Monday, January 30, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Good Grief Starts with a Good God

Tuesday's Trust

Good Grief Starts with a Good God

~by Ben Witherington

Having recently gone through the devastating experience of having our beautiful 32-year-old daughter die, completely unexpectedly, of a pulmonary embolism, I was determined from Day One (January 11, when she was found dead in her home in Durham, N.C.) to be open to whatever positive thing there might be to glean from this. I cling by my fingernails to the promise of Romans 8:28 that “God works all things together for good for those who love him….”

The first point that was immediately confirmed in my heart was theological: God did not do this to my baby. God is not the author of evil. God does not terminate sweet children’s lives with pulmonary embolisms. Pulmonary embolisms are a result of human fallenness and the bent nature of this world.

One of the primary reasons I am not a Calvinist and do not believe in such predestinings from the hand of God is (1) because I find it impossible to believe that I am more merciful or compassionate than God. Also, (2) the Biblical portrait of God is that God is pure light and holy love; in him there is no darkness, nothing other than light and love. (3) The words “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away,” from the lips of Job, are not good theology. They’re bad theology. According to Job 1, it was not God, but the Devil who took away Job’s children, health and wealth. God allowed it to happen, but when Job said these words, as the rest of the story shows, he was not yet enlightened about the true nature of where his calamity came from and what God’s will actually was for his life — which was for good, and not for harm.

So, for me, the beginning of good grief starts with the premise of a good God. Otherwise, all bets are off. If God is almighty and malevolent, then there is no solace to be found in God. If God is the author of sin, evil, suffering, the fall, and death, then the Bible makes no sense when it tells us that (1) God tempts no one, that (2) God’s will is that none should perish but have everlasting life, and that (3) death is the very enemy of God and humankind that Jesus, who is life, came to abolish and destroy.

“He came that we might have life and have abundantly.” If there are promises I cling to, as I weep for my sweet Christy, it is this promise, not the sorry solace and cold comfort of “God did this but we do not know why.” No. A thousand times, no! God and his will are always and only for what is good, and true, and beautiful, and loving, and holy.

As I stared at my baby in the casket — who did not even resemble herself at that juncture — I was so thankful that the God of the resurrection had a better plan for her than that cold comfort that “It’s all God’s will.” I believe in a God whose Yes to life is louder than death’s No — not because God likes to hold antinomies like life and death together in some sort of mysterious unity, but because God is in the trenches with us, fighting the very same evils we fight in this world, like disease, decay, death, suffering, sorrow and sin.

They don’t call him the Great Physician for nothing. He too took the Hippocratic Oath: “Do no harm.”

~Ben Witherington

Ben Witherington, one of the world's leading evangelical scholars, is Amos Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of over 40 books and is a frequent commentator on radio and television programs.

Picture: Leonardo da Vinci's painting of 'The Last Supper' as it appeared in the 1970s, thanks to Wikipedia

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday's Mourning Ministry - On My Knees ~Nicole C. Mullen

Monday's Mourning Ministry

On My Knees

~Nicole C. Mullen

On My Knees

~Nicole C. Mullen

There are days,

When I feel

The best of me

Is ready to begin ~

Then they're days,

When I feel

I'm letting go,

And soaring on the wind

But I've learned in laughter or in pain,

How to survive

I get on my knees

I get on my knees

There I am before the Love that

changes me

See, I don't know how,

But there's power

when I’m on my knees

I can be in a crowd,

or by myself.

or almost anywhere,

when I feel, there's a need

to talk with God, He is Emmanuel~

When I close my eyes,

no darkness there;

there's only light ~

When I get on my knees

When I get on my knees

There I am before the Love that changes me

See I don't know how, but there's power

in the blue sky

I don't know how but there's power

and in the midnight

I don't know how but there's power

when I’m on my knees

I get on my knees

I get on my knees

And there I am before the Love that changes me

I don't know how, but there's power

I don't know how but God gives me power

I don't know how but there's power

When I'm on my knees

A la la la

A la la la la la

A la la la

A la la la la la

A la la la

A la la la la la

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday's Sayings - Grieving Fathers Write...

Saturday's Sayings

Grieving Fathers Write...


Perhaps life is but a tapestry

Far larger than the sky,

Stretching in panoramic splendor from

The dawn of time until suns die.

Perhaps each of us is a single thread,

Into the tapestry briefly woven and

Blended with related fibers forming

A splotch of harmonized beauty,

Lending transient continuity.

Perhaps, beyond our comprehension,

A thread may seem to end before it should,

Disrupting the entire tapestry

With a chaotic clot of clashing color,

A snarled, frayed, broken end,

Leaving doubt there is a guiding hand,

Or, if so, it fumbles and has lost its skill.

Perhaps no single thread is ever lost

But just emerges on the other side

Where the Weaver, with patient, loving hands

Resumes the ageless masterpiece

In a blessed new beginning.

Perhaps we, in eternity,

Will be given the eyes to see

Scenes we were born imagining.

~Grieving Father, Richard A. Dew, M.D.

From Rachel's Cry: A Journey Through Grief

TCF/Knoxville, Tennessee


A Mule Pulling a Plow

It's been almost four years now

The day is still the same

My heart is still broken

My life is still aflame

I live in mere moments

Awkwardly trying to get by

One moment I'll smile

The next moment I'll cry

Still bearing this great loss

I stagger forward somehow

With this burden upon me

I feel like a "Mule Pulling a Plow"

I know the day will come

When I leave those fields of hurt

The plow, I'll no longer pull

As my body turns back into dirt

With purpose and reward

My soul will soar above

There I'll rejoin them

Altogether, in everlasting love

~Grieving Father, Donald Moyers

TCF/Galveston County, TX


Eloquence pretends to enrich my pain
Cloaking me in words of hope, of peace
That it majestically offers unsolicited.

Whispers of our love tell me I will not
inevitably find. The loss that scars my soul
Knows no release, only wandering
No light, only shadows
No passion, only emotion
As I move from the dread of never
To comprehending always.

I no longer search for words
I no longer ask for grace.
I seek only me and still you
In the belief that simplicity will
Surround what I can never understand.

~Grieving Father, Peter Vander Meulen


The king was overcome with emotion.
He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears.
And as he went, he cried,
"O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom!
If only I had died instead of you!
O Absalom, my son, my son."

~Grieving Father, King David
2 Samuel 18:33 NLT

"Even in darkness
light dawns...
for the Lord is
compassionate and

~Grieving Father, King David
~Psalm 112:4

Pictures, thanks to Writing Through your Grief

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Faith - God Answers "A Grieving Mother's 'Day Off'"

Friday's Faith

God Answers "A Grieving Mother's 'Day Off'"

To the poem I wrote on Tuesday's Trust, today I bring you on Friday's Faith, God's response... But first, the poem:

A Grieving Mother's "Day Off"

It's a day off ~ you'd think I'd have no cares.

I go to sleep ~ awaken to nightmares...

You needed help ~ there was no help I'd find;

I saw the one ~ who'd always helped... was blind.

Is this my life ~ suspended in mid-air?

What is my crime? For you, I'll always care.

A mommy's love ~ should soothe your hurts away.

But when I look ~ I see you've gone away.

Your heart's at rest ~ may that sink in, I pray.

My God knows best ~ He holds you close today.

Your mommy tried ~ she couldn't reach your heart.

And now you've died ~ and now we are apart.

I guess you know ~ you're always in my heart.

I'll see you soon ~ Would someone tell my heart?

I continue to cry out. . .

My heart's broken ~ Your loss tears me apart. . .

God, come quickly ~ Please soothe this mommy's heart.

God responds . . .

Come to Me, all you who are weak and burdened,

And I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you

and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke

is easy and My burden is light.

My child, I am here.

Here is My heart; it's available to you.

God, I saw my father in my dreams,

and he was blind to me....

I am not blind My child; My eyes ever see.

God, this love is killing me ~

She is not here to receive it.

Like a mother whose milk

Longs to be poured out

And aches when the child cannot be found.

My child, I am ever here to pour

My love out on you.

See that you can be found.

My heart, too, aches when you cannot be found.

God, I draw near to You;

I starve for Your love, I thirst for

Your love. Grief is a barren

desert where no water can be found.

I cannot subsist

without Your sustenance. May I

suckle at Your breast, My Father

and Mother God. You are my

parent ~ You are not blind to me.

You draw near; my every need You see.

Forgive me for my busyness.

Give me new eyes -- Thee to see.

My heart longs for water in this

dry and weary land. Oh Father, come to me!

I John 4:12b

If we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:9-10

This is how God showed His love among you: He sent His One and Only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

As much as I love Merry Katherine, and long for her ~

she had to leave;

she was taken from me ~

I didn't give her up...

Yet God's suffering love, loved His Son, yet lovingly chose to suffer by sending Him to us, sending Him to die that we, with Him, might live.

Such love AMAZES me!!!

Such love suckles me.

Such love nurtures me.

Such love soothes me.


God’s family is a sorrowing family. “I have chosen you,” he says, “in the furnace of affliction. I will leave in the midst of you a poor and an afflicted people.” The history of the church finds its fittest emblem in the burning yet unconsumed bush which Moses saw. Man is “born to sorrow;” but the believer is “appointed thereunto.”

It would seem to be a condition inseparable from his high calling. If he is a “chosen vessel,” it is, as we have just seen, in the “furnace of affliction.” If he is an adopted child, “chastening” is the distinguishing mark. If he is journeying to the heavenly kingdom, his path lies through “much tribulation.” If he is a follower of Jesus, it is to “go unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.” But, if his sufferings abound, much more so do his consolations. To be comforted by God, and to be comforted as a mother comforts her child, may well reconcile us to any sorrow with which it may please our heavenly Father to invest us!

