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Entering The New Year Without A Treasured Loved One

Pre-grief, the New Year was previously a happy time of celebration…a Happy New Year filled with fresh possibilities…brand new opportunities…new memories to make with loved ones…

Post-grief – especially the very first New Year after the loss of a treasured loved one – the New Year can be incredibly heartbreaking and can even feel scary or daunting.

The thought of a new year without your loved one is painful. Making memories that no longer include your precious loved one — each step forward can seem like a heartbreaking step away from the one you miss so very much. It can all be excruciatingly painful.

So, how do you move forward into the New Year with as little pain as possible?
Incorporate your treasured loved one into the New Year.

There are a variety of meaningful ways to ensure your treasured loved one will always be remembered.

It’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.” A meaningful New Year – and a meaningful life – is possible, as you navigate your heartache and grief.

💗Consider doing these special activities in your loved one’s memory and honor:

• go on that trip or event your loved one always talked about.

• try out that new hobby they always wanted to start but never found the time to do.

• ask God to tell your loved one a message to share with them. I truly believe God is compassionate enough to tell our loved ones we love and miss them…or even ask them to forgive anything we didn’t quite get right while they were here on earth.

• go out to eat and celebrate on your loved one’s birthday…give the waitress a tip in the amount of what you would’ve spent on a gift.

• set a place setting for them at the holiday table with a candle or photo of them.

• plant a garden, buy a houseplant, or adopt a pet in your loved one’s honor to lovingly remember them. Having something to care for in a loved one’s memory can be very healing.

• volunteer at an organization that meant a lot to your loved one.

• If your loved one passed away due to cancer, another illness, or suicide – or any other way, consider getting involved in helping others to heal/fight the same circumstances or illness. Making a difference in your loved one’s honor can be very therapeutic and meaningful.

•Host an annual cookout, event, or party, or a weekend getaway, as a remembrance to your loved one.

• Pour your heart & entire self into God & your remaining loved ones. Death shows us that life is incredibly short – and extraordinarily meaningful. A lifetime is short; redeem it as wisely and as much as you can…whenever you can.

• Live life as big and as well as you can in your loved one’s honor. Make them proud. Show them with your life that their life was so treasured by you – that you will celebrate their life through you in the New Year.

Think about what was special to your loved one. There are so many ways we can include our loved one(s) in our New Year.

We’re not walking into a new year…or creating memories without our loved one(s); we are including them and holding them safely & preciously in our heart until we can see them again in heaven.

We will definitely have sad days…bad days…days where we won’t feel like doing much at all…grief is so incredibly heartbreaking and hard…
…But…
…Like I said, when a loved one dies, it’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.”

When we see our loved one(s) again, we’ll be able to share with them all we did in their honor, as they share with us all they’ve been doing in heaven. More importantly, as we grow closer to God and do His life purpose for us here on earth, just imagine all we will be able to talk about and share with God and our loved one(s) once we arrive.

Here’s to loving and honoring God, honoring and remembering our loved one(s), and living a wise, meaningful, and well-lived life in 2022.

Wishing all of the Grief Bites family a very blessed & meaningful New Year filled with healing, hope, & love!🎉❤️

~Kim

©2022 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

8. The True Treasure of Christmas: https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/28852

⭐️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.

Can You Imagine? Something To Ponder This Christmas❤️

Christmas  Eve.
The peaceful night before our Lord was born.

Truly ponder what an incredible night that was!

Father God knowing what was about to happen…

…how His majestic Perfect Plan would make way for the world to forever change in 33 or so years through His sweet, newborn Son.

I can just imagine what an incredibly special, awestruck, and brilliant moment it was when Father God would soon hear His precious Son’s first breath! Can you imagine?

And with Father God also fully understanding what would happen to His beloved Son in 33 years…

…how the creation He so deeply cherished and loved would have the ability to finally – and thoroughly – connect with Him in deep love and friendship through His Son.

…knowing how His newborn Son would greatly suffer one day…

…realizing what horrible pain and agony His Son would experience.

As the Father anticipated hearing His precious newborn’s first cry, the Father fully already knew of the terribly anguishing cries of the Cross…

…yet in His great, GREAT love for us, He STILL chose to sacrificially carry out His extravagantly loving plan.

