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.

One Stitch at a Time

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I recently pulled out my yarn and crochet hook and got to work creating some new scarfs, one stitch at a time. My grandmother taught me this skill when I was young and I occasionally find time to pull it out. The art of making blankets, scarfs, and towels has always been a relaxing activity for me.

Keeping my mind focused on a task in the midst of feeling out-of-sorts is also an advantage to crocheting. On the days when I am feeling stressed or distracted, I enjoy finding a new pattern to work the tension out of my fingers while making a gift to give a friend or family member. The simple act of tying the yarn on the hook then looping and pulling it through time and time again eventually leads to a completed project. The action of taking one stitch at a time is the only way to finish the piece and obtain a sense of satisfaction in a job well done.

We too can find satisfaction by taking one day at a time, making our way through grief and loss. While we may not know exactly what our future looks like, we can reach for our goals, hopes and dreams as we move forward. Seeing these come to fruition is impossible if we fail to take that first step. Once we do that, trusting God and leaning into our grief enables us to continue moving forward.

While we may not understand what the end product will look like, God does. As we view our current life, we may see a mess filled with many tangles and detours. Compare those messy spots with another craft form; the art of needlepoint.

Any person who works on embroidery knows that the underside of the cloth can look messy, with thread zigzagging back and forth. The occasional knot can be found, as it is necessary to hold the stitches in place on the topside of the work. Looking from the underside it is not always possible to tell what the picture is on top. However, as the cloth is turned, we can see with clarity what the artist has made and it is beautiful! Especially when compared with the tangles of color underneath.

The same is true for our lives. God, the artist, knows what He is doing. The things we may label as wrong and messy are actually right and necessary in order to achieve the beauty He intends for each of us. The detours and tangles we must encounter along the way can be difficult and painful. Yet, we must trust that we will someday see our life as His magnificent masterpiece as we live and allow Him to lead us one stitch (or day) at a time.

Until next time –

Karen

 

 

Canvas Creations

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I have often said that I am creative, but not artistic. Do not look for me to be the one to sketch, paint, sew or mold a piece of art. While I can picture in my mind what the work should look like, the outcome is usually far from my expectation. These hands just cannot keep up with what my mind can imagine.

A while back I participated in a canvas art class with friends. It was one of those places where an instructor guides you in painting. She tells you every stroke of the brush to make, what paint colors to use and everyone basically does the same picture during the time class time together. The picture posted today shows how my artwork turned out. While it is not exactly like the model painting, it is possible to see the similarities and recognize the subject of the day – music.

Life tends to be like a canvas. We picture how we expect life to be. Plans are made with our future all plotted out, day by day and year by year. Yet, what happens? Life happens. We get caught in the middle of plans that go awry and we must face disappointment, disillusionment and fear. The picture for life that has been imprinted upon our minds with great hope and expectation is no longer what our eyes actually see.

Do not despair or give up in your present journey. Just like the picture I painted was not exactly like the teacher’s example, the instructions were sufficient enough for me to get my artwork finished and looking nice. The difference with my painting and my life however, is that I have confidence that my life is not dependent upon my talent and brush strokes. God is the artist that uses His tools to refine and beautify my life to reflect His good hand.

In the midst of my canvas painting, there were moments that I was sure I had messed it up and it honestly did not look a thing like the teacher’s artwork or what my mind was telling my hand to do. Our journey, filled with sadness, grief and hardships will look the same way; messed up and ruined. Take heart though – God is an incredible artist Who will use the canvas of your life as you walk with Him, to make a gorgeous piece of art.

I would rather have God’s handiwork in my life, than trust what I alone can make of it. May you find that same confidence and begin to see the beauty in the midst of your pain.

Until next time –

Karen