I arrive with great hesitance. The unknown is scary and the pain of reopening partially-healed wounds has me on guard. I am warmly welcomed with hugs…Circle of Grief
May Jesus give you time and space to feel your hurts, heal your wounds, and grieve your losses.
May He lead you beside still waters and restore your soul.
May He bring you friends who love you right where you are.
May you refuse to be cynical or jaded; instead, may you dare to dream again, right in the midst of the pain you’re in.
Don’t be afraid of lament.
You can’t sprint through grief.
But avoid self-pity like the plague.
You don’t need pity.
You have the promises of God!
You have the presence of God!
And He still has a powerful purpose for you.
You won’t stay in this valley.
You’re just passing through.
One honest step at a time.
You’ll get through it, and you’ll be stronger on the other side.
You can do this.
God bless you, dear one. ~ Fenich Jerry
Since I was a child I always wrote poetry as a way to process my pain. I stopped for many years and in 2006 I started again as I processed my brother Toby’s sudden death with a piece called An Unfinished Life.
These days I write many things – but rarely do I write much poetry anymore although I have such a deep love for it.
Today, I again wrote poetry to help me process my pain.
Hold On Pain Ends
The enemy will convince you
there is no hope.
That the restoration process is pointless.
It’s taking too long …
It’s too hard…
When will it ever end?
The mundane seems meaningless.
But the mundane is where the
miraculous is birthed.
The day in… the day out…
The baby steps
The big steps
Acts of obedience
One next choice
Made moment by moment to
Live. Breathe. Love. Keep Going. Forgive
Surrender to the process
Surrender to His will
Surrender to His timing
Trust not Toil
Rest not Resist
Wait not wail
Remain in His presence
Amidst the pain
That is the only place
for the pain to subside
Abiding not Answers is where it all lies
Hope is alway there…
Hope is the choice we must make
Hope is the method not the means
Hope is relying on His Grace
Hope Is His Saving Grace
~ XXOO Michelle Bollom
Rest In Peace Beautiful Girl!
You will be greatly missed.
March 12, 2015 began just like any other day. I woke up next to Bill, my husband of nearly 25 years. Bill, was my favorite person. He was everything to me. He was my rock and my comforter. Even after having raised 2 kids, and having seen one another through all of the challenges and victories in life, we still really liked each other.
Bill was one of those very rare men who you could count on always in all ways. He was big and strong and very, very dependable. That paled in comparison to his love for our family, his kindness, impeccable character and willingness to indulge me with a courtesy chuckle at my bad jokes and puns. If Bill was there, you just knew everything was going to be okay.
We were a very typical family who lived in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia. Bill worked for the Federal Government in a position he worked hard to attain. I had been in Real Estate for years and had a career that was considered to have been successful. Our two amazing children, 24 and 22 years old, were both out of the house pursuing their education and dreams of their own.
Both Bill and I were believers in and followers of Jesus. We had served in ministry our entire marriage and had a ministry years before this fateful day called, Christ Stalkers. It was a youth ministry and over the 10 years we were its overseers, there were more than 4,000 youth who came to know Christ as their savior. We had planted churches and raised our family in church. Ministry and a relationship with God was no stranger to our family.
But by the end of that day that had begun like so many of our more than 9,000 days together, my beloved had gone home to heaven. In an instant he was gone. In fifteen minutes Bill went from saying he, “didn’t feel quite right” to taking his last breath as I held him in my arms. He was gone. My everything was gone. He was 49 years old.
After the doctor told me they were unable to revive him and did, “everything they could”, my son, who was home on Spring break, went to call people and I was left alone in that ugly, little room. We all have seen that room on TV where they take the family to break “the news” that looks so Hollywood-inspired, for dramatic effect, but is quite real. I tried to process all of this.
He had ankle surgery and had been in the hospital but was given a clean bill of health. But an oversight by the doctors, who did not prescribe blood thinners, and he died of a blood clot, taking everything from me and our kids. Not Bill. Are you sure? MY Bill? Things like this just don’t happen to people like us!
Who was I now? Since I was 21 I had been his wife. It was painfully obvious to me that I no longer held that distinction when they handed me his ring. The ring that belonged on HIS finger, not in a little bag in MY hand.
