Pierced Your soul


Ever wondered what it might have been like to be the mom of Jesus? There is much to Mary’s story; it is an interesting read from the Gospels in the New Testament. Rather than give a broad view of Mary’s story, I would like to focus on one part, the dedication of Baby Jesus.

When our babies were a few months old, we had them each dedicated as part of the church service. It is a special time when parents can’t help but beam with pride. A flower, such as a fragrant rose, is handed to the mother. A card tucked inside a child’s Bible is handed to the parent whose hands are empty. Then the pastor reaches for the baby. He takes it in his arms while he prays over this precious bundle from heaven, asking God to bless the child as it grows.

Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for his dedication. Perhaps it was similar in purpose to mine or yours, but there was a distinct difference in the words spoken over this baby.

It so happened that Simeon was the officiating priest that day. God had promised him that before he died, he would see with his own eyes, the prayed-for Messiah of his people. Perhaps every time parents brought their new baby for dedication, he wondered, is this the special Child?

When Simeon saw the Baby, he knew this was the Messiah. He gently took the Child from Mary’s arms, held Him up and praised God, saying, “O Lord, you have kept your word to me. You have let me see the Instrument of your salvation which you are sending to us to save all people. He will be a saving light to the world and an honor to Israel.” Luke 2:28-32 CW

We felt humble pride when our babies were prayed over. We also realized the awesome responsibility that was ours to rear our children to know how much God loved them. No doubt Jesus’s parents felt the same awesome responsibility; however, there was one huge difference ~ they were rearing the Son of God!

Unlike us, Jesus’s parents heard a stinging pronouncement as part of their dedication. I wonder what crossed their minds when Simeon added these words:

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2:34b-35 NLT

My baby? What do you mean, “pierce my soul?” If you were Mary, can you imagine what would go thru your mind, wondering what Simeon meant by such harsh words? Wouldn’t such a happy event be overshadowed with feelings of impending doom? The parents may have wondered, how long will we have our precious child before something dreadful happens to him? 

Those of us who have buried a child know a bit of Mary’s sorrow, do we not? We can read ahead in the gospels about her Son’s death. Joseph had long since died, leaving Mary to suffer alone. She, along with Jesus’s disciples, had to watch Him be brutally beaten before His flesh was pierced to a rough-timbered cross, bringing the long-ago prophetic words to life.

If I had been Mary, I don’t know if I could have watch such horror, and yet, how could she not? He was her child. She struggled thru pain to give Him birth. She loved this child with all her heart. He grew up to became a Man among men, and at His death her soul was pierced.

I feel a likeness to Mary as I, too, struggled to bring my firstborn into the world. He was tiny, a bit immature, and his cry reminded me of the meow of a newborn kitten. I held my breath. Was he healthy? His cry sounded so weak. He was little, but he grew to be strong. No parents could have loved him more, but then he did the unthinkable . . . and ended his pain. When my firstborn died by suicide . . . my very soul was pierced.

No one is ever prepared to lose a child from any cause, but when one is blindsided with death by choice, without a doubt, it pierces the soul. Every Mom who feels her soul was pierced by the death of her precious child, has something in common with Mary.

There will come a day when there is no more sorrow or suffering or pain. No death. No suicide. No disease. At long last families will be reunited permanently! Nothing but joy and gladness forevermore!

Once I become familiar with my new heavenly surroundings, I may look for Jesus’s mother and engage her in conversation. We might compare notes about how our kids grew up in different parts of the globe and thousands of years apart, and then, how their lives ended, forcing us to outlive them. I would imagine that I might come away from such a conversation grateful that Mary’s story was not my story . . . mine was bad enough. I think it would naturally follow that both of us are very grateful to have our sons with us for eternity . . . because hers saved the world!

He was pierced for our sins; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment and pain that made us whole was placed on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 CW

Scripture from The Clear Word Paraphrase (CW) and the New Living Translation (NLT)







This entry was posted on March 2, 2018. 4 Comments

I Am Depression – 2

I have struggled with depression most of my life. It tags along, uninvited, like a strip of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. 

DSC_03511-Sun and shadow figure

Reach for the sun. Let it shine in to break up the shadows.

Attention Readers: This post completes a 2-part series entitled “I Am Depression.” If you have not read Part One, you will find it on my blog posted last month. For best understanding of my position on this topic, please begin there. Thanks.

Part Two

The purpose of writing this opinion piece is to bring this silent killer out in the open and shine light where there has been only darkness. Is it possible there could be a connection between the enemy of our souls and a troubled mind?

~Depression is war against the mind~

Depression continues speaking: “I manage other cases in addition to yours, but mostly, I operate as CEO of my organization and oversee all clients from the reports given me by my staff. I trained my staff to listen carefully and watch for signs of weakness in order to deepen the client’s depression. Nearly all human frailties stem from depression in some way.

“My goal is to control every mind. Ever heard the expression ‘the devil is in the details?’ It’s true. I am! We achieve greater success with our clients when we pour more and more negative chatter into their minds while stirring their thoughts: thoughts fed by insecurity, poor self-esteem, sadness, lethargy, helplessness, hopelessness, and the like. You look surprised! You mean you didn’t know we could fill the mind?

