Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’

Book Review (1):


                        Contact: Jude Gibbs


 New Book Gives Hope to Readers

Uplifting to those who have traveled life encumbered by sorrow and grief 

MAITLAND, FL— Jude Gibbs’ new book Gifts from the Ashes ($29.99, paperback, 9781498496728; $9.99, eBook, 9781498496735) testifies to the truth that God is a God of redemption, and that He is very much alive and active in our daily lives and circumstances. Although this book centers on the grief journey the author has travelled after the loss of her beloved son, it also encompasses the grief she has had to embrace resulting from much abuse, rape, barrenness, and pregnancy loss.

Gibbs writes, “It is my Hope that by sharing my testimony of God’s humbling redemption, along with what He has revealed to me along the way, it will enable the reader to embrace the joy that is set before them which Jesus Himself embraced. It is my desire that God be glorified in all things.”

Jude Gibbs had once been a Pastor’s wife. For nearly a decade, she worked as a counselor for victims of abuse, rape, and incest. She was a board member of a Rape Crisis Center in a major city for three years. In addition, Jude has been a victim herself, and the mother of a victim. She has personally had four pregnancy losses and has had to bury her 20 year old son. She has also been an ordained minister since 2/12/06. Jude’s experience is both personal and professional. Readers can view her work at: and

Xulon Press, a division of Salem Media Group, is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher, with more than 12,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order Gifts from the Ashes through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors.


Book Review (2):

Gifts from the Ashes: Hope in Jesus for Bereaved Parents by Jude Gibbs

In a moment of infinite sadness, one would be blessed to read Gifts from the Ashes: Hope in Jesus for Bereaved Parents by Jude Gibbs. The book is an honest and emotional sharing of one bereaved mother’s testimony after the loss of her son. Among the stages of grief, she discovers gifts from God in the journey of mourning, the greatest of which is an ever-deepening faith in the healing and redemptive power of God.  As the author herself states:

“We never “move on” from our (deceased) children, (but) we move forward in the things of the Lord from “Glory to Glory” … and we take them (our children) with us as we do. Eventually, we do become grateful for all the Gifts we pick up along this (bereavement) journey. No, they will never replace our child in this current world. They do, however, bring us peace and cause us to go deeper with our Lord.”

Gifts from the Ashes is divided into three parts, each offering comfort and hope. The first section shares Gibbs’ story—the events of her son’s tragic death, her moments of uplift as she finds her gifts among the ashes, and the comfort and strength she finds in delving deeper into God’s Word. The heart of the book is a series of contemplative topics in which Gibbs offers her thoughts, advice, and solace for a number of situations and emotions that bereaved parents are likely to find themselves experiencing.  Lastly, a section of scripture presents the Lord’s biblical truths especially relevant for grieving parents.

In reading Gifts from the Ashes, one is washed in the Grace of God along with the author’s truth and love.

Xulon Press Editorial


Press Release:


Xulon Author Shares Stories of Loss, Grief, Abuse, and Finding Hope in God’s Strength

Jude Gibbs Inspires the Disheartened to Find Faith in the Shadows 

MAITLAND, FL— Within the pages of Jude Gibbs’ new book, Gifts from the Ashes: Hope in Jesus for Bereaved Parents, ($29.99, paperback, 9781498496728; $9.99, e-book, 9781498496735) readers will find the author’s journey through the grief that followed the loss of her son. An intimate portrait of Gibbs’ experiences, her book delves into the pain of not only the loss of her twenty-year-old son, but also the grief that has come from pregnancy loss, fertility issues, abuse, and rape.

“It is my hope that by sharing my testimony of God’s humbling redemption, along with what He has revealed to me along the way, it will enable the reader to embrace that joy that is set before them, which Jesus Himself embraced,” states the author. “It is my desire that God be glorified in all things.”

Jude Gibbs is an ordained minister who worked for nearly a decade as a counselor for victims of abuse, rape, and incest. She acted as a board member of a Rape Crisis Center in a major city for three years. Her personal experience as a survivor of abuse and the mother of a survivor gives her a unique perspective. Her four pregnancy losses, as well as the loss of her son, have inspired her to share God’s healing power.

