Good Mourning.

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God means for grief /mourning to be a good thing, a cleansing if you will not just with the loss of loved ones but also in friendships, job loss, divorce…. you get my point grief /mourning isn’t just for the death of a living being.

Last year at this time January 5th to be exact my life was forever changed by the death of my Mom; She had suffered a stroke a month before, had been in a deep non responsive coma we were told she would never wake up and to prepare to let her go, then on day 12 sat up wide awake and pulled out her vent tube on her own., it was a Christmas miracle!! she was moved from CCU to ICU and on Christmas Eve I flew home knowing she would be transferred to a rehab facility in her hometown. 12 days later my Dad made that dreaded call to tell me Mom had passed peacefully in her sleep in the early morning hours.

Although the title of this post is a play on words I do believe that God means this for our good.  There are 5 stages of grief/mourning, everyone experiences them differently and for different periods of time but in this process there is hope; Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges: As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life. I am not sure who to give credit for this quote but I do believe whoever quoted it is on to something. 

Let’s for a moment take a look at the 5 stages of grief/mourning but before we do that let’s see how Webster and God define these terms.   The word grief: Webster’s definition as this;  deep sadness cause especially by someone’s death,

             a cause of deep sadness, trouble or annoyance.                                                             

                           
While I couldn’t find a simple definition of grief in Strong’s Bible Dictionary I did find something interesting about the word mourning, Strong’s said that mourning is an outward expression of sorrow for the dead and also signs for repentance. There were many forms of mourning including weeping and wailing, wearing dark clothes, sackcloth and ashes just to name a few this usually lasted anywhere from 7-30 days.
 
We know by today’s standards that there is no time limit on grief /mourning, let’s take a look now at the 5 stages of  grief :   
There are 5 stages of normal grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book called  “On Death and Dying”. Keep in mind we all grieve differently and go through the stages differently, remember , grieving is a personal process that has no time limit or a right way to do it.
1. Denial and Isolation
This is normal and is a defense mechanism that helps us deal with the immediate shock. this helps us through our initial stage of pain.
 
2. Anger
Pain re-emerges and we are not ready, it is common to take it out on those around us or even be angry at the lost loved one, emotional we may resent the person for causing us pain or leaving us, we feel guilty for being angry which will tend to make us feel even more anger. Your anger may even be taken out on those that cared for your loved one or the persons whom you feel are to blame for the said loss.
3. Bargaining
The if only syndrome… Because we have already determined that Grief and mourning can be for other things besides death this is a normal reaction to the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, it is often a need to regain control.
4. Depression
We worry about the cost of burial, not spending enough time with others that depend on us this is a reaction relating to the loss and can be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. The other type of depression is more subtle and in a sense more private, it is our quiet preparation to separate, to bid our loved one, the past or situation farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug and a prayer.
5. Acceptance
In the case of a physical death this stage may not be reached by everyone especially if it was sudden, and sometimes even in the case of a lost marriage, this stage may not be meant some people never see beyond their anger or denial.This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm, this is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression. 
 
Coping with grief/mourning is a deeply personal and singular experience, nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you are going through, but others can be there for you and help comfort you through the process.The best thing to do is allow your self to feel grief as it comes, by not doing so you will prolong the natural process of healing.
 
God gives us many references to grief and mourning in His word and according to the definition’s given neither are only the death of a person but can also be the death of a well-loved job, marriage, friendship or dream. God always has a purpose for what he does in life and death, we are born to die the minute we come into this world, remember life is about what you do between the dashes. My Mom’s dashes were March 3,1941 – January 5,2014 in between was a woman who lived her life serving others without ever expecting anything in return was she perfect ?? no, but she learned over the years to grow towards God and his will for her life, I believe she will stand before God and hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant”.
 
Dear God, help us in our times of grief and mourning to rely on you, bring those who are with us, around us to hold us up and support as we go through our times of loss. Comfort us and be with us always in all ways.
Amen.
Repost from a former blog – February 2015
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

Where do you hear God?

