An Important Question To Prevent Future Heartache & Pitfalls In Your Life

A few years ago, I went on vacation with some of my extended family and stayed at a hotel where the entire back portion is primarily glass windows and glass doors.

This wasn’t a foreseen problem…

…until I got distracted by a motorized luggage cart while walking along a path at the hotel.

As I tried to be polite to the driver of the cart by moving over, I tripped over the sidewalk…and then as I tried to correct my fall, I tripped over a huge rock and fell flat on my face.

Rocky – 1

Kim – 0

The fact is, I simply didn’t see the tiny variation in the sidewalk…and apparently, I didn’t see the rock either.

My fall was not graceful or quick. I actually skidded a few feet after hitting the ground.

And the glass windows, doors, and veranda that weren’t previously a problem? Well, they became problematic because EVERYONE who was out on the ground level veranda, and everyone who had a view out of the windows, patios, and doors, got one heck of a show – a free comedy show, compliments of me!

I could hear a few people laughing.

Not that I blamed them because I’m sure it was quite the sight. Even though I was extremely embarrassed as I scrambled to get up, I even laughed at myself because the rock was huge. The variation in the sidewalk wasn’t near as noticeable, but the rock was unmistakable! Both were blind spots to me.

It’s the same with the “blind spots” and “pitfalls” we each have in our own individual lives…most everyone can see them – they’re truly very obvious, while we personally can only see a few.

Some are subtle (like the sidewalk); some are huge (like the rock)all can create a crazy amount of regrets, grief, heartache, destruction, unnecessary challenges, and hardships in life.

So what are blind spots and pitfalls?

Blind spots – an area where a person’s view is obstructed or in which a person lacks understanding or impartiality.

Pitfalls – a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty.

Everybody has blind spots and potential pitfalls. It’s so very important to ask people (the ones who you know care about you) what yours are. They can prevent an outrageous amount of grief and life challenges.

Each year, I choose a few trusted people to ask a very important question of:

Can you please share with me what you would consider my blind spots…the irritating habits, hang ups, insensitivities, and character flaws I may or may not be aware ofand do you see any potential pitfalls I could experience in the future that I can’t – or I’m not willing to – foresee?”

And I always tell them to be completely honest!

I haven’t always enjoyed the feedback, because it’s truly not fun hearing hard truths. But the truth greatly matters to me!

You may be asking (like I did when I first started doing this): who seriously wants to hear family members and close friends picking on you and telling you bad things about yourself?

The Bible reveals the answer: a wise person does. And couldn’t we all use more wisdom? I know I can!

PSALM‬ ‭141:5‬, Let the righteous thoughtfully strike (correct) me–it is a kindness done to encourage my spiritual maturity. It is the choicest anointing oil on the head; Let my head not refuse to accept and acknowledge and learn from it…”

PROVERBS 27:6, Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”

PROVERBS 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

PROVERBS 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

When I first began asking this annual question, I seriously got my fe-fe’s hurt…but then I began to see the exceptional value of asking this question…and I valued the answers even more!

The answers to this question always allow me to self-reflect and even allows me to avoid many possible bad outcomes down the road. (If you don’t know what to fix or prevent, how can you fix, prevent, or improve it?)

A few of the answers took me by surprise. Some even broke my heart.

With every honest answer received, it is imperative to find a way to change, improve, or create a way of doing things better.

Our blind spots may truly affect others…but they may not say anything.

I never would’ve had the ability to understand how my blind spots were affecting others, so I am beyond grateful I asked. Had I not asked, the results may not have shown up until irreversible damage had been done.

When people give you feedback, listen.

Truly listen.

Never resent anyone or their feedback. I genuinely appreciate them because they allow me to make both major and minor corrections so I can continually improve (and safeguard):

  • my relationship with God
  • my marriage and family
  • my character
  • my heart
  • my relationships with family & friends
  • my ministry
  • time
  • habits
  • goals
  • …pretty much every area of life!
  • Coming to terms with truthful realities vs limited perceptions is so important! It can be very difficult for people – myself included – to truly see and admit their flaws and blind spots…but who wouldn’t want to prevent pitfalls?

    I absolutely do not get mad if someone gives me feedback I don’t enjoy or like. I am the one who is asking for honest answers…so I understand what I signed up for: absolute truth.

    If you choose to do this incredibly revealing activity, don’t become upset or hold it against someone for sharing important truths with you. They truly are trying to help you be the best you can be!

    It is a gift!

    Kindly thank trusted family members, co-workers, fellow church members, and friends for their honest feedback, write down what they share with you, and then consider what they told you as if it were gold! It is gold!

