Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

(Helen H. Lemmel, 1922. It was inspired by a tract entitled Focused, written by the missionary Isabella Lilias Trotter. Also titled: Heavenly Vision)

Fuller version:

“How easy it becomes even for those of us who profess to be faithful followers of Christ to get caught up in the “things of earth,” so that our heavenly vision and values become blurred and dull. This often happens even when we are active in our Christian activities, we become so involved in merely doing things for God that we miss the real blessing of enjoying the personal fellowship of Christ Himself in our daily lives.”  – Women of Christianity

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

A Different Type of Anniversary

Today will be a personal day of reflection for me. Twenty-four years ago today, my life here was almost ended. I had been ‘sitting’ on a letter that had arrived in the mailbox addressed to my then husband. It was a common practice for us to open one another’s mail, so it was not out of the ordinary for me to open this one. The letter, however, was anything but ‘ordinary’.

It was from a woman whose name I did not recognize. To describe the contents as flirtatious would be an understatement. I knew if I mentioned this letter, all hell would break loose. I was able to restrain myself for a couple of days from mentioning it, but this day I could keep silent no longer. So, I simply asked the now ‘ex’ if he knew a woman by this name. The reaction was greater than I had feared.

He had been down in the basement when I asked from upstairs thinking I was at a ‘safe’ distance. Not so. He came flying up those steps yelling how he was not going to be put through ‘twenty questions’ and proceeded to chase after me as I attempted to flee. As I ran into the kitchen with him closing the gap, he reached into the silverware drawer and took out a large knife. He grabbed hold of my arm and swung me backwards over the kitchen chair. At that moment, my only thought was: ‘so this is how it ends’. I could feel myself beginning to black-out and as he lowered his arm with knife in hand to my throat, my sixteen year old came charging in yelling: “What the ‘F’ are you doing to my Mother??” My eldest saved my life that day.

The yelling by the then husband was such that I don’t to this day remember a single word…I only recall the angry tone of it all. Cupboard doors were being slammed while I simply laid on the floor having fallen off the back of the chair completely dazed. It was a month later when I awoke to tubes down my throat after an attempted suicide because of the traumatized state I was in.

For approximately a year, I re-lived that traumatic event frequently. Whenever the memory returned of that near fateful night, I found myself grabbing onto a doorway as if clinging for my life. It wasn’t until the Church I attended had a convention that I was set free. I had received prayer and was laying on the floor not far from the podium. Over one thousand people showed up that night to hear the Pastor and his wife who were visiting from a Church in Toronto.  When I looked up and my eyes focused on this Pastor’s wife, she looked directly at me and pointed her finger at me with a huge grin on her face. I immediately went out under the power of the Holy Spirit and then had a vision. It began with the memory of my ex coming at me with that knife in his hand. But this time, something changed dramatically. As the knife came down toward my throat, Jesus appeared between me and him. My Lord raised his hand and the knife went into His nail hole. From that moment on, I never had to cling to a doorway again when I recalled that event. I had been instantly healed from the trauma. God had also saved my life that night.

I know some don’t believe in such things, but this is what occurred.

So today is a reminder for me of a horrific and traumatizing event which is overshadowed by the miracle healing power of God. All the pain of that night has been forgotten, having been replaced by the memory of God’s divine Love, protection, and intervention. Today I remember the awesomeness of my God. Today I embrace His Peace which surpasses all understanding. Today I rest in His peace knowing for certain that all my sorrows and tribulations will one day cease with the assurance that all my tears He will personally wipe from my face. There is no sorrow, no abuse, no trauma beyond what He can heal. I can try and heal myself by clinging to doorways, or I can expect God’s healing to intervene making me whole again. I prefer the latter. I shall stand and watch the deliverance of my God.

2 Chronicles 20: (NASB)

17 You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.”

Image result for god fighting battle photo

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

Tetherball & the Prodigal

“The game ends when one player manages to wind the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope.” (Wikepedia)

Years ago, I played this game and enjoyed it. The problem though is that I still play it from time to time on a relational level with both God and with my Prodigal. Instead of  playing ‘Catch’, the ball bounces back and forth until it ties itself around a pole and essentially stops. I don’t really like ending the game this way.