I can just imagine how Father God’s great big beautiful heart carried the most awful, crushing, yet beautifully bittersweet feeling.

That precious, soon to be incredibly important day in all of history.

That incredible Christmas Eve when the angels waited with great anticipation and great expectation.

That glorious next day when the King of all Kings would be born in a simple, peaceful, humble stable.

The Father knowing, on that very first Christmas, His Son would choose to die for all mankind. Knowing His Son’s birth would ultimately lead to being painfully pierced on the cross … to save the humans He loved so very much … including you and me.

That distinguished night when this magnificent, splendid, beautiful Son’s purpose was about to unfold and begin…to one day willingly lay down His life and take on – and fully feel and experience – every heartach, sin, and facet of brokenness of all those He loved.

…Every heartache

…Every sin ever committed

…Every disappointment

…Every grief event

…Everything.

He willingly submitted to God’s plan to save a doomed, hurting, sin-filled, and dying world.

Can you imagine?

And He promises:

…To heal every hurt

…To wipe away every tear

…To help, carry, and see us through every life challenge

…To forgive every sin

…To give each of our lives true and abundant meaning

…To give each of us a specific Life Purpose – a purpose so unique, only we can fulfill it

…To be the most exceptional Best Friend we’ll ever have, experience or know

Ponder…truly ponder…the incredible love and miracle that was about to unfold that very first Christmas night.

You are incredibly loved, cared for, and have a Father God who mightily declares, “You are My beloved…My heart…I love you more than anything…YOU are my treasure.”

Christmas Eve is the night before the most significant day in all of HIStory.

What an extravagant miracle and promise Christmas Eve holds!

Can you imagine His great love for you?

Truly – truly – ponder it!

Prayer: “Father God, I cannot even comprehend how Your great heart felt the night before Your precious Son was born — and I cannot even comprehend what great joy and pain coincided in Your heart the day Your precious Son was born. Thank You, Abba Father, for your extraordinary plan and for Your Son’s magnificent sacrifice! We certainly have done nothing to deserve such a lavish, extravagant, and sacrificial Gift…but we are extremely thankful You love us so much that You orchestrated the most marvelous, perfect, miraculous plan! This Christmas Eve, may we not only see the beauty in Your precious, perfect plan, may we also be so humbled as we celebrate the birth of Your Son and His great sacrifice! There are simply not enough words to thank You – and show love to You – for Your special Christmas Gift! We love, cherish, treasure, and adore You so very, VERY much! Father, THANK YOU!! In Jesus name we pray, Amen!”

Lookup: Titus 3:3-7, Luke 2:17-20, Luke 2:10

This #YouVersion devotional © 2018 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Get to know Jesus for yourself❤️: http://www.peacewithgod.net

Grief Bites blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

Check our Pastor Rick Warren’s (of Saddleback Church) book ‘The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?”

⭐️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.

An Important Prayer For Families & Marriages ~ Especially When Hurting

As I was enjoying my quiet time with God today, He placed the importance of family on my heart. The information I’ll be sharing is vital – possibly even life & relationship changing – so get comfy in a chair and allow this to speak to your heart. This may be the most important post someone reads today. ❤️

If short on time, please feel free to skip to the prayer in bold below.

I once heard a quote: “Family isn’t just an important thing…it’s the most important thing.”

As I’ve walked through grief and life challenges, I have found it to be truer than I ever thought. My family has loved me…encouraged me…carried me through tough times…cared enough to make the best memories with me…corrected me when I needed it…been there for me…they’re my absolute favorite people on earth.

Family is a gift…an extraordinary gifteven if family members don’t always act like one (ourselves included). Families can hurt one another…get too busy…be thoughtless at times…or miss the mark. Any human relationship is flawed. That’s why we need God and prayer.

Family. is. worth. it!

Family (God, grandparents, parents, siblings, spouse, children, in-laws…yes, even out-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, church family, etc)…are the precious people who have been personally chosen and handpicked by God Himself for us to do life with. To mistreat or reject them is to mistreat and reject God.

But what if your spouse or family (or church family) has wounded your heart? What about the times a spouse or family member rejects, dishonors, or mistreats us? Let’s go deep and honest here: what about the times we’ve failed or hurt others, too?