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During my quiet time this morning, I varied from my regular routine and decide to Be Still… now I know I use this scripture a lot but I do believe that is a place God really wants us, we busy our lives with so much noise and running here and there how is it that we can ever hear Him??  So this morning on this rare very warm winter’s morning I sat on my front porch and had my quiet time with God, I closed my eyes and allowed my other senses to take over.
First thing I heard first before ever going outside to sit was the birds as they were waking up, I love that moment before the dawn comes, it’s just before dawn when I hear the birds coming alive with song, it adds such harmony to the other music of our universe.  It was a bit windy and as pictured above I could hear the tree across the street rustling in the wind,it had its own kind of melody going on ,then I could hear the wind chimes on our front porch , this is my favorite set given to us by our friends Dixie and Larry when Poppy died, it too has a melody all it’s own but putting all those sounds together  was like they had their own symphony playing.
The next thing I noticed was the smell of  my surroundings , it had  rained a bit earlier and was getting ready to rain again ,I could smell the earth from it’s earlier soak, the coffee that sat on the table next to me and beckoned me to drink and me not wanting to waste one drop of the yummy goodness obeyed it’s calling, I absolutely love the smell of those two things, the earth after a rain shower and coffee !
The earth and its surroundings have a feel to it as well, as the wind would blow I could feel a small but warm breeze and of course as it started to rain I could feel the drops of moisture. I could also feel the heat from my coffee mug.   As I drank I could taste the richness of the coffee beans and creamer in my coffee, I love it when you can taste a rich, dark coffee flavor tempered only by a small amount of flavored creamer.
Yes  God allowed me to use my other senses this morning and as I experienced each one I said a prayer of thanks to him for it. I usually have a devotion book I use in my quiet time but this morning I enjoyed the detour God took me on.
Thank you so much, God, for giving us our senses to experience this world you have created help us never to take for granted our surroundings and your provisions, thank you always in all ways.
Amen!
Repost from a former blog – February 2015
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

A view from a front porch…

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This is not my current front porch but it is one of my favorite places to sit and reflect …sitting on the porch reminds me of a simpler time, I imagine it being like Mayberry where people greeted one another, where they would gather to talk, sip tea and enjoy one another’s company. We live in such a rush to get here and there that we rarely slow down for a visit and sit a spell. The porch in the above picture was the first covered porch I had at any place I had lived that far in life, I truly enjoyed it in all seasons but especially in the Spring, it was a nice place to have coffee in the morning or visit with friends,  in the evening as the sun was setting I had the best seat to watch the show.
This is the front porch of my home where I live now , it is my favorite place to be outdoors and one of my most favorite places for my quiet time, I also enjoy it in the evening and night time now  I know I use this scripture a lot “Be still and know that I am God.” but stillness is a place that God can truly speak to the heart of His children, it seems like stillness is a place God keeps bringing me to.  On those days when I am awake in the pre-dawn hours, that moment just before the sun makes its appearance all is still and then slowly I hear the birds start to awake and the world around me comes to life !!
Those are the moments I feel that each day is truly a new beginning now I will admit more days than not I miss that moment but on those rare days that I greet the day before it greets me the reward is so worth it no matter what season we are in, it is in those moments I have got some of the most beautiful pictures of the birds of that season, it is also the time that I hear that still small voice of God and am rewarded with some of the best and most reflective times with my Heavenly Father.
God has not only blessed us with a beautiful home but also with a wonderful place for each day new beginning a place not only to drink my coffee but to drink in His word.  As the season’s weather permits the front porch is always my choice for my quiet time with God.
With the start of each new day, I encourage you to find that place to greet God, to sit at the feet of His word and drink it in.
Footnote: This is a devotion that was started last Spring on a much warmer day.
Repost from a former blog – January 2015
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

Each dawn is a new beginning.