    PROVERBS 20:15, There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

    The truths they share will allow you the treasure of making better life decisions.

    Better decisions = better life & relationships

    …And absolutely a better YOU!

  • I look forward to asking this annual question and look forward to hearing honest feedback from my family and friends later this month.
  • It is always a good thing to have truth … truths I may not yet see … be revealed to me so I can prevent pitfalls, and potential grief or destruction, in my life. I am so very grateful to have family and friends in my life who care enough about me to prevent my next fall!
  • And just as there were multiple glass windows and doors at that hotel, the people we love dearly in our life all have a front row view of our character and actions. What we do…our choices…how we respond to others…it all matters.
  • We’re all leaving a legacy, and asking for truth about blind spots ensures we have the opportunity to leave the best possible legacy we can!
  • What family members and friends do you trust enough to ask about your blind spots? The first time, you may ask them to go a little easy on you. The following year, ask for total honesty!
  • Gratitude & many blessings,
  • Kim
  • (Sorry for the misplaced random bullet points…Wordpress said this glitch should be resolved within the month!)
  • ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    ⭐️For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    ⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

    ⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to help and encourage others by sharing our personal experiences we have gone through with our own personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or pastor for guidance and advice.

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    The Perfect Way To Grieve

    Anyone who has experienced heartbreaking, life-shattering grief understands just how difficult grieving can truly be: all of the emotions…how mentally and emotionally draining it is…how it can affect your relationships (in both positive and negative ways)…the toll it can take on your energy level…and how it can even impact your health.

    Grief can do a real number on you.

    There are so many different perspectives and viewpoints on grief – and each person believes their perspective and viewpoint is best:

    • Some say you need to write a letter to say goodbye…others say it’s never “goodbye;” it’s “I’ll see you later.”
    • Some say you need to quickly move on in life…while others say fully embrace your grief and take your time.
    • Some say time heals all wounds…while some still experience difficulty for many, many years.
    • Some say God has nothing to do with grief…others say He’s in every detail.
    • Some attend grief groups and gain the support of family and friends…others prefer to grieve alone and privately.
    • Some cry a lot…others rarely cry at all.
    • Some like to talk about their loved one or loss…others prefer not to.

    So what is the perfect way to grieve?

    What’s right and what’s wrong?

    The truth is: there simply isn’t a perfect way to grieve. And there is no cooker-cutter, one-size-fits-all, right or wrong way to grieve either.

    Advice is simply advice.

    Help is simply help.

    Encouragement is simply encouragement.

    Thoughts are simply thoughts.

    Grief steps are simply grief steps.

    After my sister and one of my best friends died three weeks apart, I tried to follow the traditional grief steps. Problem was, I didn’t experience any of them in the correct order. I felt like a grief failure!

    I eventually learned what works for one person may not work for another. What one griever might find encouraging may not encourage another person at all.

    Some are easily able to process their grief/loss immediately, while for others, it seriously takes time and a lot of effort.

    Some are able to eventually date/remarry, while another widow may never find the ability to get married again.

    Some feel relief (or other extremely difficult, complex emotions) when a loved one dies (due to abuse situations, terminal illness, abandonment, relationship difficulties, etc), while others may feel total, utter loss.

    Some are able to celebrate holidays and return back to living life quickly, while another may need a lot of time to find their smile again. Some may never fully find it.

    Grief is an incredibly personal journey…and there just simply isn’t one perfect road to healing. There are many.

    It is so very important for all grievers – and their family and friends – to remember this very important truth:

    The perfect way to grieve simply doesn’t exist.

    Each person’s grief experience is as custom and unique as the person who is navigating through it.

    Have compassion and empathy for one another as you seek out and find the best grief resources for you. With so many good grief resources available – locally, nationally, through churches, as well as on the internet, each griever can customize these precious resources to best fit their needs.

    The most important thing is to find the help and encouragement you feel most comfortable with to grow and heal throughout your grief journey.

    This may include:

    • deepening your relationship with God and allowing Him to guide and direct you through your grief
    • allowing trusted family and friends to encourage and support you
    • talking to a trusted pastor
    • finding a good grief counselor or therapist
    • reading good books on grief and loss
    • seeking out your church’s grief resources
    • attending a grief group (online or in person) such as GriefShare, The Compassionate Friends, Grief Bites, The Grief Recovery Method, or other grief support groups offered through various churches.
    • online resources such as Grief Bites, Hope For The Broken Hearted, or Open to Hope, various grief blogs, or other trusted organizations.
    • reading grief and loss related Bible reading plans on YouVersion, the Bible app
    • anything positive and healthy you find to be of help

    Although there is no one “perfect way” to grieve, each person has the daily opportunity to grieve in their own unique perfect way.

