It’s Been Awhile

Much has occurred since I have last written. I sold my home of 39 years and have moved; I was without my computer working for a total of 4 weeks; FB blocked me on a few occasions when I attempted access; and many things have occurred within my family relations. Though much chaos and disruption has ensued, daily my thoughts and prayers have been for those who grieve. I am ‘at home’ in the ‘grief community’.

Yesterday, when I was finally able to spend some time posting on my sites, a gal contacted me who is currently reading my book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’. It is always a blessing to me to hear from another sojourner. She commented on all that I have journeyed through in my walk and it got me to thinking about it all. I had essentially responded with what I truly do believe. I so appreciate such comments because they help me take stock and evaluate.

My response was fairly simple. I truly believe that the greater the sufferings one is called to endure upon this earth, the greater the Glory we shall embrace in eternity. I’d like to draw your attention to a Scripture reference:

Luke 16:

25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

I know God is good; I know God is just; I know God is Love.

I do not envy those who live a life of ease in this world. Though our sufferings may be great as we are passing through in this world, they truly cannot be compared with the Glory that awaits us, a Glory that is eternal whereas our time of suffering here is quite temporal. When we know such to be true, we can truly rejoice in the midst of such trials and tribulations. Yes, Christianity can be quite paradoxical.

We, of course, do not rejoice in the essence of pain (emotional and/or physical), grief, abuse, trials, etc.. Rather our rejoicing is in the Lord in Whom our life is hid. We rejoice in Who He is and the overcoming victory He has obtained for all who are willing to receive and enter into the rest He has obtained for us. We weep with those who weep, and we rejoice with those who rejoice, being forever mindful that all is balanced out in the end. Our strength is derived from Him alone.

I can’t help but marvel at preachers/teachers who ‘sell’: Positivity. They try to convince folks that if they simply think differently about things, change their attitude from negative to positive, all will be hunky-dory. They deny reality and blame the victim in doing so. Essentially, if you’re not ‘happy’, it’s all your fault. I challenge the reader to find a Scripture that speaks of happiness. God’s Word will teach us how to find peace, joy, contentment, etc., in the midst of great sorrow and tribulation. He teaches us of great prosperity in our soul and promises we shall soar on the wings of an eagle. However, He also tells us that we shall have great trouble in this world yet we are not to fear, for He has overcome the world (J. 16:33).

Before I personally experienced the grief of such tragedies in my life, I would have pity on others who had such. After I had personally ‘walked in their moccasins’, I learned compassion. Before such tragedies, I relied on my own strength to endure. After such, I learned to depend on God alone for His strength to endure. Without such grief, I would still be depending on ‘me’, and I would still be the center of my universe. Now, my reliance is solely on my Heavenly Father and my Lord, Jesus Christ, who are now the center of my universe. Because of such ‘transition’, I can rejoice in my sufferings.

1.Pity is the feeling of sympathy or sharing in the suffering of another human being or an animal while compassion is the feeling of mercy, empathy, and a desire to help the suffering person or animal.
2.Pity is an emotion while compassion is both an emotion and a virtue.
3.Pity can sometimes be tinged with contempt or dislike while compassion is part of love and is therefore free from any negative feelings. (Difference Between.net).

I do not rejoice that my son is dead. I weep.

I do not rejoice in the abuse that has left me crippled. I hate what is evil.

I do not rejoice in the rapes. I am scarred.

I do rejoice, however, in my Lord and am forever grateful that through it all He has been faithful and has never left my side.

I do rejoice that I know with certainty to Whom I belong and to where I will go when I am finally called back Home.

I do rejoice that all of this is but a vapour and that an eternal Glory awaits.

May God be glorified in all things, for He alone is worthy.

I close this article with one of the last poems my son wrote before his demise (excerpt: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’):

Awaiting My Time

by Roddy

Perhaps the answers are still unclear,
For I find myself still searching,
Far and near; high and low,
I am still searching.
I am looking deep in my soul
And throughout the darkest corners of my heart,
For the one thing to bring a mere smirk.
Perhaps a hint of happiness
May shine its light on me some day.
That a lack of loneliness will
Consume my heart, I pray!
I have lived a life
My good deeds did not deserve.
And unto all others,
Their needs and wants , I serve.
I wait in the shade.
Patiently for the light to shine,
Upon the life I lead
Knowing that one day, Justice-
Will be mine!

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

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

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

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

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Spunky

I know this may sound silly to some, but I am one of few words. My only release of my grief is to write, so write I shall.

Many of us who have had to bury a child feel insulted and angered, at times, when someone who has not been through such trauma and tragedy unknowingly states that they understand because they lost their cat or their dog. In fact, burying a beloved pet cannot be compared to the loss of a child.

There are so very many losses throughout one’s life. I have buried both of my parents; my grandparents are long gone; two siblings have now passed; and I grieved the loss of my marriage of twenty-four years. I have also been through the loss of pets. Yesterday, I sat with my ‘Spunky’ in her last moments.

