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Our Journey For Joshua

Our Journey For Joshua

Once again, it is my great delight to share a piece from Tammie Wommack’s beautiful heart here at Espressos of Faith. Tammie lost her son Joshua in 2008 to suicide. Ever since, she and her husband Rick have been slowly healing and are passionate about sharing their journey, hope, and paths to finding peace and joy again with other grieving families. They are also fiercely committed to suicide prevention. Their story is an amazingly redemptive one. I hope your heart is encouraged and loved on by her sincere words.

Tammie and I first crossed paths in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where we were both living at the time, rocked by different circumstances in each of our lives. God has reconnected us, and I’m so thankful for her courage, vulnerability, and willingness to be used by God to help others. May God continue to bless you, Tammie (and Rick)!

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As Rick and I travel around this beautiful country, moving from one destination to the next, we eventually find ourselves heading back to Clarksville, Tennessee, for many reasons: our precious grandchildren who keep us young, our friends who have been a lifeline and anchor for us on this grief journey, business matters that must be taken care of so we can stay on the road, doctor appointments, etc.

Our arrival to Clarksville is always mixed with so many different emotions. My heart, mind, body, and soul begin to prepare days before we get to what I call the “Joshua Zone.” I brace myself for the overwhelming rush of emotions that I know I will experience.

Grief is truly a very rough and long roller coaster ride. For me, the emotions are always followed by the temptation to drink alcohol so that I cannot feel that rush of emotions I know await me as I enter the city limits. I feel like I have to be constantly on guard.

The length of time we stay and the number of our visits has varied over the years, but the feelings are still just as strong now as they were the first time we had to travel back there after Joshua died. It seems I am never really able to let my guard down until we are heading out of the city of Clarksville, Tennessee.

While I write about my grief often, I don’t always talk about my temptation to Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Top 10 Healthy Ways I Am Grieving

Top 10 Healthy Ways I Am GrievingMy father recently passed away, and while I knew it was heading in that direction and he certainly had fought a good fight against what turned out to be seven cancers over 30-some-odd years, there was more to grieve than just his death. Death has a way of putting what is unhealthy under a microscope and forcing it up to our eyeballs to view it whether we wish to take a close look at it—or not.

If you are grieving a person, a relationship loss, or even a shift in the plans you had for your life, some of these may work for you. I am not an expert on grief. I share this as a layperson going through the motions in real time.

10. Color!

Say what? Huh? My therapist handed me an adult coloring book. If you need one, here are some examples at my friend Mary’s site (which is fun to check out anyway): inspiredbooksguide.com. Some similar books can be found at Walmart for $5. I spent the holidays coloring through visits with family, a funeral trip, and some relationship dynamics.

I almost laughed out loud when my therapist recommended coloring, but I gave it a try, and I have to admit: It is so grounding. I often pray as I color. It causes me to be still, so I can hear and not just talk when I pray. I use twistable colored pencils so I don’t have to keep sharpening.

I even color through my children arguing! We all have to usher the peace in any way that we can, right?

9. Rest, Be

As Dad was passing and even afterward, I found it difficult to focus. Everything moved in slow motion. The rest of the world seemed to be moving at a swift pace while meanwhile I floundered between stunned and weary. I gave myself permission to go to bed earlier, whenever possible, and to catch a catnap here and there.

I also expected less out of myself for a while. I didn’t want my days to be spent escaping between the covers, which can be its own red flag after a while, but I also didn’t try to take on the world. I lowered my expectations for each day and focused on the few things that had to be accomplished, like feeding and driving family members to activities. I didn’t write a lot or even keep my blog marketing schedule going.

One of my favorite songs is “Be Still” by Selah. I needed someone to record this concept for me because I am usually resistant to Be Still. I have been attempting to get to know Be Still for a while now. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Grief and Loss, Ministry Moments

 

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Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of Grief? Even Give Up Loving Memories?

Would You Do Anything to End the Pain of GriefToday’s blog post has a special place in my heart, mostly because my guest blogger, Tammie Wommack, hurts for the grieving. She knows what it is like to get through extreme pain during the holidays.