Just like marriage, family relationships are designed to make us more holy than happy…to build our character more than our comfort — ultimately, family is designed to make us more like Christ. We shortchange ourselves (and what God can accomplish in us and our loved ones’ lives) when we merely throw our hands up in the air and refuse to care or repair disagreements, hurts, or what’s been damaged or strained.

Of course, God’s perfect design is for families to treat each other right…to bring each other joy…to live in harmony with one another…to learn from each other…to help one another…to comfort one another…be loyal to each other…to protect one another. Even the Bible says when someone continually causes conflict or hurts, this can separate even the closest of brothers. There are so many facets and responsibilities God has entrusted to us by giving us the gift of family.

This includes making things right when we’ve done wrong. When we drop the ball of family, or fail in our responsibility – any gift in life has responsibilities – we can create a huge mess. In fact, conflict comes when we (or a family member) fails to do the above.

Every problem in life, and even in the world, is directly because someone has failed to be responsible or failed to treasure, respect, love, or value God, another person, or themselves.

Ultimately, when we fail to do our part (our responsibility in our God-given relationships) or we fail to care about God’s design for marriage or family, we truly can do a lot of harm to God’s heart and one another. Where there is conflict (or problems)…it is completely linked to not obeying or honoring God and His precious Word…and failing to treat others well.

Even under normal circumstances, life and relationships can present normal challenges…but today, due to the pandemic, financial challenges, and the social/political climate we live in, marriages and families are going through even tougher times. It is so important to seek God’s help and deeply pray.

There are true enemies of family and marriage these days…and the goal of the enemy is to kill, steal, and destroy God-given relationships … (John 10:10, Ephesians 6:12) … It is so important to realize the warfare at hand…or we can continually react to those we love best. Eventually, families and spouses can tear each other apart…even destroy one another…if wisdom and understanding are not applied (Galatians 5:15).

We need to deeply realize: Conflict in marriage/family is spiritual warfare. Divorce is spiritual warfare. Problems with in-laws is spiritual warfare. Adultery is spiritual warfare. Rebellion is spiritual warfare. Not being respectful and responsible in your marriage and family relationships is spiritual warfare. Failing to genuinely love your spouse is spiritual warfare. Failing to make time for family is spiritual warfare. Choosing not to love, cherish, and put your children’s needs above your own is spiritual warfare. Addiction is spiritual warfare. Not loving, respecting, and honoring parents or family members is spiritual warfare.

So how did everything get so messed up? One. choice. at. a. time. How does each spouse or family member repair the damage that has been done – and prevent future conflict and harm? Same thing – one. choice. at. a. time.

It takes less time to get into a mess than it takes to clean it up…cleaning up relationships is rarely fun…but God will ask us to give an account one day of what we did with the gifts He blessed us with…especially how we treated Him and our loved ones.

The choices we make – whether positive or negative – do make a huge impact…especially on our loved ones. Our attitudes…our words…our actions…how we treat one another…our character…it all carries blessings or consequences.

We don’t live in a perfect world…so how do we create and maintain strong families and marriages when there are so many things fighting against this?

“Life,” grief, busy schedules, and day-to day stress can place a tremendous amount of pressure on marriages and families. Conflict is at an an all time high. So how can marriages and families heal … and grow?

Best line of defense – and offense – is prayer.

Of course, action has to back up each prayer…but when we entrust our marriage and family to the Lord, He is faithful to enrich and sustain our relationships with those we love best. God loves us and is for us. He loves our family members more than we do. With God, all things are possible. Healing is possible.

Today, let’s dedicate our families and marriages to Him…for His good purpose. Let’s commit to daily praying for our marriages and families (as well as our homes and churches).

“Dearest Heavenly Father,

We thank You so very much for the gift of marriage and family!

Families and marriages are at an all time high of being attacked.

Life has sped up…there are so many activities and things that compete with You, as well as marriage and family time. May we always choose wisely and put our relationships with You and family first. Absolutely first! Refine our priorities, activities, finances, and time so we always put You, our family, and the “best yes” above everything else. Show us the activities and things we need to rid our lives of to clear our schedules and improve our priorities…give us the grace we need to actually act on this and effectively do it.

Help us to see what a tremendous gift You and family truly are. Help us to not only treat our spouse and family right…help us to greatly love and treasure them as You do. Help us avoid regrets.

