Saturday, December 31, 2011

On This New Year's Eve, Scriptures and a Poem for Grieving Mothers and Daddies... - On the Dawn of a New Year

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

~John 16:33

On This New Year's Eve,

Scriptures and a Poem

for Grieving Mothers and Daddies...

On the Dawn of a New Year...

On the dawn of a New Year I ask,

What does this year hold?

More tears, angst, and trauma,

Or blessings manifold?

New physical manifestations

Of our deep-seated grief,

Or newfound mercies of our God

That send us blessed relief?

Deeper understandings

Of the sufferings of mankind

That never could we ever have known

Without these death blows that blind?

Sweeter communions with our God

Where He reveals His heart

For He too suffered the loss of His Child

That forever severed His heart?

(For surely He too bears the scars

That penetrate, just like those on His Son

Yet never His merciful love toward us mars

As it still shines brilliantly as the sun!)

So, as I ponder what lies beyond the brink

Of this New Year's Eve's horizon

Just one week after our wondrous celebration

Of Heaven's greatest earthly visitation,

I'm again stopped in my tracks with awe

At God's willing sacrifice of Love

That reached down in mercy to rescue my child

To take her to her Home above,

That it makes me humbly stop and think,

No matter what lies beyond the day,

Our Savior walks alongside Death's brink,

Showering His comfort all along our way,

Promising that all our sufferings He'll redeem

On that Shore that shows: Troubles here aren't what they seem...

May we keep in mind as we continue to heal:

Our troubles here are but birth pains

of the blissful glory He'll soon reveal!


Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

~Matthew 5:4 (NIV)


1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.

3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],

4 So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

5 For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.

6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

7 [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot.

8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.

9 But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God].

10 But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].

11 And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.

12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.

13 For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

18 [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!

19 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].

20 For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it--[yet] with the hope

21 That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children.

22 We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God's sons).

24 For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees?

25 But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.

26So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will.

28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.

30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].

31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]

32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]

34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?

36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~Romans 8 (AMP)


22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord...

31 For men are not cast off

by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,

so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction

or grief to the children of men.

~Lamentations 3:22-26,31-33 (NIV)

Poem - On the Dawn of a New Year... - Angie Bennett Prince - 12/31/2011

*NIV - New International Version of The Holy Bible

*AMP - Amplified Bible

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday's Faith - In the Holidays, Not Getting Tripped Up by Illusions...

Friday's Faith

In the Holidays ~

Not Getting Tripped Up by Illusions...

Not getting caught up in the "illusions," or the magical thinking of this season we're in, not getting caught up in this illusion around the pressure to "play family" on that one day no matter what is going on with any one individual, was a risk for us that we felt we had to take for our own sanity over this past Christmas holiday. We were just being true to who we are, and where we are, being authentic to where we are in our emotions, that God then moved and touched us in such a way that we didn't anticipate, a beautiful connectedness to one another that couldn't be planned, contrived, or controlled, it had to just "be" in the authenticity of the moment.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen, the assurance of things hoped for. Faith moved mountains for us when our frailty amidst grief felt it could move nothing. God came through delivering moments of love, nurture, and respect among members of our grieving family. If we had demanded He deliver it in a certain time with no human foibles to bear, we all would have been set up for disaster. But when we have grace and mercy toward our selves, and toward one another, love comes shining through in the most unexpected ways.

And regarding the holiday coming up this weekend, well, I will never hear the words "Happy New Year" the same, ever again. I don't ever want to set myself up for such magical thinking. The reality is we can have happiness, and tragedy, sorrow, and elation all in one year, but "Happy New Year"? I think not. Rather, I'd like to hear, may God be with us in the coming new year, in all its moments whether sorrow or joy, and if He is there with us, there will at least be comfort if not always "happiness." But we do pray that each and every one of you may have a God-blessed, God-indwelled, God-glorified New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - Amidst Child-Loss Grief, Giving the Gift of the "Authentic You"

Thursday's Therapy

Amidst Child-Loss Grief,
Giving the Gift of the "Authentic You"

At Christmas, Tommy and I didn't try to force anything. We decided only to do what we could do, even though admitting limitations can be hard at such seemingly "magical" times as Christmas is in our families and in our culture. For instance, our new grandbaby got to be "Baby Jesus" in a Christmas play before the whole church on Christmas morning in the Sunday morning worship service, her daddy (our son) being Joseph, and her mother (our daughter-in-law) being Mary!!! We knew, as much as we wanted to be there, for grief reasons, we could not. This could have been a major disappointment to my son and his wife but they extended much grace toward us.