He was everything to me! How can I get through this life without him?
For a quarter of a century it had been Bill and Heidi. When people thought of me, they thought of him and vice versa. We were fine on our own but we were much, much better together.
Now, without him, who was I?
And our kids! How can I be everything to them that they needed him to be to them?
The immediacy of the pain was overwhelming and took my breath away.
So, I sat alone, in that ugly little room. Or perhaps it was quite pretty, I don’t know. And THAT is when God, although already very real to me, simply invaded my life in a whole new way.
I opened my mouth and my own words surprised me. Through tears, I whispered, “God, I NEVER questioned you when you were blessing us. I will NOT question you in this.”
HE gave me the grace and the wisdom to speak those words. I am not that gracious or that wise. He is.
I was a Christian for over 30 years but it wasn’t until I was suddenly and unexpectedly widowed that I became a TRUE Christ Stalker. It was in that moment, God ran to me and I to Him.
I needed God for every breath. I had trusted Him before but I had never had to trust Him like I did now. And in the midst of my pain and the vast absence of my Husband I found what I had longed for all my life, the unconditional love of Christ. And God had finally gotten from me what He had put me on this planet for, the absolute reliance on and unencumbered relationship with Him.
Over the last three years, there were times when the only movement forward I was able to muster was an army crawl, on my stomach, in the muck and the mire.
And times when I thought the pain on Bills loss was so overwhelming that I was surprised that I woke up because I thought the physical anguish alone would have killed me.
But in all of that, I pursued and consumed Jesus like never before. And He met me. He never left me. He was pursuing me as I was pursuing Him.
It has been, at times, a heart wrenching journey and I have cried more tears than I ever thought one person could create. But in all of the pain and uncertainty, Jesus has revealed Himself to me in a way I never thought possible!
My life now is a true fulfillment of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The love God has shown me in this journey is like no other. He carried me when I needed to be carried. He held me when I needed to be held. Gave me strength when needed and has become all things to me always, in all ways.
It is difficult to pick out just one scripture that got me through. God used every verse to speak to and comfort me. But Joshua 1:9 is probably my favorite: Have I not commanded you to be bold, strong and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you will go.
What a beautiful promise!!
There is one song that I put on loop whenever I felt like I could not even get through the next second. Some of the lyrics that gave me great hope were found in the song, It is well:
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me
Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well, it is well
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name.
~ Heidi Krieghauser
“Some days, JOY is a gift. Other days it’s an all out Battle.” ♥♥ Fight on Girl.
” A Joyful Return to Zion” ~ PSALM 126:5,6
Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing. Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.
♥♥ My ‘one’ word for 2018 is JOY!! I’m learning the tapestry of JOY is weaved with so many vibrant colors and some that may not catch your eye at first glance. Yet, as the Lord gives me a new lens to see through His eyes, there is beauty beneath the surface!!
I would like to share with you a little of my journey that the Lord is walking me through. Quite honestly, I question the Lord at times, if I hear him correctly with all that’s been whirling about me in this season of profound loss and grief. My precious Mother walked through the pearly gates of Heaven a few months ago. I cannot express in words how this journey has left me forever changed and without understanding of what life looks like, NOW!!
Seeking Him for renewed hope in every moment and waking up each day. I ask the Lord to ‘breathe new breath into my lungs’ every day, because my health struggles take so much out of me. So, adding the symptoms of grief and loss. I am feeling affected on so many levels. I feel like I’m learning to walk all over again, one foot in front of the other, step by step. I run towards the Father and trust that He will catch me when I fall and pick me up when I stumble and when I lose hope to try again.
In Psalm 119:114-116 the Lord reminds me that, “He is my hiding place.”
I have found JOY in the midst of the ruins and broken gems. I have found REST in the midst of chaos and great loss, that only the LORD can give! I am learning that the JOY OF THE LORD is my strength! It’s not found in the empty promises of this world. It’s not in the busyness I find my sense of ‘whose I am’ but, IN HIM! He asks me to “Seek Him First.” Always!! He asks me to ‘Pray without ceasing.’ He asks me to ‘Worship Him’ through songs of Praise and to sit quietly, in His Presence, in the good times and hard times. He calls me by name and tells me ‘I am His own’ and He will never leave me nor forsake me. He carries me when I cannot find the strength to go on and reminds me that no matter what, ‘I AM HIS, Daughter’ and He watches over me. He tells me, “I SEE YOU AND I HEAR YOU.”