Many of us who have lost a child to death will fear losing another. Before we buried our  child, we felt like most do who have not…that such a tragedy only happens to ‘the other guy’. Once we have experienced this trauma, we now know that such things don’t always happen to someone else and we are very much aware that it can happen again. In fact, there are many in the Grief Community that have tragically lost more than one child.

When we have a ‘Prodigal’, the pain is very real and very heartbreaking. It’s difficult to share our heartache even among the grieving because there is still Hope that the Prodigal may return for they still live and breathe. This is true. However, it can still be extremely heart-wrenching when our child has cut off all communication with us. To some degree, they are dead to us even though they live (Luke 15:24). We grieve for them, for the loss of our relationship with them, for their complete absence from our lives. We love them deeply and miss them horribly. We worry, we pray, we wait. At least when we can still play ‘catch’, there still exists a back and forth. But when all communication has been cut off, it’s the end of everything as in Tetherball.

I have played Tetherball with my God, too. There are times when He has tried to show me something in advance to prepare me for what’s coming and instead of me ‘catching’ it, I have allowed it to wrap around a pole and walked away from it as in ‘game over’. About one month before my Prodigal cut off all communication and I was kicked out of her life, there was a Scripture that seemed to be popping up everywhere. I’d receive it in some article in my email, I would happen to read it in my Bible, someone else would post it on line. I’d see it, it got my attention each time, but I refused to ‘catch’ it. I didn’t like it and so I made a conscious effort to walk away from it. God was doing His part by throwing it at me, but I’d let it wrap itself around a pole and ignore it. The Scripture was:

Matthew 10:37 (NKJV)

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

I don’t like that Scripture. My life has revolved around my children. After having been barren for seven years, having endured four pregnancy losses, my children that survived became my treasure in life. They became first in my life and in my heart. There were times when Jesus said things in the Scriptures that caused folks to turn away and stop following Him (John 6:66). (As a side note, yes, I just took note of the ‘666’ in that verse…but I digress). How could God possibly say to me: ‘he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me’ after all I had endured to simply have my children? Then my twenty year old son was killed on top of everything else. Was I now to place God before those I still had left? But we can’t cherry pick with the Word of God. We can’t embrace only the verses that we like and that make us feel good, while ignoring the rest. And turning away from my Lord was/is not an option for me, no matter what.

So, He was trying to prepare me for what was to come, and I walked away each time pretending not to hear. Then it happened. My Prodigal shut the door…no…SLAMMED the door shut. Within five days the stress overtook me. The first week I was unable to raise or lower my head without using my hands to do so. It was as if my head had become a bowling ball attached to a string of spaghetti called my neck. The pain was excruciating. I could not find relief. I couldn’t turn my head even while lying in bed. No pain pills even made a dent in the pain. Though after the initial week I was able to move somewhat, this continued on for three months. The following three months were a bit better and I no longer had to use my hands, but I still had to hold my head straight for the slightest wrong move would have me again reeling in agonizing pain. After six months, it finally let up. For a few days, I had complete relief. Then, my ear began hurting. After two weeks, the pain of that became so severe that I went to the ER. They gave me anti-biotics and flushed my ear until the ceiling was spinning. After one week, I returned to the ER because the pain had only increased. They placed me on a stronger anti-biotic along with ear drops. Within another five days, the pain increased even more. I called the ER because at this point all I could do is lay in bed and cry. In addition, Vertigo set in. The slightest wrong move and the room was spinning out of control to the point that I was clutching my mattress to hold on for fear of flying off my bed. The ER said there was nothing more they could do for me and referred me to a specialist.

The specialist discovered three things: 1- I had an outer ear infection; 2- I had an inner ear infection in the same ear which I was told was quite uncommon; 3- I was allergic to the ear drops I was prescribed. She first addressed the vertigo by performing the Epley Maneuver. It took two strong women to hold me down and everyone out in the waiting room heard my screams as I pleaded with the women to not let go of me. I was certain I was going to spin like a ‘top’ right out into space as they gently turned my head from one side to the other. I did finally recover over the following couple of weeks though it took about a month for my hearing to return for I had lost that, too, in the process.

