#God, Family Life

Lessons Learned As Grief Grows

He Heals the BrokenheartedDelayed reactions are my thing, and I’m having one at the moment.

As some of you might know, Ryan’s dad, Rob, died a few weeks ago. I have been trying to be strong and holding it together for Ryan and Anaia and in the process not letting myself grieve.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. ~2 Corinthians 7:10 *

Now, it’s hitting me. One thing has been eating away at me for a long time even before Rob got sick. One day right after Ryan and I got married the phone rang. I answered, “Hello?” By the way, why do we do that? Like we want to make sure there’s another person at the other end? Of course, there is. We should answer the phone by saying something like, how’s it hanging? Or, hey buddy nice to hear from you again, or if someone is asking for money, oh it’s you still why do you always call when I’m eating dinner?

But I digress.

I answered, “Hello?” Rob replied, “Hi, it’s Dad.” Something came over me, and I was completely silent. I couldn’t say anything. I just handed the phone to Ryan who jokingly said to his father, “Linda thought she was getting a phone call from beyond the grave.” (My father had died a few years before.) To this day I’m not sure what came over me. Maybe it was because I was overwhelmed that he could saw me as his daughter. That I could mean that much to him. Perhaps it was me missing my father. Maybe it was a combination of them. No matter what the cause, I was completely silent. Rob never said that again.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..~Ecclesiastes 3:1

When Anaia came around, he always said: “it’s grandpa.” I always felt embarrassed and guilty for my reaction to his loving gesture. Now I feel guilty for not telling him how honored I was, and am, by him calling me his daughter. I let myself get in the way of a wonderfully beautiful thing, and I am so sorry, sad, guilty and regretful because of it. I loved and miss him much. I am blessed to have had him in my life, and Anaia is so blessed to have called him Grandpa.

I guess what I have learned from all this is never wait to tell someone how you feel and that you never know how much you mean to another. The way you see yourself is not always how others see you. I never dreamed that I could mean that much to my husband’s father and that I think comes from how valuable you see yourself.

I am so very grateful for you, Rob.

 

*For anyone wondering the difference between Godly grief and worldly grief, Godly grief asks for mercy and recalls that our sins go heavenward. It fosters the difference between regret and repentance. Wordly grief that leads to regret makes us feel sad and bad about our past sins, thoughts or emotions but Godly grief leads to repentance–which makes us turn completely away from the sinful thought or action. Regret is crying, feeling bad,  being burdened with guilt, getting it out of our system and moving on. It doesn’t lead to change. Repentance, does. It leads to better relationships and salvation through Christ. So in reading this, I nod in agreement with Linda. The lessons learned run deep. ~ Jennifer

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#life, Family Life

Ryan’s Corner: In Memory

In Memory of Robert Allan Denerley    

If I were to describe my relationship with my father and categorize our time together I would place our story in the adventure section.

Dad would read some of Genesis story to answer my typical boyhood questions about life and creation, subtly laying a moral foundation for me, which would be really important later for family volleyball games where the rules were negotiable.

My dad taught me that it matters how we treat others and how to be a team player. We are to be people of character; honest, giving, faithful, fair, and forgiving. We are to lead balanced lives.

Learning about relationships with women was of particular importance. Dad continued to counsel me during my time in college for I didn’t struggle academically as much as I did relationally.

The help Dad gave me paved the way for me to venture out and start a family of my own.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ~John 14:1-3

The ten years my wife and daughter spent with Dad can be described as kind, supportive, and encouraging. Marriage and parenthood ain’t for wimps, and Dad was my model for maturity when stress became overbearing.

My daughter’s 9th birthday party was themed after Disney’s “Descendants” and the same week of her party Dad entered Brigham and Women’s hospital for his surgical procedure. As we know now, Dad’s procedure can hardly have been called a belly check…

Brothers and sisters, friends and relatives, young and old, we are fellowshipping in the midst of Robert’s death and simultaneously celebrating his life. We are coming together to move forward in our lives without Robert—without Dad.

In Disney’s “Descendants” the future is uncertain for the characters who are the sons and daughters of famed Disney villains. These are school age youngsters from the Isle of the Lost thrust into attending the Aura Don Academy—the school for the children of Disney heroes and heroines. One of the movie’s songs sung in the midst of decision making is “There are So Many Ways to Be Wicked.” And it is true, there are many ways we can go about living our life for ourselves, but I want to encourage you that it matters how we treat one another. This was important to my father. Even truer, there is only one way to be righteous and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~John 14:6

We all have to face death and if we are honest, we are all facing a final judgement.

Jesus Christ is no joke. He takes away our failures and gives us His perfect righteousness as a gift.

Sure, dad was a good husband, father, coach and leader, but make no mistake, it is Christ and Christ alone who delivers souls from hell into eternal blessedness. Robert couldn’t do it; Moses couldn’t; not Buddah, Mohammad, or some pagan animal spirit.

