Thursday, December 22, 2016

THEY LIVE AGAIN

   
 Today is the 32nd anniversary of the day my family entered Heaven. How different in attitude I am! Back then it was all about death, destruction and "never got the chance to" thoughts. Like a wounded animal, I slunk off to be alone and to protect myself from any further injury. Every single thing (except God) seemed to be a threat to me back then--a threat to further self-destruction. There was only so much pain my soul could take. I was saturated with suffering to the utmost degree. "Enduring" was surprisingly as much physical as it was emotional for me, back then.

I never realized emotional pain could be so severe. It really took me by surprise by its intensity. That is completely gone now. Now, I wish they were here but I wish even more that they continue enjoying Paradise. 

God never said He'd keep bad stuff from happening to me after I was married and had kids. He did say He'd be with me through it all though, and He was. That was all I needed really, to get through my difficult bereavement --faith in the reality of God's being with me and loving me and helping me through it all. I let Him. 

I'd had a previous shattering of my self; the upside being my faith in Him was increased tenfold because of how He helped me through all of that. Because of that first near-destruction, I came to believe that God knew what He was doing when He allowed that wreck to happen on December 22, 1984. I was able to hold up through this even more deadly-to-my-body-and-soul damage--the physical death of Tim (my husband and best friend of ten years), Michael, my toddler son  and Lisa, my baby daughter.

Today I have their pictures in front of the lighted accent lamp I got creative with (by changing it's three small shades to something I liked better). That's one of the things that's really different after 32 years of bereavement--my ability to choose to change. 

Initially I seemed to have no choice but gloom and doom to focus on. I was a Christian, but the pain I felt wiped away any feelings of joy at their presence into Heaven. I just wanted them back in the trenches with me. I guess it was some type of "self-preservation." I would have had to give of myself in order to have positive feelings toward their physical absence from me. I had nothing of myself left to give at that time. I was completely preoccupied with"me, me, me"--what "I" wanted--not what was far better for them. How could I survive without them? How could I heal without them? I guess it was only natural, to want what would help me be "whole" again and not prolong further agony for me. I think we're hard-wired to keep ourselves alive.

Over the years I've realized that "God of Restoration," (the term that mysteriously saturated my mind while recovering post wreck in the hospital), was key to my finding lasting peace. I've come to realize that, "so what if they/we didn't get to do this or that. God has allowed it to be thus --and I trust Him!" So much of what I lamented over were only earthly "joys." Joys that would have been in their lifetime repeatedly tainted with sorrow; the remnants of sin that forever tinges pure white with a sickly yellow cast during everyone's earthly lifetime.

I have witnessed so much sorrow, pain and suffering during these 32 years that I am grateful to God that they are FREE of all that! Any earthly joys they have not been a part of, I truly believe have their restorative counterpart in Heaven. Nothing's impossible to God! Jesus Himself called that place of rest and recovery, "Paradise." That's good enough for me, to have confidence that God has seen fit to "provide for" whatever Tim, Michael and Lisa didn't "get" to experience on Earth. 

I honestly think that a lot of what we value here on Earth as being vitally necessary to have experienced, either is not really that important, or will have its maximized equivalent given to us in Heaven. The only thing that is truly important I feel, and what will be maximized in Heaven/Paradise is LOVE. And God's the expert when it comes to that department!

Trusting in God, I feel, is the single most important thing we can do to heal from the terrible pain of
 bereavement. We can then grow in Love--and have what's most important in common with our physically departed ones. Loving God is where they are . . .  and how to be with them again. 

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16 NIV).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

GOD IS SOVEREIGN





God is sovereign. That word is not the easiest to understand much less spell correctly. What does it mean exactly? It means we have nothing to worry about, essentially. Being sovereign means that God has the final authority on absolutely everything that happens to us.
 
Some horrendous things--like my family's wreck--have been "allowed" to happen. Other things He directly wills. Anything that is considered "bad" that happens to us, rest assured that falls under the "is allowed not willed by God" category. Otherwise His "Loving and Merciful" attributes would be questionable. (And so would my love for Him!) I find confirmation that God never plays  "mean tricks" on anyone, in this verse:

"For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone."
(NIV Lamentations 3:33).

Although there is definitely a malevolent force present in this world, it is still subject to God's sovereignty. I didn't use to believe there actually was  an evil presence in this world. That is actually a common tactic that an enemy can use to gain entrance . . . making us believe he's not around--that he doesn't even exist. One cannot actively fight or even protest against something we don't even believe exists. 