Xulon Press, a division of Salem Media Group, is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher, with more than 12,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order Gifts from the Ashes: Hope in Jesus for Bereaved Parents through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors.

Xulon CBB Book Ad



Let’s Take a Closer Look (1)

Last October, the Lord had laid it on my heart to take a closer look at the ‘dynamics’ behind a passage(s) in His Word. I have been waiting on Him to give me the ‘go-ahead’ in doing so.  This may be the 1st of many, or perhaps ‘one of a kind’, that is up to His bidding. Though I have focused usually on the grief of losing my son, I have recently felt called to dig deeper into God’s Word on other matters.

I am to begin in Acts 16. I would 1st like to say that Jesus the Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebs. 13:8). He simply does not change. He still speaks to His children through His Word and He still grants visions, dreams, and perhaps even a visit from His messengers, the Angels (Hebs. 13:2). You do not have to be a ‘David’ or ‘Jeremiah’ to receive such, for God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27).

In Acts 16:6, we find Paul being forbidden to preach (in Asia). Now some would think that they are to preach the Gospel everywhere. Yet, we find here that the Spirit of God prohibited them from doing so in this instance. In vs. 17, it says that ‘they tried to go’…’but the Spirit did not permit them’. There is so much in these two verses alone, I may get no farther in this article.

Have you ever been stopped by God’s Spirit from doing something? I have, and it’s like running into a brick wall. LOL! I am not speaking here of being stopped from doing something ‘wrong’ as in sinning. On the surface, something may appear to be a very good endeavor. As in these verses, they were simply intending on preaching the Gospel somewhere yet God stopped them from doing so. Tilt! To our natural mind this would make no sense. We are about to do something good, something we are commanded elsewhere to do (Mark 16:15), yet God puts on the brakes. This is why I so often stress that we should never place God into a box. What may seem right unto a person, isn’t always the ‘right’ thing to do (Prov. 14:12).


In the early 70’s, my then husband was often unfaithful. One day, I had received a call from a young woman who was attempting to reach my husband. She had told me that her reason for calling was because her brother was on heroine and my husband had helped him. My husband had been a minister at the time so on the surface such a thing would not be unusual. Yet, something in my spirit told me that something was terribly wrong. After her call, I immediately called a sister in the Lord with whom I had developed a very close relationship. We frequently spoke and had fellowship together, and I also held women’s Bible studies in her home because it was in a central convenient location to which other women could travel.

When I called her, I relayed the details and the discomfort in my spirit. We prayed.

Later that evening, when my husband came home from work, I was sitting in one of our overstuffed orange chairs in the living room in silence. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach him in this matter. Very mildly mannered, I informed him of the call I had received. He was silent. Then, he asked that I pray for him. I had no hesitation in doing so. I loved my husband very much and if he wanted me to pray for him, most certainly I would do so. As I bowed my head, I ran into that ‘brick wall’. I tried to pray… I tried again… then again. But God would not allow me to pray. I had never had such a thing occur before. I had often prayed for many. What could possibly be wrong about praying for someone, especially my husband? Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not pray for him.

Finally, I raised my head and told my husband with much bewilderment that God would not allow me to pray for him. Instantly, my husband fell to the floor prostrate as he was screaming out to God for His Mercy and forgiveness. All I could do is remain still in that big overstuffed orange chair.

1 Timothy 5:22

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

This was the beginning of an understanding I was about to receive. God requires obedience in all things. He is a wonderful Parent… the absolute best! Obedience unto Him is not grievous, though it may seem so at times. He is not about ‘rules and regulations’ nor lists of ‘Do’s & Don’ts’. God is Love and so whatever He requires of us stems from His great Love. We may not have understanding at any given time when He tells us to do or not to do something, but that is where Trust enters in. His ‘do’s & don’ts’ are not legalistic. They are gentle proddings for our benefit and are rooted in His great love for our benefit.


I once heard a missionary relay this story. There was a boy who was outside playing and he had climbed a tree. His father had walked outside and began speaking with his son. Suddenly, his dad startled the boy by yelling at him: Don’t Move!!! Thankfully, his son instantly obeyed though he could not understand why his dad had yelled at him when all he had been doing is playing in the tree and they had just been having such a pleasant conversation. Well, as it turned out, there was a poisonous snake that had also climbed that tree and was just inches away from that boy. If he had not immediately adhered to his father’s command, he would have been bitten and died.

