Friday, July 31, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement #6

Encouragement is at the center of helping those who hurt. "Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of encouragement - self-giving, genuine love - and shows how we can eagerly use our hands, feet, eyes, and ears to love and encourage those around us."


Chapter 6: The Write Way to Encourage

According to Dr. David Jeremiah there are five reasons that written communication is far more valuable than spoken communication.

1st: Written encouragement is deliberate. It demands a careful, prayerful, thoughtful investment of your time. When you receive a written note from someone you know they have taken the time to sit down and write to you on purpose. Especially in this world when everyone is so busy, the fact that they took the time to write is just as meaningful as the words that are written.

2nd: Written encouragement is definite. To many times we have good intentions, but that is where it stops. People will say things like, "Call me if you need something" "Let's get together sometime". They say much more than they actually mean. When you have that written note in your hand it means that another person cared enough about you not just to intend to encourage you but to actually do it. A plus to writing encouragement is that it can be done at anytime. The clock can not stop you from encouraging someone in writing.

3rd: Written encouragement is direct. In person we are afraid to say to people what is really on our heart. We don't want them to feel sad about the suffering they are feeling. Written communication gives us a chance to encourage, praise or build up without reservation.

4th: Written encouragement is durable. A written word can be kept for years. I have three of them I have on my dresser. They belong to my children and are notes that they gave me. I read and reread them all of the time. Nothing is ever sweeter than that.

5th: Written encouragement is distance-proof. This communication knows no boundary of time or geography. We can hear from people all over the world who you love and care for.

Your deliberate, definite, direct, durable and distance-proof words may be just what a hurting heart needs today.

Follow along as we continue the book study of Power of Encouragement

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement #5

Encouragement is at the center of helping those who hurt. "Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of encouragement - self-giving, genuine love - and shows how we can eagerly use our hands, feet, eyes, and ears to love and encourage those around us."


Chapter 5 Mr. Encouragement

Here's a thought: "An encourager performs while others pretend."

Encouragers will think about doing something and do it. A person can not pretend to be an encourager. They simply ARE encouragers.

Encouragers see potential where others see problems. So many times people have come up to us saying that they thought of something to do for our family but... They second guessed they idea, they weren't sure if it would be helpful, or they simply ran out of time. A good encourager will give it a try and place it top of their to-do list.

Lastly, encouragers care more about people than programs. It is easy to see the person or family as a project or program and lose site of the person. In the end, God has surrounded us with people who have needs. It is our job to reach out and help them. The person who speaks words of encouragement speaks for God.

Follow along as we continue the book study of Power of Encouragement

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement #4

Encouragement is at the center of helping those who hurt. "Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of encouragement - self-giving, genuine love - and shows how we can eagerly use our hands, feet, eyes, and ears to love and encourage those around us."


Chapter 4 Friend Therapy

A way to receive encouragement that isn't thought of is through your senses.

You can just tell when someone really and truly cares for you. There are no strings attached - they sincerely care for just you. The warmth is felt.

Second is by what you hear. A phone call at just the right time with just the right words mean so much from someone who cares. It is one of those warm fuzzies.

Third is by what you read. A note or letter of encouragement goes a long way. One plus to the written encouragement is that you can read it over and over again. This can literally turn a person's day around.

Fourth is by what you feel. This could be a hug, a pat on the back or even squeezing someone's hand. We all like to feel the love of another through personal touch.

I have learned that when you think of others you feel better yourself. People feel better by what they sense, hear, read and feel so start today by helping others.

Follow along as we continue the book study of Power of Encouragement

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tammy Trent

I highly encourage you to listen to "Learning to Live Again" - Recording artist Tammy Trent describes how God has comforted and sustained her in the wake of her husband's tragic death.

"Because of Christ, Hope, Salvation, Heaven, Trent is now part of my future, not my past." Tammy Trent

This quote spoke volumes to me as I listened to this recording. Praise God.

If you view this blog a few days late, you may have to look through the past pages of Focus on the Family Daily shows to find this recording.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement #3

Encouragement is at the center of helping those who hurt. "Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of encouragement - self-giving, genuine love - and shows how we can eagerly use our hands, feet, eyes, and ears to love and encourage those around us."


