When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Sad Couple Holding HandsLosing a loved one in death is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It’s something each one of us either already has or someday will go through. Knowing it will happen does not make it any less painful.

Certain deaths make the news, such as those who died in the Boston bomb blasts or the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion just recently. Or country singer George Jones who died last Friday in a hospital in Nashville, TN.

But most deaths never make network news. It’s your mother or father, your husband or wife, your brother or sister, your child, your best friend who leaves this life. And you are left with the very personal loss of someone you cared about, someone who can never be replaced.

The journey of grief is just that – a journey.

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The Easter Story for Today

Three CrossesWe call today Good Friday. But remember – the very first Good Friday was anything but good!

The Biblical story goes like this: Just a few days prior, Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem and been hailed as a King. Children were singing His praises. Blind and lame people were made well. The religious rulers who had been exploiting the people had been exposed and routed. Yesterday, those who were with Jesus thought this might be the time Jesus would usher in God’s Kingdom, and their problems would soon come to an end. Hope was at a fever pitch!

And then today they watched Him die.

We know the end of the story. We know what happened Sunday morning. But imagine for a moment what it was like for those who loved Jesus on that Friday. They had finally dared to hope, and now that hope was gone.

Can you imagine any higher hopes than those of Jesus’ friends a week earlier?

And can you imagine any deeper devastation than how they felt when He died?

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The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

Pressure GaugeWe don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable. And yet it’s the only way we know what’s truly inside of us. (For the “Squeezed” story, see “What Changes You?”)

What happens when we get squeezed? Our first reaction is usually to cry something like, “That’s not fair!” “Why me?”

When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference? What is it that determines whether one’s heart becomes softened and matured, or hardened and brittle? (Yes, I do believe you can choose which outcome happens to you.)

A few of you shared bits of your own stories of being squeezed that I’ve included here.

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Pain at Christmas, Part 2

Teenager with an AttitudeThe topic of painful holidays, with Pain at Christmas, really touched a nerve with our readers/listeners! Therefore, here comes Part 2.

I wish you could see some of our reader’s responses. A number of them did not want to comment publically, and I can understand. Some of their personal messages express such heartache!

Here are some of the situations mentioned:

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Pain at Christmas

MangerChristmas is a time for joy. It’s the wonder in a child’s eyes, the family you don’t get to see any other time of year, and the celebration of the best Birthday of all!

But for some, Christmas is anything but joyful. A friend of mine lost his mother this past February, and he’s dreading this first Christmas without her. Add to that the fact that his father is very ill and may not be alive when Christmas does come this year. Christmas just won’t be the same for him.

Another friend of mine was looking forward to spending Christmas with her first grandchild for the first time. Sadly her grandson was stillborn, so instead of joy at baby’s first Christmas there are empty hearts and an empty crib.

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