Category Archives: Grief

Perspective on Death

My niece Rocky died peacefully in her sleep this morning at 5:00.(Monday) And since I process mostly through writing, and I will be gone when this posts this weekend, I wanted to at least start it today.

I have fluctuated between emptiness and praise today. The emptiness is wondering why I didn’t take more advantage of the time I could have spent talking with her, and getting together with her…

The praise is knowing her suffering is over, and because she went so sweetly, she got her healing–she didn’t even know she died. Her next conscious thought will be in total wonderful health and seeing her beloved Jesus. She’s as good as there.

Right up until the day before she died she told her Mom she needed less company so she could pray and meditate. She didn’t want anything to come between her and Jesus so he could heal her. Sweet.

I had an interesting thought after that. It must have been hard for Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead knowing he would have to suffer living here and die again!

I’m sure he was glad he could do it for the sisters! But I think God must be happy when His children are safe, secure out of harms way, asleep, as Jesus said, waiting for Him to wake them.

Would I want to bring Rocky back? Yes, for myself. But for her to go through all this again? No!

Death isn’t the same to God as to us. It seems He works harder to keep people alive who haven’t yet had a chance to see Him as the love He really is–to make a choice based on good information.

When my little brother died, God gave me the scripture: “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His children…” That was when I began to understand God’s perspective. And I don’t even believe we go straight to heaven.

I have no problem with people comforting themselves with the belief that their loved ones are in heaven. It seems like a sweet doctrine. I just can’t support it from scripture. There are two, maybe three passages that seem to support it, if you tweak them that way.

My resistance to believing it is simple, and based on two things:

1) There is a preponderance of scripture for believing we are “asleep” until Jesus wakes us: from Genesis to Revelation, including Jesus’ own words, the words of his disciples, and the whole doctrine of the resurrection.*

2) I know how the dark side loves to deceive, Satan is a master at deception, and who would disagree with someone they love “coming back from the dead? They could tell them anything–any lies, and they would believe them. It happened in scripture, and it happens today. It’s a perfect stage for the enemy’s lies. Grieving people are targets for it, and they have no protection if they want it and believe in it.

I think that is scary, and I see us getting set up for a huge deception, just because we want to believe something sweet that isn’t true.

You might say, “But everyone believes it!” as someone said to me a couple of days ago.

I know! The enemy has been working hard on this one for a long time–since Eden. It must be very important to his final strategy.** He’s been very successful with it becoming a doctrine, getting the church to promote it! That ought to give us pause, to make us question it.

So there it is. Now it’s up to you. God doesn’t want you deceived.

 

*Genesis 3:4, 19, Luke 8, John 11, *Thessalonians 4:15-18 are just a sample of them

**2Thessalonians 2:5-12

 

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Grief, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Cosby-Disappointment or Normal?

I raised my kids on Cosby. And since they’re in their 30s, there must be a lot of people who remember and love that show like we did. It and Seventh Heaven were the healthiest family modeling there was. We all wanted to be like them. And now both “dads” are accused of sex crimes. It’s heart-breaking.

In the beginning, I think we were all hoping it was just a personality-disordered gold-digger or two going after Cosby’s money. But now it appears that the icon we all love had a checkered past–was a very troubled man.

It’s so sad. We feel betrayed. This person we wanted our fathers and husbands to emulate turns out to have been a sex maniac.

I’ve been wondering, is he a sex addict? What he is accused of doesn’t sound sexual only; it sounds violent. Violent sex is about anger and hate, not really even sexual. Sex addiction is one step above that–the male brain so easily gets hooked on sex as a way to fix or escape whatever is wrong.

I’ve had a small therapy practice for 25 years, and I’ve always had someone dealing with sex addiction. It’s that common. I’ve had more than one client tell me how quickly it enslaved them–one “hit” of pornography was all it took. And now that it is so accessible, it’s really tough for men. But does that make it the norm?

NO! Maybe in numbers of guys struggling with it, but not in normal healthy behavior. Normal mostly isn’t healthy anyway.

