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Grief, Loss, & Suffering

When going through grief, suffering, and loss, it can feel like the absolute end of the world.

Throughout life, I’ve experienced over 40 major grief events…a mixture of death of loved ones, extreme loss, and serious tragedy. At the time, it did feel like the end of the world…because it was the absolute end of my world…especially since some of the loved ones I lost were my world.

It’s been through these incredibly hard, heartbreaking times I’ve learned the most though.

I didn’t initially learn much during my first few grief experiences…but the lessons came, and kept coming, and I did eventually choose to learn a lot.

After going through grief and loss while growing up (my dad, sister, grandparents, uncle, and boyfriend’s deaths, as well as my sister’s fiancé’s death; our home flooding and losing everything; an illness; a friend’s murder; two friend’s suicides; being in ICU twice; and other grief events), I remember naively thinking (when I was at the ripe, old age of 19), “I paid my dues…now I can live a grief-free life.” But that isn’t how “life” or “grief” works.

Grief is definitely not a “one and done” event; grief & suffering are a part of life…and will be intermittently woven throughout a lifetime.

I have found it comes in waves. Sometimes, the water is beautiful and calm…other times, it feels as though the the waves will engulf and drown you.

The better equipped and educated we are on the topic of grief/suffering, the better prepared we (and our loved ones) will be as we face any wave of grief. And there will be many waves of grief throughout the lives of most.

ALL grief events have value. Extraordinary value. God never wastes a hurt. We can waste our hurt; God never does. When we entrust our grief and heartache to God, He is faithful to bring something good out of it. It may not happen initially, but it will happen…even if we can’t see it at the time. (Psalm 56:8; Isaiah 66:9)

I’ve experienced multiple, worse grief events in my adult life…and I credit the the grief and loss I faced while growing up with helping prepare me for these future times of deep heartache and adversity.

Each grief event we go through is an opportunity to deeply mourn — as well as learn a new facet of God’s heart…to find out more about the condition of our hearts…to develop compassion, empathy, character and strength..and ultimately, to learn how to extravagantly love God and “suffer well”.

Learning how to “suffer well” isn’t fun. It’s my LEAST favorite part of any trial, grief experience, or loss. It takes God’s love and grace to do so.“Suffering well” means to run to God during times of grief, learning valuable lessons only God can teach us throughout our grief journey — ultimately, suffering well means to allow our grief to transform us into being more like Christ.

Grief (suffering) – although it is gut-wrenchingly terrible – is one of the best teachers on the planet…when you embrace it, God will show you things you can’t even fathom (1 Cor 2:9-10; Isaiah 45:3). God shows and teaches us things – treasures – when we walk through darkness that we can’t learn as effectively any other way.
Lessons bought with an incredibly high price…so high, you won’t want to waste it…are treasures. You can’t buy these lessons and treasures at Walmart; they’re purchased with each teardrop, sleepless night, and heartache. These lessons and treasures have great purpose throughout life – especially when we help our loved ones and others in times of suffering and grief. (2 Cor 1:4)

As Christians, Jesus shares we will experience hardships, trials, grief, and suffering – the Bible is FILLED with scripture on these topics – so it makes sense to study God’s Word and find out how to best navigate these super tough times.

Let’s purpose today to love God and draw as close as we can to His incredible heart…to study God’s Word on grief, loss, and suffering…to find out as much as we can in the Bible…and to seek God’s heart throughout each grief event we experience throughout life. He is the key to getting through grief.💗

Want to know how Grief Bites began? Read all about it here.

💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕

🥰Bible verses to encourage your heart🥰

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
~ Psalm 34:18

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
~ Psalm 27:13-14

“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord..”
‭‭~ Isaiah‬ ‭66:9‬ ‭‬‬

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

“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.”
‭‭~ Psalm‬ ‭56:8, 12-13‬ ‬‬

“Be strong and courageous…The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:7-8

“For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”
~ Isaiah 49:13

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
~ Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
~ John 14:27

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”
~ Job 23:10

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”
~ Nahum 1:7

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
~ Matthew 11:28-29

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
~ John 3:16-17

“Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.”
~ Psalm 119:143

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

Praying everyone who is walking through grief will find encouragement, comfort, love, hope, and healing for their hurting heart!

©2022 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):

❤️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. Happy New Year!: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: 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.

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 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 of 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.

Something Short & Valuable For Anyone Going Through A Hard Time

With the end of the year upon us, realize – truly ponder – the 7 following truths:

  1. You have great value. Tremendous value!
  2. The world would hold less value if you were no longer in it.
  3. Your loved ones are so very thankful you’re still here and pressing forward.
  4. It’s ok if all you accomplished this year was breathing and making it through the tough grief events you’re going through. Some years are filled with great accomplishments. Other times, a year filled with holding on, refocusing, and reflection is much needed.
  5. I’m proud of you for doing the hard grief work needed to eventually see better days.
  6. God loves you and deeply cares about you. Your life, as well as the life purpose God has given you, holds great value.
  7. This may be the worst chapter of your life…but your story isn’t over. Give God the remaining chapters of your life’s book and allow Him to write the rest of the story. Better days…even your best days…may be about to unfold in the future.

2021 … actually, 2020 and 2021 have been extraordinarily tough years for so many. Praying 2022 will hold much better times for everyone. With a fresh, new year, there are sure to be fresh, new possibilities.

Put in the work and the work will help put your life back together. Continue to learn and grow through the rest of this year, as well as the new one coming up.

If you have to go through it, you may as well grow through it.

Just like Pastor Rick Warren says: God never wastes a hurt. We need to resolve that we won’t waste any of our hurts either.

As we place all of the broken pieces of our heart and life into God’s more than capable hands – and love and trust Him – He’s faithful to redeem all of the heartache, anxiety, pain, and challenges we go through.

Praying for all who are hurting today!

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2021 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 🎄Be sure to “follow” the Grief Bites page so you won’t miss any holiday encouragement!🎄

🎄Kim’s blog: https://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

  1. The True Treasure of Christmas : https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/28852
  2. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
  3. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
  4. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
  5. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
  6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5
  7. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv
  8. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Valentine’s Day: 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.

Deep Grief: To Celebrate Christmas or Not?

A question I am continually asked by grievers during the holidays is: “Should I fully celebrate Christmas or not? My head says ‘yes,’ but my heart says, ‘no.’”

It’s such a personal topic – with no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer – and it doesn’t have just one correct answer either.

