Just for a Moment…

As I think back on our last family vacation together, I can’t help but ponder what was…what is.

I had made copies of the DVD of our last vacation and distributed the copies to my surviving children. Only one of them commented on it.

Twenty years have come and gone; for twenty years I have traveled this road; for twenty years I have mourned the absence of my son.

Though that DVD is now once again packed away in a drawer, I replay those moments from time to time. When I am alone late at night and all is quiet, I hear my son’s words. I was a mother hen with all of her beloved chicks; all of them different, all of them loved.

I can hear their laughter, untouched by pain; a laughter of innocence of which little remains. Yet, from time to time over this past Holiday Season there were moments in which I found droplets which have been sustained.

Yes, in a moment in time, all was forever changed.

In a moment, a life I knew, vanished surreally. For a moment, what appears to remain, is a DVD.

But, that is not true.

In Truth, a lifetime remains before that moment in time. Forever, it is etched upon our souls; forever, it is etched upon our hearts and it is there it shall remain…a moment in time.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498496728&HC_ISBN=
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

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

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

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There Wasn’t Time to Cry

I awoke this morning torn in pieces in my soul. For over thirty minutes, I wailed. I grieved. A memory had surfaced just before awakening which I hadn’t recalled since the ‘incident’ had occurred.

It was a Saturday morning back in the 80’s and I was on my way to an Art class at the college I had been attending. I still don’t recall the details of that morning and I can’t force them to surface. What I do recall is arriving at the class with my portfolio in hand, and whispering to the Instructor that I needed to speak with him. He had a very strict attendance requirement which was necessary to fulfill in order to receive the credits for that class. As I stood there with only one shoe on, I begged him to allow me to miss this one class on this particular day. At first, he wasn’t about to make any exceptions. But then, as he looked down and saw that I was missing a shoe, he granted his approval. Somehow, I had managed to drive to the college and walk the long distance from the parking lot to the class, portfolio in hand, with only one shoe on. I felt confused, desperate, humiliated, and battered in more ways than one. The memory remains painful.

I often say that my lifetime of abuse began at age four when my half-brother who was six years my elder began a period of three years of molestation. Actually, it began before age four. I had been sharing a bedroom with my sister who was the half-brother’s twin. My dad, my sister’s step-dad, would come into our room late at night and molest my sister. I learned at such an early age, perhaps two or three, how to disassociate. On such nights, I would barricade myself with abundant stuffed animals and escape into a fantasy land where I was loved. It was a little girl’s way of coping. Such coping mechanisms break down over time, especially when repressed memories surface, and new coping mechanisms must be found if one is going to continue to move forward. The surfacing of repressed memories can be traumatic because all of those ‘feelings’ are being felt for the very first time. A couple of women in a battered women’s support group which I began attending in the 80’s told me something that may have very well saved my life, my sanity. They emphatically told me repeatedly: “Remember it’s not happening now”.

Memories can be traumatizing; grief is traumatizing.

I didn’t have time to cry when such tragedies occurred in my life. Survival instincts kicked into overdrive and I had other pressing demands and responsibilities to attend to like the care of my other children. I also did not have a ‘safe place’ in which I could simply allow myself to ‘fall apart’. I wasn’t aware back then that when I started to fall that God would be faithful to catch me. So, I kept silent, repressed, and disassociated. But nothing ever goes away. Eventually, all Truth surfaces. Eventually, the sun comes out again and the light is shone into the darkness. At such times, we choose what direction to follow. Do we remain in the darkness with the pain and suffering or do we head toward the light for healing and to be cleansed?

We decide.

I had written some time ago about a speech I was to give on the topic: ‘Feelings are not always Facts’. I chose to begin my little speech with some levity to help break the ice. I honestly told this room full of people that I was scared, so scared that I had convinced myself that they were all about to reach into their bags and grab tomatoes to throw at me. They all chuckled, but quickly understood the point of the message I was about to relay. Though I overwhelmingly felt one way, the facts did not support my feelings.

When we bury a child, we feel utterly hopeless. Often, to combat these uncontrollable feelings, we search for concrete explanations. We will even choose to blame ourselves to give us the illusion, the feeling, that we could have done something to prevent this tragedy. Instead, what is needed, is a ‘safe place’ to fall apart in that ‘helplessness’.