Yes, even in the little things, He gives me JOY!! SELAH
Angels in my day when I need someone the most. A sweet child’s laughter that makes me giggle. A friend I haven’t seen in years but, God knew when to send them across my path again. A friend that picks me up to go for a drive in the sunshine ~ I am reminded of God’s beauty I so often take for granted, as I look up again.
All these little things bring me great JOY!! In the midst of my tears, He gives me JOY. In the midst of the Ruins, He shows me ‘Beauty in the Broken Gems.’
HE SEE’S YOU!! YOU ARE HIS CHERISHED ONE!!
HIS DAUGHTER WHOM HE ADORNS WITH A SACRED LOVE. YOU MATTER TO THE FATHER WHOM HAS CREATED YOU FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!!
GOD BLESS YOU & KEEP YOU & MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU! HIS BEAUTIFUL PEARL OF GREAT WORTH, A ROYAL DIADEM!!! AMEN.
“Thank you for inviting me to share a little bit of the tapestry of Grace that God is weaving in my soul.🌹❤️
Let me back up and start the story from the beginning.
We have a bird nest high up above our front door under our porch covering. It belongs to a swallow couple and their babies. Every spring the mama and daddy bird come back and build their nest or use parts of their existing nest from the year before. Sometimes the nest is gone because the power washer destroyed it. Quite honestly, the birds and the nest showed up after my dad chased them away with his pokey contraption preventing them building their yearly nest. My dad had enough of the bird poop on his front porch and front door mat. So they relocated to my house across the street.
We were happy to greet them and watch their babies hatch every year and fly off and start their own families. This year they had trouble after trouble. First the power washer guy accidentally sprayed their nest away with their baby eggs falling and breaking on our front door mat and exposing their underdeveloped selves. That was sad to see and I was so mad at the power washer guy. He immediately told my husband he was so sorry and said he tried to avoid it and it just exploded and fell.
My husband and I watched the bird couple remake a new nest in less than 48 hours. New eggs were laid and a new family hatched. A fresh start and a total of five baby bird heads emerged from the tiny nest!! While I was gone on a vacation two baby birds had fallen out and were found dead under the nest. It was sad to see them not make it. Nature is the survival of the fittest is what they say. Well, another bird fell out and this time I saw it. I immediately made a new plastic nest complete with soft paper towels. I tied it up high on the window where the mom and dad could still feed him. That worked for about half a day when “Mr. Jump out of My Nest” decided he wanted out and landed on the ground again.
I lowered his nest to the bottom level and he still didn’t like his nest. He wanted out!!! So I put the plastic nest on the ground. For two days we watched as the mom and dad dive bombed us to protect their baby. I kept an eye on him to see if he was still strong and flappy. He was walking around chirping with his mouth wide open begging for food. I tucked him into his bed at night and he flopped down with exhaustion. He woke up this morning perched in the regular spot at the edge of the step waiting for his food to swoop down and land in his mouth.
Little did I know his parents were not giving him much to sustain him and he went from super strong to laying down hardly moving in a matter of an hour. My daughter and I rushed him to the animal refuge thirty minutes away. He made it to minute 15 in the car and was gone. We turned around and gave him a nice burial in my backyard complete with a scripture reading and flowers to come.
What’s the point of this silly blog about a bird?
God cares about everything in our lives.
It didn’t feel so much like it at first. I have been praying over this bird, spending time with him and caring for his every need that I could.
All for nothing it felt like to me. I was more upset than I expected and probably surprised my daughter with my emotional response to our bird battle lost and now buried.
As I was cleaning up the bird poop off the front porch and sat scrubbing away all the places he had perched and rested. I was telling God it’s not fair. He brought life and didn’t protect it. This is not what I asked for and this is not the result I expected. As I was scrubbing away, I thought of people who are watching their children die in hospitals, hospice, unfair tragic circumstances or just the heartaches that can find their way to our doorsteps. This is just a silly bird.
