Encouragement in Grief

Every day I spend a few hours searching the web for articles, pictures related to grief, grief quotes, etc., and I seek the Lord as to what I should and should not post. I know I don’t always get it ‘right’, but that’s my fault not His. I also look for a variety because I know that some things will help some, but not everything will help all. In addition, I ask the Lord if He has something He would have me write about and I wait. As I signed on today, the word that ‘popped’ into my mind was: ‘Encouragement’. As I was flipping through things, I kept coming across encouraging articles and Scriptures. To me, when such things occur, I view them as confirmation.

Then, I ran across some posts with articles that I found very validating and encouraging. We have had so many main-line preachers, well-known and popular, that preach messages which do more harm to the grieving than are beneficial. They often grieve my Spirit, as well as, anger me. I had read another article last night in which the ‘minister’ spoke of how we are not to speak of ‘negative’ things, etc., and it infuriated me. I don’t know what reality they are living in, but it’s definitely not mine. There is pain in this world… and lots of it. It’s as if they only want to preach Jesus as the Risen Lord, and forget that He was a ‘Man of Sorrows’. He was despised and rejected and held in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3-4). Folks considered Him to be ‘smitten’ by God. Then there’s Job…who lost everything…everything…except a nagging wife that told him he should curse God and die. As a topper, his body was covered in boils. What did his ‘friends’ do? They told him he deserved it…essentially. They were sure he had brought all this sorrow upon himself…that he must have done something wrong to bring this great tragedy upon himself.

Shortly after my son passed on, I ran into one of these ‘Job comforters’. It wasn’t just anyone, it was my Pastor’s wife. Now I had been attending that Church for a number of years. My children attended and were very active in the youth group. My son that passed on was one of the leaders. His band played before 10K plus youth at a Jesus Festival that the youth group attended. Two of my sons went on weekend outreaches and conferences. I, personally, attended 2-3 meetings a week and took part in a nine month long special class with my son, and was asked to be a facilitator in the following year’s program. There was much more, but this is not a resume. I simply want to ‘set the scene’ that myself and three of my children were very involved and loved this Church. However, when my son passed on, this Pastor’s wife said to me: ‘The favor of the Lord has been lifted from you’. To add insult to injury, she was also a bereaved Mom.

This was ‘spiritual abuse’!

When someone in ‘authority’ says such a thing under such circumstances, the wounding cuts deeply. I have been wounded on some so-called Christian grief support sites for sharing a dream of my son, though the wounding did not cut as deeply as that initial one. I have always attempted reconciliation. The Pastor’s wife refused to even acknowledge my two letters; the on line moderators blocked me without any discussion. I did my part; it’s now between them and God.

Most of us struggle with our Faith and our beliefs when we’ve had to bury a child. Whether it be anger, trust, prayer, Faith…we have been rocked down to our very foundation. And IT HURTS! We certainly do not need more grief and sorrow and loss poured upon us.

But…here is the encouraging. Anything that was garbage is stripped from us. Any beliefs we held that were inaccurate are cleansed from us. If we don’t walk away from God in our darkest hour, we go deeper…and we keep on going deeper to get answers, to get Strength, to find any glimmer of Hope. Our world has been turned upside down. We have to find out: Is God punishing us? Is God truly a God of Love? Does God really exist? Does God even listen to my prayers?

We plow up and harrow the hardened ground that may have developed over time. It’s hard, very hard, work. It’s an internal toil that causes us to sweat, to ache, to strain. But there is good to come from it if we don’t quit and allow the soil to re-harden. There is good to come from it if we don’t become stiff-necked. The soil becomes softened, pliable, as the weeds are destroyed making room for fruitful growth.

We WILL see our children again!!!

Our children are very much alive! This world is only a place we are passing through. God was hated in this world and assures us that we will be hated, too.

John 15: (KJV)

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

He let us know that we will have trials and tribulations, but to take comfort in Him because He has overcome it…ALL of it! (John 16:33). YES! we miss our children in the here and now…their physical presence. BUT they are not ‘gone’; they are not ‘lost’. They LIVE! They are simply gone from the physical world which is filled with sorrow and woe. They are FREE! They have no more suffering, no more pain!

King David’s servants thought he had gone mad crazy after he lost his first son. David had fasted and prayed for his child when he became ill. He laid on the ground all night pleading with God on his child’s behalf. He refused to eat. This went on for seven days. When his child did die, the servants were afraid to inform David of his son’s death. ‘For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”‘ Finally, they did tell him that his son was dead. Only then did David arise from the ground, washed himself, ate, and went to the House of the Lord to Worship. Surely, the servants now believed that the King had become completely unhinged. They could not comprehend his behaviour. It made no sense whatsoever to them. But David responded to their inquiries as such: “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

King David knew he would see his child again.

