Contentment – how do you achieve it?

We’re entering the holiday season, preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tradition says this is a time to gather with family and friends. You are to reflect upon all that you have experienced through the year and are expected to show contentment with your life.

But what happens when your life is no longer easy; no longer the same as it used to be due to the loss of a loved one? How do you manage the next two weeks of celebrations, memories, and heartache? How do you find contentment in spite of everything that is new and different?

Contentment. Synonyms are serenity, satisfaction, gladness, happiness, gratification, and ease. While it may seem overwhelming to feel these emotions in the midst of your grief, let’s try it. You might easily be able to give thanks for your home, your food, your job, and your health. However, when it comes to being thankful for the people in your life, it may be more difficult to express contentment. Perhaps you are celebrating this holiday without your loved one for the first time. Or maybe this has been your life for the last few years and you are weary trying to find contentment with your situation.

Figuring out how to face the holidays while missing those who are gone can be difficult. It can be hard to find something good to focus on in the midst of your grief that is still fresh and deep. To complicate matters, various family members may tend to handle their grief and loss differently, leading to misunderstandings and hard feelings. Instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, do your best to focus on what you do have. Finding contentment can occur when you are able to do this.

When I first had to deal with my loss, I was numb and only made the effort to move into the holiday season with a smile on my face because of my kids. It was plastered there as I tried to fake it. The first few years after my loss, I was unable to stay in my home and celebrate the holiday due to painful memories. We traveled and went elsewhere for the day itself. But as I continued to look for things for which I could be thankful, I began to realize there really were reasons for contentment. I did have my kids. I had a roof over my head. I had a job. I had people who loved me and cared about me. I decided to handle the situation by making a list of my blessings.

What do you need to do to find contentment this Thanksgiving? Do you need to try a new location away from painful memories? Are there friends you can invite to spend the day with you in order to begin making new traditions and new memories? Perhaps you decide to take a trip somewhere instead of opening up your home. Or maybe you can find a restaurant that offers a meal for so you don’t have the stress of preparing turkey and all the fixin’s yourself this year.

Whatever you decide to do, look for the things that are in your life and contemplate them with contentment. Making specific plans for the holiday can help the day go smoother and be less painful. Be brave, be creative, be gracious, and be willing as you walk your grief journey into this holiday season.

Until next time –

Karen

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.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Pretending

When my friend and I took this picture 6 years ago, we were pretending we were the Blues Brothers for Halloween. Yes, these were costumes for the holiday celebrated on October 31. That’s what costumes are for; to enable someone to pretend they are something or someone else. So as we passed out over a thousand pieces of candy that year on her block in Wichita, Kansas, we were pretending we were people other than ourselves.

Who might you be pretending to be as you travel along your grief journey? Are you able to be yourself as you walk through your loss and pain? Do you put on a brave face even when you feel like cowering and crying? Do you awaken in the morning to find yourself pretending to be okay so that you can get on with your day? Is it too hard to explain how you feel so you pretend life is just “fine?”

Walking through grief is definitely a challenge. Your life is changed by the death of your loved one. The way you handled a special day a year ago may be different now with the loss of that loved one. Trying to figure out how to maneuver each day is a real thing. Pretending your life is the same as it has always been will not aid you in moving forward in your grief, but will actually hold you back, keeping you bound by your pain.

It has been said that in order to begin to heal and to feel better about life, you must face your loss. Easier said than done! Pretending you are okay is often simpler than facing the pain of your grief. However, pretending will only prolong your journey. Instead of hiding behind a mask, embrace your loss, admit your pain to yourself and those around you, and have the courage to step into that ache that is so present in your heart and life. By doing so, you will find that life will eventually be better and you will feel more capable of facing the differences your days now hold.

There is a place for pretending – like dressing up for Halloween. But honesty will be best as you embrace your loss and face your grief. Be yourself so others can truly know who you are, how you are doing, and how they might come alongside you day by day.