Make time to cry. (((HUGS)))

Image result for women weeping photo

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498496728&HC_ISBN=
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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Yes, it is Christmas…

I wasn’t planning on being on line today. But, my heart was breaking for you all.

Times as these send a dichotomy of emotions pulsing through my veins.

On one hand, there is the excruciating pain of ‘missing’ & longing. On the other hand, there is the joy of gratefulness for without our Saviour’s birth and all that He endured for each and every one of us, we would be as those who grieve without Hope. At times, the two collide sending me into a frenzy which brings me to my knees.

All the memories that race through our thoughts of what was, and is no longer. The ‘loss’ is indescribable. It is true, we grieve because we loved…and still do.

There is an old saying: ‘Tis absense, however, that makes the heart grow fonder. (Miss Stickland, 1832).

My Love for my son has not decreased, it grows stronger ever day. The longing to be reunited with him intensifies beyond words.

I pray that our Blessed Saviour & Lord Jesus is near to each and every one of you for He truly promises: Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

I surely qualify. How about you?

It is at such times that I must cling to all of His promises, even if I am only holding on by a thread. I must trust Him when He says that all our tears shall be wiped away and all this pain, one day, will be forgotten. Every time I am brought to this crossroad, I must once again choose to believe. I find myself crying out: ‘Lord, help me with my unbelief’ and trust that He will. Though we stumble, we shall not fall. Even Jesus stumbled while carrying His Cross and needed one to come alongside Him for a time and help Him to carry His burden, There is no shame in stumbling.

Please know that you are never alone. He never forsakes us. He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us and His Angels to minister unto us. We weep with those who weep. When one member of His Body suffers, we all suffer. We are never ever alone.

Yes, I pray for us all, myself included, as we travel thru this dark tunnel until we see the light at its conclusion. Let us trust Him to carry us and give us His Grace to endure until the end. For there lies eternal light, Love, and grace. We SHALL see them again!

Jude 24-25

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

(((HUGS)))- Jude Gibbs

 

https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498496728&HC_ISBN&fbclid=IwAR0PTDL4dIYRTd0elIRlD9TUcbsMvD39lJsngUXk8wEPmpFNGHtXgRBdAik

 

Off Topic

Though I usually write about bereavement, abuse, etc., I feel the need to address a matter which I first heard about on the news yesterday. Apparently, for sixteen years Catholic scholars have been debating an issue regarding a translation in the Scriptures of the Lord’s Prayer in Mathew 6:

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

The proposed change would replace the line “lead us not into temptation” with “abandon us not when in temptation.”

When I first deliberated this change, I was focused on the new proposed wording and I thought that of course I would not want the Lord to abandon me when I am being tempted. The Lord does say that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5; DT. 31:6) though, so if I believe Him (which I do), then I can already be secure in His promise and really have no need to pray that He won’t abandon me.

With further consideration, I became more uncomfortable with this new proposed alteration of God’s Word and its translation. I am careful about which translation I use. When I began studying Scripture I had my ‘go-to’ Strong’s Concordance which enables one to look up every word in the Bible and find the original in Hebrew or Greek. It’s a marvelous tool for study. Though mine is quite worn with a few pages missing after 47 years, I still will refer to it from time to time when something comes into question.

Someone then shared with me this verse:

Matthew 4:1

(Satan Tempts Jesus)

 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Whoa! The Holy Spirit (God) led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted.

That stopped me in my tracks.

Yes, God Who led His only begotten Son into temptation may also lead us into temptation. So, following my logical process of inquiry, I had to ask: ‘Why would a loving God lead His children into temptation?’. Now we know we are never tempted by God (James 1:13-15), we are tempted by the devil, the enemy of our souls. However, He will allow us to be tempted:

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

So, what does He tell us here:

  1. All temptation is common
  2. He places a limit on all temptation
  3. He always provides a way to escape any temptation
  4. We are able to bear all temptation

I am of the belief that God does lead us into temptation, at times, just as He had led Jesus. However, satan is the one who actually does the tempting…never God Himself. When we are tempted, our freewill kicks into gear and we choose whether or not to succumb to the temptation or to obey God. Such strengthens us, if we make the right choice and choose God. We are being trained to be good soldiers. We learn how to put on the full armor of God when placed in battle as described in Ephesians 6:

