He Is The God Who Stays

I’ll be sharing more soon but let’s just say I’ve had more than a few moments in the past couple of weeks when I could have felt abandoned and forgotten.

And if I’m honest, some of the people I thought would be most likely to come alongside have been nowhere to be found.

But God’s Presence has been very real to me even then.

I talk a lot about Jesus as my Shepherd King because it’s one of the most precious images I have of the One who loves me, who saved me and who carries me every day of my life.

The thing about a shepherd is that he never walks away.

He never says, “Oh, well! I’ll just leave that wayward or injured sheep to her fate. I’m tired of looking for her, going after her and tending to her needs.”

Never. Ever.

He is absolutely, positively the God Who Stays.

❤ Melanie

God is the Faithful Father watching and waiting with open arms for the Prodigal to return.

He will weave even the darkest and most tangled threads of my life into a beautiful, redeemed tapestry if I let Him.

He’s the God who stays.

Read the rest here: The God Who Stays

Birthdays and Other Reminders That Life is Fleeting

When children are young and growing every birthday is a celebration. And it absolutely should be!

But when you’ve walked a few (0r more than a few!) years on this old world, birthdays begin to morph into something else.

They remind a heart that life is short, that not all of the people we love will enjoy fullness of years and even those that do seem to leave us way too soon.

Birthdays-after precious people have run ahead to Heaven-mark one more year without them.

Instead of cake and balloons, flowers and presents, we sit with silence and absence, memories and wishes for more time…

Today my heart hurts more than usual.

It’s my mama’s birthday-the third one we will celebrate without her here to blow out the candles.

It’s also the third anniversary (do you call it that?) of the day Papa had to call an ambulance to rush her to the hospital.

She never came home.

Read the rest here: Birthdays and Wakeful Nights

Until Then-Stories of Loss and Hope

I was asked awhile back to be part of a project shepherded by fellow parents-in-loss, Laura and Gary House (https://ourheartsarehome.org/).

They wanted to gather and publish stories from other child loss survivors in hopes of encouraging hearts and strengthening the faith of parents facing the unimaginable.

I don’t mind saying that in spite of all I’ve written in this space for the past seven (!) years, it was challenging to distill my thoughts about that night, the days that followed and my own faith journey since into a single chapter.

But I, and a dozen other parents, did just that.

In our own words we tell our stories. We share our struggles and our triumphs. We write honestly about how our faith was challenged and how it carried us through.

Every chapter was written by a parent who has a child (or children) in Heaven. Several chapters were written by dearly loved and greatly admired friends.

One chapter is mine in which I share Dominic’s story.

It was a long process but I’m happy to report that the book is now available on Amazon!

Eleven different chapters full of heartache, hope and help written BY bereaved parents FOR bereaved parents (and those who love them).

Until Then: Stories of Loss and Hope would be a blessing to any bereaved parent, to friends and family of bereaved parents (to help them understand the journey) and also to ministry leaders who will, at one time or another, be in a position to shepherd and counsel bereaved parents.

This is a labor of love.

All proceeds above production costs go to ministry to bereaved parents, not the authors.

Consider purchasing a copy or two for yourself or as a gift. ❤

Grieving in My Dreams

I first shared this years ago-a few months after my mother joined Dominic in Heaven.

There had been difficult dreams after Dom left but it had been a long while since one had interrupted my sleep…and then they began anew.

Night after night I woke in the dark with disturbing images lingering at the edge of consciousness.

They receded once again within about a year.

Now they are back.

I think that whenever anything particularly stressful or frightening or sad or just plain hard presses in, the grief I’ve learned to hide so well is squeezed out.

Lately I’ve been having unsettling dreams.

Even when I can’t recall the exact sequence of events, they all have a similar theme: Someone I love is in peril and I can’t save them or something I hold dear is lost and I can’t find it.

And that awful feeling of helplessness follows me when I open my eyes.

It doesn’t take a PhD to interpret these dreams.

Grief is leaking out in my sleep.

