This is not what I had planned for the first Wednesday post, but I thought it was appropriate after what happened last weekend.
When trials come that devastate, we can’t see the mercy, only the devastation. We can’t see God in it, but I promise you, He is there. His mercy is real, and no matter what we go through, eventually we will see His hand.
Kate Battistelli The God Dare, Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? pg 143
It may take time but you will see His hand, along with His goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life.
Take a plate of cookies to a widow along with the recipe.
I rarely bake anymore. However, if someone was kind enough to bring me a few cookies they baked along with the recipe it might inspire me to get out the cookie sheet. Plus it would warm my heart that during this busy time of year someone thought of me.
It might only be baking but it gets you trying something new and life after the loss of a spouse is filled with doing new things, so you might as well start somewhere.
Send a grieving person a Christmas card so they know you are thinking about them.
Christmas can be a lonely time for widows and other grieving people. The focus is on kids and their toys. There are lots of lonely, grieving people who feel invisible and getting a simple card in the snail mail will brighten their day.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Bah Humbug!
My first Christmas after Joe’s passing, I was in a locally owned grocery store and heard this song as I went down the chip aisle. Then as I am walking down the baking aisle, it came over the loud speaker again. Finally as I walked up the dish soap aisle and headed for the check out line, yet another dead singer was crooning it over the loudspeaker. Three times in the 30 – 45 minutes from the time I entered the store until I left. After barely making it home, I laid down on the couch and had a meltdown.
Let my heart be light? Nope! Troubles miles away? Nope!
So lower the music and let the grieving person and other guests can focus on and enjoy conversation.
Invite A Grieving Person To Your Holiday Party
But do not expect them to stay the whole time. There comes a point during the festivities where it is just too much merriment for the widow. The length of time they can handle the merriment will vary because each widow is unique. It is alright for the widow to leave early. Just appreciate the time and effort it took for her to step outside her comfort zone and attend.
Speak about their deceased loved one.
It is alright to speak about the deceased loved one. We want to know they are not forgotten. It comforts us to know that people remember him. Society wants widows and other grieving people to put there loved in the ground, walk away from the grave, and act like the deceased never even existed.
So think and speak fondly of the deceased.
Do Not Quote Any Bible Verse or Get Theological
This is simple. If you look in the mirror and see Billy Graham staring back at you, then go ahead and use Bible verses and theology to comfort someone. However, when you look in the mirror you will not see Billy or even Franklin Graham staring back at you -so zip it.
Do Not Say “If you need anything, let me know.”
By saying this you are placing the burden on the widow or other grieving person to wrack there brain about how you can help them. They have enough on their plate.
You have a house and know what tasks need done everyday and the tasks associated with the different seasons so just call a grieving person up and ask “Who is shoveling your driveway this winter?” or “Who is raking your leaves this fall?”
Go to GriefShare.org
The GriefShare program helped me immensely after Joe’s passing. It is Christ-centered, Biblically based program by Church Initiative. I looked forward to Monday nights. Those nights were more important to me than church on Sunday. Those Monday meetings became my rock, my foundation for the week because I was with other people who were grieving.
While we all lost different loved ones and the causes of their passing were different, we all knew the pain of grief and supported one another. The conversations we had after viewing a different video every week for 13 weeks left us uplifted and encouraged that grief was survivable and our joy would return.
This is not the entire list of advice for helping grieving people but it is a good starting point. Below are links to additional blog pages where you will find links to books, websites, articles, music and recipes.
May all this information help you this Christmas season whether someone you know is grieving or you yourself are grieving.
It is 2:43 a.m. this morning as I write this post. I woke up and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get out of bed, light a virtual fireplace, and do some work on this blog.
There is a new page on the menu – “Holiday Helps.” It is filled with various articles, websites, music and book recommendations to help you get through the holiday season. There is something on this page for everyone, whether you are grieving or just stressed out from all the chaos.
There is also a sub-page, “Joy Filled Recipes” that contains links to unhealthy but extremely delicious recipes.
I will add to the pages as I find more resources or recipes that you will enjoy.
I did not start Ann’s book until several years after it was released. I thought it was just another fluff piece of chick-flick type literature. However once I turned the first page, Ann’s words hit me hard. I realized this was definitely not going to be a fluff piece of work but was going to have a lot of weight and substance to it.
Ann makes me think, and think deeply which satisfies the introvert in me. Always looking inward to see how I can better myself. I’ve even had the pleasure of being on her book launch teams for The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into The Abundant Life and The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into A Deeply Meaningful Life.
I can’t think of a better way to get through the Christmas season than to do this Bible study – especially since I am in retail. I need all the help and encouragement I can get.
This is my gratitude journal – well one of them. I have a smaller one on the side table in the living room that has over 800 entries.
These 2 pages in my red journal were completed this morning. Entries were also highlighted and washi taped because that’s just what I do – make my journal colorful.
I have been working on this book a long time and will admit to not being as diligent as I should be in writing down moments for which to be thankful. The color of the pen I use varies throughout my journal.