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

I was somewhat disheartened in hearing Franklin Graham’s comment in regards to this matter. He stated that we should run away from the devil (as reported). I am hoping that he simply used poor wording at the time he was interviewed on this matter. Scripture states:

James 4:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

We are instructed to put on the full armor of God, standfast, and resist the devil. When we do so, he will flee from us. This is important because we need not be the ones who flee in fear. Quite the opposite. A child may fear water, but unless he enters a pool, etc., he will never learn how to swim and learning how to swim could save his life one day or that of another. (My apologies for using this example to anyone who has lost someone by drowning). Of course, we are not to be foolish and go looking for trouble and seeking out such battles. However, when they do arise as they most definitely do, we need not run. Rather, it is the devil who must and will flee from us.

Ephesians 6:11

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. .

1 Peter 5:9

Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

Yes, I will continue to pray: “do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.” while knowing that if God does lead me into temptation, He will provide for me an escape and will strengthen me when I look to Him for deliverance.

2 Timothy 2:

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

(((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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

 

Blindsided by 40

Folks often believe that a grieving parent should ‘move on’ after a certain amount of time. How long that period of time should be, is left to the observer. But burying a child simply doesn’t work that way.

I know the grief of losing a spouse, a parent, a sibling is very painful for many. I in no way wish to diminish such a loss in its intensity for I, too, have lost both parents, my only sister, a step-brother, and a spouse (through divorce) and the grief involved in all situations has varied.

I read an article earlier today by another Bereaved Mom who eloquently explained how the loss of her child is in a class all its own. She was spot-on.

Shortly after reading her article, I went to a site which was requesting parents to mention their child if they had a Birthday or Anniversary in December. As soon as I saw it, I immediately went to type my son’s name and that it will be his Birthday next month.

That is when I was blindsided.

As I typed in my son’s name and that he would be turning forty, the pain that gripped my soul took my breath away. I had to get off line… FAST! I had not anticipated nor expected this.

Forty, for many, is a milestone. It’s a step into middle age. But for me, my son is forever 20.

What would he look like now?

What would he be doing?

Would he have a loving wife? Beautiful children?

OMG! The pain is horrendous. My insides feel as if they have just been run through a shredder.

There is NO ‘getting over’ such a priceless loss as one’s child. Yes, with time, we do learn to carry this load with our head held high. We move forward with ‘life’ in general. We make whatever adjustments necessary to function in a place we sometimes no longer want to be in. We are forever torn in two with part of us wanting to continue our time here as ‘normal’ people do; while a part of us longs to be with our child. The dichotomy of such desires presents an ongoing challenge; it’s a never ending internal conflict.

I had hoped to write something about Thanksgiving this week. I wanted to express what I am grateful for in the midst of my grief for I am truly grateful for much. But, for the moment, I have had the rug pulled out from under me.

I know my God will set me upright again. He always has, so I know He will be Faithful to do so again. But, for the moment, I will cry, I will scream if I need to do so. For one thing I have learned well on this journey is that it is not necessary for me to stuff my feelings while others are stuffing their turkey.

Image result for stuffing turkey 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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

The Land of the Dead

I will dare to speak of things that few will understand, yet I pray that all shall be enlightened.

For quite some months, perhaps a year, I have pondered this thought from time to time. It was planted in my soul and it has continued to grow. The thought that we who grieve have been honored will be rejected by many; this I understand and accept, though it brings with it a sadness.

There is a Word, a verse, which I read over a decade ago, which ‘popped out’ at me upon reading. Often, when I read God’s Word, study His Word, I do so for knowledge of Him and understanding of this world. But then there are times when a verse seemingly jumps off the pages as if it was spoken with a megaphone. The verse I am referring to is: ‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not’ (John 1:5). For days after reading this, I became consumed by it. I could think of nothing else. These many years later, I am still amazed by it; I behold it with childlike wonder.

Similarly, when I think of Jesus the Christ Who walked amongst us, I read: ‘He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him’ (Isaiah 53:3)

Truly, we must see things through the eyes of a child to understand.

How is it that God Himself, the Majestic One, the Creator of the entire universe and beyond, go unnoticed except by a few? How is it that God, Who is purely good, unadulterated Love, walk in our midst unnoticed? Not only was His beauty and grandeur not seen, but He was despised and hated so, that those who beheld His beauty cried out: “Crucify Him!!!”.

