Sunday, April 20, 2014

~Blessed Easter~ Easter Poem: Empty Womb






~Blessed Easter~

Easter Poem:

Empty Womb







The pangs of childbirth o'ertake me
As mommy cries out for you
The groans within wrench my heart
As my baby is ripped from view

The birth pangs split my gut into
Its pains gush through my heart
With groans that no words can express
As my child from my side ripped apart

God's Spirit dashes to my weakness
To stoke this chasm with hope
That I not falter within it,
This pregnant pause your death evokes

His hope burns like tiny embers
Reminding me He is there
As He births you into Heaven
With His omnipotent care

He soothes my heart that can't yet see
This life rising up in you
He mercifully attends me
As He sees my womb ripped into…
The womb where you once lay,
That seems so empty now
Just as His own Son's tomb once did,
When touched by Abba's resurrection pow'r
Yields Life to our children instead!




~~~





For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the 

anxious 

longing 

of the creation 

waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation 

groans 

and 

suffers 

the 

pains 

of 

childbirth 

together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves 

groan 

within 

ourselves, 

waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

In the same way the Spirit also 

helps 

our 

weakness; 

for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with 

groanings 

too 

deep 

for 

words...


Romans 8:18-26 NAS




Poem - Easter Poem: Empty Womb ~Angie Bennett Prince - April 19, 2014








Picture, thanks to

NAS = New American Standard Version of The Holy Bible

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday's Sadness - Lamenting at Easter: Lamenting is Worship! ~Michael Card






Saturday's Sadness

Lamenting at Easter

Lamenting is Worship!

~Michael Card

Parts 3, 4, and 5







Lamenting is Worship! 


~Michael Card


Part 3




~~~






Lamenting is Worship! 


~Michael Card


Part 4




~~~






Lamenting is Worship! 


~Michael Card


Part 5




~~~



To be continued...



~~~













Picture, thanks to 

RESSURECTION SUNDAY!!   Dianne Oehman   on Pinterest


Video #3:
http://youtu.be/FmsbTAg5Vk4

Video #4:
http://youtu.be/Ou17lPhzdAI

Video #5:
http://youtu.be/pXBNwDOMMaA


Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday's Faith - Good Friday - Lamenting is Worship, Parts 1 and 2 ~Michael Card










Friday's Faith

Good Friday

Lamenting is Worship,

Parts 1 and 2

~Michael Card










~Michael Card

Lamenting is Worship! 

Part 1



Uploaded on Feb 17, 2009:

Michael Card speaking at the East Coast Worship Summit this past summer in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Hear him lament about how most of the worship literature in the Bible is Lament worship, yet hardly any of our contemporary Christian worship music reflects that.






~~~










~Michael Card 

Lamenting is Worship! 

Part 2








Picture: Artist Danny Hahlbohm: "My son... My son", thanks to
Emerson for Adam  Sandra Ransom  on Pinterest
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/224335625162750338/

Videotaped by Steve Sterling. 
Thanks Steve and Michael for this affirming message for lamenters everywhere!

Lament Video 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr3mNGtxd-I

Lament Video 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7UUz7j7JQw

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday's Therapy - "If It Isn't Meant to 'Cure' Grief, What Good is Therapy?" via Huffington Post






Thursday's Therapy


"If It Isn't Meant to 'Cure' Grief,

What Good is Therapy?"


via Huffington Post,
~Megan Devine, 
Grief Advocate/
Counselor

















Posted: Updated: 
Print Article
If It Isn't Meant to "Cure" Grief, 

.........What Good is Grief Therapy?