Until next time –

Karen

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.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

No Control

I recently had a dental procedure that required me to be put under for the extraction of a tooth and to help endure the pain of a bone graft as well. While lying back in the chair, I recall thinking, “I need to remember this feeling for my blog.” What feeling? The feeling of no control. As I lay there, a blood pressure cuff on one arm and the other pricked with a needle for the drugs that had already begun to flow making me quite woozy, I began to cry. When the nurse asked if I was all right, I replied, “No. I hate this feeling!” Perhaps you’ve experienced this feeling too. I’m talking about that terrible, gut wrenching realization that you have absolutely no control over what is going to happen, no matter what you try.

Having no control while sitting in the oral surgeon’s chair is no fun. But it’s a cakewalk compared to what people may experience while living with grief. The pain of having no control when facing a great loss in the death of a loved one is beyond comparison. So how does one survive such a feeling – such a loss?

Perhaps it might be helpful to know that while you may have no control over your circumstances, someone else does. When I lay there blacking out and feeling helpless with no control last week, I did trust the surgeon to do his job well. In fact, I had signed papers to that effect, placing my signature on all those pages meant to protect the doctor, the office, and assure me they had things under control.

So who has control in the case of your grief? While your friends and family are there and willing to help, they certainly cannot control all your circumstances and instantly make things better. You find yourself helpless to bring back your loved one and return to days gone by. So what can you do to feel better and manage the sadness of the days you now face? Turn to the One who controls everything. God is the creator of all things, thus you can trust Him with control of your days.

You may ask, “If God is in control, why did my loved one have to die?” Good question. It’s one that has crossed my mind in the past as well. However, I have no answer for you and there are some things we just may never know this side of heaven. Even so, God is more than able to comfort you, guide you, and sustain you in your sadness. The world in which we live is a broken one. There is pain, there is anger, there is danger, there is loss, and there are tears.

This is not the way things began. God created a perfect world. But because man chose to disobey God, sin entered the world and thus our downward spiral until Jesus Christ returns for His loved ones. Until then, we really have no choice but to acknowledge that we have no control. Instead, we can choose to trust that God still has our best interest in mind. I am not sure that when my loss was fresh I would have expressed my situation that way. However, looking back over the last 7 years, I can say that I trust what God is doing. I would rather Him have control of my life because I know that I truly have no clue what lies ahead and He does.

So having no control is okay by me; at least when it comes to my day-to-day life, for I trust that God will direct my steps. If you find yourself having no control over your emotions, or your circumstances, do not panic.  Instead try trusting in the God who cares and who is more than able to direct your journey and carry you through your hard days.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Until next time –

Karen

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.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Read the Road Signs

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I recently attended an event where the car was parked in an unfamiliar area away from the action. While this normally would not be a problem, this particular evening one very important detail was skipped. I did not read the road signs. The road signs went unnoticed so that upon returning for the car, it couldn’t be found for quite a while. When the vehicle was finally occupied and headed toward the safety of home, I thought through the actions of the evening that caused the dilemma and had several revelations.

Upon initially parking, I was preoccupied and failed to remember the road signs near the car. I allowed unnecessary thoughts and conversations to take place to the point of distraction. While I didn’t realize it at the time, the enemy was setting me up for what he hoped to be catastrophe later in the evening. Instead of noticing where the parking lot was located, I blindly walked, following the crowd, to the event.

Which leads me to my second revelation. When leaving the event to find the car, I found that blindly following the crowd was not to my advantage. Often times when moving through grief, we see how others walk and where they are going and make the assumption that we are all going to the same location. That could not be further from the truth. While many face loss and grief, your journey is yours and is not the same as the people you watch and are inclined to follow. While they may be able to give direction and advice at times, their path is not necessarily your path.

Another lesson learned from failing to read the road signs is that when you are truly lost and have no clue as to where you are, recall what is familiar and go from there. What is it that worked for you in the past? Where have you found safety and comfort previously? Is it possible to back-up just a bit so that you can begin to retrace your steps and find something you recognize as a landmark in order to gain your bearings again? If so, take action and move in that direction. Be proactive in order to once again find your way.

