Posts Categorized: grief

You Drew Me In

Giggles and crayons melted

the distance between our sorrow.

Sketched out souls, framed together

in a mosaic moment of

play.

I miss him echoed

in our quiet parallel

expressions of color.

Each grieving, uniquely

united by the unquiet outline

of our circumstances.

Suicide Didn't Diminish Worth

The Collider

Amidst the darkness of hovering grief, cold

reality collides with warm consciousness,

like atoms birthing a new creation in the deep.

2nd Annual Photo Scavenger Hunt

Last year I began a Christmas tradition of sharing a photo each day and inviting you to share your own photo of a similar activity or memory. Starting December 1st I will share some of my favorite memories of my son Jonathan and I encourage you to join in the fun and share special moments with me as I share them with you. Invite friends and family to get involved.

Photo Scavenger Hunt begins December 1st and ends December 20th. I will post a picture of some of my favorite Christmas memories with Jonathan and give your photo assignment each day. (PLEASE LET ME KNOW THAT YOU WILL BE PARTICIPATING.)

Rules:

1. Be respectful of others and their property.
2. Ask permission before taking a picture.
3. Have fun and invite as many friends and family as possible to be involved.
4. Describe your location.

5. Respond in the comment section.

 

Grief in Nightmares

I don’t sleep much, and when I do it is filled with nightmares. I don’t need a Halloween, my eyes are already pried open to the horrors of life. Feeling pretty down right now.

I dreamed this week that I was in a pool swimming and everything was bright and cheerful, but there was this constant darkness I  strained to hold at bay. Suddenly Jonathan appeared. All he wanted to do was swim with us, but I wanted desperately to talk to him. We got out the pool and Jonathan was trying to explain why he died. It made perfect sense as he was telling me, but I don’t remember what he said and I wish I could remember.

Breathing Life Into Your Reflections

Caught a glimpse of you today

mirrored in another

standing in your

shoes, your smock,

your hat,

ready to

serve me

My son introduced

you to my pain

building kinship

to his brother hanging

on the wall.

fringe familiarity

blinked back at me

“I shared a bus.”

You acknowledged

Grief heaved

a heavy sigh of

silence between us.

How are you?

Questioning the

son I can longer ask

Willing another still

breathing to

value each breath

Embracing Photos

Embracing Photos

The Discipline of Depression: Finding What Works in the Midst of What isn’t Working

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What do you do, no matter what? Especially if you suffer from depression, I’d really like to compile a list of helpful habits as a resource to others. Since Jonathan’s death the two places that I am most under attack are in the car, and in the late evenings. I have limited the amount of driving I do. My mind is a landmine of destructive thoughts when I am exhausted, so opening myself up to even the news in the evening seems to fuel depression as I try to sleep.

Categories:

Daily habits that lift your spirits

Example: Singing hymns

Making my bed (seems small, but completing this task daily leads to bigger completions)

Scriptures you bring to mind

The habit of avoidance:

Not staying up late alone

Avoiding TV after 9

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

Jesus Set the Bar Too High

Matthew 25:37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.

I have been reading the story of Hosea this week. Hosea was an amazing prophet, told by God to marry a prostitute as a living illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. I won’t fill in all the blanks for you, but as we read the story we see a beautiful Old Testament example of God’s overwhelming love for us. When I asked the group discussing the story, can we love the unbeliever with this level of self-sacrifice, the comment was made, “Well Hosea and Jesus set the bar pretty high for us.” This isn’t the first time that I have heard similar statements. “Well Jesus was God, that how he could keep from sinning.” “He had supernatural power, that why he could endure the cross.” “ I can’t forgive on that level because I’m not Jesus.”  It can become so easy for us to downplay or up-play Jesus’s deity, depending upon our day to day perspective, and whether we want to get our hands dirty with the depravity of man.

Our minds struggle to accept both God’s right judgment of our sin which requires death and his overwhelming love which leads to life–both held on the cross at the same time. How can we hate what is evil and love without conditions all at the same time. I was reminded during counseling training on Friday and Saturday that only God says when to shake the dust off of who is unrepentant. I don’t get to pick who I believe is worthy of God’s grace. The Church has ill equipped us for ministering to the lost, and for that I am deeply sorrowful!

How do we turn this around? We began seeing the harvest around us, the hunger, the needs, the brokenness in others by seeing and accepting our own depravity. Apart from God I am dead in my sins. My own circumstances included a pastor and his wife taking me in when I was pregnant and homeless. That love and sacrifice spoke volumes to me. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted far more than the world could offer me, but there are some it takes 20 years or more! Are the believers willing to sacrifice, come along side, endure rebellion for that long? We need to be if we are taking up our cross daily and following Jesus.

Insomnia: No Match for Praise!

Job 42:1Then Job replied to the Lord:

2“I know that you can do all things;

no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

things too wonderful for me to know.

After a week of insomnia it is a miracle that I have managed to accomplish quite a bit today. I look more like a zombie. . . maybe I should try to walk onto the set of The Walking Dead (I think I’d blend into the extras just fine). I have been reduced to crying out to God, day after day. Give me rest! May you sustain me! May you be enough for me! Provide just enough for me today!

Have you been reduced to nothing in your flesh? You have come to the end of what you physically can push through. Like Job we want to sit on the ash heap of everything that meant something to us, and curse the day we are born. Just as God showed himself to Job, he gave gentle direction today. As I worked on the breakfast dishes the Lord flashed images of things to praise him for, and as I did, I found the energy to accomplish what is in front of me. Now I must praise him in my sleep.

Patchwork Quilt of Comfort: Wrapping up in the Holy Spirit

John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

In the wee hours of grief I read notes of remembrance from friends, family and acquaintances, written on Jonathan’s Facebook page. Your patchwork squares of memories, scripture, and comfort from the cross, got me through those first nightmarish days. Many of your notes are now recorded on the quilts sewn together by quilters in my church. I can literally snuggle into prayers, scripture and memories.

THANK YOU!

Squares from notes left at the funeral.

Squares from notes left at the funeral.

Past or Present: The Finish Line is Ahead not Behind Us

Grief is not made for fence sitters. At this level it will either make or break you, there really is no in-between.. Grief reveals what you believe in your heart and then begs the question, “What are you going to do about it?” Do we define ourselves by what is taken from us or by what God has given to us?

Last night I melted down. Not because of bad things, but because through Jonathan’s death others, also deeply struggling,  are choosing life. As good and amazing as those miracles are, I found myself saying, but I want Jonathan! Natural right.

Actually those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, who are being led by the Spirit and not our nature, need to be maturing towards believing death where is your sting! Otherwise, every time I am reminded of what I have lost rather than what has been gained, I am undone, derailed–my faith unravels. For some this may sound a bit uncompassionate, but let me give you some clear examples of what I’m talking about.

Would you want a surgeon operating on you who couldn’t get past the patient he just attempted to save that didn’t make it? Or would you marry someone still pining over the boy or girlfriend that they didn’t marry? That would be miserable!

I am a miserable Christian if I am still burying my dead and not following Jesus’ example.

Philippians 3: 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.. . .13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

The power of the resurrection is that what lies ahead is far greater than anything we leave behind! Like Paul I cannot claim that I have made this power central to my character yet. I have the head knowledge of this truth, but it has not penetrated my heart. The Lord has revealed (vs. 15) that heaven, and being with Jesus forever is still very abstract to me. But, Father I ask that you become my finish line! Open my eyes wide to your truth, your love and help me to mature in faith. May I become more focused on the living and celebrate with you that life is springing forth from Jonathan’s death. You are keeping your promise to me. Amen!

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Suicide Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.