Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Psalm — My Father God Loves Me in My Grief (An Acrostic Psalm)

                 My Psalm  
 My Father God Loves Me in My Grief . . .
An Acrostic Psalm


....   Mourning my baby girl, I come to You; 
       You’re my respite amidst Death’s noxious view.

        Faithful are You Father God to love me! 
        Always and forever come above me,                                               
       Tabernacling o’er me with Your comfort, 
        Healing and holding my broken-heart’s hurt
        Even as You hold me and hurt with me,
        Reminding me You’ll e'er stay here with me.
        Guiding me through my soul’s pain, You lead me                      
       Over hills of misunderstanding You,               
        Down and through ravines, doubts’ and fears’ purview.
          Lead me, O Gentle Shepherd, across plains 
          Of barren-desert-spirit’s sordid pains,                                 
          Void of living waters to replenish,           
          Ever hold me up until life’s finish. 
          Simply keep my tear-stricken eyes on You,

Moving them to see Your Heavenly view— 

Evermore my baby girl basks in You!

In her Father’s arms, she rests her tired soul, 
Near her Savior who died to make her whole.
My baby girl is no longer war-torn;                       
You gagged Vile One who’d coaxed her to suborn.
          Granting her shame, You drew her back to Grace. 
          Repenting from dark deeds, she sought Your face,
      Invoked Your help to save her from her ways, 
          Exhume her faith—  So now her arms upraise, 
          Forever thanks You, singing out Your praise!

4/28/09 -- My Psalm - My Father God Loves Me in My Grief  (An Acrostic Psalm) - Angie Bennett Prince

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bless the Beasts and the Children

"Life here's not all! ... There's the rub."

Bless the Beasts and the Children

“Play little tiger; play with your mother;

We haven’t much time to stay;

But I know you must miss your big brother,

So take your time now to play.

“Because it’s so safe to play in Beast Park,
You may take your time to roam;
The sky is cloudy; it will soon be dark—
When we get tired, we’ll go home.”

Mother said, “God bless my cub; she’s so young;
Yet she likes to be so bold;
She doesn’t know there’s danger in this world—
She’s the strongest of her fold.”

God smiled tenderly at mother and cub,
“Don’t you know I will take care
Of little cub, whether her paws might stub

Or troubles
the lion’s share
Plague her like ... that one behind that tall shrub?”

Mother jumped up, quivering in alarm,
Grabbing her cub in her grip,
“Why did You say You’d protect from all harm?
I didn’t ask for hardship!”

As the lion ran, God said with concern,
“She must have trials to grow;
Otherwise, she’s too weak for this sojourn—
So some dangers she must know!”

“Her brother was killed; why should I trust You?
You didn’t protect that cub!
We must go home now; I don’t like Your view—
can take care of my cub!”

“So that’s what scares you,” He tenderly said.
“You trusted me with Big Cub;
It must not have ‘worked’ then—Big Cub is dead.

"Life here's not all! ... There's the rub."

Mother moved close ... then walked away sadly,
She couldn’t risk cub’s life to end badly,
So she left the God of Life,
Walked down Doubting Path of Strife . . .

Bless the beasts and the children,
God bless doubting mommies and daddies too –
When dark storms taunt and threaten,
God, grant us trust to help us hope in You!

Painting by Eugene Delacrois, A Young Tiger Playing with its Mother, 1830
You Tube, The Carpenters, "Bless the Beasts and the Children"

Poem written in response to poetry cues beast, bless, bold, and to the painting of "A Young Tiger Playing with its Mother" by Eugene Delacrois, 1830 as noted on the blog, Simply Snickers: http://simplysnickers.blogspot.com/2009/04/poetry-prompt-through-sunday-april-26.html

Written 4/24/09 - Bless the Beasts and the Children - Angie Bennett Prince

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Catch and Release

Catch and Release

Standing in the little creek, he will cast
His line into the water, slinging past
The branches of the nearby trees, the patch
Of tallest trees, thus hoping not to catch
His line among the branches’ burly limbs,
And thus confuse neither balance nor whims,
Whims of fancy drawn to drown out the gloom:
Gloom that had descended as heart-hurts loom
Since his older brother had gone away
Somewhere far away where he’d have to stay:
“Who’ll throw my ball with me, now that he’s gone?”
The thought caught his mind as the hook upon
The branch above did catch, spinning his heart
Like his line spinning around the limb – part
Of his hook sticking as his heart got stuck
In places unwanted, grief’s mire and muck.
He pulled and pulled till the hook came unstuck,
At the same time God’s Word upon him struck:
“Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares
For you!”* He cast again, this time no snares,
Neither from branch nor his thoughts held him up.
But—what luck! Just as he pulled his line up,
He saw his caught-fish fly up in the air
Just as he glimpsed God holding him with care!
He knew at that moment he would get through—
It would not be easy, his heart still blue,
But his heart suddenly filled with God’s peace,
The hurts from his heart did suddenly cease—
When he thought of his brother in God’s care,
He could see him fishing in waters there . . .
He knew he was not stuck with death’s caprice . . .
For just as death did “catch,” God did release!

* I Peter 5:7

Painting by Thomas Hart Benton, Boy Fishing, 1930's

Poem written in response to poetry cues: cast, catch, confuse, and to Benton's painting of "Boy Fishing" as noted on the blog, Simply Snickers: http://simplysnickers.blogspot.com/2009/04/poetry-prompt-through-sunday-april-19.html

Written 4/18/09 - Catch and Release - Angie Bennett Prince

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Did My Faith Lack?

I was reading a passage from a book today when I got triggered and wrote the following poem. The passage that triggered me was from Wayne Jacobsen’s book, He Loves Me: Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection:

Trust: it is so easy to talk about but so hard to put into
practice. Nothing is more theologically certain than that God is
faithful and trustworthy. But learning how to live in that trust
through the twists and turns of our lives is the most difficult
challenge we face.
It took God almost Abraham’s entire life to teach Abraham
the joy of trusting him. But he did it. Finally when the patriarch
was asked to give up his only son and heir, he trusted God’s plan
and God’s nature enough to set about the task . . . .

What Did My Faith Lack?

. . . But God, when You asked Abraham to give
Up Isaac, and he did . . . he got him back!
His child was spared; he was able to live!
I’m taken aback; what did my faith lack?

I gave my child to You, and yet she died!
Abraham’s feat’s known as an act of “faith,”
And yet my heart to You truly complied;
All I have left of my child . . . is a wraith!

Forgive my impudence; I don’t understand!
Please come alongside, take me by the hand.
For my faith, I feel I got . . . Your backhand,
And now I live in Death’s barren wasteland.

You are my Father; You want honesty;
Please help Your child; by faith I cannot see.

“But child, don’t you see? You must lean on Me.
Cry to Me your tears; I will help you see!
I am your Daddy through Death’s Dark Valley …
Put your hand in Mine; I will help you see.

“You must “see” My kingdom’s not of this world;
Your baby lives! I hold your baby girl!
Your baby lies in My arms, safely curled,
At peace, where the Serpent cannot unfurl.

“Faith is being sure of what you hope for,
Being certain of what you do not see
You know My heart toward this child you adore;
By faith, you must keep your eyes upon Me.

“You know My heart! I don’t destroy; I save!
‘Evil One’ kills. – To your child, Life I gave!
For her soul’s safety, My Son, His life gave;
She trusted Him, so her sins I forgave;
I don’t kill; I resurrect from the grave!

“You must ever keep your eyes upon Me—
Peter had to keep his eyes off the waves;
By faith he had to keep his eyes on Me;
So you must see Me, and not all the graves . . .
Life does not end there when a child knows Me;
I overcome all the waves and the graves!

Just as by faith, you gave your child to Me,
So by faith, please know: Your child rests in Me!”


Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it,. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide.” And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by Myself,” declares the Lord, “that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through you offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me.”
Genesis 22:1-18 NIV

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalm 23 KJV

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is from another place.”
John 18:33 NIV

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV

(Jesus said,) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:10-11 NIV

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies;”
John 11:25 NIV

During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”
“Come,” He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:25-33 NIV

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 NIV

He tends His flock like a Shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart . . . .
Isaiah 40:11 NIV

Written 4/15/09 - What Did My Faith Lack? - Angie Bennett Prince

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Mourning Shop

The Mourning Shop

Is there a shop to bring your mournings to?
If it were true, I would color it blue.
I would put it in mid-town, in clear sight,
For dark mournings, I would color it bright.
I would add windows, open and airy
Put a bench outside where folks could tarry.
I would build a room up in the attic
A quiet room to soothe any panic,
For one to ponder, pray, or contemplate,
Free from turmoil where one could concentrate.
I would provide a desk where one could write,
Write out their troubles of sorrow, or fright;
I would hang paintings of comforting blue,
To soothe the spirit with comforting hue.
I would have vases of flowers so bright,
Cheering each wounded heart with sweet respite.
I’d bring together grief’s compatriots
From Land of Mourning, “Leave lonely closets,
Release your spirit from darkness covert,
Come into God’s light of love and comfort!”