This is how we are to obey our Heavenly Father.

Yes, at times, God may even tell us not to pray for someone:

Jeremiah 7:16

“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.”

I know this may be new to some folks. Many things are often taught in churches with the best of intentions, but they may lack understanding of God’s ways. I certainly have not cornered the market on God. I can only share with others what I have learned, often through difficulties brought on by myself. I would like to encourage all to seek God on your own in such matters.

Acts 17:11

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

If those Bereans were commended for questioning all of which they were taught by Paul, we also should do likewise no matter who is teaching God’s Word. We must trust our Lord to ‘lead us into all truth’ (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Well, that’s about it for this article. Please pray for me if God leads you to do so.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’:

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 First Hill of the Roller Coaster

Those of us riding this roller coaster of grief come to realize over time that the first hill we must climb at ‘trigger’ times is the biggest. Because I now have three anniversaries consecutively which I have to deal with, I’ve come to understand that once I get past that first hill, I have survived another year even though I still have a ways to go before I pull into the station.

My son’s anniversary was 3/17, St. Patrick’s Day; my sister’s is 3/24; my Mom’s is on Easter. I find myself often being overwhelmed with all three at the onset, though I know there remains some other hills and curves I will yet have to ride out. However, the worst is now behind me.

Neither my eldest nor I travel anywhere for the few days leading up to St. Pat’s Day, nor on St. Pat’s Day itself anymore. Four years ago, my eldest son was driving to a store on St. Pat’s Day when suddenly an older gentleman who was driving in the opposite direction crossed over the center line and headed straight toward my son. He was able to swerve away quickly with only his side mirror being hit, but then this man crashed into the car behind him. When the police arrived at the scene of the accident, the officer that took my son’s statement was named Rodriguez.

Three years ago, on the eve of St. Pat’s Day, I had taken my daughter and her then fiance out for a very nice luncheon at a fine dining restaurant in the center of town to celebrate his birthday. As we parted and I entered onto the freeway to return home, I quickly maneuvered over to the passing lane of the four lane highway. There was heavy traffic with a number of trucks traveling at that time of day. Suddenly, I had a blowout. I had been driving for forty-seven years and my tires only had 23,000 miles on them, yet the tire had completely ripped away and within seconds I was driving on the rim. This was my first experience in all of those years of driving with a tire blowout. There was nowhere to pull over in the center so I had to cross over three lanes of traffic traveling at 70 MPH to have a place where I could pull off the road safely. I called my eldest who arrived on the scene to assist me within fifteen minutes. He put the spare tire on my vehicle and then accompanied me to a tire store to purchase a new tire. The man who waited on me was named Rodriguez.

Why is this significant? There are a few reasons. First, my son was killed on St. Patrick’s day. Secondly, he was killed in an auto accident. Thirdly, the young man that killed him was named Rodriguez.

I am not a superstitious person. I do believe, however, that:

Ephesians 6:12

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.”

As a result of these experiences two years in a row, both my son and myself felt it was wise to not venture out these past two years when approaching the anniversary of my son’s demise.

Last year was not significant. There was sorrow, pain, and tears shed but overall it was a fairly uneventful anniversary. This year, however, was very rough. The anticipation of anniversaries is always difficult. The countdown can begin as far as two months in advance. It usually starts off with some mild anxiety and just simple reminders that the day is approaching. By the time the anniversary is about one month away, the anxiety begins to increase and the ‘Grief Fog’ starts to float in. We find ourselves increasingly preoccupied and the ability to focus on tasks and remain attentive in a conversation gradually becomes more elusive. We may find ourselves asking someone with whom we are engaged with in a conversation to repeat what they just said because we momentarily drifted away. Often, we don’t know to where our minds drifted, nevertheless they did. Others around us may start to pick up on the fact that something is not quite ‘right’. We may begin to pull away from others at this time as a result. Memories are beginning to pop up, often unexpectedly. We may be functioning just fine on the surface, but internally not so much. Fear may begin to take hold of us as if something very bad is about to happen. It’s almost as if we are fearing that our child is going to die all over again and that we will once again be reliving that nightmare… and in many ways we do.