~by Megan Devine, Grief Advocate/Counselor



There's a lot of sketchy stuff going on in the world under the guise of "grief therapy." Sixty-day cures, 30-minute solutions. Diagnostic labels that show how "unwell" you are, and medications to fix that for you.
Therapeutic approaches to grief run the gamut of wise and beautiful stewardship to diagnostic medical lecturing.
I'm a therapist.
I've been a therapist for well over 10 years and was in related social and education services for the decade before that.
In my work as a clinician, I had to give people diagnoses. That is the way that therapists and other professionals get paid: We give a diagnosis that the insurance companies have decided they will reimburse for care.
Choosing a diagnosis, at its root, is a checklist and a process of elimination or inclusion. If I give you a diagnosis, it tells any other people you might be working with that you share at least some of the same challenges that other people with the same diagnosis do.
At its best, a diagnosis gives your team relevant information without you having to go through the same questions over and over again.
"At its best," however, is rarely how it's used or seen.
Even before I became widowed, I never was much for pathology: that medical-izing of normal human experience. I gave my clients the least stigmatizing diagnosis I could while still accurately conveying their struggles.
I couldn't see someone as being deeply flawed just because they were in pain. I refused to treat anyone as though what they were feeling was inherently wrong.
After becoming widowed, I found myself way too many times on the receiving end of that medical view, being told that who I was, and how I was, was wrong.
As though my intense, deep grief were pathological and corrupt: a sign of an unwell mind.
I didn't just get it from the people around me -- the friends, family members, and casual acquaintances. Some of the most corrective and judgmental people were other therapists. Some had even been my colleagues. One I had even looked to as a decent teacher in his field.
The overwhelming response from both the pros and the casual observer was that since I was in pain, I was clearly doing it wrong.
Seeing a therapist is tricky business -- so many (even some good ones) subscribe to that over-arching belief that grief needs to be corrected somehow, that it needs to be pushed through.
If you're on this grief path, no doubt you have heard a zillion and one suggestions about how you can do your grief better. You've been encouraged to get out of it fast, to go back to "normal" life.
But there is a different way to approach grief.
Many, many years ago, in what seems like an entirely different life, I was studying herbal medicine. The subject for one class was herbs for immune disorders. What the instructor taught that day has stuck with me now for over 20 years.
She said that many clinicians approach an immune disorder with herbs to stimulate and push the immune system, trying to get it to work harder and faster. That approach is misguided, she said. When you have a condition like this, your immune system is already working as hard as it possibly can.
Trying to make it work harder is only going to fail.
The herbalist taught that what was needed in this situation were herbs to come in underneath the immune system, herbs to walk up beside it and support it. The most useful medicines are the ones that don't push, but give the system roots. Nourish it. Help it continue to do what it is trying to do.
The system isn't working wrong, it's working as hard as it can.
Grief has your heart working as hard as it can.
When you are in pain, you don't need to be fixed. You don't need to be labeled as broken, your feelings shoved into codified lists. You don't need to be pushed to get better fast.
What you need are those things -- those people, those places, those words -- that come up underneath you and give you roots. You need those things that nourish you, that help you do the work your heart already knows how to do. The work it is already doing.
A good therapist is a wonderful thing: They know that there is nothing about you that's wrong. They know their role is to listen and validate, to come up alongside you and provide support.
They bolster your roots; they lend you stability.
Good therapy isn't a cure for what's wrong. And that makes all the difference in the world.
How about you? Have you found a therapist who truly listens and supports you in your grief? 
Megan Devine is writer, grief advocate, and clinical counselor. She is the author of the audio program When Everything is Not Okay: Practical Tools to Help You Stay in Your Heart & Not Lose Your Mind. You can find this and other resources on her website, www.refugeingrief.com.



Thank you to Huffington Post, and to Megan Devine for use of her article. 

Thank you to the artists, Moussin Irjan and David Agenjo, for the use of their amazing paintings here on my blog post.









Grief Therapy Post, from Huffington Post:
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-devine/grief-therapy_b_5077196.html

Grief Pictures: 
1st: via Visual Poetry  Kansas Wright on Pinterest - Saatchi Online Artist: Moussin Irjan; Oil, 2012, Painting "What warms the soul?"
2nd: via Artistic Appeals  Kelli Kayy - Saatchi Online Artist: David Agenjo; Acrylic, 2012, Painting "Bejin"


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Even the Valley ~The McKameys










Monday's Mourning Ministry

Even the Valley

~The McKameys









Even The Valley

~The McKameys

2000 Hometown Live





I faced a mountain, a trial of stone;
Down in the valley, I felt so alone,
Fearing that Satan would tempt and abuse,
But God sent sweet comfort with this simple truth:



CHORUS
Even the valley is Higher Ground;
Satan can't touch me where God's love abounds.
There's not a place where God's hand can't reach down.
Even the valley is Higher Ground!



Now I've soared with eagles, and I've fallen low
Through peaks and through valleys, that's just how life goes,
But I've found a peace in the midst of despair
When I discovered that God's everywhere!



CHORUS
Even the valley is Higher Ground;
Satan can't touch me where God's love abounds.
There's not a place where God's hand can't reach down
Even the valley is Higher Ground!
Even the valley is Higher Ground!










Music Video in Grief: http://youtu.be/H3vLAHgFzBo

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday's Faith - A Survival Key







Friday's Faith

A Survival Key





As we go through Child-Loss Grief and Trauma, we discover there are many opinions coming our way from people who really have no clue what our new world is like. Much less then could they intelligently advise us as to how to grapple with a world they could not comprehend, much less have a handle on. 

