosely than I did before.  I’ve learned you can only hold on to this moment, this smile, this hug,  and the rest is in God’s hands.

I am quicker to forgive-myself and others-because we are all failures in one sense or another.  

I speak blessings aloud instead of simply in my head, too embarrassed lest anyone should laugh at such an archaic tradition.

I am learning to let go of my own and others’ expectations.

I shed tears when I need to, smile when I want to, belly laugh when I can.

I’m very much NOT the person I was before Dominic ran ahead to heaven-in many ways a sadder person.  

But in many ways a wiser one as well.

Did She REALLY Mean It That Way?

Most of us are used to them by now-those photo filters that can turn an awful picture into a dreamy masterpiece.

The same filters can take a perfectly lovely photo and distort it into something comical or worse.

Our minds are like that.

When we see things, hear things, experience things-we are filtering them through our own experience, emotional state, physical condition and biases.

As a bereaved parent, I’ve got to be very, very careful I don’t misinterpret other people’s words, actions and intentions.

It’s easy sometimes for me to feel like someone is purposefully seeking to harm me when all they are doing is acting in ignorance.

I can be quick to assume that a person’s absence is avoidance instead of simply a function of an overbusy schedule.

I can take words and twist them to mean something very different than what was intended because my heart hears everything through the filter of loss.

If I don’t constantly remind myself, I forget that if someone else hasn’t experienced child loss they really, truly HAVE NO CLUE what it feels like to walk in my shoes.

Because if I don’t, I spend most of my time hurt, licking my wounds in the corner and avoiding the very people that can help my heart heal.

Do other people have a responsibility to try to understand?

Of course they do!

But I also have a responsibility to try to see their hearts and not only their actions.

I need to check my own filters to make sure I’m not placing blame where there is none.

I should give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

never assume

 

 

 

No Way to “Fix” Child Loss

This was shared in a bereaved parents’ group to which I belong and I really like it.

It’s a great reminder to those of us traveling this road that it is a lifelong journey.

It’s also a good explanation of why there is a gap between our experience and those who have never experienced child loss.

They want to apply the mechanical or medical model to us but it just doesn’t work.

We can’t be “fixed”, we can only learn to make adjustments that incorporate our new reality.  

When your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic. He puts in new parts, makes adjustments, and your car runs fine again. When your body is ill, the doctor examines you and makes a diagnosis. Medication or surgery can cure the problem. With treatment, you’re healthy again.

The mechanical and medical models do not help when it comes to grief. Part of you died when your child died. That part of you is irreplaceable. There are no interchangeable parts to get you through grief. You have to adjust. There is no simple process.

Think of your journey through grief as a kind of rehabilitation. When a woman loses her eyesight, there are ways of coping. She can learn to read braille, get a seeing eye dog, and learn to navigate with a cane. If a man loses his hearing, he can get hearing aids and learn to communicate through sign language and lipreading.

Living through the aftershock of death can teach you new ways to adapt and survive. Life is never the same after a loved one dies. You will need to learn new ways of thinking, acting, and feeling.

Life is still worth living, but there are adjustments to make. They are not easy, because they require admitting that your child is no longer there. The adjustments can include not making as much food for a family meal; missing that precious face at the dinner table; not tucking your child into bed at night; buying fewer Christmas presents (or no birthday gifts); having tears come unbidden when surprised. You can make these adjustments as you walk through the grieving process. Determine that you will learn the skills needed to survive.

You will never forget your child. Your life will not be the same. As you go through the changes, you can hang onto God, because he never changes: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb. 13:8). His love surrounds you. His strength is available to you, and he will help you face each demanding new day.

~Warren Wiersbe, Gone But Not Lost

 

 

 no timetable for grief

Repost: Faithful Waiting

I’ve been working on Christmas posts for weeks now and really thought I’d have something original and new for today.  But life has conspired against me and I find myself worn and fragile and oh, so very tired!

Then a thread on a bereaved parents’ page reminded me of Simeon.  And my heart knew that even though this post was written two years ago, it was precisely what I needed for THIS year, THIS Christmas.

I am clinging with both hands to the promises I can only see by faith:  That this pain will be redeemed, that every tear is captured and treasured by God Almighty and that every single stolen thing will be restored and renewed.

I will proclaim with Simeon that God is faithful and He cannot lie.

So I open my eyes on Christmas morning to a world where joy and sorrow live together for now but look forward to the morning when only JOY will reign.

I fell in love with Ron Dicianni’s painting,  “Simeon’s Moment” many years ago.  My husband bought and framed a print for me and I sit opposite it every morning as I drink my coffee.

It never fails to touch my heart.

Read the rest here:  Faithful Waiting

Remembering the Missing: Four Candles

I have always loved candles.  Something in the flickering light speaks to my heart.

It’s one of my favorite parts of early evenings-watching the candles I light on every flat surface cast a soft glow and chase the darkness.

Even a small light offers hope.  

Christmas Eve is a natural time to gather with family and friends, to honor the ones no longer present, to share our love, our memories and our sorrow.

So when I ran across this post on a Compassionate Friends site, I wanted to share it.  I hope it blesses your heart like it blesses mine.  

This four candle ritual is a beautiful way to create space for tears and also invite laughter and hope into hurting hearts.  

four candles

Repost: Not Giving Up-A Victory Worth Cheering

It’s hard to watch since winning a medal is off the table.  They lost their place in front when they took that awful tumble.

But we cheer them on-the limping athletes that manage to cross the finish line.

And we should.

Read the rest here:  Not Giving Up-A Victory Worth Cheering