Sunday, April 26, 2015

Grateful...

Still reveling in the fact that Samuel's alive. That his scans have shown no evidence of disease (aka: no cancer growing). And I marvel at what God has done in Samuel and through him. I'm thankful for his tender heart and sensitivity and love for others. I stand in awe of God and with much gratitude for the good work God has done.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Libby's Power Verse

My Adventure Girl! 
Thank you Mrs. Rauth for helping
Libby find her power verse!


Friday, April 24, 2015

What's better than turning 7?

2 people turning 7!

The twins recently celebrated their 7th birthdays. They were so excited for their special day to come and we had a fun day full of ice-cream cones and going to a bounce house and spending time with some friends that we homeschool with. It was a great time. But one of my favorite parts was going to Starbucks and ordering whip cream cups... and the kids getting inspired to make their own "painted facial hair" concoctions- beards, mustaches, etc. We all laughed so hard!





Ian- birthday boy!
Michael- birthday boy!



Libby




Samuel
Peter

Monday, April 06, 2015

What to Say To a Grieving Person...

Lisa at GriefSpeaks also shares WHAT TO SAY to a Griever. I thought it would be helpful to know more than just what not to say but what is helpful to say.

It can be difficult to know what to say during the first contact with someone who has just suffered a loss.  Many avoid the griever because they lack the right words. There are no perfect words. Grievers are often appreciative for the quieter people who genuinely care and want to be with them.   Asking a grieving person how they are will usually get an "I'm fine" response. We are all pretty good at masking our feelings. Remember too not to "affirm" someone who is "doing so well" or "taking this so well". This often locks a person in to feeling that when they "fall apart" a few minutes, hours or weeks later, they will be letting those around them down. 
Your presence makes a difference. Sometimes just a hug or hand squeeze can express what you are feeling better than words.  Most grievers remember the people who stayed near them on the first day or so more than anyone's words. Often the best thing to do is to "show up, shut up and listen with your heart".  Grievers often need to just have us present and willing to simply listen.  It is okay to ask, "how did you hear" or "what happened?". Then be prepared to just listen. It is in the telling of our stories that the healing begins. Broken hearts are truly open hearts.
Show compassion. Compassion means opening your heart to another person and being truly present with the griever.  Set aside your own worries and needs and be available to him or her.  Often this means saying little or nothing at all.  


Helpful things to say to a griever:
I am sorry about your loss.

I am here for you.

I can't imagine what this is like for you.

Take all the time you need.

This must be very hard for you.

What's the hardest part?

How are you doing with all of this?

I'll call you tomorrow. (but only if you will)

I don't know why this happened.

It isn't fair.

I don't know what to say.









It is posted here.

What Not to Say to those experiencing loss and grief...

I find that in moments of crisis we all want to know the right thing to say and do. When it comes to grief and loss we want to be comforting. Sometimes it is helpful to know what NOT to say. I recently found this posted on Grief Speaks and wanted to share. I think it's very helpful and accurate from my personal experience of grief and loss.



Lisa at Grief Speaks wrote the following:

So often as well meaning friends, co-workers and loved ones , we don't know what to say to a person who has just experienced a loss so we say nothing at all. We fear saying the wrong thing. Grievers often feel abandoned by friends in the midst of their loss because of this. Although many of the following statements we may recognize that we have said to people, it is important to understand that these statements are often not helpful. Grief is about a broken heart, yet often we speak to people's intellect as opposed to their heart.   
Avoid cliches as well as these common platitudes:

Time heals all wounds. (Time doesn't heal all wounds, although healing takes time).

Try to look for the good in the situation. Be positive.

Your loved one is in a better place.  (There is no better place for my loved one than with me).

The Lord never gives us more than we can handle. (That is not how I feel right now).

Try not to cry. He or she wouldn't want you to cry.
I know how you feel.
 (I think this is the worst thing we can say, because we never really know how someone else feels. Tends to make grievers angry).

Everything will be okay. (Believe this for the person and hold on to hope, but tends to feel like you are dismissing someone's grief).

Let me know if I can do anything for you. ( Just show up and do something if you want to. Grievers often don't call to ask for help. Encourage them to have a list of chores, errands that need to be done so when people ask, they have something concrete to give them. People do enjoy doing for the grievers and it will give them something to do. Men especially prefer to be action oriented in their grief, so try to give the men something tangible to do).

You're still young. (You will meet someone else, have more children,,,)

It was God's will. (Many people already feel angry with God and this won't help at this time).

It all happened for the best. ( This can feel shockingly painful).

You can have other children. (Children can never, ever be replaced).