You might be wondering what was #1,000 on my list well, it was a driver at work rescuing a lamb that was stuck on a fence.
The people he was delivering to were not home and the lamb had been there awhile. He unstuck him and the lamb immediately started eating some grass.
So rest assured, the Lamb of God is alive and well.
Quotes About Giving Thanks
The quote I have inside my journal.
Lest you think this being thankful and counting gifts is some New Age thing, it is not. I also have this reminder on my computer.
So are you asleep or are you truly woke to a thankful life filled with wonder and joy?
When I attended GriefShare there were two videos dedicated to counting down the top 20 lessons one learns while going through grief. God’s sovereignty is their number one lesson and it is that lesson combined with a few things going on in this wild, wacky and wonderful world that inspired this post.
Contrary to popular opinion, it does not take two to make a baby. It takes three – man, woman and God; a different type of Holy Trinity.
If God wants there to be a baby, then a couple will have a baby. Just think of how crowded the world would be if a man and a woman had a baby every time they made love. That does not happen because God does not want it to happen. He wants men and women to experience the pleasure of love making and not always have a baby.
When Joe and I married we decided to leave the decision about having children up to God. If He wanted us to have them then we would. However God knew our future, He knew the marriage would only last 14 3/4 years. So He decided we should not have children.
Instead, He blessed us with a golden fur child we named Rommie. We had some great times together as a family before Joe passed away. Rommie and I had some wonderful times together before she joined Joe in heaven 4 years ago. We were so thankful God brought her into our lives.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 New International Version (NIV)
He also knew you, the moment you would burst forth in this world and how your life was going to fit into the the grand plan He had set in place.
He knew your trials and tribulations, your highs and lows and your successes and failures. All this He knew long before you were born.
Not only did God know everything about you before creation,He LOVED and STILL LOVES you despite your shortcomings.
Since He knew us and the moment of our birth, it also means He knows the exact moment we will move to heaven. We can not do anything to lengthen our lives.
There is nothing I could have done to stop Joe from moving to heaven. His move was predestined – just as the date of my move was written in stone before God created earth and heaven.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15 New International Version (NIV)
Thy Will Be Done
So often we rage against God for thwarting our plans. We act as if we are in charge and God is our personal genie at our beck and call. He is to do as we say and not function according to His will.
But that is not the case.
There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer contains the line
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.(Matthew 6:10)
It is because God is in control. His will is perfect and better than ours – always has been and always will be. Even Jesus knew His Father was in charge.
Our birth and death are not the only things God alone controls. He also reigns supreme over the climate and the weather.
Weather is defined by m-w.com as: “the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness.”
I am writing this on a balmy October morn here in Northeast Ohio. Balmy is not a word we use to describe October weather. When this post publishes the state of the atmosphere will be fall-like and not balmy.
If I Ruled The World balmy weather would continue till January (need 6 weeks of 32 or below to keep the insect population under control).
But I do not control the weather. Temperatures will fall, as they normally do this time of year resulting in windows being closed and wearing long sleeve fleece tops instead of my silky sleeveless ones.
The falling temps will eventually result in scenic views such as:
If humans could change the weather us Northeast Ohioans would turn a steering wheel and send all the Lake Effect Snow to Michigan. The folks at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) would turn a steering wheel and drive all hurricanes out to sea.
But we can’t send our snow to Michigan and hurricanes can’t be driven out to sea by humans. Only God can steer snow and hurricanes. He is exceptional at controlling the weather because He created it.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Matthew 8:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV) Emphasis Mine
Climate is defined by m-w.com as: “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.”
Any climate change is a result of God, not man.
If God wants Ohio to be an arid zone, then He will change it. If he wants Texas to be covered in ice, then so be it. The climate is His and His alone to control.
Ever since God created the earth, it has gone through heating and cooling cycles. Cycles that last longer than our life span.
Nothing we do will stop Him from implementing His plan. He is weaving all our light and dark moments (both individually and collectively as humans) together and one day we will see His finished project.
The Only Climate We Can Change
We can only change the climate of our hearts. How? Pray, Love God, and Love your neighbor.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22: 37-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
Under New Management – Not New Ownership
This world was created by God and given to us to manage. Have we managed it well – sometimes yes and sometimes no.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
Do we pollute the air more than we should – yes. Do we litter more than we should – yes. But God already knew how we would manage the world.He already knew about our use of petroleum, coal and natural gas and knew we would raise cows for our dairy and meat needs.
He knew because He gave us the knowledge and talent to be creative and invent technology that would help us thrive and prosper generation after generation.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Psalm 119:90 New International Version (NIV) Emphasis mine.
Quit trying to put yourself on the same level with God. We answer to Him, He does not answer to us. He owes us no explanation for anything that happens including earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, and untimely deaths.
The Bottom Line
We will be fine despite littering, polluting, farting cows and other things. The climate will continue to go through cycles and we will live the exact number of years God predetermined before creation.
So work on changing the climate of your heart, taking care of the planet and all of God’s creatures great and small but remember