“With negative thoughts playing continuously like a broken record in the minds of our clients, they are less inclined to focus on healthy thoughts. Another way to look at it is this: a healthy mind is a quiet mind. It stands to reason, then, that an unhealthy mind is a noisy mind, full of the trash talk we force feed them. The louder the noise, the harder it becomes to concentrate on anything else. Focus leads to action, and what we push them to focus on leads to harmful actions to self or others. It’s nothing personal. It’s just the way we do business.

“My plan has been successful for thousands of years. It was designed to carry depression forward from generation to generation, allowing me to reinvent myself into the next generation of children. We love to see ‘our’ babies grow up with the pain and shame I cause them. They take me everywhere; they are too young to recognize my presence. They think everyone has distress in their brains, since they have no idea what it feels like to be without it. Ha! I love how sneaky I am! 

“We are more than just the disease of depression; we are all diseases. Just as you are one person, but manage several roles all at one time, I, as commander-in-chief of my organization, manage several roles and have many responsibilities. Perhaps it’s time for me to reveal who I am. Actually, who we are. We are Depression. We are Suicide. We are all evil. My real name is Satan, and my staff are demons. You don’t look surprised . . . hmm, I thought you had figured it out.

“My story began thousands of years ago in heaven where I, Lucifer, wanted more responsibility. Actually, I wanted to be like God. I rallied other angels around me, and they listened to my complaints about God. Many signed a petition and sided with me. Long story short, the uproar resulted in war. My angels and I lost. We were kicked out of heaven. My name changed. So did theirs.

“Since I am no longer welcome in heaven, I take my rage out on God by destroying His created humans any way I can. Depression and Suicide are favorite roles, coveted by all demons, but only the best of the best get to enjoy these assignments alongside me. In your world I cannot be seen. I am invisible to most, and the realm in which my demons and I operate is also invisible to humans. Even though you cannot see us at work it’s a beehive of activity everywhere we are!

“You might be interested to note that we keep accurate statistics. My corporation has single-handedly covered much of the world’s population in depression. In fact, I know the World Health Organization estimates that there are 350 million humans, of all ages, suffering from depression which keeps us very busy. If we meet our goals, the numbers will continue to rise at a rapid rate.

“People can survive their entire lives with depression, but I have a loftier goal. I work tirelessly to shorten human life. Once humans feel so hopeless and helpless that suffocating darkness settles over their brains, it’s time to call in the professionals ~ my most loyal demons who covet the title, Demon Suicide. I believe you’ve met one of them . . .

“Yes. I, personally, handed your son’s case over to a Suicide Demon. After a Depression Demon had influenced, badgered, and nudged him until he weakened, I sent a Suicide Demon in to take over. My Suicide Demons have additional arsenal they employ, and before long, we had achieved our goal . . . and your son died. Mission accomplished! In this battle God lost and we won!

“Causing disease and death to humans is what we do. It is our daily business everywhere around the world. What makes our undercover work so rewarding is that most humans don’t ever suspect us. They don’t believe we exist, let alone cause all disease and death. Instead, they blame God when they get sick, or when their child dies. Parents have no idea that war between us and God has been raging over the lives of children since the Garden of Eden. When their offspring die, it’s a win for our side!

“I know you quote the Bible, but I can, too! I know you point to this text when you talk about me. Here, let me quote it for you: ‘A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy’ (John 10:10). Yep, that’s me. I must admit it describes me perfectly. Predictable outcomes empower me to keep doing what I do best: lie, cheat, steal, coerce, corrupt . . . whatever it takes to pressure God’s kids into taking their own lives. The younger they kill themselves the happier we are.”

Dear Reader, if you have read the entire piece, you may think this interpretation of depression (and suicide) ridiculous, but I read your comments. One of you mentioned that reading Part One dredged up old memories of childhood insecurities. Another said this piece was an overwhelming reminder of the number of generations her family had been contaminated by depression. You get that it is serious stuff. I might add: if you pause to consider the content of paranormal programming on mainstream media these days, you might even agree that there could be a connection between the enemy and a diseased mind. Although ancient, this Bible text seems current:

“We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

This verse gives me the shivers to imagine demons lurking about in the darkness of this world. There is an actual war going on, a spiritual war between good and evil which we cannot see, but that does not mean it is not there. Let’s note the differences between the warring sides, particularly their voices:

The voice of God is a voice of love. He can only speak the truth, and he does so with our best life in mind. The verse warns us that the enemy is evil, sneaky, crafty. His counterfeit voice speaks lies, not truth, even though the lies may soothe the heart for a time. One must choose wise. But first, one must search, with discernment, for the genuine in order to uncover the counterfeit. Only God can fight the enemy that would take us down. Only God can heal the heart. Only you and I can give our hearts to God.

As a suicide survivor, I look back over my firstborn’s life and wonder what more could I have done? It took years for me to finally conclude that my son must have been very depression to take his own life. Surely a healthy mind wants to live!