It also can look different for each situation, as well as year-to-year – and can depend on where you are at in your grief. In fact, my family and I have handled this dilemma in different ways, depending on the grief event, as well as different years, too.

A few ways my family and I have navigated the holidays while going through painful grief (again, there are no cookie-cutter, right or wrong, answers)…this is just what we were comfortable doing:

When my 22 year-old sister died, leaving behind three small children (a baby and two toddlers), and I had a toddler at the time, too…my family and I felt strongly we were not going to compromise Christmas or give the kiddos any sad holiday memories. Looking back, I have no idea how we mustered the strength to do so, but we chose to go all out and gave our family’s kiddos the best Christmas we could. I’m not saying it was easy…it totally wasn’t…but we didn’t want to add to their loss. At one point, I had to go outside to cry for a few minutes so they wouldn’t see my heartache…and that night, while in the shower and after I got in bed, I cried pretty hard. However, I’m very grateful we chose to do what we did— and I give all the credit to God. It was definitely His grace that got us through that first heartbreaking, impossible, gut wrenching Christmas.

Another holiday season – years later when we weren’t responsible for children – it looked a lot different. Years after my 22 year-old sister died, my other sister experienced her 2nd fiancé’s death (her 1st fiancé died a few weeks before our sister died). With this grief event, we no longer had small children…all of the kids were college-age…so my family and I gave ourselves permission to have a much more relaxed Christmas season. We exclusively focused on Jesus, family, and the peace of the season. That’s it. We didn’t place any pressure on ourselves to have the perfect Christmas season or a “happy” holiday. We pretty much just “winged it” and did whatever we felt comfortable doing each day. I found I liked and appreciated this so much that I have made a portion of the Christmas season a time for peace and relaxation.

What about traditions? It’s totally okay to balance old traditions with new traditions. Old traditions help us to honor and remember our loved ones. New traditions help us to create something new…it can help to refocus our heart…especially during times of grief.

Okay…so here comes the difficult part…

I’m going to write about something super hard to talk about. I don’t like to write about it…I seriously feel like a jerk for what I’m about to write…but I wouldn’t be responsible if I didn’t. Please know it comes from a good place of overwhelming compassion. And experience. Hopefully, my pain can be someone else’s gain.

You know how you take your kiddo to the doctor for a painful shot? It hurts at the time, but it can prevent something worse in the future? Here’s your holiday “shot.” It may sound tough…but it will prevent future grief and heartache…

Something nobody likes to think about or talk about…and something important I found (it was bitterly learned through deep regret): no matter the grief event I face, I choose to celebrate the Christmas season, as best as I can, with my remaining loved ones. Whether I feel like it or not. No matter the grief event I’m going through. Exclusively because I’m not guaranteed they or I will be “here” to celebrate with the following year. Illness can happen…cancer can happen…car accidents can happen…freak accidents can happen…we’re just not guaranteed tomorrow…so it is wise to make the most of every day, every holiday, and every opportunity. Time waits for no one.

I didn’t use to think this way; in fact, I previously and vehemently encouraged others to “do whatever they need to do to get through the holidays (as long as they aren’t hurting God’s heart, others, or their own self)”…but then, regret set in when a loved one died in a freak accident – and I realized I had wasted my last holiday and time with them due to choosing grief over relationships.

I now continually tell myself: Grief has already stolen so much…please do not allow it to steal more from you than it already has.

I cannot stress this enough: it is so very important to love, make memories, and spend time with our remaining treasured loved ones…we are never guaranteed more time…we do not know what tomorrow holds.

An important quote (a very painful, but good quote by Kelli Horn) which totally sums it up: “Even though I am grieving, the clock is still ticking…and that’s why I keep living…purposefully.” It’s so incredibly true. I think about this quote anytime I feel like not living life fully. I also focus on what God, my deceased loved ones, and remaining loved ones would want for me…and what they need from me. I continually ask myself if my choices will allow grief to steal more away from me…or cause further/future grief or regrets.

So does that mean we superficially be fake and act happy? Act like our hearts are healed when they’re totally not? Wear ourselves thin when we’re utterly exhausted? Absolutely not. We balance our grief with cherishing our remaining treasured loved ones, as we create meaningful memories during the holiday season. We balance times for family…with time for our grief. And tears may surface…and we may need to create a relaxed or even different holiday – which is totally okay. We can trade in fun or hurried traditions for peaceful and more meaningful traditions. Those who love us best will understand…and will show us compassion.

All I am writing about is not the gospel. It’s simply a personal opinion and preference – built around my unique grief and life experiences. It’s just how my family and I have chosen to do a few holiday seasons while we were in deep grief, and how we’ve decided to create our new normal for holidays.

There are times to relax or take a break…and times to press forward. This year, we are right in the middle of excruciatingly painful grief, so we are pressing forward. My Dad was recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized cancer…so even though none of us are feeling super cheerful, we are absolutely determined to have the best Christmas season ever, as we make lasting memories as a family…especially with my Dad.

Everyone has to choose to do Christmas in their own unique and individualized way…because each person will need to be comfortable with their own grief, feelings, and decisions. Each person has to weigh their individual blessings, responsibilities, potential regrets, consequences, comfort level, and spiritual/emotional/physical/mental health. It’s wise to look at the past, present, as well as the future when choosing how to best create the Christmas season.

Sooo…is it wrong to stay home and have a peaceful Christmas? Or go out of town for the holidays for a change of pace? Or forgo your usual Christmas traditions or create brand new traditions? Absolutely not.

Each person/family needs to make the best decisions for their family and their self, pray about it, and then do as God directs them. Soul/emotional care is so very important. Sometimes, it’s necessary to do what you need to do to protect your heart.

Just a tip: Any decision made this year doesn’t have to be made in cement…it can always be changed up the following year. It’s helpful to communicate this with loved ones…it can prevent conflict.

I’m often asked what I do for the holidays. I personally have found focusing on the true Reason for the season, family, and doing kind things for others is incredibly helpful and brings my heart joy. I’ve grown a lot throughout my grief. I enjoy Jesus and all the season has to offer…and make the best memories I can with my loved ones. I always count the cost.

My advice for the holidays? Custom create a special Christmas season that “fits” where you currently are in your grief and life. Be loving and compassionate to your loved ones, and communicate with them how you feel. Ask how they’re feeling, too. Look for ways to love others and make a difference. Take time to remember and honor your loved ones who now live with Jesus. Figure out together with God and family how to create a meaningful, special holiday season.