I have experienced different degrees of trauma throughout my life. Some of them were the result of abuse and rapes, others were due to physical injuries. I have also experienced the state of being in shock. None of those experiences, though quite overwhelming as they can be, compare with the trauma of losing my son. The degree of anguish and utter horror that grips our soul is simply indescribable. That deep wailing sound that many of us heard emitted from the depths of our soul we beforehand did not even know existed, is in a category all its own.

This anniversary was definitely harsh. I wailed not caring who could hear me or what they may have thought. I had two nightmares in a twelve hour period that terrified me, one had to do with driving a car and after someone cut in front of me, everything went totally black… yet I was still driving. I rarely ever have nightmares so to have two in such a brief period of time was very unnerving.

I do believe that we often will encounter spiritual battles. I have learned over time that when I am vulnerable and weakened at such times as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc., the battle intensifies. I will try to prepare for such in advance as much as possible by taking more ‘me’ time. I have to be more conscientious regarding getting more rest, lightening my duties and responsibilities, watching what I eat and drinking more water, and forcing myself to get some sort of physical exercise if only taking more walks. I need to pray more, read the Scriptures more, and simply take care of me more.

My thoughts drifted to the story of Daniel in chapter 10:

“1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Daniel was mourning and he was given a vision.

“7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.”

All of Daniel’s strength was drained from him. All his companions distanced themselves from him. But then a marvelous thing happened, an Angel appeared.

“12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.””

Please take note of a couple of things. First, the Angel lets Daniel know that his prayers were heard the very first day he cried out to God for help. Secondly, because of the battles which were occurring in the Heavenly places ‘against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness‘, the Angel had been delayed three weeks.

So what is the message we can lay hold of in this passage? Simply, hold on… help is on the way.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’:

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 Undertow

***First, I want to warn folks who have lost their child or loved one from drowning that this may be sensitive material for you, so you may not want to read this.

Twice in my life, I have had near-drowning experiences. The first occurred at Virginia Beach when I was young and newly married. We had taken a month to tour the East Coast, stopping off at a number of beaches to body surf. It was the time of ‘longhairs’ and hippies. We had borrowed my then-husband’s parents’ van which we slept in. When it was time for a meal, we had a small burner we could use so we would open the back doors of the van and do our cooking wherever we found a parking spot on the street. We could do such things in those days without violating any laws.

On one day, while at Virginia Beach, we had spent most of the afternoon catching waves. What we didn’t realize is that the current had changed over the course of time that day. Sometimes, we would swim far out with a blown-up raft and sit and wait for that perfect wave. Other times, we would simply ride in a wave without a raft. Finally, without my raft, I caught a beauty of a wave. Swiftly, I swam to the perfect spot to catch it and I was thrilled that I had. I traveled for quite a distance before it took me into shore. However, once I arrived, a second wave quickly had formed and came crashing down upon me. As it did, the undertow of the wave I had ridden began to pull me back out to sea. As it dragged me along the sand violently ripping open my skin, which left a scar on my abdomen for decades, I was unable to surface. One wave was pushing my legs over my head, while the undertow was dragging me in the opposite direction.

Eventually, somehow, I did surface and as I looked up, an ambulance had arrived for another woman. The beach was closed immediately thereafter.

On a second occasion, we were attending a wedding in a park by a river. It was not a very large river, however, unbeknownst to us the water had been slowly rising as the day progressed as a result of the rains from the previous day. My attention was suddenly drawn to my good friend who was struggling to not be washed over the old stone wall barrier that crossed the river. I immediately jumped in to swim out to her. I was able to anchor myself as the current was increasingly becoming more furious, and yanked her back to safety. However, after she told me that her husband had already been washed over, I was then caught in the current and was washed over, as well. On the other side of this barrier was a small, but powerful, waterfall. I found myself tumbling around and around doing somersaults as if I was trapped in a washing machine. I was no longer able to determine what was up and what was down. Suddenly, I heard a very quiet voice that simply said: “Rest”. I immediately quit my struggling and allowed my body to go as limp as a well-cooked string of spaghetti. Upon doing so, I popped to the surface and was freed from the waterfall.

