10 Tips to Help Work Through Grief

When I was living the worst of grief, there were several things that really helped me through.  All of us are unique, and so I don’t assume every suggestion will help.  Feel free to scan the list, and read only those portions that pertain to you.

  1. Be very careful with the use of medication and alcohol.  Grief doesn’t allow us to think most clearly, and so things we would normally never do, could become a problem.  One area I had to be particularly careful of was help in getting to sleep. Three to four times a week, I’d have a glass of wine to help me relax so I could more easily fall asleep.  I chose not to use alcohol nightly because I was afraid it could become a habit I’d later have to deal with.  I have heard of others becoming addicted to sleeping medication during this time. Talk with your doctor, but please don’t quietly self-medicate.
  2. Choose what fills your mind.  I had the radio tuned to my favorite Christian station almost 24 hours a day, playing softly in the background.  The words and soothing music kept me focused on truth, and helped me refocus more easily away from thoughts that could otherwise have plagued me.  Also, on many occasion, the Lord orchestrated a particular song to be played at just the right moment, embracing me with his love.20150626_203124
  3. Train your mind and “heart” to turn to Christ and his promises when panic about the future assails.  When fear and panic about the future would begin to plague my mind (usually at night or first thing in the morning), I would remind myself that I didn’t need to think about it right then. I would literally turn my thoughts and heart to focus on Jesus alone.  Forcing the thoughts of the future to take second place to facing Jesus Christ. It took time to train my brain to remain focused, and avoid the panic.  Tomorrow, I will share some verses that may help.
  4. Learn your body’s indicators of being over-stressed.  When I began to notice feelings of being unsettled and anxious, I eventually learned these were often indicators that I was spending too much time in activity in order to avoid grief. Learn your indicators.  If you aren’t certain, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you your personal indicators of a need to stop running and rest.20150626_210108-01
  5. Set aside time to rest. Resting is so much harder while grieving, because it gives our minds time to think.  Thinking causes pain, so we avoid resting.  Yet, our bodies need rest. They need down time to heal from the trauma caused by the grief. Also, so many of us have had a space of time prior to our loved one’s death where we were busy caring for them.  Our bodies, minds, and souls need time to rest and restore.
  6. Set aside time to grieve. This may seem obvious, but it isn’t.  We don’t want to feel pain, so we avoid grieving.  However, I am learning now, almost 9 years later – we will grieve.  If we avoid taking time to grieve now, the emotions will come out one way or another – and they may not come out in ways constructive to us or others if we refuse their release.  I’m not saying we can always choose the place or time we release emotions, that isn’t possible. But, I have found it helpful to ask God to orchestrate down time when I could grieve before him.  This became especially important when I began feeling as though I was becoming unsettled and anxious because of over-busyness.  Those God-orchestrated moments were special moments between us where I would wail and voice my pain, the tears washing and cleansing me on the inside.  A sense of release and relief always followed.20150701_202353-02
  7. Don’t rush the grieving process.  I have read it isn’t wise to make any major life decisions for at least a year. Our brains aren’t able to think clearly enough.  Even though the numbness, for me, lasted about 6 months, the second year was the hardest. Everyone’s timetable for grieving is different – so don’t assume another person’s timetable for yourself. However, I’d add, if you are several years into grief, and aren’t any closer to healing than the day of your loved one’s death – please consider professional counseling.  Getting stuck in grief isn’t what God want’s for your life!
  8. Don’t rush getting rid of your loved one’s belongings until you are ready (unless extenuating circumstances require it). This shouldn’t be decided by friends or family.  When I was ready (about 6-8 months into grief), it helped me to purposely choose organizations that would appreciate my husband’s things.  I took photos of his “collections” which made it easier to release them.  I also chose to keep several mementos, and gave away items to special friends and family members for them to remember him by, making this stage memorable and less difficult.  However, if it has been years since your loved one’s death, and you are still unable to get rid of their belongings, this may indicate you are stuck in grief and may need professional counseling to help you heal.20150701_185956-01
  9. Make use of local resources.  Hospice often has local grief groups.  I’ve mentioned GriefShare.  Also, a book that greatly helped me was “A Sacred Sorrow“, by Michael Card.  It taught me the gift of being able to “lament” or grieve openly before God, and his loving response to those who grieve.
  10. Finally, cling to Jesus and his people.  If you aren’t in a loving, supportive church home, find one.  My church family’s love and support during this time helped more than I can say.  Stay in his Word – even if you can only read a verse or two a day – the Psalms are wonderful.  A good devotion for this period of time for me was “Streams In The Desert“, as the daily readings were collected by Mrs. Charles Cowman, a woman acquainted with grief.

You may also wish to read:  “Happy Anniversary Dear“, “White Picket Fences

I have received no compensation of any kind for my recommendations. I am not a licensed counselor, so my recommendations are from experience alone, and not intended to be professional in any way.

