Unimaginable Pain

This has been an utterly pain-wrenching day for me. Truly, anyone who thinks that a Bereaved Parent ever gets over losing a child simply has no clue.

I awoke with that feeling that an elephant was standing on my chest. I’m not heartbroken, my heart is completely shattered. It lays in a million pieces on the floor. There is no super-glue that can possibly hold it together even if it were possible to locate all of the pieces…which it is not. I went to bed last night thinking of all of the things I would like to accomplish today and nothing…nada…has been done. For five hours I have laid in bed and visited grief sites on line. The heaviness weighs as an endless black cloud hovering above. The silence is deafening. No one in my life has told me that they remember my son.

But I do.

I am flooded with memories of his smiles and tears. I can still hear him laugh; I can still hear him joking and making all around him smile.

Yes, I know I will one day see him again. The waiting, though, is soooo long! I grow impatient waiting in a doctor’s office for more than twenty minutes. Yet, I have been waiting to see my son again for nineteen years and two months.

HOW LONG, LORD???

My head hurts, my body hurts, my soul hurts!

Once again, I need to remind myself to breathe.

How many tears can one body make???

I miss my baby soooo much!

Another day, another hour, another moment and I will pull myself together. I will go on with whatever the daily tasks need to be done, but not now…not this moment. For approximately 230 months…over 6900 days…more than 165,600 hours…I have lived with this pain! I am not wallowing in self-pity! I am grieving! I carry this heartache wherever I go. It’s a part of whatever I do. Never do I forget. Yes, on most days after so many years, it all gets pushed back in the recesses of my mind. But it is only a glance away. It is always a mere breath beneath the surface.

I cling to God’s promises that I shall be comforted. I trust Him when he says that all of my tears He collects in a bottle, and that He will one day completely wipe them all away. I know I will rejoice with unspeakable joy beyond anyone’s imagination.

But, for the moment, I weep…I wail.

For the moment, I will long to see my son smiling back at me.

For the moment, I will bemoan and bewail.

For the moment, I shall make my complaint known.

Psalm 142:2-4 (NKJV)

I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

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(((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

 

 

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Mother’s Day

Just a brief word regarding the fast approaching day in which we honor Moms.

For us who are bereaved of our children, Mother’s Day can be a very lonely and painful day. If we are barren, we struggle with what others rejoice in and often find ourselves on the outside looking in. If one of our children is deceased and we have surviving children who wish to celebrate and honor us, we feel torn in two. If our only child has gone before us, the ‘missing’ is excruciatingly painful. No matter the circumstances, such a day will open Pandora’s Box of memories or the lack thereof. It is almost a no-win day.

The Sunday before Mother’s Day has been set aside by many as Bereaved Mother’s Day. I am personally somewhat split in two over such a day. On the negative side, it feels as if some simply want to ‘get it over with’ and then move on to the ‘real’ Mother’s Day. On the positive side, I appreciate such a day specifically set aside to honor the bereaved Mom because it acknowledges that she is still a Mom.

Whatever one chooses to do on either day should be left up to the Mom. It’s her day. If she desires to simply get away, please help her do so. If she desires to spend the day at the cemetery, please don’t tell her she ‘should’ do this or that. If she simply wants to spend the day in bed under the covers, please don’t try and ‘fix’ her. If she wants to partake in any celebrations, please rally around her and understand that there may be moments in which the tears flow uncontrollably and/if she chooses to withdraw.

Please support and kindly extend love and tenderness to all Moms, whether their child remains here on earth or not. Bottom line is that none of us would exist without having had a Mom.

International Bereaved Mother’s Day 2018 is observed on Sunday, May 6, 2018

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(((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

Let’s Take a Closer Look (3)

We left off in (2) with Acts 16:34…moving on.

In Acts 16:35-36, the magistrates have now ordered the keeper of the prison to set the prisoners free. One would think that Paul and the other prisoners would be jumping up for joy at such a prospect. After all, they had been living in indescribable squalor. They were not imprisoned in modern day facilities. They had been beaten, flogged, bound in chains, living in absolute filth. They had been stripped naked and given no medical treatment for their bloody wounds. The stench had to be unbearable as there was no indoor plumbing, and one can easily assume that disease was rampant. What food may have been provided I doubt was desirable, and very likely shared with rodents.