Upon surfacing and catching my breath, I then saw my friend’s husband, my foster daughter, and another young man I didn’t recognize… all of whom had climbed upon a huge boulder in the river. I quickly joined them and was surprised to find my husband there, too. We spent a few minutes shaking off the shock and fear of our experiences, then began to discuss how we were going to get off of that rock and up the cliff on the shore. Just as we all voiced in agreement that it would be great if we simply could get a hold of a rope to scale the side of the cliff, a young man appeared at the top and threw over a long thick rope. At this point, we were all smiling and thanking God. Somehow, we all did scale that cliff using that rope though none of us had ever done such a thing before.

Some folks wonder why I believe in God as I do. It’s pretty simple, actually. I have faced numerous situations throughout my life in which inexplicable events have taken place. How is it that I somehow surfaced from that undertow when another woman had to be rescued and hauled away in an ambulance? How is it that I heard that still small voice that simply said: “Rest”, and then upon doing so, safely surfaced once again? How is it that doctors and all the tests they performed determined I could not have children, yet in three totally unrelated locations with Christian folks who had no knowledge of the others, directly or indirectly told me I would…which I did? How is it that my son who died just happened to be named after Psalm 23:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

My son’s name is Roderick Stafford.

Honestly, I am hurting like hell at the moment. I feel physically ill and nauseous and want to go hide under a rock somewhere…any where. Yet, I know my God! He has always rescued me; He has always saved me when I was certain I would not survive. Why? I have no idea ‘Why me, Lord?’. But He has. Yet, I still have times of doubt. ‘Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.’

Psalm 119:171-173 (NCV)

171 Let me speak your praise,
    because you have taught me your demands.
172 Let me sing about your promises,
    because all your commands are fair.
173 Give me your helping hand,
    because I have chosen your commands.

So as I have my meltdown and the liar whispers in my ear that You will forsake me, that this time I am on my own… I will speak of your miracles of old to silence him, I shall resist him and he will flee. Why? Because my God is Great! My God is faithful! My God is Love! This undertow of pain that intends to draw me out to sea and drown me shall not,  for my God is Bigger and His will shall be done!

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’:

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



My Gratitude to The Mighty for both publishing this article (#29) & featuring it (#9).



The Unexpected

Those of us who have lost a child are very well familiar with the abnormality of it all. We expect to die before they do. There’s another ‘new’ and unfamiliar phase I seem to be encountering, but this one is in regards to my Mom and the other women in my family.

My Mom died at age fifty; I was only twenty. As I began to approach that age, it was like a dark cloud looming over me. My sister and I once spoke of it and she, too, had a similar experience. Our Mom had been our example but as we approached the age of her passing, we found ourselves questioning: ‘Now what?’. It was as if we didn’t know how to live past fifty years of age.

I am entering that ‘overwhelmed’ phase as I approach my son’s anniversary on 3/17, my sister’s on 3/24, and then my Mom’s at Easter. I don’t recall the precise date of my Mom’s passing, I only took note of it as being Easter morning.

I spent most of this past weekend in bed. Nothing could motivate me to do anything. When this grief weighs so heavily upon me, it also intensifies my physical pain from my crippled spine. It’s as if every nerve in my body comes alive and rebels at the extra weight my heart is having to carry at this time of year. I also had a sudden realization which I never thought of before. If I happen to live another 2 1/2 years, I will have outlived every woman on my maternal side of the family for at least the past four generations that I am aware of. None of the women on my maternal side of the family made it past age sixty-six. Why this suddenly popped into my head yesterday I am unable to explain. But, it did… and now I don’t yet quite know what to do with it. What I do know is that I am suddenly missing my Mom terribly. The little girl buried deep within myself sorely needs her advice.

“Do I fear death? ” Billy Graham asked at a news conference in 2005. “No. I look forward to death with great anticipation. I’m looking forward to seeing God face to face.”

I embrace Billy Graham’s sentiments on this matter.

I do not fear death, though I admit I have some apprehension regarding the dying process. I’ve known some who have died a very painful death, yet others who simply ‘fell asleep’. A very good friend of mine who was in his seventies had been out working in his garden as he loved to do, then entered his home and sat down with his evening glass of red wine. He had been conversing with his eldest when suddenly his head drooped and he was gone. When I heard of how he passed on, it made me smile. From my perspective, he could not have gone in a better way.

Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. – Dwight L. Moody’s autobiography, released in 1900.

So, what if I outlive all the women on my maternal side of my family? As bewildered as it makes me feel, I also view it as some sort of goal; I will have broken a new record.

When I had been so ill last year and began to think my number was up, I had that dream in which my son appeared and ‘relayed’ to me that it wasn’t my time yet. We all do have that ‘appointed time’, but none of us knows precisely when that will occur. I do know that I am ready to go and meet my Maker whenever it shall be. I know there are family and folks who are waiting for me to arrive. Billy Graham had partially quoted Moody when he stated:

Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.

I like his words: “I will just have changed my address.”.

Any fear of death I may have had in years past was ripped out of me at the time of my son’s demise. For me, it is one of my ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ for the fear of death keeps us subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15). I came to understand more fully how Christ’s victory over death in His Resurrection truly did remove it’s ‘sting’ (1 Cor. 15:55). Knowing that life continues on, and that to be absent from this world means to be fully in the presence of the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8), truly is something to look forward to.

For now, I will aim to break that record. Whether or not I am destine to do so remains undetermined. There are some things in life we simply have no control over, but I trust the One Who does.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’:

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




Some truly believe that their loved ones who have passed on will send us signs, at times; some do not believe in such things. Still, there are others who believe that God sends us signs regarding our Beloved Ones to comfort and reassure us.

I have been seeking guidance and understanding of such things for approximately one year now. I always believed in such things until I had joined a ‘Christian’ support group for the Bereaved. I had privately shared in a private message with the moderator about a dream I had one month before 9-11 hit. I was standing on an upper balcony-walkway in a very beautiful library. Suddenly, my son appeared and he looked very serious. Most of his hair had fallen out and he looked as if he had undergone some sort of radiation treatment. I had spent the previous 5-6 months planning a 16 day vacation to Alaska for myself, my daughter, and my then husband. It had taken so long to plan because I wanted to include and schedule as much as possible including a private 4-seated plane to land on the water at an island to see the bears; a train trip up North; a bus tour; a rafting trip, etc., etc.. Yet, when I had this dream, I was willing to toss it all if my son was sent to tell me it was not in God’s will to go. However, he ‘extended’ peace to me in going and enjoying. I later had confirmation/clarification of this dream after 9-11 occurred. We had gone to see a movie at the theatre and suddenly a scene came on in which that exact library that I had seen in my dream appeared. I kept elbowing my husband asking what city they were in…I was almost frantic to know. He finally leaned over and whispered: New York. It was then I understood that dream.

I have had a number of dreams in which my son has suddenly ‘popped in’, totally out of context of what I had been dreaming, in which he is always glowing in a bright light and grinning from ‘ear-to-ear’. I always awake feeling very much at peace, very loved, and very grateful to my God….before the tears of the ‘missing’ begin to flow. Once, he appeared and I was able to gently touch his face. I did not want to wash my hand for a couple of days after that. It was so beautiful and I am so very grateful for having had that very vivid dream.

Last Spring, after being quite ill for eight months, I truly was beginning to think I was slowly dying. I was accepting of this and ready to go if it was my time. Then, I had another dream. My son appeared and looked sad. This was unusual. I had not before seen him sad in a dream. I turned to him to try and cheer him up by telling him that all is okay, I would be with him soon. But instead of that making him glad, he continued to look sad. I was bewildered. I ‘questioned’ his sadness without words, for he has never spoken in any dream. He then ‘relayed’ to me that it wasn’t my time yet. When I awoke from that dream, I began to notice throughout the day some improvement. I went on to be completely healed shortly following that dream.

I bought a small fishing/hunting camp one year after my son’s demise as a place of healing and retreat for myself and my 3 surviving children. All the neighbors were seeing the eagles, even my family members. They would call out my name to come and see them regularly, but I was always too late. Then, after 6 months, we were at the camp for my birthday. My husband and I took a drive on some back roads along the River. We were traveling behind a SUV when suddenly a huge eagle came down and just remained hovering over that SUV in front of us for at least five minutes. It’s wing span extended beyond the width of the vehicle. Tears were gushing. I had no doubt that this was my birthday gift from my son. Seriously, what are the odds?

