Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Friday, September 09, 2005

BOOK REVIEW: Letting Go of Disappointments & Painful Losses

Over the years, especially since the stillborn death of our daughter, Angela, and now the most recent death of our son, Matthew, I've read many books on grieving and getting through the death of a child. Some were just "too much", some made me have regrets, especially of the things I wish I would have made memories with with our still baby. Our church just added this book, Letting Go of Disappointments and Painful Losses, to our library, and what an encouragement it was to me. This is a very easy reading book, with tidbits of encouragements to help through a low time in your life. I am hoping that some quotes I share from this book will either help you and you'll want to get it, or you will know this is a book a hurting friend could really use.

The author, Pam Vredevelt, understands pain and loss, as she too has lost a baby and has a child with Down's Syndrome. She also shares many personal stories of others who have gone through deep pain. No doubt when she shared these words, she understands that ache within:

". . .We all have holes in our souls. But acknowledging this takes courage because we don't easily accept and embrace weakness, need, loss or suffering. For the most part, we harbor a subtle contempt for the debilities or deficiencies we perceive in ourselves and others. As a result, we end up rejecting key parts of our humanity. We gloss over our needs rather than admit them. We deny, minimize, or at least sidestep many forms of suffering. The result? We are left to struggle with our afflictions alone in the dark.

God never intended for us to suffer alone. From the very beginning of time, He has wanted people to enjoy intimate relationships with Him and others. He longs to walk arm-in-arm with us - and to provide empathetic friends to walk with us - through the sorrows and sufferings that are an inevitable part of life into his worlds. Connections matter. When we withdraw, detach, or close God and others out of our suffering, we turn away from our source of life and derail our own healing. In relationship with God and others, however, we can find the safety to let go and begin to heal...

There is a Companion awaiting your invitation. God sees. He cares. Your painful disappointments matter to Him, and He has not abandoned you in your pain. Nor is your pain an obstacle to His work in you. Your point of brokenness may very well become the place where He moves powerfully in a holy visitation. Through various sufferings I have learned that the empty places created by letting go become the place God can fill with His richest blessings..."

Mrs. Vredevelt's book is filled with many quotes, Scripture, and may give thoses pushes you need to keep you going, and to know God is still there.

When you are letting go,
remember that I am planting seeds of new life in you.
Your grief is only for a season.
My end is not death. It is always life.
I am the author of life.
Dr. Pamela Reeve, Parables of the Forest

God does not leave us comfortless,
but we have to be in dire need of comfort
to know that the truth of His promise.
It is in time of calamity . . . in days and nights
of sorrow and trouble that the presence,
the sufficiency, and the sympathy
of God grow very secure and very wonderful.
Then we find that the grace of God is sufficient
for all our needs, for every problem,
and for every difficulty, for every broken heart,
and for every human sorrow.
Peter Marshall

As Pam shares throughout the book, grieving is a process, and each person grieves differently and for different periods of time. Grief cannot be shut out. It causes more pain when it is. It can't be swept under the rug, because, when you pull that rug up, it's there.

" . . .Oftentimes our saying, Yes, Lord, simply opens the door to the grieving process. We suddenly find ourselves at the very core of our pain and sadness: the heavy emotional burden that has to be released before we can feel right again. By allowing the grief to enter through the front door of surrender, healing can slip in, quiet and unannounced, through the back door..."

I can certainly understand this. My husband and I have been quite open with each other with how we are doing emotionally going through this process since the earthly loss of our son. Just a few days ago, Norm said it was the first time in nine months he worked in the garage and did not have the stab of pain, remembering Matthew working along side him, or coming across something of his, that tore at his heart. He was able to concentrate on his repair jobs. It's a small step forward, as this is not where the best - or worst of our memories of Matthew are - but a baby step forward.

For me, I don't "look" for Matthew. Oh, those first months, I could just picture him bouncing up the stairs, looking in the fridge for food, or listening for his footsteps. I don't "look" for him at the store he use to work at. Though the pain is still so deep, and still very raw, we are getting "use" to him gone - which is almost as painful to say. Yet, when we think we have made a few steps forward, and "wham" something hits us - a memory, another holiday first, or a disappointment in someone who does not understand our grief and then it's like sliding down in that pit again, and trying to find the stability to begin to climb out, again. Mrs. Vredevelt's quote from C.S. Lewis says it well:

In grief nothing "stays put."
One keeps emerging from a phase,
but it always recurs. Round and round.
Everything repeats. Am I going in circles,
or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

This is a book I want in our home - probably an extra one too, to have available to give to a hurting friend. You can read this 116 page book from cover to cover in a few hours, and yet, go back and see the large blocked quotes and Scripture, that will bring the reminders of God's promises back. God certainly used Mrs. Vredevelt's painful life experiences and losses to help others.