Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss those two words are such small words and yet, they are such powerful words. Loss is that thing that happens when we lose something precious to us. Be is a job, a thing or someone. Grief is that thing we do after the loss.

Grief is that lingering ache in our heart, that sadness that fills our soul with pain as we wonder how we will ever get through it. Grief has no time line. While there is a process that process has its own ending.

Grief creates other emotions that some find they cannot deal with. People in their circle cannot understand how those emotions dance around like a mad tap dancer, moving first one way than another. The loved ones just want that person to move on – there is no moving on. There is only moving forward.

Some on you might ask, “How do I move forward? How do I fill the void in my heart and life? ”

First of all there is no filling that void, there will always be a hole. Once that tapestry of your life is ripped it can not be repaired, however, the tapestry can be added to.

When we allow God to be our guide and truly understand that he knows our loss and our grief better than we ever could. When we lean on him for our comfort and strength and know that he holds us in his hands, then and only then can we heal.

In Psalms 147:3  ”  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God understands, he sent his only son to die for us. He willingly gave him up to a death that no man should ever have to suffer. He was in such grief that he had to turn his back. And yet, he tells us that he will heal us as the brokenhearted and he will bind our wounds.

We are told In Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” What a beautiful thought, when the entire world leaves us and goes back to their own lives, God is near to us, he saves our crushed spirit. He listens when we repeat our pain over and over again. When we beg to understand the why of it all. He listens. And if we allow it he comforts us and saves us in our darkest hour.

Grief and loss is a natural phenomenon it is a part of life. However, it does not have to consume us nor does it have to destroy us. It does not have to become who we are, just what we do for  a season.

 

The Elderly

In this age of all things new all the time and throw away all things “unuseful”, we are losing one of our most important natural resources. That is the Elderly, you know those folks of a certain age that have become a “Burden” to the rest of us in our “Busy” lives.  Yes, those lovely wise people. Those folks who have lived through many years of life and have so much to offer the young. In I Timothy 5:1-2 we are told “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren. The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

In other words, when men and women get of a certain age we are to treat them was we would our own parents.  Sadly sometimes we treat our own parents worse than we treat strangers. We don’t have time to sit with them, to talk with them, to listen to them even though they may repeat themselves over and over.

My question is why do we do this? There are many excuses but no good reasons. The first one that I often hear is I am to busy, I work all the time. My answer is were they too busy to care of you when you were small? Were they to busy to listen to you when you came to them with problems that in your mind were earth shattering? Were they do busy to sooth you your broken heart? That answer would be no they were not . The next excuse is well, they don’t know me anymore, they have dementia – and my answer is this, they may not know you- but you still know them. Even with memory issues inside that broken body is your parent who loves you still.

My favorite excuse is well, I have small children and I can’t handle all of it. That one makes me sad. Your parents never said they could not handle you even if they had several small children. They just hitched up their pants and handled it.

The best one of all times is well my siblings won’t help me. My answer to that one is this- that is on them, they have to live with the consequences and the guilt not you.

We are blessed with one set of parents, even if those parents are no longer together, they are still out parents, what went on between them was between them it is not about you. Your responsibility is to love both of them – because they first loved you.

Bottom line stop treating our Elderly like they have no worth. They have more worth than the most priceless painting, the largest gem and they are certainly worth more than that gym membership. Once they are gone so is the history they have locked in their minds.  Gone is their sage advise, their love and their support in our darkest time.

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Joy

Joy is another word that when we are not using it in the wrong way, we are not using it at all. I believe we have forgotten not only the true meaning of the word but how to express it and how to live with it.

Webster defines the word this way: “ the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires DELIGHT, the expression or exhibition of such emotion GAIETY,  a state of happiness or felicity BLISS , a source or cause of delight”

How many of us are really filled with joy. Joy at the beauty of God’s world, nature, even ourselves. We find no joy in God or his blessings. It is a sad state of affairs that we have lost that emotion.

We are told in Psalms 149:5- 6″Let the Saints be joyful in glory: let them sing loud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.

In other words, being filled with joy is the best weapon. It disarms those who are angry all the time. It takes the power away from those who fling the arrows of vile words at us. Being filled with joy removes doubt, hurt and sadness from our lives.

It helps our health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Joy not only brings us closer to God it brings us closer to each other.

Keep joy in your heart all the time. We all go through trials and tribulations, however the joy we surround ourselves with acts like a buffer to make those trials easier to bear.

