Tag Archives: Sorrow

Grief Support

30 Oct

“Please listen to my heart’s cry for I am low and in desperate need of you!” Psalm 142:6a

I met with a grief counselor today. I finally realized I needed to sort some things out. I don’t know why I still get legalistic and hard on myself. I have this bar of excellence I hold myself to and when I don’t reach it, I feel like I have failed completely. He helped me see that my faith and grief were walking together, not against one another.

There is counseling, and there is faith, and then there is grief counseling. I found it to be such release. I am suffering. I am processing and also sure of the simple fact that this will pass but right now, it is pretty rough

Grief takes a toll on us. We can get so lost within the trauma of it all.  I feel this weight of expectation on me, to be so strong and joyful in trial… Isn’t that what James 1 says? People are watching us as Christian’s, right? To see if it’s all for real or not.

I thought that was the needed response, to be okay, frankly I am not;  To be strong and assured, I am not. People needed to see me to be strong in my faith walk, to remain upbeat. This is the truth, this is transparency; Though my faith remains solid and my hope is still with Him and I trust Him fully with this journey, this has just been a bit too much for me to keep smiling through. The cards came tumbling down this weekend.

I need my God, my savior so much. My most necessary grief support! This, this, is the precious, precious promise part. He hears me, he draws nearer to me.

When I finally dropped the weight from my shoulders, when it all came toppling down yesterday, He caught me. He said ‘rest’.  “He restores my soul” Psalm 23:3a.  And then He provided the unplanned opportunity to sit with a grief counselor. My blessing.

There is a release and a relief when we can finally set it all down and say, it’s too much for me. To tell another person that it is too much. For them to say “wow, that is just too much” , validating your turmoil. Reassuring you that you aren’t weak, you aren’t failing, you aren’t just complaining.

There is such powerful reason I share my journey including the reality of suffering. We need to know we aren’t alone here, that God is here and other people journey through trials too. He brought us people to share that burden with.

The truth is that we all suffer and we suffer whether we share the burden or keep it hidden. But… when we hide our pain away from others, it begins to seep out. Maybe it’s physical illness, depression or maybe it’s anger or bitterness, or we become less tolerant, less loving. Satan loves to see us isolate our pain so he can bring us lower. He wants nothing more than to separate us from other people, fellowship, and our relationship with God.

He heard my cry and rescued me. He brought me support.  I am God’s girl, the “apple of His eye”. He promised me in Isaiah 54 and Philippian 1:6.  Even when my heart is weary, He will never, ever stop loving me or rescuing me.

Humility is really difficult but so necessary for clarity , true peace and true relationship with Him.  One thing I know for certain, life is really painful at times.  The life in our head, never really is the life we live. It is a series of bumps and sorrows, but with God as our shelter, there is a hope for a future that is secured.

 

From Tenth Avenue North’s “I Have This Hope”

“As I walk this great unknown

Questions come and questions go

Was there purpose for the pain?

Did I cry these tears in vain.

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and you won’t let go. “

 

Amen. Thank you, Father.

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Light In The Dark

10 Aug

In the midst of all  the harsh realities of hard times,  we will sink, we will soar, we will say and do things out of hurt or anger and we will make mistakes. The truth is, the pain is not constant and it is only a portion of the journey. Light remains.

The beauty of having a relationship with God, in trusting Him, is knowing that this is not permanent. Having faith doesn’t stop the pain from overwhelming you at times, we are still flesh and bones and our hearts truly ache at times. This journey can be so painful. Faith is knowing, even in the depths, that you are not alone. He is suffering with you and you know this, even when you can’t find Him.   In this hurt, in this lack, you absolutely know He is there, you know this is an important time of your journey with Him, you know this won’t last.

God doesn’t cause suffering, hard things don’t happen to us because he’s an unruly, unrelenting, punishing God. Hard things happen to us because freewill exists, evil exists because sin lives in all of us, disease lives. The most amazing thing can be found in God’s living Word. The bible lays out experience after experience for what we walk through today. Not to control our response but to teach, empathize and encourage us; To guide us in hope from each trial.  Ecclesiastes says, nothing is new, and also, this too is just one of many seasons in life, this hardship.

God is faithful and He loves each life that roams this earth. He longs for all of us, knowing He will only know some of us. We are His creation and He adores us. When we embrace the life He laid out for us, we must trust that He knows where he needs us to get to,what we need to go through to get there, who is going to be touched by that. He also uses this time to minister His healing in our hearts.

There will be hard moments during these time where we don’t feel Him, where we feel lost in our sorrow or trial. Hre is still there, but there is purpose in that as well. We may be pulled deeper, we may be healed more, we may be called out on the water to trust a little more. It is in the looking back, that you see every blessing that came along just when you needed it to even if you couldn’t see it at the time.