(Thursday's Therapy - Only a Few Really Know..), my last post, was about a knowledgable group of people coming up with illogical answers for our needs even though they are often considered to be "experts" in the (psychiatric / psychological) people-helping field. Such a professional faux pas serves as a drastic example that we, the survivors, or "invisible heroes" to our Child-Loss Grief and Trauma "war" simply must attune to our own hearts and souls for how then we must live. 


How many of us have had to correct our doctors or our therapists as to the true nature of what we are up against when they toss out superficial bandaids to our deep soul wounds?

Experts in the helping fields must remember two cardinal rules we (I am in that same helping field) must live by, and those are, First, "Do No Harm!" and Second, "Know What You Do Not Know!"








Walt Whitman Graphic, thanks to Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
"Invisible Heroes" - thanks to, Bellaruth Naparstek

Thursday's Therapy - Only a Few Really Know...




Are good Child-Loss Grief and Trauma Therapists as Rare as this 
Rare Flower, the "Red Middlemist camellia"
Let's Hope Not. There are only Two (2) of these in the world!


Thursday's Therapy

Only a Few Really Know...


featuring words from

Social Worker and Grieving Mother,

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore







Snapshots of thoughts from a well-known Grief and Trauma researcher and therapist who is also a Grieving Mother, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, in how she approaches Healthy Grief and Mourning care and treatment for Child-Loss Parents:



The healing from the pain is in the pain. 
-Rumi


…(F)or either state- grief or depression- a pill is a poor substitute (and according to Kirsch et al (2008) not any more efficacious than a well-placed placebo) for human connection, caring, and compassion.  Quite poor actually.  We can never derive what we need during suffering from a pill or a bottle. What we desperately need in our world is a willing witness to our suffering, someone who will join us with full presence and mindfulness. 

The Lancet editorial captured, beautifully, what it means to be a consummate psychiatrist for the bereaved: time, compassion, remembrance, and empathy.

In fact the word psychiatry comes from two Greek (ψυχιατρική) words: psykhe meaning mind and iatreia meaning healing and caring. In French, the literal translation of psychiatry is a "healing of the soul." 

A pill will never heal the soul of a person in mourning. 

Brief, laconic treatments, as the great psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom says, are not best practice for patients. Rather, they are best practice for managed care systems and the psychotropic medication industry which insist on rapid cures for the incurable and place more value on profits than people and relationships.


I don't heal people. I help them be with what is true. 
The healing comes from that.

-Robert Hall, M.D.


Being with what is true hurts. It hurts a great deal. And it takes time to unfold into its own change. Yet, psychiatrists have capitulated to an antithetical system of caring which Yalom calls "inexpensive and perforce, brief, superficial, and insubstantial" and "rather, specializing in psychopharmacological based laconic interventions". (sic) Similarly, Sigmund Freud warned against furor sanandi, the rage to cure. Modern psychiatrists  have, more recently, sounded that same alarm only to fall on intransigent ears and hearts. 


...


What do I do to help those suffering traumatic death? I have no magic wand, or pill, or words. I am, however, willing to join a person in the abyss and sit with the suffering non judgmentally, without urging him or her toward healing before healing's time has come. I radically accept whatever emotional state presents, even if it means we spend two hours on the floor in silence except for the visceral moaning or sobbing, the primal longing for a person's beloved dead.


It has become appallingly clear that 
our technology has surpassed our humanity.  

-Albert Einstein




We should not, ethically or morally, medicalize grief.  To do so is to medicalize love.  We rarely mourn for that which we do not love. I can only begin to imagine what the sages, and mystics, and shamans of the past might think of a society which does so.  Seems hardly human at all.


...


Some also assert that the ability to receive consolation is one of the markers between depression and grief. 
(My Note: In her next statements, Joanne is alerting us, Be careful whom you choose for a therapist to help you with your Child-Loss Grief and Trauma:)  
I have some questions about this purported consoling: What is the quality of the consolation? Who is consoling and how? How do we ensure a bereaved person gets before a "skilled clinician"? 
(My note: Joanne continues warning about inappropriate therapists' attitudes toward, and treatments for, our grief:) 
What about shame? Guilt? Anger? Trust? Platitudes? Insensitive others? Community? How do those play a role? Far too many variables to operationalize this process, in my opinion.


Just as despair can come only from one human being to another, 
hope, too, can be given to one only by another.