Painting: “The Blue Shop” by William John Leech, 1917

Poem written in response to poetry cues: blue, bright, bring, and to Leech's painting of "The Blue Shop" as noted on the blog, Simply Snickers: http://simplysnickers.blogspot.com/2009/04/poetry-prompt-through-sunday-april-12.html

Written 4/14/09 - The Mourning Shop - Angie Bennett Prince

Friday, April 10, 2009

What Happened to My Baby Girl?!

What Happened to My Baby Girl?!

Who were you really?
Yes, it sounds silly—
I knew you so well;
Now I’m living hell.
How can I go on—
One God gave on loan
Is no longer here;
I can’t change the gear;
I can’t move forward;
I can’t go toward
Life—I live in death,
Dying each life’s breath,
Missing one I love
Though she’s gone above,
My heart’s gone to hell

Since the day you fell . . . .

Where were you headed
Restless, pathetic—
Why did you so cling
To the sick’ning thing
That drained life away,
Making color gray,
Making happy sad,
Making honest bad,
S-t-e-a-l-i-n-g you from me,
Killing my baby!
See how I am stuck
In the mire and muck?
So lost . . . grieving you,
And then wondering who . . .

Who you really were

I didn’t know . . . her
The one friends describe
As one who’d imbibe,
Treating people mean,
Lying through your teeth.
M-a-r-i-j-u-a-n-a leaf
Controlled ev’ry move,
All moves to behoove
Smoking that next joint . . .
But what was the point—
To escape your life . . .
Into darkness rife?
They say you looked “hard,”
Cuts me like a shard;
My baby was soft
With no hacking cough.
She smelled like a rose,
No stench to the nose,
No cigarette stench
Where noses would pinch
To refresh the air.
But you didn’t care;
You just wanted more . . . .
Our LOVE you’d ignore;
It got in your way
Of having your way:
Party, sleep, repeat:
Destruction replete.
Well, you got your wish,
And I got anguish.
So you were destroyed,
And I face the void,
Wond’ring what happened,
Living life, saddened . . .
Where’d my baby go . . .
That – I’ll never know!

So I’m left to die
Broken heart inside,
Witnessing your death
Before . . . your last breath!
What happened to you
. . . Before . . . death took you?
My sweet baby’s gone,
Stolen by a clone
That people describe
Without you inside . . . .

THAT must be the child
Who’s tender and mild,
God resurrected
When death infected
Who stole you, went wild.
So THAT’S where you are!
Perched upon a star,
Talking with Mommy—
No more a zombie!
You have your TRUE soul;
God has made you whole!
That’s why I feel blessed
And my heart caressed
When we two commune,
Our hearts back in tune!
My baby is here;
Her spirit is near . . . .
No more bound by chains,
Now your heart regains
The soul God gave you
When He made you new.
Now I can rejoice;
I hear your REAL voice!
Though my baby’s “gone,”
She’s no more a clone!
Though death’s a fact,
My baby is back!

Bless-ed be Your name;
You all pow’r reclaim.
Buried in the tomb
You’ve changed to a womb
That begets the child
Satan had beguiled.
Now she is restored
As our prayers implored!
It’s like Jesus said,
Before He was dead . . .
“Wheat must fall and die
To reap its real life!
So each man must die
To reap his true life!”

Baby, though you died,
In Him you abide!
Now freed from all sin,
True freedom you win.

You live though you died!

In peace, I'll abide;
God's love comes beside . . .

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17- 19

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth,
unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:23-25

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies . . . ."

Written 4/9/09 - What Happened to My Baby Girl?! - Angie Bennett Prince

Monday, April 6, 2009

Losing You Before I Lost You

Crystal Tears, originally uploaded by Co®tex™.
Losing You Before I Lost You …

Baby, did you know before you had t’ go…
I was losing you before I lost you?
I bottomed out today; I got so low,
My body crashed before my spirit knew
How badly I hurt, rashly missing you.

I had to watch you disappear before
My very eyes; Satan tangled with you,
Trying to destroy; it hurt me to th’ core.
Th’ day you met mar’juana is th’ day I’d rue.
Oh, how I hurt, drastically missing you!

You couldn’t hear my pleas, tuned out my cries.
The Enemy lured you with his delight;
He destroyed you before my very eyes.
You were so blind, you could not see the light.
And now, baby girl, I’m left missing you!

You abandoned the little girl I knew,
Foll’wing so hard after th’ drug- induced thrill.
A naïve teen, you barely had a clue;
I knew, for you, it’d be a poisonous pill.
Hurting, baby girl, I’m left missing you.