I know this topic is deep, so I welcome your questions and comments. Even though the focus has been on the negative force of depression, I want to remind you that evil demons aren’t the only beings watching our children. Thankfully each precious child, born on earth, has a pure guardian angel who looks on the face of God (Matthew 18:10). 

Scripture from The Voice (VOICE)                          




I Am Depression

 I have struggled with depression most of my life. It tags along, uninvited, like a strip of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. 

DSC_03511-Sun and shadow figure

Reach for the sun. Let it shine in and break up the shadows.

I finally came to the conclusion that depression greatly influenced my son’s suicide. Working through all the guilt, and growing in the process, I feel I would be remiss if I did not share my personal thoughts of what I have come to understand. In doing so, it is my purpose to nudge this silent killer out into the open and shine light where there has been mostly darkness.

Parts One and Two of this opinion piece probe depression from a different angle, one that is outside the diagnosis of clinical depression. It is intended to help broaden our view of this invisible disease. Let me say up front: clinical depression has diagnosable components requiring medical attention like any other disease. It is not my intention to imply otherwise.

My description of depression is neither clinical nor scientific, but an endeavor to see it from a spiritual viewpoint. We are, after all, spiritual beings. It is doubtful that you have read anything that connects depression to spiritual thought, but anything to do with the mind is spiritually related. It is the seat of reason; the one place where we are influenced for either good or evil. Think about it: where else can decision-making processes be influenced but in the mind? If it were possible to quantify, I wonder how many decisions made by folks suffering from depression could be traced to a negative, invisible force?

Much to my regret, my son undoubtedly inherited a weakness for depression from me. Trying to connect the dots after his death led me to suspect that depression dogged his steps ~ like a “hired gun” hounds his prey ~ most of his young life, leading him to finally give in to the weight of his problems and end his pain. 

Let’s set the stage with a bit of world history. Sin entered our pristine planet when Eve was blindsided by the first lie ever uttered. It came from the mouth of a dazzling, camouflaged serpent curled up in a lush fruit tree. As predicted, decay and death soon followed. Conflict appeared, whereas before, all creation hummed in harmony. Thus, a “spiritual war” between good and evil commenced here on Planet Earth.

Our first parents had barely begun to live their story before their firstborn son became so angry with his younger brother that he murdered him. Sad to say, this same evil continues to this day. If one listens to news reports, how can there be any doubt that we are rapidly becoming a lawless society?

The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44b  

Ever since you and I took our first breathes in this world, we have been influenced by both good and evil. (If you doubt this is true, do you remember when your good-natured, bubble-blowing baby turned into a tantrum-throwing toddler?) Now that I have your attention, let’s ponder the dark side of our existence for a moment. Using our imaginations, let’s pretend that we can see into a realm which is closed to our eyes. In this piece, Depression has been given characteristics and a voice to appear more real, almost human, thus sharpening our instincts.

Part One

Depression speaks to me: “Hi there. Have we met? Ah, yes. I remember you. Pardon my momentary memory lapse. I oversee the care of so many clients that I sometimes forget names, but I remember watching you grow up. If memory serves, ‘fun-loving’ best described your personality back then, am I right? I tread silently, secretly, leaving no evidence that humans can detect, so you couldn’t see me, but I was there . . . watching you. Like a cat patiently watches a mouse hole, I was waiting for an opportunity to cast a pall over your life and change your personality from fun-loving to dull and drab. How does change like that come about? It’s mind control, pure and simple. Let me explain.

“I’ll begin by sharing our plan for mind control. Beginning at birth, my plan for all babies is the same. My staff and I keep our eyes on them, watching their personalities take shape. We carefully note the nuances of facial expression and body language which we can influence as they grow. Like warming and shaping clay, we have more influence over children while they are young and pliable, like tender shoots. This gives us greater control over their minds. In addition to their age, we zero in on children we perceive to be weak, sickly, or introverted. They make our job easier.

“The success of our mission during the formative years is virtually guaranteed if we get parents involved. If we can coerce them to reprimand their children constantly with negative phrases such as, you’re nuthin’ and you’ll amount to nuthin’, these words will transfer to autopilot and likely repeat in their heads for the rest of their lives, unless they wise up and realize that they are being manipulated (like you did later in life).

“Now back to your life. I, personally, took you as my client. While you were busy growing up, attending school and making friends, I kept you worried whether or not your friends could tell that you suffered from me. Later on, it didn’t matter whether you were seeking employment or searching for that special someone to marry, I was always right there in your head, whispering suggestions to keep you off-balance, bewildered, and insecure. Naturally you wondered if everyone else felt the same way in their heads, (but you wouldn’t dare ask them). You worried that something was wrong with you. You were experiencing what we call ‘predictable outcomes.’ Time tested methods over thousands of years has always yielded depressed minds. Yes, we agree with the experts. It is all in the mind.

“My goal for you was simple. Destroy your self-esteem. I worked hard to ensure that you felt insecure, unloved, and even invisible early in your marriage. I wanted you to feel too ashamed to tell anyone how I made you feel, unless, of course, you were willing to pay for a shrink’s advice. I made sure you would never admit to anyone that you were depressed. Your life was perfect as far as others could see. Who’d believe you if you tried to admit otherwise? You figured out that trying to tell someone your secret left you feeling even more ashamed and depressed . . . a vicious cycle of entrapment. My plan was working beautifully!