Yet, when they were told they could leave and be set free, Paul gives an unexpected response: “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” (vs. 37)

Bravo! Paul.

He was not about to allow their cruel and dastardly deeds to be brushed under the rug. Indeed, he wanted a light shone upon their evil deeds.

Ephesians 5:11-13

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

Paul was a champion of ‘breaking the silence’.

But what about the verse that states: ‘love covers a multitude of sins’? (1 Pet. 4:8) Is Paul being unloving? Unforgiving? Vengeful? Sadly, many take this Scripture out of context and use it mostly unintentionally with victims of abuse furthering adding to their burden. In Mathew 18, the church is given instructions that are not often adhered to today in modern day churches:

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Paul was certainly not slack to dole out discipline as seen in his comments to Timothy:

18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1) He gives similar instructions to the church at Corinth: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5). He explains his reasoning in: 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (Though I’d like to digress and explore when it is and is not appropriate to judge, I shall leave that for another time.) 

WOW! Twice we see Paul turning folks over to Satan. Most would cringe at such a thought. I’m certain that Paul took no pleasure in such tasks, yet he responsibly did what needed to be done.

Paul did not ‘pull any punches’. Were such instructions unloving? To the contrary, Paul is looking at the big picture of things. He is not simply attempting to ‘keep the peace’ or win over followers with some namby-pamby rhetoric that makes folks ‘feel good’. He wasn’t a proponent of Kumbaya (To engage in a show of unity and harmony with one’s opponents or enemies-urban dictionary). He understood that ‘A little leaven leavens the whole lump.’ (Gal. 5:9). His motive was consistent and very loving for he was concerned about the souls in light of eternity: ‘that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus’ (1 Cor. 5:5).

Paul was a very learned man who loved the Lord Jesus Christ with great humility. He had a ‘thundering velvet hand’ as Dan Fogelberg sings about in his song: ‘Leader of the Band’. He exposed the deeds of darkness and did not hesitate to take any disciplinary action when it was deemed necessary to do so. His motive was always for the greater good and always done in love: ‘Let all that you do be done in love.‘ (1 Cor. 16:14). Paul later gives further instructions regarding the one he disciplined in 1 Cor. 5 by following up in 2 Cor. 2: ‘But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure — not to put it too severely — to you all. For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.’ (2 Corinthians 2:5-8 RSV).

Such a wonderful balanced example he puts forth here. He disciplines not too little and not too much. We would be wise to follow his example.

(((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

 

 

 

 

Stuck

(Excerpt from my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’)

Stuck………………….TOPIC

So often, we reach points along this journey of grief in which we feel stagnant and ‘stuck’ at a certain point.

If you are at one of these layover points, you are processing, digesting, and quietly within working through another layer in this grieving process.

It certainly is not beneficial if we have others around us who are attempting to push us to ‘move on’. It’s equally not beneficial if we are comparing ourselves in the way in which we are grieving, with that of how another is grieving their loss.

Comparing ourselves and our personal grief journey with that of another’s is unwise (See 2 Cor. 10:12).

I have often drawn the analogy that our grief is like labor pains. Just as we experienced physical labor pains in giving physical birth to our child, we now have labor pains in our soul. We are longing for the time when we are reunited with our child. Labor pains differ for everyone. I gave birth to 4 and none of those experiences were alike.

I am currently ‘counting the days’ of my son’s approaching Birthday….seven more days. I have mentioned before that the only way I was able to function that 1st birthday without him, was to bring to remembrance the day he was born. What an absolutely beautiful and joy-filled day that was!

When in physical labor, because I went through natural childbirth, I had to remember to ‘breathe’. I even had a ‘coach’ at my side reminding me to ‘breathe’. It helped me to take my focus off of the present anguish of the pain, and re-focus on my ‘job’ of working through it while becoming more focused on the final outcome. The times between the contractions is when we may feel ‘stuck’. But, we are not. The process will continue and eventually we will give birth to a time of absolute Joy.

Thinking on these things gives me a greater understanding of:

Hebrews 12:
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When I look unto Jesus…the author and finisher of my Faith, Who focused on that Joy that was set before Him which enabled Him to endure the great anguish and excruciating pain of His Cross…despising the shame of it all…and eventually rested eternally receiving His Crown and place of rightful authority and Glory…I understand that I, too, must look ahead to the Joy that awaits me in my Eternal Home.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Truly, all of this is temporal.

