Thursday, November 15, 2012

Praise You in This Storm

As I watch the news these days and see the devastating photos of the destruction left by hurricane Sandy on the East coast, I can't help but remember this powerful song that has been an encouragement to me.  May God bless all who have lost their homes, belongings, and loved ones in this storm!  May He work His good will in every situation!  May many turn to God in their time of crisis!  God is with you, even when you don't feel it!  Choose to praise Him in whatever storm, friend, and He will be your help!  Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth!

                          "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Helping Children Grieve

Remembering Abigail ~  photo taken May 2012

It is a very hard thing to grieve...hard to sort out your own thoughts and feelings and let yourself cry, get angry, and pray...all in repeat mode!  But at least it's you grieving...and you know how you feel...there's no real mystery there!  

Harder still to talk to your children about death, especially the death of someone they were in close contact with that were dear to their hearts.  

My first miscarriage and Abigail's death happened before Eliana and Josiah were born, so they didn't live out those moments of grief.  The first time we told Eliana about Abigail and the first baby was when we went to Abigail's graveside on the anniversary of her death when Eliana was around 2...though I'm not sure how much she understood.  Since then, every year, there are more questions as we visit the graveside and now from Josiah as well.  

We explained to them what had happened with the babies and mostly, we  tried to give them an eternal perspective!  We always finish the conversation with the happy and awesome reality that they are in heaven with the Lord and we will one day meet them!  Of course, they are 5 and 3, so I'm not sure they really understand what death means.  Mostly, they understand that it's a separation or a goodbye-never-to-come-back-again kind of thing.  They get sad sometimes when Abigail's name comes up, especially Eliana since she's older, and they say how much they want to meet her and see her and go to heaven!   

With our current miscarriage, after we found out, my biggest hurdle was how to tell the kids!  They were excited about the baby in mommy's tummy...and now, the baby was no longer there!  We came home from the hospital and we immediately got bombarded with sweet concerns from Eliana about how my appointment went and how the baby was doing!  We had to tell them then...I couldn't keep it inside.  We approached the subject very simply and with very few details and just told them both that the baby is not in my tummy any is with Jesus in heaven!  Eliana asked how the baby could be in my tummy at one moment and now in heaven, and I told her that she couldn't grow any longer in my tummy and she died and her spirit went to be with Jesus!  There were tears and hugs and a few more questions, but overall, it was a sweet moment!  

I am no expert on grief or how to deal with it or help others deal with it.  All I have are my experiences to draw from with my little guys...and they are more easily satisfied with simple answers than older kids!  I read a great article last month by Focus on the Family that I thought I'd pass on to you at the link below!  They also have some resources they recommend below for how to talk to children of all ages about death and how to help them through the grieving process. 

I would say one of the most important things is to keep the conversations allow them to communicate their feelings...allow them to see you grieve...allow them to ask about your loved ones and the memories that were created...give lots of hugs and kisses...and point them toward eternity and the beautiful reality for believers that we will one day reunite with those we love that went before us!  



How to Help Your Child Grieve (read the overview and the next two articles dealing with grief and children)

Books recommended by Focus on the Family:

Someone I Love Died

Helping Children Grieve: When Someone They Love Dies

Monday, November 5, 2012

Real Food For the Battle

I have to say the one thing that has helped and encouraged me tremendously...helped me fight the war over peace that I spoke of in Fight For Peace...was receiving texts, emails, and messages of Scripture verses from sweet people.  Like manna from heaven, these words were nurturing my soul and giving me ammo against Satan's whispers!  The Bible says, Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:3

Beth Moore, whom I adore, gave a suggestion in one of her studies to write Scripture verses on index cards for every season of your life.  Whatever season you are in, find verses in the Bible that encourage you through that specific challenge and write them down and carry them with you everywhere.  This way, when you are tempted to be discouraged or bury your head under the sheets and not get out of bed, you will have this saving manna at your fingertips to read and meditate over!  I've taken her suggestion with other topics such as finances, insecurities, and death and I can attest to the fact that God's Word is powerful and it is my shield and sword in times of weakness! 

Below are some verses that encourage us through any trials.  I wrote them on cards and had them with me through the storm...they were like a lighthouse and beacon through the darkness I was feeling!  

Will you take up this suggestion with the following verses?  It is what you need for the battle...the Word of God!  

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place. Psalm 31:7,8

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

In my distress I called upon the Lord. And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
Psalm 18:6

Trust in Him at all times; pour your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the waters, which spread out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. Because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3

God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, I will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Psalm 46: 1-3

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by our brotherhood in the world. 1 Peter 4:8

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

He is the One who goes before you. He will be with You, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 31:8

We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well! My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 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 139:13-16

...Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portions, says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:21-25

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8

My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25



Thursday, November 1, 2012

You Never Let Go

Music has such a powerful effect on our emotions!  I know for me, music plays a HUGE role in my life.  It is healing to my soul, it helps me express my emotions, it lifts my mood, and it is a prayer line between me and the Lord!  Here's is a beautiful song based on Psalm 23:4 by Matt Redman!  Let these words be an encouragement to you today that God is with you and He will never let go! Until that day comes, when troubles will end, still choose to praise Him!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back, I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?

Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm

Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

I'll be posting songs that I love to my blog every week...hope they will encourage you as they do me!