Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Faith - When Assumptive Beliefs COLLIDE With Reality in Child-Loss...-God Will Come and Meet You Where You Are...

Friday's Faith

When Assumptive Beliefs


With Reality in Child-Loss...

God Will Come and Meet You

Where You Are...

When God "happens" to us, we are undone.

There is nothing more to say.

He is God -- omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent -- and we are not.

But He is also LOVE -- and when we feel that love, THAT makes ALL the difference!


After God met Job where he was and challenged all His faulty assumptions about God, He then chastises Job's friends for their despicable words that misrepresented Himself to Job. He declares to these friends that He is pleased with Job who had spoken rightly of Him. So God tells the "friends" that He will not punish them if His servant Job prays for them...

Job prayed for his friends. God forgave them. Then God blessed Job and surrounded him with his loved ones to comfort and console him (Job 42).

Job's so-called friends had unleashed on him all their faulty assumptive beliefs about God, accusing Job of being prideful and that he must be hiding some sin or he wouldn't be suffering so...

We know now that Job was not punished by God because of any sins he had committed.

It was quite the opposite!

It was because Job was such a righteous, God-fearing man that Satan wanted to test him, trusting that Job would reject God when all his blessings had been removed.

Satan (NOT God) taunted Job!

And it was because of Job's righteousness, NOT because of his sin that Satan wanted to taunt him!


When our own assumptive beliefs fly out of their nicely-ordered cage, what will we do? Will we bring our angst, our hurt, our questions, our concerns directly to God for His cage-cleaning?
Will we accept His assessment?
God comes to meet us where we are...exactly where we are.

You may not have Job's questions.

You may not have my questions.

Job's approach was, I'll take God to trial as if He were in a court of law, and I'll cross-examine Him. God allowed that, but He remained true to Himself and said, in essence,

"Now Job, let Me question you, cross-examine you, and put you on trial lest you think you can understand the Living, Infinite God with your limited, finite mind."


My questions were different from Job's...

As a part of a group of three sets of sisters in my college years, I vividly remember our group, "The Singing Sisters," singing in beautiful four-part harmony a haunting and heart-wrenching song whose words resonated with my teenage heart and spirit.

This song gave me a strong sense of the life of suffering that God asks us to be willing to undergo for His sake, in order to love He loved us.

The words to this song were so powerful to me that I wrote them in the back of my Bible almost forty years ago, and they are still in the back of my favorite Bible that I use to this day. Here are the heart-wrenching and soul-challenging words that I wrote into my Bible:

"So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,

To eyes made blind...because they will not see,

To spend though it be blood, to spend and spare not...

So send I taste of Calvary...

As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you."

So when I came before the Lord in my angst and sorrow a few weeks after the dust had settled that Merry Katherine really had been killed and had been buried... then I took some time, came before the Lord, and finally I cried my heartfelt cry out to the Lord,

"Lord?! I knew You called me to a life of potential suffering and death for Your sake. And I was willing to do that...."

Then with angst and grief spasms, I cried out,

"But Lord?! This was my CHILD!"

Thinking there would be an equally strong reaction from God, either one of His recognizing His mistake and its gross injustice, or one of dismay with me and reacting by arguing with me, I began to listen. (I think too, I had uttered all that I could utter in that last cry. There was no more to say.)

Instead of God's agreeing that He had made a mistake of gross injustice, or His taking me on with torrents of recoiling and chastising reproof, He conversely met me, joined me in my sorrow, sharing His broken heart with me:

"I know. I lost My Child too."

His simple words of kindness, of truth, and of complete sacrificial love broke my heart in two.

His simple words were my soul's undoing. Like Job, I too was "undone."


A similar song that broke my heart over and over long before I ever even THOUGHT about having any children of my own was the third verse of the song, "How Great Thou Art,"

"And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,

sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin..."

Throughout my life and still to this day (I am weeping even now), these words penetrate my soul and bring my heart to its knees and tears to my eyes.

So when my very tender loving Father God spoke these very sentiments so simply to me as He came to me, to meet me IN my pain, His sentiments of

"I know. I lost My Child too,"

He knew these words would resonate with my childlike heart so pierced with the suffering of His Own heart over the loss of His Own Child.

My heart was brought down to its knees, completely undone at such LOVE that His Father's heart had shown to make such an unspeakable sacrifice of His Own Son for us.

(I could not bear to lose my child, much less would I be able to send her into this world In Order To Die!

It was, and still is, inconceivable to me, the amount of pain that His Son's death must have caused our Father God, and yet He carried that pain in His heart that we might live, that I might live, that my own precious child might live...)

I was immediately undone with that truth that as horrendous as my pain was, God Himself SENT His Son to die, for me, and for my child. He KNEW the hell His own Child would have to go through, but SENT HIM HERE for that purpose to rescue us.

And because of that sacrifice, I had the comfort of knowing that even though my child had died, because of God's enduring the hell of losing His child, my child can now enjoy LIFE, and LIFE ETERNALLY, living with the LIVING GOD forever and EVER.

Wow! What a complete paradigm shift to my questions!

And what LOVE stopped me in my tracks!

Amazing Love! How Can it Be?!


As I said, your questions may not be Job's questions.

Your questions to God may not be my questions to Him.

You have your own questions. You have your own confusion. You have your own hurts. And God knows where you are. And God will meet you where you are.

But also remember, God brings Himself to the equation (for nothing fits together without His Person in the midst of it). He does not alter His character for us, but reaches out to us in our hurt to minister to us, but also to challenge our assumptions that have led us down a dead-end trail. He does this with His Truth. He does this with His Love. He does this with His Presence.

Please don't expect to get anything like this from your church or any institution.

God is ALIVE, God is DYNAMIC, God is SPIRIT and can meet you in your spirit.

An institution too often clings to cliches, or principles, or "answers,"

but God comes with His Love, His understanding of you, His knowledge of complete Truth.

With complete love, Jesus met the Woman at the Well with her questions. In truth, He challenged her that she had five husbands to which she agreed was true!

But He was not offensive. He spoke truth to meet her where she was but also TO LEAD HER WHERE SHE WASN'T, AND WHERE SHE COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON HER OWN WITHOUT HIM.

Sometimes our assumptive beliefs can lead us right over the cliff into disastrous territory.

May we, like Job, surrender our faulty notions, all our faulty assumptive beliefs, and trust God to be God, and trust that He is LOVE, that He will guide us into Truth, into all truth about Himself and about this fallen world in which we now live, but in which we will not live forever. For, because of His LOVE, we have been provided the way to live with Him, and with all of His other children, in Heaven forever.

picture: The Black Coats ~

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - 25 Major Psychological Reactions After Your Child's Traumatic Death ~Therese A. Rando, Complicated Mourning, Part Three

Thursday's Therapy

Complicated Mourning

~Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.

Part Three

25 Major Psychological Reactions

After Your Child's Traumatic Death

A reminder: TRAUMATIC BEREAVEMENT in Child-Loss is when grief + mourning over the death of your child is OVERPOWERED by the TRAUMATIC CIRCUMSTANCES of your child's death.

Complicated Mourning would be a condition considered pathological in dealing with most losses, but for THE most severe loss, that of Child-Loss, Complicated Mourning is not to be considered a pathological condition! In THE most severe loss to the human condition, that of CHILD-LOSS,

  • Complicated Mourning is the NORM of such grief,
  • Complicated Mourning is to be EXPECTED in such severe grief, and
  • Complicated Mourning is NOT TO BE CONSIDERED PATHOLOGICAL in the severe grief of CHILD-LOSS.

How then does Sudden and Traumatic Death Impact Your Grief?

  • It disables your ability to cope.
  • It impairs your functioning.
  • It compromises your ability to adapt.
  • It adds to your mourning, further distress.
  • It complicates your mourning.

What are Some of the Major Reactions we might Expect After the Traumatic Distress of our Child-Loss?

Over the coming weeks, we will walk through many of the myriad ways that Child-Loss grief and mourning may be impacting you. Since we are multi-dimensional people, grief and trauma will impact us multi-dimensionally! As you probably have observed by now, grief is not the one-dimensional creature we thought it was before we began going through child-loss. Unfortunately, those around you still think your grief should be one-dimensional and therefore fairly easily worked through. So when the expectations around you begin to feel "crazy-making" to you, perhaps you can pull out these lists to remind yourself why this grief is so complicated and therefore so long-term!

The dimensions we will cover are as follows (Five of these are covered by Dr. Rando's research, the sixth will be covered by that which Tommy and I have observed.):

  • Psychological
  • Cognitive/Mental
  • Behavioral
  • Social
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

Since each of these Dimensions of our Grief entails myriad symptoms, we will address one dimension of Child-Loss Grief on each upcoming week. Tonight, we will cover the Psychological Dimension of Child-Loss Grief due to our coping with both Trauma and Loss.