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18).

You are not ‘stuck’. God will see to it that He will complete the process:

Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

When I was in labor with my 3rd son, the nurse placed me on ‘PIT’. It was an artificial way of hurrying along my labor. As a result, something ruptured within me. I almost died. My son almost died. I temporarily became unconscious. They thought they were losing me. At some point, I awoke to a room full of people yelling at me and calling out my name. During the time I was ‘out’, they had proceeded to mark me all up for a C-Section in order to try and rescue my son. When I did finally ‘come to’, they rushed me into the delivery room and my doctor yanked out my son at only 9 centimeters. Immediately, they grabbed him and had to resuscitate him by sucking out all the blood that had entered into his lungs.

This all happened because of the well-meaning ‘helpful’ nurse that tried to rush the process.

You’re not stuck….and even if you are, So what?

With my 1st full birth of my 1st son, I had gone into labor and was in the hospital. Then at 4 centimeters, the labor stopped. I was ‘stuck’. I knew it and eventually convinced my doctor to release me to go home. Two weeks later, I went back into labor and my son was born.

This grieving process will continue because it is the natural course of things to be. There is a danger in trying to rush it along. Being ‘stuck’ will not prevent the final outcome of what is to be.

Trust Jesus to complete that which He has begun in you. Let Him be your coach.

(((HUGS)))

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(((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

Shameless Grief

Many of us in the Grief Community have encountered times in which we have felt as if we have the Bubonic Plague. We have noticed the avoidance by those we once considered to be friends. Perhaps, even family members began to distance themselves from us. As a result, we may begin to question: ‘Why me?’; ‘God, don’t you love me?’; ‘What’s wrong with me?’. This can be especially trying if we are of the belief that if we are good, if we do all the ‘right’ things, we will prosper in this life. At such a time, anger may grip our souls. We tell ourselves that we did everything right, yet tragedy hit anyway. We did everything we believed we were suppose to do, yet… our child died, we became ill with an incurable illness, we were viciously attacked and raped. We may vacillate between feelings of shame, fear, personal degradation and feelings of anger, blaming God, hate. Our countenance drops, our head droops, we feel a physical weight upon our shoulders as we take on a burden of shame.

How do we rise above this unending whirlpool, this relentless cycle of disgrace and debasement?

Guilt says: ‘I did a bad thing’. Shame says: ‘I am a bad person’.

Back in the 80’s when I designed a shame reduction program for a woman’s center, I would often remind folks that God gave us just enough shame to not walk to the store while naked. God is not in the business of shaming people. Tragedy does not strike for the purpose of humiliating us. Shame does have its rightful place, it does belong to bad people. Those who are perpetrators of rape, abuse, murder, etc., rightfully should feel shame. Yet, often times, they do not for such behaviour is often boastful. Those that commit such crimes reject any feelings of shame and, as a result, their shame is often transferred and then lodged in their victim.

Sadly, such feelings of shame for the innocent victims of tragedy are often perpetuated in churches. Folks who have been traumatized by grief will often seek out comfort in their church community, only to be met with some who believe they have brought this tragedy upon themselves. Most assuredly, Job met up with such ‘comforters’. Job’s comforters were convinced that he had done something wrong, something that so angered God, that all his great heartache and loss was the result. They were the first in line to grab a shovel of shame and start piling it upon Job. Thankfully, Job ‘kept the Faith’. Many, however, do not. Often, those who have been subjected to tragedy and great grief, will begin to blame God in order to unload their feelings of shame… a shame that is unfounded. The shame actually belongs to those who boast of their own ‘good-fortune’ in escaping any tragedy in their lives. What they fail to understand is that it ‘rains on the just and the unjust’ (MT. 5:45).

We live in a fallen world. Why some seem to have a very blessed life, while others’ lives seem to be absorbed with misfortune, is unknown. What we do know, if we believe God and not man, is that it does not go unnoticed by Him. He repeatedly promises us in His Word that we shall be comforted (Lam. 3:46-52; PS. 9:9; PS. 46:1; PS. 119:48-52; J. 14:27; MT. 5:4; 2 Cor. 1:3; J. 16:20; PS. 27:13-14; Job 5:11; Heb. 13:5; Rev. 21:4; PS. 119:71; IS. 54:4; IS. 35:3-6; etc.) Is God a liar?