The final revelation I will relate to you today is that lashing out at others will not help your situation. While you may be frustrated and perhaps even a bit frightened, try to remain kind and patient with yourself and with those around you. Getting upset will not help you find your way any faster. If you have failed to read the road signs, choose to problem solve and figure things out instead of allowing the enemy and the situation to get the better of you. Breathe a quiet prayer and ask for guidance and direction. You will be able to analyze and think clearer when you remain composed.

Just as the car was eventually located and my journey home begun because of persistence, you too can eventually find your way along your path. When you refuse to give in to defeat and hopelessness, you will gain confidence and realize that the lesson to read the road signs can apply to all of life. Pay attention to where you are and you will be able to look forward toward your destination with hope and excitement. Remembering to read the road signs will save you from frustration and wasted time and gain you confidence and joy as you walk your journey.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. 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.

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.

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!

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.

Special Memories

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Along the grief journey you reach a point where you are able to look back and reminisce without great pain. Allowing yourself to enjoy special memories is something you may doubt will ever happen. However, when you do the work of grief, facing your fears and being honest with yourself, you are rewarded with seeing a measure of joy in remembering.

Some of my special memories are the funny times. Recently I found an incredible gift. Sorting through papers I found an old email I had printed off years ago where Alan had spent time listing nearly one hundred special memories of our years together. It was almost as if he knew I would need that list someday. Reading through the page, I found myself chuckling again at some of the crazy, funny times that we had together.

I also noticed other times that held suspense and tension. Such as the time Alan courageously drove through the hollowed-out tree in the redwood forest. I was too nervous and claustrophobic to ride along so I had jumped out to watch him go through alone. Reading the list, I also recalled the time of sitting together with no electricity due to a blizzard raging outside while we kept our two fireplaces going to warm the house, hoping the pipes wouldn’t burst. Knowing that he “had my back” in those days still brings me comfort today. Realizing you are cared for in such a way impacts how you can move forward in life today.

Even if your loved one is not present in your life, you can picture how they used to cheer you on and speak up for you when others failed to do so. You are that same person even in their absence. You are someone who is valuable and worth defending; someone who can have the confidence to face the future because you remember what you have survived in your past.

Are you able to articulate what your special memories are to someone? Perhaps you find it easier to write them things down. Create a journal to carry forward with you. Maybe you choose to be more artistic and desire to develop a memory board or a photo display. Whatever it is that allows you to smile and think back fondly on past days with your loved one is worth spending time on. Facing your past allows you to move forward to your future.

Determine to begin remembering, listing, and enjoying your special memories for the sake of grieving your loved one in a healthy and productive way. You will be glad you did.

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.

Every Man for Himself

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Barry Manilow concert in downtown Denver. This was a special night I had planned for months with friends of mine. As time approached I decided that I would take the light rail from my suburban home into Denver. Having done this quite often, I had no reservations about the plan. However, little did I know that the night would end up with me fighting the mentality of every man for himself.

The problem occurred after the fantastic evening at the Denver Convention Center where my friends and I greatly enjoyed the music and show. Thank you Barry! The walk to and wait for the train was not beyond what was expected. However, clues of difficulties could be seen as we jammed on a short train and crept along at a snail’s pace instead of the usual zipping from station to station. Apparently there was maintenance being done on the track down south that was slowing our progress. The four of us successfully made it to the transfer station and after a rather long wait I was first to bid my three friends good-bye as I hopped onto the D Line train.

Little did I know that my innocent choice would lead to several hours of being stranded and experiencing the every man for himself attitude of this world. We only managed to crawl slowly one stop south when apparently we lost power. This resulted in the air halting, the lights growing rather dim and completely going out at times, and most disturbingly our train being stuck. We sat for a while and then the conductor came on saying the train was out of commission and we were basically on our own. They were going to look into getting busses to pick us up but no timeline could be established. We could sit on the train or unload and figure it out on our own. They finally managed to get a couple of emergency doors open and we all began to pour out into the night, badly needing fresh air.

