I originally shared this post when I was only a bit past two years into life after loss. It’s still a pretty good list of what helps and what hurts my heart.
The only thing that I’d say NOW versus THEN is this: Most days are better days (seven years down the road) than hard ones. Oh, there are still terrible, terrible days when grief washes over me like a flood. But many, many days include joy, laughter, a renewed sense of purpose and lots and lots of love.
I’m so thankful for God’s mercy and grace and for His steadfast love. Without that-without Him-I would not have made it this far.❤ Melanie
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 by 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.
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:
Read the rest here: What Helps and What Hurts
Just think-when our hearts hang onto hope in this Valley of the Shadow of Death, we are taking back territory from the enemy of our souls.
We are shedding light and spreading salt.
What a powerful testimony to the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Read the rest here: Defiant Faith
We are a people who love a good mystery as long as it leads to a good ending-bad guys vanquished, questions answered, motives revealed and a tidy resolution.
But real life is rarely so neat and squared away.
There are smaller mysteries that sit at the back of our minds but we can ignore and then there are the big “What ifs?” and “Whys?”
The cosmic questions that rock our world and threaten to undo us.
These are the questions that filled my mind and kept me awake at night after burying my son. Questions I was free to ignore before they took up residence in my soul and echoed in my head with every thump, thump, thump of my beating heart.
Read the rest here: Living Without Answers
It’s a commonly repeated untruth that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible.
But there ARE a lot of them.
While many folks like to interpret these commands as admonitions to the trembling hearts standing, kneeling or falling on their face before the Angel of the Lord or begging to be delivered from a perilous situation, I think they are an invitation.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: “Fear Not!”-An Invitation Not An Admonition
A little review as we get to the last post in our series: Trying to stuff or hide my pain from myself, God and others is useless and unhelpful.
I’ve got to breathe out the sorrow, doubts, angst and disappointment to make room for the life-giving breath of Truth and the Holy Spirit.
And then I need to do one more thing. I must appropriate the strength and courage of my Savior-the Author and Finisher of my faith.
It is possible to endure. It is possible to finish well. It is possible to hold onto hope and follow the Light and Love of Jesus through this Valley. ❤
My friend and fellow bereaved mom, Margaret Franklin, Ryan’s mom, shared a beautiful Dutch word with me “Sterkte” (pronounced STAIRK-tah).
It literally translates “strength” or “power” but culturally means much more. It means bravery, strength, fortitude and endurance in the face of fear and insumountable odds through the empowering strength of God in me.
Not MY strength, but HIS.
It’s the strength Isaiah meant when he wrote:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 KJV
This is what it means to appropriate God’s strength:
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Appropriate God’s Strength
Have you ever walked away from a conversation and thought, “My goodness! I talked WAY too much!”?
I can become so wrapped up in sharing my own experience, spilling my own feelings, trying to communicate my own point of view that I don’t leave space for the other person to get a word in edgewise.
Sometimes I do the same thing when talking to God-I can’t stop chattering long enough to hear what He wants to speak into my pain.
When I choose to listen, He is faithful to remind me of truth. He is faithful to lead me the green pasture of His word where I can feast on His promises and be filled with hope. ❤
“I wake before the morning light. Every. single. morning.
I get my coffee, sit in my chair and wait for sunrise.
I never worry that today it might not happen.
I’m never concerned that after all these years of faithfulness, this day may be the one where daylight fails to make an appearance.
There is no fear in this darkness because I know it will not last forever.
Morning is coming.
Morning. Is. Coming.
And that’s the hope I cling to in this longer darkness of the Valley of the Shadow of Death-no matter how many years it may be, the Valley has an end.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Access the Truth
Some of us have grown up in faith communities where doubt is treated as disbelief.
I’m so sorry.
Doubt is, in my opinion, a precursor to deeper faith, stronger commitment, informed and more solid trust in God and in His goodness and sovereignty.
If devastating loss has brought you to your knees or face down on the floor begging God to make sense of it all, you are in good company. So many of His saints have cried out in despair.
If you are frightened you are losing faith, remember this: the simple fact you know where and to Whom to bring your pain means your heart is still turned toward your Savior. ❤
Grief forces me to walk Relentlessly Forward even when I long to go back.
I can’t stop the clock or the sun or the days rolling by.
Those of us who are more than a couple months along in this journey (or any journey that involves tragedy and loss) know that it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE to feel worse than in the first few days.
Because as the edges of the fog lift and the reality of an entire lifetime looms before you the questions form and the doubt sinks in.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Acknowledge Doubt and Ask Questions
Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe I’m just more attentive to the questions of others right now.
Whatever the reason, I’ve encountered so many hurting hearts recently struggling to square their experience of devastating loss with their faith in a loving and all-powerful God.
I write about my own struggle over and over in this space but this series of posts is an orderly exploration of doubt, pain, faith and the hope I’ve found in Christ Jesus.
I pray it helps another heart hold on. ❤ Melanie
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 FIND all of those pieces much less put them back together.
So what does a heart do when that happens? Because, try as I might, I cannot stop time.
Even THAT awful day only lasted 24 hours.
When the sun rose again, the pain was still there. And behind that pain and mixed with it was something else-disappointment, disaffection, distrust.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Admit the Pain
My journals are filled with strong words and strong feelings.
They are also filled with, what I believe, God spoke to my heart in response.
Sometimes it was in the form of a Bible verse, sometimes a memory, sometimes song lyrics or a prayer. And sometimes the pages are simply a record of how my Shepherd gently led me through a particular hard moment or day or week.
So if you are struggling with doubt-let yourself off the hook.
You can’t deny it.
And you don’t have to.
You’re in good company.
Read the rest here: Doubt Is Not Denial: Journaling My Way Home
I’ve heard it from more than one bereaved parent.
I’ve thought it myself.
“Is God punishing me?”
Have I done something so terrible that it falls outside the grace and mercy of the God Who sent His Son and so I must pay for it with my own child?
Read the rest here: Is God Punishing Me?