“Count your night by the stars, not shadows, Count your life with smiles, not tears.” Italian Proverb
EMOTIONS CAN HELP
Pain can be exhausting. Feelings of sorrow, depression, grief, and fear can eat away at us internally to the point that we feel our bodies will waste away. We loose strength. We forfeit any sense of balance and control over our emotions. We reduce to groaning, powerless, grief stricken creatures. Emotions are very fragile things. When your working through old hurts or new struggles, your emotions can help you deal with them in a healthy way. Stuffing them, pretending you don’t feel grief or fear, won’t help at all. In fact it will hurt you in the long run.
- Peter Wallace – What the Psalmist Is Saying to You Today
A LONG JOURNEY
Grief, from whatever source, is a long and painful journey. And, I found it is full of frightful choices. The urge to retreat into a cocoon-like existence is great, and depression is slipped into so easily. The allure of escaping into busyness or pleasurable fancies also raises its ugly head. Alongside al of this temptation that would take us further and further from healing lies the sometimes obscure choices of acceptance. Obscure because this path leads into the pain and makes no promise of a quick cure. Instead, it opens the wound to its very depth and applies the healing balm of God’s very special grace from the inside out.
-Verdell Davis – Riches Stored in Secret Places
“I know only one starting place in the war against sorrow, and that is in the arms of Almighty God.” – Robert A. Williams
Jesus was a strong man in a new way. He was at once very weak and very strong. He was not ashamed to shed tears over Jerusalem, whom he wanted to gather like a hen her chicks; he was not afraid to weep publicly at the raising of Lazarus; and he was not afraid to show his agony in Gethsemane. All this did not make for a “strong” man in the worldly sense. Yet Jesus’ love was so strong that he was able to suffer the most terrible pain and godforsakenness, and in this strength he completed the task given him by his Father. In true weakness we become powerless, and in true powerlessness we find strength. That is the secret.
-J.Heinrich Arnold – Discipleship
“It’s time to let God’s love cover all things in your life. All secrets. All hurts.”-Max Lucado
OUR HEARTS IN HIS HANDS
The grieving process is much like..surgery. When we allow the Great Physician to examine the issues of our lives, he may need to our hearts in his hands. What a vulnerable position to allow someone to scrutinize us that closely and find out what makes us tick….
To become tenderhearted, insightful, and responsive to the Lord and others, we must first wade through our losses. That means a willingness to feel the effects of our loss, to examine our hearts under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, to release tears, and to relinquish our sight to understand. In doing so, we feel the pain, but we’ll learn appropriate ways to express it. Sometimes it will be through the healing release of tears, prayer, some form of art, or words (spoken or written).
-Patsy Clairmont – Under His Wings
GOD HANDLES OUR FRUSTRATIONS
He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. – Isaiah 25:8
Through we know God is not to blame for any death, so many times it seems that he turns a blind eye by allowing his permissive will to occur. He stands dead-center when we are looking for a target. I’m convinced that God loves us so much that he is willing to take the blame, to absorb our anger when we need a punching bag. I think he would rather have us yelling at him than not speaking at all.
Leslie Williams – Night Wrestling
“We will always need other people and even more so in the darkening hours of personal tragedy.”- Robert W. Williams
A LONG VALLEY
Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape….Not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn’t a circular trench. But it isn’t. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn’t repeat.
– C.S. Lewis – A Grief Observed
GOD GIVES US HIMSELF
God longs to give us himself. He longs to fill our lives with love when we don’t feel lovable and grace when we can’t take another step and peace when the storm is raging about us and joy when the tears of sadness are still on our face. But we insist on running our own lives, choosing pleasure of comfort or security over the slower process of a changed life. And a changed life always involves pain; it always involves waiting; it always comes with the temptation to seek the easy way out.
-Verdell Davis – Riches Stored in Secret Places
You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God-and he listens…Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord….Your words do not sop until they reach the very throne of God.
