Good for the Soul
Grief- we all experience it at one time or another. Grief can be deep or it can be shallow. It’s sting can stay a short while or it may last for a lifetime. Some try to run from it by pretending it doesn’t exist. Some hold onto it and dwell in it until their identity is lost in it. Grief can come on us suddenly- a freight train. Grief can come slowly with continuous stings over a long period of time- the slow removal of a band-aid from tender skin.
Grief is a wound that can heal over time but will always leave a scar. The deeper the wound, the more time it takes to heal. The more time it takes to heal, the more sensitive the scar. One touch can bring back deep pain instantly and empathy for other’s grief becomes deeper.
No two people will have the same grief timeline. No two people will even have the same response to it. The process for each of us is different. Some process grief through verbal communication with others. Some through music and art. Other’s need God’s words continuously poured over them. A combination of all of the above mentioned and journalling seems to work best for me.
Grief can come at different times too, not just in death. The parting of friends, the split of a church, the emptying of a nest, the loss of a job – all reasons to allow in grief.
There are many things we ought not embrace-irrational fear, self-loathing, uncontrolled anger- but grief is not one of them. By embrace I don’t mean to dwell in. I mean grab hold of and let it take place. Let it’s sting burn for a time. Let the tears come and release sorrow. To fight against it will cause an infected wound. A wound that will take longer to heal. Or even worse, never heal.
A Time for It
I’ve experienced deep, deep grief after the sudden passing of my father in 2002. Hit by a freight train is a decent description of how I felt physically and emotionally. My heart was left mangled and my mind numb. It was also the beginning of the deepening of my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
There are no words to describe how God’s love poured over me at that time. But, I can tell you this- as deep as the grief went, so also was He. He met me right where I was and breathed air into my lungs when I could not. It was a painfully sweet time.
It was the death of my father that began my relationship with grief. I say relationship only because grief comes and goes like an old traveling friend. He comes for a visit to remind me of my humanity, of my dependance on my Savior and Comforter, and of my empathy for others.
So, from time to time Grief will visit me. I’ve learned to let him in and let him make his stay. I give him a hug and tell him he can stay for a while. Then, the Lord reassures me he won’t stay for long and that Grief’s purpose belongs to Himself. He urges me to embrace Grief because it will speed along his departure.
Letting Grief in. Saying Goodbye to Captain.
Our beloved old buckskin gelding, Captain Jack Sparrow, had to be put down this past Tuesday. We decided this some months ago when we realized his quality of life was diminishing quickly. His old body was just giving out on him.
We had him from the time he was about 20 until 30 something years old. We never knew his exact age but the vet thought he was between 20-22 years old when we first purchased him. We bought him when our oldest daughter, now 21, was 12 years old. The lady we bought him from really loved him but just didn’t have the time for him anymore. She painted a picture of him and gave it to us along with some of his tack. I remember telling her he would stay with us until the end of his life.I’m glad we were able to keep our promise.
Captain was a great first horse for both our daughters. He had enough spunk for an old horse to make him a little challenging but at the same time completely safe. He was a “been there, done that” kind of horse. He had no spook in him whatsoever but he did develop an extreme fondness for our mare, Diamond after a while. He despised being separated from her.
I was pregnant with our youngest daugher at the time we brought Captain to our home. She’s known him since she was a baby. I remember putting her on his back when she was barely sitting up. Captain taught both of our girls how to ride and care for horses. Our son also enjoyed riding him from time to time.
Saying goodbye to Captain is like saying goodbye to a part of my children’s childhood. Captain will forever hold a special place in my heart not just because he was a great animal but also because he helped make fond memories for my children and myself.
Goodbye Captain. Welcome, Grief.
Energy– everyone wants it but few have it. Let me tell you a little story about my energy level changing over the past few years. There was a time when I went to bed late, got up late and couldn’t make it past 2 pm without taking a nap. I struggled through the day, everyday. Always hoping that one day it would change. I became a coffee drinker. Loaded with lots of Carnation creamer, I had hoped my coffee would give me that extra boost I needed. It gave me a boost but only for a short time and the creamer made me gain weight. I resolved that gaining weight and decline in energy was just a part of getting older.
I can’t say for certain when the change took place but I began to look around and seeing my 30, 40 & 50 yr old friends developing heart conditions, disease and other serious health problems. It really scared me. Was this my fate? Should I just resolve that my health was going to decline and I was going to get fat?
The idea of not finishing my life well scared me so much that I decided to make some changes. I began researching and found that my diet was worse than I had previously thought. After all , I didn’t eat junk food ALL the time! 😉 The transformation took a couple of years but now I go to bed early, wake up early, drink a cup of tea (occasionally I’ll have a cup of coffee because I want it but not because I have to) and I have energy that usually carries me through the day. And if I need a nap, I take one. I changed my diet, get adequate amount of rest and sleep and get my exercise through my farm chores and horseback riding. It’s naturally induced sustainable energy. Its energy that doesn’t require caffeine to keep me going. I have more energy than I’ve had since I was a kid.