Help us to be so very mindful of the condition of our hearts…our actions…our words…our attitudes…our love level…our choices. Especially when it comes to our relationship with You and family.

Please help us see the 90% of what’s right about our loved ones instead of focusing on the 10% of what may be wrong. Help us to see we are so in need of grace and mercy, too. Help us to pray for, speak, and encourage our loved ones’ potential instead of continually looking at or speaking their flaws. Help us to also be mindful that we are not perfect either…help us to be humble – take away our selfishness and pride – and fill us and our loved ones full of grace and the willingness to forgive.

Convict our hearts when – actually before – we are about to disobey You, or hurt You or our family.

Where there’s been conflict, May there now be harmony and genuine love.

Where there’s been judgment, May there now be grace and sincere prayers going up to heaven for family members and the hard things they’re facing in life.

Where there’s been backbiting or gossip, May there now be loyalty and encouragement – and deep prayers.

Where there’s addiction, May there now be conviction, grace, sobriety and a making up of precious time that has been lost.

Where there’s been any abusive behavior – spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, verbal, etc, May there now be repentance, tenderness, self-control, and kindness.

Where there’s been hard-heartedness or rejection, May there now be sincere love, willingness to forgive, and acceptance.

Where there’s been a disconnect, May there now be connection and a deep understanding of one another.

Where there’s been a turning away from God and faith, May there now be a sold-out love and iron-clad full devotion to You.

Where there’s been a lack of forgiveness, bitterness or resentment, May there now be mercy, grace, genuine concern, love, and forgiveness.

Where there’s been dishonor or disrespect, May there now be honor and consideration for one another’s feelings.

Where there’s been division, May there now be true restoration, peace and rich family fellowship.

Where we’ve focused on the problems, May we now focus on the solutions.

Where there’s been apathy or a lack of care, May there now be a willingness – a fervency – to do what’s right, love our family extravagantly, and care more than ever.

Help each of us to fully understand the great value and extravagant gift of You and family! May we never take You or family for granted.

Help us to choose our actions and words wisely – especially during hard times and when having tough conversations. Holy Spirit, guide our thoughts, actions, beliefs, and words.

May each of us seek to obey You in how we love and treat You and one another. Help us to richly strengthen our God-given relationships and homes so they are a sweet aroma and blessing to Your heart.

Heal us. Bless us. Equip us. Sustain us. Build up all of our relationships with You and our family members.

May we seek to be a blessing and a source of love and encouragement in everything we do.

Ultimately, help us to see that all conflict originates from a lack of, a flawed, or hurting relationship with You…and that family and marriage conflict harms not just us, but Your reputation. Give us an abundant amount of wisdom and grace to be right with You! You are our greatest treasure! Never allow us to make our loved ones an idol or place them in front of You! Forgive us for the many times we’ve placed loved ones, activities, goals, or things above You. Life is meaningless if we don’t have You in it! May we first and foremost heal our relationship with You and love and deeply treasure You above all!

We look forward to seeing how You will “work all things together for our good” in our relationship with You, our marriages and families as we seek Your heart, trust You, and love You most.

Please abundantly bless each person who is praying for their family today! Please answer their heart’s cry and prayers. We ask You to heal, restore, and do more than we can ask, think, or imagine!

We love You so much and ask all of these things in Jesus’ precious name, Amen!”

To all who are reading this, God’s got you! He’s got your loved ones! He loves you and your loved ones so very much!

Praying God richly blesses you and your loved ones today!

Here are a few other blog posts on conflict resolution to encourage your heart:

https://griefbites.com/2014/06/18/10102-resolving-conflict-with-20-questions-2-commitments/

https://griefbites.com/2014/06/26/conflict-resolution-during-grief-pt-2/

https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/

https://griefbites.com/2015/12/31/22-questions-that-can-powerfully-change-your-life-transform-your-regrets-daily/

https://griefbites.com/2016/12/30/making-2017-your-best-year-yet-43-ways-to-delight-in-god/

https://griefbites.com/2021/10/07/what-to-do-in-tough-situations-when-youve-done-all-you-can/

Perhaps you’re reading this today and you’d like to get to know God better. Maybe you’d like to make peace with God and allow Him to make a difference in your heart, your marriage, or your family. He’s made all the difference in my life! Please allow me to introduce you to my Best Friend: http://www.peacewithgod.net

