Jude Gibbs

@jude-gibbs | contributor
I am the Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’. Here is a Review/Summary of my book to assist: An honest and straightforward auto-biography which includes a Bereaved Mom’s personal Testimony, 183 Topics, Scriptures of Comfort, and her deceased son’s poems. It offers Hope and Redemption to others on this journey of Grief. It is approximately 370 pages with a beautiful design and internal layout. It can also be utilized in group discussions easily because of the manner in which the Topics are presented. The Author has been a Pastor’s wife, a counselor at a treatment center in a hospital, a counselor at a private clinic, has worked numerous hotlines and at shelters for the abused, sat on the board of a major city rape crisis center for 3 yrs., had designed her own program on shame-reduction which she taught at a women’s center, facilitated many groups, raised 4 natural born children along with an adopted child and a foster child, has had 4 pregnancy losses, and was barren for 7 yrs. while being told by doctors that she could not have children. It’s a remarkable story of Hope & Redemption. She became an ordained minister 2/06. She currently operates an on line informative and supportive group for bereaved parents and continues to write new topics on WordPress. This is her 1st book. She intends to publish a 2nd in the future focused on a 24 yr. abusive marriage. I highly recommend it. Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com. I am the author of all articles and using them, or any portion of them, without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134
Community Voices

It’s Been Awhile

Much has occurred since I have last written. I sold my home of 39 years and have moved; I was without my computer working for a total of 4 weeks; FB blocked me on a few occasions when I attempted access; and many things have occurred within my family relations. Though much chaos and disruption has ensued, daily my thoughts and prayers have been for those who grieve. I am ‘at home’ in the ‘grief community’.

Yesterday, when I was finally able to spend some time posting on my sites, a gal contacted me who is currently reading my book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’. It is always a blessing to me to hear from another sojourner. She commented on all that I have journeyed through in my walk and it got me to thinking about it all. I had essentially responded with what I truly do believe. I so appreciate such comments because they help me take stock and evaluate.

My response was fairly simple. I truly believe that the greater the sufferings one is called to endure upon this earth, the greater the Glory we shall embrace in eternity. I’d like to draw your attention to a Scripture reference:
Luke 16: 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

I know God is good; I know God is just; I know God is Love.

I do not envy those who live a life of ease in this world. Though our sufferings may be great as we are passing through in this world, they truly cannot be compared with the Glory that awaits us, a Glory that is eternal whereas our time of suffering here is quite temporal. When we know such to be true, we can truly rejoice in the midst of such trials and tribulations. Yes, Christianity can be quite paradoxical.

We, of course, do not rejoice in the essence of pain (emotional and/or physical), grief, abuse, trials, etc.. Rather our rejoicing is in the Lord in Whom our life is hid. We rejoice in Who He is and the overcoming victory He has obtained for all who are willing to receive and enter into the rest He has obtained for us. We weep with those who weep, and we rejoice with those who rejoice, being forever mindful that all is balanced out in the end. Our strength is derived from Him alone.

I can’t help but marvel at preachers/teachers who ‘sell’: Positivity. They try to convince folks that if they simply think differently about things, change their attitude from negative to positive, all will be hunky-dory. They deny reality and blame the victim in doing so. Essentially, if you’re not ‘happy’, it’s all your fault. I challenge the reader to find a Scripture that speaks of happiness. God’s Word will teach us how to find peace, joy, contentment, etc., in the midst of great sorrow and tribulation. He teaches us of great prosperity in our soul and promises we shall soar on the wings of an eagle. However, He also tells us that we shall have great trouble in this world yet we are not to fear, for He has overcome the world (J. 16:33).

Before I personally experienced the grief of such tragedies in my life, I would have pity on others who had such. After I had personally ‘walked in their moccasins’, I learned compassion. Before such tragedies, I relied on my own strength to endure. After such, I learned to depend on God alone for His strength to endure. Without such grief, I would still be depending on ‘me’, and I would still be the center of my universe. Now, my reliance is solely on my Heavenly Father and my Lord, Jesus Christ, who are now the center of my universe. Because of such ‘transition’, I can rejoice in my sufferings.

1.Pity is the feeling of sympathy or sharing in the suffering of another human being or an animal while compassion is the feeling of mercy, empathy, and a desire to help the suffering person or animal.

