All Child Loss Needs Validation

I am in grief groups mostly because of my twenty year old son who was killed. But during seven years of barrenness, I lost two (I later lost two more). Though I did, by the grace of God, bring four into this world, my grief centers on one of those four. However, though now elderly, I still remember my four that didn’t survive. They are not, nor shall ever be, forgotten by me. I know when I pass over, they will be waiting for me.

In ‘my day’, losing a child in pregnancy carried with it a stigma. There must have been something wrong with me. After all, all of my friends were having babies, few with any difficulties. I felt like an outsider. Seven years I was barren except for the two that never saw the light of day. Barrenness in itself is a form of grief for what could be, and isn’t. Those who have lost children by means of divorce, court proceedings, adoption, barrenness, pregnancy loss, death, born still, prodigals, etc., all grieve and their pain needs, and must be, validated. Though the circumstances vary, all which carry their unique marks, the bottom line pain is universal among all bereaved parents.

Last year, when first confronted with the lack of compassion I observed in a particular situation, I was very upset (which is an understatement). You can find that article here: https://bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/comparisons-are-odious/. There is no reason to reiterate.

I know my four who never saw the light of day are waiting for me. When I cross over, I will be meeting them for the very first time and I anticipate HUGE hugs and smiles. Getting to know them and who they may have been in this life will be a wonderful reunion. I have never ceased being their Mother.

Those pregnancy losses I traveled through alone with my Lord. He alone knew my pain. Folks simply did not speak about such things back then. It happened, and it was expected that the mother simply ‘moved on’ and ‘tried again’. The loneliness and feelings of being ostracized from all of my friends who were rejoicing, and rightfully so over their newborns, left me feeling ostracized from their conversations. I was on the outside looking in.

I have no way of knowing if things regarding such matters has changed much over the decades of my life now gone, but if they haven’t and you are one of the many walking such a journey, my heart goes out to you. Your grief is very real and you have the right to be validated in your heartache. Your child you hoped to hold, and all the dreams and hopes you carried for that child, have been dashed to the ground. If your child has been taken from you through whatever means, your excruciating pain is valid. If your adult child has shut you out of their life, your loss and heartache is nearly insufferable. All child loss, no matter the cause, is nearly intolerable. The loss fills your thoughts, both waking and asleep, often. The tears you shed behind closed doors are infinite and exhausting. I do not dismiss any of it and it is my hope that others shall not, as well. Please know that you are not alone. God is with you and countless bereaved Moms stand alongside you. I extend my love and my prayers for you as you travel this journey and season of grief.

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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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Facing Death: The Rubber Meets the Road (3)

 

I have to travel through two more weeks before I submit myself to more tests regarding the diagnosis I received in May of Stage 3B Chronic Kidney Disease. All of this ‘waiting’ surely has afforded me much time for very deliberated contemplation of my life, my Faith, and placing my house in order on many levels. As God’s Word states in Ps. 42:7 “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”

I shared on my sites last night of a dream I had in the wee hours this past Saturday morning. It took me a couple of days before I was able to share it with others. Some things we must first hold dear to our heart and allow them to have their way within us. Briefly, I had arrived in Heaven and my son was there to greet me. He embraced me with one of his big bear hugs and relayed to me: “I’ve missed you so much” with a warm smile upon his face as others looked on with glowing faces filled with Joy. The peace I felt was indescribably beautiful. Upon sharing this with others, the damn of tears broke.

I do not yet know what to expect from the next set of tests. The prognosis may be that I am about to encounter my ‘appointed time’, or it may be that I have received a reprieve. What I do know is that facing death has taken me to deeper waters. I thank God for that dream He sent me. It brings to mind Joni Eareckson Tada’s beautiful melody: ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWVyVMbSzM4. Such brings me great peace.