If it is your desire to find naturally induced energy then start now by beginning the process of resolve. Resolve in your mind that you don’t have to follow the American norm. You don’t have to develop health problems and gain weight. And if you already have, most health conditions can be reversed or at least improved by changing the way you care for yourself. And the weight can always be lost. The great thing about energy is, if you loose it somewhere along the way, you can always find it again. Most importantly don’t be hard on yourself. I have found it takes more energy to allow my thought patterns to tear me down than it does to remind myself of truth. So start by meditating on this truth: You are a loved creation of God. He has great plans for your life and wants what’s best for you.
It may take you years to wrap your mind around changing (like it did me). But the change is worth it, trust me 🙂
It’s confession time. I am horribly undisciplined. At least, I used to be. I guess now I would say I am a work in progress, but I used to resist certain disciplines like the plague. It’s not that I didn’t see the value in being self-disciplined. I understood that. It’s that I felt being too organized and structured would take away from creativity and my natural free-spirit personality. Well, I was wrong. From my own personal experience I have found practicing self-disciplined in all areas of my life is FREEING.
When I was a girl I was much like my youngest daughter. This blog is filled with photos of her adventurous spirit. She has the most vivid imagination and can entertain herself for hours with it. When I watch her, I’m watching from an adults perspective the child I used to be. I shared a little bit about my imagination in my journaling post. Imagination and creativity were my friends growing up. I remember that butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when I knew I was going to get a long stretch of “imagination time”. I realize now, taking time for imagination was a welcomed discipline I was developing on my own.
I don’t see self-discipline as a plague anymore. I welcome it. Finally, after 21 years of marriage, 20 years of motherhood, 15 years of homeschooling and 3 years of homesteading I’m learning being disciplined is key to living a productive life. I know, it took my a long time to come to this realization but I’m hear now and I’m loving it.
I love the freedom I have to do things I never thought I would have time or energy to do. I love seeing goals accomplished faster and dreams seem more obtainable. Creativity and imagination are still my friends but discipline is my new best friend. Discipline has taught me that I can have the quiet time with my Heavenly Father, alone time with my husband (still working on this one 🙂 ) and special mother and child talks and moments. Discipline has taught me how to improve my health through diet and exercise, which in turn gives me more energy. Keeping house is more consistent and homeschooling is more relaxing. This new friend has even shown me that creativity and imagination are welcome. In fact, there is more time for them in my life now.
I am learning that if I discipline myself to take time for imagination and creativity, they flow easier. It’s like my mind knows it’s coming and puts those creative and imaginative thoughts in the waiting room until discipline says it’s time for them to play. Oh, and do they play. Sometimes too much and discipline must step in and corral those thoughts until the next play date.
I am still in the work in progress stage. I still get a tight and nauseous stomach when I think about meal planning and budgeting. But, discipline keeps whispering to me, ” You will find freedom, if you trust me”. Then I read God’s word and find that I should indeed trust self- discipline because He gave it to me .
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
I am a young child sleeping next to my big sister. I’m a wild sleeper. My legs wrapped around her’s. Arms unintentionally smacking her across the face. I feel LOVED by my family but life and it’s meaning confuses me.
I am a teenager with my own bedroom. A path from my bed leads to the my door. My cloths, books and everything else occupies the rest of the space. I meet a boy that changes my world and my outlook on life. I meet a God who gives me hope, meaning and shows me true LOVE.
I am a very young wife and mother. I am worried the wild sleeper in me will hurt my baby. I am worried my messy habits with overwhelm me. I am overwhelmed with life but I want to be a good wife and mother. I know that God LOVES me but I don’t fully understand how to be close to Him. Watching the television comforts me and I decide I can never give it up. My temper is short because I don’t have enough control.
I am mother of a teenager, pre-teen and a toddler. Over the years I have learned that the wild sleeper in me stayed with the child I once was. I never grasped organizational skills so my messy habits did follow me from childhood. I have learned over the years that my God comforts me so I gave up the television for comfort. Life experiences have shown me the depths of Gods LOVE for me. My temper still gets the better of me.
I am a 38 year old mother of a young adult, teenager and 7 year old. I am a wife of 20 years to that same boy that changed my world and my outlook on life. I can see the lessons God has been trying to teach me. The closer I get to knowing God the more everything else falls into place. My cleaning and organizational habits are changing rapidly. I spend time with God everyday which is making life and it’s meaning clearer everyday and His LOVE is overwhelming me. The desire for control that I have finally handed over to God has curbed my temper. Knowing God more intimately is my desire for myself, my family and my friends. I look forward to the future and embracing a life full of continual changes, experiencing God’s LOVE and sharing it with others.