One night many years ago, I lay in bed tossing and turning from anxious thinking. I was really expressing a lot of doubt and fear in my mind. Although I believed that God could certainly help me, I wasn't actively practicing that in my conscious thought--and letting negativity get the best of me.

Then . . . I heard in my mind the most hideous laughter. I am grateful that God allowed me to hear it, because I changed my ways. Now if I find myself "going there" I change that negative thinking right away. Why give the enemy something he delights to hear? 

 Jesus didn't have to struggle to oust the evil spirits He encountered. With just a word from Him they would flee. People sometimes forget that Satan is subject to Jesus' command and has to flee as he has no choice in the matter.

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
(1 John 4:4).

When we're being plagued by doubt and confusion and negative thinking in general . . . do what a friend told me regarding a menacing mongrel on the attack: 

"Order it in a commanding voice to 'Stop!' and just tell it to 'Get outta here!'"

When we recognize the Enemy is tackling us, we need to include the name of our Defender.  Just say, "Jesus please help me get these evil spirits to stop bothering me!" (I like to repeat it again only so the enemy knows I mean business.) Without a doubt they flee quickly and you will notice instantly a peacefulness in your mind. 

"No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power."
(Jeremiah 10:6).

Jesus' name described as "mighty in power" is to be understood in a literal sense. The power of the name Jesus really does cause evil that is disturbing us to flee.


The Enemy is real. He is here and he knows his time is growing short. During the holiday season it seems he steps up his attacks because there's frequent bouts of opportunity. But not to worry--God knows we're frequently fearful . . .  Jesus often had to tell  His disciples to "Fear not!" I love that passage where the disciples, scared witless because their boat was close to sinking from  a furious storm, wake Jesus from Dreamland as he slept on a comfy cushion. With waves alarmingly high and the wind howling--so fierce they could barely stand up--

"He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'"
(Mark 4:40).

The peace of God guards not only our hearts--but equally as well our minds:

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:7).

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am  your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
(Isaiah 41:10).

If we have faith and trust in God, then we can survive any storm--or enemy-- that threatens to overcome us.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

THE STRUGGLE




Clinical depression can strike anyone at anytime, and is a change in the brain's neurochemistry. As I've continued my book writing over these many months (it's about how God helped me during my bereavement tragedy), I've come under increasing attack from "The Enemy"--Satan. I'm getting closer to the end of my book writing, and I've been pretty complimentary to Jesus--and I don't think the enemy likes it one bit.

It's become clear to me, the biggest component of my grief struggle has always been the repetitive attempts to surrender "my will" to God.  I won't state this as, "I surrender my will to God's Will," because using that phrase in connection with personal tragedy is just too confusing. 
How many times have we all heard, 

"It was God's Will," usually in response to something horrific?!

God did not "will" my family to die instantly . . . but He did "allow" it to happen. This may seem like I'm nitpicking at words--but the differences are enormous and have "grave" consequences to our faith life . . . especially for bereaved parents.

If I believed that God had outright "willed" my family to die--I would not continue being a Believer. But I know that's not the way it happened. Like others, I believe that humans have "free choice"--and that sometimes we choose wrongly. God most certainly at times, "allows" someone's free choice to affect us when tragedy occurs. He didn't instigate it--but once it was set in motion He allowed it to roll. The sticky part is that He had the power to stop the motion before it caused tragedy.

So why didn't He? This question will never be answered in this lifetime. I've spent my fair share of time trying to figure out the answer. I do believe though, that we'll find out later, after we transition to Heaven, but for now as Scripture tell us, we only see "in part."

"Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor 13:12b NIV).

Surrendering our will to the Divine is, of course, difficult and can be quite the struggle. I'm often  feeling battle-weary . . . and that is exactly when our Enemy picks his time to strike. It's hard for me to actively engage against The Enemy (with the ferocity necessary to be victorious) . . . at the very same time I'm still reeling from the struggle of surrendering to God. It seems like I'm doing two opposite things at the same time. Surrendering (to God) and fighting (The Enemy).  Maybe it's a divide and conquer strategy?  It's comforting to me to know, that even Jesus wasn't immune to being attacked while suffering from diminished human strength. 

I find it fascinating that the Bible recorded that Jesus Himself was in a weakened human state and then  underwent an Enemy attack. Jesus' response was to state what God's will was,  each time He was severely tried. It was a battle where ammunition was human desire--versus our Father's desire.

