Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday's Trust - The Silent Treatment ~by Tommy Prince, with C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Tuesday's Trust

The Silent Treatment

~by Tommy Prince

with C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be -- or so it feels -- welcomed with open arms.

But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find?

A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.

You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean?

Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?

I tried to put some of these thoughts to C. this afternoon. He reminded me that the same thing seems to have happened to Christ: "Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

I know. Does that make it easier to understand?

Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God.

The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.

The conclusion I dread is not "So there's no God after all," but "So this is what God is really like. Deceive yourself no longer."

~C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed


In last week's "Friday's Faith" post, I called the seeming silence and even the seeming disregard of God for my urgent prayers for my baby girl a "Sense of Betrayal."

And like Lewis, I didn't cease to believe in God. But what I believed about God resulted in a feeling of being traumatized by Him and being afraid to approach Him anymore, for anything.

Has anyone else felt this?

Picture of Vintage bolted door thanks to

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Footprints in the Sand ~Leona Lewis

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Footprints in the Sand

~Leona Lewis

(The music actually runs until 4:03 minutes.)

Footprints In The Sand

~Leona Lewis

You walked with me, footprints in the sand,

And help me understand where I'm going...

You walked with me when I was all alone,

With so much unknown along the way,

Then I heard You say,

I promise you I'm always there

When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair,

I'll carry you when you need a friend

You'll find my footprints in the sand.

I see my life flash across the sky

So many times have I been so afraid

And just when I, I thought I'd lost my way

You gave me strength to carry on...

That's when I heard you say

I promise you I'm always there

When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair

And I'll carry you when you need a friend,

You'll find my footprints in the sand.

When I'm weary,

Well I know You'll be there

And I can feel You when You say,

I promise you (you)

I'm always there

When your heart is filled (when your heart)

with sadness and despair (and despair)

Oh, I'll carry you when you need a friend (need a friend)

You'll find my footprints in the sand (I promise you)

Ohh, (I'm always there)

When your heart is full of

Sadness and despair (and despair)

I'll carry you (I'll carry you)

When you need a friend,

You'll find my footprints in the sand.

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh...

Uhm mmhh ummh uhm mmhh.

pictures thanks to

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Friday's Faith - The Heresy of "The Victorious Christian Life" and Struggles from Other Grievers...

Friday's Faith

The Heresy of "The Victorious Christian Life"

and Struggles from Other Grievers...


Sunk in this gray


I cannot pray.

How can I give


with no words to say?

This mass of vague


of aching care,

love with its


short-circuits prayer.

Then in this fog

of tiredness

this nothingness, I find

a quiet, certain, knowing

that He is kind.

~Ruth Bell Graham

I started to read a book I have had for years now, "Clouds are the Dust of His Feet" by Ruth Bell Graham. It has some really lovely poems in it and the one above kind of tells it how I feel right now. Except for the part the very last line that says He is kind. I still don't get that. I still don't understand how I am supposed to just believe that Lucas dying was for some kind of good. Right, maybe there was going to be a future so sad, bad, hard whatever that it was kinder for him to go when he did. But how does that equate to a God who is so powerful that He can raise the dead, yet He decided that He would let Lucas be born, be formed by Him in the womb with this terrible disease. This poor little man never really had a chance, how does that describe a God who is kind, all powerful, loving arghhhh!!!!! Really, really is he really????

At the same time I am over asking the questions, over wondering and arguing with God. But I am amazed by how life changing this has been for me. I don't think there is one thing about me that is the same as it was before June 23 this year. My whole mind has had to readjust to a new way of believing. A new way of relating to God, to walking each day through life. There are people who have been my friends for years who I think simply do not know what to say or do anymore. I don't talk about it with them much anymore, but I don't talk about all this wonderful isn't he great God stuff anymore either and I think that says volumes to them. Like I've said before I believe He is and He was and He will be still, but I don't believe all the healing stuff anymore. I don't pray anymore expecting to get an answer, so often I just don't pray. Maybe that will change in time I don't know.



Have you ever taken something away from a child, and they didn't understand why? They usually sit in the corner, arms crossed, refusing to speak to you. They still love you, they still know you are there for them, but they just don't want to look at you or speak to you. That's how I feel right now.

I feel like a little child who's angry at her father... heavenly Father that is. I don't want to be, but I don't understand why I can't have my daughter. My prayer life has really been in the dumps lately. I know God loves me. I know God wants what is best for me. I know God is in control. I still love Him and trust Him. However, I miss my daughter so much that I feel like crossing my arms and ignoring Him. I don't feel this way all the time, but the winter months and holidays are taking a toll on me...



