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To Make Resolutions or Not Make Resolutions: The Excitement of Yearly Goals

Every year since I can remember, I’ve always made a New Year’s Resolution.

In recent years, I chose to give up a food item or beverage I loved: in 2012, I gave up all dessert, candy, and sweets…in 2013, I gave up soda…2014, I gave up sweet tea…2015, I gave up chips and queso…and this past year, I gave up coffee.

Before these recent years, I would make a commitment to do something for a whole year: walk for 20 minutes each day…perfectly keep up with my most dreaded chore (laundry)…etc.

One year (after my sister passed away), I was so extremely disappointed in life, I set out to purposely regain my “life,” post-grief.

Another year, my resolution was to pray fervently each and every day for two specific prayer requests.

…But my favorite Resolutions have been times when I set specific goals, enriched my spiritual life, or learned new skills.

I usually know exactly what I’m going to do – or not do – each year, but this year, I was stumped. 

A surprising thought entered my mind: “to make Resolutions or not make Resolutions…”

Then I thought, “why would I deny myself the excitement and opportunity to set a goal with God’s help to better my life?”

New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be drudgery. They should be exciting…an opportunity to accomplish new goals..and breathe new life..into the New Year!

As I pondered what my newest resolution was going to be, I thought about many things.

Then I got to thinking…and really thinking…about resolutions I should have done many years ago — but failed to do so.

I asked myself, “What goals did I prematurely give up on in my younger years?…What dreams did I allow to get pushed to the background due to “life” happening? …And do I now have the courage and ability to accomplish those things?”

I suddenly knew exactly what my New Year’s Resolution was going to be.

It’s a huge one…a God-sized resolution that I will need God’s daily help to accomplish. A past goal I had lost sight of.

I was going to keep it a secret just between God and me, but after praying, I felt as though God told me to pick two people to hold me accountable – because I know I’ll need accountability throughout the new year to accomplish it. I knew I needed two people who wouldn’t be apprehensive to be direct with me, who would be able to give me much needed feedback (both encouraging and harsh), so I can accomplish what I know I’m called to do.

And I’m excited about this New Year’s Resolution – more so than any other resolution I’ve chosen to do.

So, do you make resolutions each year?

If not, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. It could be something small…something huge…doing something you know you’ve needed to do…fulfilling a dream…accomplishing something great…overcoming something challenging…nurturing a need in yourself or others…or simply breaking a bad habit. 

Choose something that will breathe new life into you, those around you, and your new year…something that can greatly improve life and circumstances…

The new year could very well be the greatest adventure and most exciting journey of your life!

There are so many resolutions to choose, you could: 

  • delight in God more
  • overcome a specific life challenge 
  • make a resolution to travel more
  • save up for the vacation of your dreams- go to Disney World, go camping or on a road trip for a week, visit Ireland & the Cliffs of Moher, go on a mission trip, visit the place your ancestors lived, go on a cruise to see multiple new places, etc.
  • thoroughly organize your home & life
  • show love to your family & spend more time with them
  • read your Bible more and do indepth studies
  • overcome negativity, an addiction, or anything that is holding you back
  • exercise more 
  • enjoy nature or gardening
  •  learn a new skill, or better a current skill, such as cooking or playing a musical instrument 
  • learn how to do a fun activity you’ve always wanted to do: sewing, surfing, longboarding, tennis, tae kwon do, join an adult sports league, painting/art, etc.
  • write a book or start a blog
  • create a new ministry
  • gain better health – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and/or physically 
  • improve a specific relationship 
  • actively forgive someone or seek out forgiveness from others
  • do something work related such as go back to school, improve your work situation, change jobs, or attend specific seminars to help you be better at what you do
  • get out of debt/start a savings account
  • volunteer at your favorite charity or church

There are so many options and great opportunities for New Year’s Resolutions!

My sister did something super cool one year; she did one resolution per month:

  • She gave up soda for January 
  • She read her Bible for 30 min each day in February 
  • She walked 30 min each day in March
  • She worked on and perfected work related stuff all of April
  • She focused on family all of May
  • She then did one specific resolution per month for the rest of the year

Your resolution can be serious, specific, challenging, or purpose-filled. It’s your resolution, so make it a great one that is specialized for you.

And don’t be scared to make your resolution fun, and enjoy including loved ones. One of my favorite “fun” Resolutions was to attend as many concerts as possible in one year. At the end of the year, thanks to music festivals and local shows, I had seen over 100 bands. I’ll always cherish that year of fun and great music because I went to all of the music events – and made incredible memories – with one of my most favorite, treasured people in the whole world!

You can break up resolutions into monthly goals, do one large goal for the whole year, or do a mix of different resolutions broken up however you wish. There’s no right or wrong way to make a resolution.

I love the sheer challenge and excitement of resolutions! I love it better when I can look back and see how I was creatively able to keep my commitments.

When I dedicate my resolution to God, He always makes the experiences extra special – and the resolutions always turn out to be exactly what I needed most.

I’ve only broke one resolution my entire life, so I’m looking forward to meeting a more challenging resolution head-on and looking back on the whole year on a year from now at 11:59pm. That will be the night, and the moment of truth, I look back on and see all I was able to accomplish with God’s help throughout this upcoming new year.

What resolution would you like to accomplish?

I pray whatever your resolution is, God will provide you with the strength, help, fun, encouragement, and drive you need to accomplish it.

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

With God’s help, you can accomplish GREAT things! Your resolution has the amazing power to change your life…what an adventure!

One year from today, I hope you see and realize how all of your hardwork, effort, and sacrifices paid off.

Happy New Year Resolutions making! 🙂

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

❤️Kim’s blog: www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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43 Ways To Delight In God

I’ve previously written about delighting in God – and have received so many requests to follow up on those posts.

Sometimes, when God places a specific topic on my heart, I’ll write a longer blog post than normal. Today is one of those days. I promise it’s worth reading, though, because today’s topic has the power to radically change your relationship with God and bring great treasure into your life.

Read it all in one sitting, or read a little today and more tomorrow. I pray your heart will be greatly blessed!

I love writing about God – especially delighting in Him!

When people truly understand how incredible God’s love is for them, it absolutely transforms their entire being! It is no longer drudgery to follow God or His ways…it suddenly becomes the highest privilege you can have while on earth.
You discover God isn’t a killjoy…in fact, He’s better than any adventure you could ever hope to have. And you find He isn’t just merely “Love”…He’s love in action in everything He does.