The Enemy couldn't get a spiritual foothold so he did finally leave Jesus . . . "until an opportune time." 

"When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time." (LK 4:13 NIV).

This verse proves  to me--that it isn't just randomly happening--those times when "everything seems to go wrong at once." The enemy goes in for the kill when he knows we're staggering under the weight of something. A kick here--a punch there--a surprise attack . . . only the powerful name of Jesus can send him and his minions away from us. Stay close to Jesus because He knows intimately what . . . and whom we're up against. Even though this whole topic is nightmarish, there's really no need to worry about the ghouls we're up against, because:

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4 NIV). Praise be to God!



Saturday, August 6, 2016

AT LEAST I TRIED



I was on my way to pick up my mail a couple days ago, when I happened to look down. 

What is that??? Aw, it's a butterfly! A beautiful big Monarch butterfly! Uh . . . with a 
                                                                       
           



b   r ok e n  wing. 

I got my mail first, after discovering this sad and very depressing sight--this butterfly unable to fly. Perhaps, I thought, it'll somehow slink off into the bushes and hide and then I won't have to deal with this! But no, he was still there when I returned. 

 I bent down close to see exactly what the problem was and discovered one wing was cleanly torn away from his body in a couple places, just straight tears. The other wing was okay. Poor Butterfly kept trying to get aloft--but couldn't. After offering some water, (I later learned this should have been very diluted sugar water), I searched online for some help. My choices appeared to be: 

1) a 20 step process using contact adhesive and a steady hand (neither of which I possess) and tweezers  . . . or

2) scotch taping the broken wing (I didn't have a good feeling about me attempting that)

3) A "mercy killing" by sticking Mr. Butterfly in the freezer. (With a family member who has OCD--this was not an option.)


 4) trusting that what I read was correct--about butterflies not feeling any pain when you snip the other wing to match the torn wing and thus, making said butterfly once again aerodynamic. 


What Butterfly did after I performed my corrective action, made me think about God. (!) In a response to my careful snipping, Butterfly did the heartbreaking equivalent of putting two arms together overhead to prevent further entry. (Darn! Was it true they didn't feel pain when you do this??? ) t needed to make a second and final snip--but he wouldn't let me in! He had no idea that I had only the best of intentions and meant him only good and not evil. It was necessary for butterfly to "let me in" for me to help fix the problem! I felt frustrated and impatient because it was a life or death situation here!

Does God ever feel that way about us? After part of ourself is ripped away from us--most of us bereaved moms have an "Enough already!" "Leave me alone!" "I don't want anybody to mess with me!" response thing going on at some point along our journey. How often we refuse to let Him even try to help us, as we shield ourselves in a kind of protective cocoon. Like Butterfly, we can refuse to let Him in.

Sadly, things didn't end well with Butterfly. I was able to somewhat forcefully get that second wing snipped--but corrective surgery was a failure and Butterfly ended up being euthanized. I did do something right though--I prayed for Butterfly to have extra special butterfly blessings in Heaven and Generous Giver that He is, (remember how He called Himself "I AM" in the Old Testament?!) I am sure He was accommodating to these wishes.

Luckily for us, every encounter with our Divine Physician is always a successful and restorative Lifesaver! Held within His strong and ever-capable,  healing hands--we soar.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

MISREPRESENTATION






I heard it again the other day. As we worked our volunteer job, a new acquaintance spoke about her children, and then told me how "bitter and angry" she was at God--because her son committed suicide. She wondered, was God "punishing" her?

I blame the deplorably prolific depiction of our saving God as a tyrant-type, for this all too common and in my humble opinion, grave error of thinking. It is a "grave" error--because it can deeply affect those who are struggling with the bereavement of a loved one. Especially the death of a child.

What kind of a "God" . . . would cruelly punish a mother with the death of her child? I told my fellow volunteer that I could never and would never, love God if He would do such a thing! How could you love and honor Someone like that? 

Individual "Free Will" is the real culprit here--not God. I need to state that I personally do not believe it is a "free" choice when someone commits suicide. That action goes against everything ingrained in our hunan psyche to survive at all costs. Mental illness is the reason someone takes their own life and there is nothing "free" in a a will that is bound by the stranglehold of mental illness' ravages. I have suffered from mental illness in the past (Jesus' helping me, the reason why I have strong faith) and speak from experience. Mental illness is very demonic-like. It is sly, and secretive, and wraps around you like a serpent trying to choke every last breath right out of you--preventing you from thinking clearly.