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

PS – It would be irresponsible of me to not say: Certainly, if there is blatant disregard or legitimate abuse, it is important to seek wise counsel from a pastor or Bible-based therapist to help create wise boundaries. There is a big difference between someone doing evil and normal human/family error. I believe 99% of issues can be worked out…and with God’s help, can be worked out…but nobody should subject themselves to anything illegal or harmful. If there is sexual or physical abuse…addictions…anything that could put someone in jail…legitimate safety concerns…or ongoing adultery…that’s never to be overlooked, ignored, or condoned. Seeking help is much needed.

©2021 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️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

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

⭐️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.

When A Loved One Is Battling Cancer…

It’s been a crazy few weeks.

My brother had a heart attack, and then my dad suddenly became extremely ill after a biopsy (which came back clear) … and a few weeks later was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastasized cancer.

With my dad, it came out of the blue. Nine weeks ago, we were working out together, as we had been doing, three times a week. He was out-lifting and more fit than many people half his age at the gym. He also always walked at least 10,000 steps a day and was taking care of his health since beating cancer a few years ago (you can read a blog post I wrote from my dad’s first cancer journey here: https://griefbites.com/2016/07/27/the-thief-grief-of-cancer/).

My brother’s heart attack also came as a shock. It happened on Mother’s Day and was a complete surprise.

Having two family members go through dire, life threatening illnesses within mere weeks of one another has been extremely stressful and heart wrenching.

As I was talking on the phone with a friend, telling her how I felt after she asked how I was doing, I put it into words. She said, “Kimmy, you need to blog about this. I’ve never heard such an accurate description.”

This is for my dad…my mom…our family…my two additional family members who are battling cancer…our friends…the grief and cancer communities.…everyone who has had cancer or has watched a loved one suffer through such a devastating illness.

May God grant all of us His mercy, compassion, healing, and His help as we walk through the incredibly hard journey of cancer.

😢🌷When A Loved One Is Battling Cancer🌷😢

Having a loved one go through sudden advanced aggressive cancer is the equivalent of your whole family being thrown into hell in a big bubble without warning.

The whole family is in an air conditioned bubble among the flames — except your loved one who is battling cancer — and you’re watching your loved one…who is outside the bubble…greatly suffer.

You can’t open the bubble to let them in…and you can’t exit the bubble to offer them relief or help.

You have water and you’re willing to give your loved one all the water in the world to refresh and help them – to put out the flames, to offer them a drink, to cool their suffering…but you can’t.

Every time you hear them cry out or wince in excruciating pain…you can’t help. You can’t take away the pain at all.

When they’re so weak they can barely walk or talk…you can’t strengthen them or be the breath their lungs so badly need.

When they are rapidly losing weight…you may be the best cook in the world, or offer to get them any food they want from any restaurant…ANY restaurant…but there’s nothing you can do. You can’t give them the gift of appetite or take away their nausea. Seeing your loved one lose weight – my dad lost 40 lbs last month – you feel like you’re in a nightmare. You learn that when they do feel like eating, you take full advantage of it – and pray they’ll be able to keep it down.

You love them so much that you’d willingly trade places with them…you even tell God you’re willing…but it’s not an option and you can’t take any of the burden off of them.

You see your other loved ones processing it…you can’t really help them either. Words of encouragement are empty…it feels so fluffy and artificial. Just like grief, there are no words in the human language to provide relief or comfort.

You want to say, “I love you,” and hug them a billion times a day…actually, you want to hold them tight and never let them go…but you can’t because it’ll just freak them out. They’ll wonder if they’re closer to death than they realize.

And the pain…the horrendous pain…you desperately want to make it better for them. Sometimes their pain is so great that gentle hugs are physically painful to them. It’s miserable not being able to alleviate their pain. You can’t make them more comfortable either…and due to the pain, no position – sitting or lying down – feels good. Temperature means nothing. They’re burning up one minute and another minute, they’re freezing. It’s so frustrating to them.

You want to cry…but you don’t dare because you need to keep your loved one’s spirits and hope up as high as possible. So much of the battle of beating cancer is in the mind and spirit. You’ll do whatever it takes to help them have the best odds, and most favorable mindset, of beating this dreadful illness.