YES! GRIEF SUCKS!!

It hurts like hell. Perhaps, there are times when we think we have died and gone to hell. There is nothing worse than burying our child, our flesh and blood; one we loved from the moment of their existence. We must…must…focus on eternity, of being reunited with our child. If we have to hang a big sign in our home to remind us that THIS IS TEMPORARY! then do so. This is not all there is. What awaits us for all eternity is so magnificent, so incredibly wonderful, that we can’t even imagine it. Travel to some of the most beautiful places on this planet and they don’t hold a candle in comparison to what lies ahead for those who belong to Jesus the Christ. Let us not forget the ‘Man of Sorrows’. He ‘gets it’. He suffers along with us. And…He suffered and died to set us free from it.

1 Corinthians 2:9(NKJV)

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Image result for plow ground photo

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728  Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

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

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12 thoughts on “Encouragement in Grief

  1. OK, wait, I have to stop right now at what the Pastor’s wife said to you at the loss of your son. “The favor of the Lord has been lifted from YOU?” Wow, that would make you a very important person and powerful. All YOU (or any of us) has to do is anger God and he will strike down our children??? That’s a very “the world revolves around me” kind of belief, isn’t it? Since we all have sinned and all of has have fallen short (lost favor, right?) then there really shouldn’t be any children left in the world. OK, what have we learned today? That even Pastor’s wives (and probably Pastors) can have “foot in mouth disease” and say really dumb things. I guess we are taught that somewhere along the way in church or Sunday school, but REALLY? as my son would say. I did blame myself at first. I must be such a bad person, my “sins” must have found me out, I must be getting punished for something I did “in my youth or childhood” (from Sound of Music.) Then, the logical part of my brain that finally kicks in as reality shows up, says that it would be rather mean of God to take it out on my son, his wife, their children, other family members, his friends, etc. because I lost favor in His eyes. No, Jude, she had it wrong. Poor woman, she lost a child and thinks it is because God is unhappy with HER? Poor woman, I hope someone set her straight. My son died because he had a serious heart condition that reared it’s ugly head 4 years earlier in some tests done by Kaiser. He had an enlarged heart, a blood pumping issue, a clogged artery and a few other things, but he did not know any of this because Kaiser did not tell him. His doctor did not tell him. He went to the doctor the day before he died and wanted to be admitted to the hospital because I guess he could feel himself close to death and the Kaiser doctor wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t test his heart, wouldn’t check his swollen legs and feet, on and on. This happened to my son because I guess it was just his time. God knows the number of our days and for my son his days were from December 19, 1979 to May 17, 2019.

    Sorry for getting so worked up, but I couldn’t let that go. We are not that powerful. We don’t influence who lives and dies unless we are carrying a gun, I guess. We don’t get punished by having other people struck down by GOD. I would hate for any grieving parent to go to bed tonight thinking they somehow caused the death of their child because they themselves made God mad. I can’t list a bunch of Bible verses, but I do have some common sense, and I think I know God better than to think He operates that way. In the words of my 4 year old grandson, that is just ridiculous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOVE your comment, Judy Ann!! TY!! for validating my anger at such horribly abusive statements. It is very sad that anyone in such a position could be so extremely careless with her words…especially when such compassion had been shown to her when her baby passed on. I was devastated when I 1st heard it. It sent me spiraling downward into a pit of fear, thinking I had so displeased my Lord somehow. I began to question everything I had done in my life, falling prey to every accusation of the accuser of the brethren. Had I committed the unpardonable??? Had I caused my son’s demise??? It took me a few years to realize what such words had done to me, the depth of the wound. I approached her humbly, truly, while letting her know how inappropriate her statement was, especially at such a time. Because of her stance, I was rejected by others…after all, it’s the Pastor’s wife so she must be correct, right? Oh, the damage… My heart breaks when I hear such foolish statements made to other hurting Mommas. Yet, God has redeemed even that because now I will NOT remain silent! Every time I see another attacked in such a way, I no longer fear man and remain silent. I will confront and expose every time. I do seek the Lord 1st to make sure my heart is in the right place before Him in doing so and pray for Wisdom before blowing that trumpet…but it shall be blown! The Church needs to get it right. We are to be a ‘safe’ place for the wounded and brokenhearted. I’ve talked with the Lord since I was a little girl. Got down on my knees and accepted Him as my Saviour 45+ yrs. ago and all these decades I have ‘watched’ the changes, the ‘fads’, etc., that have flowed. This recent ‘fad’ of ‘positive thinking’ is NOT Christianity! It’s humanism mixed with psychology to make folks ‘feel’ good, but offers no healing of substance…and it angers me. Yes, it fills the pews and ups the tithes, but it doesn’t heal…it doesn’t ‘save’. I’m seeing others, however, slowly waking up and with that I rejoice! (((HUGS)))

