April 23, 2017

Music is Healing

I have always been a strong believer that music is incredibly healing. It always speaks to my heart & can express what I can't. For as long as I can remember there as always been the perfect song on the radio when I need to hear it. There are songs that I always go to when I need to smile, sing through the frustrations I'm facing, when I need to cry, when I need to be uplifted, etc. I would like to share some of the songs that have really spoken to me over the years. God has been bringing a lot of them to me as I need them & I am grateful for that. Some of these songs bring back memories of loved ones who have gone to Heaven.....some remind me of God's faithfulness, grace, mercy, strength, love, compassion & will for my life.

Lately, there are quite a few songs that I turn to for reminders of God's grace & strength. They are ones that I love to sing out in the car when I'm by myself. I cry through them as the tears come or I just sing them from the depths of my soul. Depending on what I am trying to convey or remind myself of, I choose any of the following songs to listen to & sing to. A lot of these songs have been on the radio exactly when I need to hear them & I will never stop being amazed by that.

My prayer is that some of these songs will speak to you as well in whatever you are going through in your life.

Disclaimer: I am using all these songs off of YouTube. They are all official videos from the artist/band themselves. I do not own the rights to any of them. 


Even If by MercyMe

I Will by Citizen Way

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey

Thy Will by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

I Have This Hope by Tenth Avenue North

Still by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

Tears by Matt Hammitt

The Hurt and The Healer by MercyMe

Dear Younger Me by MercyMe

Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns

Just Be Held by Casting Crowns




Daron's Birthday Video

I forgot to share this video with all of you. I shared it on my Facebook page, but not here. So I thought I would. It isn't anything fancy, but it was made with love for the love of my life. I made it to celebrate Daron's 45th Birthday (click the link to watch).

I hope all of you had a blessed Easter/Resurrection Sunday. Thank you again for praying for us as we continue on our journey.

April 16, 2017

Struggles

The daily struggle of life is getting more & more real with each day that passes. I am constantly worn down, tired, weary, exhausted, lonely, easily agitated, strained, pulled in a million different directions, drained, frustrated.....I could go on & on. Being a single parent isn't for the weak & being a newly widowed single parent isn't even for the strong some days. As a widowed single parent I have to try to deal with my own grief & trying to move on as well as help Taylor deal with his. That leads to a huge emotional & mental drain on a daily basis. I try to hold in my emotions & my grief until after Taylor is in bed, but that makes things worse. It leads to me being more agitated & more easily frustrated.

I feel a kind of lonely that I never thought I would ever feel. It is a loneliness that I can't even really explain. I mean, I was lonely when Daron was in the nursing home, but this is a different kind of lonely. This is a loneliness that reaches to the depths of my core. I can be surrounded by family & friends & I can still feel alone. I feel alone because I have lost the love of my life, people who called themselves my friends for years, people who have called themselves my family. I feel like I have lost myself as well through this.

Yesterday was Daron's 45th birthday & today is Easter - Resurrection Day. While I am thankful for the hope that the Resurrection brings.....I am in the midst of such chaos that I can't even focus on the meaning of today. Having Daron's birthday take place with Easter makes it so much harder to get focus on. Yesterday I spent time at the graveside talking to Daron. Yesterday I missed him & today is another day where I miss my husband, my marriage, my friends, my family, everything that I lost the day that Daron died.

There are so many struggles in my life that I can't even name them all. The largest struggle that I am dealing with is who I can count on & who I can't. Who I can call my friend & who I can't. I know that there are people other then me who are grieving Daron's loss. I know that & I wish I could be there for them, but I can't. I can't focus on the grieve of others when I can barely deal with my own & Taylor's. I can't & won't apologize for not reaching out to everyone who has ever been called my friend. I can't & won't because I need to focus on myself & my son before I can even think of focusing on others. If I could say something to all of those people it's this......I am here if you want to & need to talk. I am here, I need for you to contact me first. I will gladly talk to you about the memories you have of Daron & the memories that we share. I will gladly listen. Please understand that there will be times when I can't though. Please understand that I am grieving just like you are - if not more. Please understand that myself & my son have to come first.

So, through all of the struggles that I am dealing with, I am thankful for the sacrifice Christ made for me on the cross. I cling to the blessed hope of Heaven. I cling to the blessed promise of the resurrection & eternal life with Christ. I cling to it with every fiber of my being. I cling to it because that is the only way that I can get out of bed each day.

Grief Journal -- God's Comfort & Love

Looking at what the Bible says about God's comfort & His love.....


2 Corinthians 1:3-7New King James Version (NKJV)

Comfort in Suffering

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
How does Paul describe God?
The Father of mercies, God of all comfort

What does this passage say about God's comfort?
He comforts us in all our tribulations
He wants us to partake in consolation & salvation - whether by sufferings or by being comforted

What is God's hope for you? What does He want you to share?
His hope is for me to be steadfast. He wants me to share in the consolation.


Psalm 34:17-19New King James Version (NKJV)

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Notice that this passage says even the righteous have afflictions. What does it say about God?
It says that God doesn't treat people differently based on how "religious" they are. He delivers everyone from their afflictions if they cry out to Him.

What do the following verses teach about God's comfort and love?

Psalm 56:8You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

Psalm 147:3He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Lamentations 3:22-24

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”


Matthew 5:4Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.



Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


1 Peter 5:7casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

All of the above verses show that God truly cares for each of us. He keeps our tears in a bottle. He heals our broken hearts & binds up our wounds. He is steadfast. His mercies never end. He is faithful. He will comfort those who mourn. He gives rest to the weary. He cares for us.

April 5, 2017

Expectations

We all have expectations for things in our lives. We have expectations of our spouse, our children, our job, our finances, our friends, our church.....the list goes on & on. Expectations are different for each person, each phase of life, each situation. Sometimes we have low expectations & sometimes we have high expectations -- it depends on what is going on around us. Expectations can change while we are dealing with something. They can change each time we face a similar situation.

As a widow, I didn't know what expectations I would have until I entered widowhood. The days leading up to Daron's death, I expected that things around me (friends, family, etc) would stay the same. I expected people to walk beside me & support me along this new journey. I had these expectations without thinking about them. I guess you could say that I just assumed nothing would change. Truthfully, nothing really changed.....until the day after Daron's funeral service. That is when all of my expectations were violently thrown out the window. People who I expected to be there for me disappeared from my life without notice. Others stayed on the outskirts of my journey & spoke to me like I was an acquaintance instead of a member of the family or a friend for many years. Some people have chosen to ignore me completely. Others have chosen to only say Hello on there way to talk to someone else. Then there are those who see me coming there direction & turn around abruptly so they can avoid me. I wasn't expecting to be treated like I have the plague or something. I wasn't expecting people to act like widowhood is a contagious disease.

Trust me, I get it. I understand that people don't know how to act around me. They don't know what to say to me, or they are afraid of saying something stupid. I was the same way before July 30, 2016. I always worried that I was saying the wrong thing to someone who had suffered a great loss. But even though I get it doesn't mean that I don't get hurt when these things happen. I still have feelings & they are easier to hurt now then before.

I have come to realize that it is better to say something then it is to say nothing. It is better to ask the widow or widower exactly how they are doing & take the time to listen completely. It is better to give a hug then to walk the other way. Just saying Hello in passing doesn't cut it. Actually, it makes me feel like I am not worth your time or effort. Actions speak louder then words - now more then ever. I'm not offended if you say something stupid - unless it is extremely hurtful. I see those moments as was to help others get a glimpse into my life. I won't call you out on what you said. I will help you learn how to say it differently so as not to offend others.

My expectations of people has changed drastically over the last 8 months. I have come to see who my true friends really are & who were just pretending. I have come to see what is important to me & what isn't. I have come to realize what needs to change & what can stay the same. I have made some changes in my life based on new expectations......other changes will follow in the near future. Everything I do is bathed in prayer & I am following God's leading in my life. I don't know where He will take me or who He will bring into my life (or take out of my life). I do know that all I need to do is trust Him without any expectations.

I am grateful to those few dear family members & friends who have stayed beside me. The ones who contact me to see how I am doing & are willing to hear the truth. The ones who I know will be there in the middle of the night if I just need a listening ear. The ones who have seen me at my worst & only want God's best for me. The ones who are slow to speak & quick to listen. The ones who see for me who I am, not the journey that I am on. I know that God has blessed me with some amazing people in my life to help me along this journey.

I am grateful for the friends who take the time to say something, anything, other then Hello. I know they don't know what to say or they are afraid of saying something stupid, but I am grateful they still treat me like a person. They can see me for me & not just for my journey.

I am (slowly) coming to realize that God even blessed me with those who left my life, or are on their way out of my life. He put those people in my life to show me what true family & friends look like. For that, I am grateful that they were in my life for a short time. While it still hurts that they couldn't meet expectations, I know that God has a wonderful plan & they were apart of it for a reason. While it hurts that they have left my life when I thought they were true friends, I can see God working His plan. I don't always see it & I don't always trust it, but I know it's there.

Expectations are hard to deal with when others don't meet them they way we want them to. But, I think expectations help us grow. I know that sounds odd, but I think it's true. Expectations can help us see what it right from what is wrong. They can help us see the true family & friends from the ones who leave at the first sign of struggle. They can help us see what we need to change in ourselves for our good. They can help us change a situation for the better. Not all expectations need to be met & that's okay. It's also okay for expectations to be broken because that will help us grow. We won't see the growth right away, but we will will get glimpses of it here & there. That is what I am seeing -- small glimpses of growth in my life. The growth is painful at times, but that will only make us stronger in the end.

April 4, 2017

Grief Journal -- Comfort in Grief


This verse is the focus of the lesson I am working on in my grief Bible Study (God's Healing in Grief by Ron & Kathleen Duncan). Reading through it brought a few things to mind......Did God keep Daron's life? Will He keep my life? Is everything I have been taught my whole life true?

Further into the lesson I was reminded again that my grief journey is unique. Every single person has their own unique grief journey. The journey I am on after the death of Daron is certainly different then the grief journey I was on after the death of my Grandpa Orr. I miss them both deeply, but I grieve for them differently. It's okay that my journey is different -- it is supposed to be. Just as their deaths were unique, the grief journey for each is unique. The only thing that is the same is the source of healing: Jesus Christ!

I was reminded that healing doesn't happen quickly or overnight (even if others think it should). It takes work to heal from the death of a loved one.....if you are honest & willing. I was reminded that I need to diligently see the Lord & trust Him through this journey. I must remain steadfast through this journey & trial.



I am thankful that God sent His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to help me remember all that God has taught me so far & will continue to teach me. The Holy Spirit will lead to a place of healing & restoration. Only God can give the peace, joy & hope in the midst of grief that we all need.



Am I truly willing to let God work in me & lead me along this journey? I know that all I need to do is ask.....but it is so tough to pray lately. I feel like my prayer life is nothing but yelling at God these past 8 months. I am so angry that Daron was taken from me so soon. I am angry that my son doesn't have a father anymore. I am angry that Daron & I weren't able to resolve some things that we needed to resolve. All of this leads to prayers that seem like blaming rather then asking for healing and comfort. Granted, I do start out trying to ask for those.....but then I start getting angry again.

My journal suggests writing out a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to teach me, comfort me, & lead me into a place of healing & peace. I honestly don't know if I can pray that kind of prayer right now. I honestly don't feel worthy of the peace & healing that God freely offers. I have been so angry for so long now that I don't know if I can even accept the healing & peace God is offering. I don't even know what that healing & joy would look like.

I know the prayer will come & when it does I will write it out. But for now, I will trust that God knows the cry of my heart & He will comfort me as I continue this journey.

April 1, 2017

My Grief Journal - Introduction

Welcome to My Grief Journal.....

I have been tossing around the idea of starting another blog specifically for my grief process.....but I know I can't handle keeping two blogs up to date - I can barely handle one. So, I will be mixing my grief journaling & family updates on this blog. Any post that is specifically about my grief journal will be labeled accordingly.

My Grief Journal will be a mix of two journals I just received. One journal is full of questions to prompt me as I journal through the grief process. The other journal is a companion to a grief Bible study I will be working through. By journaling on my blog instead of privately, it will allow me to do a couple of things.....
1) I will be able to continue to openly & honestly share my journey with you.
2) I will be able to work through my thoughts & feelings as I work through each journal & Bible study.
3) It will help provide a deeper insight to you, the reader, into my grief journey. It will also help you know how to better pray for me.

If you are a widow & interested in starting a grief journal, you can purchase the Writing & Widowing: Journaling the Journey journal that I will be using by clicking Here.

If you are interested in the grief Bible study & journal, God's Healing in Grief, there are a few different places to find them. You can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking Here. You can also find the journal on Amazon by clicking Here. You can go to the publishers website & purchase both together to get a discount by clicking Here. (I found Amazon to only be $2.00-$3.00 more, but they arrived faster.)

Please pray that I will be open to God's working in my life as I continue to work through this process & travel down this journey. I know that God has called me to this for a specific purpose. I may never know or understand what that purpose is, but I will continue to trust God to shine through me. I am an unfinished masterpiece that God is still working on!




Music is Healing

I have always been a strong believer that music is incredibly healing. It always speaks to my heart & can express what I can't. For ...