Major Reactions Psychologically After Your Child's Traumatic Death:

  1. Anxiety, apprehension, fear, anguish, and panic
  2. Sorrow, separation pain, yearning, pining, longing, and searching
  3. Avoidance, emotional numbing, and forgetting
  4. Dissociation
  5. Re-experiencing the trauma
  6. Feeling overwhelmed, flooded with emotions
  7. Helplessness, powerlessness, feeling out-of-control
  8. Frustration, intolerance, impatience
  9. Fear of going crazy
  10. Loneliness, abandonment, feeling detached or estranged from others, or from life in general
  11. Anger and hostility
  12. Ambivalence
  13. Relief
  14. Disorganization, depression, and despair
  15. Diminished self-concern
  16. Guilt, self-reproach, regret, and shame
  17. "Losing it"
  18. Deprivation, mutilation, feeling empty, violation
  19. Vulnerability, insecurity, inability to feel safe
  20. Inability to feel happy; loss of pleasure or enjoyment in formerly significant activities
  21. Restricted range of feelings, lack of interest or caring
  22. Distress when exposed to reminders of the loved one, the death events associated with the loved one, and or reactions to the loss of the loved one
  23. Holding on to the loved one
  24. Grief and grief spasms
  25. Searching for death-related information

~Rando, 2011, In Press

Picture: Dr. Therese A. Rando ~mine
Research: from Rando's new book now in-press, to be coming out in 2011

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday's Woe - When Death Cuts Like a Knife

Wednesday's Woe

When Death Cuts Like a Knife

Since God saved you baby, you might wonder,

"If you know I'm happy, why are you sad?"

As surely as lightning's followed by thunder,

losing you baby still hurts Mommy so bad...

Love invested in you doesn't just stop...

Who would think 125 pounds

missing from this earth would make our hearts drop

and unleash in us the child-seeking hounds?

Th' hounds are relentless, ready to attack

any clueless person who doesn't "get it"

Th' hounds won't settle down until you get back,

ever restless, no matter how much they're petted.

When God said, "Love Me with heart, mind, soul, strength,"

we didn't question His ways nor His command.

His love for us would go to any length,

so of course our love for Him should so demand.

So too, Baby, ev'ry morsel of strength,

heart, soul, and mind corraled to love you...

They wouldn't stop just because you blinked.

They merely regroup to find you anew.

So imagine my joy when God sends a glimpse

of your smiling face looking down at me

It then doesn't matter we walk with limps

in grief, for your spirit hovers o'er me!

So be patient with Mommy and Daddy

trying t' adjust to a new way of life.

God comforts as our hearts suffer sadly

with glimpses of Heav'n when death cuts like a knife.

Pic thanks to @LillyAnn

Poem - When Death Cuts Like a Knife - Angie Bennett Prince - 7/26/10

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday's Trust - Trust Me ~Patti McCarthy Broderick

Brilliant Neon Rainbow,
as we return home from Georgia

Tuesday's Trust

Trust Me

tp.giftp.giftp.gif~Patti McCarthy Broderick

Trust Me

When life seems out of control,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM in control.

When the waiting seems too long,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM in the silence.

When the plan has gone all wrong,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM working out a higher plan.

When you can't see Me keeping my promises,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM faithful.

When the burden seems too great to bear,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM able to bear it for you.

When the pain seems too deep,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM the Great Physician.

When You wonder if I hear your prayers,

tp.gifTrust Me, I AM always listening.

When it makes absolutely no sense,

tp.gifTrust Me, because I AM

tp.giftp.giftp.giftp.gifPatti McCarthy Broderick

tp.giftp.giftp.giftp.gifJanuary 1999

tp.giftp.giftp.giftp.gifCopyright 2004

Thank you for tonight's poem from Patti McCarthy Broderick who is a grieving widow and author of He Said "Press": Hearing God Through Grief (2004).

picture: Brilliant Neon Rainbow as we returned home from Georgia ~mine
poem from

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Homesick ~MercyMe

Monday's Mourning Ministry


~Mercy Me

You're in a better place,

I've heard a thousand times

And at least a thousand times,

I've rejoiced for you

But the reason why I'm broken

The reason why I cry

Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face

If home's where my heart is

Then I'm out of place

Lord, won't you give me strength

to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord 'cause I don't understand Your ways

The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know

But, even if you showed me

The hurt would be the same

'Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face

If home's where my heart is

Then I'm out of place

Lord, won't you give me strength

to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes

And in Christ, there is no end

So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have

To see you again,

To see you again...

And I close my eyes and I see your face

If home's where my heart is

Then I'm out of place

Lord, won't you give me strength

to make it through somehow?

Won't you give me strength

to make it through somehow?

Won't you give me strength

to make it through somehow?

I've never been more homesick...

Than now