We need to shake off the reproach of shame shoveled upon us by others. We are not less than others because the road we travel is more encumbered. We are not at fault because tragedy came knocking on our door. God is not to blame either. Don’t internalize the judgement of others. Condemnation that others may heap upon us is not from God (J. 3:17; Rom. 8:1-39). There is no shame in suffering.

(((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

Let’s Take a Closer Look (2)

We left off with (1) in Acts 16:6-7. Moving on :).

In Acts 16:9, we read that Paul had a vision of a man pleading with Paul to come to Macedonia to which Paul immediately responded (vs. 10). God still gives His people visions today (Joel 2:28). It is necessary that we always test the spirits as we are admonished to do in 1 John 4:1, but to deny that God still gives His children visions is UN-Biblical. When we jump ahead to Acts 16:16, we see a clear example of what it means to ‘test the spirits’ and to discern.

While in prayer, Paul was confronted with a young woman who was possessed with a spirit of divination and was used by others for financial gain as a fortune-teller. This is important to take note of because many are often swayed by the appeal in the grief community to embrace psychics, which is a similar evil spirit. ‘There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer (a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art. – Dictionary.com). For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD.’ (Deut 18:10-12).

Such may appear as ‘an angel of light’. They may actually speak truthful things on the surface, but discernment is essential. Per SpiritHome.com, there are 5 basic things to be aware of in discernment and testing the spirits:

  1. it is governed by love, for if it is not, it’s worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3);
  2. it centers us onto Jesus the Christ and Lord (1 Cor 12:3), and His good news;
  3. it directs us to Scripture, not away from it (Isaiah 8:19, 20);
  4. it builds up the church and its members (Ephesians 4:11-12), giving it power, wisdom, character, boldness, and unity.
  5. it helps create in us a love of righteousness, a heightened sense of sin, and a turning away from known evil.

In vs. 17, we find this young woman making truthful statements: “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” She continued making this statement ‘for many days’. So, this woman was not blatantly lying, she was not acting in a fashion that most would consider ‘evil’, yet when Paul finally became annoyed, he ‘turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.’ (vs. 18). Thankfully, God has blessed His children with such authority in the name of Jesus Christ.

Example…

One day when I was in my late 20’s (the early 80’s), my then husband was acting in a manner which was making me uncomfortable. He was not being abusive, but rather acting in a persuasive manner which an on-looker would most likely see no harm. Yet, discernment was setting off those quiet little alarms within my spirit. I had been attending to some menial tasks as he was speaking, but then I suddenly stopped cold in what I had been doing. I turned to him and stated: ‘Spirit of fear’. Suddenly, it was as if my husband had been thrown backwards against the kitchen wall and became glued to it. Any fear of him, or the spirit of fear within him, had no control over me. God had taken over the situation and had moved in His authority calling out and naming the spirit of fear that had been controlling my husband. I was not led to cast it out, as Paul had been with that young woman, but simply to ‘name it’ and shine a light on it. Any time after that, whenever that spirit would once again possess my husband, he would stand with his back against a wall and it became clearly recognizable.

Paul had discerned the spirit of divination in this young woman, cast it out in the authority of Jesus name, and the woman was set free. However, those who were profiting off her fortune-telling, became irate because they now stood to lose their source of income. (vs. 19). They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace, the center of town, and brought them to the existing worldly authorities. Obviously, there were more evil spirits at play. The magistrates then ‘freaked out’ and tore off their clothes, commanded they be beaten, threw them into prison…the ‘inner’ prison, and had their feet fastened in stocks.(vs. 22-24).