He will slowly remove the barriers and strongholds from our past, He will show us the lies Satan tells us that attempt to deter us from healing and peace. As we suffer, we often cause ourselves to suffer more. Maybe we pick up some old legalism,that  we deserve it, that we can somehow fall outside of his grace and his mercy.  These are lies of Satan. God’s beloved Son,  promises us fully that His mercy and grace has been there every step of the way simply by believing that it’s truth.  He will not leave us,  He will not forsake us, He holds us, He guides us. He is and always has been our only true hope.

From my own journey through divorce and betrayal, my faith is assured, even in the hardest moments of all this life has brought my way. What shattered me two days ago has empowered me today. He is so gracious, so amazing like that. Peace comes for a moment and rests within me.

There comes a point as you journey through a painful time that you realize that this is your life’s path and it matters; not just for you but for others as well. We cannot be lost in the moment and lose sight that in the end, this will be a page, a chapter or even a section, but it isn’t the full story.

If you are walking with Him, I will bet that even the darkest parts had light. Praise God for that hope. The light may dim and flicker sometimes, but that light is shining bright within our soul and it is meant to be shared with the whole world.

What will your story tell?

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.”Psalms‬ ‭119:49‬ ‭NLT

Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

The Valley

24 Jun

There are many things that happen when you face divorce and every person and situation is different. This is my perspective, divorce from a final discovery of betrayal.

Divorce has grief stages no matter what the reasons for the divorce are or who initiated it.

The initial devastation of discovering another affair was truly it’s own stage. It isn’t listed in the 5 stages, but it was very real to me! It is the numb, just got hit by a train, can’t believe it, how can I do this, I can’t breathe stage. The please stop talking and saying things stage and the I can’t even begin to eat as to swallow anything is impossible stage.

Even though I knew I had had enough of the lies and women, even as he asked me to reconsider, even though I knew I had to say “no more”, I died a little at the thought. But.. It was time to let go. And then, I simply fell apart. This will be an added thing you need to forgive.

I want to say that God was on my mind in that, but I simply went white noise. He was in it, He was all over it, covering me, bringing people to me,bringing me through it, but I don’t really remember much of those first days or weeks.  There was always something, but this was different, this cut deeply and to the core. This severed it all. The lies were too many and too good. And you need to forgive this too.

Divorce is so painful, so terrible. Every single thing changes. All that you become used to; the rituals, your comfort things, your plans, the phone calls, the end of the day conversations. Everything stops.. Almost everything familiar to you changes. It is truly something you must mourn. Unlike a death, you have to see this person. Worse yet, them, the two of them.

Two months in to this, I had a project, a large event that I had been working on for months. When it was over, and such a great success, I no longer had him waiting to hear all about it. It broke me in half. I had no one to go home to, to share it with. Another layer of sorrow, of broken promises and dreams and then you forgive.

There is so much to process and grieve in the change and end of all that becomes familiar. Truly, divorce is a grieving experience that needs to be acknowledged. The end of commitment, he broke the covenant he made with God and with you. It is the end of all you invested. It can be really hard to see where any of that investment went. My final truth is this, trust God with that. Our prayers never die. They are counted forever. He holds them along with our tears.

When you divorce, you lose a family. I embraced and loved his father, caring for him several days a month. I had fallen in love with his sweet daughter. That too becomes a closed door, something that was. You feel the hurt of silence, then you place it back with God to heal and you forgive.

You grieve the hopes, and everything you looked forward to. Cancelling trips, plans and having to realize all that you looked forward to, your future together, is over. The hopes and dreams died a sudden death. You then forgive this too.

Hitting the last straw of betrayals, because the betrayals were so many, the deceit, it didn’t make the hurt of it any less. I think the hardest part of a third party, is the cheater doesn’t really deal with the ending. They are running to the beginning. There is a fine line to watch when you are the one left to hurt. You have to be so careful of the landmines of comparison, “they are happy, and not alone”.

You have to be careful to not allow that to impede your progress of processing the pain of the loss. It is so important to realize, when there is adultery, that we absolutely haven’t and cannot do anything to deserve that. That truly is our partner’s sin and flaw, not ours. Just stay present in your own journey through grief. Again…forgiveness is key.

Rejoice in the moments when you find yourself laughing again. Enjoy that! When those thoughts of being alone overwhelm you while they are happy, know that your happiness will be from within. It will be fraught from the depths of healing and true growth when you fully embrace your pain. Give your sorrow, jealousy and displaced wishes straight to God to bind up. Share that with a trusted friend. Pray together. We have to almost eulogize those memories. And then you forgive.

Each tear, each moment of raw anger, each time you recall another lie or how they hurt you; feel it, and then forgive it. These are all healthy. Let those feelings come, truly feel it, learn from it, forgive them or yourself or both, and then give it to God.

