Archive for the ‘bereavement’ Category

There are thousands and thousands of words in the English language, but isn’t it funny how we still can’t find the right ones sometimes.

If a friend is hurt or upset by someone else it’s not easy to know how to make them feel better about themselves.

When someone is bereaved it can be hard to know what to say to them, not because we don’t care, but because we understand their pain and heartache.

Likewise, when struggling with life in general, telling someone just to ‘give themselves a shake’ or ‘snap out of it’ is not helpful, however it doesn’t make finding the right words any easier either.

When we are that person I described above who’s in need of help or support, it can difficult for us also to find words to explain how we feel. Unfortunately others can’t fully understand our feelings/emotions or what’s in our heart if we can find the words to express them. However God can!

Even when we are silent and find we have no words of prayer to say to God, He knows and understands what’s in our heart and on our minds. He will therefore take those unspoken prayers and answer them in His own way and in His own time.

Here’s a song which expresses all those thoughts/feelings perfectly:

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never very easy – Whether it’s saying farewell to them at train or bus station, or the airport; or leaving home for the first time to live on your own or go to university.

There are of course other far more difficult situations that we sometimes have to cope with, such as leaving a loving one in hospital, a care home or a hospice, knowing it’s unlikely they will ever come home again.

Then there is of course the worst of all, when we have to say our final farewells to a loved one when they pass way, that can be one of the most difficult things any of us ever have to deal with.

So how to we get through those times? We trust God.

Whatever the situation, God will watch over our loved ones, just as he watches over us, so trust God!

 

There’s a song I’ve used several times in the last few weeks that talks about our beliefs as Christians. The song is called We Believe and it was written and performed by the Newsboys.

I make no apology for using the song again today, as ever since I came across it again a couple of weeks ago, I’ve found the words and the melody of this song going through my mind almost constantly.

On days when I’ve felt down, just listening to the words/melody again have brightened the day. On days when I felt there was no point in doing specific things, listening to the words/melody have given me more energy. On days when I’ve felt alone and missing my Mum and Dad, even then this song has helped as it’s reminded me that Mum believed – and because they brought me up in the Salvation Army, I too believe, and therefore I know I will see them both again someday.

I believe, do you?

Out of sight, out of mind.

For some things this is definitely true, but when it comes to those we love, they are definitely not out of our mind when they are not around.

Whether we have loved ones who are working far from home or moved to another country, they are in our mind, even if we don’t speak to them as often as we used to do.

For those loved ones who have passed away, they too are definitely not far from our mind even although they are no longer here. If anything they are on our mind more, because we miss them, and wish we could have more time with them.

Do we feel the same when it comes to our friends, neighbours, colleagues and fellow christians? In other words, if we don’t see any of these people one day, do we just ignore that and carry  on, not bothering to check they are ok, or do we keep them in our mind, check up on them, and pray for them?

Don’t let anyone you know fall out of your thoughts just because you don’t see them as regularly as you used to.

There is only one certainty about life, and that is death.

The death of a loved one will touch us all at some time in our lives. And when it hits us, we all cope with grief in a different way, and for different lengths of time.

Grief isn’t something that can easily be described, as it’s different for everyone – some people take years to work through their grief, others take a few months, while some are able to acknowledge their loss and move on almost immediately.

Even then though, you may find times when you think you’ve worked through your grief, but the next moment it’s right there in front of you staring at you, and wrapping itself around you again.

No matter how hard you try not to let grief take over your life, it will demand you feel it and acknowledge it. There may be days when you’ve made it through the day without your grief, but then the second your head hits the pillow, your grief comes flooding back and it lies heavy on your heart all night.

Grief is natural, but have you noticed how no-one really knows what to say to you when you’re grieving, even though all you want is for someone just to hug you or hold you while you let your grief pour out.

Grief is natural, but when you’re experiencing it, it can seem like the hardest thing you’ve ever had to deal with. Grieving shows us just how deeply we care about or loved the person who has died. It may even be that it’s their death that actually makes us realise just how much they meant to you.

Don’t let another day pass without realising how much those around you truly mean to you, because when they are gone, you will never get another chance to tell them just what they mean to you.

In days when there seems to be almost daily reports of man deliberately killing their fellow-man, it can be difficult to remember that in amongst all these events, God is still here.

It’s therefore our responsibility of those of us who confess to being Christians, to continue to remind the world that God is still here, and that despite the evil that man continues to inflict on others, good can still overcome evil.

There is still hope!

Ten thousand years may pass away
And bring the dawning of a cosmic day;
Age after age, time after time hold its sway:
Man walks alone, amidst uncertainty,
Only one thing can still make him strong;
In the pain, in the doubt, in the loneliness.
In the struggle of right against wrong:
Somewhere amidst the confusion,
There will be hope, there will be love, there will be God

All time will pass into eternity
And man must venture on a life unknown:
Journey alone, each to his own destiny:
In life or death, amidst uncertainty,
Only one thing can still make him strong:
In the pain, in the doubt, in the loneliness,
In the struggle of right against wrong:
Somewhere amidst the confusion,
There will be hope, there will be love, there will be God

If God called you home today, do you think you’d be ready to go?

I guess for many, regardless of when we are ultimately called to be with our Maker, it may always feel just a little bit too soon for us. e.g. Maybe we don’t want to leave our family, maybe there are tasks we still want to achieve, or some other things we want to still do.

I wonder if Jesus felt it was too soon for Him to be going home that first Easter – Whether he wished he could have stayed longer. Even if Jesus would have preferred to have stayed on earth longer, He still willingly went to the cross because he knew it was His time. It was His time to save the world!