The word “stocks,” with us, denotes a machine made of two pieces of timber between which the feet of criminals are placed, and in which they are thus made secure. The account here does not imply necessarily that they were secured precisely in this way, but that they were fastened or secured by the feet, probably by cords, to a piece or beam of wood, so that they could not escape. It is probable that the legs of the prisoners were bound to large pieces of wood which not only encumbered them, but which were so placed as to extend their feet to a considerable distance. In this condition it might be necessary for them to lie on their backs; and if this, as is probable, was on the cold ground, after their severe scourging, their sufferings must have been very great. Yet in the midst of this they sang praises to God. – Barnes’ Notes

By setting that woman free of her demonic possession, an avalanche of evil fell upon Paul and Silas. Upon reading this, my natural man would most likely be deterred from confronting and casting out any such evil spirits. However, these men knew and trusted their Saviour. Paul & Silas began praying and singing Hymns to God, and others were listening. (vs. 25). That’s when God stepped in :). An earthquake suddenly occurred and all the doors of the prison were opened and everyone’s, not just those of Paul & Silas, but everyone’s chains were loosed. (vs. 26). This frightened the ‘keeper of the prison’ so, that he almost killed himself. (vs. 27). But Paul then assured him that although they had been set free from their chains, they made no attempt to escape and were all still there. (vs. 28). That jailer’s soul was saved that night. Not only his, but his entire family believed and were baptized. (vs. 29-34).

Paul & Silas had suffered greatly. Yet, because of their endurance and unwavering Faith, an entire family came to know Jesus the Christ and were thus given eternal life. What happens next is important, however, I will have to continue when led to do so.

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(((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 Cover-Up of the Cover-Up

As a side note, I first want to apologize to folks who have read my articles which have been published by The Mighty for not responding to their comments. I was unable to view them. I have tried to resolve the issue on a few occasions, but without any success. Apparently, I have been unable to view them because of the browser I use. However, though my responses may be delayed, I will periodically use the browser I discovered this evening which allows me access. I am a ‘tech dunce’ and the first to admit it. 🙂

Because I was finally able to read those comments, I realized something new in my grieving process. Over the years, I often wore a mask because it seemed easier than answering questions and feeling I had to explain my grief. What I hadn’t realized is that in doing so, I also began to wear a mask to the ‘man in the mirror’.

I wrote my first brief article in July 2016 after I had set up my Facebook site: ‘Hope in Jesus for the Bereaved Parent’. I then wrote another, then another, and by December I had written my Book. Although I had desired to somehow have my son’s poems published, I never thought that I would one day write a book as the pathway for doing so. Since its publication in February 2017, I have continued to write articles. Writing became a personal ‘therapeutic tool’ for me. Having lived most of my life in silence because of the layers of abuse I have encountered, it is not easy for me to talk with others about things. When a victim of abuse has had multiple threats of more violence if we dare to break the silence, we learn to bury things very deeply within. We learn not to get angry, not to cry, not to expose our abuser. We walk on eggshells and one small crunch could open the gates of hell upon us. We eventually become accustomed to such a life as if it is ‘normal’. In the thesis I had written in Grad School, I drew the analogy of domestic violence and the Stockholm Syndrome. Today, this has become much more known and understood.

My articles were quickly unaccepted by many sites. The moderators objected to my form of expression of my grief. They demanded that I speak directly with others, but I could only do so on rare occasions. I felt once again I was being silenced if I could not conform to their ‘rules’. This resulted in additional wounding for me. Writing as I do afforded me a buffer. If not for this outlet that I simply stumbled upon, I would still be sitting in silence. The very thought of that prison causes the tears to flow even now as I type this. I write and I write and I write because I can’t go back there. I have vented, I have cried, I have wailed in my writings. I have, at times, ripped my soul to shreds in doing so. Removing an outer mask that we wear to the outside is easier than removing the mask within that hides things within ourselves from ourselves.

Though often it has torn me raw to attempt to express this indescribable pain, it has taught me a lot personally about myself. I have often read what I have written in review, and in doing so have discovered another layer that had been hidden by the mask within.

I’d like to encourage others to use whatever God-given talent or ability you have been given. Whether it be writing, painting, singing, photography, making ‘gifs’, etc., don’t waste it. It may seem challenging at the onset, you may run across critics and those who want to control your expression, but don’t give up. Do it as unto the Lord and do it for yourself. We do not heal in silence and suppression. The pain is like a cancer which we must surgically remove, layer by layer. To allow it to fester benefits no one, including yourself. I have often been on the verge of quitting, and there are times I actually have. I’ve shut down my site and yelled at God: “I can’t do this anymore!”. But I sort of made this ‘deal’, this ‘arrangement’, with Him. I had told Him when I began that if only one person seems to be benefiting, I won’t quit. So, whenever I think I have reached that point of no return, sure enough there is always one who tells me that something I have written has somehow benefited them. That is all the fodder I need to continue on.