Working through the emotions as they come is so important. The disturbed sleep patterns, the emotions that one minute are peaceful, the next you almost can’t breathe it hurts so much, to breaking down the minute you are alone in your car or worse, in the store. The anger and frustration over small things; Feel them and then surrender them. Breathe in the Holy Spirit and exhale the spent, raw emotion.

Surround yourself with good friends; Friends that let you feel safe and allow you to process your feelings.They pick up the phone when you call just to make sure you are okay. They empathize and don’t belittle you for feeling something, nor do they tell you what you need to do. The emotions can be a bit chaotic as they come and go so quickly, that begins to smooth out over time. Be proactively protective of your journey. If someone tells you how to feel or how to process or shuts you down, walk away. This is not healthy for you. Simply seek to bear with them, be patient and then, yes, forgive them.

Be kind to yourself. Be your own friend. God is with you, you aren’t alone. Know that you are grieving, and it requires you to work through your emotions.
The 5 stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When a sudden ending happens, like my situation, an affair, you also have to add PTSD type grief which, is the white noise initial reaction..

Symptoms of grief include: Disbelief, confusion, sense of guilt, anger, depression, sadness and denial, loss of appetite, nausea, apathy, decreased energy, lethargy, agitation, crying, sighing, emptiness, heaviness, lump in your throat, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dry mouth, dizziness, rashes, restlessness. Sleep disturbances, insomnia or sudden awakening, absent-minded behavior, searching, social withdrawal, dreams and nightmares. I experienced every single one except a rash.

Lean into your faith, don’t pressure yourself to “let it go”. Divorce hurts! Regardless of whether it was planned, whether you initiated it or you were dumped, you must walk through the process. The chaotic, full range of all the stages all at once or several times a day. You process, learn, forgive, and grow.

Don’t pretend you’re okay, don’t hide your feelings, don’t try to be strong. Cry when you need to cry and call friends when you struggle. My best friend has walked me through many emotional moments. Healing comes when you face them head on, feel them and walk or crawl through them. Keep talking, keep crying, keep ranting, keep reading scripture, keep giving it to God;  just keep moving through it. One day you breathe a little easier, one day you realize you don’t think about them as often or what you hoped for, as often.

God has much to say to the brokenhearted. He loves us always but He is especially gentle with our broken places. He collects our tears in a jar. He comes in closer, holds us tighter, carries our hearts more carefully. Grief has such a beauty in it, but it is so raw and so painful, it is a beauty none of us really want to ever journey.

What I have come to understand is that it is far more about the dreams and the hopes than it is ever was about the person. Coming to terms of what is truth rather than what you thought was truth. Yes. Forgive them, and mourn the end. Divorce is a death of a relationship. You owe it to yourself to heal your broken heart.. Fully, and without judgement.

Most of all, remember, this is not a surprise to God. He still has you, He still holds your future. He is still beside you, and He longs for you to lean in, trust Him with all of this. He has many more journeys planned for us. This love story never ends.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”

Psalm 147:3  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. “

 

 

 

 

Deja Vu

13 May

If you have Facebook, you know there is a folder that reminds you of posts from years gone by.  Looking back at 3 years ago, I am watching my world unravel, to the beginning of spiritual warfare that I was not equipped for.

Prior to the spring of 2014,  my faith had matured and I had grown in so many ways.  I was surrounded by strong Godly women and I was doing alright; I was content. I was between trials.

Suddenly,  I found myself in the midst of change, a huge trial, everything was challenged. My daughter decided to move back to Minnesota and I was mourning her move.  My job was unstable and I was struggling terribly financially. I found myself suddenly lonely, for the first time in ages.  Moving into summer, things got worse and by July, I was worn out from the battle.

I honestly didn’t realize the depth of spiritual warfare I was dealing with at the time. It is only in looking back that I see the extent of the battle.

One night in particular I hit a new low.  As I cried out in sheer panic over finances, over my weaknesses, lack of faith, my temptations, a friend sent me a note in the middle of the night. She said I was on her heart that morning and she wanted me to read Isaiah 54. She emphasized Isaiah 54: 5. This is my response to her:

Last night, as I fell asleep. I cried out. I was deeply afflicted with sorrow and guilt and shame over how I am so double minded and feel so abandoned by God. I am surrounded with temptation and I don’t feel strong. I felt so distant from Him. So alone and abandoned, rejected, unwanted, I felt I had failed God in every way. I am weary of being alone and money and I felt like He was mad at me. That I must be such a disappointment to him. As I read Isaiah 54 my heart knew.. He wanted me to know He is there. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. 7 “[c]For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. 8 “In an [d]outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

Then, I went the exact opposite direction and began dating my husband.

