3 weeks ago… A Thankful Heart



So much has happened within the past several weeks. I am just now getting to a place where I can actually sit down and write something other than, “hey guys, a little busy here!” There are so many thoughts going through my mind right now as I think back over these past weeks. I feel emotions ranging from sadness, disappointment, frustration, to joy, and gladness. I understand more how much life is a painful journey of letting go and allowing God to mold the hardest parts of my will. These past weeks have felt like a glorious breaking of every part of who I am.


We have gone from one big event to another major transition, all while being sick 4 out of the 6 weeks. Stress does that to your body after having endured so many long days. I have to admit that I am ready to be back to “normal” and actually get some rest. In the meantime, let me share with you a little part of my journey from 3 weeks ago.


I had 9 minutes left until I had to go on stage. I was doing my best to work through the vast majority of my nerves and excitement before Kids Convention was to officially begin. Earlier that day I had run into the arms of Jesus as a wave of extreme sadness and longing for my Mom came upon me. Kids Convention has been the closest to a personal dream coming true in my life. As a child I sang as often as I could. I had dreams of being a professional singer on tour around the world. When my world crumbled down on me with my own tragedy in high school, all my dreams were buried in their own graveyard. It was not until about 4-5 years ago, God was showing me how he wanted to take back from the enemy what he had stolen. My Savior, and Lord helped me take back my voice!


8 minutes were left before I needed to go on stage. There I was going to find my water bottle and put a cough drop in my mouth when an amazing woman asked me if I had any significant prayer points. It was then that the floodgates opened. In that moment, the longing for my Mom was beyond what I could hold within myself. My sciatica was also really causing me pain. As I cried and told her how I felt she put her arms around me.


7 minutes left before I needed to go on stage. As the tears fell, she anointed me with oil and prayed for my aching heart and hurting body. 6 minutes left and she still was not done. Inside I was thinking how my timing could not have been any worse. But the waves of grief do not ever come in good timing. I have had to work through feelings of guilt when it strikes at the worst of times. I made a conscious choice to cast the guilt aside from feeling this grief.


5 minutes were left and her prayer ended. It was in a sense a perfect timed prayer as I was able to run to my position and begin a weekend I will treasure in my heart forever. The tears were gone. Strength was renewed within my mind and body. And there I was using my voice against the enemy once again. I know that my amazing Mom was celebrating. I could imagine her doing her air punches with her lips firmly pressed together followed by a victory dance.


I am so thankful that I do not have to walk this life alone. Healing and grieving is a painful journey. There are times that it can feel dark. Other times you can feel overwhelmed. I am learning that even in the grief, and even in the pain, God is so much stronger. His goodness surpasses anything. His love furiously invades every aspect of life. Because of God there is so much beauty in the journey.


Thank you God for walking this journey with me. Thank you for the beauty.




Perceiving the New


My last post was about letting go. Since that time, I have realized on a deeper level how letting go is often a process and it can often come in different stages. But once you have let go of something completely, and God frees you from the pain, perceiving the new is so much easier. When pain is dragging you down it can make your eyesight a little cloudy. There are times when one small glimpse of the new is hard to focus on.

This weekend was a great weekend full of sorrow, and joy. I could not be more proud of my Dad. My Mom up in Heaven is so proud. God smiles like a proud Father. To see the new coming forth and being able to be a part of that is by far one of the greatest gifts in life. I could not be more grateful that God made it possible so that I could be a part of this new journey with my Dad being installed at a new church. Healing occurred this weekend.

As any healing process goes, you have to be willing to endure extreme moments of pain and sorrow. It can hit you in a rush and overwhelm you to the feeling of drowning. At the end of the rush, as long as you handle it correctly, your breath can return and a feeling of relief follows. With this relief, perceiving the new can become a celebration.

My Dad preached out of Isaiah 43. It is a perfect message about life. If you love and follow Jesus, this passage can pertain at any part of life. It is another passage that reinforces how we must never get stuck in the past or remain stagnant. It is evidence that you must continue living your life. You disobey and dishonor God when you stop growing and moving forward with him. You dishonor God when you do not move on. Because God is always up to new things. He is always working powerfully, you just have to stop looking back, and have eyes pointed in his direction, which is at the new, miraculous, glorious things that he is doing.

