Familiar

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I do quite a bit of typing at work between planning lessons and camps, writing material for classes, and communicating with people. In order to keep my wrists happy, I also use a special ergonomic keyboard. However, I have used it so much, that the markings on many of the keys are worn off. This has not bothered me at all since I am quite proficient at typing. Yet when others sit down to use my computer, I hear comments such as, “How can you know where the keys are?” I suppose it is because the keyboard letter positions are familiar to me. I know where they are without even looking. I can count on my fingers just landing on the right keys out of habit and years of practice.

As you continue on your grief journey, the familiar things of life often feel lost to you. No longer are you certain what the day may hold. Things that you have counted on fail to be part of your life now. People you have known for years are no longer with you. How can you endure the loss of familiarity as you make your way through life?

As I type, I feel my way along the keyboard. I know where certain letters are in relation to others. Typing has become second nature to me. What about in life though? Now that elements of your life have drastically been altered, can you still know where you stand and in which direction you should move? I believe you can.

As people, we tend to rely upon feelings to guide us in life. While this is a common practice, I am not so sure that it is always wise. Feeling for and expecting the familiar can leave you uncertain when all you are able to conjure up are unfamiliar emotions. While you long for what you know, you find yourself unacquainted with the demands of adjusting and modifying what you thought would be your life.

The familiar seems lost to you and suddenly you are forced to find a new path to walk; a new way to live. I find comfort in knowing that no matter how unexpected your life journey is now, there is one thing you can count on to never change.

God is a constant in this world. When nothing else seems to make sense, you can be certain of God’s sovereignty and ability to meet your needs, even in the midst of loss and grief. When all the familiar things you have been certain of seem to be gone from your grasp, the things of God are still very much in place and within reach.

It is with His help and guidance that you will eventually be able to look back at those missing, familiar things of life and realize that new feelings, new people, and new adventures have filled your days. All of the sudden, it seems that the unfamiliar is actually there to help you move forward. Life has great promise again. Hope and joy enter your daily picture as you become familiar with new things, new people, and new choices.

Do not give up just because what you know – the familiar – is gone. Instead, choose to look ahead and be open to change. Who knows, right around the corner may be an exciting element to add to your new life. Here’s to become familiar with fresh possibilities.

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.

Today I choose to

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What would life be like if we could always choose? Today you choose to get that job you have always wanted, drive a brand new car, sleep all morning, or take a walk in the woods. It sounds like a wonderful thing. To be able to do whatever you want whenever you want is a daydream many people have. But what would life really be like if that came true? Do you have the wisdom to always choose well?

There are plenty of choices we make beginning very early in life. As our kids were growing up, we would teach them to make choices starting as toddlers with the clothes they would wear. Those safe decisions led to bigger ones. What friends to make, whether or not to respect the house rules, being home in time to make curfew, and choosing a spouse. Looking at the ability to choose and make decisions seems a natural progression in life.

What happens though, when you do not get a choice? What about the circumstances that just seem to occur without your permission? You did not choose to break an arm playing sports as a child. Your intention was not to get up, drive to work, and have an accident on the way. When you decided to pick up the phone, you did not intend to hear tragic news that would rock your world. Yet, these things happen. Events come into your life without invitation and dare to change who you are. How dare they!

So how do you handle those moments that alter the direction of your life? How do you manage to recover and continue when everything seems lost and you feel alone? It is in those very moments that you will make critical choices, whether you intend to or not. Realize that you can choose to fight and continue on with life, making the most of every day. Giving up does not need to happen, even when you feel that things are hopeless. Life is never hopeless if you focus on the right things.

So today, even though you face pain and sadness, you say:

Today I choose to pray, for God knows better than I.

Today I choose to give, for that causes me to look outside myself and focus on others.

Today I choose to trust that the God who created the universe is bigger and more capable than I am.

Today I choose to love and treasure people still around me because they deserve attention and I still have much to give.

Today I choose to wait and hope because I believe there is a purpose in my life. I will embrace the promise of scripture. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prospers you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

While you would not have chosen to face the losses you have endured in your life, recognize that those events have shaped you. They have made you who you are today. While life may not be how you pictured it years ago, it is what you have now. There is no turning back the clock. Do-overs are not available. When I realized all this, I decided that I would not waste the death of my husband. I wanted to learn and grow from the experience. While it was not something I chose for my life, it happened. So I had a choice to make. You do too.

As you begin a new day, make the choice. This can be a better day if you will set your heart and mind on the hope and promises available to God’s children.

Until next time –

Karen

Choose to give hope to someone in your life today. Share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. 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.

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.

Cans and Cannots

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Walking a grief journey has its ups and downs. The lows tend to be deep and many, while the high points seem few and far between. While talking to my sister-in-law today, I realized that the attitude with which we approach our daily challenges either make us or break us. We have the choice to say, “I can do this!” What do you choose when confronted with the cans and cannots in your days?

The voice we hear the most throughout each day is our own. Therefore, we need to be careful with what we are saying and how we are saying it. When faced with hardship it is easy to admit defeat and give up before we even begin. Experiencing loss is not easy. It can be full of long-lasting pain. So how do we deal with it? Is there any point in trying? Will we arrive at a place in the future where we feel better?

Dealing with death and loss is an individual journey. No one can tell you exactly what to do to feel better. Yet, there are things you can do to ensure you continue to move forward in your grief and avoid being stuck while repeating those less than good choices over and over again.

You can realize that you are not alone. Even if you feel you have no other human to talk to, you can speak to God who loves you and cares about you. If you happen to hold anger against God, go ahead and voice that to Him too. He is big and can take the criticism. Work through those feelings. Be open to talking with a church pastor or close friend who can help you see things clearly and give you good advice regarding those harsh feelings.

Another helpful exercise you can do is to journal. Write out your feelings, fears, and questions. Putting conversations on paper that you miss having with your loved one can give you an avenue of expressing yourself. Write a letter to the one who has died. What do you want to say? Placing those words on paper allows you a voice on a dark and often too-quiet journey.

Accepting invitations to get out of the house and keep busy can remove you from the isolating life that grief can impose. You can dictate how you use your time, where you go, and what you do. While it may seem you have no control over what has happened, you can make certain choices that will bolster your confidence and improve your outlook on life.

Realizing and being prepared for the occasional moments when cannots enter the picture will help you push through and get to the other side of grief. As you move forward, you will encounter more and more cans along the way.

I wish you courage and fortitude as you maneuver through your cans and cannots on your journey of grief.

Until next time –

Karen