Through Every Season

Year: 2021

Ways I am Kind to My Grieving Heart

Our youngest son, Joel, will turn 29 on Saturday. It will be his 9th birthday in Heaven. We are so proud of how he has lived his life for the Lord and can’t wait to see his beaming face again in Heaven and to hear about all the adventures and people he is now enjoying.

I have a long list of authors, artist and musicians to meet and thank in Heaven. I can see Joel walking arm in arm with me, showing me off to all his new friends, introducing me to saints who have helped me see Jesus with eyes of faith and telling them, “This is my mom, for whom we prayed. She persevered until the end.” 

My hope in Jesus, His work on the cross for us, His presence with me and His imminent return is what helps me through each day. It takes perseverance to hold on to faith on this fallen planet. In the midst of hard as I have turned to God, I have found  Jesus’ presence with me to be sweet. He is patient and kind and my daily prayer is to see, love and imitate Him more. Before I can be kind to others, I must receive His kindness and be kind to myself. 

I wrote this list of “Ways I am Kind to My Heart” hoping that it would give someone permission to be kind to theirs as well. 

☐ I guard my thoughts. (Philippians 4:6-8)
☐ I guard my heart. (Proverbs 4:23)
☐ I turn my heart towards Jesus, the Source of all Light and Love.
☐ I pour out all my thoughts and heart in lament to God in a journal.
      ➭ Lament held in my heart can quickly turn to bitterness. Pouring it out makes room for God’s love to flow into my bitter cup.
☐ I allow Jesus, Man of Sorrows, into my grief to sit with and spend time being sad with me.

☐ I ask Holy Spirit to lead me into all Truth.
      ➭ I don’t want to spend a second grieving because I have believed a lie. I have plenty of grieving to do without believing a lie. The devil is a liar. I am his enemy. I put on God’s full armor and stand in faith. I submit myself to the God of all truth and shun all darkness and lies.
☐ I spend LOTS of time reading, meditating on and visualizing God’s Word.
☐ I surrender my will (fears, struggles, etc.) and choose to turn to God with trust.
     ○ James 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.

☐ I pray all the time: often without words, with tears, groans and wailing. (Romans 8:26)
☐ I LEAN into Jesus. He carries me. (Isaiah 63:9)
☐ I remind myself who God is: Faithful, True, Light, Love, The Lamb Slain, My Hiding Place…
☐ I remember that things others intend for evil God intends for good. (Gen. 50:20, Ro. 8:28)
☐ I remember that all my pain and suffering is temporary because God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me. (John 16:33)
☐ I remember that all my suffering is creating a future glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
☐ I create an atmosphere of worship in my home and car by sending worshipers ahead of me into battle. (2 Chronicles 20:21)

☐ I give myself lots of GRACE by abiding in God’s love and receiving His grace.
      ➭ I cannot love others unless I have first allowed God to fill up my cup with His love.
☐ I refuse to condemn myself. (Romans 8:1)
☐ I quickly repent when convicted of sin then I receive God’s forgiveness and grace. (1 John 1:9)
☐ I give myself lots of time.
     ○ I honor the way God created me by taking time to grieve and process.
     ○ I take time to honor my son in Heaven.
     ○ Time to look at photos and remember.
     ○ Time for Sabbath. ○ Time to rest and recover.
     ○ Time to be creative. ○ Time to relax.
     ○ Time allowing God to restore my soul.
     ○ And time enjoying the joy God gives me.

☐ I remember that suffering is to be expected in this fallen world and ask God to use me to help alleviate the suffering of others.
☐ I tell myself the truth.
☐ I affirm who I am in Christ leaning on His great and precious promises.
☐ I have prepared mantras of truth that I use when battling doubt, fear, loneliness, etc.
☐ I practice gratitude. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
     ➭ I am thankful for little and big things.
         ○ I am thankful for my loved ones.
         ○ I am thankful that they are in God’s hands.
         ○ I am thankful that I have eternity to look forward to with my loved ones in Heaven.

☐ I think on good things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
☐ I walk every day. Fresh air, sunshine, movement; so many benefits.
☐ I spend time in nature.
☐ I cuddle with my dogs.
☐ I stop and smell the roses.
☐ I fellowship with believers.
☐ I spend time in solitude.
☐ I eagerly look forward to Jesus’ return and going Home to Heaven.
☐ I do all these things with intention to be kind to my grieving heart.

