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Grief, Guilt, & Regrets

Something that truly breaks my heart is when I talk with grievers who are dealing with guilt and regrets after a loved one dies.

They share how they felt they could have prevented the death of their loved one, or they had an argument (or regret) right before their loved one’s death.

Some never had an opportunity to make things right with their loved one…or say, “I’m sorry”…or…”I love you.

I also talk to other grievers who feel guilty for words left unspoken or not getting a second chance to say what was truly on their heart.

Some weren’t sure how to feel after a family member or friend’s death because the relationship was complicated (I’ll be writing about this topic – Complicated Grief – in an upcoming blog post).

I can genuinely relate to the pain of each of these situations.

I’ve been through times of grief where my guilt and regrets competed with my grief. It’s a terrible, agonizing feeling.

A few examples:

Right before my sister passed away, she and I got into an argument over something incredibly dumb. We very rarely argued so this particular incident was hurtful to the both of us. We both said things we ended up regretting. She was so mad, we didn’t talk for over a week. I ended up sending her flowers with a card that told her I was sorry and I missed her…but in my hurt and pride, I did not write the words, “I love you” on the card.

I’m grateful we worked the situation out before she died, but, boy, did this situation torment me for several years after she had passed away.

The guilt was thick…and my regrets ran deep. I asked myself a thousand times, “Why did you not tell her you loved her on that card?”…”Why didn’t you realize how sick she was or visit her in the hospital?”

I had told my sister I loved her tons of times throughout her life, and several times after that incident…we were best friends. And there’s no way I, or anyone else, could’ve realized how sick she was…she was only sick for a few weeks with what seemed to be seasonal allergies before she died. But after someone we love dies, we truly can balloon up every guilt and regret we have to a much bigger level.

Another situation of guilt and regret had deeply affected me a few years before my sister’s death:

I had a boyfriend who was going on a trip with friends. He came over to my house the night before he was to leave and told me he was considering calling off going…all I had to do was say the word. Not wanting to keep him from having fun, I told him I wasn’t going to tell him what to do…but I encouraged him to have a good time. We had plans the weekend after he was to get back so I explained we could spend time together then.

I’ll never forget my mom coming into my room with tears streaming down her face. She turned on the TV in my bedroom, and that’s when I saw on the news that my boyfriend had died while on his trip. Within half an hour, two of his best friends came over to my house to tell me what I already knew.

Seeing my mom’s tears, his friends faces…and especially seeing his mom at the funeral…left me with more guilt than I could handle. Why didn’t I tell him to stay?

It was several years before I had the ability to forgive myself for both of these situations.

I also had a lot of regrets to work through after a loved one committed suicide.

Guilt and regrets don’t just occur after a loved one’s death…they can also surface in many life situations: an event that destroys lives, adultery, poor decisions, parenting mistakes, estranged relationships, health/disability choices, a bad career move, abortion, unspoken grief events, not making wise life, marriage, or family choices, etc.

I know many people who struggle with deep guilt and regret from similar situations…stemming from both death and life decisions…or feeling as though they could’ve prevented a tragedy from happening…or unspoken words to loved ones who have passed on…or arguments and conflicts that never got resolved…or deep regrets from not communicating in a better way…or suicide issues…or holding back affection…or – and this is a big one – playing the tortuous game of “If only” and “I wish I would’ve”…etc.

So what do you do with regrets and guilt that torment you?

A few things that helped me significantly (and these may help you too):
1. Talking to God about the guilt and regrets and asking Him to heal your broken heart.
2. Asking God to ask loved ones for their forgiveness and asking Him to tell them how much you love and miss them.
3. Realizing that your loved one totally forgives you…In Heaven, they are not holding anything against anyone that had been said or done on earth. What once upset them here does not even remotely upset them in Heaven. They have forgiven others … and they truly want their loved ones to forgive themselves and live a purpose-filled, lovely life.
4. Writing your loved one a note about the situation then shredding it. As you shred it, imagine the situation being completely finished.
5. Forgiving yourself and realizing everyone is fallible. Hindsight is always 20/20. If each person would’ve known better, they totally would’ve done better. 100%! Our loved ones would want for us to know that they would’ve done better too.
6. I made it a priority to learn valuable lessons from my guilt and regrets. This isn’t always easy…but the lessons are there.
7. I chose and made a commitment not to ever repeat the same mistakes from this day forward. As you learn, you grow. Nobody will ever be perfect, but we can choose to continually improve ourselves daily.

I learned through guilt and regrets powerful lessons can be learned. I learned through the first situation to use my words much more carefully, to work out problems quickly, and to forgive others and myself…I also learned to say, “I love you,” to my loved ones more frequently. As a result, I am now very mindful of how I treat my loved ones and consistently treat them as well as I possibly can. I also am very mindful of considering the cost of any decisions I make.

I also learned life is precious. People can be here today and gone tomorrow. I do my best to not take loved ones – or life – for granted.

Grieving is tough. Navigating guilt and regrets is hard. But God is in the details and is willing to bring healing – if you look to Him.

God was so good to show me two Bible verses that gently hugged my broken heart and brought it back to life:

Psalms‬ ‭139:16‬,Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.”

Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:39‬, “See now that I alone am He; there is no God but Me. I bring death and I give life… No one can rescue anyone from My hand.”

Every day of my loved ones’ lives – their birth date and their death date – were pre-planned. I didn’t have the power to prevent tragedy.

God also surprised me with a bittersweet revelation: since Heaven is the ultimate goal…I could emotionally release my loved ones, my guilt and regrets, and all of my feelings to God and be thankful for blessing my loved ones with the gift of living with Him in paradise. Blaming myself was futile too…none of my loved ones would come back to earth if given the choice.

Guilt and regrets are agonizing when we look at things from an earthly perspective. When we look at things from an eternal perspective, that’s where we find healing.

If you are in the valley of guilt and regrets, I encourage you to pour your heart out to God. You have carried the guilt long enough. Carrying guilt and regrets may make you feel as though you are atoning for what happened in the past, but there is a better way: take your broken heart, guilt, and regrets to God, lay them in His loving hands, and ask Him to take these burdens from you. He has the power and ability to lift them as He truly heals your heart.

We cannot do anything about the past…but we can learn valuable lessons and choose to do better from this day forward.

God wants to take all of the heavy burdens life throws at us…and we continually need to allow Him to.

Life is precious! We need to spend time recovering our life, as much as we seek to recover from grief, guilt, and regrets.

I pray God truly and genuinely heals everybody’s heart who is going through guilt and regrets.

Gratitude, healing, & many blessings,

Kim

©2019 Grief Bites. 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): Click here for book

❤️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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. ❤️NEW!❤️Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

Have Questions for God?

All throughout history, people have struggled with the question, “Why did God allow this to happen?” – and accuse God of abandoning them.

Gideon was no different.

Judges‬ ‭6:12-13‬, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (and here it goes: Gideon starts questioning what so many have thought or verbalized since the beginning of time)
Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.””

Gideon was in the middle of a crisis and his hope and trust were thin. Can you relate?

Gideon was an unlikely hero and conquerer – the odds were significantly stacked against the poor guy – yet God greatly used him in a huge, powerful way.
But first, God needed to work in Gideon’s heart.

In the 6th chapter of Judges, we find God revealed to Gideon some key things that needed to happen before He granted deliverance:

  1. A removal of a false God – what do we need to remove from our lives so that God can powerfully work? What “god(s)” are we choosing over the one true God?
  2. Sacrifice – God doesn’t NEED our sacrifices (Hosea 6:6 – another great book!) but He does desire a heart that is sold out to Him and Him alone. God wants us to give Him this: rightful first place in our hearts and lives. Loyalty. Love. Commitment.
  3. God desires for us to trust Him – we need to remove our doubts, our fears, and overcome our questions so we can have – and intimately experience – a dynamic encounter with Him.
  4. Obedience – whether it makes sense to us or not.

Notice as you read Judges 6 that God was patient with Gideon. When Gideon lacked hope or faith, or even had questions, God lovingly provided grace and evidence of His love and guidance.

God will do the same for us, too!

The most difficult times of my life have led to some of my greatest times with God. Difficult times are never easy – they’re painfully excruciating – but God has always carried me through these tough times. Faithfully.

When life throws BIG problems at you…these are often allowed so we will stop depending on ourselves and depend on God.
God-sized problems always open up the opportunity for God to provide God-sized love and answers.

Today, read Judges.

God will never abandon us. Ever.

Whatever “battle” we are going through in life, God has the power to bring total victory – no matter what the odds appear to be.

I challenge all of us to:

  • seek God’s face
  • remove the things/“gods”/sin in our heart that prevent us from truly putting God first
  • be fully devoted to God
  • Love and obey Him with all of our heart
  • ask God to remove our doubts, fears, and worries as we cast all of our cares upon Him
  • and ask to experience a dynamic encounter with Him

When we are tempted to question God’s Will, may we always remember this:
God’s perfect Will is exactly what we all would want if we knew ALL the facts. His ways are good and perfect – even if they don’t seem to be perfect and don’t feel good to us. He sees the big picture – start to finish.

Choosing to obey and trust God in difficult circumstances is a beautiful act of faith. And we need God’s continual love, help, and strength to accomplish this.

Let’s choose to love, obey, and trust God – and entrust Him with all the facts as we submit to Him today.
He loves you!💗

Hope all of you are safe and well,
Kim

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. 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://www.peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): https://www.christianbook.com/getting-knocks-transparent-journey-seeking-through/k-b-h-niles/

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

❤️Kim’s blog: https://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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

❤️

To The Mom (Or Child) Who Is Hurting This Mother’s Day💗

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

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

Some women are heartbroken due to infertility issues/not being able to have children.

Some have complicated relationships with their mom/children due to issues that stem from past or current tough/painful circumstances: grief, loss, divorce, adultery, past hurts, disappointments, favoritism, blended families, past abuse, etc.

Some will be sad due to navigating the heartbreaking death of their own beloved mother.

Some raised their children right, made many sacrifices, loved and treasured their kiddos…yet they now find their teenage or adult children are unkind or unloving. Their children may not even choose to honor them on Mother’s Day.

Some children did everything in their power to earn their mom’s love and approval – to no avail.

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

Some are regretting an abortion.

Some mothers (or children) have been written off, or their relationship has drastically changed, due to the influence of their child’s (or parent’s) spouse or significant other.

Some will be missing their mom or child due to them serving in the military or having a job where they travel.

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

Some have a mom or children who are battling addictions – and due to the alcohol or drugs, they are frequently talked down to or mistreated. They may not even know their mom or child’s location.

Some stepparents/stepchildren are hurting due to blended family challenges.

Some have the events of an adoption on their heart: the child who has never known their biological mother and wonders about her…or the mother who has been missing their child ever since they gave their child up for adoption.

Some moms or their children are incarcerated and won’t be able to spend the day together.

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

My heart genuinely hurts for any mom (or child) who will be hurting this Mother’s Day and also for those who are mistreated. And my heart goes out to the moms who won’t be fully celebrated on Mother’s Day and those who will not have the ability to fully celebrate on this special 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 and comfort their children when they’re sick, potty train their kiddos, pay for school activities and supplies, provide shelter, clothing, food, and opportunities, create and provide great memories, make holidays and birthdays special, drive their children to activities, worry a million worries, direct their kiddos in the right direction, teach them manners and good character, 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 their kids, love them unconditionally…and other special evidences of great sacrifice. Moms do all of this and more. So many times, moms – and especially their love – can be taken for granted.

Deeply missing a child or mom due to death is excruciatingly painful and permanent here on earth. It feels as though you are forever missing an important piece of your heart…it never feels quite ‘whole’ again. Sometimes, it feels like you can’t even breathe.

When your child dies, or turns against you, it is extremely painful. It’s a continual funeral in your heart. The heartache is always present. The pain continually lingers in the depths of your soul.

When your mom or child willingly chooses to walk out of your life, there are no easy answers when it comes to these very tough, complicated, and fragile circumstances.

The parent-child relationship is so very important…and there are also no easy answers when this vital relationship is taken away through death either.

⭐️(UPDATE: with COVID-19 currently affecting the world, some of the tips below will need to be modified to ensure proper health and practicing social distancing is a must.)

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 online 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 for Mother’s Day 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.
  • Memories can never be taken away from the heart. Warmly reflect on all of the precious and good memories. Allow your heart to breathe and smile as you remember happier times.
  • Honor your relationship with your loved one by doing an activity in your loved one’s memory.
  • 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!!

So what can a mother do when faced with the heartbreaking actions or reactions from their living child(ren)?