You want to say stuff like, “it’s going to be okay” – but how do you tell someone it’s going to be okay – when you don’t even know if things will be okay? So you instead say, “We are going to do everything possible to beat this! We’re in this together!”

You want to 100% focus on your loved one battling cancer…but there will be times you won’t be able to since you still have work responsibilities, chores, etc – and you’ll feel so torn. You’ll strive for as much time with your loved one as possible – because you fully understand that any day could be “the day”…and as a result, you’ll cancel any and every unnecessary appointment, social event, anything unnecessary, everything. You realize an awful truth and it breaks your heart into a billion pieces: if God doesn’t grant you the miracle you’re seeking, you are on borrowed time…and the time is short.

You so badly want your loved one to stay on earth…you ignore reality and pray boldly in faith. You’ll be praying for huge miracles – because you want your loved one to stay here. You can’t imagine life without them…and you know you can’t “go there” and especially cannot “camp out there” in your thoughts because this can absolutely depress you. So you ask God for more faith, strength, and a miracle. You’ll even try to barter with God. You focus on prayer…you realize that intense prayer – and even fasting for your loved one (after talking to your doctor) – is the best way to help them. And you don’t just want to save them because you love them so much…you want to save them because you don’t want to see a bright light go dim…they’re doing so much for God on earth, so you continue to beg God for a miracle — multiple times each day. Even though things look bleak, you stand firmly in faith and claim any scripture you know or can find on healing.

Since you’re not crying in front of your loved one…God, other family members, the shower, and the car become your best friends. You cry out to God in your heart…your insides do the crying – and no one around you is aware of it. You turn on music and cry in the shower – where no one can hear. Sometimes, you’ll slump to the ground and pour your ever living heart out to God – especially on the frustrating days where you feel so powerless to help. You get it all out. The car is a great place to pull over and just cry on the hardest days, too. And you do this so you can reset and be your absolute best for your loved one.

You get upset that it’s your dad or family member…and will ask God, “why my dad?why my loved one?” My dad is the nearest thing to a walking angel. Seriously…he is SO good to God, my mom, his grandkids and greats, my siblings, my husband, me – all of our family. I’ve never met anyone who has more integrity than him. Here’s how well-known of how great a person my dad is: At my dad’s birthday party, my sister (as a party game) had a quiz about my dad…one of the questions on the quiz was “Where was Gramps born?” Someone replied, “Don’t say in a manger!” My dad isn’t just a good man…he’s literally the godliest man I’ve ever known. He loves others and lives out his Christianity 24/7.

So many thoughts and emotions these past few weeks!

Whoever pegged the saying “Cancer Sucks” … they were absolutely right. It so very much does suck.

……………..BUT……………..

Make no mistake…there is always hope!!

Cancer – even though it sucks so bad – it does not and will not have the last word! It will refine you…absolutely allow it to refine you…you’ll also find out who your real friends and caring family members are…this refinement is a gift! It will cause you to completely reprioritize your life and relationships. You find out quickly what is truly important – and what is not.

It’s not always doom and gloom…you’re not always a crying, bumbling mess…because you’re also enjoying the heck out of your loved one. You’re doing everything in your power to bring them encouragement, hope, and joy.

Every. day. is. a. precious. gift. A gift not to be wasted.

You’ll have some of the deepest, richest, best conversations ever…and you’ll laugh with your loved one, too.

I’ve had some of the most meaningful conversations with my dad lately…and I’m writing down these precious words, too. I never want to forget these very meaningful talks — and the precious advice he’s giving me. He’s also sharing with me things to say to our loved ones at a future date. His focus isn’t on himself…his focus and his heart is on God, the love of his life (my mom), his treasured grandkids, my siblings, all of our family, and me. My dad’s entire life and world is God, my mom, and our family. Cancer hasn’t and will not change that.

I did mess up and cry around my dad – on Father’s Day – and my dad said something that blew me away. He said he feels his cancer is a privilege to walk through…that it’s a blessing in disguise – even though it doesn’t look like one right now – BECAUSE God will be glorified in this extremely tough situation. He said his cancer will draw our family closer together — and we have the opportunity to allow this trial to refine, teach, and remind us what life, family, forgiveness, and love are all truly about.