This is when the learning really began. There was no plan and no cooperation between passengers to figure things out. Thinking back on it this morning, I can compare the experience to journeying through grief.

As you find yourself disconnection and alone in a sudden unfamiliar life-path, you often have to figure out how to move forward outside of your well-laid-out plan. One moment you have your destination in sight and you are excited for what the future holds. The next, you are standing feeling very alone in a crowd of strangers with no one understanding quite what to do or in what direction to walk.

While the conductor on the light rail failed to give clear instructions last night, that is actually a great picture of what it is like to live facing death and loneliness. No one can really determine your path except for you. Hopefully you will be able to connect through support groups to find others in similar situations to help you learn to navigate your grief journey. However, in order to do so, you often need to be brave enough to reach out and admit your need for help and direction.

Last night, I swallowed my pride and usual sense of independence and called me son, who gladly came and picked me up even though it was close to midnight by that time. He later commented that he did not want me standing in the dark or riding a bus trying to figure out how to get to my car by myself.

That is how the grief journey is, my friends. There are people around more than willing to help. However, they often do not realize that you need assistance nor do they know how to come to your aid. They fear doing the wrong thing, so they fail to do anything at all. Put your pride aside, be courageous, and ask for help. Admit first to yourself that you do not know how to get to your destination and then be open to someone who God places in your life. These people can take your hand and cheer you on as you figure out how to move forward on your journey of grief.

Keep moving! Refuse to cave in to the every man for himself mentality of today. Instead open up and receive the blessing of others and the relationships they can offer you as you formulate and figure out your next step in moving forward.

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.

You can certainly do this

 

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While walking through grief, your emotions will freely flow and be quite unpredictable at times. One moment you are walking down the sidewalk and the next you are standing in tears. Perhaps you saw someone who looked just like your loved one. Maybe a familiar fragrance wafted through the air. A special song plays through the open window of a passing car taking you back to special memories that tug at your heartstrings and render you useless for a moment. As you try to recover, glancing over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching you fall apart, remember that you can certainly do this.

Dealing with the deep and lasting pain of grief and loss is hard. Unless it is experienced first-hand though, understanding the grief journey is difficult. Instead of living the life you had planned and dreamed of, you find yourself forging a new path, not quite sure of your destination. There is no clear map as to where to go, how to get there, and what your end goal actually is. Even with all those doubts and uncertainties cascading into your life, be encouraged and find hope. You can certainly do this.

One of my favorite lessons to teach and recite from the Bible is found in Numbers 13. It is the story of Moses sending a team to spy out the Promised Land for the Israelites. While the mission wasn’t exactly a success and doesn’t end the way you would expect, there are valuable lessons to learn. Moses sent out twelve men to sneak in and test the waters of a new country that God had promised His people. They were to check out the lay of the land. What food grew there? Who lived there? What were they like? Were the cities fortified?

When the spies returned from their mission, they brought with them evidence of the incredible crops that awaited them there. However, ten of the men were fearful, saying the people who lived there were too powerful for them to overtake. Never mind that God had promised them this land and victory over the inhabitants. They dug in their heels and refused to budge.

However, two of the spies spoke up and said let’s do this! We can win! God is on our side! There is nothing to fear! Unfortunately, because of the people’s doubts, they had to wait before experiencing victory over that land and the people there. Great blessings were missed and years of headship were ahead because of their stubbornness and fear.

The grief journey can be like the unknown territory that scared most of these spies into inaction and disobedience. It looks scary. Walking forward and moving into the unknown seems impossible and too big to handle. Be encouraged – you can certainly do this.

Though people and situations may render you unable to move forward at times, know that those are temporary bumps in the road. God promises that He has not brought you here to leave you helpless and hopeless. He wants to strengthen you, help you, and even carry you when you are unable to propel yourself forward.

Choose to let Him do this. Set your mind on the task ahead and move forward at your own pace. When you grow weary, stop and rest. When energy returns, continue on the journey. You can certainly do this. Hold tight to the promise that is given to Joshua, one of the spies who spoke up and believed the victory was theirs. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

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.