These regular My Forever Memories blogs are written with love to offer encouragement, help, hope and love through your personal journey of grieving your loved one.
Most holy Father,
Yesterday I attended the graveside service of a young beautiful 42-year-old woman. She was the daughter of a dear friend and co-worker. As I waited for the service to begin, I was thinking how short this life is. There were four drownings this weekend (two of which were four-year-old children). Whether we live just a few minutes as my nephew’s little 1 ½ lb baby did or 93 years, as my grandmother did, this physical life is short! Especially compared to eternity which is really what life is all about. That’s exactly what the humble man spoke about at the service- the brevity of this life!
Since I have dealt with living and dying all my life- but most certainly in the past 25 years as I have encouraged those who are grieving, I may be more aware of the brevity of this life. I have had the often-painful honor of hearing the stories of the broken-hearted who are missing their loved ones. It is so hard to be walking in life next to a loved one and then to have them gone in the twinkling of an eye. It can be very painful to be the ones left behind to finish out this life without them. Yet it is also a reality check of how very real the end of this age is. If we already know and trust You, Lord, we get extra homesick for our eternal lives with You and our loved ones. Even if we do not know You yet, we realize we all will die at some point and it could be today. It is an important time to struggle with what this life is truly all about. It is about You, Lord and our relationship with You!
As painful as death is on this side, I have also had the honor of seeing glimpses of life in the next chapter that never ends—people on their death beds seeing You and Your glory calling them home in one way or another! Father, You do not leave us alone as orphans to face this world. You sent your pure and Holy Son Jesus to guarantee our place with You forever. All we have to do is confess we need Him and ask Him to be Lord of our lives. Then He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us—to comfort, guide, lead, encourage, correct, refresh, and strengthen us in this life and forevermore. We can live with the joy of Your presence in us—even in this earthly life.
Life here on this present earth may be brief, but we never have to walk through it alone. We can begin our eternal life with You now and know that we will live with You for all eternity. Thank You for loving us so much that You want us to spend forever with You!
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus promising us the Holy Spirit in John 14:18
“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…” James 4:14
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, my life is nothing without You. I have sinned against You. I need Your Son Jesus to save me, live in me and give me eternal life…
No one chooses to grieve, yet it is something almost every single one of us must face to one degree or another. Not one of us will get through this earthly life without experiencing the death of at least one or sometimes many people we love. Grief happens when we desperately miss the one who has left, and we are left behind to figure out how we can possibly go on without them. The pain of separation from one we love expresses itself in multiple ways, often without warning. The emotions can be so intense that they can either sneak up on us or explode without notice in the form of soul-wrenching sobs, shocking anger, paralyzing fear, anguishing anxiety, joyous memories, overwhelming feelings of being lost, horrible loneliness and so much more—alone or in a crowd in the matter of a single day. Grief actually serves a vital purpose.
Grief helps transition us from a chapter in our lives we truly do not want to leave—to a new unknown chapter without the presence of the one we love and has shared so much of our lives. They are here with us one moment and gone the next. It is impossible to just go forward like nothing has happened when their life has been so intertwined with ours. We are not designed to grieve forever, but we do need to review the special gift we had with our loved one. It takes time and effort to recognize all they meant to us and how they impacted our lives. It is also a critical time to realize that life here is short and eternity is forever. It is a time to reach out to the Lord and realize that He is the only One who truly never leaves us in this life. He is the one who “gets us,” comforts us and leads us through grief and everything else. The best way to go through grief is to turn to the Lord for help. Jesus is described in Isaiah 53:3 as “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” He will personally lead you through grief when You ask.
We cannot get yesterday back (no matter how much we want to). We may be tempted to skip over grief by running away from it through excessive travel, keeping extra busy, using pain killing substances, not talking about or hiding all evidence our loved one lived or jumping too quickly into another relationship…None of those will keep us from grief. In fact, it often intensifies it. It is far better to face your grief and go through it. There is purpose in looking back through photos, visiting places you loved, and writing out your emotions and memories. By working through this time, with the Lord’s help, you will come out with a healthier view of the immense gift He gave You in your loved one. There will never be another person just like them. By facing your grief and working through it, you will see that you haven’t actually lost them; they are still with you. You can carry on some of the traits you appreciated most about them as you slowly step into the next chapter of your life.
Though we are not meant to live in the deep grip of grief for the rest of our lives, we will have times throughout the rest of our lives when we miss them. Yet it is also possible to look forward to eternity spent with them—with no more goodbyes. God promises us what is coming in Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We can go forward in confidence after working through our grief. We have an unimaginable future ahead of us. Our loved one has already begun their new life with no grief. We can work through our grief with the true hope of eternal life given to us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus promises us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His Holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Love and prayers,
PS. MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU book is a great way to work through your personal grief in a healthy way.
I haven’t posted anything lately about the two books I wrote after twenty plus years of standing with others as they grieve. These books —My Forever Memories of You (one for children and one for adults- available in ebooks and paperback) were designed to actually give you a way to voice your own story, grief, memories, regrets, gratefulness, loneliness, fears, and thoughts of going forward. Here is a link to get a little preview. This is a book written by me–and you. It is actually YOUR story with memories of your loved one. Every single book will be different because of what you put into it! This is one of the most important times of your life. It is a crossroad between this earthly life and eternal life.