It is a season of separation from this world in which it’s glimmer has quickly diminished; it is a time of prioritization and making the most of ‘time’; it is an occasion of seeking peace ‘as far as possible’ with all with whom I have crossed paths on this journey we call ‘life’. Most importantly, however, is seeking the certainty of where I shall travel to next.

Luke 21:

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

My love to all. (((HUGS)))

 

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

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

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

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

Facing Death: The Rubber Meets the Road (2)

Since a month ago when I wrote: ‘Facing Death: The Rubber Meets the Road’, I have been keeping myself occupied with numerous chores. Because of my physical condition, I am limited to only a few hours daily in which I can tackle such activities before spasms begin to take hold. However, I am almost done. I have washed walls, curtains, carpets, windows, and every nick-knack I own. I even hired a man to stain the decks because I can no longer expose myself to the toxicity, and a neighbor kindly assisted me in repairing an old park bench in trade for some food. Delving into such activities has afforded me many hours of thought and prayer. As a result, I once again find my Faith being examined.

I have believed in Jesus since I was a little girl. I’ve always conversed with my God as my best friend. What I am now finding is that believing ‘in’ Him… and believing Him… are finely different. The difference is subtle, yet distinct. On one hand, I have believed ‘in’ Him as far back as I can remember. But believing Him is about believing, truly believing, all that He says in His Word. God says He does not lie.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

1 Samuel 15:29 “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
Hebrews 6:18 “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”
There was a time in which I did believe everything He said. Then, my adopted son was raped; then, my 2nd oldest natural born son was killed. I never stopped believing ‘in’ Him, however, I did falter in believing what He said… what He promised. When my adopted son was raped, I could not understand how such a thing could have happened. I was a good Christian woman. I had been married to a Pastor, led numerous women’s Bible studies, prayed with many and fully believing my prayers would be answered, etc. What I had learned is that my Faith was on shaky ground for it was more deeply rooted in me than in my God. I discovered that I believed such a horrific thing could not happen to me or my family because of my behaviour and who I was, rather than rooted in Faith in God and Who He is. It was an eye-opener, for sure. I learned that ‘rain falls on the just and the unjust’ (MT. 5:45).
See the source image

Because of that rape, I was not tormented with the ‘whys’ as so many Bereaved parents are. I sought understanding when my son was killed, but seeking understanding is different from asking God: “Why???” Instead, what I then battled with was: Trust. No longer did I labor under self-confidence for I had learned from my adopted son’s rape that all of my confidence must be in God alone. Trusting, after my son’s demise, became the forefront issue. Had God abandoned me, forsaken me? My Faith was shaken down to its very foundation.

                Isaiah 48:10
Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of   affliction.

In all honesty, it took me years to trust again in God’s love for me.

With this most recent diagnosis, I find myself once again in the Refiner’s furnace. God is more of a perfectionist than I ever was. LOL! I grew up in a world in which excellence was both required and expected. Schooling in my day pushed one to their maximum limit, and often beyond. Not everyone received a ribbon in a competition. It saddens me to see such fall by the wayside, but I digress.

I now know that God does love me and because He does, and because He is a very loving parent, He will demand of me my best. He won’t allow me to become lazy and settle for less. He will try me and yes, even afflict me if necessary, to cause me to achieve all that He has designed and predestined for me. Just as any good parent wants their child to win the trophy, He wants me to win that imperishable crown.

1 Corinthians 9:

Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Yes, once again my God is Faithful.

He desires for me that I be more than a conqueror in Him.

Romans 8:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

He wants me to know… truly know without any doubt… that He is with me, goes before me and is my rear guard, in all that I do and in all I that I face.

Isaiah 52:12 For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Whatever the results may be of my next round of tests, this period of waiting is for my benefit as long as I keep myself focused on my Lord, my King, my Shepherd.

Psalm 37:

24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.

