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Posts Tagged ‘Grief Loss and Bereavement’

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

 

I’ve let you down.

The moment I ask the Lord to fill the page with encouraging words, my thoughts still. It’s as though the well leading to my spirit has been cut off and the life existing there is dammed up-cut off by the grief all around us.

One day, it is the grim story of a male flight attendant from Hawaii that squeezes tears from my heart. Such a generous person, a friend Tweets below a beaming photo of a handsome young man. I blink hard as the image moves in and out of focus. There is no mention of Christ or faith or hope—only misguided, human goodness and I wonder if he is another soul without the eternal hope of Jesus.

There is no mention of Christ or faith or hope-only misguided, human goodness...#hope #jesus. Click To Tweet

The next morning, I venture outside. Perhaps a change of scenery will help me to listen more intently to Him. To pray. To focus on the message He has for me to share. Instead, several crows settle in the trees and perch on the rooftop as if to jeer at my optimistic, heaven-focused thoughts.

Have the hate-laced headlines left you wondering if people will ever treat one another with care or even civility?#loveoneanother #thegoldenrule. Click To Tweet

Are you, too, struggling to remain hopeful? Have the hate-laced headlines left you wondering if people will ever treat one another with care or even civility? Do you even dare dream of a world free of hatred and upheaval?

["You can do more than dream. Believe! Jesus' words of comfort to His disciples are meant for us.#believeinGod #believeinMe"]

Friend, you can do more than dream. Believe! Jesus’ words of comfort to His disciples are meant for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

We may feel as though the world has spun off its axis, but we believe God because His word reassures us He…

spoke emptiness into beauty,

walked with faithful men through the fiery furnace,

rescued a condemned babe from Egypt’s waters,

filled a virgin’s womb with holy Life,

strode across the Sea of Galilee,

and raised a dead miracle-worker to the throne.

We believe because God's word reassures us He filled a virgin's womb with holy Life.. Click To Tweet

The Lord is powerful. While the pandemic, social unrest, and political uncertainty may cause personal unease, we can take comfort knowing our Father who loves us is firmly in control. He is neither taken by surprise nor wringing His hands.

He knows the beginning from the end. Take a deep breath, dear one. Jesus isn’t worried. Let’s allow His peace to fill our over-laden hearts today. Will you join me?

Prayer

Lord, your word promises that when I seek you, I’ll be delivered from my fears. (Psalm 34:4) Today, I admit I’m afraid of ___________________. Lord, please strengthen my faith that I might glorify you. Teach me to believe in your promises without wavering. (Romans 4:19-20) In the powerful name of Christ, Amen

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

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_...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - Copy

The throbbing is real but intangible. Painful but unseen. It’s the shattering of a heart already broken experiencing one more journey in the wasteland. Have you been in this place before? In the same sort of circumstance where your dreams are dashed by reality and hope drifts away like dust in the wind? Are you searching for solace, but coming up dry? Does it seem as if even God is unreachable in this desert place?

The Wasteland

The wasteland is almost uninhabitable; barren of comfort, it lacks nourishment and sanctuary is difficult to find. Even your spirit seeks aimlessly, searching for rest but finding none; lying in the pale sand only to rise up again up with the residue of silt  clinging to it-a a reminder of your unchartered journey.

Some of you may be in a spiritual wasteland or on its horizon; others remember trials you’ve recently experienced-difficult circumstances that led you deep into the arid places of the heart bereft of comfortable routines or reassuring normalcy.

If you’re passing through the refining heat of the desert, there is comfort in knowing those of great faith have also journeyed along the same gritty path.

A King in the Wasteland

Imagine being a man of great wealth and power only to discover your oldest son has betrayed you. Charming and deceitful, he’s convinced some of your closest advisors to turn against you and, as a result, you lose everything-your position, possessions, and prestige.

Discovering a plot against your life, you gather a few trusted men and escape to the wilderness. Nourishment is scarce and the enemy, your son, haunts every weary step. Battle weary, you’ve managed many losses and setbacks. Undeserved hatred. Depression. The death of a beloved child. This is a new heartache…the betrayal of a precious son and separation from your place of holy Hope. The one sanctuary of your life.

While encountering his own wasteland, the shepherd-turned-king cried out to God and scribed his words into song as a testimony for us.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.                                                                                                                                   But those who seek my life, to destroy it,

Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (Psalm 63-NKJV)

 

Are you struck by David’s description of His parched soul? By the yearning he has to be in God’s presence? In these few, beautiful verses the believer reveals a path to joy in the most difficult of situations.

Focus on God’s Character

When I’m surrounded by the brokenness of the wasteland, I often fail to notice the stark beauty of the desert stars shining in an inky sky or the shifting shadows along the face of the rocky terrain. I’m consumed by the situation and begin to compare my unfair circumstances to other believers. Why this issue? Hadn’t I prayed enough? Why does God allow this suffering? The questions keep coming, but there aren’t any satisfactory answers.

Perhaps David felt the same way, but he didn’t resort to comparing or even complaining. Instead, he turned his thoughts heavenward and called out to the one who is unbound by circumstances. David cried, “O Elohim (the one true God), You are my El (the mighty One).”