What I believe, is that God being Omniscient and outside of time's restrictions, knew what ultimately would happen to her son--what choice would be made due to his mental state at that time. I firmly believe that God did not want this to happen, but God did allow this to happen. (This is a huge difference.)  Why? is the natural question. There is no way we can figure out the "why" of that. Not any more than figuring out "why" the truck that killed my family instantly, was aligned with us at that intersection at the exact same time. Only in the next life will we be given that knowledge. (If we even care to know at that time, because I feel we'll be so enthralled and delighted to be with Jesus and back with our loved ones, nothing else will matter. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! . . . " (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

I will never believe that God would "punish" a mother by causing her child to die. I  believe that a misrepresentation of God, heard over and over again, adds tremendously to people believing this lie from the enemy. Remember, our common enemy is sly . . . He twists God's words and promotes a lack of trust in God's saving mercy and love. What is scary to me, is that it clearly states in the Bible that he and his followers masquerade as God's helpers--and Satan himself as an "angel of light." !  ("For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."
(2 Cor 11: 13-14 NIV)

The biggest help to anyone that is struggling with a serious problem, is to have someone helping them that has struggled with the same thing-- has survived it-- and hopefully thrived afterward. 

This is one of the basics of all 12 Step groups -- "like helping like."  Someone who has "been there" is infinitely more effective in helping someone that is suffering, than someone who has never had to face that particular issue and done battle with it. (The exception here though, is someone whose personality is one that unhelpfully torpedoes its way into someone's suffering, and blasts, rather than soothes.)

~THAT~ is why I truly believe, why Jesus was sent to us. Jesus suffered His agony in Gethsemane; why He experienced all mankind's sin effects. That is why He suffered cruel mental, physical and spiritual torture and  died on the cross . . .   so we can have someone to identify with our struggles, in this life of travail. We're not all born into families that have Loving Response written on their foreheads. Some of us have heard the sound of a dead phone after being hung up on, after an urgent, "Help me please!" call.

With Jesus, there is no hanging up the phone, no snickering in contempt or walking away from . . . but only REAL HELP. That is why I feel it is so deplorable, that over and over again, we hear this errant preaching from usually reputable sources. They seem to delight in frightening those who want to cautiously approach -- preaching along the lines of, 

"The blood and guts spilled from Jesus satisfied the eternal demands of our commanding tyrant Father,  who demanded retribution for all the sins committed against Him before letting any of us miserable sinners before His Magnificent Presence." 

Yeah, like I'm going to timidly approach God for help with that kind of portrayal of Him?!! The subtle message is to stay away!

What???  Is this the same Father that ran to the Prodigal Son after watching and waiting for him to return--who lavished love on him before sonny even apologized? Who treats us like a loving mother would? (. . . "You will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees." Isaiah 66:12 NIV). There's just way too much of a disconnect here, between these two competing versions of God the Father, for me to understand. (Yes, there is much in the Old Testament regarding blood sacrifice, etc. God had to, "dummify it down" and use language and imagery that Biblical-time folks could "get." They were still worshipping pagan gods back then!) There's no delight for God with meaningless sacrifice--He desires mercy, from us. Loving responses--and not harsh treatment and blood shedding. Quotes below, from BibleHub.

Matthew 9:13
But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 12:7
If only you had known the meaning of 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.
Mark 12:33
and to love Him with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
1 Samuel 15:22
Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Psalm 50:8
"I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
Proverbs 21:3
To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.
Isaiah 1:11
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Jesus is our shining example (literally) of "I've been there and done that in regard to all mortal suffering. There's never a time when we can say, 

"But Jesus wouldn't know about that--about this kind of suffering I'm going through."

 I believe that's what the mystery of the Agony in the Garden was about and all the mystery surrounding His crucifixion. Don't let the enemy keep you from approaching Our True Friend, the only One that is always there for us.

Don't believe any one that preaches a God other than the One you have come to know and love. 
                                                              

Friday, June 17, 2016

OF WORTH AND VALUE


(Baby Lisa in photo)


The other day I was sitting here at my desk, and my attention was diverted toward the birds outside. I  noticed a new insistence in their chirping. I then remembered--it was past time to scatter their seed on the back patio for their dinner. As I was going downstairs, I was surprised at the fact that I really valued their opinion; and that I've gotten to recognize their various chirping sounds. Questioning chirps, depressed sounding chirps if I'm late--moving on to insistent and almost angry chirps if I'm really delayed. I'm surprised it's taken me this long to value these wonderful creatures from God, enough to listen to them more closely! (Poop all over my outdoor bistro table set...so what?!) How neat to be able to understand a bit of what they are expressing. Oh the happy, excited chirps when all that seed is scattered! When they hear my footsteps approaching on the gravel, their excited chatter increases exponentially! Maybe when we get to Heaven, we will understand all creatures with voice--because we will value them all so much more highly at that time . . .

