Tag Archives: Grief

Sunrise

I can always count on the sun rising each morning. It’s a steady event. One that happens each new day that the Lord provides.

With that sunrise comes His mercy. His grace. His love. Forgiveness. Direction. Guidance. His presence doesn’t rise & set like the sun…it’s a constant. Oh, do I ever need that constant.

What is unknown is what will happen each day.

There will be phone calls that change realities forever. Unexpected letters that explode hearts into a million pieces. Emails, pictures & texts that alter walking through each day. There will be grief and loss. Confusion & devastation. Abandonment & sorrow. Betrayal & brokenness. Complete cutoffs.

As the sunrise turns into a new day, there will be so many opportunities for hurt…but in all that hurt there’s hope. Hope in what doesn’t change…Him. He never ever changes.

I can wake up being haunted by the hurts of yesterday and He’s there. 

I can start each day with a deep heaviness and He’s there. 

I can open my eyes and not know how to start another day and He’s there. 

In the deepest hurt…He’s there. He’s always there.

sunrise

He knows what will happen as the sunrise appears on the horizon. He goes before & he leads. He holds out his hand & walks his sheep through each day.

That’s the hope I’m talking about. I know situations can feel hopeless, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. True hope isn’t found in a person or a thing. It’s found in the Savior and His Word.

The walls inside my home have seen many tears. But outside– I can step outside and His beautiful sunrise is there each morning. It doesn’t have to stay outside either. His light can penetrate through every single crack & shine hope onto each tear-stained spot.

That same hope is for all the broken. Are you broken? He can help! Cry out to Him for his mercies and he will provide. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not…but you don’t have to do it alone. He will lead you and love you in ways that you never thought possible.

I’m walking this path longer than I ever thought, but do you know what? I haven’t lost my hope. It’s actually growing. There are things that He needs to change in me to help draw me closer to him.

Will you love me after devastating phone calls? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when others hurt you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if your dreams are not my plan for you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if I take away the children I placed in your care? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when your life is painfully hard? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when I allow more brokenness to walk through the door? Yes, Lord. Yes. I love you more & more.

The sun will rise again tomorrow. For right now, it’s today. With hope in my heart, I will follow my Shepherd wherever he leads.

All The Way My Savior Leads Me 

Forever His sheep,

Tracy

#Psalm23Study #MyShepherdlovesme

 

Entrusting the One

There will be days, months…even years that shake you.

The unexpected can leave you—

facing each day with the same raw realities, climbing out of bed with weights on your heart & feet. Sunrise bringing new mercies that you desperately need, but the heaviness…oh, the heaviness.

It’s a hard place to be.

I can honestly say, I’m probably two steps ahead or behind you…traveling a road I never wanted to be on. I’m fairly certain more roads are to come. Until the Lord takes me home, there’s going to be rough paths here & there.

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Do you know what the good news is in all of that? I don’t travel alone. He doesn’t abandon His own. Ever.

The day that He opened the door & embraced me- sin stained, rebellious, prideful, broken, lost me…is the moment I gained a forever Father. Jesus fully loves me. So much that He died for me.

It’s because of all that He is that I can strap His sandals over mine & journey on.

If I’m carrying too many other things, I can’t fully hold onto Him. My grip will loosen on something. It can’t be Him.

So what do we do when the heaviness of the load becomes too much? Eventually, I let go—

entrusting people & situations to the One who set me free is the best possible thing I can do. I can’t handle the choices of others. I can’t change losses. I can’t heal hurts. I can’t prevent things from happening. I wasn’t created to do any of that.

The losses…I entrust to Him.

The pain & hurt…I lay at His feet.

The unimaginable…I surrender.

I don’t do it perfectly.  Even my letting go is messy & that’s OK. He knows I’m still learning. Still growing. It’s when I don’t let go that it’s not OK. If I hang on too tight or too long then the weights get heavier & I start sinking.

How do I know this? Because I’ve done it.