(For more on what I term: ‘The Honor of Affliction’, please see a sermon by Charles Spurgeon: https://biblehub.com/sermons/pub/god’s_refining_furnace.htm) (((HUGS)))

Hope in Jesus for the Bereaved Parent

2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 🙂

I truly find it amazing that this site has now existed for 2 years. When a handful of Bereaved Moms happened to meet on line in different groups, we never imagined what God had in store for us. All we knew is that we were all hurting beyond belief, yet we did not want to lose our Faith in God.

Some of us were struggling to even function on a daily basis; some of us were angry, even furious; some of us were struggling in different areas of our Faith.

Nevertheless, we continued to forge ahead against all odds, determined to help one another find our way through this long and dark tumultuous storm.

All we wanted was a place where we, as Christians, could express our Faith and our doubts freely while continuing to uphold one another in prayer.

The struggles seemed insurmountable. We began to be attacked from many. Because we did not believe in seeking out ‘mediums’ because of God’s Word on the matter, we were accused of being judgemental. Because we found our hearts breaking for the pain others were encountering, we shared God’s Word to offer Hope and comfort. As a result, we were kicked off a number of sites. However, as a result of these things, this site was born. Today it says there are 1,038 followers.

I weep.

It is my deepest heartfelt prayer that all who visit this site will find Hope and comfort in Jesus the Christ, our Lord, King, and Saviour. For only through Him and because of Him do we have the Hope and assurance of finding true healing in the midst of our excruciating grief. Only because of Him and all that He suffered on our behalf do we have the Hope and assurance of being reunited with our children once again. Only because of Him shall all our tears one day be wiped away by God Himself when He once and for all turns our mourning into gladness.

May God be praised and forever glorified in all things. My love to all.
(((HUGS)))

 

Site: https://www.facebook.com/Christiangrief/notifications/

Sister-site (closed group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/667937543358375/

Gifts from the Ashes: https://www.facebook.com/groups/129636057556867/

(((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

Nineteen Years and Still Angry

It’s been over nineteen years since my son was killed and I have had to personally work through more layers of grief than I can count. I have had to make peace on many levels within myself and with my Lord. However, today when another grieving Mom asked for others to share if their child had been murdered, I instantly felt that fury surface once again.

Before some jump to the conclusion that this exists because of a lack of forgiveness on my part, allow me to squelch such thoughts at the onset.

The young man who killed my son was a drunk driver. It was St. Pat’s Day, a day when many indulge and then foolishly get behind the wheel of a vehicle. In my case, this young man was my son’s best friend and played a guitar in my son’s band. He also lived in our neighborhood and  had visited our home on numerous occasions. My son also would take him to Church meetings. Though this young man never asked for forgiveness, I let go of harboring feelings against him at some point on this long journey. After he served three years in prison, he was then deported back to Columbia. My eldest and I tried to intervene in this deportation, but this young man decided that he wanted to leave. I later learned through the grapevine that he became an English teacher. Recalling this, my anger boils because my son desired to be a teacher/missionary. Learning that this young man chose this vocation made me feel as if he had stolen my son’s life twice. It is far worse than rubbing salt in a gaping wound.

I know my Lord does not condemn me for these feelings of anger.

Psalms 7:11

“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

God is good; God is love. God is also angry with the wicked every day. God does not cease to be good, nor cease to be Love, when He is angry at the wicked. Just as we are capable of being sorrowful while simultaneously having the Joy of the Lord, these different ’emotions’ do not contradict one another nor eradicate one another. Those that abide in a realm of the either/or, the black or white, have never walked in the ‘gray’. But the valley of the shadow of death is gray. We who grieve travel a path of duplicity, but not in a deceptive manner. We daily walk in two worlds: the one others can see, and another which we share with few. Part of us resides on planet earth, while our heart is elsewhere with our child. Over time, we learn to balance the two and ‘switch hats’ on a dime. Practical matters, responsibilities, work, our attentiveness for the living, etc., demand of us our presence here. But left on our own, we drift into another world on another plane. It takes time and practice to flip the ‘switch’ when it is necessary to do so.