During that trial,  I didn’t share the depth of my fears and sorrows with my friends. I didn’t tell them all that I was going through. I skimmed the surface and hid the depths of my fear,my shaky faith and loneliness.

Today, I find myself in a similar place. Almost a ‘Groundhogs day’ experience!

I am navigating the grief and pain the end of my marriage brings, and now my daughter is once again preparing to move away from me. This is an excellent move for her and my grandson, but my heart is torn in two.  I am shredded.

But God. But God. He is more than enough.  His love letter to me in Isaiah 54 still stands true.  I know His words are true.  Now I need to walk in it, to trust it completely.

How does one do that? It is a persistent faith;Believing what you don’t see or feel.

You start by sharing the burdens in your heart. You share your faith questions, you humble yourself and admit you are weak in trust, you accept that you are weak and need Him terribly. You let people know your journey. You let them pray over you. You ask the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. Then, you seek Him. You seek Him constantly. You pour your heart out to Him at all times. You yell, you cry, you beg, you bargain, you read His word back to Him.

And….you still your words. You quiet your mind and breathe. He is in the quiet. He is in the everything. He is in your tears. The quiet is when He speaks to you.  I can’t tell you the comfort of that time. When You just sit with Him, no words, just stillness.

The rest of Isaiah 54 has such promise. He makes promises to us all the time. He also gave us the free will to choose.

I am putting all my trust in Him whom has never let me down. Even when I falter, even when I run the other direction, He never stops pursuing me, never stops loving me. His covenant is forever.

Amen!

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken

    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

 

 

Blessed Arms

7 May

It happens without warning.  You are doing something, or look up for a second from your task and the vision hits you.

Them….Him with her; It is almost a physical blow. You are thrown off kilter and it‘s as if your mind is betraying your fragile, broken heart. You can’t breathe.

Why does this thought come to me out of nowhere? Every time I think of them together,   a piece of me dies inside. I grieve from the depths of rejection, sorrow and abandonment.  Literally, it breaks me.

At a certain point, you have to let go, say goodbye… Grieve fully and let go. Only… he isn’t dead. He just became someone you didn’t know. In an instant.  In a moment, he changed your world without warning and without a discussion. You had no say. You were duped.

BUT… God. Amen.  God leans in and whispers in your ear,” I suffer this with you. You are my beloved and I suffer beside you. Your sorrow is felt by me as well. “

The Holy Spirit holds you a bit closer. God shows off a bit brighter, more brilliantly. Jesus shows up in unexpected ways, right when you need it. He is in a friends text, a friends voice, the friend that holds us and cries with us.

Jesus mourned. He suffered terribly from betrayal, from sorrow. He knows what we suffer. He cares deeply about our suffering. We are not alone. We are never alone. He understands.

Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and stay awake and keep watch with Me” Matthew 26:38

We don’t hold people, we don’t control them.  What they do with their free will is not really within our grasp to predict or direct.

What we do have, is a Perfect Savior, He is in our hearts.  In this moment, even in this devastation,  I feel so held, so loved.  I have been alone in my life, but the truth I have walked for 7 years, is the truth that holds me so tightly now.

I am not alone.

He is with me in this sorrow. He grieves with me. He cries with me. He hold my tears in a jar.  He won’t change this. Not now. Not in this time. This may not be what I chose, but He holds it all in His hands. I just need to trust that.

And I do. And I cry. And I grieve. And I accept.

Thy will be done. Amen.

 “My eye grows dim with sorrow. O LORD, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].”

‭‭PSALM‬ ‭88:9‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Lost At Sea

2 May

In this life of blessings, there will also be loss.

It is in these desperate, painful longings that you reach for Him. It is unbearable to be alone.This is when our beautiful God shows himself fully and shows off mightily.

We are swiftly reminded that we are not lost, adrift at sea. He is our anchor, our eagle, our Lion of Judah; Our hope, our peace, our light, our rest.

Oh my, but, there is a true beauty within the raw agony of grief.

When you seek God, from such a humble, wounded place, His presence is just that much fuller. The Holy Spirit holds you tighter and is more present than any other time.

How grateful is this one broken heart, for a Savior that is so loving, so responsive, so perfect?

Cry out to the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. You don’t need to have words. He knows. Cry out to God to hold you tightly while you pour your heart out in tears. Cry out to Jesus, our rescuer for the redeeming hope he gives.  Write His words on your heart: “Thy will be done.”

I feel more beautiful in this raw state. Not to the world but to my Heavenly Father. It is such purity and truth.

Oh what an amazing life this is. Even the sorrow is so rich with life, peace and hope. Grace pours from Him, covering me, and then outward from the depths of my soul, bringing healing.

He is doing a good work within my soul and it is well. Trusting in Him, knowing, this too, came to me, sifted through His hands. It is meant for my journey. It is meant to bring Him glory.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Matthew 5:3-5 MSG