“By the time you had become a mother I had become a permanent fixture in your head. Factor in chronic pain from this and that, and you were so enslaved to exhaustion that I now had the perfect setup to push you down, way down into the dark well of depression. Mission accomplished! You had not the slightest inkling that I was enmeshed in your life. I love it when nobody suspects me!”

“At times, I feel overwhelmed and my depression leads me into darkness.” Dorothy Hamill

Scripture from God’s Word Translation (GW)

Next blog concludes this 2-part series 




This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18


Often the winter holidays bring to mind memories of Christmases past. It has been long enough since my son died that sweeter memories have percolated to the surface of my thoughts. It’s hard the first months, maybe even years, to think of anything positive, so don’t feel discouraged if this is where you are. It won’t always be so.

As I recall this story I am about to share with you, my son had grown to the age where he thought he was old enough to make his own decisions without parental input. Having no prior experience at parenting, and he being my first child, I probably let out the “leash” a little too slowly for his liking. This led him to become my teacher at times and say in exasperation, “Mom, I can do it by myself!” This is a precious memory born out of one of those experiences.

Christmas was just around the corner, and like many churches the world over, our little church was decked out in finery. The Christmas tree lights twinkled, and the poinsettia plants, lining the platform, added velvety-red beauty to the usual greenery.

All the decorating was a reminder that soon a manger display would take its place front and center. Now it was time to put the finishing touches on the annual Christmas program. The Children’s Divisions were humming with activity, as teachers assigned music and readings to kids of all ages. My firstborn was chosen to read a verse from the book of Matthew which would signal the beginning of the much-anticipated event.

I asked my son if he needed any help learning the passage, just in case there was a challenging word or two he did not know how to pronounce. He said, “No, Mom. I can do it by myself.” Of course he could. What was I thinking? I should have checked the version from which he read, just in case. I forgot that his little Bible was the King James version with its “old” English style. My precious little boy stood up on stage and recited the passage from Matthew this way:

“. . . When as his mother Mary was exposed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child . . .”

Bless his sweet heart. Of course the word “espoused” could trip anybody up. He was truthful; Mary had been exposed.

My son, growing independent far too fast for my liking, had no idea why his reading evoked chuckles from across the congregation. We parents stifled our mirth, realizing that our son could be embarrassed by his faux pas. I don’t think he caught his mispronunciation, and I never brought it to his attention; innocence is so tender in young children. Years later this story would become a cherished memory added to the few I have left of him now.

Sadly, my firstborn grew up insecure and lonely. In his quiet nature, he could not easily open up and speak of his pain. Looking back now, I see more clearly what I could not see then. No doubt he suffered with depression and all the struggles that go with this silent disease. My firstborn got to the place where he could no longer handle his problems. He just wanted the pain to stop. He wanted peace, not pain, and he got it when he ended his life.

Who but God knew that my son would grow up lonely. Who but God knew that he craved a special relationship with someone, and he felt it would elude him forever. Who but God knew that all he wanted was a wife and family.

I sometimes pause to read a parent’s description of the child she or he lost to suicide. The child is always pictured as gentle, helpful, the kind of person who would gladly give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. It is the vast contrast between their sweet characters and their final, harsh action that make their deaths so hard to comprehend and nearly impossible to accept.

What gives me comfort, even during the holiday season, is to remind myself that my son came into this world designed just the way his Creator intended: sweet-natured, tender-hearted, lovable ~ no doubt just like your child. God knew my child before he was ever born. He knew the number of hairs on his head. He had engraved the name we chose on the palm of his hand. God also knew how many days my son would live. Nevertheless, this child was too special not to make us a family, even though our hearts would one day break under the strain of pain and loss.

I once heard someone say something like this, and it stuck with me: where we put a period, God puts a comma. Or to quote T.D, Jakes, “It’s not over, until the Lord says it’s over.”  God has put a comma after my son’s name. He cannot forget my child any more than he can forget yours. Someday soon the God of heaven will reunite children with parents. This time for all eternity!

Verse selected from Good News Translation (GNT)



This entry was posted on December 1, 2017. 4 Comments

Glory on Tour

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Psalm 19:1

What’s not to love about this picture? The colors, under a canopy of thick clouds, are brilliant hues of red, yellow, orange and green. I don’t have the luxury of living in Alaska where I can savor views like this, but we are seeing fall colors emerge here, too. We don’t have tundra, but the maples, oaks, and birches are strutting their beauty like papa peacocks. Occasional winds and rain bring leaves fluttering to the ground in whirlwinds, constantly shifting their positions in a game of tag. All too soon we are raking and blowing the leaves into fluffy piles like the white stuff soon to follow.