  • Pour your heart out to God and share with Him how much you are hurting. Share with Him how much you miss your precious child. If your child is totally estranged from you, share with God how painful this situation is for you. Ask Him 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 your grief or the entire situation. Ask for restoration, harmony, healing, 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 your much-loved child acts, reacts, behaves, responds, or treats you…you only have control over yourself. No matter what, please realize you have value! Your value does not diminish just because your child (or anyone else for that matter) rejects or mistreats you. Before you were a parent, a child, a spouse, a sibling, or anything else, you were God’s…you were you. God will always love you!
  • Realize that you can be the best mom ever and you can do all of the above, yet it may not be well received.

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

To experience the death of a child…it’s a crushing, heartbreaking grief event I wish no parent ever had to walk through.

To experience a difficult relationship with a child…I also wish no parent had to go through this as well.

I am praying for all moms, their children, and their families this Mother’s Day!

You are important! I pray your heart will feel great comfort and peace. 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 to further encourage you:

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

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

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): Click here for book

❤️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

-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance.

Two Words That Can Change EVERYTHING

The following verses all have something amazing and special in common: 1 Samuel 23:14, Genesis 8:1, 1 Kings 5:4, Acts 2:24, Psalm 49:15, Genesis 31:7, 31:24, Romans 5:8, Genesis 50:20, Genesis 31:42, Psalm 73:26, Acts 3:15, Genesis 45:8

They all contain two specific words.

And these two words – when put together – are two of the most important and powerful words we can ever hope for and say —

…”but God.

Anytime God uses these two words…you know specific, big and incredible things are going to happen:

incredible change

big protection

incredible grace

specific answers

big healing

It’s just who our God is.

I’ve experienced it time and time again throughout my life.

Today, read the above Bible verses. Think about what you are going through, and then, insert and introduce the words, “but God” to your life experience.

Example: “I may be going through grief…but God will carry me through this tough time and cause good to come out of the situation.”

Where there is deep heartache…a monumental life challenge…a situation that is causing fear or worry…marital or family conflict…a health crisis…anything…these two words are powerful and have the ability to change everything

but God.

Today, you may be going through the death of a treasured loved one…but God is going to carry you through it.

Your spouse may have come home and told you they don’t love you anymore…but God has the power to work in your spouse’s heart and heal your marriage.

You may have just found out a devastating medical diagnosis…but God knows your body inside and out and has the power to work a healing miracle.

You may be estranged from a family member…but God has the power to bring peace and harmony to the relationship.

You may be struggling with addiction (or the addiction of a loved one)…but God is bigger than any addiction.

You may be struggling financially…but God can open up blessings on you when you honor your finances His way.

You may have been deeply wronged, abused, or mistreated by others…but God is the One who sees your tears, places those precious tears in a bottle, and records all of your heartache in His book (Psalm 56:8).

No matter what we go through or experience in life…the words “but God” always apply.

God loves you.

God cares for you.

God wants to help and bless you.

You will never find anyone who loves and cares for you more than God – and He will always redeem and make things new…especially when we place each situation in His hands.

Note: sometimes God doesn’t change things how we want to see things changed…and God’s change happens in His way and His timing. So don’t lose hope. Ever. God will never do something halfheartedly, hurriedly, or incompletely. I’ve found Him to be 100% faithful in every situation. And many times, God changed me first before He changed a situation. Always remember: He’s got you.

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2019 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

More encouragement on this topic:

https://griefbites.com/2016/02/17/7-ways-to-receive-new-mercies-favor-from-god-through-lifes-storms/

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/30/sometimes-god-is-waiting-on-us/

https://griefbites.com/2017/12/23/7-important-things-to-remember-through-a-growing-season/

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/27/delighting-in-god/

https://griefbites.com/2017/04/12/where-are-you-god-2/

https://griefbites.com/2017/02/17/seasons-of-life-when-life-hurts/

https://griefbites.com/2018/02/14/a-special-prayer-for-your-marriage/

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

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

https://griefbites.com/2016/06/22/bringing-your-hard-questions-to-god-an-extra-crispy-collision/

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

❤️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): Click here for book

❤️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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. ❤️NEW!❤️Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance.

Grief: When No Closure Can Be Found

Going through grief is excruciating.

Having to go through a grief experience where there is no ability to have closure is terrible.

There have been grief experiences in my life where the grief had a beginning and an end — an opportunity for closure. Then there were other grief experiences that were incredibly painful and felt debilitatingly endless — no opportunity for closure at all. To be honest, in addition to many grief events, I’ve been on two seemingly never ending roller coasters of grief the past 10 years for one situation and 3 1/2 years for the other one…and the heartache of six family members going through cancer at the same time.

I’ve experienced just about every emotion known to mankind and I’ve had to work through these extremely tough thoughts and emotions so they wouldn’t drown me.

I’ve struggled and wrestled spiritually with God with many questions:

“Why would you allow this?”

“Why didn’t You prevent this?”

“Are You there?”

“Do You truly care?”

“Will you please grant my family and me a brand new season…a season of goodness and healing?”

Lots and lots of questions.

Ultimately, God doesn’t owe me answers to any of my questions. God is Godand I am not. He understands the entirety of each situation…He knows the good that will eventually come out of them (Romans 8:28)…and the purpose for each of these situations, too. God understands what He is accomplishing through the tough situations…and in each heart involved in these tough events.

These grief situations seemingly have no closure…and no possibility for closure.

One of these situations caused a dearly loved family member to become an atheist and several family members to drop out of church…which created even more heartfelt, agonizing questions from me to God.

I’ve thought about not only these situations, but all of the situations I’ve experienced in life that I’d label “No Closure Grief Events.” No closure grief events are tough events because it is very difficult to find any closure…the emotions that stem from them can eat you alive. They’re exceptionally tough because it takes a lot of faith to get through them.

Some of the most common No Closure Grief Events are:

  • terminal illness, traumatic brain injuries, permanent disability, debilitating autoimmune illnesses, mental illness issues, etc. – (yourself or a loved one)
  • guilt and regrets you can’t make right
  • unspoken grief events
  • a devastating diagnosis
  • not getting to say “goodbye” to a loved one who died
  • when someone severely violates your trust
  • when a loved one attempts or commits suicide…and you can’t get through to them or couldn’t prevent it
  • when there is a major betrayal in a relationship
  • family, extended family, step-family, marital, or parent/child conflict…and also conflict with any of these that began post-grief
  • separation or divorce – especially if it’s not wanted by one spouse…or adultery
  • a family member rejecting God or becoming an atheist
  • abortion (or grieving a loved one’s choice to get an abortion)
  • church hurt or church abuse
  • rejection (or abandonment) by a family member or loved one
  • situations of assault or abuse – physical, emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual
  • an ongoing job issue…or being wrongly fired or laid off
  • not getting to say “goodbye” to a loved one who chose to leave
  • not getting to confront or make something right with someone who deeply hurt you…or that someone refusing to do the right thing or make amends
  • a situation where justice did not prevail
  • unfair life events
  • when someone mistreats you, attempts to harm your reputation, or lies about you
  • any harsh life or justice situation where closure is difficult

So what can you do?

God has been teaching me so much these past few years. I haven’t enjoyed the lessons, but I sure have learned…and applied…some very valuable lessons and truths.

Have there been times I’ve wanted to quit? Oh yeah! Many.

Have I been bitter? For a season, I sure was…Absolutely.

Have I been tempted to be mad at God? Yes. I’m thankful for His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Have I wanted to speak publicly about the situations…and share my thoughts, heart, deep hurts, the incredible injustice, and my opinions? Definitely.

I think anytime you (or a loved one) have experienced a major grief event, especially a No Closure Grief Event…emotions are sure to show up. Some emotions may even surprise you.

When there is no closure, the trick – and what is most needed – is to trust God and not our emotions…to believe God is sovereign in spite of what a situation looks like…to fully fall into God’s arms and realize He truly is good…to know and fully trust that God holds everyone accountable and no one gets away with anything – even if it appears there has been zero conviction or consequences.

Maybe you’re going through a “no closure grief event” right now. Maybe you’ve also pleaded with God for answers through many tears…and have even prayed throughout many months or years. Perhaps you feel like giving up.

I highly encourage you to never give up!

I highly encourage you to never fall away from your relationship with God!

One day, God will give you the gift of closure…the Bible promises it.

God doesn’t mind our questions and pleadings…His heart is big enough to take on our woundedness, sufferings, and hardships…and He truly and genuinely cares about every grief event and situation we go through.

We may not be able to find the closure we need, but God created our hearts – He fully knows and loves us. He will be making every wrong right. The situations we go through do not catch God by surprise. And He will never allow us to go through a situation unless He realizes the situation can be turned into something great. It may not happen overnight…it may even take years…but God can turn your worst events into something of great value.

Our job is to praise God through the storms we face…to deepen and prove our salvation is genuine and real…to love and forgive others…to live in peace…to embrace God, our grief, and our hardships…to learn through everything we face – the good and the bad – and to love God with all of our heart and to sincerely rest in Him.

Today, lay down your toughest grief events – every grief experience – at God’s feet. Cast all your burdens and cares onto Him. Tell God you are choosing to trust Him with everything…especially the situations that are breaking your heart! Leave your hurts, heartaches, burdens, situations, disappointments, dreams, goals, expectations, emotions, and grief experiences with Him.

When the enemy reminds you of a no closure grief event, immediately take your thoughts and feelings to God. It is imperative that you talk through your feelings with God and release those tough emotions into His more than capable hands.

We may not be able to find closure in our present circumstances, but we can find closure through leaving our situations in God’s care.

Seek God with all your heart! Pour out your heart to God as you spend time with Him today!

He loves you.

He truly cares.

Entrust your situation with Him and trust His great heart!

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):

Click here for book

❤️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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. ❤️NEW!❤️Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Valentine’s Day (available February 2019)

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

The Value of Anger in Grief

One of the strongest emotions you may face during times of grief is anger.

I have found through the years that anyone who hasn’t been through a tough grief experience, they aren’t quite sure what to do with a loved one who is dealing with anger after an unfair or tragic loss.

Anger is a very uncomfortable emotion. Most people want a remedy that is instant…but anger has to run its course.

Outside of the ground rule I have for those I coach through grief of “Grieve however you need to grieve…as long as you don’t harm God, others, or yourself,”…I never tell a grief-stricken person to not be angry.

Some are going to be angry. Angry at God…angry at other people, including family…angry with a doctor or other hospital workers…angry at life…angry that life drastically changed…angry at the lack of being able to turn back time…angry at injustices…angry at other’s wrongdoings…angry about rejection or a hurtful divorce/breakup…angry at feeling hopeless or helpless…angry you prematurely or unfairly lost a loved one…angry you were mistreated by people you trusted. The fact is, anger is sometimes interlocked with grief.

One time, at a monthly grief group I lead, there was an attendee who very unfairly went through the premature death of a loved one who meant the world to them. This attendee was screaming… cussing… insulting me… but I didn’t stop it. Another attendee was about to stand up for me and correct the person, but I quickly interrupted and just allowed the parent to get it all out. I sensed they didn’t need corrected or judgment…they needed compassion and understanding in the midst of their shattered life and their heart being torn apart.

A grief group should offer a safe place where each attendee can feel how they need to feel, and have the freedom to work through the tough, difficult, and agonizing emotions. When you try to make grief predictable… safe… sterile… you shortchange the person you are trying to help.

The thing is…as I explained to everyone in my grief group – whose eyes were as big as silver dollars at the outburst – why shouldn’t the person who was throwing the fit be angry?They just lost one of the most precious, highly treasured gifts they had ever been given in life. This grief event changed life as they knew it. I’ve seen people become unglued when they temporarily lost a replaceable possession such as a car, home, job, or even when breaking something as silly as a fingernail…and everyone understood – so why not be understanding and empathetic when someone permanently loses a person they greatly love here on earth?

“I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief.”

~ C.S. Lewis

I think it is totally justifiable to have a time for anger during times of grief…without having an outside person trying to remove it, control it, fix it, or lessen it. If someone went through the heartbreaking loss of a loved one’s death…the loss of their marriage or an important relationship…found out they have an untreatable or terminal illness…went through the loss of a job after years of loyalty and service…was abused or assaulted…went through the devastation of adultery…if they had an injustice done to them or a loved one…if they experienced prejudice or any other social unfairness…or someone came back physically, emotionally, or mentally wounded after serving in the military…etc. Well, those experiences are harsh, and absolutely horrible. They’re life-changing. Why wouldn’t they be mad? They should be mad for awhile – if they need to be. They had terrible, heartbreaking, or unfair things happen to them in life and they should have full understanding and support from loved ones (family, friends, church family, etc) to work through their anger…as long as they aren’t harming God, others, or themselves.

I think society needs to become more comfortable with allowing people to feel what they need to feel during times of grief. And anger is a part of it.

