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Archive for June, 2016

  Guys, have you ever wiped your eyes and said to a buddy, Man, I sure feel better after a good cry? And you say to me, You’re joking. Right? But ladies, I’m sure you remember your last good c…

Source: TOGETHER–BUT APART

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Prairie Creek 2016 2

Guys, have you ever wiped your eyes and said to a buddy, Man, I sure feel better after a good cry?

And you say to me, You’re joking. Right?

But ladies, I’m sure you remember your last good cry, and it made you feel better, didn’t it?

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 NAS).

God made us male and female—uniquely different, but made for each other. And nowhere does this emotional difference exemplify itself more than when a man and woman are thrust into the throes of grief.

Men are fixers by nature. But guys, you can’t fix her this time. Only God can. You can’t make her tears go away, and your worst nightmare haunts your nights and days—you must travel through your own savage grief jungle of emotions and feelings. So most men do what to them seems proper—stuff those emotions deep in their hearts so they won’t have to deal with them. But, every grief stuffed will explode one day, like a shaken up Coca Cola, and it will be messy. Stuffed grief morphs into anger, depression, and countless other destructive emotions that traps and isolates the one suffering.

Meanwhile husbands, you’re left with a wife who bursts into tears every time she looks at you, or at a picture, or has a memory of her loss. A song, a TV commercial, or a flower can send her over the edge. And you don’t know what to do. So you attempt to ignore her tears, slap on a tough exterior, and a move forward attitude. Or at least that’s what you think will happen.

Pressure Cooker.jpg

But her tears don’t stop, because that’s how God made her. The pressure of sorrow and the fiery heat of loss shove women into the quagmire of grief. Female tears are like the regulator on a pressure cooker. Perhaps your grandmother had one—heat causes pressure to build inside the pot until the regulator jiggles off steam so the pot won’t explode. Tears are the regulator of grief, else the woman in your life will detonate.

Statistics show a high percentage of marriages fail after the death of a loved one, because the marriage partners don’t know how to grieve. And when their loss is a child, the rate of a failed marriage rises into the 75 to 80 percent range.

My mind travels to the couple in Orlando last week and the unspeakable, horrific, tragedy they experienced when their two-year-old was snatched and killed by an alligator. Unfortunately, when grief moves in reason and sanity flee. In our fallen state, humans seem to need to cast blame—even when there’s no cause for blame.  Couple blame with guilt, and anguish and you have a recipe for disaster.

But this couple’s marriage doesn’t have to fail, nor does yours, if you will seek help and learn how to travel through this dark and desperate valley together—but apart.

Space, coupled with understanding, is the key.

Every grief is unique, because people and relationships are unique. A father has a different relationship with his son or daughter than the mother does. Each are necessary. Each are good. But each are different. So it stands to reason the two parents would experience a different journey through grief.

Give your spouse permission to grieve in the way that brings them comfort. And that will probably mean spending some time apart—walking through this darkness together—but sometimes apart. Your wife may need to listen to the recording of the funeral many, many times. The recording may do nothing for you. Or your husband may need to spend time each week at the grave site—something that gives you the creeps. Give your mate permission to do whatever it takes to find comfort during this dark time.

Wives, schedule days with girlfriends who are comfortable with and can relate to your tears. Girlfriends who will cry with you. Then come together with your husband at the end of the day, in order to mesh your paths and plans together for the future when the time is appropriate. But assure and reassure each other of your never ending love and commitment to each other.

Keep your expectations as close to your reality as possible. None of us think or discern well during those early days of grief, but the lurking problems  can be reduced to manageable size if your expectations linger in close proximity to the reality of your loss.

In other words, wives, don’t expect your husband to sit with you for hours and watch you cry. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. No. The reality is he’s not ever going to react the same way you do.  Expecting him to join your boohoo times will leave you clutching unrealistic expectations, which will make you angry and make him more likely to avoid you like the plague.

Husbands don’t withhold hugs of comfort from your wife when she weeps. I promise your comfort won’t extend her tears, she requires your approval and understanding to move forward.

Guys don’t seclude yourself in your shop, den, or binge on hunting and fishing without explanation. Acknowledge to your wife this is how you deal with the overwhelming loss you are experiencing. Silence won’t make grief go away, but men need more silent time than women during this process.

Schedule time to talk. Openly. Honestly. And lovingly about your feelings. Please don’t be afraid of feelings. Darkness and ignoring one another morphs emotions to unmanageable, but exposing these little stinkers to light diminishes them. The very best way to accomplish this delicate balance is to find a GriefShare Support Group near you. Go to www.griefshare.org and click on Find-A-Group. Type in your zip code to locate a group nearby and go. Together.