Neither the barren surroundings nor the lack of protection garnered the king’s attention. God’s character was his focal point. When we find ourselves confused or fearful in unwelcome circumstances, our strength comes from the presence of the all-knowing, ever-loving El Elohim. Removing our eyes from the temporary and redirecting them to our Eternal horizon is the first step in rediscovering hope in difficulty.

Quench Your Thirst

As king, David knew the pleasures of fine feasts, silken fabrics, and celebrations. He was accustomed to being addressed with respect and surrounded by family members and doting servants. Now, David and a few loyal men were rushing from one cave to another without the simplest of comforts, and when crying out for his most basic needs what did he request?

More of God.

Despite his clear physical needs, David’s spiritual needs were far more acute. Body and soul, he longed to commune with God. Lamenting at being separated from the holiness of the sanctuary where he’d witnessed God’s glory, earth’s mighty king bowed before heaven’s King in humble submission asking that the Lord alone would quench his thirst.

What does your soul thirst after, friend? Is it His word? Worship? Communing with Him?  Go to Him for we need never thirst. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again”. (John 4:14 ESV)

Remember and Rejoice

Even though David is fleeing for his life, he recalls all of the good God has done for him. He recounts the joys, victories, and protection. Maybe David thinks of his best friend Jonathan, the rags-to-riches story of shepherd boy to king, the unexpected win of teenaged-boy over a ruthless warrior, or the birth of his son, Solomon.

Praise flows like a river from David’s mouth. As he thanks the Lord, gratitude wells up from inside his spirit and joy spills out.

Remembering God’s goodness leads to rejoicing. And don’t we all need more rejoicing-especially when we’re walking through the wasteland?

 

Leaving the Wasteland

Eventually, David was rescued from the wasteland. You will be, too, friend. Our Father promises to be your shield and protector, your rescuer and redeemer. He will quench your thirst and lead you by still waters.

Like David, we can cling to our Lord with steady perseverance and take refuge from any challenge in El Elohim-the one true God, the strong and mighty One.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copy of courgeJust a few years ago, fear and depression nearly took him from me. Threatened to steal the world of his mischievous smile, the one that tilts the right corner of his mouth like the crescent moon on its axis. But, as I rejoice over his presence and delight in the strides he’s made toward healing, I’m reminded of the loss and tragedy dear childhood friends have had to brave.

Instead of delighting in healing? They have lived with the aftermath of a momentary decision too permanent to undo the pain of a mother’s heart. They have felt the emptiness of a home once filled with the laughter of a young one on the edge of adulthood.

People toss out platitudes and church-appropriate responses. This is all part of God’s plan. God never gives us more than we can handle. But, the words are misleading. Perhaps untruthful.

God is never the author of evil and while His will ultimately triumphs, man’s enemy is at work. Wreaking havoc. Whispering lies. Sowing destruction.

And boys on the cusp of manhood lose hope.

Brokenness is not God's plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. We weren't meant to know of or experience any of these.#courage#hope#more of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Brokenness is not God’s plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. Cancer. Stillborn death. We weren’t meant to know of or experience any of these. The Father who ushered breath into lungs of clay and called his creation good designed us for more.

He knows our condition, dear friend. Scripture refers to courage over one hundred times because in this world we will bear more than we can handle.

We need fortitude. Courage. Above all, we need to rely on Christ.

Why does God stay his hand in some situations and intervene in others? When two mothers kneels with all humility and beg the Father to spare their children the pain of abuse, why does he answer yes to one and no the other?

When cancer is the diagnosis and prayer warriors converge on a friend’s behalf they cannot know whether the Father will heal on this side of heaven or the next. But, the Healer is at work regardless and we are called to love and pray faithfully.

Life can feel unfair. As though we’ve been treated less than someone else. That because God won’t bend to our will He isn’t good. But, our relationship with God isn’t about what we squeeze out of him. We cannot manipulate Him through pray, or fasting, or looking good as we show up faithfully at church.

One glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.#praise#thankful#hope. Click To Tweet

We trust Him knowing that one glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.

Hang on, friend. The waiting won’t be long.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda ,Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragments

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire , Blogger Voices Network , Grace and Truth Linkup, Fresh Market Fridays

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Grief strikes at the heart like a viper; striking the revealed, vulnerable areas belonging to its unsuspecting victim–sometimes providing only the slightest of advance warnings. Then, a sudden sting, until the ache begins to settle low. Heavy. Burdensome.

Those of us who’ve impressed a footprint on Earth’s soil have either felt grief’s sharp pang or we will. And, while we assume grief is our enemy, it is really one of the clearest reminders to needing, bleeding, aching hearts that the world wasn’t meant to be this way.

Grief is one of the clearest reminders to needing,bleeding,aching hearts that the world wasn't meant to be this way.#grief#loss#notheendofhope Click To Tweet

We weren’t meant to know the grief of an unwelcome diagnosis.

Innocent children weren’t created to be bought and sold into lives of slavery vacant of love.

Death. Addiction. Depression. None of these were intended for God’s people.