What am I basing that on? The way a man’s brain is wired. Emotions are scary to men in this society. And since they can shut feelings down fairly easily, because of scarring to the corpus colosum in gestation, they tend to replace them with sex. I think men are emotionally starving here.

Indulgent mothers and absent or distant fathers, who have themselves forgotten what “manly” is, have made men uncomfortable in their own skin. There aren’t quests to prove manhood anymore. Fighting and sex is about as close as they get.

A man has fine, deep emotions, and his first sexual experience is powerfully bonding, especially if he’s “in love.” If the relationship doesn’t make it, and he doesn’t do some serious grieving, he’ll replace her, but never love or bond quite like that again.

He will want to grieve, but everyone, especially his buddies will tell him to go get laid and forget her–get involved with someone else. Of course, the exact wrong advice.

So his bonding ability is seared and feelings are buried. But buried feelings ferment and get nasty and come out other places–aberrant sexual behavior. And if its anger that’s being buried, look out! (African-American people, especially African-American men, have reason for anger.) Violence carries its own addiction. Sex and violence together are a bad combination.

Is there hope? There is always hope for every addiction, and the best of it comes from God the one who can redeem anything, and who made your feelings and your brain circuitry in the first-place. But you have to ask.

Therapy is a great help, but you’ll have to find a therapist who doesn’t think sex addiction is normal. Good luck!

And the love of a good, secure woman, if valued, is a great help also.

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Filed under a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Bullying, fathering, Grief, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, sex addiction

Brain Robbers

I’m restless this afternoon–probably dehydrated, I reflect–could the news from my friend put me in this funk? Don’t I believe God is good? I say it enough…so I should just start thanking Him that He has this too. And I’m sure He does. So I drink two glasses of water and began to write here. That’s one of my best processing strategies.

Did you know stress doesn’t kill us? There is now a great body of research to show it (Cohen, 2006). It is the state your body is in when the stress hits. Are you healthy? What do you do with the fear that presents itself with bad news? What are your feedback systems? What are your patterns? How do you cope?

We are emotional creatures. There is no way around it. We’re built to feel. We have to have outlets for emotions and pain. Fear is real when you hear a good friend has just been exposed to Ebola. No the fear isn’t for me–he’s in another country. The fear is for him and his family. It’s worse than hearing someone here has cancer–and that is bad enough.

And no, I’m not afraid of death for people who know God, their pain is over. I feel for the people who are left. The ones who suffer. I’m not afraid his wife and three children will get the disease–they are here. But how awful it would be to go on without him–he’s so full of life and fun. Humor is his second nature, as is adventure, and faith.

Sooner or later everyone comes around to the question. Why do good people suffer? Or Why does God allow suffering? Does He cause it? Those two have made many atheists.

I’m clear on both. Why is there suffering? Freedom. And no, He doesn’t cause suffering. He has no evil. So what’s my problem?

Part of it is the pathways I have. Fear used to be second nature to me. That network–mostly dormant is still there–ready to be activated at any time. Another part is that I know God sees what we don’t, and sometimes He sees that it is better not to intervene. I admit that one still gets me nervous from time to time. Faithful suffering speaks.

So what is the real problem? Do I know Him well enough to ask Him and listen for His voice? Do I take my shocks and fears to Him? Can I trust that He really knows best if He doesn’t do what I think He should? I am shocked to realize that I haven’t talked to Him about this yet!

Why not? I got caught in feeling–in the awfulness and emotion of what happened. That is purely human. But I could have turned to him immediately instead of wallowing in feelings for two hours. Now that is crazy! 

One of my friends even said the right words, but they went by with my agreement but not my action–not connecting with Him about this.

I even talked to Him about something else! Wow! I’m amazed.

Fear does NOT come from God. But neither will He jerk it away from me. I have to want to give it up. Processing helps. Can I trust Him? His goodness? Really?