This weekend marked the new that God is doing in my Dad’s life, as well as part of the new for our family. And as hard as some things are because of the separation from our Mom, there is so much to celebrate. God is so good. He places the lonely in families. He restores the broken. He brings healing to pain. Because of him we can have joy amidst the sorrow. Laughter can become the best medicine. And when times of pain arise in the healing process, new breath and new life can begin to form, bringing forth hope.

You must let go of your past in order to “perceive the new”. Looking back does you no good. This does not mean that you cannot reminisce or talk about memories. Those are all ways to celebrate the people God gave to you. But looking back to keep things the same way, never willing to change or see things in a way that God desires, is wrong. To obey God, is to perceive the new. To obey God is to honor and uplift God. To obey God is to accept that you must change how you think about things and instead have the mind of Christ. That is how my Dad is living his life. I believe that any new change in his life will be a result of his obedience and love for God.

I believe that the new that has come and the new that is coming is cause for a celebration even if my heart still hurts and yearns for my Mom. It is a comfort to know that my Dad feels the same way. He loves my Mom. This is evident as he obeys God, perceives the new, and lives life full of love, and joy amidst the sorrow. He continues to honor her memory by choosing life and love. He continues to honor God by not only perceiving the new but also embracing it. Anyone who states otherwise I question your heart and motives. Anyone who says this is wrong needs to seriously do a proper study of Gods word.

Healing is a painful process but scripture never stated it must be done alone. Healing is a process. Letting go of the past must be done in order to move forward and perceive the new. Holding on never does anyone any good. Bitterness, a joyless, and a disobedient life is what you inherit by holding on. Letting go is actually where the truth about freedom and control can be experienced. Because in letting go, life is the greatest even amidst sorrow. Joy overflows. And God is there always to hold you close to his heart in a peaceful embrace. Holding on to have your own way is like a screaming child battling against his will, and pushing him away while he allows you to throw a fit. How pointless is that, right? God knows best. Let go. Perceive the new. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Obey.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)

“18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

I encourage you to read this entire chapter as it is pretty epic! God loves you and he knows what is best. Now, it is up to you to decide whether you truly trust him. Letting go shows that you do. By all means allow yourself to feel every feeling of sadness and pain but do not remain there. By all means weep and tell God why you are hurting so badly, but do not push him away.

He will give you strength for the healing process. He will not let you drown. He will restore new breath and replenish your soul. Joy is yours to choose and his arms are opened wide.

Living Life with My Hero.

Do you ever have moments in life where you just wish that you could fast forward? I am past the point of wanting to go back in time to relive the moments with my Mom and my family. To live in the past is to have no future. But there is also this other reality where if you just look to the future your present becomes invaluable.

I have to be honest with you for a moment here. There have been many moments in my life the past month with the holidays, that all I wanted was to not feel what I was feeling and to not be where I was. Grieving comes in huge tidal waves at times. There are moments where it feels like your feet have become unstable, and the shock from the cold water takes your breath away. It can consume you for a time and in that moment, all you want is to feel something good and be somewhere different.

But the important part of grieving is working through it, feeling every bit of everything that is inside you knowing that with time, things will get better. It is also so vital that you continue to live your life. To many people, they think that they must dwell in the past, and in essence stop living for a time. But the best way to give honor to anyone that you love that has passed away is to live life to the fullest. This means, continuing on serving God, loving and growing your families and learning the new you. This has no timetable, whether short or long.

One thing that I know for a fact is that my Mom would want us to enjoy life. She would not want us to stay in silence always looking back at our past with her. We can still honor her and remember her in every action that we do, while moving forward and choosing joy. Our future is not in our past with her. This gives her no honor if we stay there. It also gives her no honor if we tell others how to live or not live their lives as we move forward. I know that my Mom is being honored in how my Dad is living his life. In fact I can guarantee you that not only is she smiling in joy knowing that he is not alone, but God is smiling proudly with how my Dad is living so honorably. I have huge respect for how my Dad is living. I could not be anymore proud of him! He’s my hero.