How do these people cope with such tragic loss.
Maybe they too prayed for a miracle only to not receive one. It doesn’t make sense to us in the natural. No one can fully explain how God works or doesn’t seem to work on our behalf.
Quite honestly, I don’t think you can be comforted until the time is right for you to clear away the grief and be willing to hear the still small voice whispering to you.
It’s God reaching out you to comfort you.
We live in a fallen world full of brokenness brought in by sin. This was not God’s plan when He created us and the world.
His plan is to bring life out of death and joy out of sorrow. As I continued wiping away the bird poop, I heard the whisper in my head.
He can now fly forever.
You showed great love.
Love never fails. ❤️
This is a time for me to reflect and receive comfort from above that God cares about everything that I care about.
Thank you God for caring about me and my baby bird.
3 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,
3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,
7 A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,
8 A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Many times in my life I have questioned, “Is God really here?” Is he here when a mother loses her precious child? Is he here when she cries out in pain? Is he here when grief seems harder than living? Is he here when sickness has no end? Is he here when hate is favored over loving? Is he here when it seems as if the world were going to break? Is he here?
HE IS HERE.
“He told them a story. “Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God’s kingdom is about here. Don’t brush this off: I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.” Luke 21:29-33 MSG
~ Baring His Beauty,
*slight spoiler alert
I read the book, The Shack by William P Young about nine years ago. My youngest daughter was about the same age as the character Missy in the book who goes missing and is tragically murdered. I remember putting the book down for two weeks when I got to the part where she disappears. It hit too close to home and the description of the little girl matched perfectly to my daughter at the time. I picked up the book again and actually skipped through the middle chapters to fast forward to the scene where Mack goes to the shack to meet Papa (God).
I remember reading the book and being so moved by the love of these three characters (The Trinity) meeting Mack. They delicately meet him exactly where he was with this horrible tragedy that had caused him such anger, grief and sorrow. I was so impressed with how the author depicted each character of the Trinity with such unique qualities that were so different yet so similar. I remembered I finished with a great sense of who God was to me. I started understanding more fully the unconditional love He has for each of us. The three in one mystery of God is delicately portrayed through the three characters that meet Mack and help him to gain an understanding of who God really is to us and how important we are to Him.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
I loved how God chooses to meet Mack as a tender caring mother type figure. God knew that Mack had a hard time with his own father. He had harbored bitterness toward his father because of his past experiences with his abusive father. Mack can relax with this nurturing mother type as she answers all the hard questions he has about the tragic death of his daughter.
The three in one characters distinctively give Mack answers and illustrations showing him how all things are connected and effect each other. He meets up with Wisdom who shares revelations about how we choose to sit in the judgement seat and make false judgements that are without all the facts many times. I thought for sure I would be disappointed with the movie because it could never match the magnitude of the influence the book had on me nine years ago.
Boy, was I completely wrong. The movie provided amazing visuals and a story line that sticks closely to the message of the book. The producers did a fantastic job not losing the power of the message and bringing the story to life on the big screen. I would recommend you see the movie and sit in the judgement seat and decide for yourself if this production doesn’t stretch your heart to allow more room for God and less room for false judgments against yourself and others.
You will leave the theater after watching The Shack feeling like the Grinch whose heart just grew three sizes that day.
Go see the movie with an open mind and see if your heart doesn’t burst with new revelations about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
You are his favorite too!!
“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
William Paul Young, The Shack
“Be ready! Be fully dressed and have your lights shining.” Luke 12:35 ERV
I typically look forward to Thanksgiving while preparing for food, connection in relationship, and fellowship amongst family and friends. However, last week, I found myself torn between being thankful for my life as it is, and for those that I knew who would meet the holiday grieved from life’s circumstances.
I have friends and family that find themselves in the midst of experiencing unexpected death of loved ones, unanticipated release from employment, finality of divorce, and seeking answers for unexplained sickness.
Great loss is never an easy journey, and sometimes, trying to come up with words for someone’s loss can seem defeating. How can anyone ever “be ready” for those things?