It is time to put this behind you. ( This is spoken to many children and teens by adults. There is no time line to grief. We all grieve in our own way and for as long as we need to. Children regrieve at each developmental stage. Grief really never ends, but it changes. The acute pain dissipates in time, yet on holidays, special days, and other times it can feel just as acute as when the loss first occurred. Alan Wolfelt calls this a  grief burst or others have said we are sometimes "ambushed by grief."

You have your whole life ahead of you(Many grievers don't even know if they can or want to go on another hour in this pain, so pointing out they have a whole life to live without their loved one is not helpful at all).

At least he or she is out of pain. (Well I am not).

Be strong. (We are telling people not to cry and to hold in their feelings).

Something good will come of this. (It probably will and even if it doesn't, most people would trade the good that came from it for the person they lost in a moment).

You can always remarry. (People are not replaceable).

There are other fish in the sea. (That was not a fish, but a person and I don't want another one, I want that one).

You can get a new dog, cat, bird.

Don't cry as it will upset your mother/father/sister/brother. (Creates a sense of guilt and a burden of responsibility).

He or she had a good life or a long life. (Maybe they did, maybe not but it wasn't long enough for me).

Now you are the man/woman of the house. (Heavy burden to place on a child or teen. This has caused much pain in many children and teens. Often the extent of these damaging words are not realized till years later. Often teen girls or boys not only deal with the loss of a parent, but also have to take on many more responsibilities around the house which often leads to feelings of resentment on top of their raw grief. They now need to deal with secondary losses and don't need us to tell them they are adults, when they are not).

If you think this is bad, I know a family...... (Please let's not compare, or minimize other's losses).

 Let me tell you about my own loss which is similar to yours. (There will be a time for you to share, but not right now. Your role is to listen and stay with the person's loss. When we bring the focus to ourselves, we leave the person in a real way. They want to not feel alone. Grief shared allows the person to feel some relief for a time before they need to gather it all up again and make it into tomorrow).

There is a reason for everything.

She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go.

She was so good, God wanted her with Him.

You can still have another child.

Aren't you over him yet, he has been dead for a while now.

She brought this on yourself (heard that often with my mom who smoked and died of lung cancer).

At least she lived a long life, many people die young.

Posted from here.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter, CT Scans & The Hope of Future Glory.

The past few days have been emotional for me. I have been broken by the tears that flow so freely around me. Grieving people. Those hurting for a family in our church who have been given such bitter news. What do you say to someone whose son has been given no survival rate with his diagnosis? And the people that know them and stand with them are full of pain and hurt, suffering with their friends and family.

We believe that God is healer and that He can perform Healing, miraculous healing. And yet, I also know that God's will is mysterious and bigger than what we can see. He knows perfectly. I believe that God will heal this precious boy wholly and fully... but here on earth? Or on the other side?

Last night was an opportunity to pray and worship with the family. And I walked away with the boy's mommy's tears in my pocket. I had cleared away her wet tissues and put them in my pocket. But it felt symbolic carrying her tears with me. Because she is so heavy on my heart. I ache with her Mama's heart.

I'm encouraged to see her Hope is in the Lord. Her Hope is in Jesus. And that is hard. How much easier is it to hope for our son's healing... This I know well.

Tomorrow Samuel has a CT scan and appt. with oncology. Once again we will wait, and try not to agonize in the wait, as to what news we will receive. I can honestly say, for the very first time, I don't feel fear. Not because I assume that all will be well and clear. I don't assume that. But because I truly believe to the core of my very being that I don't need to fear. God will sustain us, no matter what. Does that mean I have a guarantee that Samuel's cancer won't return? No. Do I hope that his cancer is gone forever- of course! But my Hope is in Christ. It is fixed on Him. Because only He is unshakeable. All other things can change.

Circumstances change. Health is not a guarantee, neither are finances, nor any human relationship. Neither is anything in this world that is temporary. Only God does not change. He is eternal. Ever faithful. Ever true. Ever good. And I rest in that truth tonight. Rest in the promise that His resurrection is a guarantee for my future resurrection.

Thank you Jesus! You died for my sins. You shed your blood. You paid the price. And you did NOT remain DEAD! You are ALIVE!!!! Thank you that you have given us a hope of eternity with you. That we don't need to fear what happens to our bodies. Not cancer, not accidents, not illness, not old age... we, who hope in you, who trust you for our salvation, we are secure in our hope.

For when we die, we are just passing through. Going to meet you on the other side. And to wait with you and with the saints of old for when you make all things new. For your Redemption of our bodies, of creation, of the Heavens and the Earth. Thank you for securing my son's future. He is in your hands.

So Happy Easter. May you know Jesus more deeply and fully in whatever road you walk, in wherever you are led and brought. May we take comfort in the words the angels told those women so many years ago,

                 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.

Amen and Amen!