A Dark Place

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Walking through grief and loss can be a dark place. Whether your journey has just begun or you have been acquainted with loss and sorrow for a while now, there will be times when you find yourself back in a dark place due to circumstances in life. Perhaps someone says something that brings up a painful memory. Maybe you just wake up sad and lonely and the day is a real struggle for you. Whatever the cause for finding yourself in a dark place, try to remember a few things.

First, when you encounter darkness, try to keep in mind that life is still the same as it was in the light. The goodness you know to be true is just hidden for a moment. There is still a familiar pathway you can find to get your bearings and work your way out of a dark place. Have the courage to take one step forward and then another and then another. You will find that a dark place does not have to hold you captive for long. Instead, it can propel you forward and teach you as you journey through it.

That leads to the next reminder. A dark place will not last forever. There will be an end to your darkness, your sadness, your trial, and your pain. The Bible says: “There is a time for everything, a time to be born and a time to die, ……a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (NIV) The hard, unpleasant season you may find yourself facing will not last forever. While it may hurt to be in a dark place, that very place can serve a powerful purpose in making you work harder at healing in order to move forward with life. Your journey can also give you empathy to share with others who will one day face similar dark days. What you learn from walking your own path can help others as they struggle to walk and find light again.

Darkness has its own sort of beauty. Have you ever toured a cave? Some of them are so deep and cavernous that no light can be found in them except that which man has placed in them. Yet, people pay money and plan vacations to tour such caves. Why? Because there is beauty and wonder found within them. Realizing that beneath the surface lies great beauty can be the same with your journey. As you learn to deal with and walk through your sadness and grief, it is possible to find and experience joy, beauty, and light again if you look hard enough. Use the light of others’ experiences and God’s Word to shine into your dark place when you are unable to provide your own source of brightness. No one needs to walk a dark place alone.

The next time you experience a dark place, do not lose hope. Instead, embrace the darkness – not in order to stay there – but in order to beat it. Being proactive in dealing with your pain and sadness will help you have the upper hand in difficult situations. Life will be less likely to catch you by surprise and you will be able to find real beauty and joy in life – no matter your circumstances. Tell yourself that the darkness will fade and light will return, then focus on seeing that light before you as you courageously and steadily move forward through your grief and dark places. Be proud and rejoice that you can move forward into light again from a dark place.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Share Your Story

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When you are journeying through grief, the last thing you may want to do is to share your story. There are days when you can barely manage to get out of bed and go about your daily tasks, much less think of baring your soul and being vulnerable to others with your very real and painful heartache. However, as you find yourself healing and gaining confidence and strength in your new way of life, you may see some opportunities to help others with their own grief journey.

When you share your story, you bless others by showing them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They are encouraged to see that you are surviving great loss and pain, therefore there is a chance that they too will be able to do the same. Each time you share your story, you will also find that you heal a bit more. When you are courageous enough to tell others about your journey, you will propel yourself forward in your own healing. You will feel better about your life. Soon you will be able to look back and see how far you have truly come from those early days of loss and sorrow.

How wonderful to be able to see that you are not stuck in your grief, but that you are once again learning to live well and find joy. Life will not seem quite so overwhelming or impossible. The cloudy fog of early grief will lift and clarity will take its place. Let the vision of your recovery and growth propel you forward to share your story with those still working through the incredibly difficult days of early loss.

I look back and shake my head in wonderment at how I survived those first few weeks. I actually have very little memory of those early, grieving days. The only way I was surviving was on auto-pilot. God does that for you. He allows you to be numb enough to manage the tasks demanded of you in very difficult times. However, as that numbness begins to wear off, the pain and discouragement can set in with surprising strength and depth. It is in those times that people find themselves sinking in their grief. It is because of those times that you need to be willing to share your story as a sort of life-preserver to the drowning.

You can certainly make a difference! Take the time to truly think about being a catalyst to someone else’s healing. Begin to make notes of what it was that helped you along the way. What did you find encouraging when you were at your lowest point? What was said that didn’t help you at all? Is it possible then to share your story and impart hope and knowledge to people who are in great pain? Because you are a survivor and have a similar experience, you can be instrumental in walking through grief with someone else.