2. Pity is an emotion while compassion is both an emotion and a virtue.

3. Pity can sometimes be tinged with contempt or dislike while compassion is part of love and is therefore free from any negative feelings. (Difference Between.net).

I do not rejoice that my son is dead. I weep.

I do not rejoice in the abuse that has left me crippled. I hate what is evil.

I do not rejoice in the rapes. I am scarred.

I do rejoice, however, in my Lord and am forever grateful that through it all He has been faithful and has never left my side.

I do rejoice that I know with certainty to Whom I belong and to where I will go when I am finally called back Home.

I do rejoice that all of this is but a vapour and that an eternal Glory awaits.

May God be glorified in all things, for He alone is worthy.

I close this article with one of the last poems my son wrote before his demise (excerpt: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’):

Awaiting My Time

by Roddy

Perhaps the answers are still unclear,
For I find myself still searching,
Far and near; high and low,
I am still searching.
I am looking deep in my soul

And throughout the darkest corners of my heart,
For the one thing to bring a mere smirk.

Perhaps a hint of happiness

May shine its light on me some day.

That a lack of loneliness will

Consume my heart, I pray!

I have lived a life

My good deeds did not deserve.

And unto all others,

Their needs and wants , I serve.

I wait in the shade.

Patiently for the light to shine,

Upon the life I lead

Knowing that one day, Justice-
Will be mine!

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

The Hollowness of Happiness

A young woman recently said to me: “I am happier in my life than you have ever been in yours”. It was stated to me in a spirit of meanness to

taunt me. Though on some level it rang a sound of truth, in essence it

had shallow roots. I wept in my solitude, but not for reasons one might

think.

In my years of youth, ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ was a commonly heard

idiom. It was often countered with yet another idiom: ‘The grass is

always greener on the other side’. Both bring to mind the Scripture in 2

Corinthians 10: “12 For

we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend

themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing

themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

When this young woman had made this comment to me, it set in motion the

‘wheels’ in my little mind. I began to think back on my life as a whole.

Had I ever been truly happy in my life? Most assuredly, on the surface

my life has been filled with much abuse and tragedy which I cannot deny.

There have most definitely been times when I succumbed to ‘pity

parties’, licking my wounds in a shallow pool of self-pity. However,

‘wound licking’ is a natural response to injury. If an animal is

wounded, it will lick its wounds to aid healing. Yet, there are some

risks involved in them doing so. Wound licking is beneficial, but too

much licking can be harmful. In the Gospel of Luke (16:19-31), we find

that even the dogs came to lick the sores of Lazarus, the poor beggar.

Luke 16:(ESV)
25 But

Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your

good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is

comforted here, and you are in anguish.

Truly, happiness in this life is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Even Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was ‘well acquainted with #Grief’.

He was a ‘man of sorrows’, rejected and despised by others (IS. 53:3).

Because of such sorrows, He was held in low esteem by others. I have

experienced times in which others have treated me as if I had the

Bubonic Plague. The loss of a child will often produce such an

experience. Because happiness is often elevated to the status of an idol

which some pursue at all costs, the sorrow of such deep grief often

causes some to flee. There is an Italian saying: “Stai lontano da me,porti sfortuna” which means ‘get away from me, you’re bad luck’ essentially.

Yet, I have known times in my life of great Joy that transcends any

feelings of happiness. Holding my newborn child in my arms for the first

time definitely ranks among the highest. As I began to ponder this

young woman’s statement, I was reminded of such times. Yes, I have known

times of great sorrow that are inexpressible. But I have also known

times of great Joy that are equally inexpressible. None compare,

however, with those mountain-top moments I have had in the Joy of the

Lord. Times when laughter consumed me in His presence uncontrollably.

The apostles had such experiences, as well. In Acts 2:13, folks

concluded that the Apostles had had too much wine to drink. Even today,

those that have had such moments of utter Joy in the Lord are mocked and

often condemned as heretics. My only response to such is: “Don’t knock

it until you’ve tried it”.

Paul had reached a point in his life in which he could boldly proclaim:

“8 Indeed,

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing

Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all

things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and

be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from

the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness

from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that

by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

(Philippians 3). I believe because of this he was able to ‘rejoice in

all things’. Though he suffered numerous beatings, imprisonments, and

had a continuous ‘thorn in the flesh”, he simultaneously learned to be

content no matter what circumstances he encountered (Phil. 4:11). He

stated in Phil. 3:7 “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I

have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” Bluntly

stated: ‘happiness is not a pissing contest’. Deeming it as such is

quite shallow and hollow. Though I still do have my moments in which all

Joy eludes me, I have learned to embrace: “For to me, to live is Christ

and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21).