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, and what you said about this world is temporary and we “must, must, must focus on eternity” is right on the money! I say this all the time, to put things in perspective. In light of Eternity, our lives on this earth are but a moment in time. And, for anyone that finds it hard to “move forward” because you are leaving your child behind, you have it backwards. I felt that way too. If I tried to move forward, I kept looking over my shoulder to where I last saw my son. I didn’t want to “move on” and leave him behind. It was so painful and easier to just stay “stuck” in my sadness, but one day it hit me, I’m not leaving him behind, because he’s not in my past, thanks to the love and sacrifice of my Lord and Savior, Praise God, my son is in my future, not in my past!!!! He is in front of me, not behind. I wish I knew how to post that picture Jude has of the young man climbing the stairs to heaven and telling his mom that he’s going to wait for her, he’s just going on ahead for now. I don’t know if this link will work, but it’s worth a try.

    https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/18664692_968099646626162_3822284316453417173_n.png?oh=d74b269048d8a6de5adaf15d24db6bc6&oe=59ACA26D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!!! I will only add that our children move forward with us. They can see us and because we are ‘One’ with them in the Body of Christ, the only way possible to ‘move on’ without them is for Jesus to sever part of His Body. ‘But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.’ (2 Cor. 13:8)
      Also, that link works perfectly. All one needs to do is copy/paste. TY!! (((HUGS)))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am familiar with Job’s friends, too. And it was a pastor who did more harm than good to my tortured heart and mind. Online acquaintances also were no help. I have become very guarded about where I go and with whom I share my story . It is wearisome sometimes but I know you must know this as well.
    God sends us signs that comfort us beyond measure. We must be open to them. As you said, we go deeper ….our faith endures and grows stronger.

    I believe I need to put up a sign as you suggested, “This is temporary!”

    Blessings…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so very sad that so many of ‘Job’s Comforters’ exist. I shared my story with few for 17 yrs. …17 yrs. I remained, as you say, ‘guarded’. When I suddenly felt ‘nudged’ by the Lord 10/16 to write my book, I was scared. One night, in my mind’s eye, I saw the word: NOW in neon lights. I knew it was the Lord, so I obeyed. Yet, I still wrestled with doing so…while knowing I ‘had’ to. It was time, plain and simple. When it is your time, you will know. I encourage you to trust Him at such a time. He will go before you and simultaneously be your rear guard. There IS purpose in all we have been called to endure. I don’t know quite how to put this into words…yet. But I’m beginning to understand that a great honor has been placed upon us who have been called by the Lord to walk this journey. But Shhh! That’s one of God’s best kept secrets. It will all make sense one day and we will be on our knees thanking God when it does. This time will simply be a tear dropped in the ocean. (((HUGS)))

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Again, you and I are on the same wave length on just about everything. I so much did not know what to do for months and months after Nick passed. I walked around the house asking God, “What am I supposed to do? What should I do?” I don’t know if God told me to or if I just stumbled onto “something to do” and then he gave me strength to do it, but either way, I started to sew like a maniac. Clothes for my granddaughter, blankets, vintage style aprons, stuffed animals, then I made a large tote bag and I loved it, so I made at least 30 of those (I was going to sell them, but found more joy in giving them to family and friends.) For a long time, I’ve wanted to make simple blankets for babies. I heard that the police officers like to keep a couple of blankets in their squad cars for situations where little ones end up in their arms. I also found a transitional housing complex for homeless people and they were happy to get them for the children that come through there and some went to CPS for foster children that come through the system. There were blankets and stuffed animals. I’ll never know what happens to the blankets, but I prayed over them and asked God to bless the children that receive the blankets and the people who give the blankets to them. It’s a small thing, but it made me feel like I was doing good for others and that’s the bottom line. I have all this love for my son and I can’t do loving things for my son, so I’m taking that love to do something for others, something in Jesus name, and something that will make my son proud of me. That is very important to me. Out of my “Ashes” came a “Gift” and desire to try to help someone every day, in some way. When I wake up I ask God to show me what He wants me today. It really has been the best medicine for my wounded soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a beautiful ministry, Judy Ann. There are ‘Gifts’. It takes a long time to become aware of them and, of course, none can replace or add up to the Gift of our child. Yet, God does Redeem and when all is said and done, I know when we pass over we will be amazed and somehow very grateful for it all. (((HUGS))

    Liked by 1 person

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