Yes! Will I? That is my choice.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, Grief, Joy, Love ed, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

My Mother Taught Me to Fly…

is written on a tiny piece of wood on my dresser. I gave it to Mom a few years before she died.

It seems appropriate to continue my joy-writing on my mother’s birthday. She was a person of joy even though she had a difficult life and didn’t get what she really wanted. In some ways I think she got more.

She so wanted an education. They couldn’t afford it. She needed to work to help the family. It was still the Depression.

She wanted to become an artist and a writer–she had dreams and ambition–she was a strong woman. But not strong enough to withstand my father’s advances. She got married at 19.

She has duplicated herself six times over. She put her strength into her children. And her strength was a desire to know God’s love, experience it, and share it.  I believe everyone of her children achieved that before death, or are still achieving it as the highest priority of their lives (my two brothers preceded her in death).

That is quite an accomplishment. In my mind, it is the highest. Is their anything that matters more than giving your kids the most important foundation in life? Anything more important than knowing and being loved by God?

Health is important because without it your mind and body will find it harder to make those chemical-electrical connections in your brain that lead to good choices. But it only makes all the important things in life easier, it’s not the thing.

Knowing how to receive love and give it is important. But again, that is only harder without getting it first from parents and then from God.

Being able to choose your perspective is very important because that forms healthy (constructive) or unhealthy (destructive) beliefs and choices. (Poor Robin Williams–who felt he had no more good choices! And we are amazed that one with so much could feel and think that.)

Scripture says that joy is in the presence of God. If you don’t know that–never learned it–you are definitely handicapped, life is harder.

Do you know how to go into God’s presence? Do you know how to experience His love?

My devotional this morning says, “I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My Presence… The more you focus on My Presence with  you, the more fully you can enjoy your life.” This is Jesus speaking (Jesus Calling, 2008)

But what if you have never done that? Don’t even know God or Jesus?

An easy place to start is a choice. Set aside ten minutes to be with Him. Tell Him you want to meet with Him every day and have His joy, then  go to “God in your Face” (facebook) OR http://Godhelps.net/Godinabox and read  the day’s short reading on Jesus’ life. He was our clearest picture of God. While reading, breathe in seven seconds and out seven and keep breathing rhythmically while trying to imagine being there. (This is meditation and 12 minutes a day for 30 days has been shown to change physical numbers.)

Make that a habit and you will have a great start on knowing God and experiencing Joy. And my mother’s legacy will reach you, and who knows, maybe even your children! It is the best legacy you can give.

My mother didn’t miss out. She will have eternity to create art. She already created six masterpieces. I know that because they will last through eternity. What great artist can say that?

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Grief, Health, Joy, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Parenting, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Love can Alter Perspective

IMG_3598

This picture brought to mind the old saying, “If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in his shoes.

But what if you can’t? What if they are just too heavy to walk a mile? Or across the living room! You might have to rest.

He was trying to walk his stepdad’s boots to his room for Mommy, but they are so heavy he had to rest half way.

Some of us try to walk in the shoes of Our Father and find them just too heavy–way too heavy–to make it to our destination, and instead of resting we give up.

Interesting. Jesus said being connected with Him makes life light. So why does it sometimes feel so heavy?

Last week I had so many commitments, it could have felt way too heavy, especially since I was fighting off some virus, but my weakness made me focus on Him and relax, until the last day. He told me to rest, but I had so much to get done, that I got all tense and tired and irritable! But at least I learned from it–the next day was a great day because of “resting” in His love instead of trying harder and getting tense.

Maybe we don’t rest enough. Maybe we are too conscious of us, and not conscious enough of Him.

I’m sure my grandson had no thought of quitting. He might have been surprised how heavy those boots were, or how hard it was to walk in them; but he just needed to rest a bit–no big deal. In fact he felt honor, I’m sure.

There’s three of them adjusting to a new life, new home, new Dad; but he loves them, and that takes most of the pain of their new life away. When they focus on him, and how he feels about them, how he treats them, it’s worth it. He’s worth it. They feel his love. They rest til they can see their dad again.

Just like their new Dad, your Father-God is worth it. Focussing on His love, His respect, even His discipline, makes you feel secure and safe. He’s worth it. Let yourself rest and feel His love. He will reveal more and more love.

Research says the younger ones (<4) are typically most impacted by life upsets like divorce, but I’ve noticed where there is love on both ends, the little ones do much better than predicted. Sometimes even better than the older ones.

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Filed under divorce, fathering, Fathers' Day, Grief, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Parenting, parenting and divorce, Separation, suffering, Uncategorized

Dreams DO Come True

Last week my daughter was totally rewarded for her trust in, and intimacy with, God.

After her decision to divorce (which process and pain is recorded in my blogs for the  past year on http://www.arlaboo.blogspot.com) she and a friend began hanging out. She really liked him; and he, her, but then the twists and turns of life took them other places.

It was a hard year for her, learning to depend on God for everything from finances to friendship. The learning curve was steep and at times painful, but it included healing for many beliefs that kept her stuck in fear and dysfunction. Though sometimes painful to watch, I knew it was good–even when she did some needed separating from me. I just tried to be there when she needed to process or vent.

I have to admit, though, that her intimacy with God both scared me and made me jealous. (And I work at a relationship with Him.)

Nevertheless, there were times when I asked God if I should have taught her that we all need to hear God speaking to us personally, that He desires that, and that we each need our own relationship with Him. Watching her experience (even though I had been through something similar 30 years ago) stretched me to the max. I often didn’t know what to think. I just had to trust Him and her.

In the beginning, she would just tell me what God had said to her, but by the last month she was reading her journal to me.  Sometimes I felt like a voyeur. And I was always praying, “You wouldn’t let her be deceived would you?” I know scripture says people will be deceived because they don’t love truth, but I trusted that her heart was too pure, and God was too good for that.

It has been quite a ride, with her trusting that God can and will do what he says, even when it looks impossible. And last week the beginning of everything God had been telling her for months came to pass. Needless to say she is ecstatic! She waited on God, trusted Him, and has been vindicated and rewarded. Even though seven of us on her inner circle were a little nervous.

It’s a great story of intimacy with God and faith rewarded, and she’s going to publish it. Remember the title Shards of Grace and the cover picture–it may be awhile.   

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September 8, 2013 · 12:33 pm

Ignorance Thrives on Inattention

This is the second of a three part series investigating remedies for societal violence causes other than gun control.

Inattention

The busier our lives get, the more we major in minors to our own detriment and that of society. One small example is health.

So many people are too busy to sleep enough, getting by on four or five hours a night. Or they are propped up by meds because their lives are so out of balance that the stress or lack of hormones keeps them from sleeping.

Others are too busy to prepare and eat life-giving food or exercise. Does it really take that much more time to make healthy food? More than driving through a fast food window, yes! But not much more than making prefabbed packaged meals. And exercise can become family fun or social interaction.

What it does take is attention. It takes thinking and choosing—what kind of health do I want for myself and my family? How do I want to feel? Is it important that my brain works well, and isn’t constantly skating on negativity?

Brain researchers have confirmed that our brains work according to the raw material they have and the thoughts we think, and choices we make.

Too busy to think? Someone else is running your life. Take back your power.

Overwhelmed is such a common feeling today. But it, too, is mostly management. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take ten minutes a day to unwind either at night or in the morning and think about what will matter ten years from now. Ask God to help you see what is important and what can slide or wait. He doesn’t want you to live frantically or stressed.

Exercise has been shown to be as effective as anti-depressants in the short term, and more effective ten months later. Movement creates blood flow which is basic for feeling good.

Another attention problem we have is we don’t want to know, to deal, to feel…the biggest reason is we don’t want to look at ourselves. We are afraid of what we might find. Most of us run scared from our own truth. If we would face it, we would see that it usually isn’t that bad.

My clients are afraid to look at themselves and their beliefs, and they are the ones seeking help! That’s how I know everybody is scared to look at their truth.