    Wishing all of you healing, comfort, and peace!

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Connect on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    Above grief resources and organizations are only mentioned for encouragement purposes only and are not to be considered an endorsement by Grief Bites. Use of any is a personal decision and at own risk.

    The Important Question To Ask Yourself Every Single Night

    There are so many things I absolutely love about life! Although I have been through a fair amount of grief, I made up my mind a few years ago that I would never waste one single day! Loving life is a byproduct of that important decision.

    Each person on earth is guaranteed to go through two extremely important days: their birthday and their death day.

    From the moment you are born, the clock of your life begins ticking. With every calendar year, you pass through your birthday, but there is a very specific date a person passes through each year as well…the anniversary of their future death date.

    When I considered and pondered this fact, I also deeply considered and pondered all of the years, months, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds that are sandwiched in between these two very important calendar dates.

    In my family, there have been many deaths. By the time I was 20, I had experienced the deaths of many loved ones, including my dad, sister, grandparents, uncle, best friend, and boyfriend. I had also been in ICU when I was 12, and was in ICU again at the age of 17, so I further understood that life holds no guarantees.

    After my 20’s, I experienced the illnesses and the deaths of over a dozen family members. I also experienced my son’s tumors and surgeries, as well as my own illness. Last year alone, six family members were battling cancer at the same time.

    When you see and experience that much illness and death, you find a brand new, fierce determination to live life to the fullest – you truly realize what an exquisite gift life is – especially since you develop an exhaustive and profound understanding that life is short and nobody is promised tomorrow.

    There is only so much grief and sadness you can experience before you choose to not only overcome your life circumstances…but you truly do everything in your power to embrace the trials – and view grief as a teacher and not an enemy – and seek opportunities to soar to a much higher level. You rise above your circumstances, trusting God with your purpose, and intentionally choose to better your life.

    You determine that you will be a grief victor instead of grief’s victim. You turn your messy grief into a message so you can genuinely help and encourage others. You trade in your scars for stars. The only way I can describe it is, it’s like life is a balloon and you are no longer willing for it to continually deflate due to life’s circumstances. You instead want to fill it with as much air as possible every single day…so life, and your experiences in life, can rise to new heights.

    You choose to do whatever it takes to get your breath back after life and grief knocks it out of you.

    Life can certainly deflate you every single day…and sometimes, you genuinely cannot help or prevent it. But you can add quality air to your life’s balloon with one daily question.

    This question is the one question – the only question – that will matter on our deathbed.

    (I’ll share this incredibly important question at the end of this post!)

    We won’t care about what we have in life: the home we live in, the car we drove, our belongings or clothing choices, our bank account, titles, popularity, accomplishments, awards, or anything else. These things are totally not wrong, and it definitely doesn’t mean someone is bad for enjoying them, but at the end of life, they just simply aren’t what’s most important.

    We will only care about what we had and experienced in our relationships with God and our loved ones, and what we did with our life and love.

    To live the best life possible, you need to be prepared for the many distractions, hangups, and hurts in life:

    • family issues
    • marriage issues
    • problems in relationships
    • grief experiences
    • financial difficulties
    • work challenges
    • illness/health issues
    • temptations
    • wrong friendships
    • unwise romantic relationships
    • wrong attitudes and beliefs
    • unexpected life challenges
    • this list could go on and on

    These distractions can draw us away from focusing on what truly matters most.

    We can’t control what happens in life, but we can totally control our response to life’s happenings and we can choose to take the necessary steps to intentionally prevent distractions and avoid consequences (as much as possible) by making wise decisions.

    The most important choice is giving God, our loved ones, life, and our life purpose our personal best each and every day!

    “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

    So each night, no matter the distractions you are going through, make the commitment to ask yourself a very important question:

    Did I give God, “life,” my loved ones, my responsibilities, goals, and endeavors, and even myself, my absolute personal best today?”

    Each day is an exclusive opportunity to highly value, love, learn from and improve the most important relationships and things in life…and each night is a great opportunity to evaluate your life purpose and the legacy you are in the process of leaving.

    You only get this one, precious, amazing gift called life. How will you intentionally choose to unwrap it – and give your absolute personal best – each and every day?

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    The Vital Superpower You Must Create Daily

    Growing up, my siblings and I lived for Saturday mornings! Cartoons and bowls of cereal – or doughnuts if we were super lucky – were the highlight of our week!