Grief is excruciating. The first few years are incredibly hard. Sometimes, random years will punch you as hard as the first Christmas without your loved one. It won’t always feel as bad as it does today…the pain eventually lessens. It usually gets worse before it gets better…but…your best days may not have even happened yet. Whether it’s holidays, family, life, or grief, all are precious and worthy of embracing.

With a heart of gratitude…even though it hurts so incredibly bad…make the most of all God, family, and life have to offer…and that will look different for each person.

However you choose to unwrap the Christmas season, I pray God will bless you with all the gifts the season has to offer. I also pray God will carry, deeply comfort, strengthen, encourage, love, and bless all of you.

Wishing you a very peaceful, healing, meaningful, and blessed Christmas season!

Gratitude & blessings,

~Kim

©2021 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 $3.19 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: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐️❤️🎄Be sure to “follow” the Grief Bites page on Facebook so you won’t miss any holiday encouragement! We’ll be posting encouraging quotes, recipes, excerpts from holiday reading plans, special songs, ideas of how to lovingly remember & honor your treasured loved ones, as well as holiday tips and advice from those who have experienced grief during the holidays. I’ll also be sharing helpful ideas from other grief organizations as well…and tagging them so their pages can encourage your heart, too! We look forward to encouraging you!

⭐️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.

⭐️WHAT IF?? Seriously…ask yourself “What if?”

⭐️WHAT IF?? Seriously…ask yourself “What if?”

Today, I want to write about something incredibly important.

If you’ve previously read the Grief Bites blog, you know I’m passionate about five things:

  1. Delighting in God
  2. Treasuring Family/Loved ones
  3. Helping others through grief and loss
  4. Dogs
  5. Holidays

The holidays are now here…and this year’s holiday season is extremely important to my family and me.

Due to my sister’s (and other loved ones’) deaths, I already deeply knew people can be “here today and gone tomorrow.” This year, with my brother’s heart attack on Mother’s Day, my Dad’s cancer diagnosis in June, and my stroke in August, life has further taught me..and confirmed…there are NO guarantees. Ever.

Before going through a tough life event, people casually ask, “What would you change if you were dying and only had 30 days to live?” I remember saying things like, “Go to Hawaii” or some other life experience to mark off the bucket list.

A cancer patient and their family have two primary wishes…healing and making memories.

I know how hard it was when my family and I joined my Dad at his oncology appointment and we were given heartbreaking, gut-wrenching news.
To be told a treasured loved one has stage 4 cancer and is dying … there just are no words.

As I talked to my Dad later that day and told him how scared I was…that I didn’t want to lose him……he simply said, “we are ALL dying, Kim – each day that passes, our time grows shorter…so what are we going to do about it?”

I am praying for a miracle for my Dad to be healed. Please put my Dad on your church’s prayer list.

In the meantime, I’ve been making sure he (& my mom & family) create the best memories possible.

🎄❤️I told my parents today I’m making sure they have the very BEST holiday season EVER!❤️🎄

🎄❤️🎄 Today is Day 1!!

Just like my family and I are doing…Please consider making this holiday season the best ever with your loved ones starting today, too. Don’t wait for a cancer diagnosis or the death of a loved one to do things differently.💗

Deeply consider:
🎄Make the memories as much as you can while the people you love are still here to make them with.
🎄NEVER waste time, love, or any opportunity – all are precious.
🎄Don’t waste your life on anything that doesn’t last…as in don’t trade time with loved ones for things that won’t matter. Social media, video games, sports, fun friends that come & go, hobbies, etc … all are super fun … BUT always put your favorite people above these things. Social media, video games, sports, friends, hobbies will always be here…family may not be. You don’t have to totally get rid of any of these things…just count the cost and prioritize what’s MOST important. For whatever and whoever you say yes to, you’re automatically saying no to someone or something else. Train yourself to invest in the best yes.
🎄Forgive loved ones easily…especially if you know it’s not their nature to harm or hurt others. Grudges lead to guilt and regrets later on.
🎄BE PRESENT. So many people are missing out on life: their grandparents/parents…their spouses…their kids…family…all because of their phone or other distractions.
🎄Get to know your loved ones…REALLY get to know them. There is so much we don’t know about our loved ones. I’ve learned four new things about my parents this week – just by asking questions about their childhoods and life.
🎄MAKE MEMORIES & TREASURE EVERY MEMORY…one day, they’ll mean the absolute world to you!!

⭐️So seriously…ask yourself “WHAT IF?”⭐️

🎄What if a treasured loved one died in 2022?
🎄What if this was YOUR or YOUR LOVED ONES last Christmas?
🎄What if you called your grandparents and parents and asked them questions about their life … before they became a spouse…a grandparent/parent…an adult? Their hopes and dreams…what they want most now? The deepest desires of their heart? What Bible verse means the most to them and why? Their favorite movie, book, and song? Ask these precious questions NOW before it’s too late.
🎄What if you did the work your marriage needs to greatly improve it?
🎄What if you gave God a true chance and allowed Him to change your heart & life?
🎄What if you deeply treasure your kiddos and exclusively made time for them…above everyone & everything else? Choose to make the most memories you can…the time goes by waaay too fast!
🎄What if you made this holiday season your best one ever with your loved ones?

Think about and consider the above “What if’s”…❤️🎄❤️

Why not MAKE THIS YOUR BEST HOLIDAY SEASON EVER with your loved ones? You’ll be so incredibly thankful you did!

Make a list of all the fun things you and your loved ones want to do. Make the list together. Continually add to it as the season goes on.

A quote my mom shared with me today:
You never know when the last time will be THE last time” — so make the choice to make every time together extra special and valuable.

Hope everyone has the BEST holiday season EVER making the BEST MEMORIES!!!❤️❤️❤️

One last thought…What if you don’t have a family or you don’t live close by your family? God, a church family, and very close friends are a great source of encouragement and offer an opportunity to make good memories throughout the holidays. God is here 24/7 and deeply loves and cares about you. Spending the holiday season with God is absolutely incredible.

Also, if you’re deep in grief…

…you may not feel up to fully celebrating the holidays this year. That’s totally okay. I’ve been there and I totally get how painful the holidays can be.
If you’re at a place where you’d like to embrace the holidays more, that’s totally alright, too.