When I get told that I am not honoring my Mom or that I have not changed one bit, I am now at a place where I can say what a blatant lie that is. I can say with no doubt in my mind, and with full confidence in my heart, that those are all lies because of who I have become in Christ. I am not the same person that I was many years ago let alone even a month ago. God is refining parts in me that I did not even know needed care. I know a lie when I see one and it no longer causes me to feel the need to prove those people wrong. I have no need to. The evidence is how I live my life. So my simple reply is, “I forgive you.” This is vital because forgiveness is a process and often comes with a constant care of choosing forgiveness when pain can arise within again.

And pain does arise, especially when our families are at a place of allowing new people in and we learn who we are becoming. I wholeheartedly support my Dad. He is on a new adventure full of grief and sorrow as well as new joy, a new beginning and a new life with an amazing woman. My Mom is up in Heaven rooting, “Way to go Ed! You are living the way I wanted you to without me. We knew this day might come. It is okay. I understand. Keep on living. Laugh more. Love more. Forgive more. Cherish every moment with our kids. Cherish every moment with the woman that I prayed would come into your life.” But more importantly I know how proud God is of my Dad.

With that said and with Gods word, there really is no way to argue against that. Live life. Choose life. Choose love. Make God proud.

The Gift At Our Doorstep

I woke up this morning full of memories. Christmas Eve. It is a time that so many happy and joyous moments flood my mind. But this morning my mind played a trick on me. I fully expected to wake up to a phone call with the sound of my Mom’s voice over the phone, full of excitement. I know that this is a normal occurrence during grieving. It sucks. Because after the fact, reality hits you in the gut like a two by four and you find yourself hunched over in tears, with a pain that no one else can see. In that moment it feels unbearable. In that moment, you ask yourself how you are going to make it through Christmas.

For those of you in similar situations my heart goes out to you. I pray for you to feel God’s love for you in the moment-by-moment journey. He carries you.

Even though the journey is very hard, there is still so much to be thankful for. Let me share with you a God moment that I had last night.

After a long day of cleaning, baking, and art making, I was tired and busily attempting to get more done before the Eve of Christmas. My hands were thick in the perfectly delicious and addictive Oreo truffles that I make every year. I have always loved getting my hands dirty and being able to lick the mess off of my fingers makes it that much more enjoyable! My amazing (as well as hott, hott, hott) husband was having me hide myself in the kitchen while I was mixing these truffles together so that he could wrap my present. He had just come back inside after getting my gift out of his truck (this is the first year we have been able to get gifts for each other… yippee!).

He said, “Be prepared. I think that we will have carolers.”

And I respond, “Really? Do we know these carolers?”

So there I was, my hands were covered in this delicious mess and I heard the most beautiful sound. Carolers with voices like angels!

I attempted to clean my hands quickly but when you have such a delicious, gooey mess, it generally takes longer. I was so excited!

When I made it outside the people had faces that I knew. They were not some strange group (although, some may argue that point. Lol!). These were genuine friends, who have helped walk us through one of our hardest journeys here. Jeremy and I both know how much they care. Their hearts love Jesus.

I was overcome with gratefulness and a mingling of sorrow as memories flooded my mind. But mostly I was overcome with the overpowering flood of love that I felt in that moment. I was unable to keep my tears at bay. I wept long after they left.

You have to understand something here. Earlier that day I had been having a conversation with God as I was art making to cheesy Christmas movies. I remember talking to him about how Christmas has changed. As a kid one of my favorite things to do, as well as see, were carolers. Why did it seem like that tradition had gone away?

I told God how I missed that part of Christmas. I missed the genuine action of people doing simple actions for others. I missed seeing groups of people singing door to door, even if they were off key (although this bunch were not). It was a matter of the heart. The heart of Christmas is Jesus. I saw and experienced this through caroling (I know. Go figure!)

This may seem like it is no big deal to you but to me it is a small piece of Christmas that I feel reveals a piece of Heaven.

God knew. He sent me carolers last night. It revealed his heart for me. It confirmed his unchanging love for me. It was a small detail. Carolers. But he knew just how much it would matter to me. He knew how much it would touch my heart.