The thing is, I couldn't really "get" what they were chirping about until I placed a value on them enough to listen. I had this thought after that experience . . . If I value Jesus . . . I need to listen to what He is trying to tell me.

My little children that died so young, they have a worth and value set by Almighty God Himself. The value "I" place on them, or others place on them . . .  is not important--only God's opinion really matters. (I'm thinking of my own dysfunctional "family of origin," as I write this.)

For those of us that sometimes do battle with family of origin "residual suffering fallout" I remind myself  . . . that our worth and value is set by God--not our family of origin. You cannot place a value on someone whom you've never taken the time to get to know. My parents never really knew me. It's a weird feeling--to feel as though I know my Father in Heaven better than I know my earthly parents. (Yesterday was the day my father died, several years ago--ironically-- on "Father's Day.")

Lisa's brief earthly life, has made me think of concepts I never would have thought about before she died --the concepts regarding "worth and value."
What a wonderful gift--because she lived--she helped to give me healing, on a painfully sore subject. 

 I know when someone values my opinion or not. Those types are quite skilled at being masters of the cold shoulder . . . the opposite of "A warm shoulder to lean on ". . .  one that provides support. Also, "being cold" is often the precursor to a decline of positive growth. 

The "good" that can come from a severe dearth of mortal valued opinion, is that it often makes one come that much closer to Christ --out of sheer necessity if by nothing else! But what treasure awaits us in His embrace and His warmth! He cares for us unconditionally. Answers our prayers! (sometimes we need to wait to see the fruit of our prayer though.) He hears us! Because He listens to us. Because He values us.

I love to read about the man with leprosy that asked Jesus if He was willing to heal him, and Jesus wasted no time, telling him He was willing to.  (Matthew 8:3 NIV)
Jesus saw value in that suffering man, even though the world at large did not. Actions speak louder than words, so first Jesus reached out and touched this poor soul, feeding him who suffered from "touch starvation."


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." 
(Matthew 5:3 NIV)

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 18:3 NIV)

God gives us what we need, even when we're crying, and don't know how to ask for what we need. I love that about You, God!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NATURAL BEAUTY


I've been surrounded by much beauty this Spring--as a novice gardener, I'm thrilled to see my nervous rose pruning efforts have paid off! Coupled with rose food, there is a plethora of blooms, from the rose bushes and rose trees planted by my home's previous owner.

I feel closer to God when I'm outside, tidying up the garden. It dawned on me one day, how kind it is of God to give us natural aromatherapy! There's a whole industry centered around the healing that flower essences provide. I feel that when I'm deeply inhaling and enjoying a flower's fragrance-I'm partaking of that rose's "purpose" and receiving with gratitude, the gift of God as revealed in that single rose. Because of that one rose-- I have become a little bit more whole, I feel! 

The same can be said of my two munchkins, that died so young. The world may not have partaken of their unique beauty which engulfed all senses. But I did. And their influence on me, continues to this day, and will forever. Their beauty has helped to shape me, into something better.

 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (NIV Eccl 3:1) 

One of those "activities" I believe, is to be "restored" after we physically die. (The words, 

                                  "God of Restoration" 

was given to me by the Holy Spirit while hospitalized, I feel, to comfort me after the wreck. The longer I've been on this bereavement journey, the more I see how accurate this depiction is!)

Restoration of Beauty, seems to be a prevalent theme in many people's near-death experiences. Usually there is much beauty beyond the entrance gates. (I never got that far when I had my near-death experience!) 

One Bible verse that always reminds me of beauty restored after physical death, is this one:

     "He has made everything beautiful in its time." (NIV Eccl 3:11)

A single rose petal is a fantastic creation from God. But I feel that when a rose is "whole"...it is even more spectacular. I feel that when all of our brokenness is mended by God, and He restores us to wholeness, then we too, will be even more spectacular...(like our transitioned children already are!) in our time.


Friday, March 4, 2016

MISSING LOVED ONES





What does it really mean... to grieve as those who have no hope?