John 16: (VOICE)
21-22 In

the same way that a woman labors in great pain during childbirth only

to forget the intensity of the pain when she holds her child, when I

return, your labored grief will also change into a joy that cannot be

stolen.

Nehemiah 8:10
10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Another recently said to me that I am a very strong woman. No, not in

the least. Left to myself, I have no strength left. What she is seeing

is the strength of the Lord which sustains me for my life is hidden in

Him. (Col. 3:1-4).

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com. Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

Optimistically Pessimistic

Truly, this walk of #Grief is filled with dichotomies and oxymorons. On one hand, we who grieve are a very “sorry bunch.” Some would even perceive us as morbid. We speak of death, not a very popular topic at parties. We think about death, a subject most try to avoid. Yes, death is a “downer.” After I buried my son, I purchased a grave site next to his for myself. I called my son’s earthly dad and let him know there was another available, to which he responded that he was not interested because for him to purchase one he felt would “jinx” him. I am stymied by such comments. They leave me silently swimming in a pool of

bewilderment.

When every single person who has ever lived eventually dies, why is it a topic so many ignore? If we pretend death does not exist, shall it cease to do so? When such an experience is inevitable for all, why do so few prepare for its journey? Death, for sure, is an unpopular subject. Yet, we who grieve for our children are faced with its reality daily. We know all too well of its cold and harsh existence. Such colors our world. Once upon a time, we gave it very little thought. We went about our lives as if it does not exist, too. Then, in a moment in time, it came knocking on our door. It violently forced its way into our home, into our lives. It became that undesirable house-guest which moved in and never left. It was neither welcomed nor embraced, yet it came to stay no matter how much we fought against it. Yes, to the onlooker, we are a gloomy pessimistic lot. We are viewed as “negative,” as if being positive will negate death’s existence.

However, that is where Faith comes in for those of us who are Believers. Granted, our Faith has been tried in a fiery furnace. All that we once took for granted has been shaken down to the very foundation. We often have questioned just about everything we once thought we did not doubt. As Jacob, we have wrestled with God Himself. We have been stripped of

all frivolities of Faith and have been left with the bare nuts and bolts. Though our house still exists, our earthly home does not. We come to understand that though in this world, we are no longer a part of it. We are transformed into creatures who seek another Kingdom. Idealism is replaced with reality; religion is replaced with relationship. Yes, we can resist such transfiguration. Nevertheless, we are faced with it and choose how we shall respond.

On this grief journey, we learn the true meaning of such things as: endurance, perseverance, character, and Hope (Romans 5:4; 2 Peter 1:6).  The way in which we embrace life has been forever altered. The more we kick against the goads, the more difficult the journey. As we begin to embrace eternal life, the more optimistic we may become. Slowly, we begin to change our focus toward what awaits at the end of this journey. We come

to understand the futility in this present existence, and slowly

embrace that which awaits us which is eternal. Faith becomes the

substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews

11:1). Our citizenship in this world is traded in for our citizenship in

Heaven (Philippians 3:20). As this metamorphosis has its way within,

optimism takes root; finality is replaced with eternal longevity.

Easter embraces this transformation in a nutshell. It begins on Maundy

Thursday and commences on Easter Sunday. We see how our Lord Jesus the

Christ begins His overwhelming grief by sweating droplets of blood. He

is then brutally scourged, whipped, mocked and seemingly deserted by all

but a few. This culminates in the most  excruciatingly painful death on

the Cross. All Hope seemingly has been dashed upon the rocks in the

most violent of storms.

But the story, thankfully, doesn’t end there… it has only just begun.

Christ is Resurrected; real Hope is established; death is forever

conquered. Jesus endured for the Joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). He

set for us the example of long-suffering, in more ways than one. His

courage and forbearance made Him victorious. He was the Firstfruit of

the overcomers. Triumphantly, He rose from the grave. Truly, the

trumpets are sounded as all exuberantly rejoice and proclaim:

He lives!!!

…And because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

www.youtube.com/watch

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com. Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

Stuck

(Excerpt from my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’)

Stuck………………….TOPIC

So often, we reach points along this journey of #Grief in which we feel stagnant and ‘stuck’ at a certain point.