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The sun comes up
a new day is dawning
it’s time to sing your song again
whatever may pass and whatever
lies before me
let me be singing when the evening comes.
From Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord o my soul)
Part of my new normal is establishing a quiet time no matter what time I get up. My days will start with giving God my first in hopes that my first will start earlier than they have. A friend and I were discussing how much smoother our days go when we talk to God first thing in the morning!  For me I pray before my feet hit the floor then start removing my pillows so I can make my bed, get a cup of coffee going then relax in my bedroom chair next to the window, if it is warm enough I open the window and begin reading from my InTouch devotional, then from Our Daily Bread and then begin my prayer time and scripture reflections sometimes I will journal to close out and write my final prayer in it or I will simply pray a closing prayer.
Some days this time is longer than others but these days this is done more days than not at all.
There is  a cross stitch saying my Mom made and framed for me that says ” Each dawn is a new beginning.” it hangs in my laundry room and the other day I realized the truth in that statement each day we have here on earth is a new beginning to use the gifts and talents God has given each of us,I don’t know about you but at the end of my life I want to stand before God and say there is nothing left,I used what you gave me to further your Kingdom, I want to be spent before Him.
In past post I have shared that I had a time in which God got very real with me about His purpose for my life, I now know that purpose and each day He gives me I will do my best to fulfill that promise to God. This blog is part of that promise, it is real and about real life, wonderful, messy, sometimes too hard real life we all face.  My heart is for women’s ministry, ministering to the hearts of women through art, photography, retreats, speaking, and writing.
My prayer as I continue on this journey is that God would bless through those gifts and talents He alone has given me to reach the lost, the hurting and to start a healing so that we may know that in Christ “Each dawn is a new beginning”!
Repost from a former blog – April 2014
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

 

Be still…

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When I was a little girl we played a game called Statue tag, the idea was someone was it and if they tagged you immediately you froze like a statue… The above picture reminds me of that game but also it reminds me of the scripture Psalms 46:10 ~ Be still and know that I am God.   Still is a place God wants us to be while waiting for instruction … Recently I had a Tonsillectomy you may think what does this have to do with the price of tea in China …well it has been in my time of recovery (As I write this…Now)  that God has spoken to my heart in a very deep and meaningful way… God knew that this was to be a quiet time for me and because He has the full attention I am gaining daily insight into His will for my life…
In the last 5 years, I have been that wayward child of God, floundering and reckless bad choice after bad choice with what seemed no end in sight… At one point I thought I would never turn back to God but Praise Him he didn’t give up on me… Each passing day brings new truth to me and God shows me through his word the plan He has for my life, A life of blessings overflowing… All because I am still and listening…
What does God want to show you?? Are you willing to be still and wait or do you rush ahead and miss His best??
Won’t you Be Still… And know that He is God Today and every day!!
Wait for His best, I promise it will be worth it!!
Repost from a former blog – August 2013
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

Broken hearts, Broken trust.

