Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer

I just received an email asking for prayer for a family who just lost their 20 year old daughter. Please join me:

Dear Jesus, my heart breaks for this family. The pain that they are experiencing right now if beyond anything that anyone should ever have to endure. I pray peace, comfort, and love on these parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. I ask that You would not allow satan to use this situation in anyway. Protect the marriage of all those around this situation. Protect them from others who would want to use this situation for personal gain. Lord, please send those people who have been in these circumstances to ministry to these people. I pray that they would feel the body of Christ surround them like never before - not just now but in the coming weeks, months, and year. Hold this family so close that they can actually feel you carrying them through.

In Jesus' name...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

God's Will for Jesus

Luke 22: 42 In the Garden Jesus said, "Father, if you are welling , please take this cup of suffereing away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."

I have talked a lot in the past about God's will and the struggles that I have trusting fully. In my QT this verse really struck me. If Jesus could trust God's will - knowning what he knew would happen - why can't I truly trust God's good for me?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joy

Luke 6:21b
"God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy."

Psalms 30:5
"Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Find Peace

"It hurts like crazy but the Lord knows exactly what He's doing, and He's sure not going anywhere in the midst of it."

Unknown

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beauty from Pain

I found these lyrics to a song called Beauty From Pain by a group called Superchick. These words describe a grieving heart so well.

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I’m alive
But I feel I like I died

And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over
My dreams ran like sand through the face that I made
I try to keep on but I just grow colder
I feel like I’m slipping away

CHORUS
After all this has passed
I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last
There’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today
Someday I’ll hope again
And I’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I wonder why God lets me walk through this place

And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know I will when I look back someday
And see how You’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames…CHORUS

Here I am at the end of me
Trying to hold to what I can’t see
I forgot how to hope
This night’s been so long
I cling to your promise there will be a dawn…CHORUS

Monday, August 17, 2009

Helping Children Through Grief

Here are some books suggested by Focus on the Family to help children through grief and loss.



A children's book colorfully illustrated to help a child understand death and grief.



Intended for children ages 8-12, this book uses the Bible to explain Heaven to children.



This book helps an adult understand how a child perceives death in different developmental stages. Examples are given to help the adult answer the child's questions.



"It’s Okay to Cry offers practical help for parents. It explains the symptoms of loss and unresolved grief so that parents can recognize them and walk alongside their children on the path to recovery."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Come Along Side

I just found this verse and thought it was so perfect for this website. Will you be that person whom God has chosen to walk along side a hurting person?

"He comes alongside us when
we go through hard times,
and before you know it, He brings us
alongside someone else who is going
through hard times so that
we can be there for that person just
as God was there for us."

- 2 Corinthians 1 (The Message)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Miscarriage

Finally there is a positive mark on the pregnancy test. Maybe a surprise or maybe after months of trying, you are pregnant. The anticipation builds with dreams of holding this precious gift from God. Too soon, the dreams of shattered when deep in your heart you know that this will never happen. You join a club of other couples who have experienced a miscarriage. A club where membership is not an option.

Free Pamphlet: Permission to Grieve: Finding Healing and Hope After Miscarriage


I'll Hold You in Heaven: Healings and Hope for the Parent of a Miscarried, Aborted, or Stillborn Child by Jack Hayford


Emtpy Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books for Bereaving Parents of Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Abortion, or Tubal Pregnancies


Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt


Holding On to Hope - After losing two children to a rare congenital disorder called Zellweger syndrome, Nancy Guthrie takes her own story to lead you to the heart of God.


I'll Hold You in Heaven: Healings and Hope for the Parent of a Miscarried, Aborted, or Stillborn Child by Jake Hayford


When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson


A Bible Study for individuals or a group to help those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or any infant death including SIDS.


Suggestions from Focus on the Family

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Handicap

I found these verses by Paul. I love the translation of The Message.

2 Corinthians 12:7-11 (The Message)

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.

It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Is Satan getting you down or driving you to your knees?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Do the Next Thing

A dear friend of mine sent this devotion to me from the Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a great reminder for those who are in the middle of an interrupted expectation and grief, when life is so overwhelming that you don't know what to do next.


Do the Next Thing

Marybeth Whalen
May 29, 2009


"Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways.'"
Haggai 1:5 (NIV)

Devotion:

When I was a new mom, I often felt overwhelmed by my circumstances. The crying, the whining, the mess. I would look around at it all and just want to sit down and have a good cry. At some point during that time, I heard Elisabeth Elliot speak on the concept of "do the next thing." She talked about how, after her husband Jim died, she would have been overcome if not for this simple concept. When her emotions would start to run away with her, she would simply ask herself what the next thing she needed to do was. And then she would do it. And then she would do the next thing, and the next, and the next. And all those little "next things" made up her days.

I adopted this principle and began to whisper to myself, "Just do the next thing." Sometimes the next thing was to change a diaper, or start dinner, or return a phone call. Even now I move through my day doing the next thing. Sometimes my next thing is to homeschool my children. Sometimes it's to tidy the house. Sometimes it's to sit down and hammer out an article I have due. Whatever it is, I focus on that one task until it's done. And then I ask myself what's to be done next.

I always knew I learned this concept from a godly woman, but I never thought about this concept being from God. My reading in Oswald Chamber's timeless devotional, My Utmost For His Highest has helped me see that it is indeed a spiritual truth that God wants us to learn. Consider these two quotes:

"We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God's power... and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him."

"When the Spirit of God comes, He does not give us visions, He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable... whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things--the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there."

Chambers referenced the scene in I Kings where Elijah is running from King Ahab. He is hungry and tired and very depressed. (Ever been there?) In that scene God sends an angel to him who says simply, "Arise and eat" (I Kings 19:5). What was Elijah's "next thing" he needed to do? Get up and eat something! Sometimes just moving forward in the most basic way is all God needs from us. With our obedience comes the solution we are seeking.