Consider how you can share your story to impact others and make a difference to those who so desperately need a lifeline of hope.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Being Blessed

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What does it mean to be blessed? When you hear this expression do you picture someone whose life is easy, full of fun and laughter? Perhaps you think of a life that has never faced hardship or sadness as you have. You cannot imagine how a blessed life can be filled with hurt and difficulties.

Unless you face some sort of challenges in life, you fail to realize just how much you appreciate the easier, happier times you have been given. Those people who go through life seemingly without any difficulties can easily misunderstand what being blessed means. I would like to present to you the possibility that you can certainly experience a blessed life even in the midst of sorrow, great pain, and grief.

Being blessed does not mean you will be kept from sadness. Being blessed is not a promise that tears will never be experienced and your heart will never ache. Without experiencing those things at times, it is impossible to truly appreciate the better part of life. But being blessed is even more than being able to understand that life has its ups and downs.

Being blessed means that you do not have to walk the rough patches of life alone. It means that no matter how rocky your road may seem, you have company beside you cheering you on and encouraging you to take another step….and then another….and then another. Being blessed is knowing that someone has your back no matter what comes your way.

When my husband passed away, I had good people surround me and hold me up when I couldn’t gather the strength to even stand by myself. One friend in particular promised to have my back and committed to walk this journey with me for as long as it lasted. Nearly six years later, she is still my sounding board and listens carefully, giving wise advice when needed.

Being blessed does not point to the absence of hardship and sadness. Instead it means that you do not have to face your life alone. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you feel your sadness carrying you away into a dark place. Accept the blessing of friendship and help. No one needs to walk this grief journey by themselves.

Remember that no matter the number people who are in your life, your best friend can truly be found in Jesus Christ. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends….” John 15:15 (NIV) He alone will be with you in the dark of night and can understand the depth of your pain.

Being blessed is knowing who your friends really are and recognizing that you never have to do life on your own.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Just Saying

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Just Saying

As I have fostered a new relationship over the last few months, I have discovered the value of just saying what is on your mind. This does not mean carelessly blurting out thoughts without using any kind of filter. However, just saying what is on your mind and in your heart is beneficial in letting another person get to know you and truly experience who you are.

Oftentimes when we journey through grief, the tendency can be to either sugar-coat how life is going for you, or deny – even to yourself – some of the hardships you are facing today instead of admitting there are some wounds that you have nursed and buried for far too long.

Speaking from experience, I can honestly say that the trauma of sudden loss can alter how you see the world. No longer do you feel safe and carefree. Instead, you may deem it necessary to protect yourself from further harm by pulling your heart and mind away from others and tucking yourself into a sort of shell; somewhat like a turtle when it feels threatened.

Eventually though, you will find it necessary to acknowledge your pain, admit you have struggles and fears, and face life with courage. Believe that God has good things in store for you. Blessings await you – blessings that you will miss if you continue to live tucked away and on guard to everything and everyone around you.

Are you willing to take a chance to feel again? Do you believe that the risk of future joy can overshadow your current fear of once again being hurt? If you find yourself hesitant and doubtful, I understand. I have been there. However, let me encourage you to explore what God may be bringing into your life. Keep your eyes open and your heart tender. Pray and seek God with each step you take on your grief journey.

Good things await you. Having patience and trusting God’s timing will be key in turning your mourning into joy. Look around you and begin to explore. Then open up by speaking and just saying your dreams of hope for the future out loud.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Push your buttons

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There are times in life when people do their best to push your buttons. They say things just to egg you on and get you to react. They may do this just to see what you are made of. Perhaps they feel this is a way to have some fun with you, hoping that your reaction will be one of joking right back with them. If you have siblings, you have probably experienced them pushing your buttons as you grew up. Doing so is a form of communication that is not necessarily bad.

As you walk through grief, it is possible for others to push your buttons unintentionally. Unknowingly, people may say things that remind you of your loved one and the loss you have suffered. Innocent comments inquiring as to your well-being can push you towards painful remembrances and lead you down a path you would rather avoid. Unfortunately avoidance can hold you back and keep you in your grief longer. There comes a time when you need to face your memories.

It is also possible for you to push your own buttons. In other words, you set yourself up for pain and ache by placing yourself in a position that reminds you of your grief. This can actually be a healing procedure. In order to get through your pain and to move along on your grief journey, you need to be able to face the path you have been forced to walk. Avoidance will only prolong your pain and slow down your journey through grief. The ability to live a full life again and learn to find joy instead of mourning your loss will be discovered as you have the courage to push your buttons to remember and embrace your loss.

When you are able to do this, you will see what you are truly made of. You may surprise yourself and discover that you can indeed endure and survive much more than you thought possible. Learning to move forward and feel better about life does not take the significance or the value away from the relationship you have seen come to an end. Learning to place one foot in front of the other does allow you to take the love and experience you have had in the past and put it toward healthy relationships now before you.

Do not fear it when you push your buttons. Realize that your courage is to be commended and others will be cheering for you along the way. Give yourself time and be patient. There is no need to push all of your buttons at the same time. Little by little you will make progress. Have a little grace with yourself and choose a button or two to approach and push. When you feel you have a handle on those items, then you will find it easier to push another button and continue your grief journey further. The progress you will make will please and amaze you.

So go ahead. Get ready, get set, and push your buttons. Watch your journey unfold as the fear and pain that hold you captive dissipate and you move forward along your path.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The balance beam

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I spent some time watching gymnastics on television last night. This is a sport that I enjoy viewing, admiring how the gymnasts do amazing jumps, flips, and turns. Watching as they dance along the balance beam and exhaling in relief when they stick the landing can be exhilarating. Having no talent whatsoever myself in any form of gymnastics, I marvel at the skills these young people have.

I watched, despairing as several of the young ladies bobbled a turn and failed to stay on top of the balance beam. As I sympathized with them, I began to see similarities between what these talented people strive to do and what those in grief must learn to maneuver on their own type of balance beam.

Being a gymnast competing for a place on the Olympic team takes years of practice and dedication. They have devoted themselves daily to hours of grueling drills and repetition of required skills. Commitment is evident in the success these athletes achieve. Even when they experience an unexpected tumble to the floor from that 4-inch beam, you see them take a breath, recover, and remount the beam quickly in order to follow through and finish their routine. They do not quit or give up.

The beautiful routines are filled with dancing, graceful moves, and difficult skills meant to thrill the audience and satisfy the judges. Focusing on fulfilling the required movements helps to assure that success is within reach. Working with a trainer and having these moves choreographed results in an art admired by many.

Walking through grief can be compared in ways to walking the balance beam. It takes great commitment and work to learn to place one foot in front of the other after suffering a loss. Courage must be summoned to manage even getting out of bed some days and facing your changed world. Some of the jumps and back flips on the balance beam require a blind landing. As you make your way through your loss, you may feel that you are required to move blindly, uncertain of what is ahead and how can you land well into the future when you cannot quite picture what it looks like.

There are also some great differences between walking the balance beam and walking your grief journey. These athletes train for years with some of the best coaches available. Most of the time you enter your grief with little notice or warning. Even if the loss has been anticipated due to an illness, it seems impossible to properly prepare for the complete separation that death brings. How does one truly practice for that?

Talented choreographers work with these gymnasts to provide cute and appropriate movements while fulfilling requirements of the judges. Walking through grief, you are forced to make up your own routine. No one can tell you how you should feel or what you should do. While there are people who have survived the grief journey and are willing to encourage you, no two journeys are the same. Therefore, it is up to you to find what works best in your own life.

Millions of people will be watching the Olympic trials and envying the talents of these athletes. No one will be envying you as you face loss and learn to journey through grief. In fact, you may find that some people will avoid you, fearing and doubting what they should say or how they should act around you. It will be necessary to not take these slights personally. Remember, unless you have actually experienced the loss of a loved one, you fail to know how to communicate clearly with those who have been forced to say good-bye to someone.

As you watch the Olympic trials and later the actual Olympic Games, be encouraged when you see athletes braving the balance beam. They are doing something that few people can do. You, my friend, can say the very same thing. You are walking a journey that no one else can tell you how to walk. Take courage, be confident, and step forward into your new life with gusto. Picture walking your grief journey well. Fight to keep your balance and work to stick your landing. You can certainly do this.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

When something is taken

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Upon coming home from work today I found that one of my nice recliner lawn chairs had been stolen off my front porch. I stood there in disbelief at first. I had saved up for the pair of chairs last summer and have enjoyed sitting and reading in the cool of the early mornings. I was furious as I stood there and realized that the theft had occurred. One thing I do not tolerate is taking things that do not belong to you. When something is taken unjustly, your emotions tend to flow; anger, regret, revenge, disbelief, and maybe even surrender.