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God in his wisdom created us for relationships, those relationships include parenting, marriage, and friendships and in those relationships we trust our hearts to be held by those we love, 20 years ago I trusted my heart to my husband Steve and he trusted me to hold his too however over these last few years I have broke that bond of trust and allowed others to take the place of that relationship.
For women it is easy when we are feeling neglected and someone else is showing us the attention we so desperately want from our spouse to transfer those feelings to another person showing us attention, this is wrong to do but an easy lie from Satan to fall into. It is so easy for lines to be crossed however innocent things may appear. Let me say that there is nothing wrong with men and women being friends and married men and women being friends with single men and women as long as those relationships are healthy and the boundaries are very clear.  God created us ALL for relationships, it is so easy even in the most innocent of relationships to cross a line whether it’s in your mind, with your word or conversations or physically. Sometimes mistakes are made that can forever change relationships, maybe the relationship will heal over time but in most cases they don’t, it changes things forever.
As in most of my post the things I talk about come from life experiences and this one is no different, I almost lost my best friend but even worse than that I almost lost my husband, I am truly a blessed woman to have a husband who woke up and smelled the coffee as the saying goes, he realized just how off kilter our marriage these last few years have been and that by neglecting our marriage that I was slipping away, now in all fairness and in all relationships it takes two so I was not blameless here either but it was so easy to just put my attentions elsewhere. I put My best friend and husbands relationship on the back burner for lack of wanting to try anymore, past attempts were meant without what I felt to be any response, truth is I don’t think either of us cared anymore, even buying a new home together didn’t seem to be the glue we needed to make it work.
God has a purpose and a plan for everything that happens in our lives I firmly believe this! I created some self-made drama that nearly ended my friendship with my other best guy friend, I would like to say that at this point he and I will be fine given some time apart and that will give me the much need time to refocus on my marriage relationship and rebuilding a firm foundation for Steve and me to stand on for the rest of our lives. I am thankful to God above that no lines were crossed with the said friend just some boundaries of trust that can be repaired and the trust rebuilt and when the time comes Steve and I can draw him into friendship together.
How does this tie into broken trust, broken hearts? God gives us our marriages and friendships and when something happens in those relationships that break the bond of trust, it also breaks the heart of God.  there has been a lot of talk in our house of how relationships should look like especially those with married couples who have single friends of the opposite sex… We have concluded these relationships should carry healthy boundaries, that time with said friends should mainly consist of a group setting, however having coffee or lunch is fine just not allowing any room for speculation… Also that these can be positive relationships especially if your single friends are looking to you as a married couple to help them find their future husband or wife. It breaks your friend’s hearts, God’s heart and even your own when boundaries are crossed and is even worse if lines are crossed because those are things that make the relationships change and not always for the better.
My said situation will be fine given some time to heal and move past it… As I said before God has a purpose and plan for everything that happens in our lives. I am tired of running from that plan and am now once and for all surrendering myself to God’s will… I will still stumble and fall from time to time but there will always be His purpose for it. God created us not only for relationships but for a purpose and that same very clear plan He had for me on a retreat of His design is the same plan He still wants for me now.
Your will be done God, not mine, please remove me from this season of disobedience into the test passing story you would have me to tell.
On a final and personal note, couples please if you are ever to a stage in your marriage that you feel you would be better apart I encourage you to seek accountability with another seasoned couple you trust to help you and hold you accountable also to not make any life changing choices for 30 days then reevaluate again in and repeat for another 30 days. Please feel free to contact me via email or by leaving your contact info on my blog for some very valuable resources that are working for my husband and I and that can prove to be a value in any marriage.
Repost from a former blog – February 2012
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

The heart of the matter…

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Most of the drama I have created in my life comes from some very deep seeded insecurities. Why is it that I feel a need to compare myself to other women and point out what I am not?? It’s kinda a slap in the face to God. Part of my problem is I truly want to follow God but my insecurity tells me I am not worthy, how could he use me?? God has been very clear with me His purpose and laid on my heart the hearts of all women, we all have similar struggles and desire to be accepted by our peers, to be found beautiful in another’s eyes.
For me I think Beth Moore Christian Author and Speaker put it best in her book entitled So Long Insecurity, she say’s “A time comes in a willing life when you’re ready to face a Goliath -sized foe all by itself and fight to the stinking death.” and for me that time is now some recent bad choices have made me relize just how insecure I really am, it’s what is deeply rooted at the heart of the matter of all my bad decisions, especially as of late, it’s the BIG I , it takes many forms and isn’t always visible to the naked eye but never the less is always just hoving at the sufface whether I relize it or not. to the outside world it may appear I have all the confidence in the world but the truth is like many women and men too I want acceptance and long to have what I think others have at times.
Insecurity comes in many forms and is not always easy to recognize. The bigger question that Beth Moore poses in her book is quote”Whether or not our insecurities are substantial enough to hurt, limit or even distract us from profound effectiveness or fulfillment of purpose.” God has given us each a purpose, He has a plan for our lives, Are you allowing your insecurities to limit the fulfillment of those plans or are you willing to work through them to get to the root and move beyond them? Let’s look at the definition of insecurity: It refers to a profound sense of self-doubt, a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in this world.
At this point, I don’t mean to keep quoting one of my favorite author and speaker’s but Beth is really on to something here and I have chosen to blog my thoughts on this what hopes to be a life-changing look at insecurity for me. Again the book is called So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore and this blog is on the first 3 chapters of said book, it has been very eye-opening for me and has helped me already to see why I have made some of the bad choices as of late, it is an area in my life that I need much healing in.
Please join me on this journey of self-discovery and revelation and of hope and healing!
Insecurity truly is at the heart of most issues for most of us especially in a woman’s heart, let’s unite and battle this Goliath-sized issue together.
Remember God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
Repost from a former blog – February 2012
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