I hope this thought will help you or someone else who is feeling overwhelmed and even depressed. What "next thing" is God asking you to do? Get up, do whatever it is, and find Him there.

Dear Lord, help me to do the next thing when I feel overwhelmed. Help me to remember that You are right there waiting in that next thing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Make a list of things you need to accomplish today. Now, instead of getting overwhelmed by your list, pray over it and ask God, What is the next thing I need to do? It might just be to cross some of those things off your list!

Reflections:

What is a "next thing" you can do right now?

Power Verses:

Jeremiah 10:23, "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." (NIV)

Proverbs 20:24, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (NIV)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Using Adventures in Odyssey Episodes to Help with Grief

Adventures in Odyssey is a radio program presented by Focus on the Family. It has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years. "Created for children ages 8-12 (but loved by listeners of all ages), Adventures in Odyssey is a 30-minute drama that combines the faith lessons parents appreciate with characters and stories that kids love."

Several Adventure in Odyssey adventures hit the hard topic of grief and loss. These would be excellent resources for children and parents to listen to together. Adv. in Odyssey programs can be found on the radio, web, or by purchasing audio sets.

Greater Love - by Phil Lollar - 5007956 - A Time Of Discovery
Theme: Grief & Jesus' Love. At long last, Whit hears the full story of how Tom Riley's son died...from the young man who claims to be responsible. You'll be deeply touched by this story about the impact of sacrificial love.

Karen - by Phil Lollar - 5009447 - Heroes
Theme: God's comfort and promises in times of trouble. Donna Barclay discovers the importance of faith when her best friend becomes desperately ill from cancer. Through her joy and trust in God, Karen may teach her a very important lesson.

The Very Best of Friends - by Phil Lollar - 5009447 - On Thin Ice
Theme: God can turn our negative feelings into something wonderful if we let Him. Donna struggles with anger and bitterness after the death of her friend Karen.

...But Not Forgotten - by Phil Lollar - 5008045 - Wish You Were Here
Theme: Grief and loss. Eugene, Connie, & Tom are having a difficult time trying to keep Whit's End going since Whit's departure. When Jack Allen takes over Whit's End, Connie becomes upset because she feels Whit is being replaced. In this episode, Connie learns that change is necessary for growth and how to handle her feelings of loss.

Eggshells - by Marshal Younger - 5008110 - No Way Out
Theme: Grief. Connie returns from Washington D.C. after becoming "unengaged" with her former fiance, Mitch. Whit and Connie's other friends struggle to try to help her cope with the sudden loss. Alone with Whit, Connie shares how God helped her in Washington and that His love is much greater than her circumstances.

It is Well - by Phil Lollar - 5008105 - Flights of Imagination
Theme: We are able to withstand life's tragedies because of our faith and the strength we receive from God. Whit recounts the true story of the writer of the hymn "It is Well with My Soul," Horatio Spafford, a man of great faith in the midst tragedy.

Where is Thy Sting - by Phil Lollar - 5007864 - Risk And Rewards
Theme: For Christians, death can be a joyful experience. The death of Connie's grandmother highlights the joy of death for a Christian that her unbelieving father cannon share. The themes of prayers and forgiveness are also explored.

Forever. . .Amen - by Phil Lollar - On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Theme: Grief. A young man named Danny learns about death and eternity in a very unexpected way when his mother suffers a miscarriage.

Source: Focus on the Family "Helping Children Through Grief" and other favorites of mine.


PS - I listen to Adventures in Odyssey during most of my web and blog updates! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Infertility and Miscarriage Link

I found a wonderful website called Hannah's Prayer Ministries.

Hannah's Prayer Ministries provides Christian-based support and encouragement to married women around the world who are struggling with the pain of fertility challenges, including primary and secondary infertility, pregnancy loss, early infant death, and adoption loss. Our outreach extends to those who become mothers of living children through pregnancy, adoption, and/or foster care.
.
A community forum as well as a list of books and information is available through this website, hosted by Jennifer Saake.

If you are struggling with the Interrupted Expectation of infertility, death, and adoption loss, take a moment to check out this site. I pray that you will find comfort.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Guest Post: Notes from The Power of Encouragement 7

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 9: With Friends like these

Dr. David Jeremiah uses the book of Job for this chapter of his book. He looks at four principles we can get from the three friends of Job.

First principle: They responded to Job’s Words but Failed to Feel His Pain
If you read through the book of Job you soon learn that his friends really weren’t hearing what Job was saying. They responded to his words, not to him. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have told people that I am lonesome and don’t have enough to do. I have even offered to come over and help someone. They didn’t get it. I felt that by helping them I would get help also.

Second Principle: They refused to recognize suffering as a part of God’s Plan
Dr. David Jeremiah said that he couldn’t find one piece of evidence that Job’s three friends thought God’s plan could ever include suffering for the righteous. God was at work in Job’s life for good purposes in his life. As encouragers, we need to make sure that we ask God for wisdom and also for insight before we make judgments.

Third Principle: They related all of Job’s suffering to Sin in His Life
Encouragers need to be careful about making a distinction about sin and suffering that is clearly Biblical. "All suffering is due to sin, but not all individual experiences of suffering are due to individual guilt of sin." (pg 106) Job’s friends assumed that Job’s individual experience of suffering was due to his individual sin. How would you like to hear that when you are already suffering?????

Fourth Principle: They reacted by failing to see the uniqueness of Job’s suffering
Job’s friends didn’t know how to treat him as a person. There is no way you or anyone else can know exactly how an individual feels. There is no formula for each individual hurt. Listen to the Holy Spirit to know how God wants you to bless an individual.

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