If people on the outside are frustrated with how a loved one is processing grief, think how the griever feels on the inside. They’re frustrated, too. Probably, more so. They most certainly didn’t sign up for the grief experience they’re having to walk through…and when family or friends lack compassion, understanding, and genuine love and empathy, think how much that compounds their hurt and frustration.

If you have a loved one who is experiencing  deep hurt, allow them to hurt without trying to fix them. If you have a loved one who is experiencing anger, allow them to be angry. If they are feeling shattered, allow them the dignity to grieve over their tremendous loss without any judgment.

Majority of grievers will grow through their grief…in time. But they aren’t going to get over it…..no, they will instead need family and friends who care enough to stick around who will actively love them back to life so they are able to get through it.

Even in the toughest life situations, it is never wise to camp out in the wilderness of anger longterm. If you stay angry, or make anger a lifestyle, your grief and pain will be in vain.It will destroy you and your loved ones from the inside out, and will harm your relationships and your quality of life…but anger for a season isn’t bad.

Anger can have great value. For example: as a society, we immediately teach children that anger is a bad emotion…and by doing so, we fail to show them that anger can be a healthy emotion (when used correctly with care) that can be a helpful, driving catalyst to bring about great change. Anger reveals an injustice, injury, or hurt we have experienced in life…and these revelations eventually open up opportunities to prevent similar situations from happening – or to help others who are going through a similar situation.

When a griever is allowed the freedom to feel angry about their loss…mind you, not stay in their anger longterm, but to feel the expected feelings of anger…they are fully using their emotions and heart to process their grief.

The alternative is not pretty.

I’ve seen a lot of grievers stifle their anger or stuff it down, and, instead, turn to alcohol, drugs, and other addictions to numb their pain.

It is far more valuable for a griever to go through – and work through – anger than to permanently destroy their life by denying, burying it, holding it in, or stifling it. Anger is a way of a griever’s heart screaming what they know to be true: “grief sucks…this is not fair…this should not have happened.” Because, ultimately, that is what anger is…it’s acknowledging that what took place in life was hurtful, tragic, unfair, and not right.

The next time you have a loved one who is horrifically hurting in grief, please keep in mind they truly are not trying to be a pain…they instead are in pain.

Expecting a griever, who went through a tragic life event, to not have anger or intense pain would be like unfairly expecting a person who was in a horrible car accident to conceal their pain while in the ambulance or emergency room.

Instead of judgment, please show kindness and mercy, and help them through their hard time. No words necessary…just love them, listen to them, stick around, and be there. Give them the respect and gift of time so they are able to thoroughly understand their grief and how their grief event has impacted their life.

Make the commitment to meet loved ones who are grieving exactly where they are, and to be the kind of family member or friend who is an active, restorative support system to loved ones throughout grief and life.

Always be the mercy and compassion today that you hope to receive in the future.

“It is important to feel the anger without judging it, without attempting to find meaning in it. It may take many forms: anger at the health-care system, at life, at your loved one for leaving. Life is unfair. Death is unfair. Anger is a natural reaction to the unfairness of loss.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Gratitude, grace, & blessings,
Kim

©2017 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:

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

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

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

❤️Kim’s blog: https://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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

It’s always better to: Creating A Great Life

It’s always better to:

•be too emotional than inauthentic 

•be too deep than shallow

•be too forgiving than bitter

•be too loving than rejecting 

•be too compassionate than hard-hearted 

•be too giving than stingy

•be too mercy-filled than unfeeling

•be too kind than excluding

•be too grateful than unappreciative 

•be too responsible than negligent 

•be too concerned than aloof

•be too thoughtful than selfish

•be too humble than arrogant

•be too honest than deceitful 

•be too mindful than careless

•be too invested than regretful 

•be too dependable than flakey

•have too much character than to look back on life with heartache and regrets

•to seek excellence in all you do than to succumb to mediocrity

Excellence is attainable because excellence is achieved by developing your character.

…And character either makes or breaks a person. 

I’ve seen people mightily succeed – or horrifically fail – in their marriages, parenting, relationships with God and family, and also in their business and personal lives…just based on character alone.

When people actively choose to cultivate and improve their character, they’re choosing to positively cultivate and grow success: in their relationships, in their goals, as well as every part of their life.

Look at both the positive and negative character traits above and ask yourself – and allow yourself to truly see – where you need to improve.

It’s always better to actively improve your character, heart, life, and the lives of others than to watch your life pass you by…or worse, to watch your life miserably fail – or your loved ones’ lives deeply hurt due to your poor choices. No one sets out to hurt their loved ones’ hearts or lives, but it happens all the time.

God gives each of us the choice to either create a great life – or to choose a bad life. Whichever is chosen will reap either the blessings or consequences that will follow.

It’s always best to get into the habit of being mindful of where our choices – big and small – will take us.

When you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you made good character a high priority.

Proverbs 22:1, Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”

Matthew‬ ‭12:35, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

‭‭Proverbs 28:6, “Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong.”

So how do you develop character and create a great life? 

  • Read the Bible, especially Proverbs, and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding
  • Choose to make one good decision at a time
  • Always choose to do the next “right thing”
  • Realize life is about so much more than you…always put others first – especially God & family (family is the greatest training ground for character – they’re the only people on earth that God Himself intentionally placed you with…loving & serving them is the true litmus test of character – and sometimes, they can be the most difficult to get along with. You’ll be amazed how God will oftentimes promote you to the next level – especially in ministry – only after you learn how to genuinely love your spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.)
  • Love God and others with all of your heart
  • Choose to never intentionally hurt or harm others – and go the extra mile to prevent it
  • If you’ve messed up, clear your conscience by apologizing & asking for forgiveness from God and others…and by actively making it up to them and making restitution where necessary. Always ask yourself, “if someone hurt me the same way I hurt them, how would I want them to apologize and make it up to me?”
  • Research character traits and purposely develop one character trait each week or month (click here for a list: https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/ )
  • Expect a lot out of yourself in the areas of character, integrity, and how you treat others
  • Do unto others how you want done unto you
  • Develop empathy, compassion, and kindness
  • Quit judging others and have the courage to do your own self-work…and sort through your past and current baggage…so you’re a true joy to others

Developing character and integrity is a lifelong journey. Enjoy every moment of it. It will be one of the most challenging endeavors of your life, but it will also be one of the most rewarding.

Think of the difference you’ll make in not only your own life, but more importantly, in every life around you.

You’ll look back on life, and be so very grateful for the great life you created.

Your one beautiful, courageous, wild, marvelous, gorgeous life. Create wisely…you only get one!

©2016 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): Click here for book

❤️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

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

🌷

The Dark Candle ~ Resolving Guilt After The Death Of A Loved One

When someone you greatly love and cherish dies, life can be a challenge.

A challenge to find joy again.

A challenge not to cry every day.

A challenge to enjoy others.

A challenge to relax by doing your previous favorite activities.

A challenge to figure out how to live life at all.

After my sister passed away, life became a true challenge. I felt absolutely horrible guilt that I couldn’t help her…that I didn’t notice how sick she truly was…that we had a bad argument a few months before she passed away…that I was so busy preparing for thanksgiving that I didn’t visit her the few days she was in the hospital.

My sister and I were extremely close; in fact, she was my best friend. The heartache and intense guilt I felt after she died plagued my heart for years. As I cried out to God to help me through my grief…and to release me from the unrelenting guilt and pain…God was so good to answer my prayers.

My life and the way I process grief has never been the same since.

As I was seeking God for His help, a thought came into my heart, “Your sister doesn’t hold anything against you. What may have bothered her on earth, does not even remotely bother her in Heaven. She knows how much you love her, and she knows if you would have known how ill she was, you would’ve come to the hospital. She loves you and she forgives you. Your sister loved life! She’d want you to enjoy and love life, too, so do so in her honor.”

After sensing this in my heart, my eyes flooded with tears. Ever since that day, I have truly tried my best to celebrate life, love my family, and honor my sister and other loved ones to my greatest ability.

When grief enters your life, you are left to work through all of the tough emotions. You grieve not just the person, instead you grieve every facet of that person and all they meant to you. And it takes time.

I’d like to share a story with you. As you read the following story, keep in mind that during grief, there will be tears – absolutely! – they are a very normal and healthy part of grief. And you don’t always have control of when grief will hit you since grief is much like the ocean’s water…sometimes the water is calm and beautiful, but other times, the water is extremely rocky and torrential.

As you read this story, listen to your heart and truly know that your loved one loves you so very much! They love you for all the ways you loved and cared for them while they were here on earth…and they treasure and love you for all of the ways you honor and remember them daily. They hold nothing against you…they wish you love, peace, comfort, and joy.

I hope this story brings your heart the comfort and peace you so desperately deserve. May God bring your heart healing, love, and all of the good things that life has to offer! You’re going to make it through this!

❤️Gratitude & blessings,
    Kim

The Dark Candle

A man had a little daughter – an only and much beloved child. He lived for her ~ she was his life. So when she became ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best obtainable physicians, he became like a man possessed, moving heaven and earth to bring about her restoration to health. 

His best efforts proved unavailing and the child died. The father was totally irreconcilable. He became a bitter recluse, shutting himself away from his many friends and refusing every activity that might restore his poise and bring him back to his normal self. But one night he had a dream. He was in Heaven, and was witnessing a grand pageant of all the little child angels. They were marching in an apparently endless line past the Great White Throne. Every white-robed angelic tot carried a candle. He noticed that one child’s candle was not lighted. Then he saw that the child with the dark candle was his own little girl. Rushing to her, while the pageant faltered, he seized her in his arms, caressed her tenderly, and then asked: “How is it, darling that your candle alone is unlighted? His sweet daughter lovingly replied, “Father, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out.” 

Just then he awoke from his dream. The lesson was crystal clear, and its effects were immediate. From that hour on he was not a recluse, but mingled freely and cheerfully with his former friends and associates. No longer would his little darling’s candle be extinguished by his useless tears.

Written by Strickland Gillian

I pray this story brought comfort and great encouragement to your heart. May God bless you today and always!

❤️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

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

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

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

❤️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

“You’re SO bitter!” ~what to say & NOT say to someone going through a tough time

I frequently have people share with me, “I’m going through a tough situation and I’m not bitter…I’m just very hurt.

If you’ve ever gone through a tough situation, then you “get it” and know exactly what I’m talking about. You understand the difference between being deeply wounded vs. being bitter.

Everybody at some point will go through an extremely trying event in life that will threaten to leave them very bitter.

I’ve been through times like this and they are not fun…not at all. These times can be extremely tough to get through. The last one I went through took me quite awhile to process and thoroughly forgive.

I don’t understand why, but times like this usually bring people to the surface who compound your grief.

Usually, someone will callously say to a wounded person, “You sure are bitter“…or they will piously say “Have you considered your need to forgive?”…or some other hurtful cliché that seems oh-so-right to the one making the comment, but causes much deeper pain to the person who is already going through – and trying to process – forgiveness and grief.

When you (or a loved one) goes through a really bad situation, it can leave you:

deeply hurt or offended

•frustrated or devastated by people in the situation

•angry at any injustice that took place

•truly disappointed in many people’s actions or reactions – and if we’re being real here, it can leave you disgusted by people’s lack of action and compassion

When I’ve been through times like this, I was able to initially forgive as an act of my will out of obedience…but my heart, well, that was another matter. That can truly take self-work depending on how bad the situation is.

There are also many variables. Variables such as:

what other people are involved?

•are they willing to do the “right thing”?

•is everybody involved willing to work out the situation in an honorable way?

•can there be closure…or will the situation have no resolution?

•if major loss occurred, are people willing to make restitution or set things right?

There are so many variables that will ultimately be a guide for a timeline of healing to take place.

Being bitter and being wounded are not the same thing…and sometimes, people need time to process tough situations, come to terms with how they (or a loved one) were wronged or treated, and then they will need the opportunity — and time — to grow through the situation, and process their loss, so they are able to genuinely forgive the people involved who were hurtful or offensive.

They may even go through a time of questioning God or His goodness depending on how devastating or impactful the grief experience has been on them.

Respect their grief and love them.

They need time to come to a place of true forgiveness and peace.

Consider this: if a house burns down, you don’t instantly get a new house the very next day or week. You more than likely will only be able to thoroughly rebuild a house within 6-12 months time. You then will begin the process of refurnishing the new home.

Even if you were given a brand new house, you still will go through a period of time where you will mourn the loss of the original house…and will even have periodic reminders of all that was lost.

When you go through great loss…whether it’s the loss of a person, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a romantic relationship or friendship, the loss of your health or a job, a wounding situation, a situation of adultery or betrayal, or any other situation of significant loss…it takes time to get through it. It takes time to rid yourself of negative thoughts and emotions and refurnish your spirit, heart and mind with forgiveness, positivity, and peace.