At the onset of this journey, many of us have felt that the men with the white coats would come knocking any day to take us away. We bounce back and forth often uncontrollably and with good reason. Learning to walk this path of grief is complicated. However, with time, we do learn to walk this tightrope successfully…most of the time. If you’re fairly new on this journey, please be assured that you are not going crazy…you are grieving. There is nothing more devastating than burying one’s child. With time, you will find a balance.

I can hold nothing against this young man while simultaneously being furious with his actions. I can have what appear to many as opposing emotions simultaneously. I wept at my youngest son’s wedding for the loss of what was, while rejoicing for his new life of which he was about to embark. I can laugh at jokes while visiting with family and friends, while mourning the loss of my son’s presence. I am not being duplicitous in the negative sense by living in two worlds. I have learned to ‘be in this world but not part of it’. Billy Graham once stated the following:

Christians are like the gulf stream, which is in the ocean and yet not part of it. This mysterious current defies the mighty Atlantic, ignores its tides, and flows steadily upon its course. Its color is different, being a deeper blue. Its temperature is different, being warmer. Its direction is different, being from south to north. It is in the ocean, and yet it is not part of it.

I believe this applies not only to Christians, but also to the Bereaved. Though we may feel like a fish out of water at the onset, eventually we do jump back into the water and learn once again how to swim. But nothing will ever be quite the same as it once was. This is our ‘new normal’.

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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

Facing Death: The Rubber Meets the Road

Following Bereaved Mother’s Day and the traditional Mother’s Day, I took a week to ‘unplug’ from my site: ‘Hope in Jesus for the Bereaved Parent’. It was the 1st time I had done such a thing since it came into existence twenty-three months ago. I needed a break. My knuckles and hands ached so from the arthritis, my eyes were blurred from staring at the LED lights on my laptop, and mostly my heart ached from all of the grief. I wanted to make sure I made it through these two most difficult days before taking this break. I also made numerous annual doctor appointments for this week to ‘get them out of the way’. However, things did not go as expected. It began with my annual blood test preceding my physical.

I spent the next few days seeing my Dermatologist, Gynecologist, Rheumatologist, and even my Dentist. All went as well as to be expected, but then I saw my General Practitioner who explained to me the results of the lab work. I was then informed that I am in Stage 3B of chronic kidney disease. I have spent this past week contacting two kidney foundations and requesting materials, reading articles on line, watching and mulling through videos, in an attempt to educate myself and seeking out my options. I want to be informed and have as much understanding as possible of what I may be facing. I even contacted someone whose son had personally walked this walk and eventually had a kidney transplant. She spoke with her son, who had also been a nurse, and she told me that my ‘numbers’ are not good…at all. It is a bit of an anomaly that I would find myself with this particular disease. It would seem from what I have researched that such is often the result of diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, etc., …none of which apply to me. So, I have concluded that the only thing I can do is change my diet. I am limiting my consumption of red meat, increasing my intake of water, greatly increasing my intake of ‘live’ food such as salads with only olive oil & vinegar, adding fruit daily and some fish. Essentially, I need to detox my body. Kidney disease seems to be the result of a build-up of toxins and the inability for the kidneys to properly emit them. I have also ceased the intake of all supplements. I have been taking a number of supplements for years believing I was doing a healthy thing for my body. I have now come to learn that there are some that can cause harm to the kidneys. The good news is that my urinalysis returned normal which supposedly signifies no kidney damage. So although they are not functioning as they should, so far they are still ‘healthy’. I am also limiting what few medications I have to take for pain, and to minimize the muscle spasms caused by my damaged spine (but please don’t tell my doc). There is not much more I can do on my end that I know of so I have placed it all into God’s Hands. I even fasted a day which I found to be a big mistake with this condition. Fasting causes fat cells to go into action when they think the body is starving. In my situation, when this occurred, toxins which are stored in these cells were also released. I became very ill for two days, as a result. Someone had told me to not even fast unless God leads you to do so. Apparently, I was trying to handle this on my own.