I know God is going to carry my dad, my mom, and us through this excruciatingly painful time…no matter the outcome…because God is good. So very, very good!

There are days I feel helpless. I HATE not being able to help my Dad. It’s my nature to help…love…encourage…prevent tragedy…console…save…and protect those I love deeply. I’ve wondered a hundred times how we got here…my dad had been to the ER a few times and was hospitalized twice as well…how did nobody catch this?🥲 Questions like these are futile. My dad told me to focus on the “here and now.” Although this all took us by surprise…this did not take God by surprise. And God is sovereign.

My dad said the battle isn’t mine…that I need to be still and know that God is God. He also said not to be upset with God…that God is good. My dad’s right: The battle isn’t mine. And God IS always good. He isn’t just good…He is 100% faithful…capable…loving…kind…and He is for my dad and our family.

Now that I’ve had a few cry-fests, I’m learning how to better shift my emotions, perspective, thoughts, and focus from an earthly perspective to an eternal perspective…to take (like my siblings have advised) “one hour/day at a time” – which isn’t always easy.

We always say, “I trust God”…and times like these reveal the contents of our hearts…they are also an exclusive opportunity to prove that we do indeed trust God.

So I need to remind my heart: We walk by faith not by sight…God can do more in a moment than I could ever hope to do in a lifetime…God’s Perfect Will – even when we don’t like or agree with it – is exactly what we all would want if we knew ALL the facts…God doesn’t need my help. At all…God is God – and I am not…sooo…I lovingly place my dad, his care, and his very life into the hands of the One who loves him most.

Anyone who has been through this gets it – our family, sadly, is not the only ones to go through this. Millions of people experience this every year. Two other family members are experiencing cancer as I write this. My heart goes out to all who have – and are – experiencing illness.

My focus is on God, my dad, family, and others who are grieving a loved one or battling cancer.

Instead of focusing on the cancer on the toughest days…what could or could not happen…what may or may not be…I will turn my focus – in faith – onto God.

Instead of crying in the car and shower…I will turn these times into deeper times of prayer and praise to the One who loves us most and best.

I will love and enjoy God…my parents…my spouse and kiddos…my entire family…to the very best of my ability.

Yes, I will absolutely still lift my dad and family up in prayer every single day…but my focus will not be on the storm…my focus will be on my God who controls the storm.

And I know I’ll get to know God at a much deeper, richer, and more treasured level through these trials. Like my dad said, this is a blessing in disguise…and God will create good from this situation — because God never wastes a hurt.

I’ll do what my dad has requested: turn my tears into prayers…my worries into praise…my fears into trust…and believe this trial holds a greater purpose.

I. will. not. quit. praying…and I will help my dad stay positive as his treatments become more intense and painful. He said this type of chemo (FOLFOX) made his first cancer treatments feel like a cake walk. I’ll continue to encourage, strengthen, and help him.

I pray anyone who has been affected by cancer will be comforted, encouraged, and healed. And I pray fervently that my dad – and your loved ones, too – will make it and will be healed.

Please pray my dad and all who are battling cancer will win their fight starting today…and may each and everyone of us experience a brand new facet of God as we walk – and continue to love, trust, and praise Him – through the storms we all face. 💗

No matter what storm you’re facing today, always remember you are loved and I am praying for you!

~Kim

©2021 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.

Got Regrets?

Regret is such a small word that packs such huge consequences.

If we’re all honest with ourselves, there are some decisions we made at some point…knowingly or unknowingly at the time…that we can look back on and wish we had chosen differently.

…If someone is going through a preventable illness, it’s likely they wish they would’ve taken better care of their health.

…If they’ve experienced a bad divorce or a broken relationship, especially with their children, it’s likely there are many “if I had only…” regrets.

…If someone made poor or costly decisions, hurt or deeply failed someone they love, wasted precious time or resources, or failed monumentally in an important part of life, it’s likely they wish they could turn back time.

There are many situations in life we can wish we had taken a different…and much better…path.

No matter what regrets you are facing today, please do not allow your regrets to define you. You are not a failure, a reject, or a loser. No, you are simply a human being who made a poor decision…or maybe you are having to live with the consequences of another person’s regretful actions or decisions.

We each are made in the image of God.