    We never missed watching the popular cartoon, Super Friends. We loved watching the plot unfold and never failed to be impressed by how their super powers saved the day.

    My husband also enjoyed watching comic character based TV shows and movies during his childhood. Since the first year we met, my husband and I have always randomly connected our fists and said, “Wonder Twin powers activate”…and then we say two random objects to transform into (if we can’t think of anything original or funny, an eagle and a bucket of water is our favorite cliche go-to). It’s our little inside joke and a fun way to quickly connect and add humor to our relationship.

    Our adult son is also a huge comic fan. ComicCon with my son is a fun tradition as well! And with my son, you only make the mistake once…just once, I tell you…with saying the characters are in the wrong universe. I’ve learned throughout the years that Batman is not in the Marvel group and the Hulk is not DC…I found this out when my son slowly shook his head one day and said, “How are you even my mother not knowing who belongs to which universe?”😂

    I’m sure many of you loved cartoons while growing up and are comic fans, too!

    So how about that ending of the latest Avengers movie…😡

    Just kidding…we won’t even go there!

    I think most kiddos, at one point or another during their childhood, have dreamed about having super powers – the ability to have supernatural strength or do something extraordinary and powerful!

    What if I told you that you do have the ability to do something extraordinary and powerful…and gain insurmountable strength every single day.

    I don’t know anyone who can lift an airplane with one hand…but I do know of some family members and friends who can lift the entire mood of a room.

    I don’t know of anyone who can smash through brick walls…but I do know of some who can smash through some very concrete hard obstacles.

    I don’t know of anyone who can transform like the Wonder Twins (well, other than my hubby and me🤗), but I do know of some family and friends who have powerfully transformed their lives – at a miraculous level, with God’s help – after they experienced debilitating grief or tough circumstances.

    If I could pinpoint these amazing abilities down to one superpower, then that superpower would be the power of positivity.

    In life, and also grief, you learn just how incredibly important positivity is.

    We all develop one of two things intentionally or by default every single day: positivity or negativity.

    I’m not talking about fluffy, cheesy, fake positivity as philosophical annoying babbles of positive cliches are spoken.

    Cliches such as, “Fake it until you make it”…”They’re in a better place”…”Look at the bright side”…”Find the silver lining”…”There’s a light at the end of every dark tunnel”…

    I think these are positive attempts at helping others (or even ourselves) feel better – and these statements may even be true – but I don’t consider these statements authentic positivity.

    I think to gain genuine positivity, you must (majority of the time) go through life challenges. Positivity (along with other character attributes) are hard-earned treasures God grants those who go through extremely dark, deep waters.

    “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~Isaiah‬ ‭45:3‬

    When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.” ~Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭

    Positivity isn’t just developed through trials or suffering, positivity is also a choice.

    It is sometimes extremely difficult to be positive during certain situations. Notice I didn’t say about situations…but during situations. There are some circumstances – such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or other tough loss – that there isn’t much positivity to be found.

    Positivity is like a muscle…it initially can hurt as you develop it, it can wear you out, but with each decision to grow and expand positivity, you find new strength. After awhile, it becomes as second nature as breathing. Just as muscle is best developed through grit, positivity is highly developed through grief, trials, perseverance, and choice.

    I firmly believe that positivity is a superpower. It literally can make or break a life. Positivity, or a lack of, can dramatically build or destroy a relationship, goal, dream, or endeavor…it can make the difference between business and career success or failure. Positivity can create harmony and calm in marriages and families. It literally affects every area of life.

    Positivity isn’t tricking your mind into thinking everything is going to be okay…it’s training your mind to understand that you have a choice in the matter.

    It’s not fluffily believing that your best days are ahead of you…it’s pre-determining that you will do whatever it takes to ensure they will be.

    Positivity is not blindly pushing away or forgetting the past, past grief, or lost loved ones…it’s deciding you will learn valuable life lessons throughout these hard times and implement that hard earned wisdom in your future.

    Positivity is individually developed and decided…and needs to be guarded in the heart of each person.

    It gets you through the hard times.

    Sustains you through stagnant times.

    And continually builds an excitement for life and the days to come.

    So how do you develop positivity?

    My next blog post will share some of my favorite ways!

    Stay tuned…

    Gratitude and blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    To The Mom Who Feels Unimportant This Mother’s Day Weekend

    Mother’s Day is a very heartbreaking and tough holiday for some moms.