Created as Paradise, this world has borne sin’s twisted power since the rich, sweet taste of what had been forbidden unfurled on the tongues and in the hearts of our first parents.

 Click To Tweet

In our grief, we know there is an unacknowledged reality far more powerful than that which is seen. We’re reminded of the grief the heavenly father experienced when his gift to men hung on a tree; bruised and battered as if he were refuse rather than Rescuer. And, because of his incomprehensible loss we receive a promise in process–not fully realized but as certain as the resurrection.

We catch a glimpse of the holy Shepherd's heartache when he wept.#Jesuswept#holygrief Click To Tweet

So we grieve our losses, but not in hopelessness. We are reviled by injustice, but rely on the Judge. We catch a glimpse of the holy Shepherd’s heartache when he wept, but know the victory has already been won.

Maybe you are grieving today. I know it’s painful, Friend, and I’m sorry.

Without minimizing the hurt in your heart, can I gently remind you that He understands? He will be with you whether you walk through fire or travel through the darkest valley. You may not feel as though it’s true, but He will never leave your side. One day soon, this world’s grief will be forgotten and replaced with joy unimaginable as we soak in the glory of Christ with all things renewed. Restored. Reestablished.

I’ve collected a few of my favorite Bible verses to pray over when your heart is hurting. Just click on the link below.

5 Printable Bible Verses for a Hurting Heart

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays  Sunday Thoughts / InstaEncouragements/ Anita Ojeda Mandy and Michele

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/ Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire , Blogger Voices Network , Embracing the Unexpected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. -Romans 12:15

 

We must be willing to feel the heart beat of other's in our chest. This is what love does. (1)

 

One wedding and two suicides. From celebration to lamentation. From dancing in the sunset to mourning alongside two of my dearest childhood friends as they grieve the senseless loss of their young men living—and then dying—on the edge of manhood.

I long to ease the ache in the hearts of these dear ones; to smooth the hard edges of the emptiness that once was filled by the laughter of young men. Soul soothing words fail to trip off my tongue and I stumble in my awkward attempts to offer comfort and hope.

While I’ve experienced the pain of death separating me from another, I haven’t lost a child to the nightmarish reality of suicide. This grief? It’s consuming—like a fire threatening to devour everyone in its path.

And in our pull-yourself-up from the bootstraps culture where grief is an inconvenience and lament is looked on with suspicion, I’m suggesting something radical.

Let’s step into lament. Let’s join those we know who are hurting. Let’s choose to walk willingly into the fiery furnace just as Christ did when three of his children were tossed like kindling into a human-sized oven.

People are lamenting everywhere around us. The woman just up the street whose husband has left her with three children and a cancer diagnosis. The forty-seven-year old mother of teenagers fearing the worst as her husband struggles to survive the aftermath of a stroke. The young couple aching to hold a baby in empty arms after yet another miscarriage.

Grief is uncomfortable. Stepping into another’s pain is painful. Yet, if we are to love like Jesus we must be willing to feel the heartbeat of others in our chest. We are meant to join others as they walk through the fire. That’s what love does.

Who are you going to love today?

 

LIVEFREETHURSDAYFriday Link UpHolley-Gerth-Button-250x250

 

 

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He does not cast away, nor crush, nor condemn the wounded in conscience, those
who are terrified in view of their sins; the weak in faith and practice, but
watches over and cherishes them, makes them whole, and affectionately embraces them.   –Luther

Each tear that pours from her eyes fills a place in my heart that once brimmed with pain like hers.  Why?  She asks as if I can answer.  How could a loving God allow it?  But I don’t know.  There is no way to explain away the heartache.  The pain.  The desolate feeling of isolation.  I don’t know, but I understand.

Am I unlovable?  Not worth a moment’s tenderness?  Each syllable bursts from her mouth in pronounced confusion.  I hear her cries for help.  The need for mercy.  Etchings of the past press themselves on her features.  And I feel my insides twist as she shouts out fear…loss…hopelessness.  From deep within I hear His voice.  You are loved–more than you could ever know.  I am your true Father.  Your Heavenly Husband.  The Balm of Gilead. 

I know the words are meant for me, too.  Our human stories are alike–joys, sorrows, fears.  Celebrations, grief, betrayal.  Love, hate, reconciliation.  Maybe He came to live with us–and live this way–because we can relate to the All-God-All-Man who lived an everyday life .

Loved.  Hated.  Reviled. Laughing.  Crying.  Caring.

His human story is like ours.  He understands. He knows our heartache.

Now, the Healer’s hands are held out–nail marks in plain view–waiting to touch our feeble, broken places.  Those crushed, down-trodden areas we thought meant sure death.  The breath of Life kneels down and exhales–filling the thirsty places with hope.  His mercy was revealed that day on the cross when the gaping, weeping wound in His side foretold of the festering, needy places in our own souls.  Of our need for Him.

If you are wounded–like her, like me–why not turn to the One who was wounded for us?  He understands.  He loved us that much.  We are worth more than a moment’s tenderness.  We were worth the cost of His perfect and holy life.

Verse for Reflection

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.  (
Isaiah 42:3  NIV)

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