Then, they were to celebrate Christmas with us on Christmas afternoon, but as it turned out, I got NO sleep on Christmas Eve night, so I had to cancel our celebration plans for that afternoon. They dropped by at 10 that night instead, due to a supernatural "coincidence" in timing: When they were driving home from my son's in-laws' house they saw Tommy taking our trash out for trash pick-up due to come the next day, Tommy also saw them and excitedly waved them into the driveway. They were able to visit us for about an hour and open their presents, and we made plans to go to their house the next day for further celebration.

The next day, even though we also had plans to go by the cemetery, we went by their house and had a joyful time watching our grand daughter jump in the new jumperoo we had given her the night before ~ her smiles and squeals of joy melted the trauma right off our grieving hearts and brought us to life!!!

It was a perfect scenario of authenticity ~ accepting our own limitations, and our children accepting our limitations set the grace-in-motion so true of love that was able to culminate in a joyful celebration with one another as we authentically showed our love to them and to our grandchild with no regrets and no actions based out of fear.

How refreshing. How grace-filled. How rewarding. And for our gift to our grandbaby to align exactly with her developmental needs of the moment was an exquisite moment of joy for all to behold. God is good. No actions performed out of guilt. Just sweet, pure moments of love expressed in joy.

Dr. Athena Staik teaches more about this kind of authentic giving of ourselves in an article I just received in the 12/28/2011 Psych Central Newsletter today:

The Ultimate Gift – Giving the Gift Being Authentically You


Being authentically you is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give, not only to those that mean the world to you, but also to the people in your life in general – and especially to yourself.

What does it mean to be courageously and authentically you, and why is this a precious gift?

Authenticity is the permission you give yourself to be real, to be who you are, aware of warts and graces. This permission frees you to give and to live in relation to your self and others, especially key others, from a place of love, and not fear.

It’s precious because how you relate – give and receive – directly impacts the balance of your life and relationships.

And, speaking of fears, our deepest fears are not about spiders, snakes or bridges, which are surface fears in comparison. Our deepest fears have to do with intimacy and our deepest yearnings for meaningful connection, contribution, and relationships; they are matters of the heart.

To choose to live authentically is to choose to love authentically, a conscious way of feeling safe enough to love – give – with your whole heart.

And that means safe enough to set judicious limits, say or accept ‘no’ and ‘yes’ as viable options. Loving authentically with your whole heart means taking essential steps to consciously:

  • Treat others and, at the same time, yourself with dignity and care.
  • Give (to others and self) from a place of love – not fear.
  • Remain open and empathically connected rather than defensive (triggered) when you face what most personally challenges you in relational contexts.

Why set healthy limits on your giving? When you set healthy limits, you:

  • Give and express yourself from a place inside you that is authentic as it is rooted in your love – rather than fear, shame or guilt.

Being an authentic you has a lot to do with getting to know, to fully accept, and to love yourself and life in ways that allow you to authentically connect to connect to the courage to love with your whole heart.

It is only when you take one hundred percent responsibility for your inner emotional state and responses that you allow yourself to experience emotional fulfillment and personal transformation.

  • Stand up for yourself from a place that intentionally sends a message that you like and respect yourself enough to treat yourself and the other with dignity even in challenging situations when emotions are pulling you in another direction.

One of the most important ways to express authenticity is in how you relate to your self. Others know from how you present yourself what is okay and not okay, in terms of how you want others to treat you. When you nurture a healthy space inside you, as well as around and between you and others, you send a clear message that you like and respect yourself, that you know what you want and do not want, and, most importantly, that you are aware of what you most need and value in life.