Spunky has/had a special meaning for me. She was born just a few weeks after my son was killed. All her siblings went to my son’s friends. She has been totally blind and deaf for quite some time now, yet somehow she managed to get around. She was twenty years and one month old. That’s well over 100 in human years. I chose her from the litter because she had so much life that emanated from her very existence, hence, the name: ‘Spunky’. And spunky she was. She was a fighter from day one when I saw her be born.

She mostly loved the outdoors. I have had numerous cats throughout my life, but never a cat that ran faster, climbed a tree with more skill, or caught a critter more shrewdly.

A couple of years ago, we had her at our camp along with my daughter’s cat and my two that I keep at the camp. The others sensed she was old and blind, so they attempted to harass her a bit and try and take advantage of the old gal. My two camp cats catch mice, but they don’t seem to know what to do with a mouse once they have it. I have watched them spend hours trading a mouse back and forth between them as a sport. The mouse either gets away or simply drops dead from the ordeal. My daughter’s cat is clueless when it comes to mice. He may catch one, but then lets it go in a stupor. I must say he’s not the brightest tool in the shed when it comes to cats.

One day, however, the old blind gal caught herself a mouse at the camp. The other three cats perched themselves in different locations looking on. They watched in amazement as Spunky devoured her catch, only leaving behind the entrails. The other three cats never harassed old Spunky again. From that point on they walked softly around her. She had earned their respect.

Spunky had had a number of ‘events’ which could have been ‘kitty strokes’. For the past three weeks I would have to stand her up twice a day over her food bowl until she found some balance so she could eat. But she still had her ‘spunk’. She would sense when I was approaching, perhaps through vibration, and would try and stand and meow as she attempted to greet me. I would brush her as she ate and she would still purr.

Yesterday, I knew when I saw her in the morning that this was her last. Her back end had become totally paralyzed and when I held her over her food, she could only take a few licks. I had just washed her bedding the night before so I gently laid her on top of it and periodically gave her droplets of water with an eye dropper. I then noticed that she was having great difficulty swallowing. I was checking in on her about every 15-20 minutes throughout this four hour ordeal. Finally, I knew it was her time.

I took her out and laid her on the freshly mowed grass. Her entire body had begun to stiffen. I sat there brushing her and swatting the flies away. As she laid there, I watched as she twitched her nose and wiggled her whiskers as she smelled the earth beneath her. Then, perhaps in a twilight sleep, she began to move her front paws as if she was running. She was in some place happy. I prayed: “Lord, please meet her in the fields’. Then, her body convulsed twice and she let out a whisper of a meow. Her front and back legs all stretched out as they would when she was about to take a flying ‘leap’.

Then, she was gone.

As I stayed with her awhile longer, continuing to brush her, I wept. She was a beautiful, feisty, and wonderful pet. ‘Til the very last moment, through years of blindness, deafness, and the recent stokes, she remained my ‘Spunky’.

No, there is no comparison between my loss of her and of my son. Yet, I grieve. I awoke a number of times last night thinking I had to go check on her. Only to have to remind myself that she is now gone. I laid her in a closed container with a blanket awaiting for my eldest to come and bury her. I was there when she was born and quite fittingly when she passed on. I love you Spunk! You will be missed.

For pet lovers everywhere, I understand.

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Tool Called Anger

I am 7 days away from my son’s 20th ‘Angelversary’ and have been locked in the ‘countdown’ for a month. It is true that the anticipation is often worse than the actual day…but not always. Therefore, one never knows if or when the sky may/will be falling in.

hate the pain, the fear, the tears that overwhelm me, at times, and often when they are least expected. ‘If Only’ I had some warning so that I could be better prepared and more in control. But Grief’s nature cannot have such controls. It ebbs and flows at its own will and in its own determined time.

I have often heard it preached that anger is ‘bad’. We are told to ‘put away’ anger. Yet, we are also told to ‘be angry’, but ‘sin not’. So, again, we seek balance.

Because I was married for 24 years to a person who was easily given over to rage, I would never allow myself to feel anger. I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’. I didn’t understand that anger, when justified, can be good. God is good and God is angry at the wicked every day (PS. 7:11). I no longer shun anger, but I do pray that I channel it in a healthy way.

Anger is one of the very basic elements of grief. Why? Well, I believe it is because we hate death. After all, even God calls death an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). One day, there will be no more death (Rev. 21:4). ‘Til that day, I will hate it. Death will always be a source of anger for me while I remain in this world.

So, when the anger rushes in, I have a choice to make. I can be foolish and vent it inappropriately (sin); I can pretend it does not exist (denial); I can try and run from it (fear); or I can seek Wisdom and use it constructively. Honestly, I have tried all options at some point or another. Over time, I have learned to embrace the anger of grief and allow it to be used as a tool to motivate me toward doing something good, something constructive. Anger is often an ‘energizer’.

Anger oftentimes frightens people. In the grief community, one often crosses paths with someone who is very angry. It is almost inevitable. Anger, when not addressed, can easily morph into bitterness which corrodes and eats away at one’s very soul. The troublesome thing about bitterness is that it not only affects the one who is bitter, but it also affects those who come in contact with it (Heb. 12:15). One can be angry, but not bitter. To tell a person who is grieving that they ‘should not’ be angry will only cause harm to that person. To flee an angry grieving person will only produce shame and lead to more anger. What is needed is validation, love, and a ‘soft word’ (Prov. 15:1).

So, it is good to not be angry whenever possible. However, because of the anger that often accompanies grief, even if we are not readily an angry person, we seek to use it beneficially. I like to think of anger as a hammer. I can focus it and ‘hit the nail on the head’, or I can smash my thumb with it. I can use it wisely to make a repair, or I can smash a window with it. What I won’t do is pretend it does not exist, or feel shame in being angry in my grief.

Image result for “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ― Maya Angelou  photo

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

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

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

‘Father Knows Best’

There is a well-known, once reputable, comedian who use to joke to his children: “I gave you life, I can take it away”.  Folks all laughed at this. Once upon a time, I saw some truth in this. But over time, what truth exists in this statement has diminished.

I am the Mother of eight. Four saw the light of day and four did not.

The doctor who delivered my children would attempt to comfort me in regards to those who hadn’t survived to fruition by telling me that most often, those who did not, had something wrong with them and it was the natural course of things for them having not survived. I accepted his explanation and logically attempted to console myself with such. But, over time, what truth exists in this statement has also diminished.

I have come to understand that God alone gives life and is the source of life. Yes, for whatever His reason, I was chosen as the vessel for the children He designed to have, or not have, that life. I was simply the conduit. I did not give my children life, God did. I did not ‘make’ nor create my children. God did. He alone is the One that formed them in my womb. God knew them before I did. (Jeremiah 1:5).

Psalm 139:13

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

There have been, and still are, times in which I will succumb to some unfounded guilt as to how my children developed as they matured into adulthood. I find myself blaming myself for choices, unhealthy choices, they may have made. I still battle, at times, with the ‘God complex’ in which I believe I am in control of such things, hence, I have failed. Yes, looking back, I can question whether or not I made a mistake in my ‘rearing’ of my children from time to time. What I do know without doubt is that I loved all of my children inexpressibly so, and always had their best interests at heart even if my decision making, at times, was faulty.

I have come to understand as Job did: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). When I center myself on the real and complete Truth, I no longer engage in the battle within my soul which taunts me with the questioning. I come to understand that I am not on the Throne, God is. I do, and have done, the best I know how to do in regards to my children knowing ultimately they are His and in His loving care. I confess, I have often gotten in God’s way by believing I know what’s best for my children when, in fact, it is God Who knows best. Those who are of later years may recall a TV show called: ‘Father Knows Best’. Well, in fact, our Heavenly Father does. Our earthly fathers may have failed us, but our perfect parent never has. We may not yet have the understanding of His doings, but if we truly believe He is Who He says He is (God is good-MT. 19:17; God is Love-1 J. 4:8) then we must choose to rest and quiet our souls in this Truth.  His Wisdom far surpasses ours.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Earthly wisdom appeals to the senses and the emotions. In contrast, the wisdom that is from God reflects Him. While earthly wisdom says always follow your heart, godly wisdom tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful above all things. While earthly wisdom says seeing is believing, godly wisdom tells us in John 20:29 that blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. While earthly wisdom says love your family and friends, godly wisdom tells us in Matthew 5:43-47 to also love your enemies and bless them. While earthly wisdom says there are many ways to God, godly wisdom tells us in Acts 4:12 there is only one way to God, Jesus Christ. (Love God Greatly)

I do not have the knowledge to explain why four of my children came into this world and four did not. I yet do not have complete understanding of why my twenty year old son was called Home when he was. I do not know why some of my children have made the choices they have made with the life they have been granted. What I do know is the One Who does, however, and I will rest in Him.

Image result for You have been my God from my mother's womb. photo

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

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

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

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

Just for a Moment…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, that is not true.

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

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

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

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

 

There Wasn’t Time to Cry

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

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

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

Memories can be traumatizing; grief is traumatizing.

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

We decide.

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

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

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

Image result for women weeping photo

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

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

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

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

Yes, it is Christmas…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I surely qualify. How about you?

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

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

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

Jude 24-25

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

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

(((HUGS)))- Jude Gibbs

 

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Off Topic

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

In this manner, therefore, pray:

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

 

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

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

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

Someone then shared with me this verse:

Matthew 4:1

(Satan Tempts Jesus)

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

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

That stopped me in my tracks.

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

1 Corinthians 10:13

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

So, what does He tell us here:

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

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

The Whole Armor of God

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

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

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

James 4:

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

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

Ephesians 6:11

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

1 Peter 5:9

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

1 Corinthians 16:13

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

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

2 Timothy 2:

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

(((HUGS)))

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

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

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

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

 

 

Blindsided by 40

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

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

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

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

That is when I was blindsided.

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

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

What would he look like now?

What would he be doing?

Would he have a loving wife? Beautiful children?

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

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

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

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

Image result for stuffing turkey photo

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

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

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

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

The Land of the Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 27:13

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

May we sing as one this song of Victory:

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

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

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

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