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 fruitless 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. ❤ Melanie
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 to the green pastures of His word where I can feast on His promises and be filled with hope. ❤ Melanie
“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 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. ❤ Melanie
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
I first shared this post a few years ago when I’d not yet been able to deep dive into my Bible again after Dom left us.
I kept reading a bit here and there but I wasn’t studying like I used to and like I knew I needed to if I was going to persevere in this life I didn’t choose.
Hope fades fast when I neglect to feed my heart with truth.
So if you are struggling to hold on to hope, struggling to get in a daily dose of Scripture and struggling to know where or how to start-this post’s for you. ❤ Melanie
I confess that I have not had a wholehearted desire to study Scripture since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Oh, I nibble on verses every day, but I’ve shied away from the feast that used to fill my heart and soul.
This year, though, I’m committing to a more diligent approach-choosing to focus on one word per month and writing out corresponding verses. I am studying them, looking up cross-references, considering context and making personal application in my journal.
So the first word I chose was “Hope” because I think of all the things I’ve struggled most to hold onto in this life I didn’t choose, hope is the hardest.
In my flesh, I want to give up and give in.
Read the rest here: Holding On To Hope With Both Hands
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?
Some things are too hard to swallow no matter how you try to disguise them.
Losing a child is one of them.
I have been a student of the Bible for decades-I take Scripture seriously, believe it with my whole heart and trust that the truth it contains is necessary and sufficient for this life and the life to come. But when Dominic died, I found I was forced to look again at verses I thought I understood.
Read the rest here: Waiting for the Holy Words to Fall Inside
So many of us are finding it difficult to face a new year without our missing child.
Sometimes we wonder, “Where is God? ” and “Why MY child?”.
I believe that God invites us to ask our hard questions. It’s not like we can hide them from Him anyway. When we speak them aloud, we open our hearts to the healing power of His Spirit.❤
For most of my adult years I felt like I had a robust prayer life. I regularly interceded for my family, for my church, for missionaries and for the world. I’ve kept a prayer journal for over twenty years.
I felt connected to the God of the Universe.
But when Dominic died I felt like I lost that connection.
Read the rest here: Prayer and Questions
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
Yes, “all things work together for good for those that love the Lord” but not all things ARE good.
My son’s death is not a test, a lesson, a trial nor a hammer in the hand of God sent to pound me into the shape He desires for me.
It is an evil that He can and is using for good.
Read the rest here: Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God
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