If you are at one of these layover points, you are processing,

digesting, and quietly within working through another layer in this

grieving process.

It certainly is not beneficial if we have others around us who are

attempting to push us to ‘move on’. It’s equally not beneficial if we

are comparing ourselves in the way in which we are grieving, with that

of how another is grieving their loss.

Comparing ourselves and our personal grief journey with that of another’s is unwise (See 2 Cor. 10:12).

I have often drawn the analogy that our grief is like labor pains.

Just as we experienced physical labor pains in giving physical birth to

our child, we now have labor pains in our soul. We are longing for the

time when we are reunited with our child. Labor pains differ for

everyone. I gave birth to 4 and none of those experiences were alike.

I am currently ‘counting the days’ of my son’s approaching

Birthday….seven more days. I have mentioned before that the only way I

was able to function that 1st birthday without him, was to bring to

remembrance the day he was born. What an absolutely beautiful and

joy-filled day that was!

When in physical labor, because I went through natural childbirth, I had

to remember to ‘breathe’. I even had a ‘coach’ at my side reminding me

to ‘breathe’. It helped me to take my focus off of the present anguish

of the pain, and re-focus on my ‘job’ of working through it while

becoming more focused on the final outcome. The times between the

contractions is when we may feel ‘stuck’. But, we are not. The process

will continue and eventually we will give birth to a time of absolute

Joy.

Thinking on these things gives me a greater understanding of:

Hebrews 12:

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the

joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and

is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When I look unto Jesus…the author and finisher of my Faith, Who focused

on that Joy that was set before Him which enabled Him to endure the

great anguish and excruciating pain of His Cross…despising the shame of

it all…and eventually rested eternally receiving His Crown and place of

rightful authority and Glory…I understand that I, too, must look ahead

to the Joy that awaits me in my Eternal Home.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not

willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the

bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain

together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have

the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within

ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Truly, all of this is temporal.

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things

which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the

things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18).

You are not ‘stuck’. God will see to it that He will complete the process:

Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making

request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day

until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath

begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

When I was in labor with my 3rd son, the nurse placed me on ‘PIT’. It

was an artificial way of hurrying along my labor. As a result, something

ruptured within me. I almost died. My son almost died. I temporarily

became unconscious. They thought they were losing me. At some point, I

awoke to a room full of people yelling at me and calling out my name.

During the time I was ‘out’, they had proceeded to mark me all up for a

C-Section in order to try and rescue my son. When I did finally ‘come

to’, they rushed me into the delivery room and my doctor yanked out my

son at only 9 centimeters. Immediately, they grabbed him and had to

resuscitate him by sucking out all the blood that had entered into his

lungs.

This all happened because of the well-meaning ‘helpful’ nurse that tried to rush the process.

You’re not stuck….and even if you are, So what?

With my 1st full birth of my 1st son, I had gone into labor and was in

the hospital. Then at 4 centimeters, the labor stopped. I was ‘stuck’. I

knew it and eventually convinced my doctor to release me to go home.

Two weeks later, I went back into labor and my son was born.

This grieving process will continue because it is the natural course

of things to be. There is a danger in trying to rush it along. Being

‘stuck’ will not prevent the final outcome of what is to be.

Trust Jesus to complete that which He has begun in you. Let Him be your coach.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com. Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

The Cover-Up of the Cover-Up

As a side note, I first want to apologize to folks who have read my articles which have been published by The Mighty for not responding to their comments. I was unable to view them. I have tried to resolve the issue on a few occasions, but without any success. Apparently, I have

been unable to view them because of the browser I use. However, though

my responses may be delayed, I will periodically use the browser I

discovered this evening which allows me access. I am a ‘tech dunce’ and

the first to admit it.  🙂

Because I was finally able to read those comments, I realized

something new in my grieving process. Over the years, I often wore a

mask because it seemed easier than answering questions and feeling I had

to explain my #Grief. What I hadn’t realized is that in doing so, I also

began to wear a mask to the ‘man in the mirror’.

I wrote my first brief article in July 2016 after I had set up my

Facebook site: ‘Hope in Jesus for the Bereaved Parent’. I then wrote

another, then another, and by December I had written my Book. Although I

had desired to somehow have my son’s poems published, I never thought

that I would one day write a book as the pathway for doing so. Since its

publication in February 2017, I have continued to write articles.