That’s not being bitter – that’s processing heartache or deep disappointment and being NORMAL.

Grief is not a cookie cutter, clean-cut event with crisp, clear lines. Each person will respond differently and each will process the grief event very differently…even if it is the exact same grief event.

The greater the love, the greater the grief…and the greater the love, sacrifice, or investment, the longer it will take to process grief.

If you permanently sit down, quit, and allow the situation to thoroughly destroy you, then, yes, bitterness can overtake your heart. Most people do go through a period of time where they initially feel deeply hurt or defeated…absolutely…but they will eventually start to work through and process the pain from the situation and experience genuine growth.

It takes time.

So before harshly judging someone who has been through (or is going through) a life-altering event or super tough time, please consider the effect that words, thoughts, and actions can have towards the one who is in deep pain.

So what can you say or do?

Don’t say:

you are so bitter

•you need to immediately forgive

•aren’t you over it yet??

•why do you keep talking about it?

Do say:

how can I help?

•I am here for you

•I’m sorry you are hurting so badly

•I imagine you are very hurt

Don’t:

ignore, avoid, or abandon the person 

•become irritated

•stop being there for them

•act rude or ugly towards them

•pass judgement on them

•be holier-than-thou 

piously or unthinkingly force scripture onto them…use extreme wisdom and make sure it truly reflects God’s love for them

Do:

•genuinely and frequently pray for them

•encourage them to work through the situation with God (only say this if you are invested in them and you are close to them)

•be there for them

•allow them to vent

•”put” yourself in their situation and develop true empathy for them — consider how you would feel if you were going through what they’re painfullygoing through

I hope these tips help and encourage everybody to truly be there for their family and friends who are processing deep hurt or grief.

Remember: a person going through a major grief event is truly not trying to be difficult, sulky, or a pain, they’ve had their entire world ripped apart and are desperately trying to process their pain so they can begin to rebuild their life. Grant them the compassion, unconditional love, mercy, and freedom they need so they can genuinely do so — free from judgment, guilt, and further complications or hardship.

When you truly invest in, encourage, and unconditionally love others, you are most like Christ than any other time.

When in doubt, always ask yourself, “how would God want me to love, minister to, and treat them?”

As you help others, be the love and compassion today that you would want to receive in the future when you go through a super tough time.

Ultimately, if you are the one who is hurting today, go to God and seek His help. He knows every detail of what you are going through…and He holds the exact encouragement, help, and solutions you need to successfully make it through to a place of peace.

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

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

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

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

❤️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

Mourning Those Who Are Still Alive: 10 Ways To Weather The Storm

Most grief recovery efforts naturally include helping grievers to mourn loved ones who have died…but what if the person you are mourning is still alive?

To have once enjoyed a great, solid, rich relationship with a loved one—and then no longer have a good relationship (or to then have a drastically changed relationship or no relationship at all)—this terribly and horribly breaks a heart in a very unique, painful way.

When drastic change occurs, or a difficult situation or relationship develops, it can cause excruciating heartache, loss, and sadness. It truly can feel as though someone you deeply love has died, and you are forced to go through a silent funeral inside of your heart every single day.

There are many reasons why this can happen:

  • Spouses commit adultery or file for divorce, or a significant other leaves or betrays you
  • Children react to parents due to divorce or co-parenting challenges…sometimes parents react back
  • A parent has an affair or gets remarried and then chooses to distance or remove themselves from the relationship with their child(ren)
  • Children react to an adulterous affair a parent had or children react to how the affair victim/parent handled an affair
  • A loved one battles debilitating mental illness, severe depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a loved one goes through the longterm effects of a traumatic brain injury or serious injury— and these circumstances completely change the dynamics of the relationship
  • Parents react to children and children react to parents on “life” issues, moral decisions, or spiritual issues
  • A parent, step parent, or other family member spitefully pits a child, parent, step parent or family member against one another
  • Custody or visitation issues, foster care challenges, or family conflicts cause deep heartache…even estrangement
  • Spouses return home deeply wounded emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally from serving in the military…or spouses betray the spouse who is away serving
  • A spouse, child, or family member goes through a serious medical challenge, experiences deep grief, or another terrible life event or life challenge and they drastically change or become a completely different person
  • Parents abandon their children, and/or children rebel against or abandon their parents
  • Siblings, or other family members, deeply change and are no longer close
  • A family member battles addiction—or another stronghold or wrong thinking—and you can’t get through to them
  • Relationship issues due to mistreating or reacting to one another…and one or both people aren’t willing to repair or improve things
  • An adult child can enter into a romantic relationship (or marriage) and their parent doesn’t approve or isn’t willing to respect their child’s partner, spouse, and/or marriage…or vice versa
  • Friendships heartbreakingly dissolve
  • Physical, mental, or emotional abuse issues create hardships, family division, and heartache
  • A family relationship, friendship, or church relationship dissolves due to a betrayal, a lack of understanding, conflict, or deep hurts
  • Family members or in-laws are mistreated due to another family members/in-laws dysfunction
  • Bitterness and an unwillingness to forgive or work on the relationship takes root
  • Some sever ties to “make a point” or to intentionally inflict heartache in reaction to their own pride or pain
  • A family member becomes a prodigal
  • A sibling, parent, child or other family member marries someone who isn’t respectful of sibling/parent/child/family relationships…so to avoid arguing with their romantic partner, they choose to “keep the peace,” and choose their significant other over longterm relationships…or a parent chooses their significant other over their children
  • Ultimately, a lack of respect, genuine love, honor, boundaries, and commitment – and ultimately a lack of good character – can wreck major havoc on relationships and families
  • Lots and lots of other reasons

Anytime a relationship changes for the worse, abruptly changes, or becomes fractured or shattered, it is very, very painful. And many times, the result is to feel helpless, as though you have run out of options.

When this happens, what can you do?

  1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God and ask for Him to intervene in the relationship and situation. Pray God touches your loved ones heart…pray God will show them a deep love for them, Him, (and you), and conviction for any sin that is in their life. Pray God pours His love, kindness, and provision into their life…anything that will help them to realize how much God and you love them.
  2. Possibly prepare for God to ask you to make a change or to do something uncomfortable.
  3. As much as depends on you, apologize and ask for forgiveness for your part…knowing that the other person may never humble their self by apologizing back to you.
  4. Place your loved one and the entire situation in God’s Hands….and take your hands off (and out of) the situation. Realize God can do more in one MOMENT than you could ever hope to do in an entire LIFETIME.
  5. KEEP YOUR NOSE CLEAN…meaning, do the right thing and choose to show genuine love no matter what. Take the higher ground. Be completely loving, Christ-like, and kind. Close your mouth (this can be very hard to do!) and do your God-given responsibilities. This will be extremely hard, but remember: God’s got this! He needs for you to reflect His character, love, and glory. It will be very helpful to memorize and recite these scriptures when you’re tempted to put your hands back in the situation or for the times you’re tempted to not keep your nose clean: Exodus 14:14, Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Samuel 17:47, Psalm 34:18. This does NOT mean be a doormat, but for God to accomplish His greatest work, it’s very important to get out of God’s way and to fully obey God.
  6. Seek and find what helps to heal your heart. It might be going to therapy, talking to a pastor, or working through all of the emotions and grieving through your tough situation.
  7. Have faith and fully expect God to work in the situation. It may or may not be how you had in mind, but God will definitely be working in the situation (and working out the best outcome) as you genuinely trust in Him to do so.
  8. Ask God to provide you with a strong, loving support system: trusted family, trusted friends, trusted pastors/counselors, trusted support groups/biblical community…keyword here is TRUSTED. To get through the toughest times in life, a strong support system is vital. Accountability partners can also be very important. Work on yourself and do your own self-work with the Lord’s help. Consider your individual relationship with the Lord, your joy and life purpose apart from the situation, consider your part in the situation, look soberly at your own faults and possible blind spots – both in and out of the situation, and seek to improve yourself as you love and serve God to the fullest as you wait on Him. (Psalm 46:10, Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 6:33-34, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  9. . There is a huge difference between peacemaking/compromise and allowing yourself to be manipulated/degraded. God never made anyone to be a doormat. For a relationship to be healthy, both people need to do the right thing. Relationships are like a swinging door… If it’s constantly opening for one person, but slamming shut in the other persons face, that’s never going to work long-term. Be careful allowing yourself to be degraded instead of creating healthy compromise. If genuine repentance and change do not occur, you’re always going to have conflict. It will just be a different situation and a different circumstance. Heart change is needed for lasting results... otherwise you’re just putting a Band-Aid on something that they’re gonna rip off and hurt you again.
  10. Delight in God (Psalm 37:4). When we go through hardships, it becomes easy to become impatient, worry, have anxiety, or become fearful or bitter. We can even be tempted to doubt God’s goodness or become greatly upset with Him. God has a better way! Delight yourself in God, learn to trust and lean on Him, and extravagantly love Him as He carries you through your grief and the storm you are in the middle of. He knows your heart, loves your heart (and knows and loves your loved one’s heart!), and no matter what happens in your situation, He will carry you, heal your broken heart, and love you back to life…no matter what! He will NEVER leave you!! In fact, other than our relationship with our own self, God is the ONLY relationship we are guaranteed to continually have here on earth. We can NEVER lose His love!
  • Allow God to positively change your heart through the process…and whether your situation or relationship changes for the better or not…eventually use your situation to wisely help and encourage others. You are going to be an absolute TREASURE to someone else who will be walking through a similar tough relationship situation. Learn as much as you can through your situation TODAY so you can encourage and help others in the present or FUTURE. God never wastes grief. There is always good that can grow out of it.
  • Whatever situation or relationship you are grieving or experiencing deep heartache in, please realize there is hope! I agree with you in prayer for God to heal, encourage, and help you and your loved one(s) through whatever you are going through. I pray God works mightily in each relationship, heart, mind, spirit, and situation! If a positive outcome is not possible due to a permanent, toxic, or debilitating situation, I pray God grants you the gifts of grace and His peace that passes understanding…and the ability to truly press forward and heal. God DOES love you, He greatly values you, and He already knows how He plans to help you – and every situation of grief you are facing or will ever face!

    Even if a relationship never finds peace or reconciliation again, realize it does NOT diminish your value. Before you were ever a family member, spouse, child, parent, or a friend, you were God’s. He will always unconditionally love you, because you are totally valuable and “enough” to Him. Yes, you will go through incredible heartache if reconciliation does not take place, but God will be there for you every single day—especially on your toughest days!

    There is always hope and your life is precious! Please never forget that!❤️

    Gratitude, healing, love, & many blessings,
    Kim

    ©2016 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): Click here for book

    ⭐️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

    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

    7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

    ⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

    🎄❤️🎄

    Important Questions To Powerfully Change & Transform Your Life & Regrets Daily

    Life is a gift! Sometimes, due to our own choices, the decisions of loved ones, or due to a major grief event, it may not feel like a gift at times.

    Life is a gift, though, that offers so much…if we will only to choose to unwrap it daily.

    Throughout life, we each have to look in the mirror and come to terms with what we choose/chose to do with the gift life has to offer —past, present, and future.

    No one has a goal of looking in the mirror…at any point…and saying to the reflection staring back at them, “I sure am grateful I wasted time and opportunities! I just love that I allowed others to defeat my heart…and I love the awful consequences I’m experiencing because of my ridiculous choices…I am so thrilled with the pain my choices have brought upon my loved ones…or I’m so happy I allowed myself to be defeated by grief or life challenges.

    Nobody in their right mind would say or want to admit these things…

    …yet so many of the regrets and guilt we face in life can be prevented. We have a powerful opportunity each and every day to purposely ask important life questions that can bless our life choices.

    We each have the powerful ability to create a great life…a life we love to live each day – regardless of circumstances.

    Everybody will go through multiple grief experiences and hardships, some even self-inflicted, throughout their lifetime.
    Some grief experiences are natural to go through in life, while others are due to foolish or unthought out decisions by us or others. 

    Some people were gravely warned by loved ones to not make the choices they made; others had no training in life and genuinely had no one to care about their life choices. Some had a pretty big inkling their choice wasn’t wise…but they wanted what they wanted at the time. Some were blindsided. Some knew better; others truly didn’t. 

    Just because someone has made a poor choice doesn’t mean they’re disposable or not redeemable – and it doesn’t mean they are doomed to have a terrible life. I think when people make poor choices, that’s when they need encouragement the most! A setback is the perfect time to purposely setup and create a better life!

    A G-R-E-A-T life!

    Everybody has a unique opportunity each morning: they have the amazing ability and gift of making better decisions – so they can start making choices that truly count from this day forward.

