Thursday, March 31, 2016

Joni Eareckson Tada writes, "When we become discouraged while suffering painful trials, we can take comfort knowing God is in control, and He will never leave us." 

This short broadcast has foundational truths that will bring great comfort to those suffering the loss of a loved one!

Trusting God when nothing makes sense

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Looking to Jesus

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1  ESV

It's hard to believe that 4 years have passed since we received the news that our youngest son had taken his life. In some ways it feels like yesterday because the terror of those words have not lost their ability to rip apart my heart. Yet, in countless ways, it feels much longer because of the continued lessons on how to follow Christ through the hard, hard times in this life. 

Happy days with his family

We've been blessed to spend time with KJ's oldest son.

The above Scripture says that there is a race set BEFORE us.  Sadly, the first year after our son died, my eyes were not set on that race. Instead, my time was spent looking behind at the why's of shattered dreams and the times I had failed as his mother.  This kind of looking was a heavy weight that caused my feet to stumble and the depression clouded the view of my path. Jesus never meant for me to carry such a heavy load.  

 The good kind of looking back to remember happy times!  

Thankfully, God did not leave me in that dark pit for long and His grace began teaching me to look ahead to the race set before me...looking to Jesus ...who gives everything I need to run this race with endurance...even when life doesn't make sense...ESPECIALLY when life doesn't make sense. Looking to Jesus...who is my example of how to run with endurance...with my eyes set on Him... my exceedingly great prize.


Today, even though there is a great sadness that sits as a veil over my heart, I must choose to not set my focus on the things I cannot change in the past. Instead, by God's grace alone...

...I press on to reach the end of the race and the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling me. Phil. 3:14 NTL

...leaving behind all the unanswered questions

...and the sin (doubts, worry, fears, condemnation) that so easily entangles

...running with endurance the race set before me

...looking to Jesus, the founder (author) and perfecter (finisher) of my faith!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my ONLY aim is to FINISH the race and COMPLETE the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.   Acts 20:24 NIV


                         "If you knew" by Kevin (KJ's dad)


Saturday, March 14, 2015

What Not to Ask Someone Who is Suffering by Nancy Guthrie

People ask me all the time what to say and what to do for people who are grieving the death of someone they love. And I’m glad they ask. I’m glad they want to know what is really helpful and meaningful, and what is completely unhelpful and actually hurtful. And I wish I could tell you that I always know myself what to say. But sometimes words fail me. And I wish I could tell you that I never say the wrong thing. But I do. In fact, a few days ago, I made the mistake I often tell other people not to make.
The minute I said it I wish I hadn’t. I should know better. But it’s just what came out. Maybe it’s what comes out when you talk to grieving people too. Here’s what I said. Or more accurately, what I asked:
How are you?
It doesn’t seem so wrong, does it? It’s a question that reveals that we care. It lets the person know we haven’t forgotten about their loss. Really it is an invitation for the grieving person to talk about their loss. But many grieving people say they simply hate the question. They feel put on the spot to report on their job performance in this task they’ve been given — continuing to live when their loved one has died — a task for which they had no training and for which they seem to have no resources. It’s a question they don’t know how to answer. “I’m fine” isn’t quite right. They may be functioning, and perhaps even feeling better, but they know they’re not “fine.” “I’m terrible” seems whiney. “I’m angry!” seems unacceptable. “I’m crying all the time” seems pathetic.

Something Is Wrong

“How are you?” is one of those questions that always bothered my husband, David, in those days after our daughter, and later our son, died. He always felt like he was supposed to quantify his progress back toward normalcy. In our book, When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One he wrote, “In the midst of my own pain and confusion, I suddenly also felt responsible to others to give an account for my progress. As the words of my reply come measured through my lips, I wondered if my report would be acceptable.”
The grieving person knows what the questioner most likely wants to hear — that everything is getting better, the world is getting brighter, the darkness is lifting, and the tears are subsiding. But oftentimes that just isn’t the way it is, and it is awkward to be honest about the confusion, listlessness, and loneliness of grief. The reality of grief is that sometimes right after the loss we feel strong, but as time passes, and the reality of life without that person settles in, we feel weak and weepy. And it’s awkward to talk about.
We’re afraid that if we tell you how sad we are, you might think there is something “wrong” with the way we’re doing this grief thing. We’re afraid you will assume we should be on a steady upward path toward normalcy and that we’re going in the wrong direction. Sometimes we want to scream that we will never be “normal” again. And sometimes we just want to say, “How am I? I’m sad. And I wish the world — including you — would simply give me some time and space to simply be sad. This person I loved has died and I miss him. He mattered to me and therefore it makes sense that I would not get over his absence easily or quickly.”

What Should You Say?