Writing became a personal ‘therapeutic tool’ for me. Having lived most

of my life in silence because of the layers of abuse I have encountered,

it is not easy for me to talk with others about things. When a victim

of abuse has had multiple threats of more violence if we dare to break

the silence, we learn to bury things very deeply within. We learn not to

get angry, not to cry, not to expose our abuser. We walk on eggshells

and one small crunch could open the gates of hell upon us. We eventually

become accustomed to such a life as if it is ‘normal’. In the thesis I

had written in Grad School, I drew the analogy of domestic violence and

the Stockholm Syndrome. Today, this has become much more known and

understood.

My articles were quickly unaccepted by many sites. The moderators

objected to my form of expression of my grief. They demanded that I

speak directly with others, but I could only do so on rare occasions. I

felt once again I was being silenced if I could not conform to their

‘rules’. This resulted in additional wounding for me. Writing as I do

afforded me a buffer. If not for this outlet that I simply stumbled

upon, I would still be sitting in silence. The very thought of that

prison causes the tears to flow even now as I type this. I write and I

write and I write because I can’t go back there. I have vented, I have

cried, I have wailed in my writings. I have, at times, ripped my soul to

shreds in doing so. Removing an outer mask that we wear to the outside

is easier than removing the mask within that hides things within

ourselves from ourselves.

Though often it has torn me raw to attempt to express this indescribable

pain, it has taught me a lot personally about myself. I have often read

what I have written in review, and in doing so have discovered another

layer that had been hidden by the mask within.

I’d like to encourage others to use whatever God-given talent or ability

you have been given. Whether it be writing, painting, singing,

photography, making ‘gifs’, etc., don’t waste it. It may seem

challenging at the onset, you may run across critics and those who want

to control your expression, but don’t give up. Do it as unto the Lord

and do it for yourself. We do not heal in silence and suppression. The

pain is like a #Cancer which we must surgically remove, layer by layer.

To allow it to fester benefits no one, including yourself. I have often

been on the verge of quitting, and there are times I actually have. I’ve

shut down my site and yelled at God: “I can’t do this anymore!”. But I

sort of made this ‘deal’, this ‘arrangement’, with Him. I had told Him

when I began that if only one person seems to be benefiting, I won’t

quit. So, whenever I think I have reached that point of no return, sure

enough there is always one who tells me that something I have written

has somehow benefited them. That is all the fodder I need to continue

on.

You, whoever you are, have a gift. All do. Please don’t bury your

talent, you’ve been given it for a purpose. Others need what you have to

offer. It has been uniquely designed for you and only you can use it in

the manner in which it was designed. You will, most likely, encounter

resistance and possibly stumble from discouragement. But know that it’s

all part of the process. If your desire is to give Glory to God in all

that you do, He will be faithful to guide your steps.

Proverbs 3:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

I’m Gonna Make A Change,

For Once In My Life

It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,

Gonna Make A Difference

Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My

Favourite Winter Coat

This Wind Is Blowin’ My Mind

I See The Kids In The Street,

With Not Enough To Eat

Who Am I, To Be Blind?

Pretending Not To See

Their Needs

A Summer’s Disregard,

A Broken Bottle Top

And A One Man’s Soul

They Follow Each Other On

The Wind Ya’ Know

‘Cause They Got Nowhere

To Go

That’s Why I Want You To

Know

I’m Starting With The Man In

The Mirror

I’m Asking Him To Change

His Ways

And No Message Could Have

Been Any Clearer

If You Wanna Make The World

A Better Place

(If You Wanna Make The

World A Better Place)

Take A Look At Yourself, And

Then Make A Change

I’ve Been A Victim Of A Selfish

Kind Of Love

It’s Time That I Realize

That There Are Some With No

Home, Not A Nickel To Loan

Could It Be Really Me,

Pretending That They’re Not

Alone?