    As a grief specialist, I hear story after story after story of hardships people go through…stemming from “life” happenings, as well as their own choices, and also the decisions of others. I constantly try to help each person find the genuine healing they so desperately need. Once they find out how to heal and create a better life—a life they can truly enjoy living—their entire existence transforms.

    Changing one’s life for the better is a process of asking one’s self the right questions so they can begin to make good decisions in response to those questions.

    Just like grief is never a cookie cutter experience, life is never a one-size-fits-all experience either. Each person’s life is as unique as they are.

    Making solid decisions takes practice and a lot of cultivating, digging, growth, and nurturing of one’s heart and thoughts. All change initially begins as a solid decision…and then blossoms into a series of good, solid choices that continually need to be chosen on an ongoing basis. After awhile, the good choices develop into better choices, and then the better choices turn into the best choices.

    Remember: this is your personal life journey between you and God. Each question will reveal a highly personal, customized answer. 

    Here are some of my favorite questions I ask myself so I can make wise decisions, learn more each day, and continue to make the best possible choices everyday:

    •What can I do today to purposely grow my relationships with God and my family so these relationships are the strongest and healthiest they can be?

    •What can I purposely do, or not do, so I don’t waste my day or waste my time?

    •What do I need to prevent doing today so I can grow more and live life to the fullest?

    •Who can I show love, mercy, and compassion to today? Who do I need to show empathy for by seeing life through their eyes? (For ideas: https://griefbites.com/2014/10/18/7-things-to-realize-about-someone-going-through-a-hard-time/ )

    •What one dream or goal can I work toward (or continue to work toward) today?

    •Who can I help to be successful today?

    •What one purpose-filled action today would make me live life as lovingly and vibrantly as possible? 

    •What one choice today would bring me the most healing—spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

    •How can I purposely grow through my current (and past) grief/life challenges?

    •What one thought today could override as much negativity as possible? 

    •Who can I choose to bless today in a way that would make the greatest difference in their life? 

    •What one foolish habit or sin can I purpose to avoid and overcome today to bring the most spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical wellness to me and my loved ones?

    •What one person do I need to forgive today to lighten my heart? (Read this if you have been deeply wounded: https://griefbites.com/2015/04/20/wounded-7-steps-to-free-your-soul/ )

    •What one person do I need to apologize to and ask to forgive me?

    •What topic or situation do I need to give to God and come to peace about today…what do I need to make right, cultivate, “let go” of, or remove to have optimal peace and joy? What do I need to change or accept so I can have peace?

    •What one piece of wise advice can I take to heart today that has the capacity to change my life for the better? (This can either be past advice or recent advice)

    •What one improvement (big or baby step) can I make today that I can be proud of?

    •After deeply thinking about my everyday and longterm choices, and truly considering the present and future impact of those choices—as well as the consequences or blessings that can/will come into my life from my decisions—what do I need to do, or not do, today to prevent any future guilt, regrets, or damage?

    •Who needs to hear me say, “I love you!” today? How can I love others better today than I did yesterday?

    •Who can I show genuine appreciation to today? Who needs to hear me say, “Thank you!”?

    •What one regret do I need to forgive myself for and let go of today? (Read here to find help for regrets: https://griefbites.com/2014/10/26/overcoming-regrets/ )

    •What one topic will be the most beneficial to pray, journal, or blog about today?

    •What one physical and/or mental exercise will offer the most stress reduction today?

    •What one character quality can I learn about, develop, and work on today? (I focus on one character quality exclusively each week and seek to continually improve each quality thereafter…you can find ideas here: https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/ )

    •How can I best love, serve, and delight in God today? How can I grow my friendship with Him? He’s the ONLY relationship on earth that we can NEVER lose…this is SO important! ( Please feel free to read this for encouragement: https://griefbites.com/2016/12/30/making-2017-your-best-year-yet-43-ways-to-delight-in-god/ )

    All of these questions are for the purpose of creating the best life possible—even in spite of grief—and preventing future guilt and regrets. Each question has the powerful ability to better one’s life and to offer encouragement to live well.

    What questions stuck out most to you? What resonated with you the most?

    You can ask yourself one of these questions each day or all of them. It is so important to grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and in wellness every single day. Whether you take baby steps or an “all in” approach, it is always wise to continually better yourself and allow God to work mightily in your heart and life.

    Why not make a list of your own questions to ask yourself and commit to growth every single day? What does life look like for you today? By making changes, choosing to change your thoughts for the better, or cultivating your heart, what can life look like for you in 1 month…1 year…5 years…10 years…or even 20 or more years?

    We all have such phenomenal value and I think we sometimes forget or fail to fully realize that. We also forget to realize how powerfully God can use our lives to make a difference in our loved ones lives, as well as in the world.

    Wishing everybody special times of self-reflection, making wise choices and changes, preventing guilt, potential damage, and regrets – and living life to the fullest!

    Gratitude and many blessings,
    Kim

    ©2016 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): Click here for book

    ❤️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

    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

    7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

    ⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

    ⭐️❤️

    Wounded: 7 Steps To Free Your Soul

    Wounded. 
    One of the worst feelings in the world.

    Everybody will go through multiple times of being wounded during the course of their lifetime. And everybody will wound others.

    Because most situations of being wounded stem from vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a part of everyday life, it is imperative for everybody to understand how to favorably respond to being wounded.

    There are limitless ways you allow yourself to be vulnerable each and every day:
    1. You develop friendships
    2. You go to church and trust the leadership and relationships you develop there
    3. You pour into family and friends
    4. You share or pitch professional ideas at work
    5. You trust someone by confiding in them
    6. You invest in or mentor others
    7. You date, consider giving someone your heart, fall in love, and/or get married. Family members also bring others into the family with who they choose to date or marry. Sometimes these relationships end up being detrimental or excruciatingly painful
    8. You share details about your testimony or life story…or share your life goals
    9. You achieve something significant in life or fail at something significant
    10. You trust others to be a decent person
    Yet you end up 
    burnt…
    devastated…
    disappointed…
    wounded.

    Yes, everybody, at some point in their life, will end up being deeply wounded. 

    Did you know being deeply wounded can change who you are as a person?
    It can bring out an anxiety or ugliness inside you that you never knew existed.
    Ultimately, it can plant a seed of bitterness that, if not dealt with, can harvest a huge crop of unending discord, disappointment, dissatisfaction, or even create deep depression, hatred, or resentment in your heart.

    Being wounded is a terrible experience to go through, yet, being wounded is one of the most significant spiritual opportunities God can allow you to experience.

    I wouldn’t have thought this to be true a few weeks ago, right before finally experiencing a major breakthrough after being incredibly wounded. What God has taught me through being deeply offended and wounded opened my eyes to the significant opportunity woundedness offers, though. 

    Just for the record…no one in their right mind would cheerfully sign up for being wounded to learn any spiritual lessons…and no one will be skipping through fields of flowers after learning those meaningful lessons…but if you ever find yourself wounded or offended, you may as well learn the powerful lessons it has to offer.

    If you gotta GO through it, you may as well GROW through it!

    The last few years, God has been working in my life and showing me how to handle being wounded.
    Multiple situations have arose that have given me, and my family, the opportunity to learn quite a bit through being unfairly wronged.

    It has not been an easy road to be on. 
    In fact, there were many moments of anger, despair, frustration, and many tears. And to be completely honest, even some not-so-godly thoughts towards the offenders/wounders.

    Many people I know, including myself, do not initially always pass the test when unfairly wronged or wounded. It’s easier to react than to respond favorably after someone has greatly hurt or offended you or a loved one…especially if it significantly altered your life. 

    What do you do when an offense is so great that forgiveness is not easily accomplished? 
    What is your plan of action when the resentment you feel brews stronger than the blackest dark roast coffee? What about when you see the person who wounded you or you think about the incredibly damaging effects their offense has had on you or your loved ones?

    It can be super hard to forgive some offenses. 

    The greater or more costly the offense, the harder it is to genuinely forgive and move forward in peace…but to forgive and move forward in peace should be the ultimate goal.

    I want to share with you a few things that helped me through some tough times in forgiving others.

    Some steps I took helped me tremendously and I hope they are a big help and encouragement to anyone going through being wounded or wronged, as well as anyone who may be battling bitterness.

    Some at this point may be nursing deep wounds. They want to move forward but the offense was a lot to bear…it may even currently still be a lot to bear.
    Many times, an offense can have lifelong consequences.

    A wounded person really only has three choices:
    1. Push back the emotions and try to act as though the offense never occurred…basically ignoring the issue
    2. Feed any resentment or bitterness
    3. Work on forgiveness as you grow through the situation and move forward in peace

    Someone who has been wronged can choose the typical responses to being wounded: 
    • get mad
    • dislike or resent difficult people 
    • have bad thoughts or pray against them (hey, King David harshly prayed against his enemies throughout the book of Psalms)
    • tarnish their reputation through speaking lies, exaggerations…or unflattering truths…about them
    • be revengeful 
    • ultimately plant seeds of bitterness in their heart 
    These actions will most likely make a wounded person feel better at firstbut at what cost to their own heart and soul? And God will hold them accountable for not forgiving…and defiling others.

    Booker T. Washington once said, “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” 

    Isn’t that the truth? When we hate others, it belittles our own soul…it does absolutely nothing to the person who was wounding.

    A very good friend shared with me something similar, “Being bitter towards your offender is like you drinking poison but expecting your offender to die.” 
    Ouch!

    It’s true…Bitterness hardens and poisons YOUR heart, damages YOUR soul, and changes who YOU are as a person. Trust me, I know this personally after becoming bitter towards people who deeply wronged and wounded my family and me.

    You may think to yourself, “Won’t I know if I’m becoming bitter?”
    Bitterness creeps in very slowly. 
    No one plans on becoming or being bitter, but without major self reflection, you won’t immediately realize or see the true effects.

    Most people do not recognize their own bitterness.
    I speak from personal experience…I didn’t realize how bitter I was until a friend called me out on it. 
    While nursing some deep wounds after going through a very tough situation with a loved one who was wronged, I took up a major offense towards the offenders involved.

    Was it wrong to want justice? Absolutely not.
    Is it wrong to expect people to do the right thing or apologize? Not at all!

    It becomes wrong when justice…and a well fed grudge…becomes more important than God and good character.

    We all know we should forgive others, but are you worried you won’t be able to truly forgive and move forward because the person(s) who wounded you (or your loved one) isn’t even remotely sorry for their offense(s)?

    Don’t worry…you can take these steps whether your offender is sorry or not.

    I learned that forgiveness, resolution, and/or restoration did not have to take place for me to clean out my own heart and do the honorable thing in God’s eyes.

    Don’t get me wrong: it was not easy to forgive, but I had a “fork in the road” decision to make:
    • I could hold onto the hurts and offenses 
    OR
    I could have a healthy relationship with God and peace in my soul
    I found I could not have it both ways.

    It took time and forgiving this particular situation was not instantaneous…and there are still days a bad thought will pop into my head, prodding me to renew my grudge.


    So how do you get an offender out of your head?

    For me, it was helpful to put my thoughts into proper perspective and to look into the motives.
    Some offenders do not care that they wounded another person. Thoughts of the people they’ve hurt or offended are non-existent to the offender. They couldn’t care less.
    With that said, when an offender has caused major loss in life…I began to realize that I was not going to allow additional loss by allowing them to live rent free inside my thought life.
     
    Other offenders may not realize the depth they have wounded others. A simple conversation can clear things up quickly.

    As I prayed about how to best deal with multiple situations (the original offense had a domino effect, creating additional situations), God was good to give me solid insight into freeing my soul from being wounded.

    The following steps were life-giving to me and helped me to overcome my bitterness. 
    Praying these steps are of great help to somebody today!

    1. View your offender through God’s eyes~

    Yes, this can be a tall order. After all, shouldn’t God be on our team and dislike our offender as much as we do?
    God loves and adores each person He created…equally. There is no favoritism with Him. From Billy Graham down to the worst person on the planet, God wants what is best for each person. All are deeply loved and incredibly treasured by Him.

    When we view our offender through our own eyes, all we will see is the ugliness they have done. We will no longer see any of the good they have in them. We stop viewing them as a whole, we instead only view their terribly wounding offense(s) as well as every character flaw they possess.

    It’s important to realize that no matter what they’ve done to us personally, they still have great value in God’s eyes. 
    God has a big purpose and plan for their life…no matter what they have done…and He greatly desires for them to have an abundant life.
    He created them, and He has a plan for them to do wonderful works, too.
    Their offense is not the totality of who they are as a person; it may be a very poor choice they made. Always seek to look for the 90% of what’s right about a person than the 10% of their wrong faults. Refuse to be a fault-finder.