To the family that came, please know just how much it meant to me that you came as carolers. It was one of the best Christmas gifts you could have ever given me. God has used you greatly in our lives and we are so grateful for you. Thank you!

God, thank you for loving us so deeply! Thank you for bringing your heart of love into our home, into our hearts, and last night right at our doorstep. Thank you for giving us Jesus.

Please give Mom a hug from me.

We love you.

Our hearts are yours.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Addressing the Poo Poo and the Importance of When “Jesus Wept”

One of the things that I have realized after going through a loss of someone so close is the natural tendency to want to get out of those dark days of sadness. And to make it worse, our “Christian” culture has sometimes made it unsafe to be grieving. Or in one way of saying it, our culture does not allow grieving like it used to. I am unsure which one came first: the church following our culture, or the culture following the church. To that, I say a bunch of poo poo… yes, I said, poo poo. I could have said a mingling of other words but I am choosing to remain calm today (just writing this out makes me laugh out loud).

To be perfectly clear, I have only had minimal criticism in this way. But because of that criticism it made me reflect and observe the natural tendencies of some places where grieving should be allowed, and allowed without judgment from others. It technically should be allowed anywhere since the grieving process is often filled with an unexpected journey of tears that strike in the most inopportune moments. It should be allowed in your home, in your friendships (you will find out who sincerely loves and cares for you during this time), in your marriage and appropriately even at your job. It definitely should be allowed at church.

To be treated and told in more ways than one that you must be doing something wrong, lacking faith and/or not obeying God correctly because you are grieving and struggling with the separation that death brings, is the most absurd thing that I have ever witnessed and heard. To anyone who believes this I challenge you to look at the life of Jesus. Out of any man in this life, he showed us how to continue on obeying God while still grieving. Because of who he was (and who he still is), he was able to do miraculous acts after raising the dead as a statement of the victory that he would bring over death from his own sacrifice on the cross.

For a ladies Bible study I researched the passage in John 11 where “Jesus wept”. That is a legit scripture right there people! It is found in John 11:35. Why did Jesus weep you might ask? He wept because of the deep grief he was feeling for the loss of his good friend Lazarus and the loss he saw Mary and Martha experience. Grief is multi layered. It is not a cut and dry experience. With the loss of someone so close it is more than just the loss of the person. Everything changes. Families change, relationships change, and the way life was, will never be the same, ever again.

I understand this because with the passing of my Mom, I have to grieve the loss of who my Dad was with my Mom. I am having to process the ongoing grief of the loss of who our family was with her around. I am changing. All of us have been forced to change. My relationship with my husband is changing. It literally is one of the most challenging things to wrap my mind around, especially with the holidays.

Anyways, lets get back to Jesus!…

Jesus loved Lazarus deeply. He also loved Mary and Martha deeply. There were multiple layers of grief going on here within Jesus, the Son of God. Really? In this passage we can see but a brief insight into the grief that Jesus experienced himself. Mary knew who Jesus was, which was why she said in verse 32 of John 11, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Can you imagine what Jesus had to have felt, knowing how true her words were? Can you imagine what was going through his mind knowing the pain that Mary was experiencing while she was saying them? Every grieving person goes through the “if only” and “what if” questions. Jesus experienced this first hand. He felt her pain while he was feeling his own.

What I love the most is Jesus’ response to Mary in the next several verses:

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.” (John 11:33-35 ESV).

Jesus, God made flesh wept because of the grief he felt and also witnessed in others. This man named Lazarus was a dearly loved friend of Jesus. This was heartfelt, deep sorrow that Jesus was experiencing with those who were grieving in that moment. Lazarus had been dead for four days. Mary and Martha were already on the course to readjust living their lives in a new way. Jesus could have chosen to immediately raise Lazarus from the dead, but he did not.

To me this reveals the human side of Jesus. Why? Because Jesus took the time to grieve. He took the time to weep with those who were weeping (yes, this is also another scripture found in Romans 12:15). He took the time to mourn with them.

The next passage gives us insight into the reason why God came as a man. It is where God triumphs over death, which reveals the greatest act yet to come from Jesus himself for all mankind, found in the gospels. The next passage begins again with a similar theme where it says, “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.” (John 11:38a).