Yes, having a Prodigal can cause us great pain on many levels. I finally caught the ball the Lord was wanting me to catch. I said ‘Yes, Lord’ and placed Him first. I received some texts and calls from my Prodigal finally, but they were beyond mean, they were quite cruel. As a result of being told that I was going to have another dead child and it would be all my fault, I emailed my Prodigal and said: “I love you and always will, but good-bye…please do not contact me again”. OMG! What had I done??? Another Momma who had buried two and was also dealing with a Prodigal encouraged me and called it: ‘Tough Love”. Yes…tough on me. But it was done; I had drawn the line in the sand after being told I would have another dead child. I stopped playing catch with my Prodigal and started playing catch with my Lord.

That was three months ago.

Just a couple of days ago, I received a text from my Prodigal…the first contact in three months. It said: ‘I love you, Mom’. I received others, as well. She is now facing possible skin cancer as moles on her front and back have become deformed. Reconciliation is in process and we shall face whatever lies ahead… together… allowing God to be first in both of our hearts. All prayers are gratefully welcomed.

Image result for mother daughter playing catch photo

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

 

‘The Tortoise and the Hare’

My dad was truly a brilliant and gifted individual. He was a full time officer, finishing his service as a Lieutenant Detective. He was also a full time Teacher at an all boys private High School at which he taught eighteen different subjects, including Latin and German. He even worked twelve hours on Saturdays as a butcher with his dad who was also an officer. Workaholic? Most likely. I inherited his ambitions to be productive with my time. Work has often allowed me an escapism, but it has also permitted me a Grace period to work through my grieving process at my own pace.

He was always ‘teaching’ for he was a truly gifted teacher. He did not do so for any financial reward for in his day such a career earned doodley squat. His attitude was honorable. He sincerely believed that if a student was not learning, he was at fault. He never blamed the student. He saw it as his responsibility to convey whatever lesson needed to be taught. He never gave up on anyone learning because he refused to give up on himself.

He had some quirky ways of remembering things that often left me somewhat perplexed. One of them was his saying: ‘De-feet went over De-fence before De-tail.’ What??? Well, translated he was stating: Defeat went over the fence before detail. Any clearer? If so, you’re a genius for I wrestled with this one for decades. I even passed it on to my eldest who was finally able to make sense of it and clarify it for me. I’ll leave you with the riddle without explanation. 🙂    (Hint: the importance of being detail oriented)

He also was a great story teller, especially when it came to nursery rhymes. He taught them in such a way that one’s wheels would have to grind away in contemplation in order to derive the true teaching behind the story. ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ was one of my favorites. He would often tell such stories when he perceived a need in me. If I was feeling as if I was falling short of some goal, out would come this particular tale. He used this vignette to encourage me.

Jesus loved to teach in parables. Perhaps, that is how my dad developed his style of teaching. Only those who truly desired to learn and understand, to see beyond how many fingers were being held up before one’s face, could. Such desire not only revealed one’s heart, but it also taught the recipient something they would never forget because they had such an invested interest in the learning of it. Sadly, such gifted teachers today are often few and far between. With the technological advancements, instead of working through mathematical equations in one’s mind, folks simply pull out a machine and push a few buttons. Machines now do our thinking for us. What a waste of so many beautiful minds. Like the old saying goes: ‘Use it or lose it’.

The tale of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ as taught to me, not only simply encouraged me when I felt as if I was falling behind in some way. It also taught me to not look upon outward appearances; it taught me not to compare myself or any personal achievements with those of others. It taught me there was no need for envy. Essentially, my dad was handing me a nugget of Wisdom:

2 Corinthians 10: (KJV)

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

We have a tendency to compare ourselves in our grieving process with the ‘progress’ of others. If we feel ‘stuck’ or as if we are not ‘healing’ or ‘recovering’ at the rate of others, we often fall into the trap of berating ourselves. In a world in which individuality is becoming a ‘bad’ word, and is being slowly eradicated while being replaced with ‘globalism’, we are losing a valuable gift from our Creator. The lost concept of us all being as individual as snowflakes, and the marvel of such being honored, is resulting in many negative ramifications. The world is always a copy-cat of the things of God, but never succeeds for it is always only an imitation. Personally, I prefer the real thing.