A few years back I was walking outside and talking to God, while getting some exercise. The air was cool. The bright fall colors were made more vivid by the sun’s reflection. Gorgeous. Just in that moment of peace, a thud hit my stomach. My son was not able to see this beautiful day. He was sleeping under a blanket of soft green a few miles away. “Not fair,” I wailed at heaven above the blue sky. No, not the least bit fair. And your loss is not fair either. We would change our circumstances in a heartbeat, but it is beyond our control.

My loss was the result of suicide. What was the cause of yours? Cancer? Street drugs? Vehicular homicide? Old age? Or from suicide just like mine. Tough coping isn’t it? If the death of your loved one was recent, the pain is horrendously harsh, and I am so sorry. The force with which reality hits us pushes our backs to the wall, defying comprehension.

I chose to bury myself for weeks, months, after the death of my son. I didn’t have a job to go to like my husband did. He said it gave him some relief to be forced to concentrate on other things. I was slowly being smothered by four walls which felt like they were closing in for the kill. Silence was brutal, broken only by the occasional ring of the telephone. I couldn’t care less. I had no place to go. No hole to dig where I could bury the pain. It was mine to keep forever. I did not want it, but I did not want to give it up entirely either. The pain of losing one of my children was more than I wanted to bear, but I had no choice. He was my flesh and blood. I loved him from the moment I realized he was growing inside my tummy. I could not stop loving him in death. I know I will love him as long as I draw breath.

Sad, emotional picture, I know. Over time I have been able to release lots of the pain washed in tears and words. As God guided me to journal my thoughts in what became a book, “Shattered by Suicide,” I felt the pain shift, suffocating me less and less. Eventually it became obvious to my foggy brain that the Healer was guiding my every move. He was in this mess with me. What a defining moment! God was in this with me, and he will never leave me, says Deuteronomy 31:6. Our Creator God (Job 35:10), the same One who created the breathtaking scenery in the picture above, was not going anywhere. He was, and is, still holding my hand as we walk side by side. Sometimes we chat. Sometimes we walk along in silence absorbed in the beauty that he smiles upon us every day. Take a look around. And then . . .

Take a moment to thank God. I just did.

 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! Ephesians 2:7-8

Verses shared from The Message (MSG)

Double Blessings

Twin kids

. . . she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me’ . . . Luke 15:9b

It is unfathomable to me how new life could ever burst forth out of the ashes of sorrow, but thankfully it does. New life will soon burst forth in our family, and I am ecstatic! All I have to do is wait in expectant expectation until this sweet, new journey begins. I just had to share the good news with my readers . . . my kids are making me a grandma! And not just one baby, but two! My youngest son and his lovely wife will soon become parents to identical twin baby girls!

Those of you who are proud members of the “Grandparents Society” will let me “sign up,” won’t you? Surely this club allows members exclusive bragging rights. I don’t wish to bore you, but I would like to share the prefix to this exciting new journey, already a cherished memory. (Also, I’m open to any advice other grandparents have to share.)

Hubby and I had already been surprised with the announcement, “We’re pregnant!” Days later, after the ultrasound, the kids popped in. As my daughter-in-law (really just my “daughter”) stepped across the threshold, she put her phone up close so I could get a good look at the screen. Yes, it was obviously an ultrasound picture which, quite frankly, I have always struggled to see anything remotely human on those things. This time I saw it plainly: there were two tiny “dots” on the screen. Dumbfounded, I looked up and met her blue eyes, opened wide in amazement. “T-w-i-n-s?? I asked.

“Yes! We are having TWO babies!” she squealed.

Chatting like magpies, both my son and new mommy blew passed me into the kitchen. First my daughter said breathlessly, “I don’t know how this happened. *We don’t have twins in our family.”

I responded, “My grandma had twins.”

Suddenly my son was all ears, his normal deep voice cracking in tenor. “She did? Why didn’t I know that!?”

I responded, “Probably because it wasn’t important before.”

“Well, it’s important now! I want to know everything!” he exclaimed between bites of a sandwich they bought on the way over.

It seems that when the kids saw the ultrasound screen, and the attendant pointed out Baby A and Baby B, my son’s reaction was quick. “I think I’m going to faint.” Someone rolled a chair up behind his knees, and he plopped down heavily. “Whew!” he exclaimed. “This is a lot to take in!”

My daughter seemed to be thinking out loud. We’ll need two of everything: two car seats, two strollers, two high chairs . . . and from long distance her dad interjected . . . and two college tuitions! Thanks for the reminder, Dad. Whew! It is a lot to take in!

It’s been a few weeks, and both families have had a chance to digest the news. It won’t be long now before parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles will excitedly welcome two little bundles of joy into the world.

As I share the beginning of our wonderful journey with you, dear reader, I am aware that some of you have likely lost babies either before or after they were born and before you got the chance to get to know them. As you read this piece, your heart may be acutely reminded of your loss, and I am so sorry if that is your story. No matter the age of the children we have buried there will always be painful reminders.

My blog is mostly about the grief journey and rightly so. Together, we explore the many facets of grief that we face each and every day in this circle of life. We celebrate all the milestones: births, weddings, graduations, birthdays, and the like. When the circle of life ends in death, our hearts break, and we mourn our losses.

