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

"Remember when..." What milestones do you celebrate?

I like the image of a long hiking adventure, to describe how I see life’s journey. To view a mountain range is breathtaking and to walk its course a privilege. However when you get up close to the task at hand, you find there are a lot of variables that can make the journey both exhilarating and hard work. It takes us to valleys and peaks, wilderness and beauty. Rocky paths and steep climbs give way to clearings and views that revive the soul. My hiking adventure over the past few years has been uphill and rocky, so when the path began to clear and the incline slackened; it was a moment to pause and rejoice. A moment to remember.

On Sunday our eldest son, made a public declaration of faith in Jesus. He did this through confirmation and the sharing of his testimony; speaking of what God has been doing in his life. His decision to take this very personal step and to share it with our church family, was a significant moment; both for himself and for our own family. For myself and my husband, we have prayed for this moment since he was born, (seeking to raise him in God’s ways and desiring for him to know and accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour). However, there have been many days in this parenting journey, when my own faith has been greatly tested and the dark clouds of doubt and worry have shaken me to my core. Traversing the teenage years has been so hard at times.

While I have had much encouragement from fellow hikers who have journeyed a little further than myself, I’ve often wondered whether I would ever reach another peak. However, when peaks (moments or occasions that are special, beautiful and sometimes hard earned) it is good to mark the occasion. Mindfulness of a happy present is always worth savouring.

In Kent and Barbara Hughes’ book entitled, Disciplines of a Godly Family, they speak of the value of having family traditions; moments and opportunities to recall God’s faithfulness by the sharing of stories and occasions to celebrate his goodness. They like to call this practice as building ‘Stones of Remembrance’ for your family; referring to the story in the bible, (Joshua 3 & 4) when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and took 12 stones from the river and placed them in their camp as a visual reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness. They encourage this practice saying, “The following scriptural advice, put to work, will go a long way toward building secure families with a sense of solidarity with the past and the future.” I have always appreciated this advice, and have therefore sought to build into our families culture and heritage moments that are recorded and celebrated as special. Sunday was one of these occasions.

Do you ever pause to rejoice in God’s goodness and faithfulness to you? Do you do this with your family? Being intentional and marking occasions where significant moments of Gods provision, care and faithfulness have been evidenced to you, can be a wonderful source of encouragement. These ‘Stones of Remembrance’ can be returned to, reminding us of what God has done and will continue to do as we journey on. As a family, you can say, ”Remember when”.


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