"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." (1 Thess. 4:13)

To me, this means--bottom line--that I don't have to be consumed by grief...because my deceased children... are still alive. As I write, I think of that old saying, 

"Where there's life...there's hope!"

I sometimes have a hard time, when I occasionally take a punch in the gut, after people seem to imply that because I can feel joy again, I do not miss my children any longer. As if there was some kind of proportional ratio, in terms of feeling "love" and feeling "loss".

I like to think of surviving the temporary physical loss of my transitioned child, like this:

If I knew my child had to be away...yet was wildly happy (maybe on a prolonged 'round the world cruise? or madly in love with an uber-wealthy sheik who hated travel? or perhaps my child is spreading her wings abroad--and not coming back until having traversed all continents?) ... as a Mom, in these instances, I could still survive this separation, right? 

Hopefully, my child and I could still have verbal contact--but even without that--I could still feel pretty balanced. Just knowing that they were happy and enjoying themselves (and of course, "Alive!") would be enough for me, and those positives would overwhelmingly counter the negatives.   

Having a child away all summer at a summer camp that she loves. What mother feels incapable of continuing on with life... because of that? How does a true Believer stay in agony--for years still--if she truly believes that she will be reunited in time with her child...someone who is currently enjoying Ecstasy beyond understanding? 

Would I miss my child during this prolonged absence? Yes! Would I continue to love my child as much as before her absence? Yes! Yet the "missing" would not be the same kind of missing that it would be, if she were absent from me and I perceived her as utterly miserable. (I'm thinking, for example, of abducted children or married children in domestic abuse situations.)

I certainly do continue to love and miss my Lisa and Michael. But I am not overwrought with unrelenting sadness any longer. Over time, I've realized the gains they have from having left this planet and gone to Paradise, far outweigh the negative of our temporary (although yes, initially excruciatingly painful) physical separation. 

And over time, I stopped feeling so badly they had to leave here/me. Because (through God's help) I truly believe it is SO MUCH BETTER where they are now. The longer I live, the more myself and others experience loads of pain and problems, that we have to suffer through with God's help.  It is painfully clear to me... that this is not Paradise here! 

Eventually I'll get to join Michael and Lisa, when it is my time to leave this body of pain and place of turmoil and trouble...this place that is not our Homeland. 

"Homeland Security"...there really is no such thing on earth apart from Jesus. That is a key component of our eternal  residence though..."Homeland Security" in our actual Homeland--which is definitely not earth--but is Heaven aka Paradise.

Jesus' apostles wouldn't have gotten very far in spreading Christianity, if they were consumed by missing the now departed Jesus. After His Resurrection, He did eventually, again, physically leave them. 

There was a difference in their grieving his physical absence, this second time around though...they now had Hope! They knew with certainty that He was STILL ALIVE. 

Not everybody was lily white, that had new hope in Jesus. Brazen Disciple Peter... denied Jesus not once...but three times; and this, not terribly long after he'd just said he'd die for Him! But that huge, human mistake, didn't stop Peter from looking forward to being forever reunited with Jesus. Because he intimately knew the power of Jesus' forgiveness, and he did not let his past shortcomings prevent his anticipatory joy. 

Because our children, like Jesus, are still alive! we can have hope. Because even if we think we can't do something...God thinks we can! He can strengthen our faith in Him, if we but just ask Him!

I don't expect those that are new on the grief journey, to embrace this concept AT ALL. In fact, when I was newly bereaved, I couldn't care less what anyone else further along the journey had to say, about their experience of child loss and their ideas of the Afterlife. What did they know, I thought. They're not me. Just go away and leave me alone in my misery. 

I think my blog posts are probably more for those who have been able to come up for air. Those who aren't being pummeled back down--again and again--and barely able to survive, much less think of anything positive about their child going to Heaven. I think otherwise, I'm probably singing peppy songs to those who are still in the mournful dirge mood. Probably annoying.

After more than 30 years on this journey, I "do not grieve as those who have no hope", but I do still miss them--and of course--still love them. It's just that the pain of their loss is now replaced overwhelmingly, with ever-increasing awareness, of their newfound joy, excitement and their very much "ALIVENESS"! Thanks be to God, Who strengthens us daily to bear our burdens, as only He can do. 

