Friday, October 30, 2009

Justice for Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

Please pray that the Channon Christian and the Christopher Newsom families get justice today!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Therapy - What Helps Me As I Deal with Grief

Thursday's Therapy

What Helps Me Deal with Grief:

    • Establish an environment of safety:
      • Quiet time
      • Uninterrupted time
      • Safe people only around me
    • Write out my grief process:
      • Any questions I have
      • Whatever feelings emerge
      • Conversation with God about my loss
      • Conversation with my deceased child
    • Allow the feelings to come; encourage them to come
    • Comfort and receive comfort from other grieving parents
    • Read my Bible

    o Open myself up for God to speak to me

    o Open myself up for God to comfort me

    • Write poems to express my feelings:
      • Express my logical thoughts (left brain)
      • Express my creative side (right brain)
      • Allow the Holy Spirit to minister as I write
          • Intervention (Showing new pathways for my grief)
          • Correcting (His view of my loss)
          • Comfort (Reminding me of who He is regarding my loss)
    • Develop healthy boundaries:
      • Determine what I think I am able to do, and what I am unable to do
      • Determine who I am able be around, and who I am not
      • Take care of my physical and emotional needs
          • Be sure I eat healthily
          • Get good exercise
          • Be sure I get 8 hours of sleep each night
          • Get sunshine
          • Add right-brain activities

    Ø Listen to music

    Ø Ponder and view the beauty of God’s world

    Ø Enjoy the taste of a good meal

    Ø Physical comfort of being close to my husband

    Ø Meditation

    Ø Enjoy the aroma of cut flowers from my garden

    Ø View pretty pictures

    Ø View pictures of birds, flowers, butterflies from my magazines or on the internet

    Ø Sit by a crackling fire

    Ø Hike on a mountain trail

    Ø Garden, enjoying getting my hands in the dirt

    Ø Hold my dog

    Ø Bask in a warm bath or spa

    Ø Take a walk, focusing on the beauty around me

    Ø Jump on my trampoline

    Ø Mow the lawn


P.S. Please find pink flowers from this post on left side-bar, and take my Grief Survey! Thank you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday's Woe - Adrift


Yes, I knew you were a part of us...

But when by fate you had to go away,

I did not know you held the heart of us....

I did not know you were our heart’s causeway—

So our hearts went under in death’s floodway,

Leaving muddied our once clear life purpose…

Gulping salty tears, blocking breath’s airway,

We cannot breathe under such grief cumbrous,

Engulfing peace, we’re left adrift... anxious…

Coming unmoored, unsteered,

we’ve lost our way.

I don’t know why you were taken away.

Taking out hearts leaves an empty carcass…

O baby girl, were you our life’s mainstay?

Jesus, take th’ wheel; restore Your life in us!


Written In a letter to his friend (Reverend) Twitchell shortly after his 24-year-old daughter Susy’s death, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) very poignantly said,

You know our life—

the outside of it—as the others do—

and the inside of it—which they do not.

You have seen our whole voyage.

You have seen us go to sea,

a cloud of sail, and the flag at the peak;

and you see us now, chartless, adrift—derelicts;

battered, waterlogged, our sails a ruck of rags,

our pride gone.

For it is gone. And there is nothing in its place.

The vanity of life was all we had,

and there is no more vanity left in us.

We are even ashamed of that we had;

ashamed that we trusted the promises of life….

I did know that Susy was part of us;

I did not know that she could go away,

and take our lives with her,

yet leave our dull bodies behind.


Which makes me wonder,

Just how common are our child-loss agonies of feeling…adrift?

Samuel Clemens about his oldest daughter Susy, quoted in I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, pp. 450, 454


Poem – Adrift – Angie Bennett Prince – 10/28/09

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday’s Trust - Patient Trust...Perfect Peace

Patient Trust…

Perfect Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

Tuesday’s Trust

When I was seven years old, my best friend Penny lost her three-year-old baby sister. Some of the family had gathered around, talking with neighbors who were visiting with them in their yard. Unbeknownst to anyone, three-year old Jan ran out into the street thinking she could go get the mail by herself. The mailman didn’t see her, so he accidentally ran over her...twice (with both wheels)…

The next door neighbor, a teenage friend of the family ran back to his house and called for an ambulance, but the emergency operator did not believe him as some local teens evidently had pulled pranks calling for an ambulance numerous times in the recent past… So the emergency operators refused to call an ambulance out to my friend’s house for her baby sister. The teenage boy had to drive my friend’s mother as she held her 3-year-old baby girl cradled in her arms as fast as he could to the hospital emergency room himself… It was too late; little Jan had her mother’s arms.

My friend’s parents were faithful members of my church. I noticed they did not return to church for a long time after Jan’s death. Even as a young child, I recognized that they could not continue life-as-usual as I knew they must be overwhelmed by their deep grief. When her parents did return to church, I was very impressed with what they had to say.

They told us (the church family) that they were surviving their devastating loss by continually meditating on a verse God had given them. This is the verse I very vividly remember them sharing with us amidst their tears:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

Isaiah 26:3 KJV

I remember being very impressed that there was something, anything, that could give these parents peace at such a horrible time in their lives. I was also touched and amazed that God had made Himself known to them in such an intimate way, and that they were able to receive His comfort…

And now I know this same God.

Now I lean on this same verse.

And now I receive His same, very intimate comfort…

And even now, it is all still so amazing to me…


And yet… losing a child is so unbearably painful, my heart is broken.

