Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday's Therapy - The Final Gift

Thursday's Therapy

The Final Gift


A TCF Speech – 8 Things I’ve Learned About the Grief of a Grieving Parent

Part Eight of Eight

Sunday, July 6, 2003 - TCF National Conference Closing Speech by Charlie Walton

Part Eight


Finally, I want to tell you something that I have begun to realize as the years have passed since the night that Tim and Don, and Don's best friend, Bryan, died. I have realized that, by their deaths and the deep permanent scar it left in my life, they gave me a gift of immeasurable value.

The final gift bestowed by any loved one who is torn from your grasp is a clear and unforgettable awareness of what is permanent... and what is temporary.

My second book, which is called Packing for the Big Trip, was written because conversations I had with people about the first book made it so crystal clear that the reason we are all so completely blind-sided by death is that

we live in a "death-denying society," a society where the death rate is 100 percent, but where no one wants to mention it.

I wrote in Packing for the Big Trip, "Every person who dies gives a priceless gift to those who stay behind.

That gift is awareness of death and its manifold implications for our lives. Death awareness is about living. It brings the maturity we need to live our lives with wisdom and stop cringing at the thought of eventual death... and start living with the daily enthusiasm of those who are packing for the big trip."

Maybe you are still so close to your child's death that you are not ready to see that there could ever be anything good to come from it. That's fine. Maybe you are still wishing you could wring that kid's neck for leaving you here with all this pain. That's fine too. But maybe, you are beginning to realize that

you have new eyes for the upside down values of our culture, that your "death awareness" has given you greater "life wisdom," that your child's death has given you a gift of life.


Well. I could go on for a while but I was told years ago by a speech teacher that "the ear cannot hear what the seat cannot endure." So, let me encourage you to

One, recognize that you are stuck with this pain, but that the depth of your pain represents the extent of your tribute to the one that left you.

Two, understand that people just naturally say a lot of dumb stuff when they are trying to help, and try to be patient and hear what they mean instead of what they say.

Three, understand that you need to tell and re-tell your story a lot more times than you can expect family and friends to hear it, so be grateful for your Compassionate Friends who are willing to hear your story and even make it their own.

Four, give writing a try. It can really help to get some of that confusion out of your mind and onto paper where you can deal with it.

Five, get regular, strenuous exercise even when you don't feel like you can walk across the room.

Six, let people help you, for their benefit and yours.

Seven, watch out for "personality intensification" and give yourself time to become yourself again before you go making decisions while you are "out of your mind with grief."

And finally, recognize the abiding and valuable gift you have received from the person who went away. You have an understanding of life and its true values that you could never have had otherwise.

Let me close with the final words from When There Are No Words.

"My prayer for you is

that you will have peace,

that you will have good grief,

that you will be honest with yourself,

letting out what is within you,

and refusing to govern your ways of grieving by what you think others might be expecting that you ought to do,

that you will allow your loved ones the same right to their own ways of grieving, never assuming that they should want to cry when you feel like crying, or talk when you feel like talking, or sit and stare when you want to,

that both your life and your death will be greatly enhanced by the perspectives that enter your life when a loved one exits your life,

that you will become daily more comfortable with the realization that, as my son Don used to tell me, 'Death is just a part of living.'"

Thank you so much to Charlie Walton for his wise words as a grieving father and to Jayne Raines Newton, head of Atlanta's TCF (The Compassionate Friends) for sharing him with us!

May you all have a wonderful, God-blessed, God-comforted 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday’s Woe - Holidays…or Hell-A-Days?

Wednesday’s Woe

Holidays…or Hell-A-Days?

Is the loss of our child our Garden of Gethsemane where Satan comes to attack us at the point of our deepest vulnerability?


…Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.

~Ephesians 6:16 NIV


Holidays Or Hell/A/Days?

The Heavy Presence of Your Absence






“Be still…”


Two solid weeks of spiritual attacks,

anxiety attacks, then mind attacks

leave me exhausted in these holidays...

Holding onto God—in that I'm not lax—

just battling Satan and his horrid ways.

Baby step by baby step, exercise

and sleep. Eat well. Take vitamins. Breathe in

God; breathe out toxins. Get sunshine. Be wise.

Write feelings. Talk to God. His Word, weave in.

Cancel holidays. Take care of spirit.

Minimize any toxins coming in…

“God, hold me close; soothe fear in my spirit.

Cleanse me of known or any unknown sin.

