Are You There?

I just read some articles about dementia. Guess what; the sufferers described how their friendships had changed.

“It’s not catching,” said one man. “I can still hold a conversation, but my friends don’t come around like they used to.”

I had the very same experience when my husband died. People who we’d known for decades, simply disappeared. No cards, no letters no phone calls, no contact at all.

What is friendship anyway?

The dictionary defines it this way: Friendship is a mutual feeling of trust and affection and the behavior that typify relationships between friends. Friendship is a relationship between people, organizations, or countries that is characterized by mutual assistance, approval, and support.

So I guess those disappearing ‘friends’ were never our friends to begin with. Honestly, I wish they’d let me know sooner…

Thankfully, we can have a better kind of friendship.

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:14, MSG)

Of course, than we have to be his friend too.

Prayer – Father, help us be caring friends, especially during hard times. Amen

Serious Grief

God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, I’m about to take from you the delight of your life—a real blow, I know. But, please, no tears. Keep your grief to yourself. No public mourning. Get dressed as usual and go about your work—none of the usual funeral rituals.”I preached to the people in the morning. That evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I’d been told. (Ezekiel 24:15-17, MSG)

And every time I read it, I ask myself these questions. Do I have that kind of obedience in me? Why/ why not? Why do I prolong my personal pain by neglecting God’s words to me?

And then I pray something like this.

Prayer – Lord God, Father of the entire universe, oh Lord God, help me to be as obedient as Ezekiel… because I want to serve you wholeheartedly, more than anything in the world. Help me to live that way, dear God.  For Christ, who did. Amen

Janet Sketchley’s Kind Review!!

Review: The Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. Wood

Cover art: The Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. WoodThe Pregnant Pause of Grief, by Brenda J. Wood (Word Alive, 2013)

“I’ve trusted God and His promises for years. Will they hold true in widowhood? I don’t know yet.” [p. 4]

So begins Brenda J. Wood’s poignant account of her “first trimester of widowhood” after the loss of her beloved husband, Ron. The book is written as a series of journal entries, in a conversational style as if Brenda were talking with the reader via email.

She writes about whatever’s on her mind that day, from spontaneous tears in public to fear of forgetting Ron to what she’s learning from God on how to cope. As hard as this new life is, she’s determined to push forward into it, even to laugh again. Ron wouldn’t want her to give in to the misery.

Most of the book is written during the third month ‘AR’ (After Ron’s passing), but the final pages include Ron’s testimony of the difference God made in his life, with brief notes from Brenda taking us past the anniversary of his death.

Brenda and Ron weren’t a perfect couple, but they loved each other deeply and for almost 50 years. One of the main take-aways from this book is the call to love our family and friends well, while we have them in our lives.

It’s a book that can help those who haven’t lost a spouse to understand the thoughts, emotions and needs of a grieving widow or widower. For example, I didn’t know that finances are often in short supply in the early months until the government, insurances etc catch up on the paperwork.

I think it would be a good resource to let newly-grieving readers know what they’re going through is normal.

One of the things I found most encouraging was Brenda’s determination to remember how God had looked after them in the past and her choice to believe that even in this new, painful place, God still had the power and the compassion to care for her.

Brenda J. Wood is a motivational speaker and writer based in Ontario. She’s also written a book to help children deal with grief, The Big Red Chair. You can read the first chapter of The Pregnant Pause of Grief or learn more about the author on her website, heartfeltdevotionals.com.

Good Advice

“If I were in your shoes, I’d go straight to God, I’d throw myself on the mercy of God. After all, he’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises. He gives rain, for instance, across the wide earth, sends water to irrigate the fields. He raises up the down-and-out, gives firm footing to those sinking in grief. (Job 58-11, MSG)

A Difficult Christmas

Christmas is a difficult time for the grieving. Let them grieve in their own way, but let them know you are willing to help them with things like decorating or baking. Take them shopping. Invite them to your holiday functions. Volunteer together at a food bank, collect for a charity or help in a soup kitchen.

Do not tell them to ‘get over it.’ Be willing to sit with them when they cry. Let them talk about their loved one. Send cards or letters. Phone or text often.

Why? Just because you can represent the loving care of Christ to someone who needs it.

My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you. (Psalm 88:9, NIV)

Prayer-Father, help us help others through their pain, for so often, you have done the same for us. In Christ, Amen.

Grief Extended

The second anniversary of Ron’s passing  (August 22) and I woke the day after, with these thoughts.

“Now it is year three. How will I ever get through another year?”

But I know that I will, because God gives me grace and my friends and family give me patience and listening ears…

Brenda J Wood

Lost Anything?

He’s lost,” I say, discouraged. “Jeremiah’s lost”

“Don’t ever think that,” my mother says. “He’s not lost. He’s just gone to stay with someone with a bigger tub.”

“Are you sure?” I ask, brightening a little.

(The Shoe Box Bible, by Alan Bradley, McClelland & Stewart Ltd, Toronto, Canada, page 79)

I miss my husband so much, but with God’s help, I’ve released him to the larger tub of Heaven because there he’s found the freedom of fulltime living with Christ.

Who have you lost? Are you still yearning for them? Will you release them to a larger tub?

‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.  (Luke 15: 24a, NIV)

The shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good ‘Thank you, Jesus.’

Prayer- Lord, forgive us for hanging on to what we cannot have. Yours in Christ for larger tubs everywhere….Amen.