This November 14th will mark 7yrs since my momma was killed saving my life. Some people think I should be over it, healed and moved on. Those people didn’t see what I saw that day. They didn’t have to attempt life saving techniques on their mom as I did. Only to have all the work, […]
Day Twelve of Kathleen Duncan’s June 1-30 challenge.
The prompt: 12 things you are grateful for
Like Kathleen, the 12th of each month marks the anniversary of the accident that took my son’s life. And like many bereaved parents, the date is etched in memory and re-etched every time it rolls around.
I love the idea of reclaiming the ground which the enemy has stolen by resolving to remind my heart of the promises of God that uphold me in the midst of my sorrow.
I am grateful for promises contained in His Word. They are manna, bread from heaven as I walk the wilderness of grief.
Here are 12 I savor:
1. One day there will be no more tears because God will restore and redeem every hurtful thing:
2. A single day in the presence of my Savior is better than a thousand years here on earth:
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Psalm 84:10-12 NIV
3. I can trust God to finish what He started-in me AND in Dominic:
4. The Lord is good and He is my stronghold, even in this trouble:
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust Him.
5. The Lord will restore the years the locust has eaten-He will give back what the enemy has stolen:
I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.
6. God will carry me, even to my old age-as long as it takes-until I am in His presence and with my son:
7. My Shepherd is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 KJV
8. This trial will refine my faith and it will shine as pure gold on the day Jesus is revealed:
Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7 GNT
9. Death is defeated because Christ is risen:
10. I am struck down, but not destroyed or abandoned:
We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
11. Even as I walk through the Valley of Weeping, God turns my tears to springs of life:
12. God will turn my mourning into dancing. He will fill my mouth with songs of gladness:
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing. You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. That my soul may sing praise and not be silent. O Lord my God I will give thanks to You forever.
The cartoon character Popeye responded to critics with “I am what I am”.
And while this phrase can be used to excuse all sorts of bad behavior, there is a ring of truth to it.
Every one of us is the sum of our experiences. Each of us is hemmed in by what we know and how we are made.
We are more than the things that happen to us.
But, in part, we are Defined by Moments.
Advertising works on a simple principle: exposure.
The more exposure a person has to the product, the more likely that person will want to buy it.
My eyes lead my heart.
I go where my gaze rests.
What I stare at changes me.
In the first moments, days, weeks after Dominic’s accident, it was very hard to lift my eyes from the reality of pain and sorrow that began like a hard kernel in my heart and grew to a mushroom cloud of destruction that took over my whole body.
But even then, God broke through to remind me all was not dark, all was not lost, and, in the end, all would be well.
See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?
Julian of Norwich
As the cloud began to lift, I was able, by degrees, to choose where to turn my eyes. I could read and write and focus on truth, or I could fill my gaze with deception, darkness and lies.
I am going to stare at SOMETHING-I have to decide what or Who will fill the horizon of my days.
In my sorrow, I can stare down the black hole of death or I can lift my eyes to the Hope of Heaven.
I can linger long at the grave or I can point my face to the sky and look for His return.
My gaze can rest on the emptiness of today or it can rest secure in the promise of tomorrow.
I can sit at the feet of Jesus and let His Presence fill my eyes and guide my heart or I can turn away and let despair overtake my soul.
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.
Psalm 27:4 MSG
When Moses came from God’s Presence, he glowed.
His face was transformed because he beheld the glory of the Lord.
He was sustained in the dry season of leading the Israelites through the wilderness by the abundant life he received in communion with God.
This season of grief is hard.
It is DRY, and if I focus on the sorrow, it will suck the life right out of me.
I feel the sorrow. I feel the pain. There is no escaping reality.
But I can fix my eyes on the truth that this world is not all there is.
I can focus my gaze on the finished work of Christ and the promise of reunion made possible by His blood.
Wearing Michael Jordan’s shoes won’t make me a basketball star.
But spending time in the Presence of Jesus will make me more like Him.
As I expose myself repeatedly to His grace, mercy and beauty , I am transformed.
Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory. And it comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ICB
In God’s economy, nothing is wasted.
Not even grief.
Read more : Things I’m Learning
I’m old enough to remember Maranatha Praise albums. Fifty to sixty minute sets of themed worship songs, they were a wonderful blessing.
When we got our first CD player, I kept a stack of these CDs next to it-they were the background music to life with littles and often just what I needed to make it through the day.
Many of my favorite songs were scripture set to music in ways that made it easy to memorize.
I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
My help comes from the Lord,
My help comes from the Lord-Maker of Heaven and Earth.
When faced with a seemingly undefeatable enemy, Jehoshaphat led the charge with a worship band.
When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 2 Chronicles 20:21 NASB
These days find me humming or singing old tunes that speak truth to my heart, lift my spirit and declare the victory of Christ when things look dim.
In the midst of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, God uses these songs to remind me of His faithfulness, even here.
Day Eight of Kathleen Duncan’s June 1-30 challenge.
The prompt: Write a story with eight legs or turn the eight sideways and use “infinity” (eternity) as your prompt.
Eternity is a long time.
Just try and wrap your mind around it.
But when you bury a child, that’s what you think about-the forever that comes when he left his earthly body and entered the Presence of Jesus.
So many hard days followed, so many tears, so much pain. I wanted to escape to eternity with Dominic.
I would be there eventually anyway, why not now?
But it’s not up to me to determine when I go. So I remain, and try to find a way to make the days count, be useful and stay hope-filled.
And eight legs have helped me stay rooted in the “now” when my heart longs to be in “forever”.
That first Thanksgiving after losing Dominic in April, we visited our oldest son and his wife in West Virginia where she was a vet.
Touring Lillie’s office, we were introduced to two fluffy, orange kittens that had been abandoned by the road and brought there in hopes of finding a home.
One look and I was smitten.
It took less than five minutes to decide to take them back with us to Alabama.
Who could resist those faces?
At dinner that night, we brainstormed possible names. I still have the list in my notes on my phone: Kit Kat, Pumpkin, Scratch and Sniff, Cheetos, Doritos, Tostito.
We decided on names that reflected their roots- Moonshine and White Lightning.
After all, West Virginia is home to as many stills as hills.
Once we got back, their needs became part of my morning routine-a constant and undeniable reminder that I HAD to get out of bed. And they made me laugh!
Here is Lightning soaking up the sun in front of the picture window.
Moonshine’s personality is more relaxed-why sit when you can lay down?
I used to be able to pick up both of them with one hand, now it takes two hands to pick up one of them!
They have grown into good companions, great mousers, soft lap warmers and serious purr machines.
I’m very glad these eight legs live in my house.
They’ve been excellent therapy for my hurting heart.
Benefits of Pet Therapy:
- lowers blood pressure
- improves cardiovascular health
- releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect
- diminishes overall physical pain
- the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks need
- lifts spirits and lessens depression
- decreases feelings of isolation and alienation
- encourages communcation
- provides comfort
- lowers anxiety
- creates motivation for the client to recover faster
- reduces loneliness