The Lord says: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever live and believe in me shall never die.”

Please pray with me:

O God, you are Holy and Just. Please receive my earthly father Robert into the courts of your heavenly dwelling place. Wash him in the holy font of everlasting life and clothe him in God’s heavenly wedding garment. Let his heart and soul now ring out in joy to you, O Lord, the living God. May your angels surround him, your saints welcome him in peace; may he gaze upon you Lord, face to face, and taste the blessedness of perfect rest in Jesus Christ.

~Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

#God

The Cost of Unforgiveness

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ~ Matthew 6:12

This post was really challenging for me to write probably because I haven’t fully achieved the outcome I desire.

I thought and prayed at length about how to forgive; forgive certain people and certain situations that I found myself in throughout my life. What did I discover? Being a forgiving person is incredibly difficult! And I cannot forgive on my own. I most definitely need the Lord’s help. Holding on to unforgiveness has caused a ton of pent up anger that turned into resentment, and even hatred, for those people and situations. I have held on to that hatred, anger, and resentment much too long; held on to them like they were precious jewels. What else have I found out? It is my belief that on order to forgive, first you have to be thankful.

Forgiveness is costly…

Thankful, pleased, relieved…. synonyms for that are grateful appreciative, filled with gratitude.

In every situation you find yourself in you must be thankful and grateful for what you have. I still struggle with focusing on who and what caused me every sort of pain; even the pain itself. I do this instead of being grateful and appreciative of something good they may have done or how it made me into a better person. Being thankful will cause a shift in how you view that person or situation. If you are grateful and appreciative, it’s impossible to 100% loath a person or situation. It’s the second step in forgiving (the first being praying and asking for the grace in helping to forgive).

Forgiveness may require you to give up your pursuit for justice…

Forgiveness: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.

If you don’t forgive, even if you think it doesn’t bother you or effect you anymore, it does. Unforgiveness is not a precious jewel; it’s a heavy, rough, blemished rock that will weigh you down and bruise and cut your soul. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person as it is about saving yourself from years of emotional and mental misery. My anger and pain comes out, and still comes out, in very unrelated circumstances. Because of my own pain, resentment, and anger I have caused pain to other people. I do not want to be that person anymore. For my own sake and my loved ones around me, I have to forgive.

It may mean you need to live with long-lasting consequences~John Speight

Synonyms: pardon, absolution, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, clemency, mercy.

Forgiveness is not saying what you did is ok. It’s about extending mercy to the other person, giving them a pardon as it were. Being thankful and grateful for something that person did will help in that.

I have to do the very thing that my Lord and savior did for me. What kind of person would I be and where would I be if I didn’t?

#God, #life, Family Life

Three Strands.

You and I against the world; this statement is pretty new as a concept in our marriage.

We’ve had our ups and downs. I think both of us got caught up in our own inner conflicts and baggage from each other’s past so much so we couldn’t see or comprehend that, basically, marriage is two people coming together as a bond not even this world can break. We’ve come to find out it’s not really each other we’re fighting against. In our case it’s the ghosts in each other’s pasts, the lies we tell ourselves, and the illnesses and conditions we have that haunt us.

When you start looking at the issues and problems between you and your significant other as the enemy rather than your significant other, it’s a game changer. Ryan and I have adopted the point of view that we’re going to join forces and fight against the things coming in-between us. Doing that forms a sense of unity. It creates a feeling of having each other’s back and always being there for each other. The more you put this tool into practice the more it  strengthens and grows.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

This is so important when issues arise that threaten your marriage because then both of you can come together and stand firm against them. Ryan and I have been going to SoulCare. It’s a type of therapy based upon the values of the Christian faith. Our pastor/counselor, who is certified in SoulCare, uses the book Biblical Foundations of Freedom: Destroying Satan’s Lies with God’s Truth by Art Mathias. SoulCare teaches techniques and ways to apply the Bible’s teachings and truths into everyday situations. We really do feel that it’s helping our marriage as well as our individual wounds. It brings those scars out into the light where they are dealt with, prayed over and hopefully left behind.

I’m hopeful about our future. I do believe through SoulCare and doctor prescribed meds (God gave us doctors to help us) Ryan and I will gain the tools we need to weather any storm that comes our way. We will be able to live a long and very happy life together. Come to think of it, it’s not Ryan and I against the world, it’s Ryan and I and Jesus against this world.

How can we fail?

#God

Some morning comfort if anyone needs it….

Just because I love it, along with a healthy dash of I-don’t-want-to-edit -what-I need-to-edit at the present time, I thought I’d pop in over here and share this picture with the world.

I first saw this portrait of Jesus on my first Alpha Retreat when I was a participant and it has been a comfort ever since. I’ve just returned from my third Alpha, this time as leader, and wanted to share praises for it over here on the blog. Maybe it will bring comfort to someone who stumbles upon it.

Alpha is a life changing experience. It’s a Christian course offering a safe place for anyone, whether an atheist or a mature biblical Christian, to ask questions about where they are in their faith walk.  We all fall short sometimes in walking the right path and need to get our priorities straight, after all.  Alpha is a huge step in the right direction. It is offered all over the world for roughly 13 weeks, including  one weekend retreat that becomes a graduate level course in the Holy Spirit. You know…. that part of the Holy Trinity usually glanced over or tacked on to the end of prayers? It’s the One who doesn’t get much attention and who many, like this Sunday school kid, thought of as Casper….

(Come to think of it, I dressed as Casper one Halloween. What were our parents  thinking with those masks?)

Large eye holes so to see the flames coming at you on Halloween night. How we survived without suffocating is beyond me.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you~ John 14:26

In realty the Holy Spirit is the comforter, the counselor, and the helper. It’s God’s love and spirit living inside of us guiding our every move toward the right direction. It’s that voice in the back of our heads, our vulnerabilities, and the navigator of our change. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit and being aware of the ways He uniquely works in our live is how we learn spiritual growth.

If anyone is curious about Alpha, give it a try. Drop a comment or use the contact link and I’d be happy to tell you more about it and even help you find one in your area.

~Jennifer

Self-Esteem

Motivation Masks

Motivation has many different faces. It can be born out of fear, happiness, anger, avoidance or sadness. Some causes of motivation are healthy, good, and even essential to experience. Some are unhealthy and detrimental to your well-being. If you stop and take a moment to see what motivates you, you could surprise yourself at what lies deep within.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27

The cause of why you make certain decisions, I think, is imperative in leading a happy and healthy life, meant to be lived with a great sense of contentment. Someone might be successful according to the rules of this world, but why they are a success, or the catalyst behind their success may have many different reasons and varying results.

Always striving for more and always wanting to find ways to do “it” better is not bad in itself. To feel that way because you’re running away from something or to feel nothing is ever good enough is harmful. I’ve learned you can’t keep running. Life will always catch up to you. You have to deal with whatever difficult and hurtful past situation is driving you away. If you don’t, it will keep returning time and again to haunt you until you do deal with it. Stand firm, look it in the eye and confront the ghost of your past.

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. ~Ecclesiastes 7:10

I kept finding myself in unhealthy (in one way or another) relationships with men who were fixer uppers. It was much like buying a house knowing it needs a new bathroom or a new kitchen floor. Minor in your eyes, but when you go and rip up the bathroom floor you find black mold because the plumbing is shot and you fork over thousands of dollars to get it up to code. If you find this is your relationship, it will cost you a whole lot more than money.

Come to think of it… I wouldn’t recommend a fixer upper man or a fixer upper house.

In trying to evaluate why I made the same unhealthy choices with men, I found how I viewed myself played a huge role. My self-esteem was in the toilet. You can’t pretty up someone else (nor should you want to) when you are a fixer upper yourself. Before going and looking for a HEALTHY relationship, it’s really important to work on getting yourself healthy first. If you don’t, you won’t find your heart’s desires.

I realized, as I worked on myself, what I looked for in a relationship changed; what I expected a man to change, the qualities he should have changed. Where I looked even changed. All changed because I viewed myself in a different light. Praise be to God! He definitely had his hands full with me. Thanks be to Him.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.~Romans 12:2

This applies to all aspects of life not just in relationships. Why do you always want the latest iPhone, a new car, a better job, or even a better spouse? Take a good hard look at what is inside yourself and then reevaluate your own motives. I recently learned it doesn’t matter what happened to you in your past or what kind of relationship you had with your parents growing up. What matters is how you view yourself. I’m constantly reminding myself I’m a King’s daughter and a warrior. In the book “Girls with Swords” the author says, “being a warrior is a way of life and many of the battles they fight are with enemies unseen.” How many of us are at war with the critical voices in our heads? How many of us fight with ghosts of the past? How many of us don’t even know we’re at war?

Here’s the good news! Struggle strengthens us. Pressure makes a lump of coal into a diamond. Fire can refine and reshape us; it doesn’t have to burn us. And here’s the best part… water… water quenches the heat of the fire. Like the water of our baptism, being born again of the Spirit, it sets up and hardens us into the shape the fire molded us into.

We don’t have to drown in our struggles.

cerebral palsy, Powerlifting

Local New York Paper Picks Up Powerlifter’s Story

Thrilled to step in here to say that Linda’s story and blog has been picked up and shared by a local New York newspaper. Such a great article to help spread the word about what determination and belief in God can do to transform a life. ~Jennifer Deschanel

http://www.wvdispatch.com/news/powerlifter-with-cerebral-palsy-is-an-inspiration-to-others/

 …My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.~John 4:34