I encourage everyone to lean into God and their loved ones … make precious memories with those you love best! It’s incredibly hard to go through grief during the holiday season…very painful…but consider that our remaining loved ones need our love and attention as much as we need them. A quote I heard years ago left a huge impression on my heart: “Even though I am grieving, the clock is still ticking. And that’s why I keep living…purposefully.” This quote was written by a young lady who although was going through intense grief after her fiancé’s death, she chose to still celebrate her remaining loved ones – and was so grateful she did because her sister died a few weeks later. Talk with your loved ones about having a meaningful holiday season…share your heart and talk about how you and your loved ones would like the holidays to unfold. There is no cookie cutter answer of how to celebrate the holidays. It’s best to custom create them with your loved ones.

Whether you choose to do a little or a lot this month and next, I hope this blog post will encourage everyone to deeply love & treasure their loved ones this holiday season in a way that is comfortable and meaningful to them.

I’ll be doing A LOT through our Facebook page Grief Bites for those who are hurting, heartbroken, or lonely…I’ll be offering encouraging quotes, excerpts from reading plans, recipes, special songs, ideas of how to lovingly honor your loved ones, and holiday tips and advice from those who have experienced grief during the holidays. Feel free to follow our page. Just click the link: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

I’ll also be sharing helpful ideas from other grief organizations as well…and tagging them so you’ll be greatly comforted and encouraged. It’ll be an like a comforting blanket around your shoulder – a hug for your heart – throughout this holiday season.

Wishing all of you a memorable, special, peaceful…and BEST…holiday season ever!🎄❤️🎄

~Kim

©2021 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 “following” the Grief Bites 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 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 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.

What To Do In Tough Situations When You’ve Done All You Can

Tough situations can be so very hard to get through – and who isn’t currently going through a tough situation?

The process can be daunting…even ruthless.

You do what you think is best…you pray like crazy…you cry many tears…you do everything you possibly can.

When going through grief, trials, or a tough situation, we can feel a pull to fix things…to try to help God (if we’re really being honest, to try to get God to do the outcome WE think is best).

Then after praying, crying, waiting, and trying to fix things in your own efforts, you can even feel like giving up after going through a tough situation for awhile.

I’ve been there…and it’s not a fun place to be.

Please don’t give up…God’s got a much better plan.

I’ve learned the hard way that after I’ve invested my responsibility of doing what’s right in a situation…sometimes God wants me to get out of the way.

God wants MY hands off and out of a situation so He can use HIS own hands (and timing and way) to fix a situation – so HIS best purpose prevails and HE receives the rightful glory.

As long as we keep our hands in a situation, God will allow us to do just that. He lovingly and patiently waits for us to come to the end of ourselves so we will submit to His Will.

Remember: God’s thoughts and ways are NOT our natural thoughts and ways…so trusting & obeying God is vital.

God’s thoughts, ways, and Will are PERFECT…in fact, God’s thoughts, ways, and Perfect Will are EXACTLY what we’d all want if we knew ALL the facts.

It’s truly best to obey God and leave things in His more than capable hands. He can do more in a moment than we could ever hope to do in a lifetime.

As we love, trust, and obey God, we find how good and faithful He truly is.

One of the hardest things to do is to, “Be still and know that He is God”…but when we trust and leave the outcome to Him, He does more than we can ask, think, or imagine.

In what situation is God asking you to cease striving and completely trust in Him today?

Dedicate your toughest situations to God as you continue doing your God-given responsibilities, and trust Him with the outcome.

God’s best work doesn’t need our help.

God loves us…cares for us…deeply cares about our every situation…and can work all things together for our (and our loved ones) good as we love Him and allow Him to work out the purpose He knows is best.

Today, spend some time with God.

Get right with Him.

Ask Him what His Will is.

Dedicate and entrust your hard situation to Him.

Submit to God and His plans.

Love Him extravagantly as you wait.

NEVER stop trusting or believing in God’s goodness.

God loves you and He’s got this!❤️

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble…Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:1,10‬

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

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

©2021 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 “following” our page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Grief Bites 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.

“How am I ever going to get through this?”

As a grief and marriage coach, I am frequently asked by others, “How am I ever going to get through this?”

Grief and loss are so incredibly hard to experience…and so many are caught off guard and unprepared for how to get through the toughest days of their life.

There is no such thing as a cookie cutter answer to those who are seeking help and answers. There are commonalities among grievers but grief is so individual.

You take one minute at a time…until you take one hour at a time…then you take one day at a time…then one week at a time…then one month at a time.

Sometimes, all you’ll be able to initially do is make the decision to “exist.”
Then you’ll go through the motions.
Yet, during these times, it’s important to feel what you need to feel. Sometimes, this will feel like a much needed release, but other times, it’s far too painful…so you’ll choose to wait an hour or two – maybe even a day – when you feel you can better handle it.

Allow trusted family & friends to hold you up until you’re able to process your grief.
Key word here is trusted. There’s a big difference between someone who genuinely cares and loves you…and someone who just wants “the scoop” and will use your most vulnerable emotions and details to share with the world.

You’ll initially feel frozen – like the whole world has stopped…then you’ll crawl…then walk…fall down…then get back up and learn how to jog…fall down again…then fully run with God’s grace and help. Then you find out what every griever eventually finds while running: one memory…one song on the radio…one random holiday can trip you out of nowhere…even years later…and the timeline is different for each griever. That’s why it is so vital to stay so close to God…He will lovingly pick you back up. Every. time.

Something that surprised me was random emotions during grief. Your emotions might surprise you too. You may feel irritated or angry out of nowhere. Angry at your loss. Angry at God. Angry at the illness that stole your loved one. Angry at the doctors. Angry at how unfair your situation is. Your anger isn’t just merely anger – it’s a very deep form of grief. It is so important to never allow this part of your grief to win. It will cost you far more than you’ll ever want to pay. Feel what you need to feel…absolutely…just please don’t permanently camp out there. Run to God full force…even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to.

Never give up hope! It won’t always feel or be as bad as the way it is today…but it takes time and grief work. You’ll get there.💗

Be kind to others and be kind to your own heart. You’re going through one of the toughest times of your life.
Give yourself (and others) compassion and grace.

One day, you’ll realize you smiled for the first time…and laughed…and you might even feel guilty…but choose to press forward. Your treasured loved one enjoyed seeing you happy while they were on earth…they want you to discover happiness and joy again. They want you to have a good life.
It’s tough at times though because each new memory is a new memory without them. It’s okay to feel that tremendous loss…choose to walk through that pain and then also choose to open yourself up to feel the happiness and joy your heart deserves. Fully enjoy the gift of life when you feel ready to do so.