Think about that incredible truth!

Since we are each made in God’s image, we are all incredibly special, loved, and valuable…God still has a purpose and plan for each person’s life that only they can do.

God has the power to make EVERYTHING work together for our good if we love Him.

Something a friend shared with me awhile back really put this in perspective. I hope it encourages you:

“God can turn your mess into a message, your test into a testimony, He can turn you from being a victim into a victor, and He can give you great triumph from your trials. He can turn your scars into stars and your pain into a pulpit”

It’s true! No matter what has happened so far in your life, God is not finished with you yet! Nothing you have done…or anything someone has done to you…has made him love you any less. He genuinely loves you so very much!

Take time today to have an intimate conversation with God about your deepest guilts and regrets. Pour your heart out to Him and ask Him to help you to truly put your life back together.

Good things are to come. You can’t do anything about the past but God can do everything with your future.

~From the YouVersion Bible reading plan, ‘Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships’.
Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/Ei

🌷ROMANS‬ ‭8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”‬ ‭

🌷PHILIPPIANS‬ ‭1:6‬, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

🌷ROMANS‬ ‭8:37-39, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

©2021 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.

When Father’s Day Isn’t A Celebration

Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for many…but what if Father’s Day is a day of great pain?

There are those who have experienced their much loved father’s death…those who are estranged due to abuse or their father having an affair and leaving the family…those who have been abandoned by their dad…and some never met their father because he died or left before they were born.

There are dads who will be in great pain today, too, due to having experienced a much treasured child’s death…dads who have a distant or complicated relationship with their child(ren)…dads who are grieving a child who never got to breathe one breath on earth due to miscarriage…or the child’s mother chose abortion.

There are dads who are serving in the military…or children who are serving, too.

There are some dads or children who are incarcerated as well.

There are some who have no idea where their dad or child is due to addiction or being a prodigal.

Some moms never revealed the identity of their child’s father and decided to raise their child by themselves.

Some adult kiddos have a spouse who will interfere with their relationship with their father today.

Some will flat out ignore their dad or child due to an argument or conflict that never got resolved.

For some, their grandparents are raising them.

For others, they have a single mom who is singlehandedly raising their precious children alone.

Not everybody has the blessing of going out to eat with their dad today (or celebrating with their children)…and there will be no happy Instagram or Facebook post.

Instead, there will be a void…a sadness…that will be greatly felt today.

While growing up, my dad was suddenly killed. Somebody’s selfishness ripped my father from our family.

And Father’s Day was hard.

At church, my Sunday School teachers would instruct us to draw a picture or make a special craft project to give to our dad as a Father’s Day gift.

As I watched my friends run up to their dads to excitedly give them their art work, and see them hugging them and holding their father’s hand…my heart just sunk. I felt out of place…like I didn’t belong.

My mom did a great job that day sharing how God was a good Father who cared.

My mom would later remarry and I eventually received one treasure of a dad. He’s amazing – absolutely wonderful – so I want to give a big shout out to all of the amazing men who step into the grand position of loving their bonus children.

Most importantly, today is a good day to celebrate the Ultimate Father — God.

God the Father will never leave or forsake us. He is always present. He knows every heartache, pain, frustration, and fact about our lives.

He assures us that He is a Father to the fatherless.

Family is extremely important to God…so important that He calls us family…and He greatly values us. He loves us and calls us His.

Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Today, you are loved… treasured… valued… precious important.

Whatever is hurting your heart today, God knows. And He cares.

Spend some time with God the Father today and allow His love to soothe and encourage your heart.

Psalm 103:13, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.”

Allow God’s great compassion to meet your heart’s needs today.

What if you feel “less than” today? Nothing could be further from the truth!

A quote I love and find very meaningful is:

There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental children. There are illegitimate parents, but there are no illegitimate children. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did,” -Rick Warren

God planned for you and created you with His very own hands. You are here for a reason. You are more than accepted and totally valuable. Never doubt – and never forget – this awesome fact! http://peacewithgod.net

If you know a family member or friend who doesn’t have their father in their life…or a dad who is deeply missing his child, be sure to reach out to them to let them know you care. Compassion and empathy are very good gifts to extend to loved ones today.

Wishing everyone a blessed Father’s Day!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2019 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: 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.