February 29, 2016

Grief: Finding Hope in God’s Word and Prayer

My heart aches with grief today. This past week I’ve walked alongside dear friends and families reeling from the loss of a child. One a precious six-year-old boy and another a twenty-year-old young man with a promising future ahead of him. Both deaths unexpected. Tragic. Devastating.

How can I come alongside my friends? I’ve never walked this road. I’ve never lost a child. I can only imagine because I have two of my own.

The desire to comfort filled my heart, but the words just didn’t come. When they did, they seemed trite. Insufficient for a grief so great. So I went to the One who has comforted me in my darkest times.

God reminded me of truths from His Word.

Timeless truths.

Promises that transcend circumstances.

Healing words.

Hope-filled words.

Words that are living and active and penetrating (Hebrews 4:12).

Words that promise not to return empty when spoken and prayed (Isaiah 55:11).


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“The LORD heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“[B]ut those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3a

And then He gave me this prayer …

Abba Father, when I try to understand the loss of a child, it seems senseless, even cruel. It seems troublesome in my sight until I bring it to You … till I come into Your sanctuary, then I remember that nothing comes into our lives that has not first passed through Your hands (Psalm 103:19, Psalm 139:1-18).

Father, lead  these broken parents consumed by pain, grief, and hurt to You, the One who created their child and loves him more than anyone ever could.

I ask that during this time of deep grief, You supply all their needs according the riches of Your glory found only in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Thank You for Your promise that as they draw near to You that You will come near to them (James 4:8).  Surround them with Your loving kindness. Thank You that Your compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Father, thank You that those who wait for You will gain new strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not be tired, they will walk and not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31).  We pray these promises, Father …  for them to walk in Your strength, to be lifted on the wings of Your angels, to be carried by Your love.
Thank You for Your promise that Your eyes range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to You. Draw close to them now (2 Chronicles 16:9). Minister to them as only You can do.
We stand on this promise for this family:  ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Their devastating loss seems to make absolutely no sense. A life cut short before it’s fully lived. But in Your plan, Lord, somehow it does. We cannot see it or understand right now. But I boldly ask that in their sorrow, pain, and grief, as they seek You, may they find You in a way they never have before. And I ask that You uphold them with Your MIGHTY right hand.  Let them trust in Your plan even though right now seems senseless.  
Remind them that, although it may feel like it now, NOTHING will ever separate them from Your love, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither things present nor in the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth or anything in all creation will ever separate them from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus their Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Thank You, Father, that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You will not despise (Psalm 51:17).  Father, meet them in their brokenness, fill them with love, slowly pick up the pieces and begin to put them together to make a new thing of beauty, whatever that looks like to You, Father.
Father, give them courage and strength to believe this promise:  DO NOT BE AFRAID OR DISMAYED FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO (Joshua 1:9).  And Father, no matter where they are or who they are with, as the grief settles may they see You and experience You. Protect their hearts from well-meaning but hurtful words. Place Your ministering angels around every corner so they know You are with them.
Help me and all those who love and care for them continue to devote ourselves to praying for them. Prompt us and make our spirits sensitive to pray.  Whenever we think of this child, hear his name, see his school or something he loved, whatever is it is You bring to our hearts, REMIND us to pray for these parents and this family. Thank You, Father, what is impossible with men, is possible with You (Luke 18:27).
Finally, Father, we take comfort in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:  ‘Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we FIX OUR EYES ON NOT WHAT IS SEEN BUT WHAT IS UNSEEN since what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal.’ I ask all this in Jesus’ most precious and powerful name. Amen.

My sweet friends, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share what burdens my heart today. I pray God uses it to bring comfort and hope to you as well.

If you have a family who needs this prayer, please feel free to share it. And if you are one who has lost a child and needs prayer today, please leave your name so we can pray for you.

**** I promised to announce the winners of our “I Know His Name” Bible Study Class Registration today. So below, please find the two winners. You should be hearing from Proverbs 31 Ministries very soon to receive your gifts!!

Cindy H

Mary M

Blessings to you,

February 18, 2013

Quiet My Anxious Heart with Unglued Giveaway

Anxiety:   distress or uneasiness of mind, lack of peace

Synonyms:  fear, foreboding,  worry, disquiet

Do these words strike a chord in your heart?

Anxiety is an emotion.  Emotions in and of themselves are  not bad.  In fact,  emotions are a  gift from God.  He gave them so that we can know and experience the fullness of who He created us to be.  

But in this world, we will run smack into  people who bring about  negative emotions.  Emotions like anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger. Over time, if not kept in check, these negative feelings slip into our hearts and minds. They take root and eventually result in dire consequences.

There are times we know exactly what causes negative emotions and other times we cannot figure out why our emotions suddenly start to unravel.