I would love to know what has helped you work through grief.  Also, if you would like to share any prayer requests, or wish to talk, the form below allows you to contact me confidentially.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Advertisements

Blogger Recognition Award

I mentioned a couple of days ago there would be a surprise – yesterday.  Yesterday, I had my hair done – it took hours, and then last evening, we visited, over dinner, with very dear friends.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day, but at late hours last night, I looked at my computer, and thought “I said I’d sit and have coffee today sometime, but it better to wait until tomorrow. So here I am.  I’m sorry I missed our time yesterday.

May I please tell you the special surprise anyway?

I was nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award!   “Happy Little Housewife” recently began reading my blog, and she kindly nominated me.  I am grateful, especially as her comment to me was “…(you don’t actually have to do anything the post says to do). I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your blog.”  Thank you!  I have truly enjoyed her blog as well, as it has helped me grow in organizing my home.

Below is the criteria for the award (things she kindly said I didn’t have to do):

The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

How Did I Start Blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing, and have journaled privately on and off since I was about 20.  When my heart gets clogged, and even I don’t understand me – writing helps untangle emotions.  Writing brings perspective.  And I’m grateful for this gift from God for me.  Truly!

I had been told many years ago “You should write a book”, but had no clue about what I should write, nor how.  About 2 years ago, I came to be home all day for the first time in years,  and those comments came to the for-front of my memory, and they began to take on longing.

A friend had begun a blog about 6 months earlier, and she inspired me.

Soon, I began to look into how to do this thing!  I had never heard of a widget, had no idea what a search engine was, didn’t understand Categories and Tags, and had no idea if anyone would want to read what I wrote anyway.  Frightening!

Now, I look at my small readership, and marvel that sometimes they come from India, or Australia, or China, or….. and I think, “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that I can speak of your love, and the whole world can hear.”  It amazes me.

Three Tips to New Bloggers: (Things I’m learning the hard way!)

  1. My readers need to see that before they become real to me, I’m willing to become real to them. I love Jesus, and more than anything I want others to see how beautiful and amazing he is; and that he can give anyone life, hope, and freedom.  I can only do this effectively if I’m willing to share how he’s given me life, hope, and freedom.  That’s hard, because it means that I must become more translucent – about the messes of my life.  If I won’t, I do it at the expense of others thinking I have all the answers.  Nothing then is shared, and I become “better than they”.
  2. I must write for them, not to them.  I must write with their hearts in mind.  Not with my desire to get my thoughts off my “pen” to a blank journal.  I’m trying more to imagine my reader sitting right next to me at the table.  How would I speak?  What would I do?  Do I want them to experience Christ’s compassion and love, or only hear about it?  I must write as though I couldn’t speak, but wanted desperately for them to experience – through my words.
  3. In becoming real, I  can’t do it at the expense of my family and loved ones – but  in deference to them.  I must protect my family and loved ones, while being real about me.  They didn’t ask me to share their messes, so I must honor them even in sharing mine.

Finally, the following are blogs that I have discovered to be a blessing to me, in one way or another:

  1.  Beauty Beyond Bones – She’s vibrant, speaks from the heart, and shares Jesus for today’s world beautifully!
  2. Teacups and Pearls – I like her recipes!
  3. Emma Plus Three – She is a young mom in the UK with a son with autism, who wants to be seen as a real person – someone with passions, thoughts, and dreams outside of being a “special needs mom”.  I like her dream!  Her blog is fun and holds variety.
  4. Nourishing Minimalism – I’m learning a lot about the joy of purging things I no longer really need in life.
  5. Tapestry Chronicles – Vanessa is the first blogger I became familiar with, and my inspiration for becoming a blogger.  I love this woman – a dear friend, and sister in Jesus!  She shares from the heart about herself, life, and her passions.
  6. Gray Clouds, Clear Skies – Peggy is an inspiration for me.  She struggles with depression.  She shares transparently.  She loves Jesus, and it shows – giving hope in the middle.
  7. Let Us Live Like We Mean It – Timi has gone through some hard struggles in life, and it was in sharing some of them that I first “met” her.  Her blog is varied, as her life is varied and full of adventure.  She is an interesting lady!
  8. A Blog For Humans – Tom is a philosopher, and a true writer.  His words make me think – and I like that.
  9. Turtle Moon Impressions – Blog.  Janis is an artist, and a photographer.  She takes her photography and turns it into textile art, and I love to view her gift in action.

Not every blog listed comes from the same worldview that I espouse.  Nor would many of them agree with every word I write, but their writing and gifts have blessed me and I’m grateful God has brought them into my world.

And, Christine, thank you for the opportunity today to be blessed by you, and to try and be a blessing to those I’ve listed.

Love,

Robin <3

 

Wonderful Resources

I hope your day has gone well!  I have actually been painting the trim in my kitchen and dining room today!  Please cheer me on, as I’ve put this off for about 2 years now (I mean painting the entire dining room/kitchen), and finally started Thanksgiving weekend with the help of a friend – bless her!  BUT, I’m almost done.  God has been doing a cool work of restoration in me the last few months, and it feels good to be free enough to tackle these bigger jobs around the house without feeling overwhelmed!  Do any of you around the table understand, or is it just me?