Always remember and honor your treasured loved one…and don’t feel bad or apologize for it. You will never “get over” your loved one or your situation of grief, as some may pressure you to do.

Realize that grief isn’t something you get over, it’s something you eventually get through. The greater the love, the greater the grief. The goal isn’t to get over someone you love…the goal is to eventually warmly smile when you think of your loved one and live life to the fullest in their honor. Make them proud.💗

Look for ways to make a difference in your loved one’s honor…to celebrate their precious life. Do something special for someone in your loved one’s honor – perhaps a family member or friend – every birthday and anniversary…the days that hurt the worst. Maybe go out to eat on their birthday to their favorite restaurant- and then tip the waiter or waitress the amount you would’ve spent on your loved one for their birthday or your anniversary. Or pay for the car behind you in a drive thru. You’ll be surprised how healing this can be as you keep your loved one’s memory alive each year.

When going through grief…be patient with yourself (and your loved ones).
It’s literally as though you’ve been in an emotional “car crash”…it takes time to heal.
If you were in a car crash, you’d need triage help at first…maybe even multiple surgeries…then perhaps physical therapy and occupational therapy to help you learn how to live life again.

Grief is no different.

Take the time you need to learn how to live life again. God is with you every step of the way.

You are valuable. You are so very loved. I’m glad you’re here…and that you are continually choosing to remain here. Your life holds exceptional purpose and value.

Grief is a mixture of so many emotions. It’s one of the toughest events you’ll ever experience in life.

You’ll never be the same.

You’ll see every part of life so differently.

And you’ll grow.

You’re going to make it through this heartbreaking, gut wrenching, terrible time. With God’s help, love, mercy, grace, and encouragement, He’ll help you pick up every piece of your life that was shattered. Simply ask Him. He is there. He deeply cares. He loves you more than anybody ever has and ever will.

Never give up hope!💗

©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️Some additional blog posts that may encourage your heart:

The Value of Anger in Grief: https://griefbites.com/2017/04/03/the-value-of-anger-in-grief/

What To Do When You Can’t Take Anymore: https://griefbites.com/2021/02/27/what-to-do-when-you-cant-take-anymore/

When God Doesn’t Give You Your Fairytale: https://griefbites.com/2018/03/21/when-god-doesnt-give-you-your-fairytale-2/

7 Things To Realize About Someone Going Through A Hard Time: https://griefbites.com/2016/02/20/7-things-to-realize-about-someone-going-through-a-hard-time/

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

⭐️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

⭐️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.

💗

What To Do When You Can’t Take Anymore

Everybody goes through heartache and discouragement … but what do you do when your heartache is so deep, it feels as though you may drown in your tears and despair?

I’ve been there. My grief ran extremely deep. I felt like I was dead but couldn’t die…crying was physically painful because my eyelids were so tender and raw. I felt as though I couldn’t catch my breath.

If you’re at that very tough place right now, it’s very important to know: there is hope.

If today your broken heart is crying out, “I can’t do this anymore”…

…that’s a signal.

It’s a signal to place all of the broken pieces of your heart into God’s more than capable hands.

Something to always remember: when we feel we can’t go on…GOD CAN & WILL CARRY US! He can comfort and heal a broken heart more in one moment than we could ever hope to do in a lifetime.

As we walk through our pain, God will be right beside us. He is faithful to carry us in those heart-wrenching times.

When we give God each shattered piece of our heart, He can take the broken pieces and lovingly rebuild each piece back together – and eventually create something of great value.

Our heart won’t be the same. Instead, it will have new space to hold more depth, compassion, wisdom, and much more understanding about life due to experiencing deep grief.

And there will be pain in the process…but as Pastor Rick Warren always says, “God never wastes a hurt.”

Having been through multiple grief experiences, I have found this to be more than true.

So if you are deep in heartache or discouragement today…ask God to come in and help you.

You couldn’t ask for a better Companion throughout your grief.

He truly is a Faithful Friend – and He’s always there 24/7.

God loves you…He cares for you…and He can genuinely relate to your pain.

God sees every chapter of your life – start to finish.

I promise you: God is not through with you. He will NEVER leave you or forsake you.

You may be in the worst chapter of your life…but it won’t always be like this…and you have better days to come in the upcoming chapters. With God, some of your very best days may not have even happened yet.

Hold onto hope!

TRUST God.

Feel what you need to feel.

Always remember God loves you more than anyone ever has…and He loves you more than anyone ever will.

God’s heart is good and He is FOR you!

So run to His heart and trust Him when you feel like you can’t take anymore.

No matter the grief…no matter the situation…He is always waiting for you with open arms.❤️

Looking for true peace? Whatever you’re going through, God knows—and cares. Find real hope today.

Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

Isaiah 66:9, “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.”

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.”

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futire.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Ephesians 3:20, “Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.”

©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s $3.19 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.

Are you hurting? Feel like giving up? Please read this.

Today, somebody is wondering how they’re going to get through what they’re going through. They’re in so much pain, and they genuinely have no idea if life will ever get better.

The pain in their heart is deep…they may feel as though grief or an extremely tough situation is attempting to steal their heart & breath…and they desperately need hope breathed back into their soul. They need to be encouraged and loved back to life.

Perhaps you are deeply mourning a treasured loved one…or you’re going through a heartbreaking divorce or separation. Maybe you’re in the midst of freshly finding out your spouse committed adultery…or you found out awhile back and they haven’t cared enough to invest time in healing your heart and marriage. Perhaps you or a loved one received devastating medical news…or maybe you’ve battled illness for years and your heart and body are frustrated and exhausted. Or you’re experiencing marital or family conflict…or estrangement. Maybe the pandemic has been extremely costly and you feel alone – you’re experiencing terrible financial issues. Perhaps you or a loved one have COVID-19 right now, or you’ve had it and you just aren’t feeling better. Maybe you’ve been rejected, betrayed, abandoned, or you feel unloved or unimportant – by those who should’ve had your back (and your heart) – especially during grief or a life challenge. You (or a loved one) may be battling addiction, and your heart is absolutely miserable and weary. Maybe “life” continues to be one big disappointment, hurt, or letdown…one after another…and you feel defeated – perhaps even bitter.

