Creating New Memories

Jonathan would have been 22 Thursday.

Jonathan Tree Birthday 22
Kids birthday decorations.

This has been one of the hardest years for my daughter in particular. The youngest, she has fewer memories with her brother. This is a sizable loss and she is feeling it deeply. So what do you do when memories soften, or you don’t have them at all?

Make new ones.

There is so much healing power in acknowledging the memories we do have and then creating new memories with our loved ones in mind.

  • Celebrate their Life: So we went to the dollar store, purchased streamers, graduation decorations and birthday signs to celebrate Jonathan.
  • Talk About Them: I asked Natalie some questions about her brother today:
    • What do you remember about how your brother looked? His sparkling blue eyes.
    • What is a favorite memory of Jonathan? When it was his birthday and his friends had a Nerf battle and I was the princess he protected.
    • What is one thing you wish you could do with Jonathan? Ride horses together.
  • Photo Album: She and I are looking through pictures to find pictures of her with her brother so that she can look back and see who they were together, but we are also looking forward with Jonathan. How can she love him, laugh with him, celebrate his life overlapping hers? We find ways to love others more deeply, discuss him, and keep stepping forward with his life making ours better. By no stretch is remembering on this level easy, but being moved with compassion for others struggling, because we understand Jonathan’s and our own despair, can profoundly change the world for the better.
Mother's Day Hike 2018
Our favorite trail at the cemetery!
  • Help Others: If you have lost a loved one to suicide here are some ideas we are currently looking at:
    • Helping homeless youth
    • Because my children are younger we are looking at serving meals
    • Making care bags
    • Share your survivor testimony with others
      • Each survivor story is unique
      • Others need hope and encouragement
      • Read to the elderly/or children
        • Life can be so lonely for a neighbor or person in a nursing home
      • Do a suicide prevention walk as a family
  • Seek Support
    • Hospice Community CentersMy children and I have benefited greatly from the support of the counselors at hospice
      • They helped me to stay connected with my children’s grief while grieving in my own unique way
      • Gave practical and fun ways to grieve with hope together

What types of new memory activities have helped your families to grieve with hope? Please comment below with ideas, support groups, personal experiences in your area.

Love Shaped Sorrow

Your suicide left my soul

deep within smothering grief,

stiffening clay against purpose.

 

But God worked his tears

into my sorrow, softening

bitterness with his love.

 

Forming from this cherished clay

a testimony of love, joy, and peace

for those tempted to despair.

 

 

When Words Don’t Come

Scripture:

Exodus 4:15 5“You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do...

Devotional:

Y’all might have noticed that I’ve been rather erratic in my posting. Moses, whom God is addressing in this scripture,  waited 40 years to set the Hebrews free. He is in the palace, a perfect position! But when he thinks his opportunity has finally arrived he gets the calling very wrong. He sets only one person free through murder . . . nope, not God’s plan. So Moses flees and then waits another 40 years to be ready to return to Egypt to set God’s people free. While I don’t think God is going to make me wait as long to continue writing he definitely has me in a holding pattern.

A twofold dynamic is at play. One, I have few words currently surfacing, and two, my family needs my full attention. Several health issues have arisen and are needing quite a lot of appointments. Every time I sit down to write the words don’t come. And that is okay.

We need to relax in silent periods. Writing is my God-given gift of expression, I am secure in his purpose. If he is not putting the words into my mouth, I am quite sure he has a good reason. I trust him with this new leg of the journey, and besides, there have been joyous developments that I will get to share with you very soon.

When we are operating in the will of God, mighty things happen, even if we can’t do the very thing he calls us to do. The reason? God is good and faithfully maturing us to accomplish His will. It can become easy for me to lean hard into my own understanding of his purpose, but when I wait patiently on God, amazing things happen!

Trust that he loves to give you good things. Are you feeling flustered because a clear calling seems to be thwarted at every turn?   Look back at the pattern he has established in your life. Is he growing you? Does he have a different road for you to take? Is he addressing a stumbling block?

Burning bushes often lead to our greatest conflicts, but when we wait patiently, we also witness spectacular displays of God’s sovereignty, provision, and salvation for many. I will joyously wait to lead His freedom march across the Red Sea.

 

Prayer:

Lord, you are preparing me for good things. I trust your direction. Address the stumbling blocks in my way. I see you tackling my fears, teaching me to trust you completely. Thank you for reminding me that your plan is good, even when detoured in a different direction.  Amen

Keep Hoping Because . . .

Frostbit by fear

I keep feeling

Dented by doubt

I keep driving

     Burnt by bitterness                                                                                  I keep believing

     Taunted by trials                                                                                      I keep trusting

Supported by scripture

I keep standing

because . . .

Condemned by cross

You kept carrying

Lifted by liars

You kept loving

Revealed by resurrection

You keep redeeming

 

No Regrets, Mother Mary

No Regrets, Mother Mary

https://turningthepageonsuicide.org/2016/04/27/no-regrets-mother-mary/
— Read on turningthepageonsuicide.org/2016/04/27/no-regrets-mother-mary/

In honor of a friend who has just lost her daughter and grandson. Life is so precious.

Gospel of Spring (Haiku)

Souls bubbling up,

gushing with undeserved love.

— the gospel of Spring.

 

 

 

Keeping Our Eyes Fixed (Faithful) to Christ

Scripture

Mark 5:28,34  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” . . . And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Devotional

 

Yesterday could be summed up in one word.

Overwhelmed.

Many of you have been praying for my family, and I thank you deeply. It has been a very rough week. My pain and insomnia are so severe that I can’t function very well. By the time I made it for my son’s archery practice, my body and mind had enough. I melted down into tears and couldn’t stop them from coming.

Just a glance at my webpage tabs yesterday, would tell you what I spent my day doing. On the one side were scriptures and commentary on the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garments to be healed, and on the other multiple medical sites were open researching answers for my family’s myriad of illnesses. The woman who had sought medical care had spent 12 years without relief. She was an outcast and now broke with failed medical treatments. I think she might have shed some major tears. Then she hears about this great healer . . . he’s the answer, I just know it!

Do you and I know Jesus is the answer? And if we do, do we also remember that his plan is good for us?  Are you wrestling with a God who just will not fit into a nicely wrapped box? Do you believe that his purposes are greater than your circumstances?

The weight of my family’s health is so heavy that it feels as if my faith might break. I want an outward manifestation that God is good, but I realized last night that I don’t need to touch the hem of Christ’s garment, I have HIM in my heart. Do not take for granted that the greatest miracle in our lives is that when we believe, Jesus chooses to dwell with us. No more law to get to God, the answers are all right there, living with us! Amazing!

So as I close the medical tabs of anxious searching this morning, and determine to trust God’s perfect plan. Maybe he does an outward healing, but I can tell you this much for sure. Our family is changing from the inside out.

We cannot always help the moments of wrestling with flesh, the world, our enemy–we live in the crowded, smog filled, faith-challenging world. But, don’t spiral into fear, depression, and despair because God isn’t answering the way we think he should. A friend reminded me last night, what is God’s greater purpose in my circumstances?

The growth in my family spiritually has been noticeable. My book is in the hands of the publisher. And I certainly can speak bold encouragement into your lives.  None of my physical circumstances have changed this morning, but God is giving peace from the inside out.

Hit the mark of faith. We’ve stepped out of the boat, but we still have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Prayer:

Father, you are faithful. Help us to deeply root our trust into the rich soil of your promises. When our eyes fail us, help us to breathe in your testimony of miracles. You still do them today! Break the chains of depression that say God will never measure up to our expectations. Thank you for changing my family from the inside out! Amen