I have also found some wonderful resources in the last couple of weeks that have helped me to gain further ground in the area of homemaking, which has never been a task I’ve felt I’ve done well with, even though I have enjoyed pieces of it for many years.

Anyway, now that the paint brush is washed, and the paint can stored neatly nearby for tonight, I am here and ready to finish my virtual tour for the week.  (Tomorrow I will finish up the week with a bit of a surprise!)

The “Resource” tab on the menu has been up all week, but only yesterday did I actually add a sub menu, so if you tried to find resources earlier in the week, you would have discovered the menu empty – but not any longer!

Please follow me to the “Resource” menu, hover over, and you will find 2 pages.  I’ve been working hard on these the last 2 days, and truthfully, I’m not finished.  (So please return again at a later date!)  Currently, I have included two main catagories –

1.  Online and App Bibles, Bible Studies, and Devotions that have greatly blessed and ministered to me at various times in life, many of which I currently utilize.

2. Blogs I have found most helpful. Each blog gives the author, and the area where Jesus has met them and helped them.  Not every post they write has to do with the struggles they’ve been through, but even those posts that don’t, come from the place of victory in life they’ve discovered because of Jesus.

The lists I’m making (especially the Blogs) could be much longer, as I love so many of the blogs I read. I tried to stick with the blogs that would cover areas of pain and heartache, and how God has brought restoration through Jesus.  Over time, I may broaden my scope – let me know what you’d like to see!

I will be adding a “Book” and “Shop” pages as well in the near future.

As I sit at my kitchen table, and view freshly painted walls and tacky white glossy trim, I’m thankful for two additional blogs that didn’t get added to the “Resources” at this time.  “Nourishing Minimalism” and “Happy Little Housewife“.  Even though they don’t necessarily cover the topics I’ve reserved for the “Resources” pages, I am very grateful for them.  God is using their wonderful homemaking resources to help me grow in new ways and instill courage for my daily home duties – and that is always a good thing, isn’t it!

Thank you for joining me once again today!  I look forward to our time tomorrow.

With love,

Robin <3

Hope In the Midst of Rejection

I happen to be the 3rd mom to all three of my boys, and Gary the 3rd dad to Evan, so blending our hearts is taking a lot of time and patience.  I’ve heard it said blended families are more like crock pots than microwaves.  It’s true.  Gary and I both lost our first spouses to death; and for our 3 sons, they have each lost 2 mothers over the course of their lives – first by adoption and second by death/2nd adoption.  Evan has also lost 2 fathers, one by 2nd adoption, and one by death.  We have each struggled with incorporating the other into our worlds.  Understandably.

Because of this, holiday seasons have been a lot of “difficult”, so I understand how the feelings of rejection can hijack what is supposed to be a time of great enjoyment. None of the boys asked me to be their mom, nor did they understandably want it.  They had no choice in losing their mothers/father. Over many years of first blending with Evan, and now blending with Gary’s son’s, I’ve had to work through feelings I care not to admit, including anger and great pain.  I’m very grateful that now is a season of beginning healing, ever so slowly.   None of us ever imagined suffering the losses we’ve endured.  But, as I head into another holiday season, I am comforted by knowing I can run to Jesus no matter what happens – he never turns me away.  I am also becoming more confident in seeing over time, God is truly changing them and me.

Evan, is growing into a caring man who is, I think, beginning to understand that his mom isn’t trying to purposefully irritate him. I don’t always understand how the mind of a person with autism thinks; nor can I imagine what it is like to have lost 2 moms (and 2 families) and never be able to talk about it (as he is mostly non-verbal).

I’m learning I have so much to learn.

I mentioned in a post a week ago, that we hosted Thanksgiving Dinner with my oldest step son and his girlfriend.  It was very special, revealing that healing is taking place. Today we had a meeting at school with my younger step son and the friend he has chosen to live with.  It was very cordial, and in the midst, my step son handed me a gift, prompted by his friend.  A beginning, I hope to healing.

I am learning that in the midst of swirling feelings of rejection, to heal I must choose to:

Dwell on Christ’s love and acceptance rather than the pain

Relinquish what I want and embrace Jesus and his plan

Yield to God rather than trying to fix it myself

Along with counseling, a new book written by Lysa Terkeurst, “Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely” has greatly impacted how I’m healing .  If you or a friend are struggling this holiday season with the pain of being “uninvited” in some aspect of life, I’d highly recommend this read.

Thank you for joining me this week as I have attempted to open my heart and home to you. I do hope it helps in some way to make the season more doable.  Your  comments are certainly encouraging me.  Thanks!

I look forward to “seeing” you again on Monday!

With Love and Prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read:  I Do Matter