Did you catch that? He was deeply moved not once, but twice! Can you believe it? Jesus, who was about to raise Lazarus from the dead; the one who was going to conquer sin and death for anyone who would accept him after dying on the cross, was deeply moved when he got to the tomb of Lazarus. Let’s just pause right there for a moment. Let that sink in…

Out of everyone on earth, don’t you think that Jesus would have been able to just charge right in there without a tear knowing that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead? He also knew that his death and resurrection would mean victory over sin and death. But yet he still grieved in that moment.

It says in Isaiah 53:3 that, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” So, if you are being despised because of grieving. If you are being told that you need to work harder to get over it. Or if someone has the nerve to tell you that you lack faith because of the grief that you are currently going through, understand this:

Jesus mourned and grieved himself and he still brought glory and honor to God. Grieving has nothing to do with faith, lack of it or mountains full of it. As seen through the example of Jesus, love in human form, when centered in God, can still mourn, grieve, and weep while making a huge impact for God’s kingdom.

We also have this scripture to hold onto as well, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4,5).

The death and resurrection of Lazarus reveals so much about Jesus being both man and God in one. It reveals a heart of love and understanding of anything and everything that we go through. Take heart dear child of the King. God will carry you through every high and every low point of your life. He still weeps with you. What a beautiful, powerful image of God.

All scripture verses were from the ESV Study Bible published by Crossway.

Thanksgiving: Beauty Amidst Sorrow

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I will be perfectly honest with you and tell you that for me, the anticipation of the Thanksgiving Holiday was much more difficult than the actual day. Questions would go through my mind about how we were going to be able to handle the day without our Mom. Initially, Mom and Dad were not going to be able to be a part of Thanksgiving this year due to serving in Dominica. But it was the reality that we would never have this day with Mom as a part of it that created such turmoil. I cried everyday prior to Thursday. I would wake up in a deep sadness and go to bed with a similar ache. But Thanksgiving morning came and I was doing much better than I had anticipated.

There was joy in being able to pick up our 6-year-old daughter knowing that we were going to bake in the kitchen together. Some of my fondest memories with my Mom were in the kitchen. Not every Mom or woman in the kitchen would do such a thing. The kitchen for my Mom was a place of love not a place of ownership. Because these times with her were so precious, my dream was to do the same with my daughter. And I have to say that this year it was so healing for us to bake pumpkin pies. My daughter would ask me, “Did Grandma Carrie teach you this?” and I would reply, “Yes, she did. And that is why I want to teach you.” Her eyes would light up and she would smile from ear to ear.

It is moments like these that help all of us to be able to grieve in a healthy way.

Thanksgiving week seemed to be a refining time for my heart. The past several months have presented challenges and other heartaches. God has somehow increased his measure of love within my heart for others, especially those who have hurt me during this journey. I know that there are many who simply say things because they do not understand. But there is such a thing as empathy and compassion for others who are grieving and doing their best to work through the grief while living their lives. This Thanksgiving God was able to bring me around full circle. He helped me to realize that most often, those who inflict pain upon others have hidden wounds and pains themselves. This is not a new fact for me. But God gave me a deeper understanding of such things.

God has been teaching me so much about the hurting. Because of what I have been experiencing through my own journey of grief, God has been helping me walk others through similar pain. I never would have these new tools and insights had I not been on this journey. There can be so much beauty amidst such sorrow.

My Mom was an amazing gift. She graced this earth with obedience and love to God that many would never be willing to give simply because of their own selfishness. Through her death, we saw the ultimate sacrifice. Even though there is pain in the separation, there still is so much beauty.

Having made it through Thanksgiving, gratefulness overflows out of my heart for God. He has blessed us so much. He has taken care of us in our time of need. He has given us many more moments with our Dad whom, had things gone differently, would still have been serving on the island of Dominica. God continues to reveal through our mess that life is still so beautiful!

There is so much to be thankful for.

Thank you God!

We love you!

Thanksgiving: my thoughts on grieving and why I am thankful

This week has been interesting. The anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday has been an up and down journey. By now I have become used to the interesting face of grief, even if I wish it were not there. Any writing that I do is normally a healing form of processing every feeling, and thought. These run rampant and can often change without a moment’s notice. From the grief books as well as talking with others who have had their own loss, this is all normal.