I was too–until I learned that it’s where the freedom is. Facing your own beliefs is sometimes scary and painful, but it is good, quick pain, and the results far, far, far outweigh living in denial and pretense.

We all want an easier, gentler way, unless we are addicted to drama, chaos, or violence. But the easier, gentler way is the way of facing your truth, taking responsibility for what is important in your life, making choices.

What are you doing today that will make a difference 1000 years from now? (as my daughter likes to say). Do you have a forever perspective? You are wired for it. We were created for much more than suffering.

 

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Filed under Grief, Health, Mental Health, Uncategorized

lovelycrumbs.com A Perspective on Feeling Abandoned — To Love without an Escape Plan

If you felt abandoned by your dad,  you will love the pathos and triumph of this blog. I will print it here for convenience, but it’s better at her site.

“To Love without an Escape Plan”
http://www.lovelycrumbs.com

I dial the numbers slowly. A bit of hesitation in my fingers. In my heart.

It’s later than I’d planned to call. But that is the way my life goes. Tucking in all the littles. Wrapping up the day.

And this night has brought with it a resonating ache. A friendship strained and stretched. The weight of it sitting heavy on my heart. Slowing my every moment.

So with this heart already opened raw… I speak into the phone.

“Happy Birthday, Dad”

He mumbles thanks and I quickly ramble off the information of an   e-card created just for him by the littles, our latest in emergency-room visits, a bit of uncomfortable chatter.

He, in his natural way, makes a joke about me only having ten toes. It is him in a moment. The soft bantering humor. It connects me to him as if once again my hands are little.

And then as quickly as it started it’s over and he’s gone. Connection disconnected.

He still doesn’t know how to stay. Not even on the phone.

I want him to know it’s ok. I understand it. Understand him. My heart feels the sadness in his voice. The helplessness.

He doesn’t know how to stay.

I’ve spent my whole life watching him leave.

Watching him. Wishing just once he’d stay. Just for a moment see me. Know me.

There are few things that drive you toward God like an absent father. 


Few things that leave the vacancy, the caverns of blackness. Of empty searching. Grasping.


Looking to be loved. Defined. Beautiful.

I spent half a lifetime wishing he’d died. Somehow thinking it would be easier if he’d had no choice. If he hadn’t walked away. And this last half so grateful to just love him from a distance. Knowing that it’s all he has to give.

Today is his birthday. A day for celebration. Joy. And for me it is filled with ache.

Not the same paralyzing pain of the little girl that waited for him, face pressed against the glass.

No this pain is sadness. The twisting, burning ache of loving from the outside. The sorrow of watching a heart withered, wrapped up tight and unmoving. A heart unaware of what it truly means to be open. To love without an escape plan.

A heart that has missed the joy of a daughter. The indescribable blessing of knowing a child as well as you know your own face.

And I want to tell him it’s ok. I understand.

My heart grieves. No longer for me, but for him. For all that he missed. All that will never come again.

I am well. Strong. Beautiful. Loved.

And he never need feel guilty. For I know how it feels to have a Father. To have the One who never leaves fill your heart. I know how it refines you to love with your Whole Heart. To be the child of a devoted mother. To be a committed wife. To have a child. To have three.

I love him. I love me. The bits of him that are reflected back at me. The parts of me that want to leave when the struggles begin. The pieces of me that can figure out how to do anything.

I am proud to be his child. Honored to have come from him.

He wasn’t there… And he is completely forgiven. Completely loved.

Because he never learned how to stay, I have learned how to fight for love. Because he was afraid of the work of loving, I am not.


Because he left, I know how to stay.

Everything is a Gift. Grace poured out into this fragile soul. I am here in this moment because he is my father. I am part of him. And I love him.

Even though he doesn’t know how to stay.

And birthday’s are for new beginnings…

for Grace.

“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 hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11








Posted By Loxlia to lovelycrumbs at 1/21/2012 12:37:00 AM 00 AM

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