Here’s the good news! This amazing circle of life, with its exciting new beginning for our family, comes in to nestle alongside the memories of a precious child lost. This co-mingling of life and death, which circles from birth to death and back around to birth again, will come to an end before eternity begins. We could be disoriented by the newness of heaven, but I doubt for long. Never again will one flower wilt, one leaf wither, or one person die. And therein lies our hope.

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years.           Isaiah 65:17, 19-20a 

PS – As can happen with multiple births, our babies came early before this piece was posted. We are blessed that they are both healthy.

Scripture shared from the New International Version (NIV)




This entry was posted on October 13, 2017. 2 Comments

Invisible Footprints

 We stand fearless at the cliff-edge . . . Psalm 46:1a

pretty spearfish canyon - Black Hills

Spearfish Canyon

Ever hear a voice speak to you while in a solitary moment? Startled you wheel around expecting to be surprised by someone, but you are alone. It’s enough to make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention.

I’ve heard such a voice. It happened about a year after my son lost his battle with depression and ended his pain. This story appears in a book I have shared from previously, Shattered By Suicide. I share it again in the hope that it may provide encouragement in some way. Perhaps my experience will remind you of one of your own.


“It was hard those first few months after our son’s death, to even think of a reason to leave the house. I didn’t want to go anywhere, but I didn’t want to stay at home either. I felt myself falling, falling into nothingness . . . with no way to get my bearings . . . and I didn’t care.

“After some time had passed, and we had settled into our sorrow a bit, we felt the need to get away and experience a different environment. Getting our exercise walking the hills and valleys at our vacation destination did us both good. As my eyes gazed upward into the rugged ridges framed by deep blue sky, I felt God’s awesome presence in a way I had not felt it in a long time. I began to relax, not realizing how stressed I had become following my son’s death. In the stillness of that beautiful place . . . in the quieting of my mind . . . perhaps I was ready to listen . . . in case He spoke to my barren soul.

“One early morning I decided to take a walk alone, venturing a little higher than usual. I had to lean in for balance and dig my toes in the loose gravel to keep my footing on the steep climb. I paused to catch my breath, sucking in deep draughts of crisp, clean air. The woods were thick and hard for my eyes to penetrate, but in them were sure to be eyes looking back at me . . . wild ones. This was God’s country where wild animals roamed freely in their habitat. I was very much aware that I was stepping into their domain. Being alone, I thought I should turn around and head down the trail.

“Traversing down the hill was easier, but still I had to proceed cautiously, or I could lose my footing in the shifting gravel under my feet. Rounding the bend, I peered over the edge of a ridge, and my tummy did a flip-flop. I did not realize how far up I had climbed. And just at that moment, I heard a voice speak clearly in my head, “Go ahead, jump! You can end your misery right now and join him. No one will know . . . and they won’t find your body for days. Do it!”  The voice was emphatic and crystal clear.

“Stunned I sucked in my breath and held it for a few seconds, my heart pounding wildly in my chest. My mind whirled as I tried to comprehend what I had just heard. Certainly God wouldn’t say such a thing. It had to be . . . Satan! Yes! It must have been Satan goading me to end my life and stop the pain . . . just like he goaded my son!

“When I felt strength return to my shaky legs, I hurried back down to my husband and safety. That was a strong directive. I realized, then and there, that the enemy would never leave me alone. He had taken my child, but he wasn’t satisfied. He would keep pressuring me to follow my son’s actions, as other grievers have done.

“If we believe that God exists, then we can talk to Him like we talk to a friend. We can avail ourselves of His comfort and counsel. And when we feel Satan pushing us to the edge of life, we can tell him to ‘beat it’ just like Jesus did.”

“Jesus’ refusal was curt: ‘Beat it, Satan!'” Matthew 4:10

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.  Psalm 46:1-3  

Story shared from the book, Shattered By Suicide: My Conversations With God After the Tragic Death of My Son, by Gracie Thompson

Bible verses selected from The Message Bible (MSG)

This entry was posted on September 1, 2017. 2 Comments

Every breath . . . every beat

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

IMG_0128 -Dewdrop Tears

In Honor of My Son ~ Gone Too Soon
August 21, 1974 ~ August 11, 2005

With every breath I take and with every beat of my heart, I miss my firstborn son, and particularly now, as another anniversary looms on the horizon. Dear Reader, I know you understand. I know you miss your child, too. It’s true that our minds are stuck on our loss for a long time, but even after a long time has passed, the ones we miss are always in our thoughts. After the fog lifts, and we come to grips with the truth that they are never coming back home, we get good at multi-tasking; we learn to do the normal day-to-day activities while still keeping a heart watch on our pain. It’s a lifetime journey, this grief, but I also suspect that surviving is a lifetime journey, too, and one I am committed to. I write to help others and to keep alive the memories of the one I have lost. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about them and wish they were with us. And it’s okay to feel that way.

I share a piece entitled “Why Did He Do It?” written some years ago. Even now the question is still uppermost in my heart. Perhaps it will be a blessing to those of you who are new to your grief journey. I am so sorry we have the tragic death of our children in common, and I feel your pain. Though it has been years, I can easily reach back and pull up horrible memories at a time when grief was fresh and so very cruel. It was during this time that I cried out to God:

“Why Did He Do It?”