A Widow Deeply Scarred,

Somebody’s Broken Heart

And A Washed-Out Dream

(Washed-Out Dream)

They Follow The Pattern Of

The Wind, Ya’ See

Cause They Got No Place

To Be

That’s Why I’m Starting With

Me

(Michael Jackson)

www.youtube.com/watch

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

Community Voices

Shameless Grief

Many of us in the #Grief Community have encountered times in which we

have felt as if we have the Bubonic Plague. We have noticed the

avoidance by those we once considered to be friends. Perhaps, even

family members began to distance themselves from us. As a result, we may

begin to question: ‘Why me?’; ‘God, don’t you love me?’; ‘What’s wrong

with me?’. This can be especially trying if we are of the belief that if

we are good, if we do all the ‘right’ things, we will prosper in this

life. At such a time, anger may grip our souls. We tell ourselves that

we did everything right, yet tragedy hit anyway. We did everything we

believed we were suppose to do, yet… our child died, we became ill with

an incurable illness, we were viciously attacked and raped. We may

vacillate between feelings of shame, fear, personal degradation and

feelings of anger, blaming God, hate. Our countenance drops, our head

droops, we feel a physical weight upon our shoulders as we take on a

burden of shame.

How do we rise above this unending whirlpool, this relentless cycle of disgrace and debasement?

Guilt says: ‘I did a bad thing’. Shame says: ‘I am a bad person’.

Back in the 80’s when I designed a shame reduction program for a

woman’s center, I would often remind folks that God gave us just enough

shame to not walk to the store while naked. God is not in the business

of shaming people. Tragedy does not strike for the purpose of

humiliating us. Shame does have its rightful place, it does belong to

bad people. Those who are perpetrators of rape, abuse, murder, etc.,

rightfully should feel shame. Yet, often times, they do not for such

behaviour is often boastful. Those that commit such crimes reject any

feelings of shame and, as a result, their shame is often transferred and

then lodged in their victim.

Sadly, such feelings of shame for the innocent victims of tragedy are

often perpetuated in churches. Folks who have been traumatized by grief

will often seek out comfort in their church community, only to be met

with some who believe they have brought this tragedy upon themselves.

Most assuredly, Job met up with such ‘comforters’. Job’s comforters were

convinced that he had done something wrong, something that so angered

God, that all his great heartache and loss was the result. They were the

first in line to grab a shovel of shame and start piling it upon Job.

Thankfully, Job ‘kept the Faith’. Many, however, do not. Often, those

who have been subjected to tragedy and great grief, will begin to blame

God in order to unload their feelings of shame… a shame that is

unfounded. The shame actually belongs to those who boast of their own

‘good-fortune’ in escaping any tragedy in their lives. What they fail to

understand is that it ‘rains on the just and the unjust’ (MT. 5:45).

We live in a fallen world. Why some seem to have a very blessed life,

while others’ lives seem to be absorbed with misfortune, is unknown.

What we do know, if we believe God and not man, is that it does not go

unnoticed by Him. He repeatedly promises us in His Word that we shall be

comforted (Lam. 3:46-52; PS. 9:9; PS. 46:1; PS. 119:48-52; J. 14:27;

MT. 5:4; 2 Cor. 1:3; J. 16:20; PS. 27:13-14; Job 5:11; Heb. 13:5; Rev.

21:4; PS. 119:71; IS. 54:4; IS. 35:3-6; etc.) Is God a liar?

We need to shake off the reproach of shame shoveled upon us by others. We

are not less than others because the road we travel is more encumbered.

We are not at fault because tragedy came knocking on our door. God is

not to blame either. Don’t internalize the judgement of others.

Condemnation that others may heap upon us is not from God (J. 3:17; Rom.

8:1-39). There is no shame in suffering.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

Unimaginable Pain

This has been an utterly pain-wrenching day for me. Truly, anyone who

thinks that a Bereaved Parent ever gets over losing a child simply has

no clue.

I awoke with that feeling that an elephant was standing on my chest.

I’m not heartbroken, my heart is completely shattered. It lays in a

million pieces on the floor. There is no super-glue that can possibly

hold it together even if it were possible to locate all of the

pieces…which it is not. I went to bed last night thinking of all of the

things I would like to accomplish today and nothing…nada…has

been done. For five hours I have laid in bed and visited #Grief sites on

line. The heaviness weighs as an endless black cloud hovering above.

The silence is deafening. No one in my life has told me that they

remember my son.

But I do.

I am flooded with memories of his smiles and tears. I can still hear

him laugh; I can still hear him joking and making all around him smile.

Yes, I know I will one day see him again. The waiting, though, is

soooo long! I grow impatient waiting in a doctor’s office for more than

twenty minutes. Yet, I have been waiting to see my son again for

nineteen years and two months.

HOW LONG, LORD???

My head hurts, my body hurts, my soul hurts!

Once again, I need to remind myself to breathe.

How many tears can one body make???

I miss my baby soooo much!