These are written out of much compassion, my own grief, my love for the Lord and the broken hearted, my experience as a Grief Recovery Specialist. What makes this book different is that it is a mixture of me sharing excerpts from my own personal journal as I grieved and places for you to share your own personal thoughts, practical and spiritual encouragement and the eternal hope that is found in Jesus Christ. What other hope is there?
A Gift of Eternal Hope
It is my hope that churches, friends, family members will get these books for their friends who are grieving. We can’t and shouldn’t take their grief away. It is vital to go through it. This book allows and gently guides people to work through their own personal grief. It draws them toward the only One who can truly say He will never leave them or forsake them.
Most grievers are not going to get this book for themselves. It is all they can do to make it through the day. These books will actually give them prompts to work through their own grief and find ways to express the jumbled overwhelming emotions that come with grief. It is my hope and vision that churches and believers will use this book to give grievers the ultimate hope as they go through the most devastating time in their lives- whether it is the death of a spouse, child, sibling, parent, friend–whether it is a peaceful or violent death due to old age, tragic accident, suicide or illness.
This book will never be a best seller but it could be a book that will offer real eternal hope to those walking through the valley of the shadow of death…but it will take those who care getting these books to those who need it. They are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, or through me. It is not one that lends itself to many reviews because those who it will mean the most to are not even considering giving it a review (which is so important in getting it out to more people in today’s world.) This ministry also includes My Forever Memories of You grief group on Facebook (churches, pastors, friends can add grievers and pastors to this group for extended encouragement) as well as me speaking to groups.
Thank You to the churches and people who have already shared a book with those who need it. Pray for these books and the My Forever Memories of You grief group on Facebook to continue to share eternal hope!
Love and prayers, Eva
Book Award Winner
Today my son-in-law speaks at his long-time friend’s funeral…and I think of his mom. Another friend posted a note that her ten-year-old son died 17 years ago. I think of the moms in the grief group I host who are forever missing their children who left this life either very young or even older. A mother’s heart is forever missing part of herself with the loss of a child. I “just happened” to run across this poem written by Steve, my first husband who wrote a lot about death and life…
A Mother’s Grief
In the womb of a woman a life began
And she felt the new life grow.
She put the child within God’s hands
And she loved her new child so.
As the breath of life touched his lips
She held him in her arms.
She thanked God for the gift He gave.
Please keep him safe from harm.
But as the child grew in his years
Sickness closed in on him.
As the mother realized her deepest fears,
Why had God done this to them?
As she knelt down to pray
She felt a gentle hand.
The light was brighter than the day
And beside her God did stand.
“I cry the tears just as you do
And I feel the pain you feel.
Though your child’s life here is almost through
My love for him is real.”
“You see I do not take him from you
For the bond you have can’t break.
As I say these words are true,
I save him from the snakes.”
“Yes, by My side he’ll walk today
And his pain will be no more.
In My arms, he’ll find his way
To the road to heaven’s door.”
“I also say he’s in your heart
And beside you he will be.
Just as he was when his life did start…
Now he walks beside of Me.”
“There will come a day when you’ll touch again
And you’ll hold him to your breast
For your child is only with a friend.
He did not die, he only rests.”
By Steven D. Hall
God’s love for us is described in Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
Yesterday, I stopped in a store to look for a pair of shoes (At least that’s why I thought I was there). A friend saw me before I saw her and practically attacked me with one of those long I-really-need-this hugs. I hadn’t seen her in person since her mother was killed in a car wreck two years ago. She just got through honoring her mom’s birthday—and now she was dreading Mother’s Day this weekend. I never found any shoes but I believe God sent someone she knew would understand. I didn’t have any words of wisdom just a long understanding hug…because Mother’s Day can be hard.
I personally know and love many mothers and children who are dreading Mother’s Day…a mom who never got to see her young son reach true manhood, another mom who has had to watch both her children die on separate occasions but will be honored by her delightful surviving little granddaughter who will know her as mom the rest of her life, another mom who lives with the trauma of watching her strong adult son who was married with children waste away from cancer, another mom whose son died in a freak bicycle accident 19 years ago at the age of ten, lots of moms who lost babies before they were born, moms who lost one twin at birth but delivered a healthy twin, older moms who thought they would go first but have had to bury their grown children, mothers whose children are alive but lost to drugs, mental illness or “Who knows where they are,” moms who are forgotten in a nursing home…
Mother’s Day is hard for children and husbands who are still learning to live without their beloved moms/wives (the one who held them dear, cared for them, prayed for them and kept record of memories). Mother’s Day is hard for those who made a decision to abort a pregnancy and live with regrets that only God can heal. It is hard for women who gave their child up for adoption or had them taken away. Mother’s Day is hard for children and moms who have severed relationships.
Mother’s Day is hard for women who struggle with infertility or have never had children, for those who foster or adopt children with trauma, for those who have children with special needs which demands their lives. Mother’s Day is difficult for those who are raising children without their dad.
There are a lot of reasons Mother’s Day can be hard, but there are a lot of reasons to be thankful for the blessings of being a mom or having a mom (even if she has left this earth—or never lived up to your vision of what a mom should be). There are blessings in knowing mothers or even being a mom-figure to others who need a mother’s love in their lives.
This Mother’s Day may be hard—but I encourage you to focus on the blessings of having the chance to love like a mom or be loved by a mom. Thank God for making mothers and women who love like moms. Some of the greatest blessings are found in the hardest circumstances.
Love and prayers for a blessed Mother’s Day,
God’s word in Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”