-Elie Wiesel


The word compassion comes from the roots com  meaning "together" and pati meaning "to suffer". Roshi Joan Halifax says that "compassion is a tenderness of heart in response to suffering".  With compassion in my heart, let me introduce you to some families who have given their permission to share their stories for the purposes of this statement. They are a part of our very sad and grieving-without-bounds community which puts no time limits on an interminable grief, and in my commitment to caring for them, I continue to suffer with them and beside them. These are the people I see everyday, all day long for 16 years, and this is their insufferable 
(My Note: I am choosing NOT to add these families' stories in today's blog post. Their stories may be triggering; rather, I just want to you see what a good therapist's heart is toward our Lifelong struggle with Child-Loss Grief and Trauma.)

...

(My Note: After describing these families' losses, Joanne goes on to summarize, still adding helpful quotes along the way. 
Joanne then reacts to the psychological system seemingly needing to pathologize grief and not address it as a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances.)


Everyone is an 'expert' in grief until it is he who has it.

-William Shakespeare


Do you - any of you - have the answers these families seek? Can you cure them? Surely, I cannot. And I will not participate in any ruse to do so.  What manual tells you what to do to "console" Shawn, Maya, Katie, Amy, Ashley, Sandie and Mark? Are you, Dr. DSM, prepared to sit before one of these parents two weeks after their unspeakable horrors and tell them they are depressed? And do you actually believe that?


It's relatively easy to entertain multiple possibilities of truth 
and right action if one remains 
a spectator on the sidelines.

-Helen Merrell Lynd


(My Note: the next paragraph describes some violent scenes; please skip this paragraph if you fear being triggered.)

Or what about other parents with whom I've worked?  One whose three children and husband died in a fire? Or one whose 17-year-old daughter was raped and murdered? Or the woman whose two young children were murdered by their father? 



Shall I send them off to a psychiatrist to diagnose them with a disease? 

There's only one disease expressed in that equation and it isn't on the part of the bereaved. The entire system is a mirror image- a projection, of its own illness and intolerance, denial and delusion. Truly, we live in an insane world when spouses and children and parents, like those above, and other grievers around the world can be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder- a mental illness- two weeks following a traumatic death at the behest of someone who has no notion of the reality of their experiences. This feels like the apogee of hubris, exorbitant arrogance.  Too much knowledge and absolutely no wisdom. Too much death avoidance and not enough willingness to approach the ineffable. I see this played out often when I speak of my work and watch others recoil. But - of all the helping professionals- shouldn't a provider of mental health "care" be highly trained and well-prepared to deal with trauma and death?




And, tell me why is it that mourners cannot get help at any time they need it?

If it is because insurance companies refuse to pay for grief counseling then our obligation is to oppose the establishment and not acquiesce to a caustic and fallacious taxonomy which further harms the most vulnerable.

If we are going to cure anything, let's remedy the systemic apathy in an institutional pedagogy unfit to cultivate mindful healers and the insurance providers whose myopic understanding of the human condition, tempered against economic avarice, limits their ability for circumspect.

And why is our ability or willingness to help, as a society, based on time? What makes us think that the two-week bereavement exclusion will allow someone to seek help and that not having such an exclusion will preclude such help? Grief counseling or therapy with a competent provider may help some. But also, what about the role of faith communities? Indigenous healers? Friends? Colleagues? Nonprofits and self-help groups? Neighbors? Even strangers?  We are enabling an environment of human apathy - abdicating our responsibilities to one another and foisting it onto a system -a machinistic system- asking this system to care deeply when it cannot. Instead of abnegating our moral duty to fellow human beings, we should be fostering a society of individuals who care about and for one another. Person-to-person, as in Buber's (1932) concept of I and Thou, Ich and Du.


I am done with great things and great institutions and great success. I am for those tiny, molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world, like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride. 
-William James

There are many who can help those who are grieving whether the help is sought weeks, months, or even years following a death.  I once saw a woman whose newborn died in 1967 and she had, in her own words, "tried to bury the pain and the truth" with her baby.  More than thirty years later, she wanted to be able to "die in peace" and so she sought help in confronting the pain that she had deflected for so many years.  Healing communities offer opportunity for deep and meaningful human connection and solidarity. And, thus, for this woman the MISS Foundation was there for her, and provided a place of comfort and solace. 

We need not feign mental illness and disease for mourners to seek and receive the kind of help which truly helps.


Never apologize for your feelings. 
When you do so, you apologize for the truth.