Chapter 3

Sometimes we just have to take care of ourselves and find encouragement within. There are three ways we can do this.

First is in solitude or silence. We need to figure out how we can be alone with God. We need to talk to Him and let Him talk with us. Sometimes a walk alone helps to clear your mind.

The second way to encourage ourselves is through the Word of God. Once we have received encouragement in this way our hope is renewed.

The final way is through music or song. After loosing our child, I remember listening to the words of the hymns as they were sung at church. I couldn't sing them because of the tears running down my cheeks but the words meant so much.

Read the words of this hymn and see if it doesn't speak to you:

Through it All
by Andrae Crouch


I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow
There've been time I didn't know right from wrong
But in every situation God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong

Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to trust in Jesus
I've learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to depend upon His word


Follow along as we continue the book study of Power of Encouragement

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Helping Bereaved Parents

Helping a person who has lost a child:

DO:
- Show your care and concern
- Be available - to listen, run errands, watch other children, or whatever else is needed at the time
- Say that you are sorry about what happened to the child and about their pain
- Reassure them that they did everything that they could; that the special medical care that their child received was the best, or whatever you know to be true and positive about the care given to their child
- Allow them to express as much grief as they are feeling and are willing to share
- Encourage them to be patient, not to expect too much or impose too many "shoulds" on themselves
- Allow them to talk about the child that they lost as much and as often as they desire
- Talk about the special, endearing qualities of the child they have lost
- Give special attention to the child's brothers or sisters - both at the funeral and in months to come. They, too, are hurt, confused, and in need of attention, which their parents may not be able to give at this time.

DON'T
- Let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to a bereaved parent
- Avoid the hurting parents because you are uncomfortable - being avoided by friends aggravates an already intolerably painful experience
- Say that you know how they feel unless you have lost a child
- Tell them what they should feel or do
- Change the subject when they mention their deceased child
- Avoid mentioning the child's name out of fear of reminding them of their pain - they haven't forgotten it
- Try to find something positive - a moral lesson, closer family ties - about the child's death
- Point out that they have their other children - they are not interchangeable and cannot replace each other
- Suggest that they should be grateful for their other children. Grief over the loss of a child does not discount a parent's love and appreciate of their other children.
- Make any comment that in any way suggest that the care given to their child was inadequate. Parents are plagued by feelings of doubt and guilt without the help of family and friends.

Source: Information Sheet - "Helping Bereaved Parents" by Focus on the Family

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest Post: Helping Those Who Are Grieving

Written by a grieving mother

Suggestions to help those who are hurting. What NOT to do:

1. Please don’t tell me to call you if I need anything. Make an effort to come and check on me. I confess that it is extremely hard to ask for help and so a hurting person will either do it themselves or it won't get done.

2. Please don’t take it personally when I cry. I would rather shed tears than to not have my child's name brought up. Read these poems - Poem 1, Poem 2

3. Please don’t tell me that I should get over it. For example, if I lost my arm, I wouldn't get over it. I would learn to live without it. I have to create a new "normal". Come along side me as I seek to find this "new normal".

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Funerals

I attended a funeral last weekend for a precious baby who fought a good fight. But in the end, God called her home. Her job on earth was done.

It is incredibly overwhelming to see a tiny little white coffin in the front of the sanctuary. Truly, coffins aren't supposed to be that small.

One of the gentlemen who spoke was a father how recently buried his own infant son. He started out by saying that he and his wife along with this father and mother were in a club that they didn't want to be in. A club of couples who had to lay to rest their infant children. A tight club of parents who grieve together.

He went on to say "well done" to this couple. They fought hard for their precious little girl. They loved and cared for her through all the surgeries, tubes and wires. But their journey was not finished. The road ahead is tough. Grief is hard. Grief never fully ends.

Next, the speaker moved to the audience of friends and family. He congratulated this group for a job well done. Standing beside this family, the group rallied around them with love and encouragement. He went on to say that the job was not done though. Really the hardest part is ahead because grief is hard to help. He encouraged the family and friends to not give this family space but to continue encouraging and loving on this family.

