Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday's Faith — Contrast of Worlds

Friday's Faith

Contrast of Worlds

In attempting to comfort my exhausted grieving brain, I allow myself to take a "visual vacation" by perusing my new Southern Living magazinewith its pictures of delicate flowers so appealing, happy people, scenes alluring, pleasant, conventional, and sweet...I was so enjoying the beautiful pictures revealing God's lovely world in this issue of "Charleston's Romantic Charm"...

...But my poor traumatized brain cannot let go. Like an olympic skating champion sliding around his opponent at the last minute, my traumatized right brain suddenly overrides my left brain, replacing these pictures of God's beautiful world with abrupt, raw, intrusive images of the stark, ugly, abhorrent world of death I've been thrown into with the loss of my baby girl.

Tears fall. The contrast is too great.

The magazine's delightfully displayed normal scenes of God's world that once accurately reflected the joy of my heretofore normal world are instantaneously contrasted with my world now, ugly and grey...horrid, repugnant, loathsome, and repulsive.

So, to help my further-traumatized brain, I write these words...

Contrast of Worlds

Beautiful world...roses cascading down...

My world is ugly...death throws me aground.

Exquisitely flowering azaleas...

While I'm floundering, helpless, disabled...

What's happened? We're all a part of God's world...

Some are happy...

Others to hell are hurled!

What happened to my life...once joyful,

Once playful...

Now looking for a quarrel,

my heart's agitated, full of unrest...

easily aggravated, sad, distressed.

Beautiful life--who am I becoming?

Her death transmutes...I'm volcano, rumbling...

Once happy, glowing

eyes now haunted,

Life overflowing...

now, by death...taunted.

How do I deal with the repugnant mess?

I turn to God's Word; my pain I confess...

There I find answers to my dark distress...

If I go up to the heavens,

You are there;

if I make my bed in the

depths, You are there.

If I rise on the wings of the


if I settle on the far side of

the sea,

even there Your hand will

guide me,

Your right hand will hold

me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness

will hide me

and the light become night

around me,"

even the darkness will not be

dark to You;

the night will shine like the


for darkness is as light to


Give me Your vision, my child's death to see

through the vast prism of eternity

where darkness becomes light, night shines like day,

night reveals Light, in darkness, show the way...

"I'm in the dearth of death's darkness!"

(Then) You say,

"I am your Light... despite darkness rife...

In death's dark night of the soul..."

You say,

"Child, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...

Death's dark night pales in the Light of My Way.

Cling to Me by faith; I'll light up your way..."

With God's healing balm caressing my ravaged heart, with promises that no matter how dark the way, He will walk with me. For me right now, in this moment, that is enough - He soothes my heart; He lights my day.

Scripture ~Psalm 139:8-12
Poem - Contrast of Worlds - Angie Bennett Prince - 2/22/2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - Ways We Grieve, Part Eight - Traumatic Grieving and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Thursday's Therapy

Ways We Grieve

Part Eight

Traumatic Grieving and

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What people do not seem to understand about us child-loss grievers...

As devastating as losing our child is to us parents, grief over our child is not JUST about missing them, as difficult as missing them is.

A trauma as great as losing one's literally traumatizing to the brain.

Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., the premier expert in the trauma field told us at the recent Trauma seminar that

When a parent loses a child, as indicated from P.E.T. scans, physiologically, the parent's cerebellum is traumatized.

When one's cerebellum is traumatized, much of the trauma gets stuck in that one part of the brain, not able to pass through to be processed in the other parts of the brain. When the trauma cannot be processed through to resolution, it takes on a life of its own and therefore destructively impacts not only the cerebellum, but all of the brain, negatively impacting the grieving parent's life and daily capacity to function.

For instance, memory is affected - things my sons tell me, I may too easily forget... I have attempted to explain that 90% of me is grieving and only 10% is left to take in all the information I heretofore processed with no trouble. Little did I know just how accurate that statement was, as documented by science's recent brain-scan studies!

Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)

Six Critical issues Affect how people with PTSD Process Information:

  • Experiencing persistent intrusion of memories related to the trauma which interferes with attending to other incoming information

  • Sometimes compulsively exposing oneself to situations reminiscent of the trauma (leading to) repetitive re-enactment of the trauma

  • Actively attempting to avoid specific triggers of trauma-related emotions which leads to experiencing a generalized numbing of responsiveness (the responsiveness that needs to be alert, not numbed, in that it is needed to properly cope)

  • Losing the ability to modulate one's physiological responses to stress in general which leads to a decreased capacity to utilize bodily signals as guides for actions

  • Suffering from generalized problems w/ attention, distractibility & stimulus discrimination

  • Having alterations in one's psychological defense mechanisms and alterations in personal identity

Despite efforts to capture the essence of people's response to trauma,

the PTSD diagnosis does not begin to describe the complexity of how people react to overwhelming experiences.

According to Dr. van der Kolk,

...Trauma can affect victims on every level of functioning:

  • Biological,
  • Psychological,
  • Social, and
  • Spiritual

The effects of child-loss grief on a parent is pervasive, affecting every aspect of life, rendering much dysfunction and massive traumatization besides the devastation of missing one's child.

P.E.T. scans =Positron Emission Tomography scans. See "Ways We Grieve, Part Six" (2/11/10) for further explanation of the nature of these scans.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday's Woe - Grief Changes You

Wednesday's Woe

Grief Changes You

My heart is torn; it’s ripped into—

I have a duty to warn: Who am I? I don’t know who!

Ripped by love’s thorn, there’s nothing I can do.

Since my baby was born, I had a job to do;

From that job shorn, there’s no more I can do

But be forlorn for my baby girl who

I miss and mourn and my helplessness rue.

I’m weak and worn; mourning’s all I can do,

So be forewarned: this is a mother’s coup—

My heart is torn; leaning on God for healing is my sole purview.

I have a duty to warn: I’m different now and becoming someone new;

Truth unadorned: Grief changes you.

Poem - Grief Changes You - Angie Bennett Prince - 9/16/08

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's Trust - Pray–> Love–> Lose–> Live...Our Savior's Way to Live


Tuesday's Trust

Eat, Pray,Love? No!

Pray–> Love–> Lose–> Live...Our Savior's Way to Live

Pray–> Love–> Lose–> Live

Our Savior's way to give...

I prayed for you to come back to God–soon,

prayed God would help you return, change your tune

before it would be too late. I gave you my love...

I got lies–With evil you'd compromise.

God drew me to His side–For you, I must choose:

Could I–for you–all my hopes and dreams lose?

Willingly, to all on the altar give?

Let go, let God? Pray, Love, you'd live?

"Not my will, but Thine." Pray–>Love–>Lose–>Live

I prayed, I loved, I lost, but now you live... in His arms, our God of Love!

You came back to Him–your God of Love.

So now I live a life of loss – my cross....

Pray–> Love–> Lose–> Live

Our Savior's way to give....

As great a cross to me loss is–for you t' live,

tis not too great a cost to give...

Pray–> Love–> Lose–> Live –

Our Savior's way to live...


Then Jesus said to His disciples,

If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul.

Matthew 16:24-26

Poem - Pray –> Love –> Lose –> Live...Our Savior's Way to Live... - Angie Bennett Prince - 2/23/2010

Picture: thanks to

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Resurrection

Monday's Mourning Ministry


Only the protected have the privilege of making theology a discussion; the endangered cling to it and weep.

...on Jane Dixon Tillitski's Facebook profile

Last week, you heard from Todd Smith about the loss of his and Angie's baby Audrey Caroline on April 7, 2008. In Todd's testimony, he mentioned that within six weeks, he and his sister both lost their babies. His sister, Nicol Sponberg once sang with Todd in Selah, but she now has launched out on her own.

Below is the testimony of Nicol and her husband Greg telling about the birth of their only son Gregory Luke on March 17, 2008 and then their unexplained loss of baby Luke on May 27, 2008.

After you hear their testimony, the next video will be of Nicol singing her song Resurrection, made before her baby had been born and then died...

But how telling are the words of the song Resurrection for her now, and for each of us as we mourn the loss of our precious children and wonder when we will ever feel life surging through our hearts, souls and bodies again...

"They Have Not Been Protected from Tears or Hurt"

Testimony of Nicol and Greg Sponberg's loss on May 27, 2008 of baby Luke



Nicol Sponberg


I'm at a loss for words, there's nothing to say

I sit in silence wondering what led me to this place

How did my heart become so lifeless and cold

Where did the passion go?

When all my efforts seem like chasing wind

I've used up all my strength and there's nothing left to give

I've lost the feeling and I'm numb to the core

I can't fake it anymore.


Here I am at the end I'm in need of resurrection

Only You can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead

What I've lost to the world what seems far beyond redemption

You can take the pieces in Your hand and make me whole again, again

You speak and all creation falls to its knees

You raise Your hand and calm the waves of the raging sea

You have a way of turning winter to spring

Make something beautiful out of all this suffering

chorus 2:

Here I am once again I'm in need of resurrection

Only You can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead

What I've lost to the world what seems far beyond redemption

You can take the pieces in Your hand and make me whole again, again

You have a way of turning winter to spring

Make something beautiful out of all this suffering



This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him.
From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him,

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God."
John 6:65-69

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.

According to the Lord's own word we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:9-11

Hour of Power Interview with Nicol and Greg Sponberg:

Nicol singing Resurrection:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Faith - "A Dozen Roses" ~Alan Pedersen

Friday's Faith -

"A Dozen Roses"

~Alan Pedersen

After celebrating Valentine's Day this week...I want to share this poignant Valentine's poem that grieving-father Alan Pedersen wrote for his 18-year-old baby girl who has been in Heaven since August, 2001:

A Dozen Roses

By Alan Pedersen

If I had a dozen roses, I know just what I’d do

I’d give each one a name that reminded me of you

The first rose I’d call sunshine, because you brighten everyday

The second would be beauty, the kind that never goes away

The third rose would be priceless, like those hugs you gave to me

I’d name the fourth rose silly, oh how funny you could be

Rose five of course is patience, something you have helped me find

The sixth rose would be memories, the gift you left behind

The seventh and the eighth rose would for sure be faith and grace

Nine would be unique because no one can take your place

The tenth rose well that’s easy, I’d simply name it love

Eleven would be angel, I know you’re watching from above

I’d think about that twelfth rose, and I’d really take my time

After all these roses are for you my Valentine

I’m sending them to heaven in every color that I know

So twelve I’ll name forever, that’s how long I’ll love you so

Alan Pedersen has been performing for more than 25 years. An accomplished singer and award winning songwriter, he spent several years writing and recording music in Nashville, Tennessee. Alan has had several songs recorded by other artists. Alan has worked as an actor, stand-up comedian, keynote speaker/emcee, and in radio as a network news and sports reporter for Westwood One Communications. Currently living in Englewood, Colorado, Alan is the father of four boys and an angel. Reach him through?

Picture of roses from
Alan Pedersen's website: