Monday, December 27, 2010

What Time I Am Afraid

Fear. Terror.

Do these words describe your present state because of loss of a loved one? I know it did mine after our son, Joshua, died by suicide over six years ago. Do I still feel this way from time to time? Yes, but with God's mercy, I passed through and out of the terror over Joshua being gone.

Psalms 56:3 is fitting: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (KJV)

Hard to practice living that verse? Of course, especially when you've lost a child. I walked around full of terror that first year after Joshua left us. But I didn't stay in that miserable state. We may feel fear during our loved ones' birthdays and the holidays that we experience without them. And we may know terror when their death date rolls around, but all this can be less of a burden.

In time.

This year, my husband and I were not overly sadden at Christmas time. Few tears and sorrow to overwhelm us. Why? We reached out to a community where I spent much of my growing up years. My husband passed out Bibles and the Gospel of John tracks at the town's Christmas dinner feed. At one table, we shared about God's love to a suffering soul. We even got to eat with my dear friend who is still like a mother to me after all these years. We felt blessed by the day.

Something else I've recently come across is a book about writing through your healing process. You do NOT have to be a writer or a published author. You can take up writing at a point in your life when that has never been your intent. It can be words only for your eyes.

The book is entitled, "Writing as a Way of Healing" by Louise DeSalvo. I believe God allowed me to find this book as an aid to my healing process. With God as my foundation, I've been reading DeSalvo's words. I understand I am doing well to write about my feelings after all the major losses in my life.

DeSalvo suggests we write in a journal about an event that has caused us so much sorrow that we can not let it go. Something that keeps us stuck in neutral. Here's a quote from DeSalvo's book: "Engaging in writing, in creative work, then, permits us to pass from numbness to feeling, from denial to acceptance, from conflict and chaos to order and resolution, from rage and loss to profound growth, from grief to joy."

Do you think David understood this when he wrote Psalms? I see David's life poured out onto the pages of our Bible. So, why shouldn't we create our own words of healing? Or paintings of healing? Or woodwork, crafts, sculptures? Why not try it, friends?

Until next time . . . create.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mary's Song of Thanksgiving

Recently, a brother in Christ taught a lesson about Mary's song, Luke 1:46-55. I found myself drawn to the words once again, but I did not notice before the heading at the top of the Bible's passage, titled: Mary's song of thanksgiving.

Here's the first part of Mary's song, verses, 46-48.

". . . My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

Magnify in verse 46 means make great, meaning the Lord is highly important to Mary. She needs him.

What does this have to do with our suffering after the loss of a child? Or any death, for that matter.

I knew of a Christian woman who lost her son in a motorcycle accident. I reached out to her (Joshua had been gone for two years by this time), but her state of mind alarmed me. She admitted she went to church but she didn't want to be there. It left her empty, feeling hollow. Every single time for weeks and months she had these feelings. I prayed for her.

Yes, there were many days before Sunday worship that I cried right up until I walked out the door dabbing my face with a hankie. I didn't feel much like going. I worried I'd sob right through service. It is miserable to face a crowd when you're hurting so profoundly that all you want is to leave this earth. Every time, though, I grew stronger for attending services on the Lord's day.

We need a song in our heart, especially when we're walking through the valley of the shadow. It may be too simplistic by some standards, but it is OUR song.

A song could look like mine those first years after Joshua died by suicide. Hold me up Lord, I pray. Nothing can snatch me out of your hand, Lord. You are worthy, Lord, to give me your strength, for mine is wasted.

What is your song? The song that you sang in your heart after the loss of a loved one. If you didn't have one, you can still find your song. You can sing it now and praise Lord, God. He always blesses us when we reach out to him.

At this time of year, life weighs heavy on those who have lost dear ones. Keep a song in your heart, even if it is but; help me, Lord. I've found those three words the most powerful. Our Lord comes running.

Until next time . . . sing.

Author note: The photo above is of my daughter, Jami, as she sang her songs. (Photo taken nine months after her brother passed)