    Some moms aren’t sure how to celebrate Mother’s Day because they are trying to figure out how to get through the holiday due to a child’s death.

    Some did everything in their power to raise their children right, made many sacrifices, and highly loved and treasured their kiddos…yet they now find that their teenage or adult children are ungrateful, unkind, or unloving, and their kiddos may not even choose to honor them on Mother’s Day.

    Some are estranged from their children or don’t talk often with them.

    Some have children who are battling addictions – and due to the alcohol or drugs, they are frequently talked down to and mistreated.

    Some moms have been written off – or their relationship has drastically changed – due to the influence of their child’s spouse or significant other.

    Some moms have complicated relationships with their children due to issues that stem from grief or loss.

    Some moms are hurting horrifically due to a miscarriage or stillborn death.

    Some moms are navigating through the death of their own mother.

    There are multiple reasons why some moms may feel unimportant, unappreciated, unwanted, heartbroken, or unloved this Mother’s Day.

    My heart genuinely hurts for any mom who is hurting this weekend and for those who are mistreated! And my heart goes out to the moms who won’t be fully celebrated on Sunday and those who will not have the ability to fully celebrate this Mother’s Day.

    Moms do so much behind the scenes: pray every day for their children, read stories to them, sing lullabies, make crafts with their children, grocery shop, do laundry, work, cook and make lunches, clean, help them when they’re sick, pay for school activities and supplies, provide shelter, clothing, food, and opportunities, create and provide great memories, make holidays and birthdays special, drive them to activities, worry a million worries, direct their kiddos in the right direction, try to prevent them from making monumental lifelong mistakes, painfully allow them to fail so they can learn and grow – even though they really want to intervene, encourage them, love them unconditionally…moms do all of this and more. So many times, moms – and their love – can be taken for granted.

    When your child dies, or turns against you, especially when you’ve invested so much time and love, it is extremely painful. It’s a continual funeral in your heart.

    There are no easy answers when it comes to these very tough, complicated, and fragile circumstances.

    So what can a mother do when faced with heartbreaking actions or reactions from their children?

    • Pour your heart out to God. Share with Him how painful this situation is for you. Ask God to heal your child’s heart, and ask Him to heal your heart, too. Ask God to give you the wisdom you need so you will know how to wisely handle the heartbreak you are going through, as well as the entire situation. Ask for restoration and a miracle.
    • If you know of any time you have wounded your child’s heart or anytime you have mistreated them birth-present, take responsibility and sincerely apologize for any wrongdoings. Pray and ask God to soften their heart, and ask God to bind and rebuke the enemy before you go and talk with your child. If they react to your apology, or refuse to forgive you, stay humble and ask what they need you to do to help them to forgive you. Do not react to them or throw up in their face anything they’ve done. Apologize and genuinely seek forgiveness.
    • Do not allow your child to get a rise out of you. Stay calm and answer pleasantly. When you react or bite the bait of an argument, you reinforce to them the idea (in their mind) that you’re the problem. If you refuse to give them a reaction, they will eventually have to deal with the fact that the problem may be theirs. When you argue with them, they will also justify their mistreatment of you.
    • If you’re not able to talk to your child, tell God you are placing your child in His hands and fully entrusting them to Him. Ask God to mightily work in their life.
    • If your child is battling addiction, ask God to guide your child to the help that He wants for them to receive.
    • Ask God to grant everyone involved the peace, harmony, and genuine love they need. Also, ask God to bring past good memories you and your child once shared back into your child’s heart.
    • Ask your child out to brunch or a movie…or to an activity that you both will enjoy. They may say no, but you’ve planted some small seeds that may bloom in the future. Do not react if they decline the invitation. Simply tell them you love them and miss them.
    • Ultimately, you have zero control over how a much-loved child acts, behaves, responds, or treats you…you only have control over yourself.
    • Realize that you can be the best mom ever and you can do all of the above, yet it may not be well received.

    If you have experienced the death of a child, or you have attempted reconciliation with a present child and it ended poorly, or you aren’t able to talk to or see your child on Mother’s Day, consider doing the following:

    • Attend church and spend the day with God, focusing exclusively on Him.
    • Go to your favorite restaurant with a family member or friend.
    • Do something relaxing such as take a walk in the park, listen to music, go to a movie, visit family members, or do any other activity you find peaceful.
    • Ask your loved ones for extra love and support this weekend…tell them that Mother’s Day is going to be challenging and sad for you.
    • Visit a bookstore and buy a good book to read.
    • Pamper yourself – do the things that make your heart happy!
    • Reach out to other moms who you know are hurting. Do something kind or special for them.
    • Rent a few movies, get your favorite snacks, and snuggle up on the couch.
    • Take care to be kind and loving to yourself. Be gentle with your heart. You are very valuable and God loves you very much! You are a treasure!!