Another day, another hour, another moment and I will pull myself

together. I will go on with whatever the daily tasks need to be done,

but not now…not this moment. For approximately 230 months…over 6900

days…more than 165,600 hours…I have lived with this pain! I am not

wallowing in self-pity! I am grieving! I carry this heartache wherever I

go. It’s a part of whatever I do. Never do I forget. Yes, on most days

after so many years, it all gets pushed back in the recesses of my mind.

But it is only a glance away. It is always a mere breath beneath the

surface.

I cling to God’s promises that I shall be comforted. I trust Him when he

says that all of my tears He collects in a bottle, and that He will one

day completely wipe them all away. I know I will rejoice with

unspeakable joy beyond anyone’s imagination.

But, for the moment, I weep…I wail.

For the moment, I will long to see my son smiling back at me.

For the moment, I will bemoan and bewail.

For the moment, I shall make my complaint known.

Psalm 142:2-4 (NKJV)
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;

I declare before Him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,

Then You knew my path.

In the way in which I walk

They have secretly set a snare for me.

4 Look on my right hand and see,

For there is no one who acknowledges me;

Refuge has failed me;

No one cares for my soul.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Community Voices

The Death of My Son was the Death of Me

When I began this journey over nineteen years ago, I never thought I

could come up again for a breath of fresh air. I truly could not

function; it was impossible to focus on anything other that the most

excruciating pain I had ever experienced, and that is saying a lot.

Having lived a life in which abuse was the ‘norm’, a greater pain was

simply unfathomable. My life had been filled with molestation, which

began at age four; two rapes, when I was fifteen; a twenty-four year

marriage in which I was thrown, kicked, spit upon, punched, etc.; a

crippled spine resulting from abuse leaving me, at times, partially

paralyzed or in unimaginable pain. Somehow, by God’s Grace alone, I

survived it all and could still enjoy the ‘good times’. But, when my son

died, that was the end of me and quite honestly, I have never

‘recovered’ per the perspectives and observations of some.

I have had to grieve the loss of me along with all the other losses in

my life. I often see posts of folks who are struggling to re-discover

their old self. But #ChildLoss drastically changes a person and I am now

comfortable with the ‘new me’. Others may not be…LOL!…but I have

accepted the person God has brought forth from the ashes of the

refiner’s fire. “New wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22)

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
As a young Christian, I desired and prayed for God to refine me. I

now chuckle a tad when I hear the old saying: ‘Be careful what you ask

for’. I ‘get it’.

Refine is defined as: To free from coarse, unsuitable, or immoral characteristics; to free from impurities or unwanted material; to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing.

In Isaiah 61, God promises:

“To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

It has taken me a very long time to believe Him. I did not think it was possible, not even for God.

I am a long way from being the person God wants me to be, but I know He is faithful to: “perfect that which

concerns me”. (PS. 138:8). I am grateful that I know my son is in His

care and that all of this suffering in this fallen world is truly

temporary, though it certainly does not feel that way in the midst of

it. I know I will see my son again. This is not simply a ‘belief’ or a

‘hope’ for me, it is a deep undeniable ‘knowing’. That which died in me

the day my son was called Home, I can now see as a good thing. I loved

the Lord before my son’s passing, but I was still living for me. I made

mistakes when I tried to resurrect my ‘old self’ after my son’s demise,

mistakes I truly regret. I was desperately trying to ‘fix me’, rather

than turning over all the shattered pieces to my God and acknowledging

Him as the Potter of this messy lump of clay. By doing so, I simply

prolonged and added to my #Grief.

Yes, my Hope is in Him alone. I have learned that my stubborn and

self-willed self was not the person I truly wanted to be. My son’s death

and His return Home to our Heavenly Father has been gently used by God

to form me into His daughter. It has broken my hardened heart and

replaced it with one that has been softened with compassion. It has

replaced my sometimes judgemental mind with one of greater

understanding. It has demolished pride and replaced it with Godly

humility. The older I get, the longer I travel this journey, I learn how

much I do not know nor understand. Such knowledge cannot be gained by

the reading of endless books or attending multiple workshops and

seminars. It can only be refined in the fiery furnace of affliction.

 

2 Corinthians 4:
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

1 Peter 5:10: And

after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has

called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore,

confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

Community Voices

The Waiting Room

When my son died, I was sent to a waiting room.