The Scriptures teach a beautiful balance between being ‘One’, and being uniquely individuals. We who follow the Christ know we are all parts of One Body. At the same time, our gifts all differ and the form in which those gifts are manifested differ, as well. Contrary to this is the way in which the world desires ‘oneness’. We are now taught in rote rather that having the beauty of individual thought and perspective. If a person does not express their grief in the same manner as others, they are often ostracized. It goes against today’s concept of globalism and of ‘oneness’ in thought. Rather than honor, respect, and embrace uniqueness which grants us the appreciation of such and the ability to learn and grow from one another, often we discover the majority all stuck in the same quicksand. Instead of valuing the differences, there is an attempt to force folks to choose a ‘camp’ and remain in it. Ingenuity is discouraged and in process of being destroyed.

“The race is not to the swift” (Eccl. 9:11). The race is won by remaining focused, traveling at our own pace, persevering, enduring, being steadfast, and never giving up. And so it is with our individual grief journey. Those that desire to race ahead will eventually wear themselves out from the stress that accompanies such. The pressure often from those not on this journey to ‘move on’, ‘get over it’, etc., is simply their own desire for grievers to be as they are…without grief. But a tortoise cannot make himself a hare. The only thing that matters when all is said is done is that we finish the race.

Acts 20:24b (VOICE)

“The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.”

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

Cave Dweller to Warrior

I have spent most of my life remaining silent, hiding, living in a sheltered cave. I wasn’t doing so out of any fear, though the threat of being hit did loom. I was simply, what was often referred to as, an ‘introvert’. I observed; I took note. If I was confronted, however, with wrong doing… I never backed down. That earned for me a reputation as being ‘feisty’.

After my son’s demise, that ‘feisty fight’ was burned out of me. Nothing came close to comparing with his death which motivated me, or spurred on the energy necessary, to take a stand for much of anything any more. So, back to my cave I withdrew. I stayed there for many years. Nothing was worth the hassle; nothing was worth the ‘drama’. The worst had occurred; how could anything else truly matter? But then I entered the world of ‘social media’, and what a world I have discovered it to be. For whatever reason, loneliness I suppose, I dived in with both feet instead of my head. I was so grateful to find others who knew how I felt, who grasped the immense pain in which I abode.

But it wasn’t long before the attacks ensued. They first began because of my Christian beliefs and because from time to time I would share Scriptures with others. I had spent years alone with my Lord, literally in the wilderness, so His Word brought me much comfort. I wanted to share such comfort with other broken souls. I also had the background of being a Pastor’s wife and running numerous women’s Bible studies. Having had lived a very sheltered life, I was clueless about many things. Sadly, I really didn’t know how mean and cruel some people were capable of being. I was completely crushed by the initial attacks. I could not for the life of me understand how some folks could be so cruel and so cold, especially with broken hearts. Naive? Perhaps…or just plain innocent of such things on many levels. Oh, I knew they existed. I had read about such cruel folk in the Bible. But to actually meet them, even if only on line, was truly a ‘rude awakening’.

I have shed many tears as a result of this additional grief shoveled upon me on some sites. Some very kind Grievers who saw what was occurring, came alongside of me and stood with me against any foe. They tried to ‘wake me up’ to this new harsh reality I was encountering. I guess I’m simply a slow learner. Actually, though, there is something inside of me that simply does not want to accept that folks can be so mean-spirited. Gratefully, one Momma shared with me something I ended up incorporating and even writing about in my articles and Book. She told me simply to: “Pull the weeds to make room for the beautiful flowers”.  I contemplated this thought on many an occasion. I have had to find balance in it; I didn’t want to tear out the flowers along with the weeds.

Then, I wrote my book. Again, I naively thought that if I could pass on something, anything, that may possibly lighten another’s grief journey or help them to cope, all the work and sleepless hungry nights will have been worth it. Surprise, Surprise! Again, I received the unexpected and unanticipated. The attacks increased…multiplied. I was shunned by some, others criticized and judged, still others saw me as some sort of ‘competitor’. Another very ‘rude awakening’ pummeled me. Again, I was crushed and had to start the process all over again. I began to see God’s hand in much of it. Not as the causation, but rather as a Teacher. Slowly, my eyes were opened. Some things I have seen have not been welcomed, but seen nevertheless. I simply cannot ‘not’ observe. It’s ingrained in me, in who I am. Then God began to use such things to transform me. Slowly, over time, He has been reconstructing me. It’s been a gradual metamorphose. He has been reshaping me from a cave dweller into a warrior.

No longer shall I bury myself in my tears, though tears I shall shed; no longer shall I cower and withdraw into my cave. I have been evicted. No longer need I concern myself with lack of strength, for upon His Strength I shall depend. So, I am placing folks on notice. When you attack, I shall respond. I shall confront and expose you and your dastardly deeds whenever and however possible. I shall do so in love, truly. In regards to the ‘Brethren’, I shall rebuke, exhort, reprove and admonish at every turn as instructed to do by my King (2 Timothy 4:2). For those not under Grace but have chosen to remain under the Law, they shall be addressed as such.

That’s it, Folks…plain, simple, and to the point. It’s not a threat, it’s a warning. I stand ready and am simply blowing the trumpet. Boot camp is over.

Psalms 118:6

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

Image result for blowing the trumpet photo

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

 

 

 

Grief That Can Be Ugly

Image may contain: flower and text (by Narin Grewal, used with permission…please visit her site for more beautiful ‘memes/graphics’)

When I began on Grief Sites sixteen months ago, I truly believed I was entering a community of broken vessels much like myself. I had no expectations; I did believe all were struggling like myself and had soft broken hearts. What I did not expect is meeting up with some that have hearts harder than stone. One of the very first articles I ever wrote and later published in my book is the one in which I compared King David and Pharaoh. Both had sons that died, in fact, David buried two. The difference in their reaction and behaviour that followed their tragedies is as different as night and day.

King David never became bitter. He cried out to God and grieved with heartfelt cries and pleas, but he never blamed God nor became mean-spirited in response. Pharaoh, on the other hand, became mean and spiteful as he pursued God’s people to kill them all. He wanted vengeance, and his heart was overflowing with hatred. Both men were Dads, both buried children, both chose their reaction and response to their Grief. Truly, as Narin so grandly stated above: “Grief doesn’t change you…it reveals you”.

This is quite different from the many posts we often find that tell grievers they are forever changed by their tragedy. It is of my opinion, that Narin’s statement is much more honest and to the point. It’s not that we have ‘changed’, it is that Grief has brought to the surface things which already existed within. Another Momma told me a few months ago that if a person was a mean person before they buried their child, they may very well still be a mean person afterward. It truly boggled my mind when she told me that. I could not fathom how a person who has lost their greatest treasure could not be changed to a softer and more compassionate person as a result. It is still very difficult for me to comprehend all of this.

When my ex-husband’s second wife died, I felt absolutely nothing. I was very puzzled by this. I have known many in my lifetime that have gone ahead. Even those I have not known, upon hearing of their demise I always felt some degree of sadness. But in this particular case, I felt absolutely nothing one way or another. One day, while I was driving down the road I stopped at a neighbor’s because he was out mowing his lawn. We chatted a bit, then I told him about this woman’s demise and my confusing reaction to it. He told me: “Just because a person died, doesn’t make them a good person”. That hit me like a brick. I just never thought of that. I’m facing a similar dilemma now. Can it be true that if a parent has buried a child, that doesn’t make them a better person?

And now I cry.

If someone has buried their precious and most Beloved, and yet still has a heart of stone?? Well, I’m sorry, but I do not get that… and I’m glad I don’t.

If what Narin has stated is true, and I happen to believe it is, the beautiful become more beautiful…and the ugly become uglier. It’s not that anyone has changed; it’s that what they kept hidden deeply within themselves all along has been revealed. The mask has been ripped off almost violently. The good-hearted ones become better; the bad-hearted ones become bitter. I’m sure that somewhere in the midst of it all, choice is still possible. I have to believe that folks can always choose to become better and more compassionate people because of their great heartache, or they can choose to harden so as to avoid feeling anything for anyone…including themselves. But what a terrible waste if one chooses the latter. Their excruciating pain, their horrific loss, has taught them nothing. They are walking through the valley of the shadow of death with no light in sight. They have no Hope. They themselves are the walking dead.

