“He’s touching me!” “She’s breathing my air!” “Make her stop looking at me!” If you had siblings or are raising little ones, you have probably heard some version of these remarks. It seems natural for us to want to defend ourselves, act selfishly, and throw a little rant at times. We are wired to constantly evaluate how we are doing and how life is affecting us. Often times our evaluation tells us that we are being harmed or slighted in some way. While that may really be true at times, I want to encourage you to have the attitude that you are not a victim of life’s circumstances. Instead, God can use the events in your life to shape and teach you.
For months following Alan’s death, I felt I wore a big sign around my neck that pointed out all the wrong things about me. Not just that I was now a widow, but that I did not know how to pay the bills, I had no idea how to change a furnace filter, I had never mowed the lawn, and how in the world was I going to see that our youngest son finish college? When I look back now, I see I have conquered these fears, doubts, and inabilities and every one of these issues has been addressed and checked off as successful.
Beyond that, who would have thought I’d write a book? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Grief Letters would become a reality. But God did just that. He can bring good things out of tough times. The attitude of not a victim can open unimaginable doors.
Let me stop here to say that if you are indeed a victim of a crime and are being harmed – that is different and you should seek help immediately. I am speaking more of determining you are not a victim of your situation in dealing with loss and grief. I would never suggest you stay in a dangerous situation and I urge you to seek help today if you find yourself in one.
These past four years in walking my grief journey have taught me so much. First and foremost I have determined that you and I do not have to be a victim and feel overwhelmed with life. What do you do when you feel there are too many decisions to be made and you just cannot handle one more incident? Here are a couple of tips I have found helpful.
Positive self-talk is vital. What you tell yourself counts. Yours is the voice you hear the most and listen to day in and day out. Your thoughts are with you constantly so it is paramount that what you say is uplifting and loving. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with grace, gentleness, and honesty.
Have an arsenal at your disposal. This particular arsenal is filled with ammunition to stop the enemy’s lies of defeat. The best ammunition I have found is scripture. God’s Word is alive and real. It can give strength when nothing else helps. Spend time reading your bible and writing out note cards of certain verses that point to truth. You are not a victim. Instead you are an overcomer and can be victorious!
One verse I read this morning says just that. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, [the false teachings] because the one who is in you is great than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)
Put these verse cards on your refrigerator, paste them to your mirror, tuck them in your pocket or purse. Pull them out when you feel defeated and scared. Remind yourself often that Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33) so you have nothing to fear when you are in Him and He is in you. John 3:16 states the fact that you are precious to God and He has made the ultimate sacrifice to insure you will be with Him always, if you so choose.
Keep telling yourself that you are not a victim, especially on the harder days when the sadness closes in, the tears refuse to stop, and the enemy whispers lies in your ears. The only thing that can make you a victim of grief is when you give up and quit trying.
Until next time –
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.