You’d be surprised how soon people start expecting a bereaved parent to jump right back into the responsibilities and activities they shouldered or enjoyed before burying a child.
I know the rest of the world didn’t stop when mine did, but I was truly amazed that some people in my circle seemed unaware mine had stopped at all.
As I’ve written before here the funeral is not the end of grief’s journey, it’s quite near the beginning. It took a year for me to just convince my heart Dominic wasn’t coming back. It took longer to begin to understand how very different I am now and to embrace those changes.
As we enter the week on the Christian calendar when most churches celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am reminded that often we race past the road that lead to Calvary and linger at the empty tomb.
But to understand the beauty of forgiveness and the blessing of redemption, we MUST acknowledge the sorrow of sin and the burden of brokenness.
Don’t you justLOVEphoto filters? They can transform a not-so-great picture into a work of art.
And with our phones attached to our hips like another appendage, we are one photo-snapping generation!
But when we choose what to make public-what to plaster across our favorite social media platform-most of us are as cautious as museum curators in deciding which pictures to include and which just don’t make the cut.
We are all about personal branding (even if we don’t realize or admit it!)
Of course this is nothing new-Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that there “is nothing new under the sun”. It’s simply that what was once reserved for the rich, famous or infamous is now available to every Tom, Dick and Harry-and their kids.
I know when I want to share a moment on my little farm or show off some newly completed craft project, I’m very careful to zoom in and crop out the messy edges of my home, my property, my life.
It’s truly not that I’m trying to “be somebody I’m not” it’s more about trying to only let people see part of who I really am.
Because who wants all the ragged and untidy borders of their life exposed to the masses?
I’m afraid there would be too much ‘splainin’ to do (like Ricky used to say to Lucy) if people saw it all.
I might have to own up to my less-than-perfect housekeeping or my procrastination that means I still have piles of junk on my porch nearly four years after Dom left us.
Someone might freak out that my cats are allowed on the kitchen table (where we don’t eat) because it is too hard to keep them off.
People may whisper that they just can’t understand how I live with piles of books stacked everywhere and random animal supplies in baskets by the door so they’re handy to grab on my way outside.
But when I edit the life I expose to others, I’m also limiting my opportunity to make genuine connections.
Because if the people around me think I’ve got it all together, then they can be afraid to admit that they do not.
If the folks that follow me on Facebook think my life is all giggles and glitter, then they might be reticent to reveal that theirs is shadows and sorrow. If all I ever do is talk about, post and promote the high points of this journey, then who will want to tell me that they are in a valley and can’t see sunlight or maybe that they’ve even forgotten what sunlight looks like.
So I’m going to zoom out.
That doesn’t mean you won’t see funny photos or hopeful posts or encouraging memes on my timeline.
But it does mean that I’ll be out there-big hips, messy house, piled up books and all.
That friend or family member who knows the “right” way to do EVERYTHING.
And they cannot tolerate any one else’s method or opinion or idea if it doesn’t mesh with theirs.
He or she is often very good at what they do. But the problem arises when being good at SOME things is interpreted as being good at EVERYTHING.
No one is good at everything.
It has been a steep learning curve (and 54 years!) for this “A” student to figure out that my way is not always the best way. My viewpoint is not always the right one.
I have a log in my eye as big as the log in the next person’s and I am just as incapable of pulling it out on my own as they are.
Truth is, different is just different. It’s not better or worse.
You may be a night owl. I am an early bird.
You may need to dirty every dish in the kitchen to make that favorite recipe. I like to minimize mess and clean as I go.
Are you a social butterfly? I’m almost a hermit.
I’m often judgmental about other people’s methods and choices when they are not the ones I would use or make.
I need to stop doing that.
God made each one of us for His purpose in the world and for His purpose in the Body.
How very boring and awful if we were all made alike!
When I’m tempted to forget, I remind my heart with this verse:
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Ephesians 2:10 AMP
God has work that He planned JUST FOR ME. And He has work that He planned JUST FOR YOU.
You can’t do mine and I can’t do yours.
So let’s appreciate our differences and make room for one another to walk the path God has made for each of us. ❤
Last October I attended my first group event for bereaved parents.
I really didn’t know what to expect. Was I going to be overwhelmed with sadness upon seeing so many other brokenhearted parents? Would I be cornered and forced to share my story with strangers? Would I come away refreshed or worn out?
What I discovered was that I was surrounded by other people who “got it” and who were not interested in putting any kind of pressure on me to be or say or do anything I didn’t want to. Sure there were tears, but there was laughter as well.And I was able to hug necks of online friends that have been so very supportive and loving.
It was good.
It was helpful.
It is something I will do again.
As a matter of fact, I’ll be doing it again THIS February 23-25th in Amory, Mississippi.
A fellow bereaved mom, Hope Lee, owns and operates a Christian Camp named in honor of her daughter, Abby (Abby’s Acres Christian Camp). She felt the Lord leading her to organize an intimate weekend getaway for bereaved moms and, after offering it to locals first, has now opened it to the public.
We will have some teaching/sharing/discussion sessions as well as free time and organized crafts.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other moms whose experience may help you in your journey. It will definitely be a safe space to let your hair down and take your mask off.
Depending where you are in this journey the thought of a weekend away with other bereaved moms may be either terrifying or exciting.
But may I encourage you-whether terrified or excited-to listen to the Spirit? If He is pushing you to step out in faith, do it.
I promise you won’t regret it!
Spaces are limited so call the number today and reserve your spot.
Address (for navigation purposes): Abby Acres 50771 Old Hwy 25S Amory, MS 38821