– Max Lucado -The Great House of God
“God’s love is not a passing fancy; it is a profound and unshakeable commitment.”-Billy Graham
GRIEVING IS A PROCESS
Grieving is a process, not an address. Because we have experienced loss doesn’t mean we should set up house with it. When we’re willing to let the Lord do some internal surgery and then work through the recovery time, we will eventually enter the lighter and brighter season of spring.
Patsy Clairmont- Under His Wings
“Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
TIME TO WEEP
“Buried under the biggest burden is good place to find an even bigger blessing.” – Janette Oke
If you are experiencing grief for any reason, allow yourself time to mourn and weep. If you try to hold in your tears and ignore your pain, there may be serious problems later. God gave us tears to shed in our grief, and outpouring of our inner pain. When we are hurting, there are two extremes to avoid. One extreme is to block our emotions, determined that we will never care much that we can be hurt that way again. It is unhealthy to block our emotions to protect ourselves….The other extreme is to become consumed by our grief that nothing else matters. The best thing to do is to get back into the normal process of life. – Vickie Kraft-Facing your feelings
“God can turn every failure and frustration into unexpected victory.”-Catherine Marshall
BE STILL, BE QUIET
In the midst of your daily storms, make it a point to be still and set your sights on God. Let God be God. Let Him bathe you in His glory so that your breath and your troubles are sucked from your soul. Be still. Be quiet. Be open and willing. Then you will know that God is God.
The Great House of God
IN THE MIDDLE OF A LIFESTORM
Can strength be born out of weakness? Courage out of fear? Joy out of sorrow? Confidence out of feelings of inadequacy? Compassion out of pain? New life out of loss?…When we stand in the middle of a lifestorm, it seems as if the storm has become our way of life. We cannot see a way out. We are unable to chart a course back to smoother waters. We feel defeated-and broken. Will that brokenness produce a cynicism that will keep us forever in the mire of “if only”thinking? Or will we yield up that brokenness to the resource of One who calms the winds and the waves, heals the brokenhearted, and forgives the most grievous of sins? The choice is ours.
Riches Stored in Secret Places
“Jesus thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love thou art; visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.”
“What happens to good people when bad things happen to them? They become better people.”Robert Schuller
God’s love is Forever Love. It’s the kind you can abide in and not wonder if it will still be there when you wake up. God’s love is a solid as the wooden cross that was set into the ground of Golgotha, as solid as the nails that were driven into the flesh of his hands, as solid as the rock that was rolled away from his tomb. You are loved. Stick that in your heart and abide in it.
Liz Curtis Higgs
Reflecting His Image
TRUST AND BELIEVE
Why is it so hard to believe Christ and trust him completely? Christ wants to give us his life and spirit, and if we look to him for only a moment, our hearts tell us: Here is one we can trust. Yet each of us knows the feelings of fear and anxiety. Something in us seeks Christ, and at the same time something in us wants to serve self and is unwilling to surrender to him completely. But that is what we must do, for the Gospel says “trust and believe.”
“Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet-closer is He then breathing, and nearer that hands and feet.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
TAKE MY HAND, LORD
What a friend we have in Jesus! His hand keeps us, not only when we god through the valley of the shadow of death but also before that. When we pray, “take my hand, Lord, and hold me tight,”the Lord does it….My father use to say to us, when we were children and had to go away from home for a while, “Children, don’t forget, when Jesus takes your hand, then he holds you tight. And when Jesus keeps you tight, he guides you through life. And when Jesus guilds you through life, one day he brings you safely home.”
Corrie Ten Boom
He Cares, He comforts
IN THE MIDST OF OUR PAIN
Sometimes the materials [God] provides are things of beauty,…and sometimes they are things which break our hearts-not gifts in the sense that Almighty God decrees the evil and suffering of the world (we only know that he allowed it, we do not know why), but gifts in that he gives to us himself-his presence, his never -failing love in the midst of our pain. We may offer up those very pains, those inexplicable catastrophes that baffle us to silence. We may even give him our broken hearts, for the sacrifices of God, we are told, are “a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.” All of it-the gladness and sorrow-material for sacrifice, given “day by day without fail.”
For one who has made thanksgiving a habit of her life, the morning prayer will be, “Lord, what will you give me today to offer you back?”
Love has a price tag