Dear Lord,

Why did he do it? I’m probably not going to get an answer . . . at least not one that I could even begin to accept this side of heaven. My mind understands that my firstborn son chose to end his life. But my heart still cries. It cries out because of his pain that I could not stop. It cries out because he thought there was no other way to end his pain.

Reasoning, I get. You and I have written about it ~ but my mother heart still cries. It cries bitter tears for all the beautiful days he’s missing out on. It cries for the college degree he will never have the chance to spread his wings in the job market with, or the woman he could have met who would have loved, understood, and accepted him just the way he was. And I shed tears for all the sweet grandchildren we will never get to enjoy.

I look at his picture with his big grin ~ and my heart breaks. I see other brothers pummeling each other, obviously acting like brothers ~ and my heart breaks. I pick up his billfold and finger each personal piece of paper ~ and my heart breaks. I go to the cemetery and look down at the slab of marble with his name engraved in bronze ~ and my heart breaks. I hear of other suicide deaths on the news ~ and my heart breaks for the loved ones left behind to pick up the pieces.

Lord, how can we blend together the business of daily toil with heartbreak? Life is a mixture of pain and joy, suffering and comfort, tragedy and peace. How do we blend them together to make an emulsion when they are opposites, like oil and water?

This is where You come in, isn’t it? You are the “glue” that holds us together in the midst of our times of joy and trouble. Lord, I am sure there will be more sadness and tears, but with Your huge arms wrapped around me, we can walk this journey together and when it ends, it will be all joy and no more tears.

You’ve promised.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4

Verses selected from the New Living Translation (NLT)

“Why Did He Do It?” poem from Shattered By Suicide, My Conversations With God After the Death of My Son, by Gracie Thompson, pgs. 5-7



Showers of Blessings

I’ll send down plenty of rain in season—showers of blessing! Ezekiel 34:26

file2201238521882-shower head

Grief is a heavy topic and rarely do I segue from it into humor. It took a long time after I lost my son to suicide before I found anything to be funny. Slowly the humor returned, and sometimes situations present themselves that just “itch” to be shared. You know what I mean? However, if you feel that humor would be an unwelcome intrusion at this time, please tuck this post away for later reading. You won’t offend me in the least. I get it.

My weeks consist mostly of the repetitive drip, drip, drip of daily grind. But sometimes showers come out of nowhere. Have you ever been caught by a sudden rain shower, and you didn’t have your umbrella? I imagine most of us can recall a time or two when we were surprised by a downpour from the heavens, and we got soaking wet. Recently I had a shower experience of a different kind.

If you have found that your humor has returned, please grab a towel and laugh at my expense. Why the towel? You’ll see.

We have both a stationary shower head and a hand-held one in our bathroom shower. I wanted to spare getting my hair wet one particular morning, so I turned the dial to the rarely used position, which would send water to the hand-held shower head. No problem. The shower head did what it was supposed to do, but the following morning . . . not so much.

As you have likely figured out, I forgot to change the setting back to the stationary shower head after I finished yesterday’s shower, and had long since forgotten that I had changed the knob’s position. I turned on the water, heard the whoosh, anticipated the spray, but instead of getting me wet, a jet stream of water shot over the shower door and hit the wall across the room! The water splashed the mirror, ran down the wall, and drenched everything below. Stunned, but with quick recovery, I turned off the water and surveyed the damage. Fortunately clean-up was easy since bathrooms are designed to get wet . . . just not hosed down!

Mind you, all of this took place in a matter of seconds. First shock, then it registered in my brain, “Turn the water off!” It took longer to clean up the mess than to make it. (And isn’t that usually the way it is?) I can live the rest of my life quite satisfied to never again soak my bathroom with a shower head, but I will always welcome other kinds of showers.

I consider foibles to be at the top of my list of accomplishments . . . said with tongue in cheek. I’m probably not alone in this gift, but rather quite safely centered in a larger population, if they are willing to admit to it. “Why admit it?” you may ask. Because we are all broken. If we didn’t think so before, we surely do after burying a child. Burying a child breaks us. It leaves us in a deep heap of shattered shards of our broken parts, does it not?

This is where showers come in. Not the wet kind, although those are good, but heavenly showers; showers of cleansing as well as showers of blessing. Sometimes blessings are hard to be cognizant of after tragic loss, but God still sends them. I rather like the analogy. Getting refreshed by showers on the outside or inside of me are blessings on which I have come to depend.

Thus far in my life it seems that God will take an unexpected event (like my indoor shower), refurbish it, and weave it into a spiritual application for my understanding and character building. With your permission I will share a possible spiritual application from my mishap.

May I ask a question? Have you been aware of the showers of blessing in your life? Perhaps you feel God deserted you with the death of your loved one, and therefore, you turned away from Him? You may be thinking, He ignored my pleas to save my child, therefore I know He doesn’t care about me or my family. Ravaged by grief, like millions on this planet are, it is not easy to see the good. Our eyes are dim with tears and our hearts broken from loss. With the sudden death of our precious child, we may feel we are no longer blessed, totally forgotten. Perhaps you ask, “Where’s my blessing? How can the God of blessings also be the God who allows His children to die?” Hard questions which remain suspended in midair. They may go unanswered for now.