-Benjamin Disraeli


I can have no part in this diagnostic charade.  Rather, I will go on, in the spirit of compassion, suffering with the other, in the best way that I can. Ethically, I cannot and will not violate what I know to be real and true and sane and human.

This implacable grief is a result of unyielding love.  If we wish, as a society, to truly help those suffering in the aftermath of loss, then we must make the move toward collective compassionate and open hearts. Systems of "care", HMOs, hospitals, and evidence-based practice manuals will not help heal others.

You cannot rush your way through grief. 
Grief unfolds with the same
 exquisite timing as the rose, 
left to blossom on its own time, 
until the colors slowly fade 
and the petals fall away
 of their own accord.

-Margaret Brownley


I posit a universal axiom based on reason, and truth, and the wisdom of the ages…:

Only people and relationships and moments of deep connection will help heal the hearts of the bereaved.


So, to the DSM committee, should you have chosen to read this missive, what these families experience, hundreds of thousands every year, is not ordinary grief, nor is it Major Depressive Disorder. 

This is extraordinary grief as a result of extraordinary circumstances


Contrary to your postulations about grief being like many other losses, in general, I can assure you that this is, actually, quite different from other conditions of the human experience. Please, see clearly the truth that lies before you.


The mere title of 'doctor' is no criterion; a real doctor is one who is a true servant.

-Gandhi



As for me, I will continue to reassure the families with whom I work that their beloved child is worthy of each and every tear.





Thank you to Dr. Joanne Cacciatore for her compassionate heart, and her willingness to share that compassionate heart with us, and with other Child-Loss Grievers.

Blessings to you all!










Dr. Cacciatore's complete Blog Post from which I drew today's excerpts:
http://drjoanne.blogspot.com/2012/03/relativity-applies-to-physics-not.html

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday's Woe - Out For The Count...





hope …is what keeps me alive


Wednesday's Woe

Out For The Count...








In July, 2011, my husband Tommy was diagnosed with cancer. 


In January, 2012, Rollin, our first-born son, was diagnosed with cancer. 


Then, in July of 2013, Tommy was diagnosed with cancer… again. 




3 strikes, and I was out for the count. 



Something happened with this third declaration of this dreaded enemy, Cancer, trying to ravage my loved ones, that it knocked me to my knees. 


Literally. 

As I got down on my knees to once again make my urgent cries to Heaven, I hit Stalemate. 



Suddenly, I didn't know how to pray. 


I felt assaulted by Fear. 



For reasons unknown, this time my urgent cries I had prayed for my precious child, my daughter Merry Katherine, came to the forefront... And, as urgent as those cries had been to my Heavenly Father to keep her safe, it felt, at that almost-seven-year anniversary of her death, that my cries had been denied...

Suddenly, I felt an abject helplessness in daring to raise my cries to my Lord yet again. What if these prayers were answered with a Denial? 


I couldn't take it. I couldn't risk yet another LOSS of another precious loved one. 

As much as I loved God and had always felt I could trust him, suddenly, those seven years, and 3 cancer strikes later, I hit the proverbial wall. Spiritually, I couldn't move.  



I felt stymied. How was I to trust my prayers this time? Urgent prayers years ago that seemingly culminated in death… How could I risk that again? I couldn't. So I had nowhere to turn.

This spiritual drought that felt like a winter-freeze-suddenly-dropped-on-my-heart, leaving me quaking. 



It turned into quite a long season of drought…




Thankfully, so thankfully, our God is faithful. It is only in Him that true Hope originates. It was not up to me to dredge up some hope, for in the state I was in, that couldn't be done (as if it can ever be done in the flesh!).

But thanks be to God that His Word declares His truth to us,

The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. 
~Psalm 34:18 CEV





And, Rescue, He did. 





For thus said the high and exalted One, inhabiting eternity, and holy is His name: "In the high and holy place I dwell, And with the bruised and humble of spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of bruised ones,"

~Psalm 34:18, YLT



What an amazing, faithful God we serve!!!



And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? 

My only hope is in You.




~~~

2 But as I stood there in silence—
not even speaking of good things—
the turmoil within me grew worse.


9 I am silent before You; I won’t say a word,


12 Hear my prayer, O LORD!
Listen to my cries for help!
Don’t ignore my tears.


And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in You.


Psalm 39:2,9a,12a,7 NLT

(Several capitalizations of God's name, mine)








Scripture Graphics, thanks to Pinterest

Translations of the Bible Used:
CEV: Contemporary English Version of The Holy Bible
YLT: Young's Literal Translation
NLT: New Living Translation