But one thing is certain.  These negative emotions, like anxiety, will come.

The bigger issue is, what do we do with them when they come?

Do we ignore them  and stuff them?

Do  we numb them with food, alcohol, drugs, or other distractions?

Do we express them by erupting in anger and frustration?

Or do we recognize them and do something productive with them?

As a young mother, negative emotions, feelings of anxiety and frustration, consumed my heart and mind.  More often than not,  I expressed my feelings by exploding in anger and frustration.  How I hated myself in the hours following one of my episodes.  I shamed myself and repeatedly told myself that I was a failure as a mother.  I lived with this label for years.  I remember one particular afternoon when my frustration peaked.  What started as a peaceful afternoon ended in complete chaos after my two angelic children arrived home from school.  I could not believe it, but they morphed into horrible creatures before my very eyes!

Creature One, my nine-year-old son, arrived first and put on his favorite show.  About an hour later, Creature Two, my thirteen-year-old daughter, burst through the door, slammed down her backpack and snatched the remote from  Creature One and changed the channel.  Creature One immediately jumped from his seat and grabbed for the remote, demanding, “Give it back.  I was watching that show!”

I am observing this from afar in the kitchen, trying to maintain control.  Creature Two slapped his hand out of the way, yelling some derogatory name, causing Creature One to latch himself onto her arm, grabbing for the remote again.

Anger welling within me, I took a few steps into the family room.

Creature Two yelled, “Your shows are stupid! ”

Creature One countered, “I was watching first!”

The barrage of words and name calling continued.

“You are such a dork!”

” I am not!”

“YES, you are!”

I was on the verge of EXPLODING at this point.

Creature Two proceeded to lift herself off the sofa.  She calmly but confidently walked past Creature One, reached out her hand and flicked him in the head.  Looking quite satisfied, she then looked at me and asked, “What’s for  dinner?”

At the conclusion of my response, I heard Creature One whining from the other room, “Why do we have to have that?  Can’t we go out for dinner?”

That was the last straw!  I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Shut up!” In our house, we forbid these two words, so both creatures came to attention immediately.  I launched into a tirade about their incredible selfishness, explaining how they “made my life  miserable” and informing them that I did not want to see them for the “rest of the night , maybe even the rest of my life.”  I then sent Creature One and Creature Two upstairs crying and whining through their tears, “You are the meanest mom EVER!”

As I heard their doors close, I realized the harshness of my words and the anger with which I had spoken them.  Had I really told my children, my own flesh and blood, that they made my life miserable and that I did not want to be around them ever again?  Yes, I did.  Mommy of the Year, I was not.  Incredulous at how easily I had lost control, I began to weep.

How could this have happened?  What is wrong with me?

Friend, I knew exactly how.  I had not been filling my mind with God’s Truth.  I had been running on my own energy…my own strength…my own wisdom.  I was empty and needed something outside myself to rescue me.

God is our rescuer, sweet friend.  He has given us the gift of  His Word to counteract these negative emotions.  

We need to go to Him BEFORE we get to this place. We need to daily be filling ourselves with Him.  When we do this we will not operate every day in reactionary mode, reacting to circumstances based on negative emotions and how we feel in the moment.  When we live like this, we hurt those around us, most especially the ones we love.

The time we spend with God is paramount in determining the level of peace and contentment in our hearts.

Let me say that again.

The time we spend with God is paramount in determining the level of peace and contentment in our hearts.

When God’s peace and His Word rule our hearts, we will not erupt and explode in emotions.

Friend, God warns in 1 Peter 5:8

…be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

If we stay on alert, we will recognize and capture these negative thoughts, feelings and emotions BEFORE they take hold of us.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Recognizing our thoughts is the first step.

The next step is taking them captive. When we feel those words about to erupt, we must stop them before they pass through our lips.  It takes humility and a great deal of self-control.  But we are not alone in the battle. 

As believers, we have the Spirit of the Living God within us to enable and empower us to do this!

We must ask the Lord each day to help us.  Invite His Holy Spirit to help us recognize the situations that bring about the emotions.

Once we recognize them, the key is learning the truths needed to counteract those emotions.  We must have something with which to replace those exploding emotions.

In my next post I will share  some great Scriptural truths to replace our negative emotions.  For this week, I invite you to spend time evaluating your circumstances and your relationships.  Pay attention to your responses to people. It might  be a spouse, a child, a relative, a friend, a boyfriend, a co-worker, an in-law.  Recognize and note the emotions you are feeling.  Identify why are you feeling them.

Share your thoughts here throughout the week.  And if you have favorite truths that help you in this process, please share them with us!

From the comments left this week, I will give away a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s best-selling book Unglued.  Lysa’s book is a great tool in learning how to reign in negative emotions.

Look forward to hearing from you this week!