After nearly twenty years, I no longer seek to understand ‘why’ my child died. Rather, I now seek to understand ‘why’ did he live? Why was I honored and chosen to be his Mother? I do believe God when He says that ‘we were predestined before the world began’ (see Romans 8:28-30). Yes, I do ponder such things. I take God at His Word. I do not argue any more with His Majesty. Simply because I am unable to understand, unable to make sense of things, do I dare to question the Almighty?

I once did, I confess. I questioned and I DEMANDED to be heard and answered. Gone are those days in which I wrestled with my Lord. Gone are those days when I believed I knew better than He. I now laugh at those days of my foolishness, yet hang my head in dismay for such days.

Let me tell you a secret that I have been learning to embrace. You may run from such a thought, you make think me to be insane, but I am embracing it nevertheless. We who grieve have been Honored; we who grieve have been chosen. Shhhh! Whether we beheld the beauty of our child for forty years, or simply embraced their life within our womb for a brief moment, we were chosen and Honored to have done so. Such knowledge makes me weep with humility while simultaneously has me hold my head up high. I ask only that you take some time to ponder such things and take them before the Throne. I now have the vantage of hindsight; I now, though once blind, can see…at least what God in His Mercy has permitted me to see.

If you are a bereaved parent and have been called to be, understand not only what the death of your child has wrought within, but also the life of your child. Yes, we are forever changed by both. It is up to us as to how we are changed, however. We shall all individually choose. We can choose the darkness of death, or we can choose the brilliance of light that enveloped their life. We shall reject and despise, or we shall embrace and love. Yes, much of ‘me’ has died, too, since the death of my son. Good riddance to that part of me that walked in darkness! I choose to embrace the Light! I choose to embrace the Life!

This is NOT the end of the story for we truly are only passing through. All of this pain and sorrow of this fallen world will one day pass. Because of Jesus the Christ, true life will continue eternally. Those in Christ shall embrace once again in the land of the living, when we are called Home from the land of the dead.

Psalm 27:13

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

May we sing as one this song of Victory:

(((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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Is God on the Throne in Tragedy?

I no longer believe in ‘happenstance’. I have often quoted Einstein in some of my articles because of how my perspective has changed over the years: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”.

I had struggled with this for some years after my son was killed. If I viewed it as simply an ‘accident’, I would be viewing it as something that occurred outside of God’s control. Contrarily, if I viewed it as God being in control of it, then I was flooded with all the questions of ‘why’ and ‘how’ could God let this happen. It seemed like a no-win argument that caused me great internal conflict.

It was only after I had made peace with my Lord that He truly is sovereign, that I was able to trust Him again. Isaiah 57:1-2 has become the ‘go-to’ Scripture for me when I begin to feel myself being pulled back into that mire of conflict:
1 The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.

No, after nearly 20 yrs. on this journey, do I have all the answers I would like to have. I do know that one day, when I go Home, it will all make sense, though. The thing is, it won’t matter anymore to me because I will be in the glorious presence of my Lord and reunited with my son. All my tears will be wiped away by the very hand of God, and all will be forgotten.

When I wrote my book 2 yrs. ago, God began to unfold things I had not previously considered or recognized. I found that there were 7+1 signs God had given to me regarding my son’s demise long before the tragedy occurred. I call them ‘7+1’ because the 1st sign was before I had conceived, with the remaining 7 thereafter. For the 1st time, I was able to see that God had been with me all along. He had done what He could to let me know in advance, though I did not put any of it together and lacked understanding of what He had been showing me.

When God brought all these ‘signs in advance’ to the forefront of my mind, it helped me to trust Him more deeply. It didn’t lessen the excruciating pain of missing my beautiful boy, but it did bring me to a place of peace.

I do not have a full answer as to ‘why’, however, I do know that God is still on the Throne. I like knowing He’s in control of even the seemingly bad things. He’s tuning up a beautiful orchestra that presently seems chaotic, but in its completion will produce the most beautiful music imaginable…even beyond what we are capable of imagining. 1 Corinthians 2:9

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

(((HUGS))) ~ Jude

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. - Albert Einstein

(((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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

 

Courage: Choosing life in the Face of Death

Death is not a popular topic at dinner parties, nor anywhere for that matter. Those that do speak of death are often considered: ‘morbid’. Though death is the ultimate outcome of every human being, folks ignore its existence whenever possible. We who have buried a child, however, face it daily. The reality of death has forever changed us. We have been ‘forced’ to deal with this inevitability.

