How to Comfort the Mourning #Love #ThankYouPost #Faith #PowerOfPrayer

During times of loss and difficulties, I bear witness to all the types of love that exist. Learning what love is, how to love and be loved, is always inspiring to me. I’ve learned so much about marriage and true commitment, after the loss of my own. I’ve learned even more about true friendship, these last five years than I can ever put into words.

I should know by now to be careful what I pray for, I just might get it. Sometimes I think we pray and pour our hearts out and we find ourselves feeling like we’re just talking to ourselves in an empty, dark room. No one hears except our own ears, but there’s always more than meets the eye. God has consistently shown me how much He hears me. With every confirmation, I find myself awestruck. Maybe one day that amazement will wear off but for now I’ll bask in it.

Some prayers are resolved with a single act, a single answer. Other prayers are answered in a series of events sprinkled through out time. The mysteries of life, of prayer, of God are vast, marvelous, and at times frustrating. How can you put into words something that can only be felt with the soul?

Grace. God’s grace and willing hands are the only way to make that happen.

I’ve had both the burden and the privilege to experience death—up close and personally—the act of it and the business of it. (Wait that makes me sound like I’m a serial killer or something. Not what I meant. 😉 I’m also not in the funeral business but I did used to work with estate administration and taxation so that part is legit.) With the passing of my husband almost five years ago and my dear mother-in-law last week, I’ve witnessed the process of death in all of its layers.

The greatest part of this process has been the witnessing of love. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of acquaintances. Love of strangers.

When we think of love, often times our minds go to the hearts and flowers concept. Hearts and flowers is such a small part of what real love is. I think so many of us have been misguided by this partial truth, that if we aren’t experiencing the commercialized form of romance (flowers, chocolates, and the like) we are not loved. These acts are special and important and I’m not trying to belittle them rather put them into balance for us. (What can I say, I still have a little bit of accountant in me and those accountants like balance.)

But when dealing especially with death, this form of love (hearts and flowers love) doesn’t fit. And in life, to experience the real depth of love, hearts and flowers romance will not sustain our hearts. We are creatures built for love. We need love in all sorts of forms.

One of the things I hear and see so often in people, especially during times of loss are the feelings of helplessness, not doing enough, and not being good enough at comforting the hurting. Part of this stems because we are unable to fix the problem. We cannot bring that person back from the dead. On the surface, that’s the answer that screams as to how we fix the problem. But that is beyond our control.

So how do you comfort the mourning? So many ways. You can pray for them. You can hug them. You can feed them. You can just sit and listen to them. You can spend time with them. You can send them a random text. You can take a walk with them. You can do so many things to help the hurting. The best phrase that covers all of the acts you can do for your hurting loved one—you show up for them.

That is love. Real true love. Showing up for the person who needs you is love.

We all have our own way to show up for someone, so embrace your gifts and use them to help others. No act is too small. Love is never too small a gift. It won’t instantly heal the wound but it will get in there and get them through the process. It won’t keep the pain away. It won’t keep the tears at bay. But it WILL be the bandage, the medicine to help the person move through their loss and into their new life.

There is truly no greater gift in the world, than the love of a friend.

This morning I woke up and I could fully feel again. I’d been concerned because all through this process of losing my mother-in-law, I’ve felt numb and unable to process. Nothing scares me more than wondering if I’m biding time until my complete emotional crash. Nothing is more frightening than questioning your own sanity. Especially when you can remember how incredibly awful one of those breakdowns feels.

I’ve come to realize, I’m okay. I’ve been processing this loss for a while now. I’ve been preparing and going through the motions of grief for several months. That doesn’t mean that the tears won’t hit me out of nowhere, that something won’t cause me to be sad but rather when those moments come, I’ll feel them and handle them.

I owe that self-confidence and recognition to God and the prayer He answered for me. Earlier this week, I told Him I was scared and asked Him if I was okay. He answered me rather quickly. Even before I prayed that prayer, my friends and family were planting seeds. Yesterday, I was able to clearly see that answer in front of me. I am okay. God has blessed me with amazing friends and family who pray for me AND show up for me. They speak words of truth and goodness and back them up with action. They love me in all the ways I need to be loved.

This is your reminder to show up for someone today. Just be there for them. Love them in the ways you know how and remember if that love is given from a genuine, pure place it will make a difference.

To my dear friends, who have loved me extra hard this past week, thank you. I love each of you more than words. You are my greatest blessings. I’ve spent the entire day thanking God for each one of you.

Love, Hugs, Sunshine, and Prayers. <3

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Reflections #MyJourneyContinues #ReflectionAndGratitude #MyHeart

There’s something to be said for reflection in your life. Because of who I am and how I’m made revisiting my life in the written word, in black and white on the page, speaks deeply to me.

While working on my book today, I found myself looking over the last year of my life—my journey to the Catholic Church and all the intricate details along the way. I’ve got a lot more words to get on the page (I’m only about a third of the way into the book) but what I have written is a bold reminder of the transformation of my spirit.

When I see it on the page it causes me to pause and catch my breath. In the midst of life, God find us, teaches us, and transforms us. Sometimes we get too hung up on statuses or degrees or achievements that we forget to honor the real victories in our lives.

I’m guilty of this. I can sit down and quickly rattle off a list of my “have not’s,” my self perceived failures. This October will be five years since Chris passed. It’s been four years since I decided it was time to live again and in those years I’ve grown and struggled, risen and fallen.

I’m still single. I’m NOT a mother. I’m in a sort of limbo with my career. And I’m about to turn 35. The clock is ticking. Those “failures” can easily bring me down and sometimes they do. But then there are moments like today where I find myself crying tears of joy again. Tears of gratitude.

Each of those “failures” once they become successes will contain within them their own sets of obstacles. In reflecting on my life, God sheds a little bit of light on the work He’s doing in me and for me, but most importantly the work He’s using me to do for others. It’s a bit like a cycle of strengthening for all parties involved happening simultaneously. It’s super cool and majorly cray cray. 😉

In these last four years of my life, I’ve become a completely different person. Sometimes I find myself looking in the mirror in a state of shock. Not in the vain, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all” way but the in the “God I cannot believe I’m her” way. God has transformed me (and continues to do so) into this bright shining light for Him. That Light is a very long way from the dark, lost soul I was those four years ago.

I have met the most inspiring people. I have friends who’ve watched my transformation and have pulled me through sorrowful days. And I have new friends who have no idea how deeply they inspire me to continue pursuing the God’s best in my life and for my life. I have deeper and closer relationships than I’ve ever known before. There is so much love in my life. The depth of my heart continues to grow. I’m starting to believe that love is too much to be contained within the confines of my heart. Love exists in my every movement, in each thought, and in every breath that I am—and that is because of God.

There is so much loss in and around our lives. Broken relationships, deaths, illnesses—we have no shortage of those things. But there is so much love, beauty, and healing around us as well.

We are never forgotten. We are never completely lost. No matter what we feel, we each possess a unique value. Take a moment and celebrate the victories in your life today. Gratitude exists in them. Sometimes just managing to get out of bed is a victory. Pat yourself on the back for that one.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out a way to show you how a life can change. How a heart can change from broken to whole. I’ll tell share my stories over and over with all kinds of combination of words and phrases trying to properly convey the message to you.

No matter how dark your situation is, life can change. You just have to keep going through the hurt. Please don’t give up.

I wanted to die. I prayed for death night after night. And I thank God He didn’t grant my request because I’d be missing so many amazing things right now. The greatest of all, the experiences of how He can change a heart and make old things new again.

Take a moment and please remember to never give up on your always and forever. The world needs you.

Love, Hugs, & Sunshine,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

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