You, whoever you are, have a gift. All do. Please don’t bury your talent, you’ve been given it for a purpose. Others need what you have to offer. It has been uniquely designed for you and only you can use it in the manner in which it was designed. You will, most likely, encounter resistance and possibly stumble from discouragement. But know that it’s all part of the process. If your desire is to give Glory to God in all that you do, He will be faithful to guide your steps.

Proverbs 3:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My
Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin’ My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street,
With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See
Their Needs
A Summer’s Disregard,
A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man’s Soul
They Follow Each Other On
The Wind Ya’ Know
‘Cause They Got Nowhere
To Go
That’s Why I Want You To
Know

I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

I’ve Been A Victim Of A Selfish
Kind Of Love
It’s Time That I Realize
That There Are Some With No
Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
Could It Be Really Me,
Pretending That They’re Not
Alone?

A Widow Deeply Scarred,
Somebody’s Broken Heart
And A Washed-Out Dream
(Washed-Out Dream)
They Follow The Pattern Of
The Wind, Ya’ See
Cause They Got No Place
To Be
That’s Why I’m Starting With
Me

(Michael Jackson)

(((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 Hollowness of Happiness

A young woman recently said to me: “I am happier in my life than you have ever been in yours”. It was stated to me in a spirit of meanness to taunt me. Though on some level it rang a sound of truth, in essence it had shallow roots. I wept in my solitude, but not for reasons one might think.

In my years of youth, ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ was a commonly heard idiom. It was often countered with yet another idiom: ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’. Both bring to mind the Scripture in 2 Corinthians 10: “12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 

When this young woman had made this comment to me, it set in motion the ‘wheels’ in my little mind. I began to think back on my life as a whole. Had I ever been truly happy in my life? Most assuredly, on the surface my life has been filled with much abuse and tragedy which I cannot deny. There have most definitely been times when I succumbed to ‘pity parties’, licking my wounds in a shallow pool of self-pity. However, ‘wound licking’ is a natural response to injury. If an animal is wounded, it will lick its wounds to aid healing. Yet, there are some risks involved in them doing so. Wound licking is beneficial, but too much licking can be harmful. In the Gospel of Luke (16:19-31), we find that even the dogs came to lick the sores of Lazarus, the poor beggar.

Luke 16:(ESV)

25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

Truly, happiness in this life is not all that it is cracked up to be. Even Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was ‘well acquainted with grief’. He was a ‘man of sorrows’, rejected and despised by others (IS. 53:3). Because of such sorrows, He was held in low esteem by others. I have experienced times in which others have treated me as if I had the Bubonic Plague. The loss of a child will often produce such an experience. Because happiness is often elevated to the status of an idol which some pursue at all costs, the sorrow of such deep grief often causes some to flee. There is an Italian saying: “Stai lontano da me,porti sfortuna” which means ‘get away from me, you’re bad luck’ essentially.

Yet, I have known times in my life of great Joy that transcends any feelings of happiness. Holding my newborn child in my arms for the first time definitely ranks among the highest. As I began to ponder this young woman’s statement, I was reminded of such times. Yes, I have known times of great sorrow that are inexpressible. But I have also known times of great Joy that are equally inexpressible. None compare, however, with those mountain-top moments I have had in the Joy of the Lord. Times when laughter consumed me in His presence uncontrollably. The apostles had such experiences, as well. In Acts 2:13, folks concluded that the Apostles had had too much wine to drink. Even today, those that have had such moments of utter Joy in the Lord are mocked and often condemned as heretics. My only response to such is: “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

Paul had reached a point in his life in which he could boldly proclaim:

“8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3). I believe because of this he was able to ‘rejoice in all things’. Though he suffered numerous beatings, imprisonments, and had a continuous ‘thorn in the flesh”, he simultaneously learned to be content no matter what circumstances he encountered (Phil. 4:11). He stated in Phil. 3:7 “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” Bluntly stated: ‘happiness is not a pissing contest’. Deeming it as such is quite shallow and hollow. Though I still do have my moments in which all Joy eludes me, I have learned to embrace: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21).

