Waylaid by Grief

August 14, 2014 I lost my Dad and August 24, 2015 I lost my daughter in law. The one thing I have learned over this incredibly hard year is that grief is not “one size fits all”. People expect you to grieve a certain way and on a certain time frame and without exception I have found that doesn’t happen. People may tell you they know how you feel but they don’t.
Your pain, your grief and your hurting heart are exclusively yours. The process may be similar but your process belongs to you only. The pain is inescapable and oftentimes it feels like much more than we can handle.
The emotions are incredible, deep and quite honestly confusing. I am a woman, I am used to emotion, but this many and all at once are overwhelming and painful. At times it feels like an emotional ambush and there is nowhere to hide.
I still find it hard to believe that I have had my last visit with my loved ones, that there will be no more heart to heart talks, no more shared meals and the hardest part is our favorite holidays will never be the same.
I am not ready to say goodbye. I want to say I love you one more time and I want to hear it back.
I have found great solace in Psalm 10:14a. The scripture assures me that God sees our trouble and grief and takes it into hand.
Although grief and sadness are hard to walk through I do believe that they are necessary and we should not suppress this natural process but rather seek God’s help to walk with us.
Loss is going to be a part of our lives and grief is the natural response to loss. Matthew 11:28 is so relevant. Although grief is a normal process it is a heavy burden at times. Jesus says “come to Him all who are weary and burdened, and He will give us rest.”
So how do we handle this mind numbing pain called grief in a way that still glorifies God?
DON”T GO AWAY MAD
I love God with my whole heart and soul, but it is very hard to come up with a reason that our family has had such tremendous loss in a relatively short time. That makes it hard not to be just a little bit angry at God. I have to take great care to make sure that does not happen because in my opinion that would be aiming my anger at my biggest ally and not the enemy.
DON’T DWELL ON THE QUESTION…………..WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?
Whether expected or not death hurts. The death of our loved one may have surprised us but it did not surprise God. God has absolute sovereignty over all life and death. He has ordered every single last detail over everything, even death.
DON”T HIDE
Run to Him who knows you like no one else and loves you as no other. Run to where comfort can be found. You will only find real and lasting comfort in our Lord.
AVOID SATANS TRAPS
When your heart is breaking and you are blinded by mind numbing grief, don’t let sorrow blind you to temptation. Satan will use this time to cast doubt on God’s goodness and love. Deny the feelings of doubt, self-pity, bitterness, anger and run to God for strength.
Live thankful that even in the darkness we will find God’s presence and His love. Look beyond this moment and take comfort in the fact that, as Christians, someday the grief will end and your eternity is with God.
So I will grieve, I will grieve in my own personal way but I will grieve with hope.

Dottie
……………………and so I ride

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Replace Worry with the Truth

Thank you Tina Stewart for reminding me that God is faithful and allowing worry to invade space where God should be is not a good or fruitful thing.

You asked me about a passage in Matthew. Verses 6: 25-34 to be exact, saying that 34 stood out for you.

Don’t worry, Be happy seems to be the overriding theme here. Easier said than done, I know.

I found a study on human behavior that said that although we all worry only 7% of the things we worry about are actually worth worrying over. Or put in another way a whopping 93% of the things we stress over either won’t come to bear or are things that are totally out of our control.

I admit that I am a worrier. Some things that are easy to stress over are things that happened in our past, or things that are only possibilities and things that we have absolutely no control over. Looking at those things through our human eyes makes them appear larger than life, and tends to make them seem certainties rather than possibilities.

God has a point when He tells us to quit looking at life through earthly eyes and to start looking at life through His eyes.

Looking at the miracles of creation how can we not trust our God with the details? If we are spending our time worrying about tomorrow we are wasting precious time we could be using to make progress today.

Verse 7 in Matthew says that “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” We all know the effects that worry can have on one’s health, it seems that God knew this fact long before we did. Go figure. Worrying has never prevented bad from happening but it sure can hamper good things if you are more focused on the worry than the good.

When we are focused on what might be instead of WHAT IS, I think it is pretty easy to forget that God does not abandon those who depend on Him. Worry by its very definition means to “give way to anxiety or unease” Read the first two words of that definition again. GIVE WAY. Replace worry with truth. Don’t give way to anxiety and unease, stand in what you know is true and that is God.

Dottie

……………………….and so I ridefear-and-faith-550x320

Now what?

As I am walking through life and the road it is taking me down I am finding there is not one thing I am going through that God doesn’t have an answer for. Recently there have been some very hurtful things happening and they just seem to keep coming. I am going to try to wade through this today. Hang on and I hope the road doesn’t twist and turn so much you get lost. Here we go…………

Matthew 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Wow, that puts a whole different light on gossip doesn’t it? How would my actions and words change if I really stopped to think that everything I do, both good and bad, is being recorded by God, not only recorded but that I am going to have to account for my words and actions. So God gives us some instructions.
Colossians 4:4 says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Let you conversation be always full of grace seems pretty self explanatory but seasoned with salt we have to be a little careful with. To me seasoned with salt means a couple of things, it should be “tasty” as salt enhances flavor but salt also makes one thirsty and wanting more. So to recap, to season a conversation with salt means it is tasty and leaves us wanting more. The problem lies in the fact that we are human and the conversations that we find tasty and wanting more of are not always encouraging to others, in fact sometimes those conversations are downright hurtful and destructive. It can be gossip, tearing down of character or of a more evil nature, sabotage either overt or covert.

Gossip runs rampant in our society at all levels, we all know that. A little gossip here and there can very easily turn into a way of life. But what about when you find out someone is purposely doing things that are not in your best interest (trying to be politically correct). What if you do not find this out from a friend, or a co-worker or a loved one, what if you find this out from an authority figure in your life. What then?

Well when I turned on my phone this morning and went to my devotional app, the verse of the day was Luke 6: 27-28, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you”

SAY WHAT??????? Now certain parts of that I can swallow, “pray for those who hurt you” yes I can do that, but love , bless and do good to them too? How am I supposed to do that? I think it sounds easier to take just a part of the scripture, the part I like and is easy, and call it good. Well, despite worldly appearances I don’t think it is supposed to work that way.

I know I have a tattoo that I got long ago of Isaiah 40:29-31. He gives me promises that I can hold near, like a life jacket, I can wrap those promises around me and stay afloat as I walk on with dignity, grace and determination.

He will give me power and strength to weather the story, wisdom to make the right choices and dignity and grace to glorify Him with those choices.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Dottie