There are so many reasons we can feel hopeless — or like all is lost…

…but I want you to know there is hope.

Whatever you are going through, God truly understands the devastation…the deep heartache…the excruciating pain in your soul…the tears that have fallen from your eyes…the trauma from the life event that is keeping you up at night.

If this is you, please know there is a God who deeply cares. He sees your tears…He understands your deep heartache…He knows your entire grief event or tough situation from beginning to end. And He already knows how He is going to help (and deliver) you through this hard place.

God will not leave you…He will not abandon you…He will not leave you where you are at.

Take time right now to share your heart with God. Tell Him all about your grief and situation…even the hard stuff…especially the hard stuff. Ask Him for the comfort, love, encouragement, healing, and help you are needing.

Just like a good father would never turn their back on their children when they plead for help, God will never turn His back on His children either.

It won’t always be like this.

The pain and heartache won’t always be this intense.

You are valuable.

You have purpose.

You are extravagantly loved.

In Him, you have everything your hurting heart needs.

Please hang in there and remember this very important truth; Your best days may not have even happened yet. It may not be the life you once knew and enjoyed…but when we give God all of the shattered pieces of our heart and life, He can truly create something new out of our pain – when we trust Him.

So please do not quit.

Not today.

Not tonight.

Not a week from now.

Not a month from now.

Not a year from now.

Not ever.

Run to Abba Father’s heart, love Him, trust Him, and allow Him to love you back to life. Ask Him to breathe new hope into you.

Thank Him for what He’s about to do in your life and heart.

There will be tough days ahead…but God will be with you every step of the way.

I can promise you this: even when our life/situation isn’t good…God still is.

With God, we ALWAYS have hope!

When you can’t see or trust God’s plans…or even agree with His plans…trust His heart. God is always up to something good.

God truly does care and He has a very good plan for your life! Ask Him right now to begin revealing to your heart His great plans for you.💗

PS – Periodically ask your loved ones if they’re ok. This year has been so very challenging and hard for so many. Anytime you have an opportunity to care for, love, or encourage family and friends, please do so. Just like your loved ones may not realize what you’re going through, you never know what battles they’re facing, fighting, or going through as well. Always choose to be the rare treasure who actively cares.💞

May God bless, keep, heal, and help all of you and your loved ones!

Kim

©2020 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.

Getting HOPE & The Best Days Of Your Life Back After Grief, Loss, & The Pandemic

Discouragement. Fear. Heaviness of heart. Defeat. Guilt. Regret. Weariness. Anxiety. Turmoil. Fear of the future. Depression. Uncertainty.

There are many feelings that can weigh down and haunt the soul, especially with what all is currently going on in the world.

Many of the feelings that haunt the soul are competitors…they’re competing to knock out your peace, joy, and HOPE.

Due to the pandemic, the world has dramatically changed in just a few months – and in some places, just a matter of weeks or days.

Most of us were enjoying life and loved ones, feeling hopeful about a strengthened economy, and were looking forward to better and brighter days – our best days yet…

…then the rug below was harshly ripped out from underneath us.

We’ve helplessly watched people – even loved ones – suffer. Some have even experienced the death of a treasured loved one. Many are going through financial/job fear and hardship like never before. We’ve watched fear, worry, and anxiety spike…as hope, peace, and faith in the future rapidly fall.

With this pandemic, COVID-19 will affect you in one of three ways: it will seek to massively weaken your (or a loved one’s) health and lungs by infecting your ability to breathe…it can seek to literally and permanently kill your (or a loved one’s) breath causing death…or it will attempt to steal your breath in “life” from you – your hope, faith, relationships, finances, your trust in God – everything you love about life.

I’m so very sorry for all who have experienced the death of a loved one, for all of my readers’ heartache, and all the world is going through. My heart hurts badly for everyone.

I’ve thought a lot about this pandemic…this terrible intruder that continues to affect the lives of so many. I’ve had a lot of extra time to think. Being at home, not being a big TV watcher, and work being affected which has opened up several hours – time seems to be in abundance right now.

We’ve all wanted more time, desperately wanted more hours in our day, but this is not the way we wanted to gain them.

A few days ago, with this new time, I decided to deep clean. Having been affected by cancer, I came across a quote a friend had given me:

WHAT CANCER CANNOT DO

(by Dr. Robert L. Lynn)

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

With what is going on in the world, it is so very important we all remember a huge truth: nothing on earth – no grief…no pandemic…no disappointment…no financial challenge…no hurts…no loss…no uncertainty…no heartache…none of it can take away any of the things mentioned in the cancer quote above. None of it can take away God’s love or sovereignty, or our life purpose. Nothing.

Re-read the quote above and insert the word of what you’re presently going through (all you are being affected by or are worrying about) to replace the word cancer. For example:

COVID-19 is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

OR…

Grief…illness…financial loss…divorce…(or whatever)…is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Grief, pandemics, illness, divorce, marriage/family issues, addiction, financial loss/hardships, relationship difficulties, life challenges, rejection — any struggle in life — NONE of these terrible events have the true capacity to defeat you…so don’t allow them that sacred privilege to damage, defeat, or negatively affect you or your soul. Each of these things can do a real number on you…for sure…but it’s up to us to limit their influence and damage.

Sucky life events steal and take away so much from us…but do not ever allow life events to destroy you, your relationship with God, family, or loved ones, or destroy your heart or soul. Never allow anything to destroy your hope.

We can’t completely control grief, loss, or the hard things in life…but we can decide how we will get through each event.

We can choose to be hope-filled…or defeated. And it’s normal if we go back and forth as we continually try to navigate what life has thrown at us. If we want to have better days, we need to continually choose hope if we are going to make it through the tough times.

How do we press forward — especially when our soul is tired?

A little story. It’s a small story, but I hope you’ll find it useful.

When I was in high school, one of my good friends was in a fight. The person who chose to start the fight didn’t give my friend an advantage. Not even a warning. Not at all. My friend was significantly smaller than their opponent and had no idea they were even going to be punched that day. And there wasn’t just the opponent…the opponent brought several friends along with them.

After being punched…my friend, in response, threw a huge, fast, and hard punch back. It just about knocked the opponent out. I was shocked…I bet my friend was shocked…and the opponent and his friends were definitely shocked. The punch allowed my friend to get us out of a bad situation so we’d be safe.

That lil bit of unprecedented courage made an impact: my friend is now a leader in the military. He credits that day with changing his life.

