Tag Archives: Healing

FACING GRIEF COURAGEOUSLY

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN

Grief is an inescapable reality. In this life there is death, divorce, and hardships of all kinds. Thankfully, we have hope through the blood and power of Christ. In the Bible verse, John 16:33, Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Because of Christ, we can overcome the troubles of this world and live a beautiful, victorious life.

Grief is the opportunity to run into the arms of Jesus and experience His healing love in unimaginable ways. Pain is what takes our eyes off this present life and draws us into an eternal perspective and leads us to joy that cannot be stolen away from us. I’ve experienced some of life’s greatest joys while in the midst of life’s most difficult losses.

It was nearly twenty years ago that grief touched my life profoundly when a close friend’s life ended tragically. For weeks, she was missing; search groups were formed to look for any hint of her whereabouts. It was an agonizing time of uncertainty while we were searching and desperately wanting to find our friend. Eventually, in February of 1996, her body was discovered. She had been murdered at the age of thirty, leaving two children behind. Sweet, beautiful Angela was gone—she was ripped from our lives in the most horrific way. It was grief I had never known before.

After I heard about Angela’s death, memories of our late night talks flooded my heart, and I resisted the feelings of guilt for not reaching out to her during the prior weeks. I clung to my faith and drew near to Christ.

I’m thankful I have journal pages filled with the details of all Christ did for me during such a traumatic time. The words in the next several paragraphs are written just as they are in my journal, with some of the words and pages omitted.

 

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I feel such a strong presence of God in my life. I had no idea this whole tragedy was going to hit me so hard. But in the midst of the pain, God had His hand on me continually.

Sunday night I met Stephanie, a lifelong friend of Angela’s. And right away I felt like she was the nicest person. Then Monday night, they asked me to help with the eulogy. Tuesday morning, Ginny, Kim, Susan, and Kelly and I all met to finalize the writing of the eulogy. Stephanie was distressed over how she could read this in front of so many people without falling apart. I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her. So we all held hands and I prayed. I reassured Stephanie by saying, “You’ll get through it.”

When we were at the funeral and she was reading it, I never imagined she could do it so perfectly. It was like God touched her in that moment. He had answered my prayer. The eulogy was perfect. She could not have presented it more beautifully. There was not a flaw. At that moment I knew everything was going to be okay. It was like God came down and wrapped His arms around me and comforted me. God was in the middle of this! He did immeasurably more than I could have imagined. After the service, I began searching for Stephanie. As I looked for her, I saw her face looking around and her lips we’re saying, “Where’s Amy?” She saw me and I embraced her. I cried a little and said, “It was perfect; God answered our prayers.”

I don’t know that I’ll ever see Stephanie again. But I know she is a special person and God used her in my life through this painful time. She blessed me with her kind spirit and comforting words. As the day of the funeral came to an end, I felt uplifted. I felt great sadness that I had lost a friend, but at the same time I felt joy that I had found a new friend.

Thank You, Lord, for answering my prayers. Thank You for the peace and joy You have given me during this difficult time. What wonderful timing You have. It was a blessing for Christa to pray the sinner’s prayer and ask Jesus into her heart on the same day that we said goodbye to Angela. Thank You for bringing joy to my life on such a sorrowful day. And what a blessing to have met such a special person: Stephanie.

This is the end of my journal entry.

 

In 1996, I wrote several more journal entries, documenting the ways God brought comfort to me. I thanked Christ for the gift of Stephanie’s friendship in my life during the months after Angela’s death.

My daughter, Christa, was six years old at the time, so she didn’t attend the funeral or know how Angela died. However, her spirit was tuned into the presence of God in our lives during that trial. It was beautiful for Christa to accept Christ as her savior at such a painful time. I’m grateful for how the Lord orchestrated beauty during a tremendous loss.

God carried me through my grief even when I wasn’t dedicating much of my time to Him. During the time of Angela’s death, I was in the busiest season of my life. I was a busy mom, home-schooling a kindergartner, working as a nanny, and volunteering in the children’s department at my church. With so much responsibility, I sporadically wrote prayers in my journal and seemed to only pray when I was desperate. Even with my neglect of making time for solitude and prayer at that time, Christ was waiting for me with open arms and met me in my painful days.

