Soul Care When You’re Grieving
This month’s post differs from my normal blogs. I chose to write a short book review on the newly released Soul Care When You’re Grieving by Edie Mahoney Melson. This third book in the Soul Care series helps through not only the loss of a loved one, but losses of something of personal value, of a job loss, a relationship, or anything of worth to someone. Melson leads the reader through processing grief beyond just words on a page. She includes the reader in interactive exercises, assisting each closer to personal healing.
To quote her, “I’ve learned—-through experiences I wouldn’t have chosen—that joy comes. But it arrives when we don’t expect it. The key to embracing a new attitude is not to squash the joy when it appears. Accept it. Enjoy it! And don’t give into the guilt that hovers in the background. Joy will come more and more often as you travel further away from the furnace and into a new rhythm of life.” (p. 154)
I urge you to purchase not only a copy for yourself, but several as gifts for others as well. It’s available now from Amazon, Bookbub, Christian Book Distributors and Barnes and Noble.
Edie Melson is an author, blogger, and speaker around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply those to life.
Woohoo! Mash and Smash Again!
“14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’
15 My times are in Your hand’….” Psalm 31:14-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“The results of your mammogram were inconclusive.” Traci nearly always receives this letter, and nothing is found. I returned for another mash and smash session that afternoon. On the black and gray screen, shining bright and white was an M&M sized dot.
A biopsy and three days later my family doctor and friend called to confirm what God had placed on my heart. That bright, white dot was breast cancer. April 2010 was the beginning of another, life-long adventure with my Savior.
No matter where this journey carried me or where it ended my Savior promised me that my times are in His hand. I likened it to being in labor with my first child. I experienced nervousness that I might behave so as not to honor Jesus. I also thrilled that ultimately at the end of this time I would receive one of God’s greatest blessings!
Held in His hand on this new path through mountain tops and valleys, the blessings poured into my life. Deepened relationships. New friends and acquaintances. New experiences.
Thank you, Lord, for the mashes and smashes of life. Thank you that blessings also enter our lives when troubles and hardships come. Thank you we can rest in you because our times are in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The psalmist states he has “set the Lord” before him. This demonstrates an active relationship with God. He makes a conscious choice to focus his entire self on God alone. He confidently knows he can lean on, depend on and trust in the Lord. With God by his side, no thing nor no one can shake him. To God be all glory, honor, power, and glory alone. He is the Victor.
World War II Hero
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The kid dove for cover inside a corner of the remaining shell of the bombed out building. Bullets whizzed past him, bombs falling one after another from the smoke-filled sky. The twenty-year-old man-boy trembled with fear. A grenade rolled into the room and his buddy jumped on it before it exploded, dying to save his fellow soldiers. Then calm descended amid the stench of burning flesh, and the acrid smell of explosives. The thunderous sounds were replaced with cries for help, moans of pain, and ear-piercing screams.
A woman hobbled into the building, flailing her arms, wailing, grasping the kid by the arm, and begging in rapid German, but repeating, “Come! Come!” Sweeping together his pack he followed her into a nearby smouldering building and she pointed to a body in a puddle of blood, knees drawn, rolling side to side, and sobbing. The kid rolled the form to face him, gasped, and terror paralysed his thinking. Shrapnel pierced her womb and he understood her baby was coming.
He was an army medic, trained to treat the wounded of the war, but he knew nothing about delivering a baby. Recovering from his surprise he communicated using sign language, broken English and broken German with the other woman asking her to find the local nuns to assist him. His medical trained mind returned and he proceeded with saving both the mother and her unborn child. The nuns arrived and attended to delivering the baby. The kid focused on removing the shrapnel, stopping the bleeding, preventing infection and saving the mother’s life. Both mother and child survived.
This is one story of many of my daddy’s life serving in the United States Army, marching across Europe during World War II. He saved the lives of both Allies and enemies. He held the dying, comforted them, and wept for them. His unit in the 409th Battalion under Patton also freed the prisoners from a Nazi prison camp at the end of the war. This is a simple snapshot of my favorite military hero. I’m proud to be the daughter of Ralph Stuart Kaney, an American hero.
Potholes, Patches and Pastiches
a work of art that mixes styles, materials;
a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources
The driver behind me must think a bobble-head is driving this truck. Each drop of a wheel into a pothole bounces me up and down, jarring me left and right. I grip the steering wheel and pray I remain on my side of the road. Jostling along I ponder potholes. Do paved roadways and life’s pathways mirror one another?
I slammed into a few devastating, deep potholes along my journey of life. Some were apparent to all and some were known only to me. My fishbowl life as a preacher’s kid kept me struggling to survive in waters of inadequacy and imperfection. My dad attempted suicide when I was sixteen. Two of my daughters suffered sexual assaults as young adults. My father-in-law ran over my two-year-old daughter. Stresses at work where I was the recipient of workplace abuse reinforced my sense of failure. My mom’s cancer returned and rapidly grew to stage four. My health crashed with anemia, hypothyroidism and exhaustion. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt like I was drowning. The stresses and pressures became so jarring I eventually careened off my pothole pitted roadway into a murky, dark ravine of depression.
I attempted a Band-Aid-like approach to these difficulties and pain. I avoided discussing them and pretended as though they had not happen. I worked ten to twelve hours daily preventing myself from thinking about my circumstances. I withdrew from interacting with family and friends. I owned the heartache of others who suffered tragedies and wept with and for them. Pain and hopelessness crippled me. I believed the lying voices of darkness. Despair. Discouragement. Defeat. I wanted to die and I made a plan.
God had a different plan. He said in Isaiah 41:9-10 (MSG),
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
Through the prayers and loving hands of family, friends and my doctor He held me and opened the eyes of my heart to see His light in this dark world. He reminded me this world is temporary and we are engaged in a spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:10-20 (NASB) He told me,
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. In John 10:10 He stated,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We all have life-jarring moments that toss us hither and yon like limp rag dolls splayed askew wondering, “What is happening?” Our painful experiences pierce our hearts and minds causing us to crumble. The powers of darkness desire to crush us but we do not have to remain broken. When we give our damaged lives to God and trust our pieces into His care, He comes in and cuts away the wounded, festering areas of our hearts and creates something new. He takes the shattered, splintered parts of our lives and makes something beautiful, better and stronger than the old.
He said it Himself in Isaiah 43:19 (VOICE),
Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert;
Waters will flow where there had been none.
In Isaiah 65:17 (VOICE) He promised,
Now look here!
I am creating new heavens and a new earth.
The weary and painful past will be as if it never happened.
No one will talk or even think about it anymore.
He called us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB) to come to Him.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Winding roads, curves, precarious ledges and potholes of hurts and disappointments dot our lives. God desires to smooth out the rough terrain created by hardship and heartache. God is able. God is willing. He is the seamstress taking sundry scraps of fabric and piecing them together into a patchwork quilt. He is an artisan using colored shards of glass creating a stunning stained-glass window or lampshade. He is the Master Craftsman. He gathers us to Himself, with all our broken parts and splinters and creates a masterpiece. He makes us into something new and never before seen. Will you respond to His loving voice and tender embrace? Will you surrender your broken life into His capable hands and allow Him to mold you into a pastiche? He is waiting.