God comforts his sorrowful ones with the characteristic love of a mother. That love is proverbial. No line can fathom it, no eloquence can depict it, no poetry can paint it. Attempt, if you will, to impart brilliance to the diamond, or perfume to the rose, but attempt not to describe a mother’s love. Who created the relation, and who inspired its affection? That God who comforts his people with a love like hers. And what is a mother’s affection—fathomless and indescribable as it is—but as a drop from the infinite ocean of God’s love!

Did ever a mother love her offspring as God loves his? Never! Did she ever peril her life for her child? She may. But God sacrificed his life for us. See the tenderness with which that mother alleviates the suffering, soothes the sorrow of her mourning one. So does God comfort his mourners. O there is a tenderness and a delicacy of feeling in God’s comforts which distances all expression. There is no harsh reproof—no unkind upbraiding—no unveiling of the circumstances of our calamity to the curious and unfeeling eye—no heartless exposure of our case to an ungodly and censorious world; but with all the tender, delicate, and refined feeling of a mother, God, even our Father, comforts the sorrowful ones of his people.

He comforts in all the varied and solitary griefs of their hearts. Ah! there may be secrets which we cannot confide even to a mother’s love, sorrows which we cannot lay even upon a mother’s heart, grief which cannot be reached even by a mother’s tenderness; but God meets our case! To him, in prayer, we may uncover our entire hearts; to his confidence we may entrust our profoundest secrets; upon his love repose our most delicate sorrows; to his ear confess our deepest departures; before his eye spread out our greatest sins.

“As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.”

~Octavius Winslow

Isaiah 49:14-16

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 66:12-14

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

12 For this is what the LORD says:

“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice
and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants,
but his fury will be shown to his foes.

Picture, thanks to PhotoBucket
Poem - A Grieving Mother's "Day Off" - Angie Bennett Prince - 1/23/2012
Poem - God Answers "A Grieving Mother's 'Day Off'" - 1/23/2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday's Therapy - Sleeplessness and the Adrenal Glands ~via

Thursday's Therapy

Sleeplessness and the Adrenal Glands


Interesting news we thought might be pertinent for us weary child-loss grievers in regard to our sleeplessness possibly being related to our overly-stressed adrenal glands...


"Are you tired all the time?"

Written By Eleni N. Gage

Published January 25, 2012

Real Simple

Renewing your energy is possible, once you learn to combat common causes of fatigue.

Culprit: A Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
Having low levels of iron or vitamin D or B12 can make you feel tired, anxious, and weak, says Irene Park, a nurse practitioner in New York City. Many experts believe that a significant percentage of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D. “And lower levels of vitamin D can cause muscle weakness and pain,” says Keenan. Also, if you’re a woman of reproductive age, you’re statistically at greater risk for iron-deficiency anemia.

The only way to tell if you’re low in any vitamin or mineral is to see your doctor for a blood test. Meanwhile, to bolster your body’s stores, consider taking a multivitamin with at least 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. (Experts generally advise that healthy adults also supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily.)

Culprit: The Blues
Research has indicated that people with depression may be four times more likely than the nondepressed to experience unexplained fatigue. Aerobic exercise—specifically, 30 minutes or more three to five days a week—is effective at treating mild to moderate depression, and may minimize the sleepiness associated with it. If that doesn’t help, however, speak to your doctor, who may recommend talk therapy or a mood-boosting medication, like a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). If your depression and related fatigue seem to strike more frequently in winter, you could have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Treatment for SAD may include using a special light box, says Marla Wald, a psychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. But venturing outside for about 20 minutes a day can provide similar benefits, she says.

Culprit: Your Adrenal Glands
They’re responsible for secreting the fight-or-flight hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which surge as a response to stress—whether the prehistoric-days type, like being chased by a tiger, or the modern-day version, like financial worries or your mother-in-law. But when you’re feeling stressed all the time, those glands may become overworked and can tire out—a condition commonly called adrenal fatigue, says Keenan. The inability to secrete enough cortisol during the day can cause energy dips, then spikes at night that can interfere with restful sleep.

To give your adrenal glands a chance to recharge, Keenan recommends meditation, which she thinks of as parking the body in neutral. “Meditation has the effect of slowing down the production of cortisol for a while,” she says. Try sitting quietly and clearing your mind for at least five minutes a day. Vitamins B5 and C have also been shown to support adrenal function, says Jacob Teitelbaum, the Kona, Hawaii–based medical director of the Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Centers and the author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! ($17, He recommends getting at least 50 milligrams of B5 and 500 milligrams of C daily. Other stress-reduction techniques work well, too. “Exercise is particularly effective,” says Park.