I wish I could give you step by step instructions, but I can’t. The letting go process has no time table. There’s no ‘right way’. All I can offer is stay close to Him, His Word, prayer & you’ll know when it’s time. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

‘Letting go’ is a phrase that’s misused by many. The thing is, with letting go, I have to be ready. It can’t be forced. Do you know what, “I have to be ready means?” It means I fully turn to the Lord, fully trust Him, fully release my wounds into his Hands. Fully.

Bumps will come. I don’t know what or when they’ll be or who will be involved. When it’s a child or someone very close to you, those unexpected’s can feel like someone dropped a load of bricks on your chest. There is just no way to prepare.

I entrust it all to the only One who can help. I need help. Always. When the season of unexpected is long, I need even more of His help. I can’t make sense of certain things. What I can do is let Him chisel away at the parts of me that need to go, so not only can I survive, but actually thrive.

bible at sunrise

It’s a special type of thriving. Everything tends to stay “messy” on the outside, but a ray of His light rises up hope inside. He lifts a few of the weights off & I roll out of bed, onto my knees and offer Him the day.

Lord, please use my life for Your glory. May I rest in Your endless mercies. Continue to bring restoration according to Your will. I know there’s a divine purpose for all of this. I trust You, even if I never see the end result.

Eternally His,

Tracy

 

 

Broken

I’m a broken person trying to share hope with other broken people.

Can I just pause there for a second or two. It’s a lot to take in.

The irony is so thick. I have no idea what I’m doing half the time. I know He’s called me to write, yet I still struggle to share my story. He continues to lead me to words. Words that I have no idea what to do with.

Hope, Tracy….share hope. Share your story. Share My hope.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (CSB)

Pointing to the God of hope is only possible because of Christ. He died a terrible death to free me from my sin. He gave everything. I never deserved His pardon…yet he freed me anyway. How could I not share His hope.

I understand that much of my life might not be relatable to many, but my Savior sure is. That’s who I want you to see whenever I share. Him. See Jesus.

Part of sharing hope is handing over all these broken pieces & letting Him use them to point others to the cross. There are times when I try to hold some back…glue them myself & watch as they fall to the floor.

Here are all my shattered pieces, Lord. Take them all.

I’m on day 3 of a 30 day emotion support challenge with some of my oily gals. Yes, I’m one of those essential oil users! After losing Jake, a friend shared some Young Living oils with me. My mind was able to quiet for the first time during deep grief. You better believe I noticed. I use them for pretty much everything now. It’s a way of life in our house.

It was hard coming up with a challenge chart for emotions. Not because I don’t see the value in supporting them. It’s more the feelings part. Emotions are tricky. They are indicators, but should never become dictators. (Thank you, Lysa Terkeurst)

Some of the difficulty is the degree & situation. People are struggling with everything from daily disappointments to life altering losses. The only common thread is we’re all broken in some way. Broken from birth & then filled with brokenness as a result of hardships.

There is no exact way to process hurts. No perfect formula to follow. No time table. Every single person & situation is unique. The only person who knows how another person feels is the Lord. Although, many try.

People are often quick to give advice. The best “advice” I received after losing Jacob, was from those who gave no advice. They provided for our immediate needs, were silently present & shared simple words of hope. That’s when I started to see how valuable sharing His hope is. I want to be a hope bringer.

It’s not helpful to the hurting to try & make sense of things or approach them from a broken human perspective. Which we all have. We don’t replace the Holy Spirit. We can’t take away pain for another or change anything. The best thing we can do is pray fervently for them.

Maybe you’re down & discouraged. Maybe you’re struggling with anger…or maybe you’re in deep sorrow right now. I’m not sure what you’re facing or how long you’ve been there. I do know the Healer is near. Seek Him. Run to Him. That’s where true hope lies. He is stronger than any feeling.

Feelings change…He doesn’t. Anytime we process situations through feelings instead of faith, it gets harder to pull out from being feeling controlled.

In our human brokenness, we either become feeling led or Spirit led. 