In light of Thanksgiving, I truly wish the best time for each of you. There is so much to be thankful for. If you find yourself struggling through the loss of someone dear to you, know that you are allowed time to grapple and struggle. If the holidays bring pain from a loss, know that there are many who pray for you. I know that I am. Even though there are some days that may seem so hard that I wish the day would just end, I am thankful for this journey. This journey helps me to understand those suffering losses so much better. It provides an instant connection with someone else that I may have only met that day. We can come together in the loss and pain, with the understanding that there are no words needed since we are going through the same journey, separate, yet together. How beautiful is that? When half the nation seems torn right now, rioting against brothers and sisters, we can still come together, even amidst our differences and just be present, praying for our hurting hearts.

Beauty often comes after a harsh, long, and tiring journey, where victory comes from endurance, faithfulness, and remaining true to Gods calling on your life. The journey of grieving has beauty written all over it, especially when one is willing to face it head on, walk through it, and acknowledge that it will be there for a lifetime. This does not mean that you lack faith. If anything it acknowledges the great faith you have to be able to endure such heartache and still trust in God. Keep your eyes to the heavens. God is there while you cry. He understands a life of sorrow. Jesus lived it. If you do not believe me, look up the prophecies about Jesus, as well as his time in ministry. He wept. He suffered the loss of his own earthly father. He let grief go, which meant that he felt it, worked through it, and continued to live life through the heartache. He just understood eternity and heaven much better since he was also God in human flesh.

This then makes me think how much grace and understanding God gives to us during our time of grief. I know that I am much harder on myself. This comes partially from the lack of understanding from others, so I feel like I should be doing much better than I am. I am thankful that God understands. I am thankful that God knows my heart. He knows your heart as well. This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful that God is trustworthy. He has carried us all through some of our hardest, and darkest moments. When we are at our worst, he still loves us so much. I am thankful that he holds me when I feel like giving up on everything just because the pain in my heart is overpowering reason. I am thankful he never gives up on me. He is always there. He has never left me when uncontrollable tears start to flow.

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you know how loved and valued you are.

The End of the Journey at the Hospital in Fort Pierce

After our meeting with the Doctor we all had agreed upon allowing Mom to heal here on this earth without any further intervention. We knew that either decision she would not survive long unless God chose to miraculously restore her body. It was with this knowledge, that saying, “see you later” was the hardest to do. My last few hours with her were very precious. I had a hard time with the fact that this might be the very last time I was ever with my Mom.

During that time I was able to say those precious things that I needed her to know. I needed her to know that it was fine for her to run into Jesus’ arms. I needed her to know that God was answering her prayers. I needed her to know just how big of a spiritual mentor, leader, friend, and Mom she was to all of us, especially to me. I needed her to know so many things that were pouring from deep within me that no words seemed good enough. Yet, I still told her over and over. The hardest part was leaving her there, knowing that I would never hear her say my name again, or being able to embrace her and share a cup of coffee. I had to say “goodbye” to one of my best friends.

Leaving my Dad at the hospital was brutal. I had moments during my workdays where I literally could not think about anything other than my Dad who was once again alone in the hospital with my Mom. Several days went by and we were informed that my Mom was put on hospice care. She remained comfortable without any life support. We knew that her time was short. The term “short” had different meanings to each of us. I was unsure she would live much longer than a few days.

On the beautiful, warm, Florida morning of August 7th, just as the sun was rising, my Mom breathed her last breath as my Dad held her hand and watched. She had not even made it a full 24 hours without life support. She was now running into the arms of Jesus, her Savior whom she loved with her whole entire being. She was able to hold her precious baby that she so longed to bring forth into this life. She was reunited with family members and friends. She was healed. She was radiant.

I received the news while at a youth camp at 3 am. It was odd to receive news that I knew would eventually be coming my way. At the same time, the message that we had prepared for the youth, was only made much more impactful by her death. I was willing to lay my heart in front of those kids in order for them to understand the vast love God has for us. Mom showed us that with her life as well as in her death.