Bind Satan in Jesus’ name.”


“Holy Spirit, Comforter, navigate

my grief, my path, my life into Your will.

Center my spirit in You.”


“Be still,

And know that I am God and that I’ll heal.”

“Today is Christmas Eve—Come Lord: Peace…be still.

Here’s my heart; for Your kingdom, take…and seal.”


The reticent volcano keeps

His never slumbering plan;

Confided are his projects pink

To no precarious man.

If nature will not tell the tale

Jehovah told to her,

Can human nature not survive

Without a listener?

Admonished by her buckled lips

Let every babbler be.

The only secret people keep

Is Immortality.

~Emily Dickenson

It’s such a little thing to weep,

So short a thing to sigh;

And yet by trades the size of these

We men and women die!

~Emily Dickenson


Last of all I want to remind you that

your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you.

Put on all of God’s armor (truth, God’s approval, testimony of God’s work within you, faith , salvation, God’s Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God) so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over you will be standing up.

~Ephesians 6:10-13 TLB (insert, mine)

TLB = The Living Bible

Poem – Holidays into Hell/A/Days – Angie Bennett Prince – 11/21/09

Poem – “Be Still…” – Angie Bennett Prince – 12/24/09

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday’s Faith - Flaming Arrows Amidst Pervasive and All-encompassing Grief

Tuesday’s Faith

…Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.

~Ephesians 6:16 NIV

Flaming Arrows Amidst

Pervasive and All-encompassing Grief


Pervasive and all-encompassing is

Grief, reaching through head, heart, soul, with no relief,

throwing to the ground to pound and pound.

When (I’m) pounded flat, Satan steps in to ground,

ground his lies into my head, heart, and soul,

waiting till they dig a deep-enough hole…

that he can bury me in as if dead…

But Resurrection Father lifts me instead,

then places me under His protective wing,

pours life and hope and health until I can sing

and lift my heart—

“To Him all glory bring!”

Like my child, He frees (me) from Satan!

“Let Freedom Ring!”


Run the race set before you with perseverance.

~Hebrews 12:2

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

~Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV (highlights and some capitalizations mine) (See Eph. 6:14-18 for the weapons of your armor...)

God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use

...So you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own.

Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet.

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.

Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life.

God's Word is an indispensable weapon.

In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long.

Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out...

~Ephesians 6:10-18 The Message

{To be continued in tomorrow's Wednesday's Woe...}

I do not know Rod Coronado, but I do like his depiction of “Flaming arrows”

Poem - Flaming Arrows Amidst Pervasive and All-Encompassing Grief - Angie Bennett Prince - 12/24/09

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Shifting Sand

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Shifting Sand

In Merry Katherine's early high school years of her journey of faith, her older brother Rollin (five years older than she) introduced her to this Christian band whom she grew to love. Their songs are very realistic about the struggles as we stumble and fall and learn to get back up, learning more and more our need for complete dependence on the Lord to help us walk.

This song "Shifting Sand" was one of her favorites as it captures that very tenuous walk and our desperate need for God's grace, or we will never make it. This same singing group ministered to her in her latter teenage years of struggle as well. I am sure I will share more about Caedmon's Call's amazing role in influencing her life in later posts. So I want to share with you today

Caedmon's Call - Shifting Sand

Caedmon's Call

Shifting Sand

Songwriters: Tate, Aaron


Sometimes I believe all the lies

So I can do the things I should despise

And every day I am swayed

By whatever is on my mind

I hear it all depends on my faith

So I'm feeling precarious

The only problem I have with these mysteries

Is they're so mysterious

And like a consumer I've been thinking

If I could just get a bit more

More than my 15 minutes of faith,

Then I'd be secure


My faith is like shifting sand

Changed by every wave

My faith is like shifting sand

So I stand on grace

I've begged you for some proof

For my Thomas eyes to see

A slithering staff, a leprous hand

And lions resting lazily

A glimpse of your back-side glory

And this soaked altar going ablaze

But you know I've seen so much

I explained it away


My faith is like shifting sand

Changed by every wave

My faith is like shifting sand

So I stand on grace

Waters rose as my doubts reigned

My sand-castle faith, it slipped away

Found myself standing on your grace

It'd been there all the time

(Chorus repeated)

My faith is like shifting sand

Changed by every wave

My faith is like shifting sand

So I stand on grace

May God hold us grieving parents close to His side as we too walk this very difficult terrain of Shifting Sand in our "walk-of-faith" through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,