You find how awesome God truly is: during the great times…the joys…the amazing adventures we have in life…but also in the super hard times when we don’t understand. He’s amazing!

Even when our hearts are shattered to the point we think we’ll never be able to pick up the pieces. Even when all seems lost. Even when absolutely nothing makes sense.

It’s a powerful thing to love God and to feel His love in return through each season of life…good and bad.

Deuteronomy 6:5,Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

I always thought I’d learn to love and delight in God during the good times in my life, when everything was going great. I’ve learned I have fallen more deeply in love with God not just during the beautiful times, but especially through the hard times, too…because it’s usually during the toughest times when you truly find the heart and provision of God.

When I’ve gone through the death of loved ones, and I missed them like crazy…I found God understood my deep pain because before He received my loved ones back to heaven, He was missing them while they were here on earth. God knew them before He gave them their heartbeat and first breath…Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” He knew how it felt to long for the same loved one when He was away from them from the very minute He graciously loaned them to live and do life with me.

When I went through marriage issues…God understood that same heartache. He had, and still does, experience deep hurt and betrayal – by His own people…including me when I’ve mistreated His heart. Marriage has taught me a great deal about Christ’s genuine love and commitment…and has been a great tool in cultivating my heart.

When a family member became an atheist…God understood the agony and heart-wrenching tears that fell from my eyes. I gained a much greater picture of how to empathetically witness to others who have been deeply hurt and wounded by the Church…and just as I was desperate for my loved one to find their way back to God’s heart, I gained a small understanding and glimmer of how God greatly desires for us to help His prodigal loved ones to come back to Him, too. He strongly desires for us to help those who are hurting: Jude‬ ‭1:22-23, “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment…”‬ ‭

When I went through my son’s tumors and surgeries and my own illness – and felt so helpless…I found God is perfectly in control and His plans (even if I didn’t like them), are perfect and hold great purpose.

After my dad died…I learned God is very much a Father to the fatherless. He truly made provisions spiritually, emotionally, financially and physically.

I could go on and on. There are so many great lessons I’ve learned throughout the years about God and His great heart. And my favorite lesson has been learning how to delight in God through the good times, and especially during the bad.

During my rebellious years before submitting my life to God, I thought people were crazy to love or follow God. I had experienced a lot of pain and heartache in my life while growing up…and the last person I wanted to delight in was God. Sad but true. My plan included rejecting God and the Church…and living independently of both. I didn’t even plan on becoming a born again believer – not even the morning I was saved. And I totally never had plans of becoming a Christian author and blogger.

…Then God showed up.

I felt a tremendous pull to read the Bible my dad had previously bought me (the year he married my mom). To those who are new to my blog and haven’t read my book, my biological dad died while I was growing up and my mom married again…giving me one treasure of a new dad. As my Bible fell open, it opened to a page that held the story of Jesus’ great compassion for a woman who had deserved death. Instead, He chose to give the woman great compassion and mercy. He became her friend. As I read the amazing story, I cried out to God and asked Him to save me and have compassion on me like He did for the woman. Jesus became my Friend and He’s proved to be my closest, most treasured friend in life.

When you truly read God’s Word…and you read for yourself all of the great ways He loves each of us, it becomes incredibly easy…and sweetly and richly rewarding…to love and delight in Him.

Think about your life and your loved ones’ lives…

God could have just spoken each person’s existence into being. With one command, it all could have been accomplished. Look how incredible sunsets and sunrises are…the light is truly brilliant, gorgeous, and amazing. Yet, God considers each of us more glorious than sunlight itself. He spoke light into existence…yet He chose to personally create and craft each of us exclusively with His very own hands…knitting us together…establishing a relationship with us before we even breathed one breath. And that’s not all. Our breath? God Himself breathed into our nostrils the breath of life…just as He did with Adam! Genesis‬ ‭2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”‭‭‬ ‭

If you ever doubt God’s intimate, extravagant, brilliant heart and love for you, you never have to doubt or wonder about your value ever again. Your value is beyond comprehension!

And the more you love and delight in God and submit to His great purposes for your life, the more you’ll experience God’s great heart. Through both good times and also bad times, you’ll uncover incredible treasure you never knew was possible.

And Jesus is a true friend. He isn’t fickle…He doesn’t ignore, hurt, or reject people. Jesus fiercely loves you and cuts through all of your sin, poor choices, past shame, or anything else you are dealing with…and He looks directly in your heart. He sees the best in you and all of your great potential. He’s a true friend, especially of sinners (and who isn’t a sinner?), and meets you exactly right where you are. He is exceptionally all in when it comes to His relationships.

One of my favorite Bible passages is John‬ ‭1:38-39: “Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).”‬ 

How amazing is that passage? Truly think about this for a moment:

  • Jesus first cared about their hearts, lives, and their needs by asking, “what do you seek?” 
  • When He could tell they were searching in their souls, He didn’t just cleverly come up with a well thought out cliche…He didn’t ignore or reject them…He wasn’t too busy for them..He didn’t tell them to come back later. What’d Jesus do? He invited them in – ALL in – so He could actively become involved in their lives as He simply – and adventurously – said, Come and see.Jesus was about to show them a whole lot more than where He was staying. He didn’t just invite them in for a day…Jesus was ultimately inviting them to experience the absolute adventure of a lifetime – and more importantly, into eternity!! He gave them new names…and brand new lives. They were about to see a miracle (of many) that Jesus was about to perform. Jesus invited them to be ALL in because they were about to find that HE was ALL in too – all the way to death on a Cross for all who would love and accept Him.

Did you know Jesus wants to do the same for you? Do you realize He still asks, “What do you seek?”…He still wants to intervene in lives today; to give people new “names” and brand new lives? Jesus invites you in – ALL in – today…so He can show you the absolute adventure of your lifetime! Whether you’ve followed Him for many years or you are just beginning to take His hand, when you choose to love and delight in Him…and learn from His great heart, life will forever change and take you to a level you never realized you could go!

Matthew‬ ‭11:29, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”‬ 

So how do you learn from God and delight in Him?

There are so many ways to delight in God. It’s never a cookie-cutter experience…God cares enough to make your relationship with Him the most unique experience possible! God will reveal to your own heart special ways you can delight in Him, learn from Him, and grow your relationship and friendship together. Ask Him to make both the Bible and your relationship with Him come alive for you starting today. He totally will do it!

Does this mean I’ll never have troubles in my life again…or will it make my current problems instantly disappear?

If you have given up on God because of a trial that left you broken hearted, I hope this helps you find the One who is patiently waiting to help you and love you. God is crazy about you, adores you, and has great plans for your life! (Jeremiah 29:11)

God greatly desires to help (and even carry) you through all of life’s toughest situations. When you go through grief or loss, He will wrap you in His arms, and bring such an amazing comfort and strength, giving an opportunity to fall even more deeply in love with Him.

Life never becomes “perfect” – because people and this earth are still flawed and fallible – but it’s incredible to have a Best Friend with you at all times…in the good times and the bad…when your walk with Him is going great….and even times when you neglect your relationship with Him and you are failing miserably. God’s unconditional love is amazing in experience. He doesn’t cut people off because He is all-in! He will never leave you or forsake you!

Life never becomes void of problems or grief, but as you grow close to God…you begin to see there is value in every life experience.

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

So…do we delight in God so we can get the desires of our heart…or for what we can get out of Him?

Absolutely not. God loves giving good gifts – in fact, every good gift comes from Him – but God weighs the heart in all we do.

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

1 Samuel 16:7, “…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

We choose to love and delight in God because we love Him and His great big heart!

We don’t seek out His presents; we learn to thoroughly enjoy His presence.

I have found throughout the years that God – and a relationship with Him – is the truest treasure on earth. I’d choose God and my relationship with Him over anyone and anything…even all of the money in the world. I believe that anyone who has experienced God would.

If you grew up in church and feel as though you were never taught how to connect to God, no worries! You can begin today! Growing up, we didn’t have the resources we have today. Literally, today, you have information with just a click of a computer button or touch of a screen. Study your Bible, look at compelling Christian articles that are offered online, download the Youversion Bible app and read some great Bible Reading Plans, and ask God to come alive to you. He’s faithful!

So how do I begin to treasure and delight in God?

Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  1. Plan a special time when you can exclusively enjoy God. Every morning and afternoon, I make some hot tea and talk to God about my day. I pray for my loved ones, read the Bible, and listen to whatever He has to share with me.
  2. Talk to God continuously throughout the day silently in your heart…an ongoing conversation. Share every part of your day.
  3. Get alone and curl up on the couch with a blanket and your Bible at the end of the day and reflect on your day with God.
  4. Go on a nature walk with Him. Marvel at all of His creation. Breathe the air in deeply and thoroughly find refreshment in His nature.
  5. Go to a restaurant and talk to God silently while you enjoy a meal with Him.
  6. Pick a favorite activity and simply enjoy God and His presence…it could be playing golf, swimming, running, surfing, leisure walking, lifting weights, or my personal favorite – longboarding. There’s nothing like getting alone with God and having the cares of the world melt away as you talk to Him about everything. God is everywhere so spend some time hanging out with Him.
  7. Ask God to show you areas of your heart and life that you need to change. Follow through with whatever change He asks you to do.
  8. Buy a Journal and write letters to God. Also write down goals He shares with your heart and prayer requests for your family, friends, church, work, leaders, life, and yourself.
  9. Seek to know the deepest parts of God’s  heart and share the deepest parts of your heart and soul with Him. Find out as much as you can about God and tell Him all about you. He already knows everything about you but He loves when we pour our hearts out to Him and we seek to truly know Him. Francis Chan once said that if you take a thimble or a soda can to the middle of the ocean and filled water into the thimble or can…that’s our humanly limit to what we can possibly know about God in comparison to the entire ocean. I hope God allows me to know Him as much as I possibly can…and then even more after that. Ask God to reveal a beautiful or unique facet of Himself to you that He has never revealed to anyone else.
  10. Ask God to share with you the plans He has for you and obey those plans.
  11. Tell God your hopes, dreams, struggles, ideas, fears, joys, and failures. Seek to find what brings great joy to His heart.
  12. Share with God your heartaches, sins, failures, and shortcomings…and cry out to Him. God is the ULTIMATE Best Friend you will ever have the privilege of knowing. He’s the only Friend who is available 24/7 and truly cares about everything you experience, struggle with, and go through. Deeply consider – and be compassionate about – what brings His heart pain.
  13. Ask God for His guidance and ask Him to give you the gifts of wisdom, discernment, compassion, a soft heart, and understanding.
  14. Ask God to continue to “create and perfect” you. God is the ultimate artist….place yourself back on His canvas and allow Him to “paint” the rest of your life to what He wants for it. Ask God to finish your life picture in His time with the colors He chooses. There will be colors of joy…colors of brilliance…colors of beauty. There will also be dark brushstrokes and shades of sadness…heartache…and suffering… BUT…God promises to take ALL of the colors and make the overall portrait something of great value, extraordinary beauty, and treasure. (Romans 8:28)…You can trust His most skillful Hand!
  15. Extravagantly honor and admire God. Think about creation and of all the beauty He lavishes on us everyday — we are SO incredibly blessed!!! He creates sunrises, sunsets, flowers, trees, nature. When you feel the wind, think of it as a hug from God that envelopes you. When it rains, think of it as God giving you tiny little kisses. One of the things I love about God is how creative He is. Whether it’s nature, or how uniquely different He has made each one of us, or even the amazing variety He allows us in life, I always thank Him for it. Thank God for making different seasons of weather or thank Him for all of the variety of foods and spices He has created. Look at all of the different animals and even look at all the different places you can travel to and experience. I love how God is totally not boring in anything He does. My absolute favorite is all of the people He has created. He is the greatest, most creative Genius ever!
  16. Have a Thank-fest: take the time to literally thank God for each and every good person, blessing, and thing in your life…especially Him! There is a tremendous amount to be thankful for!
  17. Truly get to know God- Read your Bible and find out for yourself who God genuinely is. Don’t merely depend on what others have told you about Him. Seek out His heart and really pursue Him. I had a good friend who challenged me to get to know God for myself and I am so very glad he did. God wasn’t anything like what I had thought. Many Christians have given God a bad name and have pushed self-centered agendas on to others. Forget what you’ve been told and look up passages of scripture that reveal and reflect God’s TRUE character and heart. He is a beautiful God of mercy, forgiveness, justice, fierceness, and compassion. Slow to anger and filled with grace. Yes, He does discipline, so it’s good to look up what pleases God and what He expects out of us, but once you truly know God’s heart, you’ll want to obey Him…not out of fear but because you truly LOVE him. Read Psalms. It’s a great book to find God’s heart. Look at Proverbs, it tells you the right way to live. Get to know God for yourself and develop a personal relationship with Him. And make your relationship truly special and unique…build it continually with truth and authenticity. You can download the Bible for free on the YouVersion app…they also have tons of free devotionals/reading plans to enrich your relationship with God. Grief Bites has several reading plans on YouVersion, too.
  18.  Speaking of different books of the Bible…read all of the books of the Bible. I personally love Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament the most because they are so applicable, but I also enjoy getting to know about God in the Old Testament. Every book in the Bible gives clues as to who God really is. When you read it, the Bible comes alive and you find treasures only He can reveal to your heart. Did you know God’s Word shares that only believers can understand and interpret His Word (1 Cor. 2:14, Matthew 13, Luke 10:21, Matthew 11:25)? If you believe in God, the Bible is a complete adventure each time you open and read it! If you’re a believer and you’re not sure what to do in reading the Bible, start off by reading one chapter of Proverbs a day and five chapters of Psalms. In one month, you’ll have read all of the Psalms and Proverbs…and it is incredible how God uses many of the verses in a different way each month that you read them. Add one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament immediately or after the first month. It will take you about 15 minutes per day. If your Bible reading becomes dry…ask God to bring it to life, to show you new truths, and then let the Bible fall open to wherever it falls to and read that chapter for the day.
  19. Memorize and personalize scripture and God’s Promises with your name in it. For example: Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for Susan and her family,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper Susan and her family and not to harm Susan or her family, plans to give Susan and her family hope and a future.” You can memorize and personalize any scripture. You can personalize it with just your name or you can include others in it (such as family members or friends) like I just did. You can also put a loved one’s name in it when you’re praying specifically for someone.
  20. Do an in depth Bible study on a certain topic and find out everything you can about it. I did one about grief and suffering and it was amazing what I found. I had no idea that God saves each of my tears that I have cried in a bottle and writes down each and every one of my heartaches in His book. It is extremely interesting what God has in store for you if you’ll just seek to find Him, His great heart, and His plans. My sister helped teach me how to make the Bible “come alive” for me personally through studying specific topics and I have never read the Bible the same way since. God (and His word) is super exciting!
  21. Confide in God and ask Him to purify and soften your heart. Nobody cares more about your heart than God. Nobody. Like I previously said, I LOVE what Psalm 56:8 says- “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear placed into Your bottle, each ache written in Your book”. If God cares enough to document every pain I have ever experienced, then He is who I want to expose my complete heart to. Trust God with your heart and ask Him every day to change, convict, purify, speak to, and soften your heart.
  22. If you are going through a time of suffering…ask God to heal your heart and ask Him to show you His purpose for whatever trial or suffering you are currently going (or have previously gone) through. If you have gone through a major trial, don’t be scared to talk to God openly about it. If you’re mad at Him then respectfully tell Him. He’s big enough to handle it. There have been times, to be honest, that I have been angry at God. It was very hard having loved ones die and watch my sister lose not only one fiance but two fiances in death and see the affects of those situations. Seeing my son go through multiple surgeries for ongoing, inoperable tumors was very difficult to watch…that has been one of the hardest trials I have been through…but I am SO grateful God is in control and He hears my heart, my fears, and comforts us through those hard times. There are other things I have gone through that have been very hard, but I have seen how God can take a horrible situation and turn the bad into good for His purposes that are too great for me to understand. I am forever grateful to the person who showed me that God has a purpose for EVERYTHING. It’s been during times of suffering that I grew in my relationship with Him the most. I like what Rick Warren says, “God never wastes a hurt.” Ask God to truly heal your heart and show you how to bring purpose out of your pain. He’s faithful.
  23. Look for ways to do something awesome for God and seek to build His kingdom. God loves for us to minister to and love others as unto Him- Matthew 25:40, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
  24. Surprise a family member or friend for God with a secret gift to cheer them up when they’re down. If you’re at a restaurant and you can tell your waiter/waitress is struggling, leave an extra tip – make sure the tip is really good – with a note telling them God loves them! Do something super sweet for a family member, friend, pastor, or neighbor.
  25. Share your testimony with someone and tell them how God is working in your life.
  26. Invest in your church, pastor, and church leadership by regularly praying for them.
  27. Give God an extra offering above your usual tithe. If you don’t already tithe, start tithing.
  28. Do a kind favor for a family member or a friend without expecting anything in return. Help family you know who are in need if you are able to.
  29. Have friends or family over for dinner, a Bible study, game night, or a fun movie and serve others with the hospitality and resources God has blessed you with. God loves when we’re hospitable!
  30. Forgive anyone you hold something against. Take them off of your hook and place them (& the situation) into God’s more than capable hands.
  31. Encourage someone with a kind word or a note. Give family and friends genuine praise and bless them with words of affirmation.
  32. Write God a love letter and share with Him all you love about Him.
  33. Buy a new Bible and read through the entire Bible and make notations on the sides of each page of what God has spoken to your heart and then give that Bible to your child/future child/niece/nephew/grandchild/family member as a readable legacy.
  34. Make a special commitment to God and after you accomplish the commitment, celebrate with Him.
  35. If you know the date of your salvation, plan an evening with God on that exact date. Go out to dinner and celebrate with God (and family or friends) or take lunch to the park and spend time exclusively with Him.
  36. Turn on some praise music and spend time wholeheartedly worshiping Him. Music is such a phenomenal gift from God…thank Him for it!
  37. Look for God in the details. He is there. I am constantly amazed how God orchestrates our daily lives. I love it when He surprises me by turning a bad situation into a good one, or how if I’m out late, He always gives me an up front parking spot. It’s fun to see how God works through daily life as well as the people who I know.
  38. Pray for specific things for your spouse, children, nieces and nephews, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and family members. I love praying for my family!  It’s super cool to pray for them and not tell them what I’m praying about and then hear them tell some story of how God did something or provided something…and it was exactly what I had been praying for them. I love how God is in ALL the details! I had been praying for one particular prayer request everyday for 14 years and God finally answered it in 2008. It has been incredible to watch God work out the details of that prayer request and He answered it in a way that only He could have fulfilled. Trust God with the details of your life and your family.
  39. Learn a new skill you can use for God. I know a guy who learned how to paint gorgeously with chalk. He’d use his talent to share life stories of how God was working in his life. I also know a young lady who learned how to teach dance lessons. She offers discounted dance lessons through her church.
  40. Start a ministry for God. Everybody has the ability to start a ministry. Look for a need, think of what you’re passionate about, ask God to show you what He’d like you to do and where He’d like for you to serve, and then go out and change the world.
  41. Focus on God on every holiday: Celebrate with Him throughout the year. Start New Year’s Day by dedicating your year to Him. In February, thank Him for being the Love of your life. On Easter, watch The Easter Story or The Passion and really try to comprehend what He did to have a relationship with you. Now that is GENUINE LOVE! On Father’s Day, thank Him for being the ULTIMATE Father. By the way…if you are fatherless, you have an extra special place in God’s heart! Use Father’s Day to celebrate God the Father. On 4th of July, pray for the men and women in the military as well as their families, thank God for your freedom that other people have sacrificed for you to have, and most importantly thank God for giving you true freedom in Christ. Thanksgiving is a hard holiday for our family because my sister died on Thanksgiving Day. I used to dread it and cried to God about how painful that day was. God placed in my heart a true gratefulness for Him and the rest of my family that is still here on earth. Use Thanksgiving as a way to show your thankfulness to whoever God has allowed in your life and thank Him for every blessing. Thank Him also for everything He has brought you through all year. Christmas is super fun, it’s His birthday. Make Jesus a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Him on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Throw Jesus a HUGE birthday party and then as His birthday present, invest your time in prayer throughout the year for each person that comes. Think of something special you can do for God and celebrate with Him.
  42. Show family how special they are to God and you…treat them like royalty! When a family member has a birthday, make a special birthday card or a slide show for them with pictures set to some great music and watch it as a family. Then when you pray to God later that night, thank Him for creating that family member and ask God to bless and protect them. Say a special personalized blessing for them. I’ve done this for my family. It’s a lot of fun to honor someone in this way to celebrate their birthday.
  43. Speak verbal blessings over your loved ones- Ever since my son was a baby, I have always spoken a blessing to him. I always say it on his birthday, but there are times throughout the year I’ll go up to him and say it out loud to him. Pick out a special scripture and speak it to your family members. For example, my blessing for my son is Numbers 6:24-27, and I speak it out loud to him…even though he’s an adult, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” Take the opportunity to invest and celebrate in your family’s lives. There are tons of ways to celebrate with God, for God, and because of God. God is a God of celebration so celebrate with Him in all things.