The Heresy of "The Victorious Life"

~Tommy and Angie Prince

Tommy and I are fascinated that as painful as child-loss is to grapple with spiritually, there is nothing "out there" that seems to effectively address the agony of the "abandonment" one feels from his/her Heavenly Father during such a great loss as the Loss of one's child. For whatever reason, it seems to me that I am just now getting a clearer picture of the way Tommy felt completely "dropped" by His Heavenly Father...

Being the daddy of a daughter, Tommy naturally felt the protective need to watch over his little girl. The MAIN thing he was focused on and repeatedly begging God for, with the faith of a trusting son to His Father, "PLEASE, protect her life." And then, she's killed...?

Tommy shares his journey so far...

That sense of betrayal can be just as devastating emotionally as the actual loss of her. What I've lost is that, 'I thought I could ask for something and get a modicum of a positive outcome.' It exposed my assumptive belief about God and our relationships with God. On the one hand, we are told, "If we ask for bread, would the Father give us a stone?"

On the other hand, the Bible is full of "suffering." There is not the "victorious life" that churches often tickle your ear with. Jesus said,

"In this world, you WILL have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

God's presence is there in the form of comfort and grace, but He wasn't there in the form of intervention that I was asking for.

The danger -- I was led down a religious primrose path, a consumer's approach to God, and yet if you examine scripture, God's view of our relationship with Him is there in the beatitudes, first thing... - in the early chapters of Matthew, chapter 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, we get a startling first glimpse of God's truth:

Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the poor in spirit...

And the church just blows right by that!

The disenfrancished, down-trodden, abandoned, and abused are embraced by God.

And that message had never been heard to that point in the history of mankind. This was new. This was unheard of.

Blessed are those who mourn is not WHY the tragedy happens, but WHEN the tragedy happens and you have to suffer through it, God comes into it in a way that loves you, ministers to you, and yes, blesses you.

"In this world, you WILL have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." NOT YOU will overcome, NOT YOU will not experience anything bad ~ that is heresy ~ Jesus never said that; He said quite the opposite... In this world, you WILL have trouble, BUT... be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.

I don't talk the same way to God I used to talk to Him. The relationship has totally changed now.

In a trauma book Angie and I are reading, trauma expert Richard Mollica says it well:

Feelings and actions do not spring out of us spontaneously but are based upon learned beliefs and values.... If you believe in a fair, just, and rational life, when violence strikes, (your world is thrown into shock since something is happening outside your range of expectation).

~ Richard F.Mollica, M.D. ~ Healing Invisible Wounds

Feelings don't happen in a vacuum; they have to be funneled through a belief and value system. My BELIEF about God was wrong. GOD was not wrong. But MY BELIEF about God was being betrayed. My expectation of intervention wasn't met, and therefore within the belief system in place at that time, it resulted in a Sense of Being Betrayed. Early on I was too wounded to be able to talk about it, I was too traumatized. (Even if Angie asked me to pray for her, I just froze.)

As I have been redoing my relationship with God, re-examining my belief system in light of what scripture really says, my beliefs began to change AND I let myself be ministered to BY God.

The feeling of betrayal is not there like it was.

But the process of getting there has not been pretty. It has been agonizingly painful, and it has taken a long time to get to this place emotionally.

Burned-out Forest picture, thanks to
Excerpts from blogs were found from others grieving the loss of a child on the internet:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thursday’s Therapy - TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox - Dementia? Or, Child-Loss Grief and Trauma… ~ Respecting Your Child-Loss TRAUMA

Thursday’s Therapy

TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox

Dementia? Or, Child-Loss Grief and Trauma… Did I Mention Dementia?

~ Respecting Your Child-Loss TRAUMA

~Tommy and Angie Prince

All of us (most likely, without even realizing it) tend to walk around with the assumption that the world is predictable and we are in control. To some degree, these are fairly normal forms of "denial" to have so that we can maintain some degree of optimism to give us the courage to step outside and go to work with the hope and confidence that we will be okay, and life will probably be good for that day.

But for us Child-Loss grievers, the world that we thought was predictable and orderly is now chaotic, and we who thought we had some degree of control now feel fear and helplessness.

{We could not protect the child whose protection is a parent's main priority!}

And guess what?

"It turns out fear and helplessness are processed by the parts of the brain shown in human and animal studies, to be most affected by severe stress, and most vulnerable in terms of the likelihood of developing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)."

~Charles W. Hoge, Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior

It isn't until a crisis comes, that your assumptive beliefs (the world is predictable, and I am in control) and values (my child's safety is of utmost importance, so I will protect her) are exposed, and challenged, if not shattered or torpedoed.