Totally not advocating violence…not at all…but the principle here is a great analogy for life challenges and grief. We will all be sucker punched out of nowhere by an unexpected life event…we won’t even know what hit us…but instead of quitting or accepting defeat, we need to dig deep to find unprecedented courage and punch life challenges back. Huge. Fast. Hard.

Life challenges and grief rob so much from us…do not allow it to rob you further by stealing more of your life, allowing it to get you to quit, or giving up your hope.

Feel what you need to feel. Get through those harsh emotions and horrible days. Learn all you can through any bad event life throws your way. Allow the events to teach you the lessons you didn’t sign up for…but do not ever tap out. Fight with everything you have to get your breath back after life has knocked it out of you.

We will get through these tough days. We may lose a lot along the path of figuring out this new normal and getting our breath back…we each have a long road ahead of us…but life can be good once again. It can definitely be good once again because we will choose for it to be good. We’re not going to allow bad events to choose for us what the quality of our life is going to be. We’re not going to allow life challenges, this pandemic, or grief to decide that for us. It’s already chosen so much for us…now it’s time to start taking the choices – especially choosing to build a quality life – back. We each get to choose what life is going to be now.

Don’t lose hope or faith.

Don’t lose your most prized relationships: God and family…your best loved ones.

Choose today that no matter what you go through, you will choose hope. You will choose to rebuild. You will choose to create.

Building life back up after a major loss is rarely easy…it’s truly painful…but six months from now…one year from now…five years from now…a decade from now…we will look back and be grateful we intentionally chose hope – and to create a good life in spite of monumental challenges. We’ll be thankful we chose to fight to get the breath back that this pandemic – or any other situation of grief – attempted to knock out of us.

What are the steps you need to take today to get your breath and life back? What choices need to be made so you can create the new in your future instead of continually getting lost in the old of the past? What has punched you…and what do you need to punch back huge, fast, and hard? What lessons need to be learned, implemented, and honored during this extraordinarily tough time?

We’ll each get there. I know this because you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t have the courage, desire, and tenacity for life change.

Take one step at a time. Continually look at your personal situation, assess and reassess each facet of life, regroup as much as needed, know ahead of time that tough days will continue and happen, allow God to strengthen you, and search for any way to improve your quality of life with God’s grace and help.

Just a note of strong encouragement here: This is the ultimate time for change. When life is hard, it steers us – forces us – into new territory. We don’t like being steered into a new direction…most of us inwardly kick, scream, and resent it…yet it’s the most opportune time to do a true life assessment in every area: relationships, work/career, family, marriage, education/trade, health, etc. Thinking outside the box will undoubtedly lead to new innovation and invention. Ask God what He wants to do through you. Ask Him for major creativity and unprecedented ways to improve life and ways to better help others. All inventions throughout history were created out of times of hardship, uncertainty, or finding ways to better meet a need in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing what new technology, business, and opportunities – as well as life, health, and relationship improvements – will be born out of this time of unparalleled challenge and change.

We have a lot to look forward to.

Several years ago, at a conference in Chicago, I heard a great quote from Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” A small sentence that packs a great big punch. We can all look backwards…and it’s important to do so periodically to learn and not forget…but our best use of time is looking to where life potentially is going to be. That’s what will get us through, and out, of the insurmountable rut and challenging emotions we are all in.

No matter what happens in life, life is still an exquisite gift. The opportunity is there. It’s up to us…each and every day…to choose how to best unwrap the gift of life and enjoy it.

Praying for everyone in the world today. May we all seek God, always choose to do better, and live the absolute best life possible.

By the way…this week, take the time to read Romans 8. See what God has to say to your heart. He loves you and deeply cares about your life. God truly has the power to bring extreme good out of extremely bad circumstances. Ask Him to.❤️

~Kim

©2020 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

Related posts you might like:

❤️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 $3.19 book – all proceeds go back into helping the grief community): 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.

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 5🎄

🎄❤️🎄Good evening, everybody!
Today, we’re on Day 5 of our Christmas Countdown. Today’s Countdown shares one of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions.
I hope all of you are safe & well and are having a peaceful weekend.

(For those who are just joining us, each day, I’ll be daily posting from one of our YouVersion Christmas reading plans throughout December. I hope this helps each of you to feel less discouraged or alone…especially with the pandemic…and like you have a friend encouraging your heart during this very tough time of year.)

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 5🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

Christmas is filled with wonderful traditions.

One of my favorite traditions is when my family wears Christmas pajamas and we drive around to see Christmas lights on homes. We’ve done this every year as a family for a few decades now.

The pajamas are warm and comfy, and the Christmas music and hot chocolate are great…but the lights are the main event.

If you think about it, lights have a special way of drawing people in. They’re brilliant, beautiful, and filled with warmth – just like the Light of the world!

The true Light of Christmas has the awesome power and ability of shining truth and love into the most broken, grief-stricken, or hardened of hearts.
Jesus truly illuminates all that His love touches!

Do you feel discouraged or broken this Christmas season? I encourage you to seek Jesus with all your heart. Ask Jesus for His comfort and help. Even in our brokenness – especially through our brokenness – God’s light can shine through. In fact, God has an extra special place in His heart for the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18).
As we allow God to bring His help, encouragement, comfort, and healing into our hearts, He then can use us to be a brilliant light…a true treasure..to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

This Christmas season, ask Jesus to show you who needs to know and hear about His love and light!

Jesus is the Light of the World. What an incredible privilege to have 24/7 access to a close friendship with Him…and to show His beautiful light to others.

Ask Jesus to make you a bright light for His glory, and to light your path and guide your life. Jesus is faithful to shine through us…as we love others this Christmas season…and to show us His perfect will for us, too!

This Christmas season, let’s allow Christ’s light to draw us in and captivate us each and every day!

🙏🏻Prayer: “Jesus, thank You for being the Light of the World and shining Your brilliant light into our hearts! Thank You for making a way for each of us to know You intimately and for being our very best and most treasured Friend! This Christmas season, I pray You would show us opportunities to share Your life, love, and Light with others. Make our hearts sensitive and compassionate towards those around us who are hurting, and those who are in darkness, so we can shine Your light of hope into their life! We thank You for all You have done (and all You will do) in our lives and our loved ones’ lives this special Christmas season! We love and adore You! In Your precious name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity: Invite your family or a loved one to wear Christmas pajamas and look at Christmas lights together. Talk about how Christ has changed your heart and life…share ways He has brought Light into your life! Also share with each other what Jesus is currently doing in your heart and life. Don’t forget the Christmas music (also be extra careful if driving and looking at lights😊). After you get back, watch a Christmas movie together.