To sum it all up: Make God your life. Include Him in everything. Make Him your everything. Day by day, share your life with Him. Find new ways everyday to fall more in love with God and fully delight in Him.

This list is just some ideas I came up with, and I’m not the most creative person, so I’m sure you can definitely come up with some better ideas. If you have a special way you delight in God, comment to this post so everyone else can see your idea. We’re all here to help each other love God and love others more.

Hope you each have a super awesome, blessed, and fantastic New Year overflowing with God’s love!

Deuteronomy 30:20, “…that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” 

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Thank you reading this! Hope you enjoyed it and got some new ideas for how to love and delight in God more. I pray He richly blesses you as you delight in Him and make Him your heart and your life!

More on delighting in God:

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

https://griefbites.com/2016/04/03/delighting-in-god-through-trialspart-2/

Happy New Year!!!🎉⭐🌺

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

😇FREE Bible and devotionals: www.youversion.com

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

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

⭐️❤️⭐️


It’s always better to: Creating A Great Life

It’s always better to:

•be too emotional than inauthentic 

•be too deep than shallow

•be too forgiving than bitter

•be too loving than rejecting 

•be too compassionate than hard-hearted 

•be too giving than stingy

•be too mercy-filled than unfeeling

•be too kind than excluding

•be too grateful than unappreciative 

•be too responsible than negligent 

•be too concerned than aloof

•be too thoughtful than selfish

•be too humble than arrogant

•be too honest than deceitful 

•be too mindful than careless

•be too invested than regretful 

•be too dependable than flakey

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

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

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

…And character either makes or breaks a person. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2016 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.

🌷

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

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

A challenge to find joy again.

A challenge not to cry every day.

A challenge to enjoy others.

A challenge to relax by doing your previous favorite activities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

❤️Gratitude & blessings,
    Kim

The Dark Candle

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

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

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

Written by Strickland Gillian

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

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

For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Overcoming Annual Grief Cycles: Why You May Experience Feeling Down Out Of Nowhere

When a tragic or heartbreaking grief event happens in life, it can velcro itself to your heart and memory storage. Some are obvious; others are not.

When you go through a major grief event such as a death, you’re much more familiar with the anticipation of sad feelings that will surface because the event has an exact date. Example: death of a loved one, divorce, etc. You know the date is coming up so you can easily label your feelings, grief, and heartache.

Other times, people can feel “blue” around a certain time each year and not be able to pinpoint where the feeling came from or understand why such intense emotions surfaced. A non-death grief event most likely happened, but the date wasn’t exactly remembered or written down. Example: a sexual assault while growing up (rape, molestation), adultery, divorce, a bad breakup, a natural disaster or house fire, discovering you have a major illness, tragic military event, major relationship issues, a PTSD/traumatizing event, etc.

These events can leave a huge imprint on your spirit, heart, mind, emotions, and even your body’s cells.

I’m a big advocate of creating a timeline of grief events that have happened in life and writing them down on paper…this way, you can go through each grief event and process it.

Feel what you need to feel. Allow yourself the freedom to thoroughly filter the circumstance and release the harsh emotions with the goal of nurturing and healing your heart.

Process each year of your life. Be so very grateful for all of the good that each year held, and work through and release any bad that happened as well.

While growing up, there were times during the year where I’d feel unexplainably down and discouraged.

I later figured out that during these times, a grief event had happened close to or on the date years before.

At that discovery, I made it a point to be mindful of potential annual grief cycles which greatly helped to overcome them.

So how do you overcome annual grief cycles?