I can’t decide which is worse . . . losing you
Before . . . trying to stop the disaster,
But nothing we tried was getting through t’ you;
You wouldn’t stop, or . . . losing you after . . . .
Either way, we lose; we’re left missing you.

Losing you before—was terrifying—
We knew the implications of your choice
As you chose acts that were death-defying;
But you couldn’t hear . . . like we had no voice.
So we were left, helplessly missing you.

Losing you after—was life-shattering
You lost your life, and so we too were killed.
Our souls take a beating, our hearts take a battering;
You were killed, so our hearts, ripped-open, spilled.
And now we’re left, lifelessly missing you.

Th’ only hope we have—we’ll see you again;
Satan killed your body; God saved your soul.
God paved a way for you; His saving plan
Made you whole, so we will hold you again!
Till that day, we’re left, sadly missing you.

Written 4/5/2009 - Losing You Before I Lost You - Angie Bennett Prince

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Heavenly "Facebook" with My Child

. . . (My) soul . . . resumed talk with my loved one: I asked her questions, and she answered; she questioned me in return, and I answered . . . .

Love goes far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance . . . .

(N)othing (not even death) could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved . . . . I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by (the) knowledge (of her death) to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying.

Set me as a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.
--Viktor E. Frankl, while trying to cope in a concentration camp, not knowing whether his beloved wife was dead or alive.
Man's Search for Meaning
* Song of Solomon 8:6a
* * * * * * * * * *

Indeed, devastating grief is ultimately resolved this way. By experiencing the presence of the lost loved one inside of us, and sensing the way they are carried within our hearts, keeping us company, continuing to advise, inspire, and find unique value in us, we manage.

We still "have" them. We see their faces, hear their
words, smile at their foibles, hold conversations with them, laugh with them, scold them, and embrace them still. In an absolute and immutable way, they still exist.

Eventually the comfort of the image
takes over for the flesh-and-blood reality. We slowly trade anguish for sweet sorrow, draw nourishment from the inner companion, and transcend the loss, thanks to the gentle resourcefulness of the imaginal realm. This is the historical reason why imagery is a powerful tool that all of us know well. We leaned on it from our baby days (playing peekaboo with our mommies, we learn they are still there even though we temporarily cannot see them). It gets us through and allows us to tolerate separation and loss.
Imagery is the blankie all of us adults get to carry around--on the inside.
(Such) imagery works so well to heal the effects of (grief's) trauma.
Belleruth Naparstek,
Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The above quotes are part of my follow-up to my letter to Digger in his comment on my first post, dated February 2, 2009:

"Parents Losing a Teenager to Death - A Glimpse of Grief After Two and a Half Years"

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said... in response to Digger's comment . . .

"I also find I weep the hardest when I hear good gospel music, and it's like a cleansing deep in my soul." Digger

Dear Digger,

I agree! I don't know what it is about music (and particularly gospel music) that short-circuits the left brain and heads right for the right brain (and most likely, the soul), but it really does!

The book Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek reveals that the most current research in the field of psychology finds that "right-brain" activity (emotional/sensory functions of perception, sensation, emotion, movement) is the most important factor in healing trauma in a person! Staying too much in the "left-brain" (cognitive functions of thinking, analyzing, verbalizing and synthesizing) early on in one's attempts at healing can actually impede healing of trauma, (but can be very helpful in conjunction with right-brain activity after the right-brain activity has been established first).

Stay tuned, I will try to write about this phenomenon in a post on my blog soon as I think it is vital for us grievers to understand some of the most effective pathways to comfort and healing for our broken hearts!

Thank you for sharing what helps you express your grief, and the resulting "cleansing" of your soul that your weeping produces!

May God bless you and continue to comfort you in your grief,

April 1, 2009 11:59 AM

* * * * * * * * * *

From time to time, I find real treasures of books in my line of psychological counseling work; this book is one of those. It ushers in the latest research into the most effective counseling procedures to help the grieving person.

If you have a therapist, you might want to make sure they know of the late-breaking, revolutionary ways of approaching the traumatized in their healing work as the usual "talk-therapy" of the average therapist is
not the most therapeutic first-mode of treatment to utilize; not only is "talk-therapy" not indicated initially in therapy with a griever;
talk-therapy-only in the initial stages of therapy can actually be harmful to the traumatized griever. Attention to the right (emotive, creative) brain is critical for creating a base of safety to your emotionally-traumatized being before trying to process the left (analytical, verbal) brain to continue the healing process of integrating your severe loss and all its implications into who you are today.

May the One who someday will wipe away all the tears of His lambs, continue to comfort you in your grief,