So as you interact with someone going through the lonely adjustment of grief, what should you ask in place of “How are you?” Here are some ideas:
What is your grief like these days? This question assumes that it makes sense that the person is sad and gives them the opportunity to talk about it.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to face these days without (name of person who died). Are there particular times of day or days of the week you’re finding especially hard? Keep on saying the name of the person who died. It is music to the grieving person’s ears.
I find myself really missing (name of person who died) when I . . . It is a great comfort for the grieving person to know that he or she is not the only one who misses the person who died.
I often think of you when I’m (gardening/driving by your house/going for a walk/get up in the morning/etc.) and whisper a prayer for you to experience God’s comfort. Are there particular things I could be praying for you as you go through this time of grief?
I know that (name of the person who died)’s birthday/deathday is coming up and it must be so very hard to anticipate that day without him/her here. What are you thinking about that day? Is there anything we could do to help you get through that day?
I know the holidays/mother’s day/father’s day/your anniversary is coming up. I will be especially thinking of you and praying for you as that approaches. We would love to have you over, would you join us?
In a sense, all of these questions are asking, “How are you?” but somehow they express a desire to enter into the sorrow of another instead of merely getting a report on their sorrow. In this way we come alongside to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

Would you like to share your experience with Nancy?
Nancy Guthrie and her husband, David, have experienced the death of two of their three children. She has written several books applying the truth of Scripture to the pain of loss including Holding On to Hope, The One Year Book of Hope, When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One, and Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow.
Nancy is currently working on writing a short book on how to help people who are going through grief that will include brief quotes from other people about what others said or did that was helpful to them. If you’d like to share your experience with Nancy for possible inclusion in her book, go to What Was Helpful?
Full author nancy guthrie  3 Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at conferences around the country. She and her husband, David, host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Learn more at
© 2015 by the Author. Distribution Guidelines

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Three Years of Grace...

The moments of our days oftentimes pass unnoticed as we meet our daily demands. Once the day is finished they are seemingly lost in a sea of forgetfulness. But there are those precise and determined ones that will never be forgotten, when life seemingly stood still. Ours happened three years ago today when we were awakened out of a sound sleep to a phone call telling us our youngest son had taken his life.

Remembering happier times...

I’ve reflected back over these last 3 years and hunted for moments of His grace, determined to find His redeeming power. They are there, you know.... scattered among the pathway of our darkest trials, even though it's sometimes hard to see them in the canyon of our grief. God has promised to take those dark moments and redeem them into something for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28-30) Living in the knowledge of this promise has given continued hope to face each new day and the moments that are ahead.

 I feel as if I have been a 'slow learner' at times. I've stumbled and lived grief imperfectly.  But His faithfulness has been a constant thread ...  and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He has been my nearest companion.

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV

Mom and KJ at the county fair where he showed his goats.

Today, as I look back, I see the skillfulness of the master Weaver's tapestry. By His grace, He has woven those dark moments alongside lighter and more brilliant colors. The dark threads remain and we live with the remembrance of them daily. But, the contrast has caused the darker threads to take on a new meaning just as they do in the finished work of a woven cloth. Many of those lighter colors display the redeeming power of His grace as He met us in our weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
2 Corinthians 12:8 ESV


Each new thread of grace shines bright the love of God and His nearness to us through a heartbreaking season of our lives.
Brother and sister enjoying the baby goats he helped deliver.
So today,  I look again in hope to my Savior's caring face, with all the unanswered questions, doubts and fears and

by His grace…

declare again…

in THIS moment…

that I WILL rejoice IN the LORD

Not for what happened


that in the midst of great sorrow and grief

He has remained faithful 

and has given His grace to sustain and strengthen us!


… yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 
Habakkuk 3:18 NIV

Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Isa. 61:3 NKJV


Still… I will praise You! 

Your presence was constant, Your Word remained true.
The gentleness of your ways, color the future a soft hue.
Though dark times are woven into the tapestry called life,
Still I will praise you, hope glistens bright.

Still I will praise you, when all may seem lost,
When death or sickness or ruin onslaught.
Your grace has upheld, in my weakness made strong
Remembering life on earth is temporary, not long.

If not now, in this hard place, then when praise your name?
If not in this moment, promoting your fame.
Then when, dear Savior,will the time be right?
Redeeming the grief, your grace shines bright.

So today in this moment, today at this time.
I lift my voice to heaven, making your glory prime.
For you have been my Shepherd, through the darkness and light,
Your comfort and presence have put despair to flight.

Still  … I will praise you!

 by  Georgene
January 19, 2014 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"If I become angry at God 
something terrible has happened,
I'm basically saying 
that having (my loved one back) is my supreme good 
God only exists to be the errand boy
to give me what I want, 
and He hasn't delivered." 

David Powlison