  • Make a list of every significant grief event you’ve been through throughout your life
  • Keep a calendar of grief events so you are aware and prepared for them
  • Take the time to thoroughly grieve each event so there is minimal unfinished business as much is up to you
  • Seek out extra support and encouragement during potential or established grief dates
  • It can be helpful to talk to a trusted pastor, counselor, family member, or close friend on the date of an annual grief event
  • Pray God grants you the courage, encouragement, healing, and peace you need to get through the tough feelings of your grief event 
  • After thoroughly taking the time to grieve, make it a priority to have a day of relaxation, rejuvenation, and enjoyment on days of an annual grief cycle (this can take time and hard work to accomplish but is totally worth it)
  • Be compassionate to yourself and realize grief recovery takes time
  • Allow yourself the gift of grieving in healthy ways in your own time while growing through your grief

Once I understood and was able to anticipate annual grief cycles — and took the time to override annual grief dates with relaxing and enjoyable activities — my anxiety and sadness around those dates was dramatically resolved. It didn’t happen overnight, but with every year I chose to override these tough dates of sadness with new memories…good memories…I was freed up from stagnant discouragement and anxiety.

Imagine a piece of paper that is folded in half. To help “heal” the bent paper, you don’t just merely unfold the paper…it would still have a bend. To create a difference, you would need to fold it the opposite way. Yes, there may still be a crease, but the paper will no longer be bent.

We need to do this when it comes to grief and traumatic events in our lives: heal the fold by intentionally folding our lives in opposite much better ways. Yes, there will still be evidence of what happened…but the more we create a difference – after thoroughly grieving and feeling what we need to feel – it will no longer be as debilitating for us.

This week, make a list of any significant grief events you’ve been through, and think of creative ways to override annual grief cycles so you can truly begin to enjoy life once again.

Wishing all of you healing, peace, and great brand new memories as you work through your grief!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 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: https://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 Do The Olympics And Grief Have In Common?

Who doesn’t love the Olympics? The competition…the excitement…the pride for your country…the breathtaking joy you feel when you see someone accomplish their Olympic best, as well as the profound sadness you feel when you see a competitor lose their dream of winning.

I’ve watched quite a bit of the Olympics at home since it began. And lucky for me, it’s also been on at restaurants I’ve dined at, as well as other places I go.

As I was watching this week, I’ve seen many similar comparisons of competing in the Olympics and the event of grief.

Each Olympian chooses to force their self to get out of bed, especially on days when they’d much rather stay at home…grievers also force themselves to get out of bed, especially on mornings they’d rather block out the world.

Olympians go through blood, sweat, tears, prayers, and great sacrifice to get to the next level…grievers go through a very similar process. For Olympians, much of it is mental and physical…for grievers, it’s emotional and spiritual.

What an Olympian chooses to do in the dark (in the harshest and earliest of mornings, as well as the grueling out-of-view workouts) will eventually allow them to extraordinarily grow, better themselves, and fully shine in the light…Likewise, how a griever chooses to handle how they respond in the dark — all they are going through behind the scenes and learning in the darkest days of their life — eventually will predict if they come out better and shining through their grief experience and circumstances.

All Olympians and grievers need to surround themselves with great coaches, advisors, encouragement, and support. Neither can reach their fullest potential or ultimate life purpose without a strong community and the help of others.

With both the Olympian and griever, the excruciating struggles are real. Both are confronted with grueling hardships and tough choices, and both have the ability to fight through the dark to make it into a well-deserved glorious light.

I love this video of Michael Phelps ( https://youtu.be/Xh9jAD1ofm4 ). If you’ve followed his career, all you can say is WOW! Out of the entire time, he only took off one year, yet decided to come back and compete.

In grief, you may need to take some time off, but choose to never, ever quit! When you feel like quitting or staying stagnant, think of all Michael Phelps would be missing out on if he had never came back!

Both the Olympian and griever gain some of the hardest earned rewards for their sacrifices as they push through, press forward, and finally realize their potential of healing and perseverance, as well as their goals and dreams later on.

When you feel defeated in your grief, remember there is Gold at the end of your race. Choose to do the grueling hard work so you can make it through the most difficult, toughest days of your life!

When it comes to an Olympian swimmer like Michael Phelps and a griever, both are in situations where they can drown if not careful. Both also have to find the ability to fight for their breath during the most vital times so they can finally rise to the surface in victory.

Both have failures and successes, disappointments and triumphs. All go through a grand series of emotions and also learn new breathing and life techniques so they do not feel as though they are continually gasping for air.

With hard work, the Olympian triumphs over competitors…the griever triumphs over grief.

You are worth it! And your life will be richer and much more fulfilling when you realize you truly triumphed to new heights over and through your grief experience!

And when the day of realization, healing, and triumph comes, what a great feeling that will be!!

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭

“…I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” ~Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭

Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win.” ~1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭

Gratitude and many blessings (and Happy Olympic watching),
Kim

©2016 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

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

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

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

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

8 Questions To Ask Yourself To Find Your Life Purpose & Gifts

Everybody on earth has something special that is God-given inside of them…something so special that it has the ability to greatly help and positively change the lives of others.

Each person has a unique life purpose, talent, gift, and/or specific character qualities.

Growing up, it took me awhile to find mine. In fact, I think many people struggle to find theirs because of seven things:

  1. They compare themselves to others
  2. They fail to truly find out who they are — and what they are good at —on purpose 
  3. They fear rejection and/or judgment
  4. They haven’t asked God to reveal their purpose or gifts to them
  5. They haven’t had people in their life who have offered encouragement or guidance
  6. They’re not willing to persevere or go through hardship to learn something new
  7. They prematurely quit
  8. Sometimes, a unique talent, gift, or life purpose passes to the next generation (as it did with King David and his son Solomon)

Talent-wise, I always felt inferior to my siblings as I was growing up.

All of my siblings were incredibly talented musicians. My brother was always first chair in band and played trumpet solos frequently. My sisters excelled at piano…both were concert level pianists at an early age. My oldest sister was so good that she had to start going to a college university in the fourth grade to be further taught since no local teachers had the ability to teach her anymore.

And then there was me.

No musical talent whatsoever.

It wasn’t so bad the first several years of life. It became embarrassing from the age of 12 up.

We frequently had guests in our home, and people would want to hear all of us play the big grand piano that graced our living room. 