I’ve always maintained that it is Scripturally wrong to make any attempts to contact the dead. However, In all instances when such things have occurred, I was not seeking any of them…they just happened.

I was very wounded when that moderator immediately kicked me out of that ‘Christian’ group after I shared that dream with her in private. It caused me to stumble and doubt. I began to question everything I believed in. I can only pray that her eyes may be opened to the fact that God often does things that are not precisely written about in His Word. God cannot be placed in a box and He clearly states that dreams and visions will occur, especially in the last days (see Acts 2:17 & Joel 2:28). John also states:

John 21:25

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

We are not to add or take away from the Word of God’s prophecy (Rev. 22:19). It seems, however, that folks sometimes use this verse out of context and legalistically determine that if they cannot find a very precise verse to reinforce something, it cannot be of God. They sadly neglect to search the Scriptures diligently, but rather view it as a dead legalistic writing of ‘Do’s & Don’ts’. Most would believe that animals cannot speak, yet we find Scripturally they can when God wants them to (See Numbers 22:28).

When I began to write this article, I had not intended to share the above. Rather, I wanted to remind folks of what God promises. He tells us in Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

This, to me, is marvelous.

He says in Isaiah 42:9 “Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

In John 13:9, He states: “Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.”

Genesis 18:7 “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?”

John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Mark 13:23 “But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”

Of course, God does not tell us all things as He states in Dt. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

As I pondered what Mary, the Mother of Jesus, experienced, I thought of the signs God had given unto me before my son’s demise. I have shared such in my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ under the Topic: Hindsight. Luke 2 offers us some insight into some of what was foretold to Mary:

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

I love verse 19: “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” 

We then read:

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Note 1st vs. 26 & 27a in regards to Simeon: “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple.

Then vs. 33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.

Finally: 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Mary was told in advance that a sword would pierce her soul. Yes, I am convinced that Mary pondered much which she kept hidden in her heart.

In my Book, I share with all for the 1st time 7+1 signs that God had given me in advance. I will share with you the ‘one’. I had received this rhema word during a 7 year period in which I was barren (except for the pregnancy losses), and when doctors were telling me I was not able to have children (though God saw things differently, gave me 3 signs I would, and I went on to have 4). It seemed an odd thing to be told at the time, but I never forgot it and as Mary, I pondered it and hid it in my heart.

Jeremiah 31:

15 Thus says the Lord:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”

That was the 1st word I received in advance in which God was letting me know of my son’s eventual passing. It struck me to the marrow when I read it. When God desires to speak directly to you through His Word, there is no doubt.

All of the signs, prophecies, words of knowledge that God had brought me throughout the decades before my son’s demise, He all caused to be brought to mind afterward. Though the depth of the pain I carry is indescribable, I also walk with His comfort knowing how much He loves me in having done what He could to prepare me.

I don’t know why folks doubt or outright disbelieve that God cares and loves them so much, and think that He would not be Faithful to His words of telling us things and sending us signs. Such is spoken of in both the Old and New Testaments and:

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

There have been times when I have not been listening; there have been times when I brushed things away in disbelief. However, I will never tell a grieving parent that something is definitely not of God unless they have sought out soul signs via a psychic/medium. Scripture is clear on such matters. We do not need to seek out soul power. We need only to walk in God’s Spirit in which we are already seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).

Galatians 5:16a

I say then: Walk in the Spirit

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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I HATE THIS!!!!!!!

In 2 weeks, it will be nineteen years since my beloved son was killed by a drunken man from Columbia. I have spent the last month knowing my son’s anniversary would be arriving soon. I have been in countdown mode (which I wrote about last year: Always I find myself wondering, always anticipating, when/where/how it will hit, if at all.

Well, it’s here.

I have even been struggling in the grief community. I will be going along fine, then I click on a notification and there it is…a graphic/gif about St. Patrick’s Day. For a moment, I seemingly cease to breathe. I quickly scroll by it pretending I did not see it. However, as the day approaches, they are getting much more difficult to ignore. There are moments in which I go completely numb; there are moments in which I want to scream at people:  “DON’T YOU KNOW MY SON WAS KILLED ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY???” They mean no harm and they have every right to celebrate the day in memory of their child. BUT… I can NOT help how it affects me.