Thus, when you love with your whole heart, a required skill to cultivate is the capacity to remain open and vulnerable – in triggering contexts – without getting triggered.

Nurturing healthy limits in the way you love, give and express yourself is one of the most important ways to improve your relationships and your life, thus, your happiness.

  • Setting healthy limits simultaneously conveys respect to others as persons, even when you strongly disagree with their viewpoint or feel pain in response to actions they took.

This is impossible to do, if you do not come from a place of deep respect and honor for yourself that is completely not dependent upon whether the other is treating you in the way you most want and deserve to be treated.

There are a number of things you can do to ensure that stress does not negatively affect your personal and relational well-being. You can schedule regular fun time. Eat healthful, nutritious meals. Exercise. Stretch. Breathe. Meditate. All of these are essential practices, proven by a substantial body of research, to be effective.

A lifestyle of conscious caring for your health helps remove much of the intensity and reactivity, and needless anguish. When you care for your body, you care for your mental health. You are strengthened to withstand the everyday pressures of life and relationships.

Much of the suffering we experience in relationship conflict, however, is related to limiting belief, and old ways we have learned to think and to talk — to ourselves — and to one another. In addition to a healthful lifestyle, your ability to communicate can be your greatest asset if you want to protect your happiness, and to more effectively deal with the challenges you face in relating to those closest to you.

In other words, what you say and, especially, how you say things matters when it comes to your happiness. It sets the tone for your giving and receiving – in other words, how you relate to your self and others.

Do you nurture healthy boundaries and limits in your relationships? Do your actions send a message that you respect and value yourself, your time and contribution? Do your actions similarly convey that you respect and value others and their contributions? Do you know how to “teach” others to respect you, or how to communicate your respect, especially in moments when you or others are seemingly unlovable?

Pause for a moment to reflect on the following statements; then use the scale below to rate how true each statement is for you:

0 – Not at all
1 – Occasionally
2 – Somewhat
3 – Moderately
4 – A lot
5 – Nearly Always

____ I find it difficult to stand up for myself.

____ I tolerate hurtful or sarcastic comments out of fear or worry.

____ I say “yes” to things I do not want to do, then resent it.

____ I feel powerless around pushy people and do what they want.

____ I feel others must be shamed or intimidated to do what is right.

____ I avoid ‘rocking the boat’ and go to great lengths to stop conflict.

____ I think “rocking the boat” is the only way to get things done.

____ I feel unsure and hesitant when it comes to handling conflict.

____ I say what I want, when and how I want to say it.

____ I think I must “please” others to feel okay or to not guilty.

____ I take what people say to me or about me personally.

____ I worry about what people are thinking of me.

If your score is higher than 10, you may benefit from developing more courage to be authentic and to set healthier limits. If your score is higher than 20, taking steps to nurture healthy limits and authentic connections with your self and others may need urgent attention. Your personal and relational happiness and well-being depend upon it.

When you are authentic, you love with your whole heart, you feel safe enough to remain open and vulnerable. Authenticity is about fully owning the power you have to make choices at any moment regarding how you will respond, or relate, to yourself and to life around you.

The first step? Know your triggers. More on this in the next post.

Choose to give the gift of being authentically you, and you will transform your life and relationships in ways that will surely surprise and delight you.

Do you have any instances of "authentic giving" amidst your grief? We would love to hear them! Please feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - After the Holiday's Distractions... Reality Sets In

Angie ("GiGi") and Ellie in her new "Jumperoo"

(with many blankets underneath so she could reach the floor to jump!!!)

Wednesday's Woe

After the Holiday's Distractions...

Reality Sets In

We wisely spent a very quiet Christmas Day together, the two of us, alone... because as it turns out, I was unable to sleep AT ALL on Christmas Eve night (and it wasn't from being excited about "Santa Claus"...), so I just got up and cleaned up all the messy tax papers that I had been collecting over the past five years...!