It’s the little things.

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This post is a sidebar post from my blogging about the book by Beth Moore called So Long Insecurity. In recent years my marriage has been on shaky ground at best, but recently it has taken a surprising turn for the better. I am in no way going to spend time pointing fingers at my husband, truth be told we have both been apart of the failed attempts to make things better that were however until now.
 
Let’s face it marriage is a four letter word and that word is one we don’t always want to hear but is the only one to describe it and that word is WORK! It is exciting and frustrating all at one time. The one true thing I know is this that without God at the center of your marriage if it doesn’t fail will sure make the work a lot less fun… Yes, work in and on a marriage can be fun!! My husband has really stepped it up as of late and it makes it so much easier for me to be submissive to his leadership in our home.
 
Yesterday I realized for the first time in a very long time how much fun it can be to hang out with him, I took a late lunch break and we went for a walk at our local park and later when I got home we fixed supper together and played a game, just turned off the TV and actually played a game.  this is the man and husband I have always wanted him to be to me. Please don’t misunderstand it isn’t always going to be like this every day of our lives but it’s to me what marriage is all about developing a true friendship with your spouse.
 
God has given my husband and I a final chance to really make this marriage work and it is up to us to honor God by creating the kind of marriage that is based on putting God first, your spouse/children( in that order) and then extended family and friends.. there have been so many life lessons these last few years and so many times I have ignored the voice of God when he tried to talk to me and when you are outside of His will that is so easy to do.
 
My husband is so good to me, much better than I deserve and out of respect for us both I will not blog about all the things that have happened over these last few years nor will I ever intentionally say something that will put my husband in a bad light. He has been and continues to be my rock and I am falling in love with him all over again. One of the little things he did recently that was so sweet may seem silly to those of you reading this but to me, it was a sign of just how much he does love me… 
I bought the wrong kind of antacids and had mentioned the kind I really like, the kind I had bought I am quite sure is pure chalk… Anyway, my husband remembered seeing the kind I  like in a box we had packed when we moved so he went to search for them and found them, brought them in and laid them on the bathroom sink for me to find.  Like I said this may seem silly to you but to me, it was just one of those small things that say I love you in a loud voice.
 
One of the biggest mistakes I made was not cultivating the friendship that had grown from our time apart. my husband and I had separated  a few years ago but that is when we truly became friends, our story wasn’t one of a fairy tale romance, we met, moved in together and married in about 5 months time and to top that off were instant parents so we never had just us phase of a courtship and marriage our daughter was already here when we got married. Once she was out of the nest we were strangers to one another because we had dove headlong into parenting our daughter that we really didn’t focus on us as much as we should have.
 