Personally, I think that deep down, I know that no matter what I say, or heartfelt it is, it won’t compensate for their void. And it won’t take away their pain.
But losses are supposed to be just that. Unfixed. Unfinished. Final.
The problem is that many of us don’t like to accept the finality of things that still need time, need completion, or doesn’t make any sense. Naturally, we like to try and fix things or people, yet it is impossible to fix what is out of our control.
When I look back on my weaknesses, and the emotional pain suffered from my own losses, I find that life didn’t stop because of my circumstances, and time never stood still, even when it felt like it had stopped.
What I did have, in front of me, was a choice. I have always had a choice in front of me. Some things can never be gained in the way of a replacement. They can, however, be significant by the way I choose to look at my life and in the manifestation of how I live my life.
Loss was never intended to be easy, or understood. It always seems to come with some type of price. I find myself continuing to be thankful. Being thankful despite my losses has taught me the purpose of living in the present moment and the importance of everyday moments.
In an unexpected way, loss has shown me how to get ready, and be dressed in the light. It has guided me into what I consider the meaning of what it is to truly live.
May you join me in finding thankfulness for each and every blessing, not forgetting the ones still to come.
~ Baring His Beauty,
God gave us these amazing animals to be our pets to love and care for. Some people love cats, fish, hamsters, birds and yes, some even have pet pigs!
Our pets are truly gifts from God. Pets give us unconditional love, they are loyal, they don’t “talk” back, they don’t judge, they don’t get offended, and they don’t hold a grudge.
If you take good care of them and treat them well, they would give their life for their beloved families. You hear stories of their bravery and how they have saved the lives of children, elderly and have done amazing feats in the face of danger.
Since I didn’t have a pet when I was growing up, other than hunting dogs that were out in the backyard kennel, I didn’t really know what I was missing until 2005 when we decided to get a puppy for our children.
We started researching different breeds to find the perfect dog for our family, and we found a precious little white Maltese puppy from a breeder in West Texas. We couldn’t wait to pick him up and were so excited to bring him home. He only weighed about two pounds and was so cute–we named him Wiley.
We all loved and nurtured him; he became like one of the family. He was so precious to us, and his love made us all feel so special and loved — he was the perfect pet!
Wiley loved us unconditionally and was always there to greet us and welcome us as soon as we walked in the door. He acted like he hadn’t seen us in years, even though we were only gone for a short while. He brought so much love and joy to the family and we all felt his love daily. Each one of us had a special bond and true love for him. Wiley just had a way to brighten our day and make us feel like everything would be OK. He was all of our best friend, and we were all his favorite!
Wouldn’t it be great if we as humans could be that way, never judging anyone, never keeping score or getting upset because someone said or did something we didn’t like, just loving everyone unconditionally and making them feel so loved and understood — like the true love from Jesus!
Sadly one day last week our precious little Wiley passed away. He wasn’t sick long only about five days. We tried to save him but his little seven pound body just would not heal and God took him home in the middle of the night. It truly was one of the saddest days of my life. Seeing my family in such pain was so difficult. We all loved him so much and will miss him so much.
As I reflect on why losing Wiley was so hard, I think it’s because of his unconditional love for us and his true loyalty and genuine excitement to see us every time we came home. He was totally dependent on us for everything; food, water, shelter. He knew he could count on us. He was always there to hug and give all his love and attention. Wiley truly seemed to listen and understand everything we said.
I have to admit I never truly understood how hard it was when I had friends and family who lost their pets and carried on for months grieving and mourning their loss. Now I understand. You never really know how someone feels until you have walked through it yourself and experienced the pain and hurt firsthand.
There is a sadness and emptiness that can only be filled by the love of Jesus, the comforter and the one who understands our pain and can take it away and give us peace and inner joy.
I’m not trying to mitigate the loss of a parent or spouse or precious child; I can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like. I know we all experience it at one time or another, and it brings a season of despair, sadness and pain. But I know there’s only one true source of relief from the pain and suffering felt from the loss of a loved one and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. —2 CORINTHIANS 1:3–4
~ Deb Hicks