 

Grace What Is It?

We use the word Grace all the time. We throw it around like a ball not fulling understanding the true meaning.

Webster defines Grace as:

unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

ba virtue coming from God

ca state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

With that in mind let’s see how that equates to us as humans. The word unmerited means we didn’t earn it, and there is no way we can ever earn it. In Romans 3 23-:24 This grace was bestowed upon us by God through his son. ” For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is Jesus Christ.”

All of us have sinned – none of us are worthy of being with God. However, God has through his grace and mercy given us unmerited favor. He has told us that his grace is sufficient in 2 Cor, 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…..”

Paul had a thorn in the flesh we do not know what that thorn was we are not told, he prayed three times to have it removed. And God explained to him that all he needed was God’s grace. How many of us forget that in our lives this is all we need. We need to just understand that God’s unmerited favor is all we need in order to lead our lives no matter the circumstances. When we have things that happen in our lives whether it be illness, death or other human calamities all we need to sustain us is God’s grace. For when we are at our weakest we can be at our strongest.

 

Love

We all talk about being in love, staying in love and wanting to be loved. We become disappointed and disheartened when that either doesn’t happen or the one we thought we loved didn’t love us enough.

Some of us fall in and out of love like we change our clothes. Some of us say we love and then our behavior shows differently. Some of us have no clue how to love because we really don’t even like the person, we just lust after them and when that has run its course we are gone. Some of us don’t even like ourselves so how can we love ourselves.

In order to love someone else we must first look within. We must first learn to like ourselves and then love ourselves warts and all. Love is not about the clothes we wear, the places we visit or the feelings we find in the pit of our stomach, that is hormones raging.

To find out the true meaning of love and what it stands for we must go to the Bible. It is filled with example after example of love. True unconditional love.

It gives many examples of the types of love, how we are to love and why we are to love.

Let’s just start with one of the most well-known verses,

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Let’s just think on this for a moment. How many of us are willing to give our child up to be killed in order to save someone else. How many of us are willing to love someone else enough that we would send our child to their death? I venture to say none of us. But God did. He knew what would happen when he sent his son to the earth. Because he has the big picture. He could have stopped it at any time. But he loved us enough.

John 15: 13 tells us this 13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How many of us are willing to make that kind of sacrifice”. I would dare say not many.

Now let’s get back to the meaning of love that is real love.

I Cor. 13: 1-13 is the best example of how real love works.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Real love is enough. Real love puts others first, it is quiet, meek, it is not proud, or self-centered, it makes sure the other person always comes first. Real love does not keep a score card of the wrongs that someone commits against the one they love. Real love always protects, always trust always hope and always perseveres. Real love never ever fails.
When we say we love someone, do we really mean it? When we say we love ourselves do we really mean it? Or has the word love become like so many others, it gets lost in the translation of the moment.
Are we ready to throw in the towel when the journey gets a bit bumpy? Do we hold grudges and try to find ways to get revenge? Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and wish we were this or that way? That is not love. Do we truly understand the word and what it represents? Or do we live in a TV fantasy world that life is happily ever after. Life is not always happily ever after nor is it perfect. But we can have the perfect love if we follow God’s example. If we understands he loves us enough. Enough to never turn his back even though we leave him, enough that he gave his son to die in order that we might live, enough that he hurts when we hurt. Enough that he knows our every need or desire even before we do. God loves us enough, but do we really love him or ourselves or others enough?
When we are willing to step out of our own way and understand that unconditional love is the only true love, that it is enough then and only then will we be able to have a relationship with our self, God and others. Then and only then will we be able to make life long commitments to our self, Our God and others.
This process begins with YOU! only YOU! can be the change.

For All Things There is a Season

As we begin this journey the book of Ecclesiastes comes to mind specifically Chapter Three. It is here we are told about seasons of our lives.  When we are young we do not understand this. We believe that we are invincible, our parents will never grow old and die and those others that we love will be here always. Sadly, when we do not understand that death is part of living in this circle of life and when we are not exposed to it at an early age, catastrophic things can happen. Depression, suicide and the inability to grieve and move forward takes over. Anger becomes our way of life. We become angry with those who are still with us, God, ourselves and life in general. We cannot move past the anger which consumes us like the flames of a fire. Even in nature there is a time to be born and a time to die, from animals to plant life. 

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. 15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. 16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. 17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” 18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?  Ecc 3:1-22