Grief transformed, is like the hard hyacinth bulbs that I  planted months ago--so far below the ground--I never thought they'd ever pop up. But they did! And now they rise ever higher and higher, gentle and fragile... yet strong at the same time.The gentle caress of sun and moisture--life giving-elements--causing them to bloom into such fragrant beauties, that they delight my whole being. This is what God's tender care of us, and our steadfast faith in what is unseen can do for us...it can give us "Life-Saving" HOPE!

Donna

Monday, February 29, 2016

LOOKS ARE DECEIVING

(This portrait photo of Lisa was taken just two weeks before she was killed in the wreck. I am actually behind Lisa's wooden chair--helping to hold her steady. Now transitioned, Lisa is behind the scenes...helping to prop me up!)





March 1st, my daughter Lisa would have turned 32 years old. It seems mind boggling to me, because she was all of nine and a half months old when she went to be with Jesus (along with big brother Michael and also Dad.)

A friend told me recently, that her daughter was 31 years old--noting the similar ages of our daughters.  Immediately I found myself excitedly and impulsively, asking her an impossible to answer question--(noting our difference).

"What's it like... having a 31 year old daughter?"  

I could only think of positive things. Instead-- I heard how little she got to see her daughter, since her daughter had several kids. You can imagine how I inwardly cringed. I recall telling God  I'd give away all I owned, just for one more second with my daughter (son and hubby).

Appearances can be so very deceiving. That's why, since the wreck happened, I've grown to love the season of Spring. What appears completely dead...miraculously starts to bud and bloom into amazing lushness, once again. We have been fooled! It wasn't dead at all...just waiting to be transformed into something very beautiful. 

I have a vine that wraps around an arched trellis in my backyard. The first Spring after I moved in, I really thought that vine was dead, as I saw absolutely no signs of life anywhere on it. 

I've found I've got to be careful who I ask, about what is alive and what it isn't. The first person I consulted, was an inexperienced yard care person. He assured me the vine was indeed, quite dead. Wanting one more reassurance before it was yanked out, I asked his boss the same question, the following week. 

"No! It's not dead!" 

he told me, pointing out a tiny sliver of green nobody else had noticed. 

And that summer, the vine looked more lush than ever.  It was so full of green leaves and shoots vying for the sun, that my windows were shaded from the overhang. I had to periodically trim that vine back so that it did not become completely unruly, due to its massiveness.

All around us in Spring, what looks lifeless... slowly comes back to life and vitality. To me--it's God's way of reassuring us--that our deceased mortal bodies--merely appear dead. And just like Nature...our bodies will once again, return to beauty and vibrancy and abundance. 

It's not true that my Lisa is dead. She is alive in Paradise! The essence of who she really is, her spiritual energy,  can never die.  (God's) "Law of Conservation of Energy" specifically states that, 

"Energy is transformed and can never die"...!

I try not to dwell on what I "don't" have with Lisa now. To survive the long haul, I've had to shift dramatically-(with the help of Jesus) into believing what I know is coming, but just hasn't arrived yet. I've had to believe in "Lisa's Season of Transformation". 

I miss you Lisa... but I won't let myself "go" there, because nothing good ever comes from my dwelling on the reality of my physical loss. Good things have come to you now Lisa. God things. Dwelling on your new life and beauty is what helps and sustains me, until we meet again.

Happy Birthday, my dear, dear daughter. I love you, little Lisa Leprechaun girl. When we finally, blessedly meet again, I'll have a lot of catching up with you  to do! Lots of new growth and renewal will take place. See you soon!


Love you always,

Mommy

Monday, February 15, 2016

WORDS ARE POWER-FULL




Today was my first class on improving brain fitness, taken for personal enrichment. As an intro, my teacher was all over the concept of how we "create" who we are. Our genetics, and upbringing etc, are all contributing factors...but it is how we incorporate all of those things--that make us who we are. We decide, ultimately. We are who we make ourselves to be. 

She told us that words have a powerful impact on us. How, if we continually tell ourselves "I can't "  or "I will never"--how we will live up to that self-imposed restriction. Because our mind affects our body and will create what we envision for ourselves. In this case, not a good thing.

I immediately started thinking of my fellow bereaved, who are, unfortunately, constantly telling themselves that it is impossible to recover from child bereavement.  This, of course, is so understandable, and my heart goes out to them.  Unfortunately though, to feel that way-- and to continually verbalize that--is a dangerous thing I feel. It can get harder and harder to get out of the downward spiral, because one is constantly reinforcing an idea. 

What I've learned today in class, is just how damaging it is, to continually tell yourself you can not do something...because we're hard-wired to "create" ourselves.  