    To any mom who is going through intense heartache, I am so very sorry!

    I am praying for all moms, their children, and their families this weekend!

    You are important! I pray you will be treated with love and kindness…and that God will wrap His loving arms around your heart!

    Here are a few blog posts that might encourage you:

    https://griefbites.com/2016/03/20/mourning-those-who-are-still-alive/

    https://griefbites.com/2018/03/21/when-god-doesnt-give-you-your-fairytale-2/

    https://griefbites.com/2018/02/07/grief-when-no-closure-can-be-found/

    Wishing everyone a blessed and special Mother’s Day!

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    ⭐️For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    💕

    Choosing To Make Every Day A Celebrated Day Throughout Grief

    Life is made up of days.

    Most people typically describe their day as one of the following:

    • Good
    • Bad
    • Great
    • Fantastic
    • Lovely
    • Terrible
    • Sad
    • Frustrating
    • “Fine”
    • and every other adjective known to mankind

    You rarely hear people say, “Celebrated.”

    Especially not in grief.

    When most people think of the word celebration, they think of birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, won sporting events – all of the happy occasions.

    These celebrations are easy. They’re all smiles, fun, and enjoyable circumstances. No effort needed at all.

    But what about when life gets hard? Really, really hard?

    Celebrating every day during grief is much more challenging – but I have found it is equally needed.

    Throughout my lifetime, I have experienced an extraordinary amount of grief. I’ve been through three major waves of grief and through these waves (each wave lasting between 5-11 years of continual grief events), I’ve experienced…and learned…a lot.

    The past 10 years, I have been through intense grief…30 major grief experiences – including my son’s tumors and surgeries, ten family members being diagnosed with cancer, 13 family members dying, and experiencing six close friend’s deaths, my son being greatly wounded by his church and choosing atheism as a result, my husband experiencing a midlife crisis, a family suicide, among other grief events. I’ve also been diagnosed with several autoimmune illnesses throughout this time.

    There has been extreme anguish throughout this past decade. Debilitating grief and prolonged hardships are all very tough to go through.

    When you initially go through intense grief, you don’t feel like celebrating. A good day is holding it together and concealing your tears so you don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself. For some who go through grief, a good day is simply mustering up the courage and energy just to get out of bed.

    About half way into all of these grief events, I became concerned that I’d never feel genuine happiness again.

    Thankfully, I found that happiness and joy are both a choice.

    Before you discontinue reading the rest of this blog post, please keep reading on. I understand how annoying that statement sounds. Truly!

    It used to majorly annoy me when people would say that happiness and joy were choices…

    …until I heard a dear bereaved mother who had lost her adult son to suicide say, “Choose joy!

    Before Kay Warren said those two words, I always thought people were very insensitive to say that joy and happiness were a choice. But when someone can say these words in the midst of excruciating heartache, such as Pastors Rick and Kay Warren, I’ll listen to them.

    Because it’s genuine. It’s real. It’s hard-fought. It’s extremely authentic.

    I have found that joy and happiness are definitely choices…choices I now intentionally choose every day of my life.

    I have also found that choosing to celebrate each day is also a choice.

    Before grief, the words joy and celebrate hold much different definitions. These words were easy. Blissful. Comfortable, even.

    After grief, you find these two words hold brand new meaning. They’re hard-fought treasures that you had to walk through emotional hell on earth to obtain.

    I can’t go back and change anything that has happened in life. I can’t change the heartache and grief I’ve experienced. I can’t bring my loved ones back to life. I can’t undiagnose illness. I can’t undo other people’s hurtful or devastating decisions that led to massive consequences.

    I do have complete choice and control over my own personal decisions, though.

    Although I would definitely go back in time and change some things…and I most definitely would reverse my loved ones deaths if I could…I wouldn’t give up any lesson I’ve learned through the incredible teacher of Grief.

    I have learned a phenomenal amount of life lessons as I embraced my grief.

    At first, I saw grief as something that ripped my heart out and was holding it hostage…but as I chose to embrace my grief, the lessons came pouring in. I didn’t embrace my grief at first – I resented it greatly. I am thankful I opened my heart to the rich lessons I have learned, though.

    Deep heartache and loss attempted to define my life…I, in turn, sought to allow grief to redefine – and refine – my life instead.

    Through many tears, grief allowed me to see things clearer.

