Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prayers and Paper Plates

I got the news just a few hours ago. Another young, momma was widowed last night. My heart breaks for her as she faces a day that is different than any she has ever experienced, as she realizes her new normal has to be established.

Circumstances and the way grief plays out for people cannot be compared or even necessarily anticipated, but the one thing I know as the honest truth is that God holds grievers in a way that forever changes them and the way they approach life. I have had the privilege of being put in contact with precious new widows from all over the country. Their stories are as varied and different, but everyone wants to know the same answer to the same question voiced in as many ways as there are grains of sand: Will I be okay?

Each time I try to answer the question it always comes back to them as a different question, "Do you know God?" or "Are you willing to know Him?" Because the short answer, for most people is "Yes, you'll be okay." But I am anxious for those grieving to know a much better place than "okay." It does take some time...and it takes so many tears that I don't even want to think about and it takes understanding that living with the pain of grief continues forever (as depressing as that sounds, it's true) but if you are willing to take the long, hard work of grieving with God then you can be more than okay, you will thrive. I want them to know it is a promise from God that He will turn their ashes into beauty and their mourning into dancing. It is the God honest Truth.
 And as I type that out and know it to be true to the depths of my soul, I know that in the beginning of the grief, those first weeks and months it feels the entire world has been turned upside down and the only thing that helps are the prayers from the people that surround the griever. These people are the hands and feet of Jesus as He mends the griever's broken heart as only He knows how to do. The people that just show up without being asked with paper plates, chick-fil-a nuggets, and a hand to hold. But these people also know to not stay too long or expect a thank you card because the griever is going through a physical and mental exhaustion unlike anything they've ever experienced. The people that know to take the trash out and run the dishwasher because chores do not stop although the griever does. The people that the griever knows best can ask to take their kid(s) to the park because kids don't stop wanting to play although the momma doesn't have the energy, but has all the guilt of not being able to do it right now. No one needs to worry about flowery sentiments or the perfect Psalm to tell the griever at this point. He or she won't ever remember specifics during this time, they will remember the faces, hugs, tears shared, and being reminded that they are not in this alone.

Then one sweet day in the not too distant future, their pain turns from technicolor to black and white. They will recognize the beauty and peace provided for them, so much of it in fact they will have to share it with another new griever that comes along. The abundance of God's love is too much not to share. It has to overflow. And He uses the hearts He's mended to be the ones to do it.

"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" 1 Timothy 1:14

To God be the glory.


  1. Bonnie, this is wonderful! You've shared beautiful words here. I was especially taken with this: "The abundance of God's love is too much not to share. It has to overflow. And He uses the hearts He's mended to be the ones to do it." Incredibly touching and oh, so true. Keep writing, dear friend. You have a gift.

  2. Wow, Jennifer! Thanks so much for the encouragement. God amazes me to point of tears.

  3. I immediately thought of you when I heard the news. I wondered and hoped that you knew Jamie somehow so you could share with her, grieve with her, love on her. Thank you for sharing. Love you.

  4. It is amazingly impressive that you have taken such a tragic loss and made it into the beautiful new. The beautiful new of friendships and understanding and love for others who are in a spot you once were. A beautiful new relationship with not only God and others, but with yourself. Remember to take a break, to not let the painful present bring you down, as much as you help others heal you need time to mend after to, because even an old wound can become fresh and new. (((hugs)))

  5. This brought me to tears..."And He uses the hearts He's mended to be the ones to do it."

    Jesus, I pray that Bonnie's friend would experience you powerfully in her grief. And that even now you would prepare her so that when the time comes she is willing to hold the hand of another grieving heart. Amen.

  6. Thanks for sharing. You shared so much about grief that those who have not been down the path are not familiar with. There is so much value in people "being there". Everyone deals with grief differently but I also like the fact that you shared it is not something one "gets over" and most importantly I'm glad you reminded us of God's love and His presence that will lead and guide and direct us if lean on Him. My prayers are with your friend and her family she is blessed that you are her friend.

  7. Beautiful! How beautiful the Body of Christ is when we love the brokenhearted and walk along side of them. His glory and magnificence explodes like fireworks!