Archive | April 2017

Thoughts on Guilt

But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. Matthew 13:25

Dear Readers: Regardless of what you may steadfastly believe, you did not cause the death of your child no matter what mistakes you feel you made. Period. I know the internal struggle to believe otherwise; it plagued me, too, but there is no truth in it. Long term guilt compounds the pain and makes one’s grief journey all the more difficult, so let’s tackle this intruder together.

Thoughts of guilt are like weeds in the wheat field of your mind.

In this age of computer savvy, let’s look at guilt through the lens of technology. Touch your “mind” computer screen. Spread the picture you have of guilt until it is magnified, bringing every detail into sharp focus. Look at it from every angle, then send this reflection to the trash bin, removing it from your present thoughts. Don’t forget to ask your higher power to dump the bin!

 It is good to be reminded that our journey is a “grief” journey, not a “guilt” journey.

Unfortunately, guilt and blame will come again. They will visit your mind often during the early years of your grief journey. Just a gentle reminder here: your journey is a “grief” journey, not a “guilt” journey. Grief may be a permanent fixture, but it can be kept in perspective. It does not have to run your life. To keep grief front and center in your life may be important in that it keeps you linked to the events that took your child from you . . . but there are healthier links.

“Erase and replace” is an example of a healthy link. Please ask God or your higher power to erase the guilt when you are tired of carrying it. Then choose to replace it with a good memory of your child.

If you don’t like the “technology analogy,” how about a bovine one? What if one were to see guilt and blame as things we can chew on, like cows chewing their cud. “Burp and chew” is as natural a process for cattle as “reflecting on guilt” is for a grieving parent. The mind naturally needs to process every detail of tragic loss, and likely repeat the process over and over. You aren’t going backwards when you do; you are healing, slowly and surely.

 Guilt is not glue. It will never mend a broken heart.

Reflecting on the events leading up to tragedy is imperative, but remember to delete the day’s review of guilt and blame when you are finished. “Chew and spew,” as it were. Chew on a “bite” of guilt as long as your mind needs to process, but, unlike the cow, don’t swallow. Spit it out. Flush it away. Until one has healed enough, there will always be more guilt to reflect on, delete, and repeat for some time to come.

In my experience along my own grief journey, there came a time when guilt no longer plagued my daily thoughts, freeing me from its control, but first I had to learn to delete the daily guilty thoughts, not file them away for future reference. This is not to imply that I never feel guilt anymore, but over the years I finally realized that it was not healthy to keep it “on the menu” in my thoughts.

 Put guilt on a diet, a starvation diet, or it can mar your grief journey, in a sense, and eat you alive. 

I believe it was a sign of healing when I no longer felt a sense of panic after I deleted a negative thought. It’s your mind. You may choose to “chew and swallow,” but if you do, you will continue to face the same thoughts of guilt over and over.

Where did guilt originate? It was in the Garden of Eden through the sin of our first parents, not from divine design. When Adam and Eve experienced guilt for the first time, the reaction was to hide from their Creator. (see Genesis 3:8)

The subconscious mind can be a storehouse for guilt; therefore, the enemy will always work to bring negative, guilty thoughts to our conscious minds. These thoughts are never from God, who is always willing to erase them when we ask.

There is a theme to these thoughts ~ it’s guilt, guilt, and more guilt. Based on my personal experience after losing my firstborn to suicide, guilt is not glue. It will never mend a broken heart.

I believe that guilt is not from God, but from the enemy who wants us to blame God as much as possible and particularly with the death of our children. Satan is brilliant at planting “weeds” of guilt in the mind.

The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?” “An enemy has done this!” the farmer exclaimed. Matthew 13:27-28

Verses shared from the New Living Translation (NLT)

 

 

This entry was posted on April 21, 2017. 2 Comments

“Sunday is Coming!”

_mg_1473__-spring-flowers-tulips

Again we come. The frozen landscape of winter solitude has yielded to a fresh, new season. Evidence is in the air. Birds share the news of the day as they busy themselves building nests to house their eggs of promise. Trees and flowers already show their own signs of promise with a hint of leaf and bud. All of nature is poised ready to paint the landscape in fresh rainbow shades.