When it’s time, He does lift us up & out. His mercies are new each day. Pouring His Truth over our wounds is the best comfort this world has to offer. Our minds can get cloudy during tragedies. Others might have to do the pouring for us. Take heart, the Son can break through any cloud. Through the overflowing of His comfortwe will start pouring on our own again.

ray of light

I’m pretty sure we don’t even realize when healing starts. It’s rarely instantaneous. Slowly, we stop trying to hold onto everything around us and start holding Him tighter & tighter. The firmer we cling, the more He strengthens us.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

Friend, I stand in His hope every day & there’s plenty of room for you too! As a matter of fact…you can stand right next to me.

In His endless love,

Tracy

If you’d like to know more about my essential oil lifestyle then please check out Roots of Healing.  I have a blog over there too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ache of Loss

Losses are hard. There are so many layers to it. Death, in itself, has amounts unimaginable. Loss of their life & having them be part of ours. Physical losses of hearing their voice, seeing their face, touching their skin. Losses of dreams, of sharing everyday milestones together. Just plain loss.

A loss is an ache from what is missing. 

Losses can also happen from things other than death. Loss can be ushered in from another’s decisions. I guess instead of writing about where losses stem from that maybe I should just share the ache of loss. It is an ache, a deep hurt inside that others can rarely see.

I’m going to zoom in on mama’s & loss. I’ve had more conversations lately with moms who have suffered losses. You just have no idea how many there are. If you’ve lost a child to death or have one who walked away then this blog is for you. Please hear my heart…I’m so sorry you’re walking this road of ache. There’s a bond we have with our children from the moment they are formed inside of us & our love for them is endless. An abrupt severing of that bond is not easy to recover from.

Life has events that we can’t see coming or stop from happening. There are accidents, tragedies & hurtful choices. There’s no way to emotionally prepare for the death of a child. There’s no way to prepare for when one abandons you either.

I go to Psalm 34 a lot. God’s Word has a special way of easing my aches. Verse 18 brings me so much hope because I know that no matter how much sorrow I feel, the Lord is oh so near. People may leave but the Father never does. Not ever.

Psalm 34:18

Me & water are like two peas in a pod. I could stare at it for hours & listen to the sounds of the waves. For me, it’s a visual on the vastness of “stuff” when circumstances seem like un-climbable mountains . I calm when I see all that He created. He spoke the water into existence. He sees & knows everything that I don’t. He is bigger than my mind can grasp. I can’t bring any of my children back. He knows each situation & it’s all in His hands. Which is way better than any of it being in mine.

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What do I do with the ache of losses? I meet with my Savior. I pour my heart out to Him. Sometimes I just sit in His presence & cry. I pray & I trust & I pray & I trust some more. There’s no formula to follow. There’s no timeline to stick to. There’s ache. Pure, raw, heartbreaking ache. Goodness, He knows it’s there so I don’t have to put on any falsehoods. He knows when my chest feels like a bomb went off. He knows when I could drop to the ground & sob for hours so why would I pretend like it wasn’t there. He already knows.

Spending time in my bible is comforting for me. It’s where I collide with the Comforter. His Word is what never changes. There are so many things around me that change. I need His steadiness. His security. I need Him.

I say Psalm 19:14 at the start of each day. These losses can threaten to pull me away from God or draw me closer to Him. I try to lean in closer. My words, my actions, my thoughts all determine how I’ll walk through each new day. I can’t change situations or losses but I sure can try to live in a way that honors Him. I’ll never be perfect at it but my desire is there.

Psalm 19:14

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You know how I love the water? Well, I’m a huge fan of God’s handiwork in the sky too. I try to pause & look at each sunset & sunrise. I might not be able to see the Lord, yet, but I can enjoy His masterpieces in creation. He promises to uphold what is His. His strength is perfect strength.

I can’t be afraid of the what if’s. All I can do is embrace the right now’s. 