When you face grief and loss of life, you feel that something has been taken from you. Life as you know it is changed and will never be the same again. Your ability to talk to your loved one, give them a hug, share a laugh, and watch the future unfold with them will never happen.

This realization also brings with it emotions that ebb and flow as you journey from day to day, doing your best to maneuver and figure out how to live without them. It is natural to feel anger and regret. You may feel that revenge is needed. Disbelief may cause you to doubt yourself and your whole situation. Eventually you will work through these feelings to reach a sort of surrender. Not the type where you give up and fail to live life. But one that understands that when something is taken, you are still left with much.

Please understand that I am not saying your loss has not been incredibly painful and huge. I can make that statement because I have faced great loss as well. However I have come to see that I still have many blessings in my life. I encourage you to evaluate what you still have after you have given yourself time to be sad and to grieve.

When something is taken from you, it is helpful to see what you still have. Do you still have family and friends who care for you and love you? Is there a place where you can lay your head at night and rest, feeling safe from the outside world? Did you have the opportunity to eat today? Even though your appetite might be hard to find, there is food available when you want it. Take a look around you. Evaluate what you still have. Perhaps something new is there to help fill the void of your great loss.

Ask God to reveal these things to you. Remember that He is the greatest treasure than no one can take away. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

Holding on to your anger and what you feel is unjust when something is taken, will only cause you to mourn longer and move slower through the grief journey. While you do not want to rush and skip the steps of healing, you do want to give yourself permission to feel better when the time comes. Accept the joy that will peek through your clouds of sorrow.

Just as I need to get over a thief taking one of my recliners, you will need to let go and begin to move forward as well. Do not let life be ruined forever when something is taken.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Unexpected

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A miscommunication in texting with a friend last night turned out to provide a much-needed laugh. Her text came through to me asking where Batman lives. I responded with “Gotham City?” and was confused when she wrote back, “Whatttt???” Then she realized that the word she had written was auto-corrected and changed to Batman. I had a good laugh as I then understood the weird and the unexpected conversation.

There are times in life when we are faced with the unexpected. It might be an unexpected conversation, the sudden appearance of someone, a surprising reaction from others, or an unpredicted outcome at work. The longer you live, the more you come to understand that there are surprises and you are often left to deal with the unexpected in life.

Grief is oftentimes unexpected. Even if your loved one had an illness which led your family through months of difficulty and their final passing may have been eminent, the actual diagnosis was probably unexpected as well as unwanted. While you realize that sickness, sadness, and death are part of life, when those events invade your daily routine, they catch you off-guard.

So how do you handle the unexpected things in grief? Is it possible to regain your footing against the intrusion made in your life and upon the plans you had for your future? Yes, you will survive the grief and the unexpected turn that you are now facing. Will it be easy to do so? Of course not. No one who has experienced grief and loss will tell you the journey is easy.

So how do you face the unexpected things of grief? I believe that God uses the first few months to numb you from the pain. I know that there are actually many details in those first few days of grief that I do not have clear memories of. A sense of auto-pilot takes over and the necessary arrangements are made with the help of family and friends. So while your journey has taken an unexpected detour, you somehow are able to function and survive by the grace of God.

As time moves forward and your world changes and little daily adjustments are made, the numbness begins to wear off and you suddenly feel the unexpected weight of your pain. These are hard days to face. You awake to some mornings where you want to choose to stay in bed rather than get up and face your day. Doing this once in a while can actually be a healthy and necessary “mental health day.” Recognizing what you need to refuel and function well in your grief is important. As long as you don’t spend each and every day staying in bed and avoiding life all together, an occasional day off is recommended.

Grief also has a way of throwing road blocks in your path. Oftentimes, an unexpected thing will be a trigger that threatens to throw you back into the depths of your sorrow. The ability to be flexible and give grace where needed is likely to help you through these little surprises of life. While you may want guarantees, there are few of those in life. Learn what things you can give up and what items are non-negotiable to you and your journey will be likely be smoother as you move forward in your grief.

Surprises can endanger your sense of well-being too. Feeling paralyzed by fear and doubt can be very real as the unexpected appears now and then. Work hard at not giving power to these surprises. They are just slight hiccups in the bigger picture of your life. Keep your eyes focused on your goals and desires and upon where you are headed, not where you have been.

