I never used to

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Before I experienced death and grief in my family, I never used to dread coming home from work and the long, quiet hours that accompanied the evening. I recall phone calls on the drive home talking about possibilities for dinner and plans for spending the night together. At times that involved household chores. Other days held the promise of a special movie, concert, or just sweet conversation together.

I never used to struggle with figuring out what to eat and how to fill my body with the proteins and nutrients needed to stay healthy when I have no desire to cook. Having an appetite has become a thing of the past. Caring about eating the right foods at acceptable times of the day has become a puzzle that oftentimes seems to be missing a piece.

Lying awake for hours is a nightly ritual. Dreading the routine of bedtime even when the body is fatigued makes no sense, but is a common battle these days. Restful sleep is elusive, causing mornings to be filled with exhaustion and a lack of energy. I never used to toss and turn in bed. I have heard it said, “Just close your eyes.” However, that only opens the door for the memories of times gone by, accentuating the reality of what is missing today.

While there is plenty to be done in the home to fill up hours, finding the motivation to accomplish these tasks is difficult. Doing the work of two people in keeping a house in shape demands organization and work. I never used to lack the desire to get busy and finish the to-do-lists. But now when I see those lists, I feel overwhelmed and experience despair. How will I ever get it all done? Why even try? It really does not matter anyway, does it?

I never used to cry so much. Even though the tears fall less often than when grief first struck our family, the intensity of the sobs has not lessened when they do break through the stoic front I have learned to put forth for the public. The force with which the tears flow at times is still paralyzing. The only comfort is that these episodes occur less often as when the journey first began.

There is one ‘I never used to’ that must be added to this list. Perhaps it is the most important one of all. For without knowing grief and loss personally, I am not sure if a person can honestly know this quality. It is the attribute of I never used to have such a close, minute-by-minute walk with Jesus. While I have known my Savior personally since the age of nine, the relationship I have with Him has been shaped and sharpened by the tragedy and sadness that invaded my family five years ago.

I never used to spend so much time with Him in prayer and Bible study. I never used to be so totally dependent upon Him for my every need. I never used to see His absolute care and provision for my life. I never used to be so bold as to speak out to other hurting people, telling them how they too, can receive help and comfort in their own grief journeys.

As you face your own list of ‘I never used to’, may you discover a new closeness to the only One who can truly make a difference in what your life is now. There is hope. There is healing. There are possibilities that will astound you as your new life – your new normal – takes shape. Be encouraged when you realize how greatly your life has changed. While it is difficult and not what you might have chosen, it can still be a good, productive, and blessed life.

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.

A Little Messy

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A couple of weeks ago at work, it was discovered that someone had failed to push the coffee pot all the way back on the hot plate while brewing a fresh pot. As a result, the coffee flowed from the top spout and down the outside of the pot, instead of inside as intended. By the time the mistake was caught, hot coffee had made its way all along the counter, under the microwave, even pouring into the cabinet drawers on the other side of the counter space. The kitchen was certainly a little messy.

Journeying through life is a little like that coffee station. When we are not positioned correctly, things can get a little messy. What is a correct posture of grief? While each journey is unique and will look differently for everyone, there are some common points to consider.

One posture of grief that you should be prepared for is change. Upon the death of a loved one, life is bound to look differently. The hole left by the absence of a person is real and gaping. Whether your loss is sudden or you have seen its approach for a while now, it changes your life and you face the challenge of learning to discover and live a new “normal” life. Their loss tends to make your life a little messy while taking you on a different, undesired path.

Another helpful posture is to appreciate that we ache much because we love much. Even though it hurts to say good-bye, even if for a little while, your life has been shaped by the relationship you had with your loved one. Trust that their impact on your life served a purpose. Be willing to step into the mess of the pain. Dealing with the sting of loss now will aid you in advancing in your grief journey.

Being willing to move forward leads to a final point. Your grief is a passage, not a place to stay. It is vital that you not stop the flow of grief as you process and maneuver the messiness of your difficult path. As you move onward, you will see progress. Be assured and encouraged that you still have a very real purpose in life. You may not understand what that is at the moment. At those times of doubt, it must be enough to trust and believe that there is indeed a purpose and continue to seek it.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (ESV) Even when things get a little messy, embrace your journey. There are times we need a little mess to appreciate the beauty on the other side.

Until next time –

Karen

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order at link below:

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Author/Default.aspx?BookworksSId=SKU-000980156

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.