Spoken from a father who has grieved.

After the service, we joined the family for supper. As soon as the mother of the baby came in to the room, her friend stepped in. She immediately fixed this weary Mommy a plate of food and drink. She didn't bother her with what she wanted just gave her some nourishment. This friend made sure that everything on the table was replenished. I was inspired watching her move about. She didn't hover over but was always within eye watch to make sure that this Mommy had what she needed.

Done by a friend who loves.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Bend in the Road

THE BEND IN THE ROAD
Author: Helen Steiner Rice

Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And He knows it’s only a bend –
The road will go on and get smoother
And after we’ve stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow.
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heaven

I last posted about the heavy heart that I had for this family and their sweet baby. Yesterday afternoon, they made the decision that she had been through enough. They took off all of the tubes and wires and held her for the very first time. They only had a couple of hours before she was ushered off to Heaven to be in the arms of Jesus.

I have posted several times about the "why's" and lack of understanding. But I take hope in what God tells us about Heaven. Because if I believe one thing about the Bible, I believe all of it.

Rev 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Sweet Baby, we will join you soon. Praise God that Jesus took our place on the cross, our sins are forgiven, and we can join you in eternal life if we believe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hurting for Others

I have been following and praying for a family as they have been enduring a nightmare with their newborn daughter. They found out that she had Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) as well as a heart defect known as Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV) even before she was born. The prognosis was not good. Almost 2 months old, this baby has defied medicine.

Now things aren't looking good. The parents are struggling to know whether they should press on or say "enough."

The Daddy just posted a heart-wrenching blog as his desire it to "unwire" his little girl and hold her. His role as a "husband and father is to shelter my family."

This is where my faith is so weak. The emotional roller coaster that this family has endured is beyond any that anyone should ever have to go through. I call out to God and wonder how long can this go on? They aren't doing anything that a normal parent wouldn't do for their child. But what if the ending isn't what we pray for? What if God calls this precious girl home? Have they gone through all of this for them to just have to tell the doctors to turn off the machines?

Okay, God has a plan. I know, God won't "waste" any pain. God sees the bigger picture. But why??? Why are some babies healed and others not?

Mark 9:24 God, I do believe but please help my weak faith. My fellow brother and sister in Christ are bleeding. Heal their hearts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stages of Grief

I suggest that a person grieving get familiar with the "stage of grief". If you know about the typical emotions, I believe that you can be more prepared for the emotions and realize that they are normal. I found this on a website and felt it was the best about describing the stages of grief.

7 Stages of Grief...

1. SHOCK and DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN and GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER and BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the {God} for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if You just bring him back")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION and WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE and HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness {or that you have forgotten}. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good Morning My Child

Date: Everyday

Good Morning My Child,
I am the Lord your God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFJTD (Something For Jesus To Do) box.

It will be addressed in MY time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that it is the proper resolution.

Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest my child. If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.

Love Eternally,
The Lord your God

Friday, July 3, 2009

Leaving Comments on Blogs

I read this comment that someone left on a blog that I am following. So simple, so perfect.
I'm not gifted with words, but God knows my heart! Prayers coming from _______!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement #2

Encouragement is at the center of helping those who hurt. "Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of encouragement - self-giving, genuine love - and shows how we can eagerly use our hands, feet, eyes, and ears to love and encourage those around us."



Chapter 2:

During life's interrupted expectations, discouragement moves from doubt, to disappointment and even to despair. It is so hard not to be discouraged. One of the first emotions that you feel is doubt. You first thought it that what you just heard is simply a rumor. It couldn't be true.

Disappointment occurs because all your dreams, plans, etc have been shattered. Then there is despair and through this you lose all hope. When this happens we need to make sure we have an encounter with Jesus. This might mean getting in touch through His word, through a fellow believer, through worship, or through prayer. If your heart is burning because of despair you need Christ. Discouragement and despair can't take place in Christ's existence.

Follow along as we continue the book study of Power of Encouragement