    “Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding.”

    ~Oswald Chambers

    What if I still can’t remove the resentment or bitterness I feel?
    It personally helps me to remember a quote my son once shared with me: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
    I remember that I am deeply flawed and remind myself of the mercy I need daily.
    I also make sure I remember and fully realize what God has done for me and how He forgives me.
    Many testimonies have stemmed out of deep heartache. 
    Today’s heartache could very well be tomorrow’s testimony that helps many.

    2. Truly seek to understand~

    What is the entirety of the situation? Is just one party at fault, both parties, or multiple parties?
    Ask yourself, “Did they intentionally wound me on purpose?”…”What was their true motive or intent?”…”Were they reacting?”

    Sometimes, the people who wound us did not truly intend to wound or offend us.
    Thoughtlessness is prevalent in the self-saturated society we live in. Most people only look at a situation through their own eyes…and most do not even attempt to put their own self in the other person’s shoes to
    see how truly hurtful and offensive their actions were.

    People are fallible, flawed, and do not always go into their decisions thoughtfully, and they don’t always have the maturity or the life experience to know how to best handle relationships, situations, or decisions. 
    Not everybody has developed good character or wisdom for each and every situation in life either.
    Everybody needs mercy…ourselves included.

    Think of all the times you offended or wounded others. Did you truly go into it thinking how you were going to wound, wrong, or offend someone?
    Also consider, were the offending person’s actions due to taking up an offense for someone they perceived was wronged? Were they attempting to protect someone or prevent future heartache?

    You might be thinking, “This chick doesn’t know what she’s talking about…some people are just jerks,“…I wholeheartedly agree that can be completely true about some people.

    So many factors go into the wounding actions of others.
    Seeking to understand truly is key.


    3. Look at how your situation personally applies VERTICALLY to God~

    Majority of the time, we are doing to God, or somebody else, exactly what another person is doing to us or a loved one.

    When you genuinely ask “How have I, or any of my loved ones, betrayed, hurt, or wounded God or others?
    This vertical question turns a wounding reality into a convicting reality as one thinks about how many times they have hurt God or not been loyal or faithful to Him. 

    Idolatry and choosing to be bitter are both sins…yet we don’t always view our offenses toward God in the same manner, or as seriously, as we view our offender’s offenses towards ourselves.

    When we train ourselves to see life challenges or offenses through a vertical lens, no matter the topic, we clearly see how universally we have hurt God and others in similar situations.

    Next time you’re offended, truly check to see if you are doing the same offense towards God or someone else.

    In some situations, that totally is not the case, but many times, the answer is unfavorable.


    4. Seek to see what you can learn through the offense you are going through~

    Offenses can teach us important  life lessons. An offense may even prevent something worse from happening in the future due to the wisdom you learn from a previous offense.

    We must be open to God so He can show us how to wisely navigate through offensive or hurtful situations. Without His guidance, we might miss crucial wisdom.

    Tough situations in life will either make us better or bitter.
    When we choose to be better through a challenging experience, rewards eventually come our way.
    When we choose to be bitter, we will most likely go through additional loss…and will go through a similar situation to learn the lesson we missed.

    As I was at coffee with two very good friends…friends I am very authentic and vulnerable with; both ladies are trustworthy accountability partners to me…I asked for advice on how to get over the feelings I was feeling. No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the bitterness I felt after a situation of deep offense and woundedness.
    I prayed about it…went through the steps of forgiving the offense several times…tried to let it go…even invested kind words into some of those who were responsible for the wounding offense…but nothing seemed to have any lasting power.

    I couldn’t shake it.

    After a time of deep prayer, I began to clearly see that God allowed the deep offenses so I could learn how to overcome bitterness when others are not sorry…and this is greatly helping me to help others in my grief ministry who are going through situations where they have been deeply wounded.

    It’s easy to forgive someone when they come to you and apologize. It’s a bit more challenging when they’ve created an extensive amount of damage, and then are aloof, uncaring, or insensitive to the situation they created.

    It is beyond important to understand that God will sometimes allow a wounding situation for a specific reason….not cause it, but allow it…and good can come out of any situation, whether the offensive party is sorry or not.

    Not saying it’s easy…because it usually is not...but there are very specific lessons we can learn through being wounded…lessons that will ultimately free us and eventually help us later in life. It can also help us to be a source of encouragement to others who are going through a similar situation.
    We also learn the value of waiting on God and trusting Him to genuinely work out difficult situations in His perfect timing.

    I can assure you that the heartache and struggles you are going through are not in vain. Like Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church says, “God never wastes a hurt. We sometimes do, but God does not.”

    So while you are waiting, what about your offender?
    You can be sure God will hold your offender accountable. God never allows anyone to get away with wounding others…ourselves included.
    One day, EVERYBODY will give an account for the ways they have wounded and wronged others. Everybody will also have to give an account for how they handled wounding situations, too.

    This next step was the most important one. I found this step to be the ultimate step that gave me freedom from bitterness…And, it was my least favorite step to take! 
    When my friend suggested I do this next step, that one day at the coffee date I told you about earlier, I remember seriously cringing. 
    I’m so grateful I did this next step though, because it brought me the peace I needed to genuinely move forward.

    5. Pray God BLESSES your offender and invest in your offender’s life by praying for them~

    You may be thinking, “ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!!!”
    I mean, who wants to ask God to bless an offensive, hurtful, wounding, or problematic person?

    Most do not want to ask God to bless their offenders. The people who have wounded you most likely have created havoc or greatly altered life as you knew it due to their wounding actions and decisions.  

    If most people are truly honest, they want God to do the OPPOSITE of bless their offenders.
    I know I initially felt this way, especially since my family and I continue to experience consequences of the offender(s) actions.

    I felt that way until I realized a harsh reality..what if God had the same attitude towards my family and me for all the times we have wounded His heart?

    The fact that God chooses to forgive, love, and bless me is reason enough for me to choose to forgive and bless an offender through praying for God to bless them.

    I had to remember that the offenders who wounded us were created in God’s image. They are deeply loved by Him.
    God has incredible life purposes and plans for their lives.
    And since they are also believers, we are all going to be living in the exact same Heaven someday.
    We are on the same team, but we were all deceived by a greater enemy to engage in hurtful conflict.
    Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    Hebrews 12:14-15, “Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
    I try to continually choose to be the mercy today that I want to receive tomorrow…because I’m in need of mercy, too.
    Someone, most likely, could have authored this same blog post about me at some point in my life.
    Everybody has been wounded because we all wound others.

    We need to look to the One who has been wounded more than anyone else…and learn how to love, forgive, and bless others from His incredible viewpoint and example.

    So since we are all fallible, does that just give everybody a hall pass to wound others and expect forgiveness no matter what?
    Not at all! Each person, including ourselves, should make it a goal to be mindful of how we treat others.
    If we offend someone, it is our responsibility to make things right. The ultimate goal is to treat others with such honor and kindness that wounding others never becomes an option in the first place.

    Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

    So after you forgive someone, it’s instant and permanent, and you’ll never be challenged to resent or dislike the person ever again, right?
    I wish! The truth is, forgiveness is a choice. Even though forgiveness is instant, it may take time for the heart and feelings to catch up. 
    I have found that forgiving is a daily choice.

    Whenever a bitter or wounded thought comes to my mind, or a negative thought comes to mind about the offenders, I immediately use those thoughts as a signal to pray for them and the situation of conflict. 

    Pray God outrageously blesses your offender and pray He genuinely works through the situation of conflict in His way. Be sure to also ask God to heal your heart!

    God proves Himself faithful in the toughest situations when we do things His way and as we look at our offenders and our tough life situations through His eyes! It isn’t always easy but it is rewarding.

    6. Realize that majority of conflict is simply a decoy to what God wants to do in the lives of the people affected by the conflict~

    We are in battle with an enemy…but the enemy is not who we think it is.
    We faultily think the enemy is our offender, when in reality, our enemy is from a completely different realm.
    This is especially true when conflict happens between families, fellow believers, and in churches.

    Again, consider Ephesians 6:12: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”

    If you have experienced conflict with a family member, a fellow Christian, or in your church or with church staff, you can be sure that the enemy knew the positive potential the people involved in the conflict could have.

    Now I am not advocating condoning another person’s poor choices or behavior, or excusing the wrong they did, and forgiveness does not mean we foolishly throw ourselves into genuinely abusive situations. Forgiveness is simply a loving courtesy we extend to others because God extends that same love and courtesy to us. We must ultimately trust God to deal with the situation and people involved in His own way and His time. 

    So, what if you STILL do not want to forgive an offender?
    Consider Job and Joseph in the Bible.
    God shows the importance of forgiving others through both of these men’s lives.
    Although both experienced excruciating hardships and unbearable heartache, both chose to trust God and take the higher road after being wounded.
    As a result, both reaped incredible blessings and favor from God for doing so…in fact, Job only found favor through his grief experience after he chose to forgive his friends and interceded for them in prayer. That is the exact moment God restored Job…and gave him a double portion of favor. 

    There is no sane explanation, but freedom usually comes only through forgiveness, and praying for the offender(s).

    7. Realize that being wounded (and also conflict…even rejection) is necessary to make us more like Christ~

    The most trying times in life are usually what brings about the most spiritual growth.

    When life is going great, nothing is tested. It’s easy to be good and kind to others…when they are good or kind to us.
    But, when those around us are wounding, offensive, rude, or unkind, it truly tests our character. It also reveals what is in our own heart, too.

    Think of all of the people who were absolutely awful to Christ. How did he respond to them?
    What was His example?
    What would have happened to you or me had He decided to put His offenders in their place by zapping them?
    We wouldn’t have known the beauty of the cross or ever realized His incredibly awesome love for us…we wouldn’t be positively changed forever.

    Being wounded offers the chance and opportunity to use situations of conflict as “sandpaper” to our heart and soul.
    When we choose to go to God with our hurts, He can gently “sand off” the impurities held in our heart as we look at the situation through His eternal perspective and ways.
    Ultimately, times of conflict or being wounded are opportunities that allow God to remove hidden sin from our heart, to trust Him through tough situations, and to allow Him to minister to our heart and heal our woundedness through His love and encouragement.

    With that said, I believe that if someone has significantly hurt or wronged you, they should be held accountable in a Christ-like manner.

    If after you have deeply prayed about a situation and you feel God is leading you to confront someone who has wronged you, I highly encourage you to follow the biblical blueprint for doing so; and as you do, go in a spirit of humility and self reflection, maintaining good character. (Matthew 18:15-20; Galations 6:1-2; Colossians 3:13; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Matthew 7; James 5:19-20)

    Sometimes, during a confrontation, it is obvious that someone intentionally offended or hurt us…other times, we find out that an offender truly did not mean to hurt or offend us at all. In fact, they were oblivious to the entire situation…this is why it is so important to go into confronting others in a right spirit as we seek to understand the overall picture of the situation.

    If you don’t think you can confront someone in a right spirit, wait until you can.

    If there are people you feel you should confront, it is important to wait on the right timing, as well as a time where you can truly trust your words and keep your attitude in check. 

    Do NOT confront someone unless you can trust yourself to not make the situation worse. You may have forgiven an offender, but you may need to work on sorting the situation out further in your heart so you are able to go in a right frame of mind and with a right spirit. 
    Also, do whatever is most minimal in confronting someone. Many times, a spark is more powerful—and more effective—than a big out of control fireworks show. Only do that which is necessary to move forward in peace.

    Ultimately, and ideally, when we confront a person who has been hurtful, we shouldn’t confront in an attitude of “telling them off” or to punish them…it should be from the mindset of genuinely seeking to understand with resolution for both our self, as well as them, so both parties can clear their conscience and move forward in life…better than before the confrontation took place.
    This isn’t always achieved, but I think this should be the ultimate goal.

    What if a confrontation and/or resolution simply are not possibilities?
    I truly believe in resolution when it is possible, but resolution isn’t always obtainable…and it isn’t always in the best interest of the wounded party either, especially in difficult situations such as if an offender committed murder or great malice.
    A great book to read on this topic is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.
    If the conflict is among family, I think in situations where there is a great amount of damage, it can be necessary to meet with a trusted pastor or a professional counselor to personally help work the situation out spiritually and emotionally…and they can also give wise counsel on the matter and discuss it further.
    It isn’t always best to confront an offender. Sometimes, God is trying to teach our own self a powerful lesson.

    I chose not to confront the offenders because I never felt a peace about doing so. I instead chose to trust God completely in the situation and entrusted the details to Him. 

