Happily Ever After

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When you walk with grief you know sadness. You have experienced a heavy heart and are familiar with sorrow. The pain is more than just emotions though. It can manifest itself in physical aches and pains. Headaches, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness can all be signs of a happily ever after gone awry. You are not alone in this. Jesus Christ knew sorrow and pain. He knows how you feel in your sadness and can identify with your grief today. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3 (ESV) His time on earth assures that you can have hope in all you are experiencing today.

It is easy in the midst of your grief journey to stop and wonder about the future. What lies ahead and how will you maneuver the unknown? What about the happily ever after you had planned on and dreamed of? Will that come to fruition in the midst of what life looks like today?

This summer our youngest son got married. It was a beautiful, fairy-tale-like wedding. The bride was lovely and glowing. The groom stood with tears in his eyes seeing his bride walk down the aisle of the church at the beginning of the ceremony. Their happily ever after as man and wife was finally beginning. May their future be blessed and full of love, peace, and blessings beyond their wildest dreams.

What happens though, when this dream fails to come true? How do you deal with the loss of the loved one you planned on being with forever? No one wants to think that a shortened journey together will happen. Yet, on occasion it does. What do you do when your happily ever after ends early?

Change your perspective. Realize that there really is no such thing as a happily ever after on earth because life is not forever here. This is not your final destination; not the final stop on your journey. When you know Jesus Christ personally, you need to remember that this is not your forever home. Someday you may find yourself mourning and personally realizing life’s brevity. Nothing points to how fragile life is like death.

However, when you have heaven to look forward to, you realize that your happily ever after truly has not even begun! While life may at times be good now, it will be incredible later on and that life will never end. Find comfort in knowing that if life here is not so good right now, you have the hope and assurance for better things later. This life is full of ups and downs, joy and sorrows, life and death. But there will come a day when all that stops and only the best remains. Your fairy-tale ending is yet to come when you meet Jesus face to face.

Focus on that hope. Set your eyes on that goal. You are here for a reason. Hold fast to that and keep on living and moving toward what will one day truly be even better than a fairy-tale-like life. Your happily ever after will come!

Until next time –

Karen

*photo taken by Click & Pedal Photography – Denver, Colorado

Let me encourage you to 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.

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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.

 

Achievements

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It is the season for graduation parties. That time of year when students celebrate their achievements having finished requirements in order to proceed ahead, either in school or life.

Recently I attended two graduation parties. One celebrated the end of high school and looking forward to college. The other honored a young lady who had finished college and has a bright future in the nursing field. Both studied hard, set their sights on a target, and reached their goals with joyful success.

At the time that as these young ladies were preparing and enjoying their parties and celebrations, another friend was reaching a different kind of achievement. After living a full life and doing his best to honor his family and his God, he stepped into Heaven, passing from life on earth after a long illness. While this may not be the type of achievement any of us desires, it is one that each of us will one day have to face. Death is inevitable.

As you watch your loved ones leave this earth, you are left learning how to deal with a life that has taken a new direction. Treading along on your grief journey will require you to determine new goals or targets on which to aim.

One important goal is to take care of yourself. Do your best to ask for and accept the help that others offer. One aspect of loss that I did not understand at first was that it actually helps others to help you. People do not always know how to express their sorrow and concern for you in words. That makes their gifts of time and deeds even more meaningful – to you and to them.

One other goal you might seek is to be patient. Give yourself permission to go slowly. Take time to treasure your memories if you can. Stop to feel, admit, and embrace your emotions. It is okay to be sad; everyone expects that. However, it is also okay to be confused, forgetful, upset, angry, and weary. Your emotions are real and denying them will not make them go away faster. In fact, admitting they exist and dealing with them will help propel you forward on your grief journey.

Achievements are reason to celebrate. We all experience them to different degrees. As you learn to walk through loss, rejoice in the baby steps and small achievements you acquire. It is not an easy road so be encouraged with any forward progress you make.

Until next time –

Karen

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.

Tightrope Walker

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As I watched the news this morning, I listened to the coverage of the recent tightrope walker in Chicago. Unable to see it first hand on television, I looked forward to hearing the interview. Being a person who hates heights, picturing myself in his position terrified me. His view from high above the streets was something I never hoped to experience. Yet, I was intrigued to see what attracted him to such a sport.

A reporter asked him if he had been nervous as he moved on the wire, free from tethers and safety nets. His reply was that there was no room for nerves or fear. They would only distract him from his objective – to walk the length of that wire safely, from one end to the other.

The wind during his walk seemed to be less than ideal for his circumstances. They played part of the commentary he gave while walking. At one point, it showed he had planned to stop to take a “selfie” photo. However, due to the wind and movement of the wire beneath his feet, he opted to keep going. It seemed the risk was not worth his planned picture. I smiled when he mentioned this since I saw the whole ordeal as a huge risk.

He made one final comment, informing the audience that he was from several generations of tightrope walkers. He seemed to be conveying the importance of continuing that tradition. He thought of that vocation as a gift that was enjoyable.

There are similarities and lessons we can learn from this man as we walk through our grief. In order to make it to the other side of our sadness and missing our loved ones, it is important that we never lose sight of the goal. Keeping our focus on the objective of slowly but surely feeling better and healing over the next weeks, months and years can be motivation to move us forward.

We do not want to feel lost and alone forever. Having the impression of falling and losing control is miserable. Remember that scripture tells us we can do anything we are called to do with the help of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:13) Fear will only slow us down. Make the choice not to give in to it.

While we move through our days, we may have one plan in mind only to find it necessary to change in order to continue our journey. Just like our Chicago walker chose not to risk the “selfie” photo to assure he remained safe, we too may need to re-evaluate to balance things in our lives. Not every idea we have is a good one or in our best interest. Be wise enough to know when to alter and adjust to the events life may blow your way.

Our Chicago walker came from a long line of tightrope walkers. He had learned the skill from a very early age, with people investing in him and teaching him along the way. I realize that I am blessed to have grown up with people telling me how much I am valued and loved. My hope is that you hear this too. The importance of having people in your corner offering wisdom and encouragement is enormous. No one should have to walk the journey of grief alone. If you are at a point when you feel isolated and by yourself, reach out for help. Contact a church, a friend, or the Grief Share organization.

If you feel yourself teetering a little today, take a moment, and focus your eyes on your goal. Be open to asking for and receiving help, so you can continue forward.

Until next time –

Karen