 

Jude 1:20-21 But you beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith, pray in Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God while waiting expectantly for the compassion of our Lord Jesus to bring you eternal life.

James 1:4 So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

1 Peter 1: 13 Therefore prepare your minds for action. Be sober-minded. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with God’s promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

How are you kind to your grieving heart? Please, share 💕

In His Love,

Jenny Coleman
RHC GriefShare facilitator

GriefShare is a 13 week video seminar and support group offering help and encouragement for those grieving the death of a friend or loved one.

Learn more about our groups at: http://www.redlandhills.org/griefshare/ 

or by following our social media pages:

https://www.facebook.com/griefshare.redlandhills

https://www.instagram.com/griefshare.redlandhills

How to Experience More Life and Light and Peace in a Broken World

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?

Our imaginations are always active and continually influenced by things around us. As we grow older, we can forget how powerful they can be.

We learn in Romans 8:6,

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

In our broken world, it is easy to imagine that we are alone when we are afraid or angry or sad. It is easy to imagine that no one sees or understands or even cares about us. It’s easy to think dark thoughts in a dark world and to lose our peace.

Believers in Jesus live not only in a broken world, but also “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Asking God to help us to set our minds on the Spirit and to “see” and be influenced by the realms of Heaven can be life changing.

I was meditating on these verses last week:

Ephesians 5:8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true, 10 as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord… 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I thought about the words over and over and asked God to make them come alive in me. He opened my imagination and I saw myself “full of darkness” before I knew Jesus. I was like the little girl in the Bible who died. Jesus came into my room where I laid dead in my bed, gently held my hand and said, “Wake up.” I sat up in my bed, awakened from the dead, and looked at Jesus smiling warmly at me. The light from His smile filled me with a light that was so bright that it shined right through me in all directions and filled the room with light.

Can you see yourself in that story? Ask Jesus to enlighten the eyes of your imagination. 

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” – Ephesians 5:8

Each day I have a choice to make. Will I walk in the darkness of the world with my mind set on fleshly things or will I live as someone filled with God’s light and presence? Will I imagine that I am alone, that no one sees me, understands, or cares about me; or will I see Jesus tenderly holding my hand, lovingly waking me from my dark death, and filling me with the bright light of His smile? Will I let that light fill me and produce “only what is good and right and true” as I try to learn “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:9-10)?

From these verses in Ephesians, we learn that it pleases the Lord to fill us with light and what is good and right and true.

I learned in GriefShare that we can use our imaginations to facilitate healing from the flashbacks and nightmares caused by the trauma of losing a loved one by changing the ending of the story in our minds.

When our son, Joel, was attacked with an assault rifle, his life in this broken world came to an end, but his life “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” continues forever.

Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

One day, I asked Holy Spirit to help heal my mind by filling my imagination with more of Joel’s story. He opened my eyes to a vision of the incredible joy on Jesus’ face as He welcomed Joel Home.

Hebrews 12:2 says,

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Welcoming Joel Home was part of the joy that helped Jesus to endure the cross. Fixing my eyes on the vision of that incredible joy on Jesus’ face helps me to endure my cross as well.

Do you desire life and peace? Which realm will you allow to influence your imagination? Where will you set your mind? Do you hear Jesus asking you to awake and rise up from the dead? Will you live as a child of the light? Will you invite God to fill you with light and what is good and right and true? Will you invite Holy Spirit to fill you with visions of Jesus as you meditate on God’s Word?

The next five verses in Ephesians 5 reveal more secrets to obtaining light and life and peace:

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.

Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These practices can make a huge difference in your life.

If you are not sure that your loved one who died was a believer and went to Heaven, I have been praying for you and created this PDF explaining how you can have life and peace when facing uncertainty: tiny.cc/peace_when_I_do_not_know

This video by one of GriefShare’s hosts may also help: https://youtu.be/1MdPHuPjGnQ

In His Love,

Jenny Coleman
RHC GriefShare facilitator

GriefShare is a 13 week video seminar and support group offering help and encouragement for those grieving the death of a friend or loved one. Learn more about our groups at: http://www.redlandhills.org/griefshare/

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