John 16: (VOICE)

21-22 In the same way that a woman labors in great pain during childbirth only to forget the intensity of the pain when she holds her child, when I return, your labored grief will also change into a joy that cannot be stolen.

Nehemiah 8:10

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Another recently said to me that I am a very strong woman. No, not in the least. Left to myself, I have no strength left. What she is seeing is the strength of the Lord which sustains me for my life is hidden in Him. (Col. 3:1-4).

Image result for joy of the lord 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

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Article (#10)

My gratitude to the Lord and to The Mighty for featuring another article on their site. (((HUGS))): https://www.facebook.com/parentingonthemighty/posts/1334735326629471

https://themighty.com/2017/06/not-newly-bereaved-parent/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Parenting_Page

 

 

Optimistically Pessimistic

Truly, this walk of grief is filled with dichotomies and oxymorons. On one hand, we who grieve are a very ‘sorry bunch’. Some would even perceive us as morbid. We speak of death, not a very popular topic at parties. We think about death, a subject most try to avoid. Yes, death is a ‘downer’. After I buried my son, I purchased a grave site next to his for myself. I called my son’s earthly dad and let him know there was another available to which he responded that he was not interested because for him to purchase one he felt would ‘jinx’ him. I am stymied by such comments for they leave me silently swimming in a pool of bewilderment.

When every single person who has ever lived eventually dies (with few exceptions as Elijah), why is it a topic so many ignore? If we pretend that death does not exist, shall it cease to do so? When such an experience is inevitable for all, why do so few prepare for its journey? Death, for sure, is an unpopular subject. Yet, we who grieve for our children are faced with its reality daily. We know all too well of its cold and harsh existence. Such colors our world. Once upon a time, we gave it very little thought. We went about our lives as if it does not exist, too. Then, in a moment in time, it came knocking on our door. It violently forced its way into our home, into our lives. It became that undesirable house-guest which moved in and never left. It was neither welcomed nor embraced, yet it came to stay no matter how much we fought against it. Yes, to the onlooker, we are a gloomy pessimistic lot. We are viewed as ‘negative’, as if being ‘positive’ will negate death’s existence.

However, that is where Faith comes in for those of us who are Believers. Granted, our Faith has been tried in a fiery furnace. All that we once took for granted has been shaken down to the very foundation. We often have questioned just about everything we once thought we did not doubt. As Jacob, we have wrestled with God Himself. We have been stripped of all frivolities of Faith and have been left with the bare nuts and bolts. Though our house still exists, our earthly home does not. We come to understand that though in this world, we are no longer a part of it. We are transformed into creatures who seek another Kingdom. Idealism is replaced with reality; religion is replaced with relationship. Yes, we can resist such transfiguration. Nevertheless, we are faced with it and choose how we shall respond.

On this grief journey, we learn the true meaning of such things as: endurance, perseverance, character, and Hope (Romans 5:4; 2 Peter 1:6).  The way in which we embrace life has been forever altered. The more we kick against the goads, the more difficult the journey. As we begin to embrace eternal life, the more optimistic we become. Slowly, we begin to change our focus toward what awaits at the end of this journey. We come to understand the futility in this present existence, and slowly embrace that which awaits us which is eternal. Faith becomes the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Our citizenship in this world is traded in for our citizenship in Heaven (Philippians 3:20). As this metamorphosis has its way within, optimism takes root; finality is replaced with eternal longevity.

Easter embraces this transformation in a nutshell. It begins on Maundy Thursday and commences on Easter Sunday. We see how our Lord Jesus the Christ begins His overwhelming grief by sweating droplets of blood. He is then brutally scourged, whipped, mocked and seemingly deserted by all but a few. This culminates in the most  excruciatingly painful death on the Cross. All Hope seemingly has been dashed upon the rocks in the most violent of storms.

But the story, thankfully, doesn’t end there… it has only just begun. Christ is Resurrected; real Hope is established; death is forever conquered. Jesus endured for the Joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). He set for us the example of long-suffering, in more ways than one. His courage and forbearance made Him victorious. He was the Firstfruit of the overcomers. Triumphantly, He rose from the grave. Truly, the trumpets are sounded as all exuberantly rejoice and proclaim:

He lives!!! 

…And because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

(((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