I shall remind us both that God never leaves us forsaken in our loss (Hebrews 13:5). He’s right here, holding us. Day by day He whispers sweet promises in our ears. When we are quiet and listening, we will hear them. He wills us to ask for a daily dose of His strength for the days, months, and years ahead. Could it be that His strength and comfort are among the showers of blessing? Could it be that the touch from others is among the showers of blessings? Or could it be that we aren’t used to receiving blessings from above, so we don’t anticipate an abundant shower of them? Why not?

“He doesn’t say: I will cut you off from My blessings. He says, ‘Come to Me and drink.'”

Quote from Today Is Your Best Day by Roy Lessin, pg. 126

Scripture shared from The Message (MSG)






Not by chance . . .

A real friend loves you no matter what happens. Proverbs 17:17

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“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein

Her name I cannot share, but perhaps you have met someone like her in your life. If not, I will share our story, our connection, with the hope that it will bless every reader today.

We met a long time ago during a craft class. We were young mothers; she had one small child, and I had two. We had been mothers long enough to hunger for the fellowship of other women; a time to rekindle our place as women in the world. It was not by chance that we met in a macrame class, working our fingers while chatting about our lives.

Not by chance . . . we liked each other enough to stay in touch after the class was over: getting together so our children could play, or do outings, or share canning fruit and veggie know-how.

Not by chance . . . we kept in contact over the growing pains of raising rambunctious kids and her declining, crumbling marriage.

Not by chance . . . we found that we shared a love for God, and our conversations took on deeper topics of spiritual significance.

Not by chance . . . we kept in touch through trials of divorce and chronic illnesses. We prayed together, mostly over the phone, joining our voices to call out to the God of heaven for help and relief.

Not by chance . . . we have remained close friends through the battle of disease and a heart shattered by suicide. Thirty-eight years and counting, God has led each of us. Easy? Absolutely not. Faithful to Him and to each other? Absolutely.

Not by chance . . . God orchestrated our friendship so many years ago when life was fresh, and we were full of joy and excited about the future. We still are. Battered and bruised by the trials and tragedies of life, we press on together, knowing that we trust in God’s amazing grace.

Not by chance . . . my friend has pulled through the most trying year of her life. Facing so many physical challenges, enough to cause others to give up, yet God has sustained her. One of the ways He chose to do so was to connect us yet again, as a writing team. How? I’m glad you asked! Read on for the amazing twist in our shared story.

One day my friend called me. We had chatted a bit when she blurted out with a sigh, “Okay. I’ll do it.”

“Do what?” I asked.

With just a hint of frustration in her voice (as if I should know the answer already) she responded, “I will help you edit your blogs!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “Did I nod off during our conversation? I don’t remember asking you to help me,” I stammered.

“God has been bugging me for months to help you, and each time I heard His voice speaking to my heart to get involved, I gave Him my laundry list of objections. But you know how persistent He can be, so I gave in. I will help you edit your blog.”

Not usually at a loss for words, this day I was. My friend relayed more of her journey. She let me in on her private pain and struggle for the past year, saying that it had been worse than her divorce, which I knew had been terrible. Not only were her personal struggles daunting, she still continued to work, so her life was full to overflowing. Bad timing for God to ask a favor, or so she thought. But at His insistence, she gave in and called to tell me she was willing to help.

Not by chance . . . I could use her help. In fact, I could have used her grammar expertise for both books, now in print, but God had not “bugged” her when those were in process. He chose to do it this year, during the worse year of her life. Were we to understand, at least from a human perspective, why He chose now?

Not by chance . . . God knew that my friend had not grieved her many losses. He knew she needed an outlet for her grief, which had been hidden away and ignored. He knows the subject matter of my blog first hand, because I rely on Him to give me ideas, words, and perspective from His loving heart. Even though my story involves suicide, she and others who have different losses can relate to grieving, no matter the cause.

Not by chance . . . as my friend reads my drafts and works on them with her skills, the emotional side of her connects to my sorrow, and the dam breaks ~ over and over again. Long held off tears begin to flow. Suddenly, we get it. It becomes crystal clear why God connected us so long ago, held us together for most of our adult years, and then reconnected us again to work together. If I had asked for her help, it would have been for my benefit. Because God asked my friend to help me, it was for her benefit. We have come to realize that it is all for His glory and for our spiritual growth.

Not by chance . . . our loving heavenly Father knew years ago that we would need each other even more now. He knows that writing is healing, and we would both benefit. Actually, it’s a win/win/win relationship; a three-way friendship begun on earth which will continue in heaven.

Not by chance . . . God works in the lives of all His children. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). He knows the best plan, the best path to take. He knocks at the door of every heart. If we choose to answer, it’s our gain, and not by chance . . . but by divine design.

Verse from the Clear Word paraphrase