Why?

Because Tammie’s story is one of unfathomable heartache and grief—the kind that can knock you over, hold you down under water, and threaten to never let you breathe again. And because she has found a way to breathe again—she has discovered the airhole through which to draw life, breath, and oxygen out of her very changed world, her “new normal”—her heart is to help others do the same.

Tammie wants to reach into the hearts of those experiencing the significant pain of loss and bring them hope and encouragement during the time of year when families gather but some loved ones are noticeably missing at the table or celebration. She fully understands how incredibly difficult that is to face. If this is you, I hope you can feel her heart not only beating with yours here but that you can tangibly grasp the hope, ministry, and nourishment her heart is trying to communicate to yours—that you can start to find or rediscover that airhole.

She previously shared parts of her experiences here at Espressos of Faith in “Honoring Josh: A Mother’s Heart in the Aftermath of Suicide” and “Journey to Joy: How Giving Back Brings Hope and Healing to Hurting Hearts.”

Today, Tammie both asks and answers the question:

Would you do anything to end the pain of grief, even give up the loving memories?

Blessings!
Bonnie Lyn Smith, author of Not Just on Sundays

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As I have been reliving beautiful memories of our time as a family during Christmas, especially now as we are surrounded by Christmas every day in the tree lot where we are currently working, it occurred to me how much power those memories have and how much more I cherish those moments in time than I did when they were happening to me. We are never fully aware of how much of an impact something is going to have on our lives when it is actually happening, but we are given the gift of those memories forever.

This brought me to this question about my grief and the loss of my son Joshua:

Would I trade the memories in order to spare myself the grief?

Grief is such a tough aspect of living, yet it is always going to be inevitable. Some people choose not to love or have friends so that they do not have to experience the pain of loss. But to avoid grief, you would truly have to give up something worse: no beautiful memories of all the wonderful times together—memories that help you relive the joy and love you had with people.

The answer for me is:

NO!!!!

I am so thankful that I have those beautiful moments that I can recall whenever I need to, and I need to—often. Times of fun, laughter, things he did and said: Sure, some of those are sad, but most are so special. Memories are a rare gift that God has allowed us to have while we live our lives here on earth, and having them is a priceless treasure.

This Christmas season, my husband Rick and I were given a gift that no money could ever buy: time with our oldest son, Brian. We created new memories that will always be with us of time spent working together at the tree lot. We also were able to relive old memories of his childhood and enjoying Thanksgiving. We also experienced some real healing time to all share our thoughts and memories of Joshua. It also gave us a glimpse of the wonderful man Brian has turned out to be—a gift that not all parents are privileged to receive. In some ways, it has allowed all of us to gain some closure and move to an even better place in our grieving process. And as a Mom who lost a child to suicide, it was so comforting to hear and see how much our parenting made an impact on him and to have him tell us that we were truly good parents.

So this Christmas Season, create some memories and relive the past as you can. They are all gifts from God, and if we are not careful, we will let them slip by unnoticed.

If you are grieving, use this time to help someone else. If you are involved in family disputes, forgive whatever it is and choose to show God’s love.

Time is so unforgiving.

How we use it is up to us.

You never know what the future holds, only that God is in control.

God gave us the ultimate sacrifice in His Son Jesus Christ—a gift so awesome that nothing we do in our lives could ever repay.

And the truth is we don’t have to. God is not looking for us to repay Him through works and deeds. He is looking for us to have a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ and to treat others as we would like to be treated.

Merry Christmas and Much Love in Christ,
Tammie

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Feel free to leave comments to share, connect with, or encourage Tammie. The message she wants to send is: You are not alone, she understands, and you are deeply loved. Make every moment count. Memories are such a treasure, and making new ones with loved ones still here is a precious gift not to be wasted, even in the midst of deep grief.

A great resource for suicide prevention is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To find out more about Tammie and Rick, you can read part of their story at http://www.gofundme.com/Giving-Back-For-Joshua.

This blog has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.

 

 

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