On Christmas Day, I finally went to bed and slept all of three hours! Later, our son Rollin, daughter-in-law Stephanie, and grandbaby Ellie dropped by around 10 p.m., and we had a sweet time together, albeit a short visit! (Nathan had already visited with us the week before.) The next day, we went by to enjoy more time with them and had a delightful time together with them watching 4 1/2-month-old Ellie enjoy our present, her new "jumperoo"!

After our visit together, Tommy and I left and went by the cemetery to finally put up a little Christmas Tree for Merry Katherine, a little angel, and an arrangement of snowy pine limbs with a red, glittery butterfly "flying" above all. We had a roller coaster of emotions... gathering the cemetery items before our family-togetherness visit about sent Tommy under... such a contrast of worlds. It was all he could do to overcome the sadness and incredible "downness" that came over him enough to allow himself to enjoy our first-and-only grandbaby's first Christmas. Merry Elizabeth is Merry Katherine's namesake, but we call her "Ellie" for short.

But soon, we were there, and Baby "Ellie's" delighted cries over her Christmas present from us, a Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo (that had all sorts of bells and whistles, and animals all around the jumperoo) that she discovered could help her jump every time her feet bounced to the floor, seemed to "magically" bounce us out of our grief stupor.

Then, when we left, and I saw my baby girl's picture on a tomb stone, it was my turn to plummet... away from pleasant distractions, and back to our reality...

So I guess we had a bouncing time today too, but it wasn't a "bouncing-good time" like Ellie's!!!

Isn't it interesting how we can go from moments of happiness and then starkly to the, "Oh Yeah..." moments that bring our world tumbling down again? Are these a "How Could We Forget, even if for a moment?" moments, or are they momentary but lovely diversions back into life? Whatever you call it, they are reminders our lives really never will be the same...

Ellie in her Christmas p.j.s ~ don't miss the Reindeer feet!!!

"That" look of delight!!!

Rollin, baby Ellie, and Stephanie,

practicing for their parts in our church's Christmas morning play as

Joseph, "Baby Jesus," and Mary!

Their Christmas card :o)

Pictures, thanks to Rollin and Stephanie Prince

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tuesday's Trust - Face To Face

Tuesday's Trust

Face To Face

In the darkness of this light,

I cannot see.

In the starkness of Death's Night,

I only grieve.

Yet Light came down on Christmas Day

To rescue me.

Love reaches down, a heart-beat away

And nurtures me.

Though I feel His Love all around,

I cannot see.

He speaks His love without a sound,

And speaks to me.

Yet One Day, I'll see Him face to face:

He embraces me!

He wipes all tears from off my face,

And smiles at me!

Love came down at Christmas time

That we might see;

He gives to us until that time

Eyes of faith to see.

Now we see but a poor reflection;

then we shall see face to face.

1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

Poem - Face to Face - Angie Bennett Prince - 12/25/2011

Scripture from New International Version

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Perfect Love (Mary's Song) ~Hillsong Live with Darlene Zschech

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Perfect Love (Mary's Song)

~Hillsong Live

If you look for Me

at Christmas

you won't need a special star --

I'm no longer just in Bethlehem,

I'm right there where you are.

You may not be aware of Me

amid the celebrations --

You'll have to look beyond the stores

and all the decorations.

But if you take a moment

from your list of things to do

And listen to your heart, you'll find

I'm waiting there for you.

You're the one I want to be with,

you're the reason that I came,

And you'll find Me in the stillness

as I'm whispering your name.




Perfect Love (Mary's Song)

~Hillsong Live with Darlene Zschech

My beautiful Boy

Holiness I see

Perfect, so pure

Your eyes, they trust in me

All creation bows to You

The skies sing Your arrival

My precious Jesus

And You will walk this land

My precious gift from God

Showing all mankind

The only way to life

All creation sings Your praise

The angels will proclaim

My precious Jesus

Yes You are

All of Heaven's gaze is on You

The glory of God shines for all to see

The Son of God

The Son of Man

You are perfection promised

Giver of life

For all eternity

My little One

Perfect Love

My little One

Perfect Love

My little One

Perfect Love

Picture: Christmas letter from Jesus, I just received in an email from a sibling