    When you trust God with the details, I feel it is important to make sure to be mindful in self-reflection so as to see any blind spots that can possibly be in a situation of conflict or woundedness…and learn as much as you can so you don’t miss any vital lessons. 
    It’s very important to be honest with yourself during times of conflict or woundedness because it does no good to look at another person’s faults if we are being oblivious to our own.
    Beware of no man more than of yourself, for we often carry our worst enemies within us.” 
    ~Charles Spurgeon

    No matter the details or outcome of a situation, I believe that forgiveness is vital…it is just as much for our own heart as it is for our offender(s). Forgiveness must be pursued and resolved within our own self. If it isn’t, the quality of our life, testimony, and our own heart will never become all it can be. 
    Unforgiveness ultimately harms the vessel in which it resides…and doesn’t harm the person it is aimed at. It’s like loading a gun and aiming it at our own spirit.

    As you trust God with working out the details of any situation of woundedness you are going through, give the ENTIRE situation to Him. God has the power to smooth out the rough spots of any situation and work it for our good and His ultimate purposes. As you submit to and obey God, trust Him to give you treasures out of the darkness of the conflicts you face.

    Today, make the decision to trust God through any situation that is paining you. Pour your heart out to Him and entrust your problems and cares into His more than capable hands.

    Tap into the power of Christ’s strength to make truly forgiving and investing in others through prayer genuinely possible.
    With Christ, all things are possible.

    Let me leave you with a few verses to encourage you. God is faithful and keeps His Word. I pray He meets you right where you are and brings healing to whatever you are facing today!


    © 2015 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

    Psalm 56:8-11, “You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? The day I call to you, my enemies will be turned back. I know this: God is on my side — the Lord, whose promises I praise. In him I trust, and I will not be afraid.”

    Genesis 50:20, But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God thought it out unto good, to bring to pass that which we see this day, to give life to many people.”

    Psalm 37:3-9, “Trust the Lord and do good; live in the land, and farm faithfulness. Enjoy the Lord, and he will give what your heart asks. Commit your way to the Lord! Trust him! He will act and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like high noon. Be still before the Lord, and wait for him. Don’t get upset when someone gets ahead— someone who invents evil schemes. Let go of anger and leave rage behind! Don’t get upset—it will only lead to evil. Because evildoers will be eliminated, but those who hope in the Lord, they will possess the land.

    Romans 12:17-19, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.”

    Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭23-25‬, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”

    Matthew 7:1-5,Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

    Isaiah 45:2-3, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”

    Isaiah‬ ‭55‬:‭8-9‬ , “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:15-24‬, “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.”

    ‭‭Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim


    ©2015 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): Click here for book

    ❤️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance.

    7 Helpful Steps For Grieving Families

    Anyone who has been through deep grief knows firsthand how it can affect relationships.

    Grief can be extra challenging when it comes to family relationships.

    Our families are who we are most comfortable around…and sadly, they’re who we show our hurts and frustrations to the most.

    Did you know that 75% of parents will get divorced after the death of a child and even more will divorce when a child has a disability?

    People may say and do things during deep grief that can be very uncharacteristic of their true nature. That is why it is so important to safeguard and treasure our families more than ever during times of grief. 

    Compassion and empathy are absolutely key in helping our family relationships to survive and thrive during our toughest storms in life.

    It takes time for a broken heart to heal, and it takes time to find a working “new normal”. Like a hurricane, grief changes everything and has the capacity to damage everything in its path. It truly takes having a game plan to ensure that family relationships do not suffer.

    If we are to purposely ensure that our family relationships remain healthy during times of deep grief, it is vital for grieving families to:

    1. Be there for each other

    2. Show compassion to one another

    3. Allow each other to grieve how each needs to grieve (this is a HUGE one because everyone grieves differently)

    4. Be respectful and kind to one another

    5. Support one another by helping each other with day-to-day responsibilities and remembering appointments and important events (buying a calendar and having each family member write down their appointments and events on the calendar will alleviate stress and will eliminate communication mishaps. Grief can make people forget appointments, events, special occasions, etc.)

    6. Be forgiving of each other and refuse to play the “blame game”. During grief or loss, it is easy to want to project our hurt or blame onto something or someone else. Depending on the grief experience, this can be incredibly tough to overcome. Sometimes, finding a qualified counselor can be very helpful, one who can help families to work through the pain and blame.

    7. Many times, the very best thing a family member can do for another family member is to simply listen and give a big comforting hug

    If you are going through grief, remember that your spouse, children, & family members are part of your team. Yes, there are going to be some very tough days to weather together…but resolve today to encourage, love, and support each other through the thick and thin life throws at you.
    Treat each other the best you possibly can and love each other well!
    Draw close together as you walk through your storm together!

    ©2014 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. 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

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

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

    Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

    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

    ❤️

    Conflict Resolution (Pt 3)- 75 Character Qualities That Can Change Your Life

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~Helen Keller

    Grief, conflict, hardships, struggles, and suffering are opportune times to develop personal character because through each of these circumstances, character is revealed…and tested…the most.

    The key to changing every aspect of  life…including conflict resolution…is developing solid character because character and success go hand in hand. 

    Show me a person who has solid character and I’ll show you someone who handles grief circumstances and conflict wisely, as well as marriage, parenting, career, and relationship issues.

    The amount of character one develops in life directly influences how much success they will enjoy…in their spiritual walk, personal life, marriage, family, finances, relationships, career—basically everything!

    A lack of character is quite costly because character is a derivative of the heart…and the heart is the single greatest indicator of what we will choose to do with EVERY area of our lives.

     

    Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

     

    Why is character so vitally important? Because character affects ourselves and everyone we come into contact with. Character is singlehandedly the greatest impact a person can have in this world.

     

    The following character list is great to go by when:

    • developing personal character
    • going through grief or hardships
    • experiencing conflict
    • looking for a dating/marriage partner
    • training your children
    • interviewing a potential staff member
    • living life

    Whatever conflict you are experiencing right now, consider which character trait has been violated. After discovering which trait has not been honored, you then will be free to begin developing the character trait to bring about restoration.

    Ask God to reveal to your heart how to best develop each character trait below. As you read each character trait, ask yourself how you can effectively develop each trait so it can truly become a part of your regular day-to-day life.

     

    75 Character Qualities That Can Change Your Life
    1. Alertness vs. Unawareness– Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)

    2. Attentiveness vs. Unconcern Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions (Hebrews 2:1)

    3. Availability vs. Self-centeredness– Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of God and those I am serving (Philippians 2:20–21)

    4. Boldness vs. Fearfulness– Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God (Acts 4:29)

    5. Cautiousness vs. Rashness– Knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions (Proverbs 19:2)

    6. Communication vs. Lacking Communication– Willingly, kindly, and clearly communicating my thoughts, ideas, concerns, and needs with others while allowing them to clearly communicate their needs, ideas, concerns, and thoughts as well (Ephesians 4:25-29)

    7. Compassion vs. Indifference (I John 3:17)- Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others.

    8. Community vs. Isolation– Treating my family the very best I possibly can (realizing God specifically placed them in my life) and also seeking out a great church and wise friends to “do life” with (Hebrews 10:24-25)

    9. Contentment vs. Covetousness Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness, and not comparing myself or my life to others (I Timothy 6:8)

    10. Cooperation vs. Rebellion Doing my part to harmoniously respect, obey, and cooperate with God,  as well as all the authority figures, law enforcement, and people (spouse, parents, elders, family, employers, church) God has placed in my life, and wisely choosing not to rebel against scripture or legitimate guidelines, laws, rules, and boundaries (Hebrews 13:17, Romans 13:1-5, Ephesians 6:1-3)

    11. Courage vs. Cowardice– Choosing to face any obstacle in life with courage so as not to run away from hardships or responsibilities (Philippians 4:13)

    12. Courtesy vs. Rudeness Extending respect, kindness, and courtesy to everyone I come into contact with–regardless of their behavior (Ephesians 4:32)

    13. Creativity vs. Underachievement/Dullness Approaching a need, a task, an idea from a new perspective (Romans 12:2)  and considering all of the creative ways to implement a bright outcome

    14. Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness- The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)

    15. Dedication vs. Wavering Establishing a razor sharp focus and dedication in my relationships with God and others, as well as my life purpose, for God’s glory (Colossians 3:17)

    16. Deference vs. Rudeness- Limiting my own personal freedom in order to not offend the tastes of those whom God has called me to serve (Romans 14:21) and showing proper respect and honor to others above my own selfish interests or inclinations

    17. Dependability vs. Inconsistency– Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice (Psalm 15:4)

    18. Determination vs. Faintheartedness– Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition (II Timothy 4:7–8)

    19. Diligence vs. Slothfulness Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it (Colossians 3:23)

    20. Discernment vs. Judgment– The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)

    21. Discretion vs. Simplemindedness The ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences (Proverbs 22:3)

    22. Empathy vs. Hard-heartedness/Aloofness Taking the time to genuinely care about others and see things from their perspective by choosing to put myself in their “shoes” and truly taking the time to see how my words and actions could possibly affect them (Colossians 3:12, Romans 12:15)

    23. Endurance vs. Giving up The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best (Galatians 6:9)

    24. Enthusiasm/Excellence vs. Apathy– Expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit (I Thessalonians 5:16,19) and seeking to live my life and use all of my talents to the best of my ability

    25. Faith vs. Presumption- Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it (Hebrews 11:1)

    26. Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness- Being, and remaining, committed to the people and responsibilities God has entrusted to me and refusing to cheat God, them, or myself out of God’s best (Proverbs 3:3, Luke 16:10)

    27. Flexibility vs. Resistance- Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others (Colossians 3:2)

    28.Forgiveness vs. Bitterness/Rejection– Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me (Ephesians 4:32)

    29. Generosity/Hospitality vs. Stinginess Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes (II Corinthians 9:6)

    30. Gentleness vs. Harshness Showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others (I Thessalonians 2:7)

    31. Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness– Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life (I Corinthians 4:7)

    32. Honesty vs. LyingCommitting to live a life of truth by being honest with God, myself, and others, and resisting the temptation to tell outright lies, white lies, or partial truths (1 Peter 3:10, Colossians 3:9)

    33. Honor vs. Dishonor- Choosing to live a life of honor by being honorable in all of my thoughts, actions, words, and deeds, and highly honoring those God has placed in my life–especially family (Psalm 1, Colossians 3:17)

    34. Hospitality vs. Loneliness Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with family and friends (Hebrews 13:2)

    35. Humility vs. Pride Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in my life (James 4:6)

    36. Humor/Fun vs. Coldness- Choosing to see the goodness, enjoyment, fun, and humor life has to offer with those God has placed in my life in spite of circumstances (Psalm 27:13, Ecclesiastes 3:1-22)

    37. Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness– Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)

    38. Integrity vs. Lack of character- Choosing to live a life of character even when it becomes difficult, realizing that who I am in private reveals my true integrity (Psalm 18:25, Psalm 119:1, Proverbs 2:6-8)

    39. Joyfulness vs. Self-pity– The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 16:11)

    40. Justice vs. Fairness– Keeping myself “in check” and committing to living out personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)

    41. Kindness vs. Harshness– Choosing to be kind in all I do, and maintaining a soft kind heart to others, as well as refusing to be harsh or hardhearted (Luke 6:31, Colossians 3:12-14)

    42. Knowledge vs. SimplemindednessMaking the decision to be in awe of God and better myself every single day by learning as much as I can so as to avoid living an unwise simpleminded life (Proverbs 18:15, Proverbs 1:7)

    43. Leadership vs. Wavering– Using my leadership wisely by investing in and encouraging those underneath my leadership in every way I can to ensure their success (Titus 1:7-14)

    44. Love vs. Selfishness Choosing to love God, and my family and friends extravagantly, and giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward (I Corinthians 13:3)

    45. Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve (John 15:13) and being loyal to my family and friends

    46. Meekness vs. Anger– Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5) and using anger as a signal to warn me of possible self-centeredness

    47. Mercy vs. Judgment Choosing to be the mercy and compassion to others today that I would want to receive myself tomorrow (Luke 6:36, Matthew 5:7)

    48. Obedience vs. Willfulness Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority (II Corinthians 10:5) as well as going out of my way to respect authority

    49. Orderliness vs. Disorganization– Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)

    50. Patience vs. Restlessness– Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)

    51. Peace vs. Contention/Disharmony– Choosing to honor God by being a peacemaker and creating harmony in difficult relationships and situations (II Timothy 2:24)

    52. Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness– Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks without being offensive or disrespectful (II Timothy 2:24)

    53. Punctuality vs. Tardiness Showing high esteem for other people and their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

    54. Purpose vs. Lack of Focus- Finding out and fulfilling my life purpose, as well as the purpose for any project I am serving on with others, so as to bring ultimate glory to God in my life (Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 139:13-16, Philippians 2:1-4)

