Posts Categorized: grief

Hero or Realist?

1 Peter 3:8To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Older brother dies in war, younger rebellious brother inherits his dog–insert tears here. Brian, the kids and I went to see the movie Max today. The key transition for the main character: Was he a hero like his brother, or a realist like the man who let his brother die? The realist perspective (according to the bad guy in the movie, mind you) is that there are a lot of bad people (politicians) sending “wide eyed” boys off to war only to hand guns off to the very people that they sent you to fight. He is not wrong about the facts, but he is wrong about the final outcome, and the best response to evil in the world.

Who is the realist, the one who acknowledges that the world can be a harsh, unjust, selfish and crappy place or the one who knows that all have fallen and choses to rise above and bring others up by their example?

I have been wronged and I have wronged others. Does that excuse me to have the “if you can’t beat them, join them attitude”? No, what it does mean is that I have a choice. I have been angry this week, and nursing the anger at those who hurt Jonathan. I am not on autopilot Christianity! I am susceptible to question God’s justice in all of this.

I can choose to be a hero and love my enemies, or I can join the “realists” and be bitter, vengeful and settle for less than God’s best for me and others.

Father, remove this anger from me. Move my soul towards compassion for those who have harmed my son. May I forgive, because you have forgive me. May I be a hero of love and not a realist of hate. Amen

Out of the Darkness Walk

I am participating in my second walk on October 18th, sponsored by AFSP. Be sure and check for Out of the Darkness Walks in your area. If you would like to donate to my team click on Turn the Page on Suicide. Our goal this year is $2000! The funds support research, support for those who suffer depression and those who endure the aftermath of suicide.

I was hesitant in participating last year in the walk because I was only months out from my son’s death. I am so glad I went and I look forward to supporting others who may also just be starting their walk as survivors.

Blessings upon you.

Karisa

Hugging Photos Isn’t Enough

Daniel hugged the plaque of Jonathan that hung at Moe’s Restaurant this weekend. His heartache was so evident in his attempt to embrace his brother. When that did not satisfy, as we walked out the door he reached for Natalie.

“Here Natalie, you be Jonathan so I can hug you.”

Sigh, I want so badly to fill their little arms. Oh Lord, they need flesh and bones Jonathan, fill them with the satisfaction of your embrace. Hold them tight! Keep them safe from the darkness.

Keeping my Eyes Fixed on Heaven, Where the Sun Never Sets

Hebrews 12:2 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

How do we turn the page on the darkness of suicide? Sometimes it feels like we are fighting an invisible and silent monster that steals our children, our spouse, our friend right out from under us. It can happen in an instant or a long drawn out torture over years. Suicide is brutal and depression relentless. My depression started at age 6, and I still feel its claws attempting to draw me backwards into oblivion at age 40. The monster keeps us from our purpose in this life being fulfilled. It may be my thorn in the flesh, but Christ is my light, my sword and my compass. The relationship he has built with me since the age of 20 has proved to me that there is purpose in my sufferings.

Christ suffered our most pervasive sorrows. He hungered, he thirsted, and he was wounded. He was deeply burdened by the state of humanity, he got very little sleep, he was persecuted, and abandoned by those who should have loved and understood his mission the most. The cross loomed before him and he grew more deeply depressed the closer he got to the cross. In a way despair was the final temptation of Christ. It almost killed him before he made it to the cross. And from the cross he cried, “Daddy, why have you abandoned me?” Isn’t that at the heart of our rejection of God, we want to be rescued from our despair. And if he doesn’t we believe he isn’t able or a cruel God. But . . .

Joy is set before us. What did Jesus have as his finish line? His joy was being with his father! Oh dear reader can I share that joy with you? When the Lord and his pleasure in us is set in our minds we can bear any cross! If you have never experienced your heavenly father in such a way to motivate you in this life, here are just a few reasons why he is our joy.

  • Hebrews 2:9-10 We will be crowned with glory and honor in heaven and are made perfect.
  • John 14:2 God’s house there are many dwelling places prepared for us.
  • Ephesians 1:3 Blessed us with every spiritual blessing
  • Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.…
  • Isaiah 60:20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

Oh for such a day when sorrow ends! I can take hope and not lose heart when my eyes are fixed on the things of heaven. I encourage you to taste and see that the Lord is good in your suffering. Jesus said that if you have seen me, then you have seen the father. (John 14:7) The monster of suicide and depression is no match for the light of heaven. Lets set the joy of being with God before us.

Suicide Didn't Diminish Worth

Pregnant Scripture

Cradled within the womb of death, scripture beats defiant.

Lean in, to discern hope’s unfolding;

multiplying cells of truth over pregnant centuries. Giving

breath to us, too often, dragged to the grave. 

Soothing empty arms,

with strong proof of life after life.

So soft, it is thunder in the vast

noise of doubt’s marketplace.

Firming

backbone to bow

to no man.

Resolving who knit whom together.

Renewing covenant with an empty

grave.

Our souls

swollen with

grief—for but a while.

A Conversation with God

I want answers. God wants trust.

I feel like a kid asking, “Please explain your plan to me.”