I HATE THIS!!!!!!!

I think of my boy every single day; I miss him every single day. Yet, I function just fine on most days. But days such as these are unbearable. One moment I’m fine, truly; the next, I may be numb. I can jump from intense anger to excruciating pain and back to complete numbness in a nanosecond. We NEVER get over this! We move forward and rebuild, but that moment we are told our child is dead is frozen in time and it travels with us as a constant utterly undesirable companion. Never had I known before my child’s demise that joy and intense sorrow could walk hand in hand. I feel as if I am living in two worlds simultaneously. Sometimes, I will find myself living in one more than the other, yet both remain. I cannot escape either.

I never know from one day to the next where I will be on this spectrum. The roller coaster is a nightmare from which I am incapable of awaking.

A bereaved dad asked me today to describe my son. As I told him about his beauty, the floodgates opened and I abruptly cut the conversation short. But I’m very glad I was asked to do so. I love to tell others how wonderful he was… so handsome, so intelligent, so witty, so talented, and so very much in love with our Lord Jesus the Christ. I beam with joy and pride as I speak of him. Then I fall to pieces as I embrace the sorrow of his absence. God, how I HATE THIS!!!!!!!

So I admit without hesitation, I am a mess. I will get through this to the other side, I always do. Surely, I have had enough practice after nineteen years. But I will not pretend. I will not lie to folks and tell them I’m fine when I am not. It has most definitely gotten easier over time. I’ve learned to foresee for the most part when rough waters lie ahead, though I can still be caught off-guard. I’ve learned that the worst darkest hours will pass…eventually. I’ve learned that my God never forsakes me and always sustains me until I reach the shore on the other side once again. But I won’t pretend that the intensity of those moments ever subsides… at least not for me. We all grieve differently. Please don’t lay your expectations upon me, and I promise not to do such to you.

I Love my son!

I miss my son!

I will see my son again!

Until I do, I will continue to ride out these waves until I am reunited with him once again.

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Jude Gibbs


For the past few days, I have been contemplating the meaning of ‘acceptance’. We often hear of the five stages of grief and some understand them to describe a methodological process. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who presented these stages later clarified that these stages were simply meant to be an overall depiction of what those who grieve experience. It’s not that we complete one stage, then move on to the next, and the next, etc., nor that once we have traveled through these stages our grieving is somehow complete. How nice that would be if we could simply journey through those five stages and then simply wrap it all up in a box and store it away with our child’s belongings.

For those of us on this journey, we know grief is not that simple.

David Kessler, who co-authored two books with Elisabeth, explained it this way:

“The stages have evolved since their introduction and have been very misunderstood over the past four decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss.”

When I first had thoughts on the meaning of ‘acceptance’, I questioned: “Am I suppose to accept that my son is dead? I know he’s dead; I buried him. I’m very well aware of the fact that my son is dead’. So what does ‘acceptance’ mean? Searching the definitions online did not sufficiently answer that question for me. Acceptance in grief is not a mere superficial state of the mind, it is a matter of the heart. Sadly, many who have not known such a loss (and hopefully never do) have often heard of these ‘stages’ and therefore make an assumption that we who grieve will ‘arrive’ eventually at a completed stage of ‘acceptance’ and then all will be good…we will be the person we once were before our loss once again.

Nothing could be farther from the Truth.

I don’t know the year, the day, the hour in which I accepted that my son would not be calling, would not be walking through the front door, will not be bringing me some unexpected little gift, etc.. I just know that I did. Because of my Faith, I have always known that though he is physically dead, he still lives and I will see him again. I know this physical separation is temporary. Yet, I still miss him terribly. Yet, I still have ‘moments’, even days, I am overwhelmed with that pain that runs so deep it can be physically felt. If not for the Grace of God, it would utterly consume me.

So what is ‘acceptance’? David Kessler has offered a more complete understanding:

ACCEPTANCE: Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing. In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.

I’m grateful for this clarification. I do wish the onlookers of our grief understood this stage of acceptance more thoroughly. Perhaps, it would help them, too. Perhaps, it would alter expectations and assist them in reaching a stage of ‘acceptance’.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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