Grief Share Week 10 – A Call to Comfort

So I’ve taken a couple of weeks off of talking about GriefShare. Our last session was on getting “stuck” in grief, which wasn’t a message that really resonated with me. When the words don’t come naturally…I typically don’t write them. Last week we had an off week, so here we are at Week 10 of our 13-week program.

This week we talked fairly generally about preparing for times when grief may be harder (holidays, birthdays, and “firsts”), events and activities that may become more difficult in grieving (church, family functions, socializing) and how we can use prayer and God’s word to overcome.

What I want to talk about, though, is how we can turn our grief inside out. How we can take it from a “me” thing to a “He” thing (I’m lookin’ at you, God). How we can help others in and through our grief and, in it all, point to Jesus.

I’m a highlighting, underlining, asterict making kind of note taker. And there was a quote from this lesson that got all of the above:

“I’m not supposed to be just a container of comfort; I’m meant to be a conduit of comfort.”  – Dr. Paul David Tripp

I am not sure I fully subscribe to the often overused notion that “everything happens for a reason.”  You will not find those words anywhere in scripture. And from experience, I can confidently say they do not provide comfort in a time of loss and mourning. I think bad things happen to good people because we live in a fallen world. That being said, God does give us A LOT of insight and wisdom in scripture that we CAN cling to in our grief:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  – Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  – Psalm 147:3

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  – Matthew 5:4 

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”  – Psalm 119:50

 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  – Philippians 4:13

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”  – Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  – Romans 8:28

We are blessed in our mourning. He holds us close and heals our wounds. His promise gives us hope and the strength to press on. And even if we can’t see it — His plan is for us.

And then there’s this…

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

With the comfort we receive from God, we are called to comfort others. Whoa.

This may seem overwhelming  uncomfortable  downright scary. But here’s the thing – we all have something to offer. 

Need some ideas? Do something you wish someone would have been done for you. Share something that was a comfort to you. Do what feels natural – cook a meal, send a card, plan a coffee date – this will look different for everyone. And, just maybe, push through even if it feels uncomfortable. Because it’s not always an easy thing to do. But in all these things…point to Jesus. 

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  – Deuteronomy 31:8

#ThankfulThursday

This week, I am thankful for the opportunity to teach my daughter the value of love, compassion and generosity. Guys…it is h.a.r.d. for a toddler to shop for things they like just to give them to someone else.

We chose a 2-4 year-old girl for our OCC box for a reason. To make it relatable.

As we made our way through the aisles, each item that was placed in the cart was followed by an exuberant “For me?!” from the front seat. Each time, I explained that we were picking out things to send to a little girl who didn’t have very much so we could share the love of Jesus with her at Christmas.

By the end of our little shopping excursion, my sweet babe’s questions had changed. Instead of asking insisting that each new thing was for her, she began asking questions about the little girl who would be receiving these treasures. What’s her name? Where’s her house? Who is she?

While I wish I had the answers to all her questions, today, seeing the budding spirit of compassion in my little girl was enough.

What have you been thankful for this week?

#ThankfulThursday

I’m not sure how, but my calendar says it’s November.

N-O-V-E-M-B-E-R.

Halloween is over and the “holiday crazies” can officially come out of hiding. Though I’m still in a state of sadness shock that time is passing so quickly, I’ve decided this holiday season to share a few things each Thursday that I am grateful for from the week. I hope in doing this I will not only become more aware of the ABUNDANT blessings in my life, but hopefully also encourage you to think about the blessings in yours.

So, here you have it.

This week I am thankful for progress on our barn renovation.

For ice cream dates on long road trips with my little.

For Papa’s who make their little girl’s world go ’round.

For the first snow of the season!!

For the first fire of the season (the up-side to snow!)

For new growth and new life.

And for gorgeous sunrises and simple living.

What are some of the things you’re grateful for this week?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.        – Melody Beattie

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Grief Share Week 8 – Taking on Trauma

When we sat down for this week’s Grief Share, I honestly didn’t think it pertained to me. We looked specifically at the trauma associated with complicated loss such as murder, suicide and multiple deaths (whether from an accident, a natural disaster, or a horrific event like occurred in Vegas).

These are types of loss I cannot (and hopefully never will) identify with. They can understandably be more complex and come with a entirely different set of emotions than losing someone from, say, old age or health complications. But, while those types of loss may be more associated with true trauma, I did learn something important tonight — any loss can be traumatic. (Read as: this message is for everyone.)

When I looked up the definition of trauma, this is what I found:

trau·ma  [noun]
1. a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
“a personal trauma like the death of a child”

That was the example used in the dictionary definition. Hmmm…I guess that is me.

So after opening up my heart to this week’s lesson, I was able to take away some key elements to guide me in my grief. And what I learned is actually quite simple.

Positive Thoughts = Positive Feelings

Negative Thoughts = Negative Feelings

Here’s another way to think about it….

How we interpret ourselvesour grief, and our relationship with God are key in how we move forward after a traumatic loss.

Do I see myself as a victim? Do I view God as the perpetrator? Do I find value and meaning in life even in the physical absence of my loved one?

Our brains are such a powerful thing. With them, we can sew turmoil or seek truth. We can convince our hearts to loathe or to love. We can choose to accept or accuse. While many thoughts may enter your head in a time of trauma, be wise about which ones you let settle into your heart.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…  – Proverbs 23:7

 

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