I think some people miss out on the incredible goodness of God during times of loss, because they turn away from Him in anger or numbness instead of turning toward God with faith to believe that He is capable of bringing beauty into the broken places of life. We live in a broken, fallen world in which grief comes to us unexpectedly, but Jesus stays the same (Hebrews 13: 8).

With a recent and sudden death in my extended family, my heart is greatly empathizing with the ones most affected by the tragedy. I am comforted by knowing that it’s in the darkest seasons that beauty emerges from the ashes.

I’m not pretending to know the pain of others. I cannot fathom the pain of losing a child or a beloved spouse. And I cannot imagine the devastation a child experiences in the loss of a parent. Even though I have not experienced the depth of your pain, I know Christ has felt your heartache. He knows your grief. His love is enough to fill the void and heal the pain. As you face your grief courageously with Christ, He will carry you one moment at a time and lead you to eternal treasures.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and hope which we don’t deserve, comfort your hearts with all comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.”

— 2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17 (NLT)

 

Five Minute Friday: Broken

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It was after I became an adult that I realized how broken I was. My daddy had left our family when I was a thirteen-year-old, and the wounds were hidden deep in my soul.

After unsuccessfully searching to find comfort through acceptance of people and staying busy, I found healing through communing with Christ. An intimacy with God began growing that changed me eternally. I am no longer broken.

Christ reached into the depths of my soul and healed me wound by wound. Because of the undying, unwavering, perfect love of ChristI am whole. His love restored me.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Broken.”

Five Minute Friday

Encountering God

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I remember when I first began encountering the presence of God. It was after my parents had divorced and my heart ached terribly.  I was a young teen desperate for the healing love of Christ. I would turn on my worship music and lie still until I felt a tangible sense of God in the room with me. This is how I know Christ is real. His power heals and changes in a way that’s only possible through a touch of the Divine.

There is nothing like experiencing the realness of the Creator of the universe.

God’s love heals and transforms us when we make Him our sole focus. Christ whispers words of love to us when we seek Him wholeheartedly. His words woo us into His arms. My love is what your soul is yearning for. Draw near to Me and I will come near to you, He whispers ever so softly.

Have you encountered God lately? I pray that you will feel His presence in a tangible way in the moments that you need His loving touch and warm embrace.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8 (NASB)

New Life

 

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The beauty in nature speaks to my soul deeply. The day lilies are in full bloom in my yard, and they are stunning.  I spent some time this afternoon tending to my flowers. While pulling the dead blooms off, I began pondering how God is so good at removing the splinters in my heartHe takes away those things that deaden my spirit.

I could hear His soft words in my heart.

“Your heart comes more alive each time you allow me to purify it. In Me, You are able to grow more beautiful. Come to Me and allow My healing balm to give you new life every day.”

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During the times I’ve had hurt hidden deep inside, God has come and healed me as I released it to Him. Unresolved hurt left untended robs my spirit of joy and peace. Years ago, I discovered that as I allow the Lord to tend to my heart the way I tend to my yard, that He’ll keep it pure.

How about you? Have you felt God’s healing balm working on your heart lately? Jesus is the One who heals broken hearts. When my heart was hurting, I bowed down before Him and prayed, Lord, please heal my hurt; please take away this ache in my soul and fill me with Your peace. He answered the cries of my heart and replaced my pain with His beauty.

Trying to soothe hurts with alcohol, with drugs, busyness, or any other thing doesn’t work. It might feel a little better temporarily. But the hurt is still there. It’s only a temporary fix. Jesus offers a healing balm that brings abundant new life that’s beautiful and eternal.

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

A Hope-filled Book

 

 

I recently read a book that holds the message of redemption at its core. The new book, Dear Dad, by Sundi Jo Graham will touch your soul deeply and make you want to run to Jesus to find the Living Waters that healed a young woman’s broken heart. It will have you rejoicing over all that a hurting addict was able to overcome through a divine connection with God.

Christ died so that we could live an abundant life on earth. He spilled His blood out so that we could be free from all our pain and past hurts. I see this book as one of the greatly needed resources for the hurting souls in our world. Sundi Jo’s life story stands as a powerful testament of the hope found in Christ to overcome anything—abuse, addictions, unhealthy relationships, or any other thing that keeps us from experiencing a beautiful and fulfilling life.

For more information, visit the Dear Dad website.  deardadthebook.com