The fear of death is described as a ‘bondage’ (Hebrews 2:15). To one degree or another, all grapple with this fear. It has driven many throughout the ages to search for the ‘fountain of life’. As we age, and the closer we come to the final curtain of our time here on earth, death begins to become an almost regular routine occurrence. Personally, I have been confronted with the death of dozens who were family or friends.

When we are young, we often face life with a sense of immortality. We are often stunned and shocked at such a time when someone we know has passed on. We more or less ‘accept’ the death of one who is elderly, but when someone young, someone our age, passes on it has a much more profound affect. When death strikes close to home, as in the death of a sibling, we are struck with the realization that no one is immortal on this earth.

I have spoken often with Bereaved Moms who simply want to die after their child’s demise. The pain is indescribably excruciating. They long to be with their child, and the thought of going on without them is frighteningly inconceivable.

Historically, the death of a child was much more common. They did not have all the modern medical advances that have developed throughout this past century. Inoculations and antibiotics were introduced and many lives of children were saved. But with the industrial age and automobiles becoming common place, new threats to lives developed. My eldest reminds me often that the population in this world has tripled in my lifetime. Two World Wars occurred, as well as our country’s Civil War and the Vietnam War, which took the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Death is simply a fact of life. Sadly, today, suicide has also increased exponentially, especially among the young.

Michael Hyatt has said: “Courage is the willingness to act in spite of your fear.” It has been said that there is no need to be courageous if you aren’t afraid of something. When a parent buries their child, they are embracing their worst nightmare, their worst fear. “The thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me” (Job 3:25). Ed Litton says: “Fear is just a call to exercise courage.”

I have had nearly twenty years to ‘think’ about my son’s demise. I have searched for meaning and have sought understanding. When I wrote my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’, it challenged me to ‘review’ the many tragedies that have been interwoven throughout my life, especially my son’s death and my four children who never saw the light of day. It was not an exercise in futility because it gave me the opportunity for an overview. It assisted me in making peace with my God and to see how He has been with me every step of the way. He has never forsaken me, though I may have felt so, at times. Once again, fact overrides feelings.

My son’s demise destroyed in me any fear of death that may have lingered in the recesses of my heart and mind. For me, that is a ‘gift from the ashes’. Though fears still linger of the ‘dying process’, death no longer holds any power over me. I have been freed of its bondage and that is a very liberating gift.

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.” – G. K. Chesterton

Today, I choose life in the face of death.

 

(((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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

What I Choose to Remember

When I arose yesterday morning, for some reason I was drawn to a dresser drawer where I had some things stored like my son’s coat, 2 of his favorite flannel shirts, and a cap that he often wore.
 
Underneath it all, I found a large envelope and in it was a DVD. It was marked: Christmas 1998.
 
That year was our last Christmas when we were all together.
 
I went about doing things throughout the day with this weighing on my mind. I have not watched this in nearly 20 yrs. I didn’t know if I could. All day long, I debated within myself whether or not I should/could/would.
 
Eventually, last night, I did.
 
Yes, it opened up Pandora’s Box. I once again found it difficult to breathe as I tried with all my might to fight back the tears. It was one hour and 22 minutes long. At times, the dam broke and I sobbed uncontrollably. At times, I felt as an outside observer looking in. But then, I heard my son crack one of his jokes, as he so often did. I laughed out loud and slowly the smiles began.
 
I remembered the love and the closeness we all had for one another. As I watched this DVD of our last vacation together, I found myself stopping the DVD from time to time to focus on my son’s face. I watched as he watched and ‘studied’ others and things. I took mental notes on some of his comments and somehow I seemed to understand him even more than I had. I remembered the beautiful person who was/is my son.
 
Though the pain is still gripping at my heart today, I am glad I watched it. I haven’t ‘imagined’ all the love and fun that we all shared. It was very real and I now have a DVD as proof of it.
 