Read: Psalms 34:18, John 8:12, James 1:17, John 1:9, Matthew 5:14-16, Psalms 36:9, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 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.

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 2 🎄

Today, we’re on Day 2 of our Christmas Countdown.

Today’s countdown is very meaningful to me personally…it shares how God captured my heart. I hope you’ll allow God to truly capture your heart this Christmas season. He is SO worth it!

🎄🦌🎄 Day 2 🎄🦌🎄

Yesterday (Day 1), I recommended the activity of getting a Christmas tree. Today’s devotional shares how Jesus transformed my life using a simple, lit Christmas tree my mom left on one evening, many Christmases ago.

I  remember the year when God turned all of my Christmases around. I wasn’t yet a Christian, but God had been working on my heart for months. It was a Saturday night, and I had just arrived home late from spending time with my friends. 

As I went to the kitchen to get a glass of milk before bed, I noticed my mom had left the Christmas tree on for me (she didn’t like my siblings and me coming home to a dark house).

I went into the living room and put a cassette tape on to play (remember those?). The week before, a classmate had cared enough to give me a specific cassette to listen to. It was Margaret Becker’s ‘Immigrant Daughter.’

As I sat in the dark with just the Christmas tree aglow, these beautiful lyrics started playing…and began to stir and convict my heart. At that time, I had some things in my life I knew God and my parents were not proud of…yet God reached down from Heaven and loved my heart – right where I was – in the most extravagant way that very night.

My heart was being pursued by God as He was in the process of fully capturing it. Jesus was planting seeds of salvation deep in my heart that would fully bloom a few short months later.

Sitting by the Christmas tree and talking to God was so enjoyable and captivating, I decided to do this every night of the Christmas season that year. As I’d sit in the living room each night (after everyone else had gone to bed) and listen to either Margaret Becker or soft Christmas music, I’d enjoy talking to God about my day and life.

How cool and amazing is it that God seeks out our heart and meets us right where we are?

He sees all of the good –as well as the not-so-good – and still seeks to have the most incredible, intimate, and special relationship with us?

I don’t know where you are at today, or what you are going through in life, but I do know there is a God who deeply loves you and cherishes you! He is pursuing your heart right now and treasures you so much!

God greatly desires to spend time with you each and every day. Time spent with Jesus will always be the best time you spend during the Christmas season – and the best time spent every single day of the year!

Have you decorated your Christmas tree yet? It could be a table top tree or the largest tree ever. The tree doesn’t matter…what matters is spending time with Jesus. Even if you don’t have a tree, Jesus is still waiting for you!

I absolutely love turning all of the lights out each night and sitting by the Christmas tree, with soft music playing, and spending time with my very Best Friend in the entire world, the One who loves my soul. 

I think you’ll find this is a very special time and meaningful tradition!

Make a commitment to spend time with Jesus each and every night. You’ll greatly enjoy this precious time throughout the Christmas season.

I love and treasure this special time so much that I decorate my tree early November (yes, I’m one of those people!) and keep my tree up until the end of January. I have found spending my full Christmas season with Jesus to be so meaningful and relaxing, and it has greatly deepened my relationship with Him!

No matter what has happened in life…no matter what you’ve done in life…Jesus loves you and He is FOR you! He treasures you and wants to walk with you – not just during the Christmas season, but every day for the rest of your life!

Share your heart with Jesus starting tonight! (And be sure to turn off your tree each evening).🎄❤️🎄

💗Prayer: “Jesus, thank You so much for Your extravagant love! When I think about the great miracle of You, my heart is so very grateful. Thank You for never giving up on us, and planting seeds of love, purpose, and salvation in our hearts so we can walk with You every day of our life. Jesus, I invite you into my heart and life and ask You to forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I believe You are Lord, and I believe and thank you for being born of a virgin birth and being raised from the dead. Please save me and guide me. Thank you so much for this beautiful miracle and this Christmas season – and especially for the incredible gift of You. You are the Greatest Gift and I look forward to unwrapping Your heart each and every day! We love you, Lord! In Your precious name I pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity: listen to Margaret Becker’s album ‘Immigrant’s Daughter’ (or any other music that is meaningful to you) and ask Jesus to open your heart to the lyrics. I especially like the songs ‘Honesty,’ ‘Just Come In,’ and ‘Stay Close To Me.’ The lyrics will truly bring you to the very heart of God.

🎄Read: Romans 10:9, 1 Timothy 1:15-17, Romans 6:23, Titus 3:3-7

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

©2020 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.

A Good Reminder For The Holidays…

🎄❤️🎄Grief is difficult…and this time of year can be excruciatingly painful.

Intense sadness. Expectations – from others and of ourselves. Trying to navigate through grief as we try to redeem the holidays. It can all be overwhelming.

Take a moment – or several – throughout the day and just breathe.

Pray. God is a STRONG refuge & TRUE Friend.

Be kind to your heart.

Be so very good to others.

When you’re around family who aren’t acting like the gift they are – remember everybody needs love, acceptance, and kindness…us and them.

Love, care, and seek to be a blessing to others.

Remember and honor your treasured loved one(s) who you miss so very much.

Make a great cup of coffee or tea, put on some soft music, get cozy, and just relax.

If you need a good cry, let it out. It’s totally okay to grieve deeply.

Pamper your heart and soul by doing something peaceful and calming.

Enjoy a good meal with loved ones.

Eat some ice cream or a baked good…something to cheer your heart. I’ve never seen anyone sad while eating either.

Feed your spirit by feasting on the Word of God.

Put your pajamas on, wrap up in a warm blanket, and watch a Christmas movie or home videos.

Light your Christmas tree, turn on some soft Christmas music, and share your day with Jesus. I have found this to be the best way to end my day throughout the season.

If there is a special family member who has been there for you, thank them and share with them you need extra love, encouragement, and support over the holidays. We all need trusted family members and friends throughout grief.

I’m praying for all of you and your families!

Lift the burden of getting through the holidays with the help of our Heavenly Father who loves and adores each of us so much.

You matter. Your heartache matters. And God truly cares.

May each of you have a peaceful & beautiful holiday season!🎄❤️🎄

©2019 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. 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.

🎄❤️🎄