    I think very differently.

    I feel things at a much greater level and have a much higher capacity of intuitiveness.

    I have found that the experience of life is viewed, felt, and experienced at a much higher quality.

    I’m different, too. Very different than who I once was.

    And I am much stronger.

    I absolutely do not celebrate any grief event I’ve been through…but I do celebrate the many byproducts – all hard-fought and earned – that I have gained throughout my grief.

    A few I most treasure:

    • A much closer, genuine, authentic, and more intimate relationship with God
    • The strength I’ve gained through grief and hardships
    • The ability to clear away the mundane and focus on who and what truly matters in life
    • The incredible ability to love and appreciate my family at a far higher level
    • The depth that is created through hardships and grief…I am no longer comfortable being shallow in any area of life
    • The wisdom, discernment, and understanding you gain through grief
    • The ability to be grateful… genuinely grateful … for everything in life
    • The ability to be a good “read” on people very quickly and the ability to discern even the most subtle emotions of others
    • The ability to appreciate and celebrate each day – regardless of what I’m going through (this gift took years to achieve)

    These are just a few of many “gifts” I have received throughout grief. They’re not gifts you’d ever expect…and nobody in their right mind would willingly sign up for grief or hardships to gain them…but they are very precious gifts, nonetheless.

    Focus is key in creating a celebration mindset. What you focus on is where your heart will be…and each day, I am given an important choice: If I focus on all of my loss, I will most likely live a life of loss. If I focus on even the smallest celebrations of the day, I’ll live a life of continual, intentional celebration.

    I’m not suggesting to bypass grief or that a celebration mindset will remove grief. Absolutely not! Each griever must be true to their grief and thoroughly experience it. To not do that would be to cheapen grief and dishonor loved ones. I still experience grief, sadness, and missing treasured loved ones – for sure, I just also simultaneously choose to experience joy and allow celebration into my daily life.

    I have found it helpful … even lifesaving … to balance grief and celebrating the gifts God and life still have to offer.

    Each “gift” leads you to the unmistakable truth that every day can be a celebrated day.

    Every day is a great day to be alive.

    Every day is a fantastic day that you have the exquisite and exclusive gift of being able to love, talk to, share life with, and hug your remaining loved ones. Remaining loved ones truly are an extravagant miracle if you seriously think about it.

    Every day offers the new ability to learn more. Know more. Understand more. Empathize more. The more you learn, know, understand, and empathize, you are then able to do better.

    Every day allows you to seek and find fresh new strength…and new ways of creating the best “new normal” you not only initially muster – but eventually enjoy.

    Every day is an opportunity to enjoy God, remaining loved ones, work, nature, hobbies, adventures, and the simple things in life like working out, savoring a great cup of coffee, enjoying pets, appreciating music, and the ability to set and achieve goals.

    Life, no matter what we go through, is the best adventure – an adventure not afforded … or continued … to all. I have found the best way to honor my loved ones (both the deceased and my remaining loved ones) is to honor them by celebrating life.

    Just having the breath of life is an extravagant gift…and that is definitely something to celebrate every single day.

    The very best days of life may not have even happened yet. On my toughest days, this is a truth I focus on.

    Each day – no matter how excruciatingly tough it is – is a choice. We have the ability to squander life or create the life we want…and we make this very important choice each and every day. And this makes every day an opportunity to make the choice of making every day a celebrated day.

    Will there be extremely hard days? Yes. Will there be heartbreaking days you dread, where you feel like your grief could literally consume and destroy you? Absolutely!

    But with each daily decision to press forward through the pain– and truly see each celebration offered throughout each day, life can eventually be the true celebration you choose and want it to be.

    It may take time…maybe even lots of time…but it is possible.

    A quote I’d like to encourage you with:

    “Although I am grieving, the clock is still ticking, and that’s why I keep living…purposefully.” ~Kelli Horn, grief author

    How can you choose to make each day a celebrated day?❤️🎁

    Gratitude & many blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

    The Calendars & Clocks Of Grief

    Anyone who has experienced a major grief event can tell you the very second their entire world stopped and fell apart.

    The calendar date, time, and all of the memories surrounding the worst day of a griever’s life becomes forever etched onto their heart.

    Time takes on a new meaning to someone who is going through grief. Each griever can tell you that the dynamic of “time” permanently changes.

    Before grief, you kind of take time for granted…it’s just years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds on a calendar or clock. These times go from a linear line of time from past, present, into the future.

    When you go through grief, the calendar and clock dramatically changes. No longer living a linear line of past, present, into the future, the calendar and clock become a messy, squiggly line that swirls and dips into the past, present, future — all over the place.