Read the rest here: Unsettling Dreams: Grieving In My Sleep

Unashamed to Wait

Maybe what God has for me and others who suffer long is not a victorious tag line that can be slapped on a photo or shared on social media. 

Maybe it’s only in the continued press of suffering that God reveals Himself in ways the non-suffering never see.

Maybe a dash to declare victory is actually rushing past what God has for us in deep pain and ongoing struggle.

Maybe waiting in hopeful expectation for what God is doing and will do in me and through me IS the victory.

Read the rest here: Not Ashamed to Wait

The Power of Servanthood

Some people are natural servants.

Not the kind in Downtown Abbey but the kind who see something that needs doing and just do it.

They open doors, return shopping carts, wash dishes, pick up trash and bend down or stretch high to help children or senior citizens reach what otherwise would be unreachable.

Some of us aren’t naturals but we can learn.

Because when we open our eyes to those around us and choose to be helpful we make a change to our hearts and theirs. We build bridges of grace and kindness that help to connect individuals and communities.

When a person feels seen, heard and cared for, they are much more likely to drop the drawbridge to their heart.

It’s no good saying, “Well, he didn’t ask for help” or “She didn’t let me know she was struggling”.

If we are paying as much attention to our friends and family as we are to social media memes and funny TikTok videos, we can’t miss the signs of desperation and hopelessness.

If we take time to ask important questions there’s no way we won’t hear sadness or loneliness in the reply.

So let’s stop acting like doing good is something only a few select individuals can or should do. It’s a myth that bringing meals and checking in on those who are no longer able to make it to our fellowships or church services or bingo halls is a special skill.

Compassion isn’t a calling or a gift or a virtue.

Compassion is something we choose to practice.

And for those of us who call Christ “Lord” it is a command.

Courage: Speaking One’s Mind While Telling All One’s Heart

It is scary to speak aloud what you hope will never happen to you.  It’s unbelievably frightening to admit that we really have no control over whether, or when, we or the ones we love might leave this world.

But I am not going to keep silent.

Not because I want pity or special treatment, but because I want that parent who just buried his or her child to know that you. are. not. alone.

Read the rest here: Courage is a Heart Word

Words From One Wounded Heart to Others

I cling fast to words that speak aloud what I’ve only thought.

I collect sentences that eloquently express what I can only feel.

I pull them out on days when my head and heart are doing battle and I can’t find any middle ground.

Reading reminds me I’m not the first soul to travel this way.

Others have been here before and left breadcrumbs.

Read the rest here: Words For a Wounded Heart

Thankful Jesus Is The Peace Speaker

In the midst of a difficult week, we got some disturbing news that had the potential to make it even worse.

My fleshly response was to go down rabbit trails of “what if” and “why us”. But I know from experience that is a fruitless exercise.

So I literally took a deep breath, reminded my heart that in every storm we’d faced, our Shepherd King had been there. He had never abandoned nor forsaken us.

This storm would be no different.

It might be rough (probably will be). It might be frightening (most certainly). It might even end with hopes dashed or worse.

But no matter what, He is here. He speaks peace when all seems lost.

We are safe in His hands.

❤ Melanie

Life is full of storms.

Some are outside myself and others start in the secret corners of my own heart.

All of them make me wish for quiet and calm, peaceful waters where I can sail the ship of life and not worry about sinking beneath the waves.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the  world gives... - SermonQuotes

When I’m afraid I remind myself that Jesus is the Peace Speaker.

Read the rest here: Sea Of Love And Goodness

Oh Fellow Grievers-Let’s Love Brave!

I was unprepared for the many traveling companions grief brought with it.  I knew to expect sadness and despairbut what about anxiety and guilt?

I had no idea how large a space guilt would soon occupy in my thoughts and heart-guilt over what I did or didn’t do when Dominic was still with us, guilt over what I do or don’t do now.

I can do nothing to change what happened in years past.  

Read the rest here: To My Fellow Grievers-Love Brave

dutyboundforluke

mama bereaved by suicide#child loss#grief

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