I am considering making copies and giving each of my three surviving children a copy this Christmas. I have to pray about it. I don’t want to cause them pain. At the same time, remembering may be beneficial for them, as well.
 
What I do know is that the love we shared, and the ‘team-spirit’ which held us together as a family, stood strong against all adversity. We had our differences, but we played hard, stood strong, and our love for one another was fierce and loyal.
 
These are the things I choose to remember.
 
(((HUGS))) ~ Jude
Last Christmas together in FL. (2).jpg

 

(((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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Facing our Accuser

Currently, the news is filled with a story, a debate, of a person being accused of sexual assault. Since I am a survivor of two rapes, both which occurred when I was fifteen years of age as the current alleged survivor, I can’t help but have my own opinion on this accusation. Since I also sat on the Board of a Rape Crisis Center for three years in the late 1980’s, trained others, counseled others, had to personally work through the trauma of such, and in my thirties confronted one of the perpetrators, I have additional reason to deliberate. However, it is my opinion alone and I won’t engage in such a debate. As a survivor, I personally and professionally know that when a person is traumatized, it is potentially possible to ‘blackout’ details before, during, and after such an assault…even for decades. I have always been an advocate of victims and strongly support and encourage victims to ‘break the silence’. As both a survivor and a counselor in this arena, I have a bird’s-eye view. I will, however, address the Law of the land.

“The relevant text of the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment reads as follows: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” – “Out-of-Court Statements: In building a case, prosecutors may want to use statements that people have made outside of the courtroom as evidence against the defendant. If the person making the statements does not appear in court to testify, however, using such statements may constitute a confrontation clause violation.” (FindLaw.com)

This is a very serious accusation and it requires precise and adequate examination for both the alleged survivor, as well as, the alleged accused.

It is not my intent to either defend the accused nor the accuser in this writing, rather I desire to address accusations, in general. I have been the victim of false accusations on multiple occasions throughout my life and it is a position that has often left me confused at the onset, followed by a righteous anger. Rumors, gossip, and now living in a ‘tech’ world in which tapes and videos can so easily be edited and altered, false accusations are exponentially on the rise. We can no longer believe what we hear nor see. Everything must be taken with a ‘grain of salt’. Deception being so easily manufactured in today’s world has become an accepted norm. Scripturally, we have been warned of such a time as this:

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The need for ‘Truth seekers’ is both critical and crucial.

In our country, America, we have the constitutional right to confront our accusers. This is not a right that should be diminished nor altered. It is never a pleasant task to confront our accusers nor any perpetrator. Many shy away from doing such. Many critically judge those who do. However, the ramifications of not doing so are far worse. As uncomfortable and grueling such a task may be, it must be done and done wisely. Having confronted my accusers on many occasions, I know how exhausting and dreadful it can be. Confronting one of my rapists was equally so. But Truth is essential.

Guilt is a good thing if, in fact, we have done something wrong.  It is an alarm bell warning us that we are in need of making a change. Unfounded guilt, however, can be tormenting. Many bereaved parents fall prey to unfounded guilt. Because of one’s inherent job to protect our child, we are often easy prey to the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. The ‘accuser of the brethren’ is well aware of this and uses it against us. No parent is perfect and without blemish in the human race. Even if we have erred, we need not grovel in despair for there is always forgiveness offered to us by God.

False accusations are increasing in these last days with the availability of so many ‘tech’ tools. The skill of discernment must be sought. Godly Wisdom is available to anyone who asks for it:

James 1:

But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.

When I am falsely accused, after I move past my initial reaction of bewilderment, I then must pray that ‘all things hidden be revealed’. I seek my God for discernment and pray for Truth to be disclosed. I ask God to vindicate me and pray for His protection when under assault. Rumors and gossip are very ugly. False accusations can be so detrimental, to the point of destroying one’s life, even literally as they have resulted in numerous suicides. “James (3:5-6) warns that the size of the tongue is no measure of the power it wields. Just as the tiniest of sparks can ignite a great forest fire, the smallest of words, unwisely spoken, can cause immeasurable harm.” – BibleTools.org.

I take all accusations quite seriously. I also consider the rights of the accused. Rumors and gossip, I detest. Thankfully, one day they all shall cease.

Revelation 12:10

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Image result for accusation 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)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134