It truly is my prayer for all who grieve that they choose Love…not hate. That we all allow our deep deep sorrow to soften our hearts. That we become people with great compassion for all who are suffering no matter what the cause may be. Personally, I do not know how much more I can bear in seeing the ‘Grief That Can Be Ugly’. Who desires to stare into the abyss? For one, not I.

(My comments on Narin’s statement are not to be assumed to be her POV).

2 Corinthians 1: (VOICE)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles.

 

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

Writing My Grief

I have never been much of a chatterer; I have always been more of a listener. As a child, because I was often left alone for days at a time, I had no one to talk to except my God. There was no other human being with whom I could converse. I was also raised in a time in which adults often stated: ‘Children are to be seen and not heard’. In my thirties, I was trained to be a good listener and I worked in the field of ‘listening’ as a counselor. Though I listened well to many over the years, when it was my time to speak I had no one to turn to. I felt invisible most of my life. I was the typical ‘lost child’ in a very dysfunctional home.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Ernest Hemingway

Approximately one year ago, I began to write. I had never been disciplined enough to keep a journal or a diary. The few attempts I had made to do so over the years were quickly abandoned. I had not anticipated the hurdles I have encountered once I did begin to write articles to express my Grief. I had never expected the opposition and outright attacks I became confronted with by doing so. Once my book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ had been released, the intensity of the attacks increased. Nevertheless, I continued. I had finally discovered a way to express myself, my pain. I prayed about doing so and I essentially told my Lord that I would continue as long as even one person seemed to benefit from what I shared in black and white.

“I will promise you this. Your favorite story, whatever it might be was written for one reader.”

– Character of Brian from movie 5 to 7

When I was unsure of what to write about, always something would ‘pop-out’ making a topic apparent. I would have no idea as to what I would say; I simply prayed as I wrote and just kept on writing until my mind went blank. That is how I knew I had completed an article. There were times when I did not want to write about certain things. Either I knew some folks would not receive it with open arms, or I knew the pain I would have to personally get in touch with and embrace in order to write about a certain matter.

“The thing you are most afraid of to write…write that.” Nayyirah Waheed

There are days when nothing presents itself. At such moments, I question whether or not I have ‘Writer’s Block’, or if it’s simply a day of rest. I have often prayed to know whether or not this season of writing has come to a close. Yet, I have continued to write because it is my way of communicating to the outside world what is on my heart at the moment. We all express our thoughts, our pain, in different ways. Writing has become a ‘safe’ way for me to do so. I appreciate the comments I do receive because we all need feedback. Without that feedback, I might as well go back to simply talking to myself and my Lord alone. Though I am comfortable in doing so because it has been essentially ‘the story of my life’, receiving feedback encourages me. It helps me to know that I am not alone. When someone comments that what I wrote was exactly what they needed to hear that day, tears form. Such feedback is its own reward. It confirms for me that I was hearing God correctly; it tells me that there was purpose in what I wrote. I have come to understand that writing can be a wonderful blessing, howbeit so painful, at times. Because of the countless times I have read and re-read the poems my son has left behind, I have learned to ‘read behind the lines’. I understand now the words written by the Author, Bell Hooks:

“Writing is my passion. Words are the way to know ecstasy. Without them life is barren. The poet insists, language is a body of suffering and when you take up language you take up the suffering too. All my life I have been suffering for words. Words have been the source of the pain and the way to heal. Struck as a child for talking, for speaking out of turn, for being out of my place. Struck as a grown woman for not knowing when to shut up, for not being willing to sacrifice words for desire. Struck by writing a book that disrupts. There are many ways to be hit. Pain is the price we pay to speak the truth.”

If you are one who for whatever reason has found themselves imprisoned in silence, I pray you will grab that pen and paper or start clicking away at the keyboard. Writing can be a key to setting yourself free. If only one reader ‘gets it’, you have contributed and passed on something of value. Somehow, some way, your pain and grief has been transformed into a blessing to another. No price tag can be placed on such a gift.

20229275_1920022604919972_2339520099573068265_n

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))