You can’t ignore grief. You can’t go around, over, or under grief—you must travel through it. Together. There is life after grief. A good life. But it takes work, patience, and love. And yards and yards of time.

 

“Remember my afflictions and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I have hope in Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:19-26 NAS).

 Coming Storm 2

DiAne and her husband lost both sets of parents and a
 twenty-eight-year old daughter within a five-year period.
 She has led GriefShare Recovery Groups for the past
thirteen years and often blogs about grieving. Click
on articles from August 2012, September 2012, October, 2012
https://dianegates.wordpress.com/

 

 

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His sobs wailed inconsolable! And I couldn’t find him. Other children whooped and hollered as they slid in and out of the red, yellow, and white overhead tunnel maze at our neighborhood Chick-Fil-A…

Source: TRAPPED IN THE MAZE

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His sobs wailed inconsolable!

And I couldn’t find him.

Other children whooped and hollered as they slid in and out of the red, yellow, and white overhead tunnel maze at our neighborhood Chick-Fil-A.

Chick-Fil-A 1

I dashed from side to side, calling his name while ducking under the twists and turns of bumping knees, smacking feet, and sounds of laughter, hoping to catch a glimpse of my three-year-old grandson. But, I couldn’t see him and he was too lost and too overwhelmed to stop crying and listen for my voice.

A young boy tugged my sleeve. “He’s right up there, ma’am.” And he pointed to a joint that split left and right. He couldn’t see us and couldn’t find his way out, so he sat down and cried. Loud and long. His eyes squeezed shut, scrubbing his little fists in tear puddles. His shoulders shook and my heart shattered. Even though my arms wanted to grab him and comfort his fears, I couldn’t get to him.

Chick-Fil-A 2

“I’ll get him for you.” The kind youngster crawled through the corridors and in seconds had hold of our boy, leading him to safety, and into the arms of his equally bewildered Mimi.

Where are you in the everyday maze of life? Side-swiped by finances. Run-over by relationships. Overwhelmed by chaos. Confused and terrified, not hearing or knowing where or how to find peace and stability from the onslaught of others playing bumper cars in life’s maze. Are you in desperate need of a brother or sister to come alongside and walk with you.

Coming Storm

During those heart wrenching times remember, Jesus is right there with you? Wherever you are. His arms open wide, calling your name. Offering comfort and peace, even when you refuse to hear Him. Just like my grandson, do you find yourself slumped in a heap, eyes squeezed shut and sobbing? Shut down–immobilized by fear—unable to move forward?

There is hope. In His name—the name of Jesus. You don’t need fancy prayers. Simple words like “Jesus, help me!” Powerful words. He will calm your fright, dry your tears, and hold you close while the light of His presence shines on your path home.

Cuddled in his Mimi’s arms, a little box of nuggets, fries, and a coke later, our grandson had forgotten his fear of the boys and girls tumbling over and around him, and was ready to exhibit his maze crawling skills. He promised if lost he would be still and listen, knowing his Mimi was watching and waiting to dash to his rescue—just like Jesus watches and waits for your 911 call.

Coming Storm 2

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So yep, during our half-mile walk to the bus stop, a group of friends and I concocted a plan–a stupid plan–to skip school the next day…

Source: SIX WORDS THAT STUCK LIKE GLUE

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It was one of those Spring mornings in Florida that make every junior-high-kid wish he or she didn’t have to go to school.

So yep, during our half-mile walk to the bus stop, a group of friends and I concocted a plan—a stupid plan—to skip school next day and go swimming at one of the boy’s houses. His parents had a pool, but they worked. No one would know.

God’s Word says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…” But we didn’t consider ourselves foolish nor children. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure what we considered ourselves. One sane thought would have nixed the plan—ten teens all from the same bus stop, a no show? Really?

We wore our bathing suits under our clothes the next morning, walked like we were going to the bus stop, but deviated the long way through our subdivision and back to Tom’s house. A deliberate deception. The water was great and I was having a superb time ‘til I surfaced from underwater and one of the boys looked at my seal-slick hair dripping off the end of my nose. “Girl, you’re ugly.” he crowed. “And that nose.” All the boys laughed.

I wanted to die. Why did I think this would be fun? I wanted to drown.

Mama drilled into our heads, if you do bad things, bad things happen. I did a bad thing which opened the lid to my  personal Pandora’s box.

One of the guys peeked through a knot-hole in the wood fence then jumped back in the pool. “Your mama’s stomping down the road, DiAne. And she looks mighty angry.” There was no Plan B. Bad things were going to happen.