    You think about the past and desperately long for your treasured loved one…you try to remain in the present for your remaining loved ones…and you can truly dread the future because with each step, it’s more steps – and memories – away from your loved one who is no longer here.

    Whenever I think about time during grief, and my heart is hurting, I use it as a signal to spend time with God. In all of grief’s timing, this has helped me more than anything. I also appreciate family, friends, and others who transparently share or blog about their grief experiences.

    Today, I read a blog post about death anniversaries that resonated with me and brought tears to my eyes. As I read this particular blog post, my heart hurt so deeply for the Chapman family. While reading Mary Beth’s blog post, I Hate May, my heart deeply empathized with and hurt for Mary Beth. My heart hurts badly for anyone who has experienced the loss of a much treasured child or family member.

    As I continued to read Mary Beth’s blog post, it reminded me of the deep heartaches and struggles I’ve seen my mom go through since my sister died.

    It brought back a lot of memories…

    The look on my mom’s face after my sister’s doctor told our family that she didn’t make it through the Code Blue…the times my mom’s grief was so devastating that she could barely talk through her tears…the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and special events that felt hollow since my sister couldn’t be there to celebrate with us…the vacations our family wish she could’ve been a part of…the times my sister’s favorite songs have played on the radio or at a restaurant, and the bittersweetness these moments offer.

    The time our family went on a cruise to try to outsmart the anniversary date of my sister’s death. Since you lose track of days and times on a cruise ship, we thought it’d be a great idea. I asked my mom to go on a coffee date on the cruise ship (on my sister’s actual death date) and she said yes. Smiling only moments before we got our drinks, I looked over at my mom and her head was laid down into her arms crying. She said one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard her say about time…”Kim, today is a significant anniversary. Melody has now been gone longer than she was with us. She’s been dead longer than she lived.”

    The struggles a parent and all grievers go through after the loss of a child or loved one is awful…and calendars and clocks after grief are exceptionally cruel.

    Sure, you look back and the memories are not all sad. You remember all of the amazing days and times you spent together. The good memories help you through the pain.

    I’m blessed to have a treasure trove of memories…Like the time my sister and I were at the beach and she hid a real lobster in my bed to surprise me…the many times we baked cookies together…the sleepovers while growing up…the times we snuck out of bed and stayed up all night playing video games in the Summer…the time she took up for me and (very out of character of her) punched a girl at school for calling me a name…the time our parents went shopping and we opened every Christmas present – the week before Christmas – and we rewrapped each gift so we wouldn’t get in trouble…the times we went to her favorite Mexican restaurant and had the best time talking and spending time together…the magical sound of her playing the piano and seeing the pride on her face after winning each piano competition…seeing her absolute joy on her wedding day…watching her be in total bliss as she became a mom and enjoyed – and totally adored – her daughters…and all of the fun we had with her on our very last vacation just two months before she died.

    Calendar dates, anniversaries, and time can be extremely painful after a loved one dies.

    Very.

    And time is a very funny thing (not in a “haha” way, but a peculiarly unique way).

    You eventually have good days…and some are really, really good…but every griever understands that the smallest memory or trigger can deeply pierce your heart, bring on a floodgate of tears, and make you wish you had just one more minute with your loved one again.

    You always hear people say about time, “Time is money,” and “Time heals all wounds,” but grievers understand the true price of time…The price of love and time is grief.

    I really, truly hate how unfair it all is.

    I’ve talked with so many who believe that there should be a timeline for grief…a beginning and ending. I don’t see that as a reality. Just like time, grief is interwoven into our lives.

    Instead of pressuring grievers to “get over it”…how about we continually help them get through it? Instead of placing a very unfair timeline onto their heart, how about we welcome the truth that it is totally okay and acceptable to forever love and remember their treasured loved one. As long as love is present, so is grief. And understanding that grieving doesn’t just take time…it is thoroughly a permanent part of time.

    Through each calendar year, every grief anniversary, and each moment in time, I pray God will comfort each griever’s heart like never before.

    The ability to live life again is possible…it truly does take time though. Second by second…minute by minute…hour by hour…day by day…week by week…year by year…moment by moment.💕

    If you’d like to read the great blog post by Mary Beth Chapman I mentioned earlier, here’s the link. It is very good! https://www.marybethchapman.com/blog/2018/5/1/i-hate-may

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

    ❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

    For more encouragement:

    ❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/

    ❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

    ❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

    ❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

    1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

    2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

    3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

    4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays