Posts Categorized: grief

Grieving with Hope: Painting my son’s room

Turn the Page:

Today is a hard day to turn. I don’t feel particularly sad, just unsure. Lord reveal your purpose for today. Amen

This is one more large day without Jonathan. We are painting Daniel’s room today and maybe that is harder than I originally thought it would be. We will be honoring Jonathan’s place in Daniel’s life in some spectacular ways. . . Ah, there are the tears. Jonathan’s presence will still be there. I kept their growth chart in their room. I’m going to take a picture of it before we paint over it.

Oh my there is the depth of my ache. I miss you so much my sweet man! “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always . As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be! ” I used to sing that to Jonathan from the book I’ll Love You Forever. He loved it, and sang it to me not long before he died.

Many of you may be familiar with the story. I remember my first read through I was a bit disturbed by the mother climbing through her adult son’s room and rocking him in her arms as she sang her song, but I understood the heart of the image. As Jonathan pulled away from me towards the end I held him in my heart, and prayed for him, and longed for security for him.

What I was not familiar with was the fact that the author wrote the book as a memorial to two still born babies he and his wife had. Even as we grieve, love, hope, life and celebration can occur. Even if we have but a moment, or no moment at all to say goodbye.

Isaiah 66:12 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
13As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Remembering My Son: Because he lived I am changed

John 16:20-24 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Today our church celebrated All Saint’s Day by remembering our loved ones who have passed away this year. I have stood in remembrance for friends, but this year friends stood for my loss. Throughout the morning we were surrounded by hugs, tears, and love. While my husband and I sobbed we were not isolated in our grief. We knew that today would be hard, but no matter how much you brace yourself for the emotions you know are coming, grief is exhausting.

So how do I keep this moment from just being another day the band-aid is ripped off my healing heart? I take in a deep breath as I type this post and truly, deeply, remember my son. Because Jonathan lived I fell in love with Christ, and became a stronger person. Because he lived I returned to school. Because he lived I took better risks. Because he lived I found love I never knew existed. Because he lived I gave friendships a chance to blossom. Because he lived I took a chance again on dating and found my soul mate. Because Jonathan lived I write to help others. Because my son lived I ride rollercoasters! Because my son needed protection, I am learning to boldly advocate for those who have no voice. Because Jonathan laughed I laugh more deeply, and because he wrote, my writing became deeper.

Because my son lost sight of hope, I cling to it, nurture the hope in my heart and allow God at those places that I never have before. Because Jonathan has lived I want other teens to know their value. Because Jonathan suffered, I advocate for others who suffer illness. Jesus told us that we would have grief and loss, but because Jesus was with us, we are able to do amazing things! So, because Jonathan my beloved son lived, I take in another breath . . .and keep turning my page!

What the Woods Teach Me

Turn the Page:
Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

My writing retreat was yesterday. Problem is, when I attempted to start my computer all I had was a blank screen. Now what? I pulled out my notebook to write and managed a page, but then crickets. Has it seriously been that long since I’ve written on paper that I have forgotten how?

I decided to take a walk in the unusual October warmth and read scripture as I walked. The retreat center has a twelve step prayer walk, so I decided to head into the woods and walk the path.

My brother, sister, and I spent a lot of time in the woods at my grandparents home. The sweet fragrance of Fall as I crunched through the leaves beneath my feet and the breeze through the trees took me back to childhood. The woods were a place of stillness for me. I was aware of the sounds around me, but time, well that was another matter. Time only existed as the sun began to set.

Now as an adult the woods have a calming effect. All of the anxiousness that I was feeling as I began my day, slipped away in the perfect provision of Christ. The deer I heard off to my right is provided for. The soil is replenished with the leaves the tree gives up. Seeds are planted to hide away during winter and wait for their reveal in Spring. The breeze prunes the dead branches and I stood at each prayer station aware of God’s provision for me.

God has a storehouse ready to supply my daily needs. He replenishes my soul, and he prunes the dead parts of my life. He sits with me in the woods and teaches me to just be.

Lashing out in Anger

Things are a bit raw between my husband and I right now. When struggling with grief it can get easier to slip back into old habits or lash out at those you love. So how in the world do we keep perspective in our hurt and anger, and remember that the other person is in grief and process too? Here are some verses that may help:

Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city.

Ephesians 4:25-31 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If we have unity of the Spirit then when we hurt others in that unit we also are hurting ourselves. In the military a unit fights as one. If there is strife, and anger towards one another then your guard is down to the real enemy.

Brian and I learned early in our marriage that as long as we looked at each other as the enemy that we would get no where. But, as we began allowing Christ to be the center of our lives and marriage we began to become a unit, placing the problems outside of each other and crushing the devil’s schemes together.

Thank you Lord for giving me these verses to calm my wounded soul and give me a renewed focus on who I am fighting. The devil wants to crush both Brian and I. Give me the strength to guard his heart and mind as he heals from the wounds of losing Jonathan. Keep my tongue from coming into agreement with the devil. Amen

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