In all of this, remember that God desires to strengthen you and hold you up when you feel you can go no further. I read the following verse a few months ago and have come to appreciate its promise that God goes before me to ease my trek.

“Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;

the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” Isaiah 40:4 (NIV)

Until next time –

Karen

When the unexpected happens, Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Learning through the pain

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I just read one of those silly quotes on Facebook that stated, “Starting tomorrow whatever life throws at me, I’m ducking so it hits someone else.” While I laughed when I saw this, I quickly realized what a profound statement this really is and I stopped smiling. If these last five years have taught me anything, it is to truly think of the impact that words and actions can have on yourself as well as on others. Learning through the pain of grief is possible and actually is something to be pursued.

Facing the loss of a loved one is certainly difficult. Saying a final good-bye is harder than anyone can imagine. Until you have to do this, until you survive the physical and mental anguish of death, there is no way you can truly know what another person is going through. While you may get tired of feeling hit and hurt by life, remember that learning through the pain is possible.

‘Life’ does have a way of throwing things at you, especially when you are feeling down. There will be days when you think there is no way you can take anymore. It hurts too much. You simply do not think you have the strength. When you feel that way, you need to realize the truth in that thought. You really do not have the ability to withstand all that ‘life’ brings your way. The key to surviving the ups and downs of life is to look hard to find the meaning behind your experiences and to know the source of true strength.

While I would never desire or ask to go through what I have experienced these last five years, I am able to now see that I have grown. I know that I cannot have empathy and real compassion for others if I have not experienced a pain of my own. My grief can be used to encourage and help others who face similar aches and losses. Even though I will not know the exact hurt or circumstance others may be facing, I can listen and show compassion. I can also point them to the Source of strength – God.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

Knowing these things, I suppose I would be willing to take the blows again instead of ducking for someone else to be encumbered by them. So when you feel as if you have been cheated and beaten down, hold on to the fact that God is enough. He wants to see you through the difficult times. He has great plans for you and a purpose for your life. When you feel bombarded, stand strong and face the blows with confidence. Take a step back and regroup if you must. Keep trusting that there is a great life ahead.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Destructive Power

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A few days ago marked the fifty-year anniversary of a huge, powerful, F5 tornado that struck my hometown of Topeka, Kansas. June 8, 1966 was a day that changed life for many people, including my family. My family of 8, 2 parents, and six kids (the youngest to be born 6 months after this date) actually faired better than many did that fateful evening. The destructive power of that storm was easy to see in the path of flattened homes and the destroyed businesses left behind.

The pain of loss can also have destructive power, although it might not be as visible to the human eye. The ache of having to say good-bye to a loved one is physically painful especially in the early days of grief. However, when compared to the destructive power of a mighty storm, hope can be found if you are able to look beyond the initial shock and sting of loss.

Months and years following that huge, frightening tornado, found people rebuilding and slowly recovering after their great loss. The devastation of the storm did not last forever. While the path of the tornado was evident for years, hope sprung up as the cleanup began and new growth could be seen.

You can experience that same hope as healing from your loss begins in your life. Your journey of grief can slowly but surely lead you to new growth as well. It is important to acknowledge your loss and allow yourself to experience your pain so that you can move through it. Ignoring the destructive power of grief will only cause you to relapse and fail to heal. In order to build your life and create your new normal, you must recognize several facts.

First, admit that you have lost someone that you love and you miss. Coming to terms with the path of destruction that grief can create is the only way you will find the trail on which to build. Go ahead and allow yourself time to shed tears and mourn what is no longer. Doing so is productive and vital to your healing and growth in life.

Second, realize that the hurt and pain you now experience does not have to stay the same. The ugliness of loss can lead to a beautiful life if you are open to change and are willing to embrace it after you have given yourself time to grieve. Take hope is seeing how others have recovered after such devastating loss and know that you too, can one day hold your head high with a smile on your face.

Third, your future is what you make it. That may seem hard to grasp right now if you are in the midst of fresh loss. However, do the hard work of grief – admitting and feeling your pain and then being open to eventual change – and you will see the pay off by waking up one day and experiencing joy and happiness. Your deep sorrow will not last forever. Trust that fact and look for more.

Do not let the destructive power of death hold you captive. Choose instead to hope and dream that there will come a day when those dreams will be fulfilled. Here is to brighter days and beautiful future.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.