My mom would play beautifully…My oldest sister would dazzle them with difficult to play classical favorites…My brother’s specialty was playing VanHalen’s “Jump” and a few other pop songs…And my other sister would impress people with classical tunes, well-known songs from movies and musicals — such as Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera, and beloved hymns. And like I already said, then there was Kim…and my usuals were “I Dropped My Dolly In The Dirt” or “Chopsticks.” Pretty cute to play those as a young child…and I was pretty proud of these two songs…until I saw the disappointed faces that seemed to question, “what happened to this musical dunce of the family?” You know, the one who couldn’t play piano worth a hoot? 

I wasn’t good at piano or other melodious instruments, so I decided I was going to play the snare drum in band. The only problem was, no matter how good I got at it, nobody…and I mean absolutely nobody (well, other than my mom)…wanted to hear someone playing a snare drum after hearing beautiful piano music. It was pretty noisy.

I’m grateful I had parents and siblings who didn’t make me feel inferior. In fact, my mom always encouraged us in many activities and interests…music lessons, ballet/dance lessons, sports, voice lessons, swim lessons, etc.

I finally found my niche in other non-musical areas…cooking/baking, soccer, writing, and tae kwon do. I also spent an entire Summer learning how to play Für Elise so when people came over, I would no longer be the musical loser of the family. 

It was very difficult to learn how to play Für Elise…especially since it was a higher level song…but I wanted to prove to myself that I could learn at least one great piano song and play it by memory.

Even though I learned to play Für Elise, piano just wasn’t my “thing” while growing up — it didn’t bring me joy — so I decided I would find out what was.

Finding what I was gifted or talented at only happened once I stopped comparing myself to my siblings or others. I had to take the time to truly find out who I was and purposely find out what I enjoyed and was personally good at. I had to get over my perceived feelings of rejection or judgment (who’s to say anyone judged me at all…it totally could have all been in my mind due to me not being comfortable with myself). 

It took awhile but I found — to my surprise — several things I was good at.

Sure, I would absolutely love to have the twinkle fingers of my siblings that can glide like silk on keys of ivory, but had I been good at piano, I most likely would never have discovered my own individual personal talents or life purpose. 

As you find your life purpose, gifts and talents, particularly if you found them early in life, realize they can evolve. What you may have loved or hated as a child or teenager may bring you either joy or dissatisfaction later on. As an adult, I decided to take piano lessons again from my sister, but I didn’t become frustrated. I can now play a few songs and read music but it still isn’t a main or primary talent. Likewise, soccer isn’t a talent I kept up with.
All of this to say: 

  1. What is your specific talent, gift, or life purpose? Have you discovered them yet? What character qualities are unique to you?
  2. Are you stuck in the dead end hamster wheel of comparing yourself to others?
  3. Have you truly taken the time to find out who you are — and what you personally are good at…on purpose? 
  4. Have you taken the proper steps to stop fearing rejection and/or judgment?
  5. Have you asked God to reveal your unique purpose, talents, or gifts to you?
  6. Have you sought out people in your life who can offer encouragement and guidance to you? Or accountability?
  7. Have you made the declaration that you are willing to persevere – and go through hardship if necessary – to learn what your life purpose is and to learn new talents, gifts, and brand new things? 
  8. Have you created a plan so you won’t be tempted to prematurely quit when life gets tough?

I encourage everyone to genuinely think about these questions and to ask God to reveal to you what your life purpose is. Everybody has one! Everybody has the treasure of talents, personal character, gifts, and purpose inside of them! Ask God to reveal what your gifts, purpose and talents are. They’re not going to be exactly what somebody else’s are, so don’t waste time comparing yourself — or your life — to others. There is great treasure inside of you…inside your heart, mind, body, spirit, and purpose. God wants to use these magnificent qualities for His glory and your ultimate good!

Seek to find out what they are — and the purpose behind them!

It could be one thing or multiple things. It may even be just a specific character quality that you are especially good at. Many people will have multiple things, but don’t be discouraged if it is just one thing — financial guru Dave Ramsey has helped a multitude of people with just one specific gift. Whatever gift(s) you have, it was specifically created just for you to make a difference in your family’s lives, in others lives, and to bless and help others.

Enjoy the amazing process and adventure of finding all that God has in store for you! Finding these treasures God has specifically for you truly makes life abundant and fulfilling!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

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

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️

7 Truths You Learn Through Tragedy

When harsh disasters strike or unexpected tragedies occur — such as Columbine, 9/11, the OKC tornadoes, or the Orlando shooting — it can create intense grief and always reveals truth.

To the grief community, it can stir up emotions they previously went through in whatever original loss they personally experienced.

It can also affect all of mankind and bring to light a deep perspective about mortality and even some avoided issues in life.

Grief is extremely heartbreaking, tragic, and draining. I believe if no lessons are experienced during grief, that is tragic, too…because the lessons and truths you learn through your hardest days prevents your grief from being in vain.

So what lessons and truths can you learn through tragedy? There are many. Here are seven that are universal:

7 Truths You Learn Through Tragedy

1. We all go through grief at some point in our lives, so to help another through grief is an incredible way to honor those we have lost or to make the bad times we’ve experienced in life count. Everybody needs encouragement and help from time to time — especially during the toughest days of their life. Why not be that help and encouragement to your loved ones today?

2. Tragedy brings out both the good and bad in family, friends, and mankind. It’s crazy how a sudden situation of grief can sift a person’s relationships. You truly see who your good family and friends are — and the ones who aren’t so great. It’s also crazy how grief and tragedy can bring out the good in people…and also the bad. I’m always delighted to see people come together in the midst of bad situations and actively care for others…and I’m equally disappointed to see others who distance themselves or use their energy to create further chaos and heartache for others. Always choose to be the cool breeze and bright ray of sunshine after a storm instead of the torrential rain that pounds and destroys others.

3. Sudden tragedies can intensify a griever’s previous grief, trigger memories, and create compassion. Since they understand what the affected ones are going through…and are about to go through…they most likely will also experience feelings that may surprise them. For example: if a parent who has already experienced losing a child sees the parents of the victims of the Orlando shooting on TV (or through other media), it can bring back feelings a griever already thought they had dealt with…or feelings they buried deep and may not have dealt with at all. Or like the Stanford case, it can trigger haunting memories for victims who have been assaulted. It’s good to realize this so one can be prepared. 

