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!

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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.

“It scares me”

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Since Sunday was the morning after Independence Day, it seemed natural that conversations would include discussions on local firework shows that people saw. As I greeted families at church, I would ask how their holiday was and would get tales of the sights and sounds they had enjoyed. However, one little 4-year old was less than excited as we discussed the past evening. While she had liked the colors, she was very hesitant to talk about it. When I bent down so we were face to face, her big brown eyes were wide as she leaned into me, hiding her face and said, “It scared me.”

I immediately reassured her that the loud noises often scare and startle people and there is nothing wrong with that. Her tender little ears and gentle spirit just did not appreciate all that noise. As I gave her a hug before she ran off to play, I thought how her honest assessment of the evening’s situation was much like life’s journey. “It scares me” is often how I feel when I think of facing the next 35 to 40 years on my own.

Will you continue to live where you do presently? Does your career stay the same or will God shape and change that too? Are the nights destined to always look the same? How will you manage to make ends meet now? What does God intend for you one year, five years, ten years in the future?

The grief journey can cause you to stop and evaluate often. Even if you, yourself, are not experiencing the loss of a loved one, it is most likely you know of someone who is. Watching that person deal with death and all that is involved can give cause to reflecting upon how you would handle such a situation. However, until you are truly in the midst of deep grief yourself, your imagining things will be is just that – imagined and not for real.

For those of you walking your own journey of loss and pain, saying the words, “It scares me” at times takes courage. For one thing, you are admitting you do not have all the answers. Pointing to and admitting your weakness is not an easy thing. It takes bravery to be so bluntly honest. However, how you proceed after admitting your fear is the real test of courage.

My little friend who admitted that the fireworks frightened her is hardly able to handle her fears alone. She has loving parents who care deeply for her, necessarily reassuring her when she is scared.

Those of you who are faced with walking through grief are not equipped to deal with your loss and fears alone either. As you say, “it scares me” you have a Heavenly Father who is waiting for you to turn to Him. He places caring people in your path who can encourage and help you as you honestly evaluate your future. Reading His Word, the Bible, guides you as well, as you find peace and direction in its words.

There is no weakness is admitting your needs. Unless you are willing to surrender and accept the help offered, you may spend more time than necessary frightened, feeling lost and alone, and questioning the next move forward in your grief journey. May you find hope and strength for the days ahead as you voice with honesty admitting that at times, “it scares me” to God above and to those around you.

Until next time –

Karen

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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.

A Renovating Life

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Lately, I have been spending a little time watching HGTV shows such as Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict. I find it inspiring to see how these experts take a mess and make it better. There is hope is seeing the possibilities of turning bleakness and disaster into actual beauty. These people show others how to have a renovating life – turning old and ugly into something new and desired.

Living with grief can certainly fill your world with gloom. Days seem dreary and nighttime threatens to suffocate with its darkness. Just as those Do-It-Yourself stars teach how to improve your home, you can be guided to see hope and potential in your now, changed life.

Turning something broken into an item with purpose is a gift. Our DIY experts certainly have the ability to do amazing things with ruined homes, torn-up yards, and seemingly hopeless real estate. Having the ability to move forward in your grief is also a gift. It takes practice and persistence to see progress in your journey. Hard work is required in order to one day find yourself on the other side of your difficult, long journey of mourning and sadness.

There is a verse in the Bible that addresses turning a life of hardship and despair into one of joy and happiness. “…provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair….” (Isaiah 61:3 NIV)

God wants to provide a way to give us a renovating life. Notice I did not write renovated life. I chose renovating because making your way through the difficulties that everyone encounters at one time or another is an ongoing process. While there is sadness in this world, we can persist to hunt for gladness. We can experience joy; trading in the sorrows and mourning that accompany death and loss.

As you work on your renovating life, realize you may need to stop and start over a few times. Perhaps what you thought would be helpful and work is not doing the job. Be willing to try another route. Pray and seek new direction. Remember that even the DIY experts mess up occasionally and are forced to tear something out and try again. A renovating life is full of possibilities. Just as the home projects cause you to marvel at the final pictures, you can also find wonderment and hope in the life that is awaiting you.

Here is to elbow grease, flexing a few muscles, and exposing your needs and desires as you work on your journey ahead.

Until next time –
Karen

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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.