And today, I feel adrift.

Father, when I have no strength, thank You that You will have mercy and carry me, for I have no energy. And tonight, I wonder how did Mr. and Mrs. Parham do it? Their lives seemed so steady and faithful. And I seem so far at sea…

Adrift: floating without being either moored or steered

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something

Though weary, depressed, and adrift, I put my trust in Your reliability, Your truth, Your ability, Your strength, and it will be You that gives me peace in spite of my terrible, woeful, exhausting circumstance. Thank You, Lord.

Thank You that I don’t have to trust in my reliability, my truth, my ability, or my strength, for in truth, it really is not there…

But thank You, that by faith, Your’s is.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone!

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone!

My son Nathan called me one day from Lee University where he is in graduate school. He wanted me to listen to the song below as he felt it applied so well to Merry Katherine. I wept when I heard it knowing that indeed, today she is singing,

"Amazing grace, my chains are gone!"

Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone
by Chris Tomlin

Searching the Bible on Behalf of us Bereaved Parents
as we Grieve Our Great Loss…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,
who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Faith - Spiritual Train-Wreck, part four

Friday's Faith

Spiritual Train-Wreck, part four

Putting Faith's Foundation Back Together

________________| Learn to be content whatever the circumstances |__________|_____ Do nothing out of selfish ambition_____|___ Obedience________|_The work of the gospel|I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus |___ Put no confidence in the flesh ___ |___Poured out like a drink offering_|_ ____ |HIS good purpose _______|_ Sacrifice ___|____ Humility ____|_____________|Become obedient to death—even death on a cross__|___ Suffering_______|__|____ Service ___| Attitude same as Christ Jesus who made Himself nothing__| Do nothing out of vain conceit___|____ Being one in spirit and purpose|______|_____| Take up your cross|___________|__ Taking the very nature of a servant_||Don’t keep your mind on earthly things for your citizenship is in Heaven __|_____|_ Do not consider equality with God something to be grasped|­­­__|___________|Become like Him in His death and so somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead|__||___ Being sure of what we hope for— certain of what we do not see…___|_______ |__Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others|__ _|____ Struggle __|__ Want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection_|____|_ Knowledge __|___ Compassion ___|__ Fellowship of sharing in His sufferings|___ Comfort ___|__ Insight_____|____ Meekness­­­­_____|__ Discernment __|____|____ Tenderness______|_______ Peace_____|_____ Grace ­­­­______|__ __________ Forgiveness_______|_________ Patience_________|___ Joy__| _|____ Trust ________|____ Love ________| _________ Faith_______|_ |______________ Prayer ___________________|__|­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______Belief________||____Hope____|

In pouring over scripture for all these months and now even years, I am appalled at the "cheap grace" that I had unwittingly allowed myself to fall for. Yes, I had no problem with the base of my faith's foundation: Trust, Love, Faith, Prayer, Belief, Hope. Those are comforting concepts for my heart to bask in.

But what has jumped out at me between the lines of my self-deception are the very clear scriptures that delineate what will be the life of ours while we are here on this earth. Whether we are living a life of sin or a life of righteousness (in Christ), we still have to deal with the presence of sin on this earth, and the curse of death that has fallen on mankind through Adam's original sin.

I will have to watch loved ones die, some suddenly, violently. Others, I will have to watch decay right before my eyes. I HATE IT! These are people I love and cherish, and I want none of Satan's harm to fall on them. Why, O why, O Lord, do we have to watch evil seemingly prevail in the lives of those we love, and indeed, in the lives of those You love?!

But God has reminded me, sin is here; the prince of darkness reigns over this earth, and I will have to contend with his devastations. If God's own precious Son had to contend with Satan's evil, did I think I would be excused or exempt from the curse? Did I think I would be privileged to bask in God's love and not see much evil in this world, even evil plaguing those I love? I had my head in the sand. I was living in "la-la-land" with my "perfect little family."

So now, as I read scripture, the words jump out at me. The curse of evil is here on this earth. God will not remove this curse totally until Christ returns to bring everything under His authority. Yes, God is omnipotent --all-powerful. Yes, God is omniscient --all-knowing. He is not blinded to any of Satan's shenanigans. And God is omnipresent --everywhere at all times. He was not looking the other way when my child was killed. He saw what Satan was up to, and He allowed it. And yet, He was there to scoop my child up off the hard ground, and into His soft loving arms that night.

God is love. There is nothing HE ever does to us that is not ALL-LOVING. But He allows evil for a time. I don't know why. I know He wants to allow time for more of His created ones to turn to Him for their eternal hope and well-being, to be washed in His Son's blood, to be restored to fellowship with their Creator. And He didn't make us robots, so He gave us a free will. Not all were blessed to be in a loving, Christian home like I was where I heard about God from the day I was born. But He longs to give all of His created ones the chance to hear about Him and His love for them. So He waits.

While He waits, we continue to see suffering and evil of all kinds. But He waits in love for those who will some day respond to His outstretched arms just like I did when I was seven years old, just like Merry Katherine did when she was six years old.

So, though I hate it, that I have to watch loved ones suffer and even die or be killed, I must also trust that God's world is much bigger than mine, and His plans are much higher than mine. And even when we suffer, He promises we will be blessed ultimately many times over in His presence. I must remember earth is not heaven--this earth is not my home. Heaven is where I belong. I cannot SEE it, but I am called to BELIEVE without seeing. There would be no need for FAITH if I could easily see God's ways.

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