Just as when Jesus died that first Easter, it was the ‘right time’ for Him, it will be the ‘right time’ for us when we are called, because it’ll be God who has called us home.

I love the following song, Ready To Go Home, here performed by Morten Harket, which is about being ready to go home to God.

Ready To Go Home

On the street below these walls
Where I used to walk
Now I can barely crawl
All this darkness rising tall

Lord, shine a light for me
I’m waiting to be called

I’m ready to go home
I’m ready to receive
Forgiveness for my sins
I’m ready to begin

Take this river to the sea
Where the delta flows
The tide is washing over me
Take this soul to heaven’s door

Show me where tomorrow lies
I’m waiting to be born

I’m ready to lay down
I’m ready now to sleep
A promise I must keep
I’m ready to go home

So tired, I lay down with these
Memories
I breathe shallow deep inside of me
If time has run its course with me…

I’m ready to go home
I’m ready to receive
Forgiveness for my sins
I’m ready to begin

I’m ready to lay down
I’m ready now to sleep
A promise I must keep
I’m ready to go home

In the UK, today is Mother’s Day, so for many today is day to say thank you to our Mum’s for all they have done/do for us, and just generally spoil them for at least today!

For those of us whose mother’s have passed away, the lead up to Mother’s Day with all the adverts on TV can be difficult, nevermind Mother’s Day itself when all around there are people celebrating with their Mums. It can also be a difficult day for those who have wanted children but who for whatever result, have been unable to have children.

A couple of months ago we went to the Liv On concert with Amy Sky, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Olivia Newton-John. Here’s some of what their website tells us about this project:

The LIV ON Project and CD came to fruition the way many of the best collaborations do…via a series of conversations between friends about what matters most in life: Love, loss, hope and healing.

All three had endured profound, life-altering losses and yet each remained committed to one thing: a desire to transform individual grief into healing via music… for all.

This very special collection of songs will help lift the hearts of others going through their own hardship, whatever the cause.

The songs on the “LIV ON” CD take the listener on a journey of remembrance, toward one of inspiration and hope.

As well, the three mega-stars have created several brand new songs, including the title track, “Live On,” which born of their own exploration into the pain of loss, the growth that follows and eventually, the journey toward renewed joy.

“We found that any time we shared a vulnerable part of us, we felt such an overwhelming feeling of kinship and relief… that we were not alone with our pain. We hope these songs that came from the depths of us, will offer a place of comfort to others.” ~ Olivia Newton-John

I found the words and the music of all the songs presented at the concert very inspiring, so I just wanted to share with you today the title track from the Liv On CD, entitled Live On:

Live On by Amy, Olivia and Beth

I’m waking up this morning
Grateful for the gift of one more day
The light of hope is dawning
It fills my heart and lifts my fears away
Sometimes there’s a miracle just beyond the pain
When you can see the rainbow in the rain

Live on, live on
Brighter skies will come again
Cry the tears you cry and then live on, live on
Love is all we leave when we are gone live on

We’ve shared so much together
Think of all the mountains we have climbed
Sorrow joy and laughter
Woven through the tapestry of time
Even as we’re letting go we will not lose faith
All the precious memories we make

Live on, live on
In the hearts of those we touch
All the dreams inside of us live on, live on
Love is all we leave when we are gone live on

Live on, live on
More than just survive my friend
We learn how to thrive and then live on, live on
Shining like the words inside this song, live on

Love is all we leave when we are gone live on
In every heart of those we touch
In every dream that means so much
Yes I believe that all of us live on

2016 is almost over – For me for a change it’s been a year of no specific highs or lows!

Let’s have a look back over this year:

As far world events are concerned there’s been a lot of major tragedies, with many losing their lives. There have also been many celebrities from the world of tv/film and music who have passed away, causing much comment around the world about the number of celebs that 2016 has lost. For me it is sad how many celebs have died, but I’m not quite getting the huge outcry about it, as there are many friends and family who have also been devastated by the death of loved ones, and so my heart goes out to everyone who this year have lost a loved one.

What about from a spiritual perspective, how has 2016 been for you?

  • Relationship_with_GodHas it been a year where your relationship with God has grown or declined?
  • Have you prayed regularly?
  • Have you listened to what God has to say to you in this last year?
  • Have you said “yes” to all God has asked you to do this year?
  • When difficult times have come along during, did you turn to God for help immediately, or wait until turning to God was your last resort?
  • Have you done your best to tell others about Jesus?
  • Has God been at the centre of all you’ve done in 2016?
  • If you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above questions, well done, you’re obviously doing the best you can to be a good example of Christ to those you encounter.

Sadly, I guess if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us, including me, will find we did not answer “Yes” to all those questions, but answered either “No” or “Sometimes” to at least one or two of these questions.

The good news is, no matter what we answered to those questions, we can make 2017 the year we answer “Yes” to all these questions by simply by trusting God to help us in every part of our life, not just the parts we’re choose to let Him into.

So as 2017 draws near, draw closer to God and let Him into every part of your life.

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know you are near

Different time

Posted: December 19, 2016 in bereavement, Christmas, family, Health, hope, life, music, religion
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Last week in one of my posts I talked about how Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for those who are missing someone. There’s one Christmas song which has always touched me because of how it talks about the ones we miss at this time of year, and that’s Mark Schultz song A Different Kind of Christmas which he wrote in honour of his father-in-law who passed away four years ago.

I hope you find this as beautiful and moving as I do: