A new perspective in grief

Typically, the beginning of a new year has always prompted in me a fresh resolve to begin or recommit to a resolution that fell by the wayside long ago; usually a casualty of the inevitable hurly burly of life and the big beautiful mess that it so often is. The turning over of a brand new calendar page will evoke in me an optimism for the year that lies ahead. I am an optimist at heart and therefore am hopeful that a new year will be a little better. Summer has naturally been a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead.  However, this year I’ve approached things very differently. The events of the past 18 months have left on me a big heart wound. Last year was filled with so much sadness and grief, one does not simply turn the page and move on as if all that was in the past has no lasting impact on the present. While the end of a year naturally brings to a conclusion some things, feelings and emotions are a little more elusive to box up. Rather than resolving to do and be someth

Is there a Giant in your life?

 I had a day recently where my youngest came home from school very upset and adamant he never wanted to go back; never wanting to see a particular person again. A previous painful memory of being reprimanded at school bought back strong emotions and when he was accused once more of doing something wrong (this time unfairly) his response was quite natural: flee as quickly as possible. The shame and worry that others thought bad of him seemed too much to bear. Even worse: the thought of seeing the person again. For him, facing a situation he feared was deemed impossible to do. Until, I shared with him I too have had to face giants - I still do as an adult. 

This incident reminded me once again, that modelling humility and courage to our children is so helpful, especially when they experience challenges of their own. I wrote recently about being a good role model to your kids; speaking about how sometimes we fail to model helpful behaviours, or hope our weaknesses aren’t observed or recognised. We don’t want to appear fragile or weak. We don’t won’t our kids to copy our mistakes, or fail. We want them to think we’ve got it all together. But nothing good ever comes from being a fake or trying to live with a mask on. Being genuine is a gift we can give our kids. The truth is we all make mistakes at time. We all have things in our lives that seem hard for us.

When I told him there are scenarios that I find scary and people I am intimidated by, he genuinely looked surprised. (Maybe it had never occurred to him that his Mum ever worried.) In being honest about the times when I’ve got things horribly wrong and when I’ve been afraid of others opinions and had thought a deep hole to crawl into would be preferable, I was able to communicate one very good truth: it is good to live a life that is totally dependant on God’s loving kindness. My willingness to be vulnerable before my son allowed for a very open conversation about facing our fears and weaknesses, and facing them together with God our heavenly father; God who made us, who knows us intimately and who loves us amazingly.

Acknowledging our vulnerabilities takes courage, but in the admission of vulnerability there are some beautiful things that can occur. When we are honest with ourselves, (identifying the things we find hard to do), there is an opportunity to grow and change; to accept and love. When we bring our fears and mistakes to God in prayer and ask him for help, trusting in his goodness and mercy, we can experience peace and forgiveness; leaving our cares with him trusting that God is more than able to help. We also grow in wisdom and courage as we trust God for his help, and through doing this we become more resilient. 

However, if we were to flee every time a problem presented itself; relying on our own wisdom and strength (which we know is shaky) then our ‘trusting God’ muscles would never be exercised. This leaves us weak; unable to withstand correction and instruction. Easily discouraged by perceived failures, avoiding difficult relationships, threatened by others strengths and despairing of our own vulnerabilities. Leaving us ill-equipped to face life and all its challenges.

My little tale has a proud Mum moment. After closing a difficult day praying with my boy, I am happy to report he woke the next morning and went to school. There was a peace to him that I don’t often see. While he may have steered clear of certain people, he quietly faced the classroom and playground without any talk of fleeing. He faced his fear and showed resilience. For myself - I pray that God would use this experience and others to remind him that God is always a ready help in times of trouble. 


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