From that day on life was a whirl. We had tons of support from many people we did not even know. Somehow we were able to get all of the arrangements done in time for her funeral on August 19th. Work during that time was a struggle and my days were much longer just so that I could get everything done. My mind was having a hard time focusing so I would often work for 2-3 hours and then get up and move for 5-10 minutes. If I needed to, I would work at a coffee shop when I was not working from home or from the office. I was doing what I could to still minister well and work through my own grief.

Today, days are still hard. In some sense I would say that I know that I definitely need a break. I never took any bereavement time. I never took any extra days off. So here I am, holidays coming, draining myself of energy well spent. Yet my heart aches with the grief of losing my own Mom. I cry more often and allow myself to be fine with the reality that I will still cry more than I ever thought I could. I am allowing myself to grieve. It feels good to allow myself to grieve despite the agonizing heartache it takes to do so.

Please pray for our family. It has not yet been 4 months since Mom entered Heaven. The holidays are upon us and we do not know what these days look like. We appreciate your support and any grace given during this time. We need safe people who will let us be ourselves as we learn more of who we are in this process. And above all, together, let us thank God for blessing us with those near and dear to us.

Thank you to each of you who helped give money so that we could be together in Fort Pierce! We needed that time together.

Thank you God for Mom!

Thank you God for a Dad who loves you and is a great example to us!

Thank you God that you form and knit families together.

We love you, great and mighty King!

Candles. Grieving #2 and #3

I just lit candles all over my house. This is something that always reminds me of Mom.

We grew up with a Mom who had an addiction to candles. I remember going to stores with her and both of us saying that we would not even look down the candle aisle knowing that if we did, we would come away with more candles than we needed. In fact, Mom would have candles in a storage container in a closet that she always had ready. This candle addiction meant that most chilly nights the lights would be turned out and candles lit everywhere. Happy memories come from the soft glow and wonderful scents of candles. Sometimes, as I light them, I will cry. Other times I smile. Most of the time it is a mingling of both.

As we continue to live our lives without our beautiful Mom, I continue to learn from this journey. It is a painful yet beautiful journey.

It puts life into perspective. It has shown me a part of God that touches my heart so deeply that no words can describe it.

Here are #2 and #3 of my notes for grieving:

  • Take time to focus on yourself. Because of what happens in the grieving process, taking care of your body, and spiritual well-being is of vital importance. I am constantly learning what this looks like. I often have to say, “no, thank you” to invites especially when I have not had time to process and decompress from the week. Long showers, drinking more water, putting on special lotion, and heating up a neck wrap are all ways that make me feel like I am taking care of myself.

  • Cry and cry some more. Have Kleenex boxes all over the house. It is okay. Just let the tears flow and go eat a little bit of dark chocolate.

God is what makes life beautiful. He grieves with you. Let him hold you today. Go light some candles on these cold, wet, dreary days. Hope.

Daily Insight: Grieving #1

The holidays are steadily on their way. People are making plans with their loved ones. It is a time that is meant to be so full of joy and happiness. I say those two words because there is a difference between the two. It is a strange thing to feel joy even when ones heart is so broken and aching. I still have joy even though I may not have feelings of happiness.

The other day I woke up around 6 am and felt emotional pain that took my breath away. It was as if my mind had finally slowed down enough to feel every little thing that has happened these past three to four months. I have been so busy that it can get hard to focus on my own grieving. This is one of the major reasons why I am writing about my own journey. It is a way that can help me grieve as life does not give me much chance to slow down.

Grieving is hard work! Literally your body secretes more cortisol, which zaps the energy right out of you and dehydrates your body. Based on my own journey I would like to share my insights on grieving so far.

Grieving #1:

  • Give yourself permission to grieve:  Our culture does not acknowledge loss like it used to. We do our best to cover it up with other things. When I get too busy, I have to slow myself down and make time to process everything that is going on.

If you are going through your own grieving process make sure to go easy on yourself and allow yourself permission to grieve. There will be plenty of people to criticize you but you need to heal. It will be better for you if you work on this as it comes rather than stuffing it down.

You are not alone. You have a God who loves you. He holds you as you cry. Even in the grieving God is doing something incredibly beautiful!