    55. Purity of Motives vs. Manipulation– Resisting the urge to manipulate people or situations by continually allowing God to purify and refine my heart and motives to be inline with God’s Word and His Will (Zechariah 13:9, Ephesians 5:26)

    56. Resilience vs. Quitting/Cowardice- Developing tenacity and refusing to quit while going through trials or hardships and purposefully seeking out God’s heart so that He can refresh and lift me up in His timing…and realizing God has the power to work everything together for the good of every situation (Joshua 1:9, Romans 8:28)

    57. Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard (Luke 16:10)

    58. Responsibility vs. Unreliability– Knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me (Romans 14:12)

    59. Restoration vs. Incompleteness– Taking upon myself the responsibility to seek out restoration with God, others, and circumstances when I have been offensive or hurtful to others…and while initiating restoration, allowing God to restore me (Jeremiah 17:14, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

    60. Reverence vs. Disrespect– Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me (Proverbs 23:17–18)

    61. Safety vs. Neglectfulness– Taking the time to do my responsibilities the right way and ensuring the safety of others as well as myself (Colossians 3:23)

    62. Security vs. Anxiety– Structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away (John 6:27)

    63. Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit as well as obeying God’s Word (Galatians 5:24–25)

    64. Sensitivity vs. Callousness– Exercising my senses so I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me (Romans 12:15)

    65. Servant’s Heart vs. Taking– Looking for ways to serve God, my family, and others (above myself) so that I can fully invest in them, make a positive impact, and benefit their life (Matthew 23:11, 1 Timothy 5:8, Philippians 2:1-11)

    66. Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy/Insincerity Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives (I Peter 1:22)

    67. Teamwork vs. Isolated Independence- Choosing to do what is truly best for everybody involved—whether it is at home, church or work—instead of focusing on my own goals, agenda, or myself (Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 12)

    68. Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness– Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected (Proverbs 18:15)

    69. Thriftiness vs. Extravagance– Not allowing myself or others to spend that which is not necessary (Luke 16:11)

    70. Tolerance vs. Prejudice Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity (Philippians 2:2)

    71. Truthfulness vs. Deception– Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts (Ephesians 4:25)

    72. Understanding vs. Lack of Knowledge- Choosing to “seek to understand” people and situations through God’s perspective by searching God’s Word for answers so that I can effectively develop godly knowledge and an understanding heart towards others (2 Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 4:7)

    73. Virtue vs. Impurity The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word (II Peter 1:3)

    74. Vision vs. Apathy– The ability to visualize and realize a vision without becoming apathetic while ultimately helping to accomplish God’s plans and purpose (Philippians 3:14)

    75. Wisdom vs. Foolishness/Natural Inclinations Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10)

     

    The greater the character, the greater the favor one will enjoy in life.

    Make all your ways pleasing to God and He will make your paths straight. 

    Proverbs 3:5-6, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” (AMP)

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2014 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. 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): Click here for book

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

    ❤️Kim’s blog: 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


    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

    7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

    ⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

     

     

    For more information on building character, you may wish to check out these resources:

    http://www.characterfirst.com/qualities

    *Character Qualities: 49 are through IBLP, 26 are my own creation

    Click to access characterqualities.pdf

    Conflict Resolution During Grief Pt. 2

    Conflict is unavoidable in life. 

    Conflict will always be a part of life as long as there are people…because people are fallible. People have issues…and people are broken.

    We all have our own set of issues, as well as our own ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and desires. We also all have an idea of how WE think life should happen…and how WE think life should work. And then conflict begins…Grief can bring up a ton of conflict. Other times in life, God sometimes allows someone with VERY different issues, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and ideals to cross our path…or they may live with us!

    We can view a person we are having conflict with as:

    • sandpaper that gets underneath our skin…or…
    • a divine vessel from God to sand away the negative character qualities and imperfections we have in our own life

    Depending on how we view our offender or a situation of conflict, we will either deepen our negative character traits…or…become a better person throughout a trial.

    In my last post, I stated, “Ultimately, conflict surfaces because it is one of the enemy’s strongest ways of keeping us from achieving what God wants for us, and what God truly wants for those around us. Conflict continually keeps hurts and problems stirred up…sucking up our extra energy…which prevents us from FULLY achieving God’s Will and His best for our lives. Ultimately, conflict keeps us from TRULY loving God and GENUINELY loving others.” …Think about this for a minute…

    So where does conflict originate?

    EVERY CONFLICT STEMS FROM ONE ORIGINAL SOURCE: One, or both parties, involved in a conflict has a major character deficit. Character deficits…and the granddaddy of all character deficits–selfishness (pride)–are what conflicts are rooted in.

    James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” Our character, and the selfish desires of our heart, try to control us. That is why it is so important to control and develop our own personal character throughout life.

    Whatever negative character qualities we do not gain control over, will end up controlling us.

    Let me explain: Character is the sum of qualities that a person either possesses or doesn’t possess that dictates every single thought, word, action or deed.

    Some people are fortunate to have been trained to have character qualities while growing up; others have not had an opportunity to have developed their character yet.

    One thing is for certain though: EVERYBODY can choose to develop their character from this day forward…and by doing so, resolve many conflicts in life, as well as many life difficulties. 

    When people go through grief, they may say things that they really do not mean. They may even do things that are not typical of them, too. It takes time for a broken heart to heal and it can take a lot of work to balance out after life has thrown a huge curveball. As a result of grief and loss, normally good character can suffer greatly.

    We must continually develop and strengthen our character throughout our lives…because “life” and grief has the ability to change or weaken our character. Since our character can be weakened by life events…or wrong motives or wrong influences we allow into our life…it is imperative to keep a strong “self-check” in place over our character and our hearts.   Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

    Conflict is not always a “They’re wrong and I am right” situation. Conflict can certainly be that, but more often than not, it is simply a lack of character…and the 2 parties involved can not resolve an issue until the character quality is improved and resolved. Without the character quality being defined, improved, and resolved, the offending person no more understands how to resolve the issue than they understand how to develop the character quality itself, making lasting conflict resolution very unlikely.

    The more we become Christ-like, the more character our lives will have…and the more we go to God to ask Him to develop His character and the fruits of His Spirit into our lives, the more opportunities we will have to develop them. (By the way, there are solid opportunities to put character, and the fruits of God’s Spirit, into practice during times of conflict…usually, conflict will reveal what is TRULY in a person’s heart…and the amount of genuine character they have. It’s not a fun revelation, but it is genuinely revealing to say the least).

    Here is a list of popular character qualities. It is not an exhaustive list, but a most common list. As both parties read the qualities, each truly has the opportunity to take the time to see which qualities they have personally violated towards the person they are in conflict with. Remember, it is not about being “right”…it is about both parties owning their part and RESOLVING the conflict.

    Two people can absolutely tear each other apart with arguments and divisions…without seeing any positive resolution at all. So, doesn’t it make sense to battle and change the negative character instead of battling the same topics over and over again?

    Galatians 5:15 shares, “If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart [biting and devouring one another], be careful, or you will completely destroy [or consume] each other.”

    Take a moment and look at the following list of character qualities, along with the negative character trait associated with the needed positive character quality for conflict resolution. A lot of times, if someone cannot pin point a character quality that is needed to resolve an issue, they can most likely pin point the negative trait that is being displayed. Find the negative character quality that is being shown and then develop the opposite (positive) character quality to better the situation.

    Majority of people do not merely react to another person; they react to a person’s character/lack of character…or guiding life principles/lack of principles…or values/lack of values.

    Whether it is conflict during grief, or conflict within a marriage or family relationship, church/religion-based relationships, work relationships, or any other conflict or relationship…majority can be resolved when fixing the root…which is fixing the underlying character issues.

    2 people then are not fighting each other…they are overcoming negative character qualities together.

    Some may refuse to work on issues, their character, or relationships (due to being stubborn, or maybe being deeply hurt by a situation or another person), so they choose to cut off or remove their self from the situation. Regardless of what one chooses…and that is truly between them and God…their negative character traits will follow them into a new relationship or situation. And the lessons usually get harder and much more difficult. God rarely allows us to be offensive, or refuse to obey His ways for conflict resolution, and then walk off and be blessed. He usually sends a much more cruel messenger or situation to motivate us to change our character and our ways. It’s just the way it works!

    So, why choose to work on it…especially when you truly do not want to?…It makes much more sense to develop our own character…whether another person does or not…and whether a situation changes or not…because we have to look at ourselves in the mirror each and every day the rest of our lives regardless of the outcome of our conflict. We ultimately do our part to please God.

    Consider these most common character traits that can be lacking. The anecdote is for each person to do a self check to truly see which negative character trait they are exhibiting, so that they can clearly figure out how to develop the positive character trait for lasting results in conflict resolution:

    (Before reading this list, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which character qualities you need to develop and work on. Don’t be discouraged, everybody has MANY qualities they need to develop!)

    Acceptance vs. Rejection

    Adaptability vs. Stubbornness

    Alertness vs. Unawareness

    Attentiveness vs. Unconcern

    Authenticity vs. Fakeness/Hypocrisy

    Availability vs. Self-centeredness

    Being Under Authority vs. Selfish Rebellion

    Benefit of the Doubt vs. Harsh Judgment

    Boldness vs. Fearfulness

    Cautiousness vs. Rashness

    Civility vs. Incivility

    Communication vs. Lacking Communication

    Compassion vs. Indifference

    Community/Family vs. Isolation

    Contentment vs. Covetousness

    Cooperation vs. Rebellion

    Courage vs. Cowardice

    Courtesy vs. Rudeness

    Creativity vs. Underachievement/Dullness

    Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness

    Dedication vs. Wavering

    Deference vs. Rudeness

    Dependability vs. Inconsistency

    Determination vs. Faintheartedness

    Diligence vs. Slothfulness 

    Discernment vs. Judgment

    Discretion vs. Simplemindedness

    Empathy vs. Hard-heartedness

    Endurance vs. Giving up

    Excellence vs. Apathy

    Faith vs. Presumption

    Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness

    Flexibility vs. Resistance

    Forgiveness vs. Bitterness

    Generosity/Hospitality vs. Stinginess

    Gentleness vs. Harshness

    Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness

    Hardworking vs. Entitlement

    Harmony vs. Jealousy

    Honesty vs. Lying

    Honor vs. Dishonor

    Humility vs. Pride

    Humor/Fun vs. Coldness/Refusal to connect

    Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

    Integrity vs. Lack of Morals

    Joyfulness vs. Self-pity

    Justice vs. Fairness

    Kindness vs. Harshness

    Leadership vs. Wavering

    Love vs. Hate/Pride/Selfishness

    Loyalty vs. Betrayal

    Meekness vs. Anger

    Mercy vs. Judgment/Judging

    Obedience vs. Willfulness

    Orderliness vs. Disorganization

    Patience vs. Impatience/Restlessness

    Peace vs. Contention/Disharmony

    Positivity vs. Negativity

    Punctuality vs. Tardiness

    Purpose vs. Cluelessness/Flightiness

    Purity/Virtue vs. Impurity

    Purity of Motives vs. Manipulation

    Resilience vs. Quitting

    Resourcefulness/Conservation vs. Wastefulness

    Responsibility vs. Unreliability

    Respect/Reverence vs. Disrespect

    Safety vs. Carelessness

    Security vs. Anxiety

    Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence

    Self-Discipline vs. Undisciplined

    Selflessness vs. Selfishness

    Sensitivity vs. Callousness

    Servant’s Heart vs. Haughtiness

    Sincerity vs. Insincerity

    Teamwork/Unity vs. Competitiveness/”Me” Attitude

    Thankfulness vs. Complaining

    Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness

    Thriftiness vs. Extravagance

    Tolerance vs. Prejudice

    Trust vs. Mistrust

    Truthfulness vs. Deception

    Unity vs. Division

    Vision vs. Apathy

    Wisdom vs. Foolishness/Natural Inclinations

    Take a few days to truly think about these character traits, the positive and the negative, and then pray about how you are going to further strengthen the good traits you have, as well as how best to develop and work  on the negative traits you have too. We ALL have both positive and negative traits and one of the greatest things about life is that we have the grand opportunity to continually better ourselves. When we love God and love others….and we choose to actively better the lives of others, and better ourselves, good things have a way of entering into our lives.

    Everybody at some point has failed in a situation or a relationship…but keep in mind: “Failure is an event, never a person”…as long as you have breath in you today, you can improve your life and your character! And improving your character will always lead to a better life, better relationships, and the ability to resolve conflict!

    Next post, I will be writing about how to develop each of the character qualities above. Stay tuned! 🙂

    ©2014 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

    ⭐️For more encouragement:

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    ❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

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    ❤️Kim’s blog: 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


    5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

    6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

    7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

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    ⭐️⭐️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 encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.