Isaiah 41:10

Oh dear friend, I know it hurts. We love our kids so much. Don’t give up on your prodigal. Stay on your knees for them. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop grieving the loss of your child, no matter how many years it’s been. There is no set time frame for grief. The ache of loss is real. Not many understand that, but I do. Some days have a stronger sense of hope than others. Hopelessness will try to shackle you in its chains. Run, limp if you have to, but stay close to the real hope of Christ.

Always His,

Tracy

My Forgotten Draft

I sat down to blog & I found this unfinished draft. *can you hear the sigh* I’m reading it & I’m pretty sure it got too painful so I stopped. I can’t believe I forgot about it. I never leave my blog in a draft that long.

When I write, I usually go somewhere quiet. It can be emotionally draining & uplifting all at the same time. I have zero control over the tears & I’d much rather be alone for that. It’s a release of sorts. I’m also easily distracted. Once I’m focused, I plug away at it until the words stop. All those reasons are why I wait for solitude & I can’t always find it every week. I’d appreciate some prayers as I attempt to carve out weekly time devoted to writing.

Now, back to the forgotten draft…..

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (NLT)

This passage has a lot of meaning to me. God is my ultimate perfect Comforter. He comforts me. He has carried me through a walk I never expected. Verse 4  is clear that because of His divine comfort, I can in turn comfort others.

Who can I comfort? I can offer hope to the moms crawling through the horrid reality of child loss.

I read a book one summer & at the time I had no idea why. It wasn’t my typical read & I can’t even remember why I bought the book. The book was Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman. I remember finishing that book & feeling so sad. It was one of those heavy – “Oh that poor thing, how awful”- moments. I felt really bad for her. I couldn’t begin to imagine what she was going through.

Shortly after, I was that mom.

There’s no way I could have understood her hurt from reading that book. There are no descriptive words to truly share what happens inside of a mom. You are forever changed. Very little people understand it. I know I didn’t.

Let’s stop here for a second….

Oh goodness, if you’re that precious mom- I’m so sorry. Can I please share a few minutes with you? You will hear hurtful things. It’s usually from well meaning people- move on, you have other kids, I lost my grandma, you’re stuck, how did it happen, heaven has another angel, it was their time, your other children need you, get over it, you can have more kids, it’s time to move forward, don’t you think it’s been long enough & about a handful of other things. Forgive them. Offer them grace. Smile & silently pray. You’ll never be able to get them to comprehend what they haven’t experienced. (on rare occasions if it’s the same person then you might need to gently share that their words are hurtful)

You’ll be misunderstood. You’ll be placed in a category. You’ll lose some friends. You’ll see everything differently. You’ll experience first’s- a first Christmas, birthday, family picture, Mother’s Day, their favorite recipe, their 1 year death date & many more. You’ll see a shirt they would like in the store. You’ll search. Your thinking will change. You’ll have triggers that take you back. You’ll cry. You’ll remember. You’ll ache inside with a pain you had no idea existed. 

The first year is a year of numb. I truly believe it’s because the Lord knows we can’t take the full grieving amount at once. I don’t tell you all this to paint a bleak picture. I share this so you know that what you’re experiencing is a part of what happens to all of us inside where no human sees. Our losses are different & our stories are different but we have a common thread. As moms who have lost a child, that’s the closest we’ll get to a human that’s able to understand our hurt.

Oh, please hear me. It’s not hopeless. There is hope. It’s God the Father & he is near. Jesus carries you & the Holy Spirit is always present. Cling to Him with every ounce of strength you can muster & He will fill you up with the strength you don’t have. He is the one that fully understands. I can personally testify to this. He breathes life into the pain over & over again. 

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Pray without ceasing. Cry out to the Lord every single time you need to. Weep. Let His Word pour over your soul. Listen to worship music. Sing praises & lift your voice up to him in worship. You’ll need a few encouraging, trustworthy people & if you don’t have any then pray for some. Sometimes it’s only one person. The Lord knows exactly who we need in our lives to walk alongside us & our part is to pray them up. When & if it’s time for a new one then He’ll send them as well. He doesn’t abandon his children. He loves you. He is where healing is found.