In the early days of my #Grief journey, I had this consistent feeling

that I was waiting. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I could

not escape that feeling. It loomed over me like a dark cloud. No matter

what I did, no matter where I went, I was waiting.

By nature, I am a very impatient individual. I want everything done

yesterday. Sometimes, I think I put the pedal to the metal the day I was

born. I speed up only to find myself once again having to wait. I am

that idiot in traffic who passes up as many cars as possible only to

have to slow down like everyone else to sit and wait. It’s a very

frustrating way to live. It is one of the reasons I hate having to go to

a doctor’s office. Almost inevitably, I will have to wait. I can

prepare for the expected wait by taking along a book in the hope it will

distract me somewhat, but the impatience in me still grows. I will have

to deal with any #Anxiety I feel and work at suppressing any feelings of

anger that attempt to take root within. Eventually, I will approach the

receptionist at the desk to ask: “How much longer?” Patience is not a

virtue that is easily acquired for me.

My son was twenty when he passed on and the next anniversary of his

demise will be the twentieth. I’m still waiting. I cringe at Scriptural

references that tell me to ‘wait on the Lord’ or to ‘be still’. I

immediately feel a tension within and every cell in my being rising up

for a fight. Yet, I’m still waiting. I could storm out of this waiting

room and choose to return at a later date. But I know that when I

return, I will only have to begin the wait again.

I admire those who can take such things as waiting in line in stride. I

marvel at their ability to remain calm and simply accept what is. As I

fidget and feel every muscle tighten, they remain relaxed with a ‘smiley

face’ painted onto their countenance. I, on the other hand, probably

appear to others as one who is about to go on the attack. Oh, woe is me.

The Apostle John both saw and heard the ‘dead’. He witnessed in the

vision that was granted unto him by the Lord, that there are some of

them who also grow impatient waiting.

Revelation 6:10 (NKJV)
10 And

they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true,

until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

God’s response?

Revelation 6:11 (NKJV)
11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

God does not condemn or reprimand these impatient ‘dead’. Rather, He comforts them and reassures them.

We are all waiting, there’s no escaping it.

 

Romans 8:22 (NIV)
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Yes, as I exhale a big sigh, I wait.

I wait on the Lord to fulfill His promises to comfort me, one who mourns.

I wait on the Lord to be reunited with my son.

I wait on the Lord for Him to wipe away every tear.

I wait on the Lord for the last enemy, death, to be destroyed.

I wait on the Lord for my strength to be renewed and to rise up with wings like eagles.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
31 But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

Community Voices

What I Choose to Remember

When I arose yesterday morning, for some

reason I was drawn to a dresser drawer where I had some things stored

like my son’s coat, 2 of his favorite flannel shirts, and a cap that he

often wore.

Underneath it all, I found a large envelope and in it was a DVD. It was marked: Christmas 1998.

That year was our last Christmas when we were all together.

I went about doing things throughout the

day with this weighing on my mind. I have not watched this in nearly 20

yrs. I didn’t know if I could. All day long, I debated within myself

whether or not I should/could/would.

Eventually, last night, I did.

Yes, it opened up Pandora’s Box. I once

again found it difficult to breathe as I tried with all my might to

fight back the tears. It was one hour and 22 minutes long. At times, the

dam broke and I sobbed uncontrollably. At times, I felt as an outside

observer looking in. But then, I heard my son crack one of his jokes, as

he so often did. I laughed out loud and slowly the smiles began.

I remembered the love and the closeness we

all had for one another. As I watched this DVD of our last vacation

together, I found myself stopping the DVD from time to time to focus on

my son’s face. I watched as he watched and ‘studied’ others and things. I

took mental notes on some of his comments and somehow I seemed to

understand him even more than I had. I remembered the beautiful person

who was/is my son.

Though the pain is still gripping at my

heart today, I am glad I watched it. I haven’t ‘imagined’ all the love

and fun that we all shared. It was very real and I now have a DVD as

proof of it.

I am considering making copies and giving

each of my three surviving children a copy this Christmas. I have to

pray about it. I don’t want to cause them pain. At the same time,

remembering may be beneficial for them, as well.

What I do know is that the love we shared,

and the ‘team-spirit’ which held us together as a family, stood strong

against all adversity. We had our differences, but we played hard, stood

strong, and our love for one another was fierce and loyal.

These are the things I choose to remember.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728

Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

(((HUGS))) ~ Jude