Child-Loss presents the major crisis into which we have been thrown in which we then experience intense fear and a sense of total helplessness. We as Child-Loss parents need to have a better appreciation for being thrown into this fearful and helpless state: It is a very normal place to be, as our world-of-assumed-safety has been shattered, so the brain is preparing us to be ready and prepared for dealing with immediate DANGER. All sensory input is communicating that our world is now at risk, so the brain tries to prepare us to

  • Run (flight) or
  • Attack (fight) or
  • Stop (freeze) to achieve the best protection from danger that we can.

In the process however, the brain also shuts down the neural pathways to other parts of the brain because in the middle of danger, those parts don't need to be accessible as they might interfere with the FIRST mode of action needed for our self-protection.

In OUR situation, however, we need to be able to advise the brain we are NOT in immediate danger; the danger has already occurred and now we must have ALL parts of our brains made available to us to learn to COPE with what that DANGER and CATASTROPHE have created for us, which for us is,

  • the death of our child,
  • the recognition of our complete inability to protect our child from such death,
  • the loss into which we are now thrown, and
  • the extreme vulnerability and helplessness that comes with such a severe loss.

BUT, we must also be aware that because of the severe nature of our loss and the accompanying emotions that go with such severity of loss, we now are also set up for very likely having another whole set of accompanying symptoms which will complicate our grief and loss further, and that is the POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER that many veterans of war also have to tangle with.

I read this week of a child-loss mother wondering if she was losing her mind or perhaps was prematurely aging with dementia, when what I immediately recognized was ~ NO! That symptomology going on in your brain is PAR FOR THE COURSE of walking through the TRAUMA of child-loss!

In other words, many times I feel like a freak of nature as I see symptoms going on in my body that I know are not normal for living an everyday life as I once knew it. So although my immediate reaction is "Oh my goodness, I am losing my mind!" the next thoughts need to be, "Wait a minute. I have LOST MY CHILD. My WORLD-AS-I-KNEW-IT has been shattered.
So naturally ALL SYSTEMS inside of me are REELING. They now are set to -


So when someone comes up to me and says something, and I find that I immediately forget it, or perhaps never even allowed it to register in my memory in the first place, I want to learn to respect that THAT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL because MY BRAIN is PREOCCUPIED

with helping me

  • GET FROM ONE MOMENT TO THE NEXT in one piece if possible,

No wonder, I am not going to remember what someone said to me that doesn't even register as being important in comparison to the COPING DEMANDS into which I've now been called!

Picture from
~Charles W. Hoge, M.D., Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior, p. 24

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - When Will I Find the "New Normal"?

Wednesday's Woe

When Will I Find the "New Normal"?

~Tommy and Angie Prince

In Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks, the scientist Frankenstein asks his assistant Eigor, after experiencing his newly-created man which turns out to be more like a monster than a man,

"What was the name on the jar that contained the brain you found?"

Eigor told him he didn't remember, then he suddenly recalls,

"...It was... uhh... 'Abby'... something!"

Frankenstein says, "Abby... something???"

Eigor says, "Yes, that's it! 'Abby... Normal'!"

And the scientist realizes now he's in real trouble...

Well, I feel like the old joke that says

"When God was handing out brains, He thought I said 'drains,' and He washed mine out...!"

Yeah, I know...Corny...! But, anyway, our questions to any of you Child-Loss grievers is...

What is the "New Normal"?


When does the "New Normal" kick in?

(And I'm sure hoping my "New Normal" is not the one entitled, "Abby...Normal"!)

What is the final "Key" to the puzzle of

Who am I?

What can I handle?

What am I capable of doing now?

Whom can I be around?

What work can I do now?

Is there such a thing as a "New Normal" that we Child-Loss grievers ever attain? Is it a place we at least attain to that will indicate some level of stabilization, or is the "New Normal" an ever-changing condition, following the ever volatile and undulating path of our Grief?

"I still don't know what I can handle," Tommy says. "If something does happen like my getting triggered, do I have enough in my tool kit to be able to function?"

"I still don't know who I am, and what I am capable of doing," Angie says. "We are in the field of helping people who are in great distress, and it is our job to get down into that pit with them to better understand the emotional angst they are up against. This requires a great deal of emotional stamina. And since no client wants to get in touch with pain easily, the therapist will be pushed and tested and challenged all along the way.

"So how can I in good conscience take on a client who has some heavy-duty work to do when I am not even sure what I am able to handle? Therefore, who am I? Can I do the work I was trained to do, and did for 27 years before my world crashed? And if not, what am I capable of? And what direction do I take when I am so lost in grief? It is like the pilot who, when surrounded by constant cloud coverage, gets disoriented, loses touch with where the ground is, and at any moment easily could come crashing down..."

What is your experience with the "New Normal"?

Can you describe what that "New Normal" is for you?

And, What does your "New Normal" now look like?

And finally, how long did it take you to get there?

Picture thanks to