God has created us for relationships and wants us to be a friend to our spouse as much if not more so than we are with others. So no matter where you are in your marriages make time and take time to cultivate your friendship with your spouse because someday it will just be the two of you.  One of my favorite movies is the story of a couple that is told over and over by the husband to his wife because she has Alzheimer’s it’s called The Notebook and any self-respecting woman knows what I am talking about. My favorite scene is when he lays on the bed with her and the next day the nurses find them both there but they had gone home to be with the Lord.. It is also one of the saddest scene’s but how loving of the husband to tell his wife the story of their lives every day..
Awhile back I read a book called The Wednesday Letters which followed a similar storyline no one was sick or dying but it was a husband that wrote a letter to his wife and she, in turn, wrote him one and they would leave them for each other every Wednesday. I so want there to be evidence of a life of love spent together to leave for our daughter and grandchildren.
 
With each day that passes there is more to celebrate in my marriage and as we continually make God the centerpiece of our marriage I can only imagine how much sweeter life will be growing old with my best friend and partner in this life!
Repost from a former blog – February 2012
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg

Heartfelt Pain

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In Proverbs, it is put this way ” Each heart knows its own bitterness(14:10 ) Pain is an intense thing and at the time of going through it can make you feel like no one fully understands.  Because our personality, life experiences and even our history shape our response to any given situation, how we deal with that pain is different for everyone. Thinking back to some of the most painful times in my life such as being told I would never be able to carry a baby full term and then loosing the ability to bear a child almost devastated me but God in His infinant wisdom provided a void filler  for that deep black hole that was left by such devastating news in the way of a friend who opened a Christian Preschool at the time of my recovery and whom said Peg I think you would be a wonderful addition to my staff and would like for you to pray about coming on board… I did and was in that ministry for a little over 10 years. I now have so many children who’re lives touched mine and I pray in some way that I touched theirs as well.
As I talked about in a previous post, I nearly lost not one but two of my best male friendships both impart because of some bad choice making , never doubt that Satan isn’t alive and wreaking havoc on this earth because I am here to tell you he seeks to devour God’s children in any way possible. Somewhere in my fractured thinking I convinced myself there was more to a situation than there was, with all fairness to everyone involved  the majority of the problem laid on me, however Satan is a deceiver of many things and when you are far from God’s will it only makes it easier, after all, that is Satan’s purpose to draw you away from the will of God.
Feelings change even those we think are deep down in the gut. For me I convinced myself things were as I perceived them to be based solely on actions not on the words being spoken, I ended up hurting two wonderful men in the process and nearly destroying two wonderful friendships,  the saddest part is one of those was with my husband who should have been my first priority.
 This situation caused me some very heartfelt pain, praise God that all parties involved are taking some much needed time to heal from this situation and all will be well. The deep question in my soul is this, What deep seeded insecurity is there that would even cause me to react the way I did to said situation?? I really thought I had become this confident woman who no longer worried or compared herself to others but in a fraction of a second I flipped that switch and became this irrational woman who perceived even her closes female friends as potential threats, how off-kilter is that. I am a very smart, confident woman but in this situation I was not, I wanted something that A) I had no right to ask and B) was clearly wrong, I crossed a boundary and nearly lost it all.
The very sad thing that occurred is that I never again will have that closeness with either party involved but with God, all things are possible(Matthew 19:26) and there is a hope and promise that it will be even better.
Insecurity brings forth heartfelt pain but the good news is this, that God is bigger than any pain we have because while we were yet sinners He sent His Only son to die for us. I can ‘t even imagine what that was like for Him, I have an only child and I am here to tell you that it would absolutely destroy me if anything happened to her.
God’s words are filled with promises and hope for the heartfelt pain we go through,the thing to keep in mind is that He always wants our best in any given situation and when His answer is no it’s because He has something better in mind, as I always say He has a purpose and plan for everything we go through.
My heartfelt pain has been a time of mourning the lost closeness that took the place of the closeness I should have had with my husband and through this situation, my husband and I are taking the long road to recovery that will make us stronger and will make our friendships with others stronger as well because we will be grounded in God and not in self.
This is God’s do-over, His perfect plan for my husband and I, this time around we will do it His way and make sure to always keep God in the center of ALL that we say, do and think.
Repost from a former blog – March 2012
Saved To Serve, Serve To Inspire,
Simply Peg