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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 opportunity for closure. Then there were other grief experiences that were like a wild roller coaster ride that had no end. To be honest, I’ve been on two seemingly never ending roller coasters of grief the past 10 years and 3 1/2 years.

I’ve experienced just about every emotion known to mankind. And to be honest, some emotions weren’t the godliest. I’ve had to work through some extremely tough thoughts and emotions.

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

“Why would you allow this?”

“Why wouldn’t You prevent this?”

“Are You there…and do You truly care?”

“Will you please grant me a brand new season?”

Lots and lots of questions.

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

These situations seemingly have no closure…and no possibility of 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 two 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
  • 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 violates your trust
  • when a loved one attempts or commits suicide
  • when there is a major betrayal in a relationship
  • family, extended family, step-family, marital, or parent/child conflict…or conflict with any of these that began post-grief
  • separation or divorce – especially if it’s not wanted by one spouse
  • adultery
  • abortion
  • church hurt
  • church abuse
  • rejection or abandonment by a family member or loved one
  • situations of abuse – physical, emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual
  • a job issue
  • not getting to say “goodbye” to a loved one who left
  • not getting to confront or make something right with someone who deeply hurt you
  • a situation where justice did not prevail
  • unfair life events
  • when someone mistreats you or lies about you
  • any 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.

Have I wanted to speak about the situations and about my thoughts, heart, and opinions publicly? 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…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, 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.

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

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

©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:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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The Value of Anger in Grief

One of the strongest emotions you may face during times of grief is anger.
I have found throughout 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 at feeling hopeless or helpless…angry you prematurely or unfairly lost a loved one. 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. 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…especially a parent…permanently loses a person they greatly love?

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…found out they have an untreatable or terminal illness…went through the loss of a job after years of loyalty and service…was assaulted…went through the devastation of adultery…or someone came back 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 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 that 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 expecting a person who was in a horrible car accident to conceal their pain while in the emergency room or in ICU.

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.

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, love, & 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:

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

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️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

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 of the time.

God gives each of 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.

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 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
  • Do your self-work and sort through your past and current baggage so you’re a 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 in loving God and serving others.

©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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

🎁FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays 🎄⭐❤


The 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️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 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 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 painfully going 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    ❤️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 good, solid, rich relationship with a loved one—and then no longer have a good relationship (or to then have a drastically changed relationship)—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 files 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
    • Children react to an adulterous affair a parent has had or children react to how the affair victim/parent handled an affair
    • A loved one battles debilitating mental illness or a loved one goes through the longterm effects of a brain injury and these circumstances completely change the dynamics of the relationship
    • Parents react to children and children react to parents on “life” issues or spiritual issues
    • A parent, step parent, or other family member pits a child, parent, step parent or other family member against each other
    • Custody or visitation issues, foster care issues, or family conflicts cause deep heartache or 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 medical challenge, or 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 children rebel against or abandon their parents
    • Siblings, or other family members, change and are no longer close
    • 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 
    • A family member battles addiction—or another stronghold or wrong thinking—and you can’t get through to them
    • Relationship issues majorly change a relationship due to mistreating or reacting to one another
    • An adult child can enter into a romantic relationship (or marriage) where their significant other turns them against their parents or family
    • Friendships heartbreakingly dissolve
    • Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse issues create hardships and heartache
    • A family relationship, friendship, or church relationship dissolves due to a betrayal, a lack of understanding, conflict, or deep hurts
    • 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
    • Ultimately, a lack of respect, lack of genuine love, and a lack of honor wrecks relationships 
    • 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 runout 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.
    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 SECOND 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 that 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 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 obey God.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 are also very important.
    8. 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. Delight in God (Psalm 37:4). When we go through hardships, it becomes easy to become impatient, worry, or even become fearful or bitter. 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!
    10. 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, and situation! If a positive outcome is not possible due to a permanent situation, I pray God gives you the gift of a 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 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 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 or helped by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage & help 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    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
    ❤️

    Life Questions That Can Powerfully Change & Transform Your Life & Regrets Daily

    Throughout life, we each have to look in the mirror and come to terms with what we choose to do with (and in) our lives—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 do love the awful consequences I’m experiencing because of my choices…I am so thrilled with the pain my choices have brought upon my loved ones and myself…I am so glad I wasted life, valuable life lessons, and life’s opportunities!” 

    Nobody in their right mind would say or want these things.

    Did you know that many of the regrets and guilt we face in life can be prevented…that we have a powerful opportunity each and every day to purposely create life questions that can bless our life choices?

    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 uneducated decisions. 

    Some people were gravely warned by others 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 knew better; others truly didn’t. 

    Just because someone has made poor choices doesn’t mean they’re disposable, 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 love and wise encouragement the most! It also is the perfect time to improve one’s life!

    Everybody has a unique opportunity each morning: they have the amazing ability to push the reset button on their life so they can start making the best decisions they can possibly make 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 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, 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 choices possible 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 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?…also, who can I help to be successful?

    •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 or 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 into 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 be either past advice or more 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 or regrets?

    •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/2015/12/04/delighting-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!

    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 30 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 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: 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

    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

    ❤️