What the final results will be of this little experiment of mine will not be known for two to three months when I return for more lab work. The next step will be for an ultrasound of my kidneys. My GP wants to then refer me to a Nephrologist and consider Dialysis which, after reading some of the possible side effects, I’ve already ruled out as an option. I have also left the city to spend this time at my little fishing camp in the woods, a far healthier environment and much less stressful.

We talk about death all of the time in the grief community. I have written about God’s Blessed Hope in my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’, as well as, in numerous articles since it was published. This, however, is different; this is when the ‘rubber meets the road’. I find myself staring the real possibility of my own death squarely in the face. Who will win this fight remains the unknown. I have also learned what has to be the loneliest moment one can experience, at least for myself. It is that moment when I am asked at every doctor’s or medical facility: “Do you have a contact number?”…and for that moment, I can’t think of one to give them. God’s number is unlisted.

I refer to this as ‘where the rubber meets the road’ because this, I am finding, is the ultimate test of all I have ever believed, shared, preached, and witnessed to throughout my life. I am having to take an in depth personal inventory in order to put my house in order. Most of the practical matters I had addressed after my son’s demise. I already purchased a plot next to his and all of the costs of final arrangements that are basic have been paid. The legal paperwork has also been previously accomplished. So, with such matters out of the way, it really comes down to ‘me’, and ‘am I ready’? So often we, Bereaved Parents, speak of how we want to leave this earth and be reunited with our children. We look forward to that glorious day; our heart aches for that day. That day for me has possibly arrived. I say possibly because one never knows when God may intervene. If He doesn’t, and if my little experiment is unsuccessful, the possibility then becomes a reality. Time will tell. While I wait, I am using the time to enjoy all the beautiful things God has created. The birds and all of their different personalities make me smile. The blue-jays are the bullies, the finches are such gentle unaggressive ones, the woodpeckers seem to be the least ‘brightest tools in the shed’, the hummingbirds are delightful but very territorial, the phoebes are friendly, and the eagles are quite majestic which always bring me Hope and a renewed strength. Yes, things which often go unnoticed are predominant at the moment. The different colors of my beautiful irises bring delight and peace to my soul, as well. I find myself questioning: “Do I really want to leave this place just yet?”

In the process of that week in which I was first informed of this disease, other things occurred which have given me the assurance that God has not forsaken me. When I have a string of doctor appointments, I have gotten into the habit of staying at a small motel which is in close proximity of the facilities I have to visit. It gives me a reduced rate for being a patient. It also helps me to stay off line and to spend more ‘alone time’ with my Lord. I also always ask for the same room to which I have become accustomed to and with which I am comfortable. I don’t take my Bible because there is a Gideon’s Bible I go to for comfort in the drawer of the bedside table.

The first night, I was having a bit of a meltdown even before I received ‘the news’. So, I pulled the Bible out of the drawer and in it I discovered something another sojourner had left in the pages. I noticed a few verses circled, but didn’t read them at this time. Instead, I simply removed the article and placed a napkin at that page so I could return to it at a later time to read what had been circled. The article left by a sister in the Lord, who went by the name of ‘Aunt B’, is a little plastic woven flat object with a pocket. In it are three little pieces of paper and a plastic woven cross. One of the papers has a prayer to pray to invite Jesus into your heart. It asks the question: “How can I be certain I will go to Heaven when I die?” The second is ‘a prayer for guidance’. The third is a little poem titled: ‘The Cross in my Pocket’. I wept. I thanked God for Aunt B and her obedience to Him in leaving such a thing and prayed He would bless her abundantly. I was reminded of how Elijah felt so utterly alone as he hid in a cave and how God informed him of the 7,000 others who were out there refusing to take a knee to Baal. She had also drawn a little heart at the top of all three inserts and had written the word: ‘smile’ in each. I have always said since I was young: “Smile. Life’s too short not to”. At the end of the following day, I received the results of the lab work. I have placed Aunt B’s gift in my wallet.