I look down at the mat of brown at my feet. The dried wisps of winter grass are rapidly being pushed aside by eager sprouts ready to cover the landscape in crisp green. How refreshing to welcome a new season of life and beauty.

Where I stand now is our land, of sorts. Kicking, screaming, and flailing in protest we bought a piece of it. We had no choice. Someone we loved dearly ended his short life and needed a place to rest in Saturday’s death.

*****

It is a quiet Saturday outside Jerusalem. The horrendous beatings, fake trials, shouting, and sobbing at the foot of the cross had all passed. Friends and family had lovingly laid the Son of God in a borrowed tomb. They would return after the Sabbath hours to embalm Him, as was their custom, but now was the time to mourn their loss. He had done what He came to do. Jesus had predicted that He would rise in three days, but in their grief those words had slipped from memory (John 2:19). He was their Son, their Master, their Lord, and now He was dead. Sunday was on its way. It would come right on time, just as Jesus had promised; but now it was Saturday, and it appeared to be never ending, stretching to eternity as far as they knew. How could they go on without Him?

Heaven had a different point of view. As gruesome as it must have been to watch The Plan stretch out before them, the excitement was building. The Father’s heart beat a little faster. The angels milled around the throne, obviously eager for the long-waited moment to arrive. Gabriel was at his post, keeping his eyes on the Father. It would be his most important assignment ever, and he was ready. Eternity’s clock ticked toward the appointed hour.

Inside the tomb, all was quiet. The Savior had completed His work of saving mankind, and He was resting from His labor. His trust had always been in His Dad, even to the cross. He was not ticking down time. He was sleeping the sleep of death (Psalm 90:5).

Now The Plan’s focus shifted heavenward and particularly to His Father’s throne. It was a nail biter. Gabriel tried not to “bug” his Maker with intent staring. He was eager to get going, but God would give the signal, right on time, and when He did, Gabriel would soar through the heavens moving faster than the speed of light. As the black of night gave way to the first hint of red, Gabriel flexed his rippling muscles in eager expectancy.

Then God spoke, “Go, Gabriel, go!” Gabriel took off like a shot, flying through the cosmos encased in the radiant beams from his Father’s face. Heaven hushed. No one dared make a sound. God leaned forward in eager anticipation. The angels leaned forward, too.

Gabriel ripped thru space trailed by lightning, breaking the sound barrier as he went. As his feet touched earth in front of Joseph’s tomb, the fiery brilliance of heavenly light temporarily blinded the Roman soldiers, standing guard at the tomb, and they crumpled to the ground as though dead. The earth trembled and rocked on its axis as a mighty earthquake shook awake many who were asleep in their graves.

Gabriel rolled back the sealed stone as it if were a pebble. In a voice that rumbled on earth, but was heard as the sweetest music in the throne room of heaven, Gabriel cried, “Jesus! Son of God! Wake up! Your Father calls You!”

Sunday had come! The bleak darkness of this horrific Saturday had passed forever from view, never to be repeated on the hill called Calvary; but it still repeats on Planet Earth.

*****

Like other loved ones who remain to grieve, we added a pretty spring bouquet to the vase on our son’s grave. The colors were a plethora of pastel shades welcoming the new season, but there was no welcoming spirit of spring in our hearts. We looked down at the raised numbers in bronze, as if for the first time. Two dates and a dash are supposed to represent our son’s short life?

Wiping away the tears, we turned to leave. As we walked slowly away, we couldn’t help but notice the fresh mounds covered in cascades of funeral flowers reminding us that the cycle continues. Death follows life as it always has. Will it ever end? Will Saturday’s gloomy grip ever be broken? Yes! Sunday is coming!

And Sunday ~ whether it be Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of the week ~ will come! Relief is speeding toward us with the Deliverer slated to appear right on time! Jesus will return! He will wake up His sleeping children just as He promised!

The Creator of life broke the cycle of sin on the cross. Soon death will be no more. Eternity will begin! Families who have mourned many dark Saturdays will leave all their pain and sorrow behind when Eden is restored. Loved ones will embrace. Eternity will be our new forevermore!

“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.  Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.  No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 

Scripture shared from The Voice, (VOICE)