“That is not what you really want.” God gently corrects. “You want Jonathan’s death to mean something, for beauty to spring from the ashes of your heartache and you do not trust that I will give you 100 fold what I have taken from you. Have I not laid out my promises to you through scripture, and in our personal relationship?”

“I don’t know.” I shrug. “I just want my remaining kids to be okay–to help others struggling with depression.”

“Do I not want the same?”

“Yes, but you don’t do things the way I would.”

“Exactly.”

“Why this path, why Jonathan, why this amount of pain? I want answers Lord!”

“No, you want your answers Karisa. Not mine.”

Silence. Can I live with this God whose ways are not my ways?

Isaiah 55:8-9 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Bearing Weakness: Edifying our Neighbor

Romans 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.…

A hard evening for my son. I sat rocking him as he grieved. No words were needed, they will not wash away the heartache he feels, and a Star Wars Band-Aid will not cover his wounds. I silently cried out to my heavenly daddy on my son’s behalf, and let God’s comfort wash over Daniel’s heart. God can get at those places that I cannot.

What do you do in those moments that others suffer? How do you respond to their grief? You may be dealing with a host of your own problems, and it feels like a heavy burden to sit and rock someone as they cry. Dear sister and dear brother we all are broken, and we all are grieving something. We all need to be held.

A neighbor mowed our lawn today. It means so much to me that they reached out. It is hard to accept aid from others, but that is the pride talking. Let others lift your burdens. What my neighbor did for us, enabled me to be present with Daniel. Jesus shared our burdens on the cross–he died to lighten our load! When we treat our neighbors as God treated us, we aren’t just sharing each others burdens, we share each other’s worth. You are valuable to me! You are a treasure! You are worth rocking and being held in your grief.

I Don’t Need a Diviner of Dreams: I need Jesus

Jeremiah 27: 9“But as for you, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers who speak to you, saying, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10“For they prophesy a lie to you in order to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out and you will perish.…

For an entire week I have dreamed about my son and his dad. In my year of grieving I have never dreamed about my ex and have had inconsistent dreams about Jonathan. Dreams are a tough call when it comes to interpretation, some are from God, and some are not. Are these?

As I research dreams in scripture, it is clear that many people have been lead astray by dreamers and interpreter of dreams. I am one of those people. I have had vivid dreams since I was a child. Most of them were night terrors or nightmares. As I got older I searched for answers in dream books. At no time did I think of asking God. In fact my searches took me further and further away from him.

We have all kinds of mediums, psychics, etc. today. I have had my palm read (none of which came true), been tempted by witchcraft (until I felt the depth of evil I was messing with), and been fascinated by dream interpretations. All of these men and women offer us quick fixes to long term problems. They don’t see how our story fits into the big picture, nor how the difficult things we avoid, may be the very things we must, and need to go through to achieve the greater good. They are just like us, men and women trying to make sense of circumstances that at times, feel beyond our control. We need someone who isn’t motivated by selfish desires, who isn’t into “truth telling” for the money, who risks loosing it all to bring us the truth of God. Men like Joseph, Daniel, and Joseph the step-father of Jesus had dreams clearly considered from God. Why is that? Scripture doesn’t say why these men dreamed and interpreted dreams differently than the rest. But, it does say that God was with them, gave them favor, and they gave him the glory.

Who are we seeking for answers? Are they giving God the glory, themselves, or Satan? I don’t need an interpreter of dreams to know that I am to pray for my ex, forgive him, and show compassion towards him and my mind battles with selfish desires–holding on to anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Lord, I ask that you would give me the strength to forgive others as you forgave me. Amen

Mama Told Me There’d be Day’s Like This: Overcoming Downcast Days

John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

I woke up to the tune of “Day’s Like This” going through my head. Not a good sign. When I entered the church this morning I found myself scanning for Jonathan. It was hard to worship, even though I was excited to hear from the book of Daniel. I was so weary when we got home that I laid down and napped.

When you grieve, or suffer depression, there are simply days that don’t feel right. But ironically, as I looked for the lyrics to the song stuck in my head–having little to do with my circumstances–I discovered that Van Morrison took the phrase and turned it on its head. His lyrics warn against getting too attached to the good days because bad days will happen and they can derail you if you aren’t prepared (love Morrison’s take on the phrase).

Jesus prepared the disciples for his death. He said, “Don’t get so attached to the good days with me that you forget, in this life, you will have many trials.” Too often we Christians try to portray becoming a believer as a smooth ride, but it isn’t. “I’m hanging with Jesus. It’s all good.” But it is not all good. At least not if you plan on digging in the trenches of faith. Sometimes I don’t feel like singing, praying, reading scripture, fellowshipping, or witnessing. Good that Jesus conquered the consequences of my darkest days before I ever took a breath!

When I came in this evening, after weed-eating and mowing I put my arms out like a zombie and asked for hugs from my kids and husband. They scattered with laughter. It felt good to overcome the grass swamp in my backyard. The rain had kept us from mowing all week and with no end in sight to the rain, it was as dry as it was going to get. More than that, I needed to work hard to snap out of my downcast spirit.

There are days like this dear friend, but Jesus has overcome the world!

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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.