The next day, I drove over to see a neighbor I had only spoken to briefly by phone a few weeks previously. When our children were young, we would always see one another at the school bus stop as we sent our children on their way for the day, and we would chat. We had never become ‘coffee clutchers’, yet we always had one another’s back if for some reason one of us could not make it to the bus stop to drive our children to drop them off or pick them up. It was simply an understanding we had with one another without discussion. Though our visit was somewhat brief as we stood in her driveway, some very monumental things occurred. She started talking about my Roddy. She had no hesitation in doing so as some do because of his demise. She talked about him with such ease as if he had never died. I cannot express how much this blessed my weary heart. She then spoke of her mom’s demise. She said that her Mom had been ‘out of it’ for some time and then one day she suddenly sat straight up in bed and proclaimed: “I can see Dad!” She then laid back down, once again ‘out of it’ and uncommunicable. Two or three days after that she peacefully passed away. My neighbor confidently and assuredly stated: “Oh, I believe!” There was nothing lackadaisical in her words. We hugged three times in that short visit and agreed with one another that we had both certainly ‘paid our dues’. I asked about her husband who had a stroke one year after my son’s demise. My friend was suddenly placed in the position in which she became the breadwinner of their household, raising her two boys essentially alone, and also becoming a caretaker for her husband who she now said is beginning to say some words after eighteen very long years of silence.

On my last night at the motel, I was reminded to pull out that Gideon Bible again in which I had marked that page with the placement of that napkin. It was obvious that this Bible is rarely read because of the newness and stiffness of the pages. I wanted to see what ‘Aunt B’ had circled. To my surprise, she had not circled anything…I had done so on a previous visit. I was feeling as if I had become pen pals with this sister in the Lord and we were secretly passing notes. She had opened the Bible to the one page in which I had circled a couple of verses. The odds of her finding that one page are too many to count. It was the passage in 2 Kings 20.

1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ”

Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

It then goes on to say:

And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.” ’ ”

Hezekiah then asks for a confirming sign from the Lord as a type of fleece before the Lord as Gideon, Abraham, and others had done. When I arrived at my camp, I went directly to my neighbor’s because they collect all of my mail for me in my absence. In the eighteen years I have known her, she has never mentioned my son whom she never met. Yet, this day she did. She asked about the origin of his name and she did it in such a way that it was as if she had known him. So, when no one ever mentions my son after these nineteen years except for his siblings from time to time, two dear ladies in just a couple of days had. Such does not go unnoticed by me.

I do not know what the results will be in a few months when I am re-tested. But, what I do know is that God is, and will be, with me every step of the way. What I do know is that this time of testing is causing me to take account of my life and place my house in order. I have attempted to contact a few people in order to make sure that, as far as possible, I am at peace with them. I have a new appreciation and gratefulness for God’s beautiful creation of life. I called a woman I have known for eighteen years who is dying of cancer. I was able to tell her that I thought she is a good person, and to tell her she has always been kind to me and thanked her for being so. I told her I hope she is at peace to which she calmly and assuredly stated: “I am.” I said to her that too often things go unsaid and they shouldn’t. I have also looked up what it is like to die of kidney disease when dialysis is not chosen as a viable option and though not pleasant, it is often followed by a few weeks in a coma before passing on. I also read that a person in such a coma state can still hear what is being said around them so I have asked my eldest, if it comes to this, to please read to me Scripture during such a time. There are far worse ways to go so I thanked the Lord if this is His chosen path for me to travel Home.

For those who feel led to do so, please keep me in your prayers. My love to all and my gratitude for all those who have walked alongside of me in this valley of grief. (((HUGS)))

I carry a cross in my pocket, A simple reminder to me, Of the fact, that I am a Christian, I matter where I may be.  -  Cross Poem By Verna Thomas

(((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

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

 

 

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