Back to that book. I looked at it again. I looked at her picture. I was crushed for her. I now understood why she wrote that book. It was to share her story. It was 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

That’s why I share. That’s why I write about the same thing. That’s why. I’m trying my best to offer a morsel of hope to another mom. There could be one right now…waiting… waiting to hear about hope. You see, I take the comfort that I’ve been given & I share that hope with someone who’s suffering from a common hurt. I may never meet them or even know about them but if they see something I wrote then it’s worth it.

I know not everyone reading this is a mom who lost a child. The great news is the message of God’s hope is for all! If by chance you know a mom who’s suffered in this way please be kind. If she’s quiet, let her be. If she can’t explain, it’s OK. If she wants to talk, listen. If she has hard days on special dates even 6, 15, 25 years later, let her. Words bring either life or death. Choose life.

It’s OK that you don’t understand.  It’s only by walking a certain road that you can fully grasp it. There’s lots of things I don’t understand. We all walk different roads. We have different hurts. We celebrate different victories. Our experiences equip us. They sharpen & change us. We get the privilege of pointing back to the Father, sharing hope & giving grace. I’ll pray for your path & I’d love it if you prayed for mine. Let’s pray for Mary Beth too!

In Christ,

Tracy

 

 

 

Dear Hurting Mama

Dear sweet grieving mom,

I wish we could be taking a walk together & just be present. No words, no expectations…just silent knowing why the quiet works.

We both know words rarely help. Often times, words end up hurting. We get that others don’t know what to say & we really don’t need them to get anything anyway. We just need to know they remember.

We need them to remember we have lost a child. We need them to not forget our child. We aren’t seeking constant doses of sympathy. We just need an ounce of silent support. A few people left in our lives that don’t forget. Others around us that see certain days are hard & acknowledge it with a ‘thinking about you’, a hug, a scripture or a silent walk. Someone left who totally gets there is no time table. It’s a forever loss.

You & I know that we aren’t “stuck” & that we have continued in life. We see the ones that are trapped & it’s so sad. They need our prayers.

We get up everyday & attempt to live out what the Lord needs us to do. Those who say, “move on” really just need our grace & forgiveness. It doesn’t help to become bitter about words spoken. They aren’t moms who have lost a child. I’m thankful for that.

We lace our warrior shoes on daily. This is our path. There is no turning back. We walk forward with bleeding hearts that no one else can see.

We desperately love the ones still here. Our body spent months sustaining the life of each child we are blessed with. A bond is formed. A connection of life. We stay present for the ones we can & a piece of us is with the one gone. We try so hard to balance.

I have no answers for the why’s. I try & stay away from why. “Why’s” drain hope. I believe the Lord goes before me & He has all of this in his hands. I trust him. I need him & I won’t turn away from him.

I know the hurt is constant & never shuts off. We go about our life & live but it’s always there. Anything can trigger an instant flashback at any given time. We walk around with an endless ache that reality has left behind. We miss & we miss hard.

The loneliness inside can swallow. It seems no one sees. We’re different now. Time doesn’t change anything. Jesus does. He patches the wounds with his comforting love. The loss….the painful ache of the heart & the crushing grief become woven with him as we sink deeper into dependence on Christ. We surrender to his compassionate care as he delicately forms our new normal.

We wait. We pray. We seek. We cry. We trust. We read God’s Word. We sob. We hurt. We get on our knees. We hand the Lord our pain because we just don’t know what else to do with it.

I know we aren’t alike. I don’t understand your loss & you don’t understand mine. The thing is….we understand that. We have a common vine. It’s called the loss of a child. We hang from it individually, yet next to one another. No two grieving mothers are exactly the same. We may be placed in a category of sameness by others but we know we are very different.

Please hear my heart. I see your eyes. I see the loss. I’m so sorry.