Now Mama didn’t drive, but she was industrious and could sniff out misbehaving kids like a thoroughbred hound. No use to run—she’d track us down. About that time, one of mom’s posse pulled her car into Tom’s driveway. What were we thinking? If tongue lashings coulda killed, we’d all have died that morning. Not even noon, and I was in more trouble than I ever imagined.

Mama took the girls to our house, the other mother stayed with the boys at Tom’s, and we quickly made ourselves ready to go to school. Another mom pulled into our driveway and Mama herded all the girls into her car—two moms and a girl in the front—the rest of us squeezed into the backseat, knowing every mom in the neighborhood had been alerted. We were notorious delinquents.

Now a gang of silly 8th graders juggling trouble was no match for three angry mothers. Those little steel magnolia moms marched all ten of us into the principal’s office, made us confess, one-by-one, what we had done, and admit how sorry we were. And I’m sure we all knew we weren’t as sorry as we were going to be after school.

Before Mama left, she pulled me aside. “Make no plans for the next few weeks. We will discuss this when you get home.” Now her idea of discussing always resulted in a lickin’ for me and some hideous form of long-term punishment. She wagged her finger in my face. “If you don’t want to be in trouble, don’t be where trouble can happen.” She smiled big. “Just doin’ my God appointed job, girl—to be sure you aren’t where trouble can happen.”

But this incident, well over fifty years ago, and the hurtful words that young man said stuck to me like glue. I felt ugly for years after his stinky words, and trust me, words indeed hurt. My nose and those freckles became the bane of my existence. I felt sooo ugly. So worthless.

 

It took years for me to understand God created me the way I am for a purpose in His plan. And He loves me—long nose, freckles, and straight hair—regardless of what I’ve done in the past.

A few years back I heard a quote from Bill Gilham. “Satan speaks to us in first person singular, with a southern accent.”

My nature chooses to wallow in words spoken by others. I cling to them and rehearse them. And the evil one attempts to diminish my confidence in God by whispering those hurtful words in my ear. Left unchecked his lies hinder me from enjoying the richness, peace. and joy of my Lord Jesus.

But some of those offensive words originate in my own mind, and I punch replay again and again, adding to the original version until I convince myself these lies are also true.

How often have you looked in the mirror and heard the voice in your head snarl, “Girl, you sure are…” You fill in the blank. Now Satan can’t read your mind, but your mouth gives him enough information to know just where to aim those fiery darts.

The Word of God tells us we are to “Take every thought captive to the obedience of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NAS). In other words, we must freeze frame every troublesome thought, and those painful consequences of sins, either ours or those caused by the actions of others, and shine the spotlight of God’s wisdom to see where those thoughts originate—from God who created you and loves you enough to die for you? Or from the enemy of your soul whose goal is to destroy you?

How many times have you and I rehearsed those glued-on-words that convince us, We can’t–we aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough. When God clearly says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NAS). God wrote a Book of His words so we could choose right. But more often than not, we choose to believe the lie rather than the truth. Just like I did that Spring morning so long ago. I knew what was right, but I chose to ignore right and did wrong.  Consequences were certain. God forgives the sin, but consequences remain.

Before I became a mom, I came to understand the wisdom of my mom and her quirky sayings. By lying, skipping school, and traipsing off with a group of equally foolish young people—I did a very bad thing that placed me smack-dab in the middle where trouble could happen and the consequences haunted me for years.

DiAne Gates

What debilitating thoughts and actions from the past cause you to struggle? What bad things trail behind you like a knotted tail on a kite? We’ve all made wrong decisions, but we have a God whose “mercy is new every morning.” A God who loves us and forgives us.

It’s Spring! What better time to let the fresh wind and fire of the Spirit of God ignite a Spring cleaning in you?

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 NAS).

 

DiAne Gates – Author ROPED, Grace Awards Finalist – http://www.amzn.to/1XOJqiy

 

 

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Memorial

Yes, Memorial Day of 2016 has passed. But what will Memorial Day 2017 record about America? And it begins with you……

Ernie's Musings

memorial-day-wallpaper

And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:15)

In the United States, we set aside (consecrate, sanctify, make holy) Memorial Day to commemorate those who paid the ultimate price in the defense and preservation of our freedom. As is common with all “holy” days, the significance of the day wanes after one or two generations lost in habitual and meaningless traditions and mechanical ceremony. True, one will find gatherings here and there in honor of our fallen heroes, but the crowds are usually small and composed mostly of those whose loved ones are entombed beneath the sacred ground. But for the…

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