It’s been 5 years today. FIVE crazy years! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been that long. In other ways, it seems like an eternity. I still think of her daily because my heart loved her so much.
Five years ago today, February 21, 2013, my mom made the tragic choice to end her own life.
Life changed immediately for me. I was suddenly thrust into a horrible situation that began to unravel me in ways I could never have imagined. All of a sudden, I found myself on the most insane roller coaster that has seemed never-ending.
Grief has to be one of the wildest journeys known to man. The ups-and-downs of the grief journey have taken me to the lowest valleys in my life yet also to the highest peaks in knowing God’s love and grace. I have been forced to “hang on for dear life” to the truths of Scripture or else be thrown off the coaster into the depths of despair and sorrow.
I still have a hard time believing it all happened. It seems crazy and bizarre that my mom would make this choice. It feels so uncomfortable and shameful. Never in a million years would I have dreamed this would be my story today.
But it IS my story. It is the story that God knew would be mine one day. It is the story that God sovereignly planned to draw my heart to His in unexplainable and unimaginable ways. My story that would shape my heart to become more like His. My story that is helping me make different choices today with my own children, my own mental health, and my personal need for true Biblical community. Continue reading This I Know
Since losing my mom, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to seek help from a professional Christian counselor.
God has used my counselor to speak truth into my life when I couldn’t feel or think truth for myself.
God has used my counselor to encourage my broken heart and offer hope for tomorrow when I felt there was none.
God has used my counselor to assure me that my feelings were normal and understandable in relation to my circumstances.
God has used my counselor to offer wisdom to me in seeking additional helps for healing.
In so many ways, God has used His people (my Christian counselors) to bring help and healing in my life. Continue reading It’s Ok to Ask for Help
“God wants us to lament. Complaint doesn’t see the goodness of the character of God. Lament is authentic about the feelings but knows the goodness and benevolence of God.” Ann Voskamp
Continue reading Helps for the Grieving Heart
In November of 2015, I had the privilege to speak at a ladies conference in NC. I have shared these sessions with a few friends in my church who encouraged me to post them on the blog. I pray that God will use these words to strengthen and encourage your own heart. God has certainly been faithful in my own life and continues to move my life from “empty to full.”
In these sessions, I quote and reference from many of the following authors. I highly recommend these books that God has used to bring healing and help to my own life through my journey of grief. Continue reading Conference Sessions Available on Vimeo- “From Empty to Full”
The blog has been a little quiet in recent months because it’s been a new growth season for me personally.
After speaking for a ladies conference in November 2015, I hit another wall of intense grief. I think as I had been studying and preparing for the conference, I was also reliving so much of my own pain and personal struggles from the death of my mom. I wasn’t prepared for the intense after-effect of such an emotional event of sharing God’s work in my life through my pain and loss. I began to “crash” after the conference as I entered the holiday season and the anniversary of Mom’s death in February. Continue reading Tomorrow
We were here. Again. For the second time.
Lauryn, with a terrified look on her face, climbed apprehensively into the dentist’s chair. She knew what was ahead. She had been through this before!
Having four teeth pulled was no joy-ride. It was rather horrific to a ten year old girl who struggles very much with fear of pain.
As I gently held both of her hands in mine, I winced in my own heart as she strangled my fingers with her death grip. I knew she was terrified! As her tears began to flow freely into the sides of her hair, my own tears welled up within my eyes. As she tried to resist the pain and endure the struggle to remain in that chair, I thought of how often I try to resist pain. Pain that I know in my mind will be worth it. But pain that my heart can barely seem to endure. Continue reading The Dentist & My Father’s Love
Exactly three years ago this weekend, the darkness was falling fast into my life. I was headed into a darkness that I had never experienced before or even realized existed. I showed up at the Georgia home of my parents, per my dad’s request to come help out with mom. Mom’s depression was beginning to reach a deep low. Dad was at a loss and needed reinforcement, rest, and encouragement. Mom needed love, care, and gentleness. We all needed God’s grace. Continue reading When Darkness Falls
(If you missed part one and two. . .)
I must tell you that I have had to fight to get from living in empty to living in His fullness. I’m still fighting daily to live in His fullness and truth.
After mom’s death, I had no idea of how intense the battles (and wars) would be that I would fight within my heart for His truth. Grief is such an ugly journey. . . full of many ups and downs.
John 10:10 has become a very special verse to me in the last few years. As I was deeply struggling in my grief, anger, and spiritual questioning, God led me to this verse. Jesus says, “I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” One author paraphrased the verse to read, “The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come to bring them life in its fullness.”
I seriously doubted the truth of this verse for months. My life felt anything but “abundant”. It seemed to me that the devil had won and I would never experience a full life again. Satan is the Ultimate Deceiver! He is downright ugly and plays cruelly! He wants to take me captive. .. and he wants to take you captive. And very often, he slyly pulls our hearts and minds away from the truth by using our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and experiences to pull the engines of our mind and heart rather than allowing Truth to direct our minds and hearts. Our experiences and emotions cannot be our guide. Every event in your life must be understood and interpreted by the Scriptures. For the God revealed in Scripture doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6) Continue reading Filled With All the Fullness of God- Part Three
I’m reminded of the story of Jacob in the OT. Recently I read this as it relates. . .
“A long time ago, a preacher named James H. McConkey asked a friend of his, a doctor, ‘What is the exact significance of God’s touching Jacob upon the sinew of his thigh?’”
“And the doctor told him, ‘The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the human body. A horse couldn’t even tear it apart.’”
These are the words I’ve never forgotten, what preacher McConkey said. “Ah, I see. The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing in us.” (One Thousand Gifts– Ann Voskamp)
God breaks us in order to give us the greatest treasure—the blessing of Himself! He desires that we be filled with all the fullness of Christ. Continue reading Filled with All the Fullness of God-Part Two
This past Sunday, my husband and I were privileged to attend a life class (small group) led by my brother-in-law Ryan. As we began studying the Word from I Peter 3, our hearts were directed to verse 8. I Peter 3:8 reads, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
In our discussion of this verse, we came to the word sympathy. Ryan asked the group to share a definition or application for sympathy.
Immediately, my mind thought of a sympathy card! I have given out many sympathy cards to others who are grieving. Unfortunately, I also know exactly what it feels like to receive one of those cards. After Mom’s death, my mailbox was flooded with sympathy cards. While I am extremely grateful for each expression of love and sympathy that showed itself in the form of a card, I have learned from experience that Biblical sympathy extends much deeper than just a card! Continue reading Sympathy Is More Than a Card