I miss the sound of my child’s voice too. I have regrets & unspoken words. I miss seeing his face. I miss his laugh. I grieve all the never will be’s. I want to make him cookies. I want to say I’m sorry for a thousand things. I want him to see his sister grow up. I want him to love on her. I want him to have guy time with his brothers. I want to see my kids doing life together. I want him to play with his nieces. I want to hug him. I’d give anything to wash dishes from a meal he ate. I’d take 1 minute with him. I get this part. I do. I miss mine too.

Ugh….Mother’s Day is hard. The days leading up are the pits. The day after is a different sorrow knowing the day has past & you made it through. There’s no way to explain it to anyone around you so you don’t. You lock it away & it becomes another layer to your scars. Your heart is so heavy from scars you have no idea how it stays in your chest. I’m pretty sure it’s anchored in by Jesus. Oh, blessed Savior & Redeemer.

You may feel alone on Mother’s Day. As crazy as it seems, you aren’t. There’s an army of us. We might be a million miles apart but that’s ok. I’ll be praying for you & I’d love if you’d pray for me too.

In Christ,

Tracy

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A Different Kind of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is quite the day! It can be one where memories are made & time is spent with those you love. If you’re able to celebrate this occasion with joy then treasure the minutes. Look at the faces of your loved ones. Listen to their sweet voices. Soak in every second of it. Oooo & Aaaa over the homemade masterpieces.

There’s a different kind of Mother’s Day that many don’t see. It’s the emptiness & sorrow. It’s the weeping when you’re alone & on the inside when you’re not. It’s the pain & regret that come from life. It’s the realities that no one can change.

I would like to ask you to pray for the hurting as this day approaches.

For some, it’s a day remembering what was. A sorrow in what will no longer be.

I wish there wasn’t one day set aside. I understand it’s a nice gesture but dare I say that it’s more than a day. This whole one day thing puts pressure on people. It opens back up wounds. It can end up being another rushed attempt to fulfill someone else’s dream of the “perfect day” when in reality there is no such thing.

It would be so much better if we focused on making the most of each day. Spending time in fellowship & just being together. I think we’ve missed the whole point. The real gift is people & time.

This other Mother’s Day is:

-the mom who grieves the loss of a child, -the one who never became a mom, -the child who never knew their mom, -the mom who hasn’t spoken to her child in years, -the one who has no idea where her child even is, -the one who is sobbing the day before so she can be present & joyful for her other children, -the one who lives states away & hasn’t seen her child in years because life is just too busy, – the one who no longer has a mom on earth, -the one who’s child has fallen & is locked away in prison, -the one with empty arms, -the mom who finds out the unimaginable about her child, -the one who’s child is trapped in addiction & wants nothing to do with her, -the one who spends the day at her child’s grave because that was her only child, -the one who’s dreams have been shattered by her own poor choices, -the one who truly believes no one understands,  -the one who desperately wants to celebrate this day but no man has chosen her to be his bride. This is a tiny glimpse into the other Mother’s Day. It’s very real & very raw.

If someone came to your mind after reading that list then reach out to them. A quick text letting them know they aren’t forgotten. An email saying you’re thinking about them. A handwritten note in the mail with some scripture. Anything.

If you found yourself in that list – I’m so sorry. It’s a bad list to be on. Can I share something with you? There’s hope. There really is. Past the horrible heart splitting hurt is where it’s found. The source of this life breathing hope is Jesus. He can fill any emptiness inside. Any. Go to Him. Open the pages of the Bible & seek Him. Spend time with Him.

Matthew 11:28-30

I’m also in that list. To ease the losses, I worship. I’m alive in Him. He is my breath of life. I breathe in His healing grace. He IS sovereign over every one of my steps. From the beginning to the end – He deserves all the glory. He is beside me through the fires. IT’S NO LONGER I WHO LIVE BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES WITHIN ME. He is the reason I can.

~ Don’t forget to say that prayer for the hurting on Mother’s Day. Trust me, they’ll need it. Ephesians 6:18

In Christ,

Tracy

#myhope #loss #rootsofhealing