This afternoon I was browsing through a catalog and saw this written on an item: 


                               Life isn’t about FINDING yourself
                               Life is about CREATING yourself

Maybe it was serendipity, because this was exactly what our teacher was telling my class today, in essence. I think the last line might better read, "CREATING your self. 

Our wonderful Lord said, "Nothing is impossible with God."  (Luke 1:37) We just have to have a tiny mustard seed size of faith--to accomplish what we think is impossible. Just a fervent desire to change our "stinkin thinkin', is a powerful thing.

Let the bereaved who feel there is "no hope" of ever recovering from child bereavement, start telling themselves they can, because you and God constitute a majority... and majority always rules! To repeat my teacher's words again, "Words are powerful!" Let's use them to our advantage. This life is hard enough--we don't need to make it any harder for ourselves!

Your sister in Christ,

Donna

Monday, January 18, 2016

SHELTER FOR ALL CREATION

                                          



                                       "I found it shelter to speak to you."  
                                                                 Emily  Dickinson

I fell in love with this quote from Emily Dickinson, when I found it the other day. To me, it also is indicative of how I feel, when I pour out my heart to Jesus. So many Christians think they have to word everything "just so" when talking with Jesus. I think they forget, that we are considered as "friends" of Jesus. 

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
(John 15:15 NIV)

When I'm with a close friend, I do not feel the need to "speak" a certain way. It's ok to just talk to Jesus as you would an old friend. Because that is exactly what He is... A friend, who has known us our entire life; something I definitely felt when experiencing my Near Death Experience.  (After the wreck that transitioned my family instantly to Heaven.).

After suffering a devastating loss, emotions are going to run high. There isn't any greater loss than child bereavement.  Many of our friends are uncomfortable with this, and will avoid us. Thankfully though, we have Someone who will never, ever turn away from us when we're in deep suffering, and need to talk. Even if we don't word things "just right"... He understands our intention and motivation. He can take it when we dish it out. He knows all of the deep-rooted reasons why we do what we do, or say things the way we say them...and He never stops loving us in spite of it all.

God is so much bigger than I ever realized. I find my understanding of this, growing each year that I'm still on this planet. His healing and compassion embraces all of His creatures...not just humans.

The other day, I was riding my bike up a steep hill on the road's bike lane,  and noticed a young woman on the sidewalk next to me, walking her German Shepherd dog. She was walking toward me, and I soon noticed something about her dog. He was cowering. Unfortunately, I reached the point on the hill where I needed to now get off my bike and walk it the last bit. I really felt sorry for this dog, because now it was terrified of me. 

A terrified, cowering German Shepherd. This breed is so well known for their fearless acts of bravery and heroism...what happened to this poor dog? 

I put a big smile on my face and sounded out a quiet, yet friendly "Hi!" to the young woman--mostly in an effort to reduce the fearfulness of her dog. I've noticed in the past, that dogs visibly relax when I do this.

What a wonderful God we have! As a firm believer that animals also have hope and a future...the future would hold a healing for this dog. It dawned on me, that animals that have suffered emotional wounds--just like humans do--will also be "freed from their infirmity"--just like humans will be in Heaven.

...When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman you are set free from your infirmity."
(Luke 13:12 NIV)

God is extravagantly compassionate, merciful and generous. Therefore I have every reason to believe, that these qualities are not limited to humans, and this greatly suffering German Shepherd, will be freed one day from all his fearfulness...

...Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise," says the Lord,  "I will set him in the safety for which he longs." says the Lord. 
(Psalm 12:5 New American Standard)

I can't help but say it again..."What a wonderful God we have!"


                           
                                     

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


                           

                     
          


"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

I'm currently in the process of writing down as many of the wonderful ways that God has helped me during my lifetime. I'm hoping to "self-publish" a short book via Amazon, and my end-goal, is to donate all the profits (hoping there'll be some!) to a charity the feeds the hungry ("Food for the Hungry"). I'll probably wait to write new blog posts, until this little project is accomplished! I'm in the process of editing, and think I've got the lion's share already done.

I'm sharing a quote that I recently came across, and really like it. I think it's a good thought to share on this first day of 2016…




"We are to each other either a fragrant rose or a piercing thorn."  

                                        
(Thomas a Kempis)   



May we all find that 2016 enables us to grow in the love and knowledge (usually in reverse order!) of our wonderful friend and Saviour…Jesus Christ.

 Cheers!
                        

Donna




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