4. It brings into balance what one’s priorities in life should be. When tough events take place, you truly learn or you are reminded of what’s important…and what’s not. You realize how fleeting life truly can be. 

5. It puts into proper perspective how important loved ones are. Suddenly that argument or disagreement you previously had with a loved one isn’t near as important as you thought it was. You “get” how much you love your family and friends. You understand how loved ones can be here “today” and suddenly gone “tomorrow” with no warning at all.

6. Living life to the fullest takes on a whole new meaning. You understand at a greater level how precious life is. You realize the truth that you don’t always get a “do-over” or have “tomorrow” to experience life — to do the things you’ve always wanted to do…to go on vacations to the places you’ve always wanted to go…to enjoy and experience events with family and friends who bring you the greatest joy in life. Living life becomes important.

7. When you know of another person going through a grief event — especially if you have previously experienced grief — you finally see it is an important opportunity not to be missed. When you’ve been through grief, you have the incredible ability to help another person through hard terrain that you have already ventured and conquered. You’re basically a human GPS who can offer guidance to others going through their grief. Offering compassion, a listening ear, a meal, hard earned wisdom, or other tangible ways of caring, are healing to both the new griever and the old. Never miss an opportunity to help another person who is hurting.

Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer.” ~Rachel Scott (Columbine victim)

What truths have you learned or realized through grief or tragic circumstances? There are lessons through every event we experience or go through in life. 

Never miss the ability to learn from and become a better person from one.

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

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

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️

Creating An Authentic & Personalized Valentine’s Day In Spite Of Heartache

Valentine’s Day.

Ah, the day for love. A day filled with flowers, chocolate, jewelry, romantic candlelight dinners, gifts, and love.

But what if you’re one of the people who aren’t in the Happy Valentine’s Day Club this year?

Maybe your treasured spouse passed away and Valentine’s Day is excruciatingly painful. It’s hard to get through the day.

Perhaps your little Valentines (kiddos) who used to make you the sweetest homemade cards have grown up and aren’t exactly being sweet.

Maybe your spouse (or significant other) committed adultery, betrayed your trust, and you’re in the heart wrenching transition of cleaning up a horrible mess you didn’t choose, create, or deserve.

Perhaps you recently experienced an ugly divorce or tough breakup and it’s super hard to see other couples celebrating.

Maybe you’ve longed to have a spouse or special someone in your life, but things never worked out quite how you imagined … and now you find yourself alone.

Perhaps you’re married (or in a relationship), but you know you will not be cherished or celebrated. February 14th is just another day on the calendar – and no matter how much you’ve communicated your feelings, needs, and desires, Valentines Day will simply be another annual let down. https://griefbites.com/2018/02/14/a-special-prayer-for-your-marriage/

Maybe you’ve been burnt by love in the past, so you take great care to never go anywhere near the flame of love ever again. You just don’t care to pursue or open yourself up to love again because you don’t want to potentially get hurt.

Perhaps you’re in the middle of a huge grief experience and love is the last thing on your mind. Your broken heart feels as though it can’t focus on anything but your present grief and pain.

Maybe you have a loved one you are estranged from (spouse, child, or other loved one) so your heart feels as though it will never heal. Every day feels like a silent funeral in your heart. https://griefbites.com/2016/03/20/mourning-those-who-are-still-alive/

There are many reasons – spoken and unspoken – why some are less than enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the pain is so deep, it can literally hurt to breathe. https://griefbites.com/2017/06/20/the-challenge-of-unspoken-or-hidden-grief/

Life just doesn’t always go the way we plan. https://griefbites.com/2018/03/21/when-god-doesnt-give-you-your-fairytale-2/

When going through a tough life experience, your soul craves comfort and relief. It also craves authenticity, because when your heart and soul have been battered by the waves of life, it washes everything shallow away and you just want something real…yet you wonder how you can truly enjoy or celebrate holidays in spite of the pain.

Thinking of past holidays, I wish someone would have given me a different perspective and new ideas so I had options for enjoying holidays once again. Today, I hope to be a source of encouragement for all who are presently hurting.

Sometimes, you just need to change things up or create something unique and different, so as to not feel lost or stay stagnant.

How do you wish to spend Valentine’s Day? What can you do to create a memorable day in spite of grief and loss?

Maybe you want to celebrate big. Maybe you’re so discouraged, you truly just hope to get through the day.

This Valentine’s Day, create whatever kind of day you personally need, so you truly are able to enjoy or just get through the day.

If that means declaring an “Un-Valentine’s Day” where you make the day just like any other day and avoid all things Valentine-ish, then do so.

If it means pouring your heart and love into your loved ones (spouse, children, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, grandparents, other family, or friends), then wholeheartedly enjoy it.

If it means baking Valentine’s Day treats and passing them out to loved ones or those you know who are hurting, then lovingly do that.

If it means warmly remembering and honoring a loved one who is no longer here, then allow those special memories to comfort your heart.

If it means putting on your comfiest pajamas, lighting the fireplace, and getting a box of chocolates or a pint of ice cream (hey, no judgment here😊) and watching sappy movies while either loving or hating the holiday, then go for it.

If you want to go out to dinner with all of your single friends, go out and enjoy yourself.

Do whatever makes you feel comfy, cozy, and comforted.

You might want to spend the day completely alone, or with a few people, or get a big group of people together who want to have a great Valentine’s Day, too…or even an anti-Valentine’s Day.

People should create whatever type of day they need, so that on February 15, they can wake up with a heart that is filled with joy, contentment, special memories, and wholeness.

Expectations of how one thinks the day should go…or expecting others to fill their heart up…is the quickest way to arrive at disappointment and heartache.

Instead of spending February 14th with great expectations…and then waking up on the 15th with disappointments or sadness…what if you purposely chose to create the day you want, and cultivate peace and gratefulness for all evidence of love you have in your life. Choose to create the best customized Valentine’s Day that truly fills your heart and the hearts of your loved ones, too.

There are no rules on how to get through Valentine’s Day – or any other tough holiday of the year for that matter. As long as you aren’t hurting the heart of God, or hurting others or yourself, or doing anything illegal, then authentically doing whatever helps your heart to heal or feel joy will be what creates an authentic, personalized Valentine’s Day.

What kind of day can you custom create this Valentine’s Day?

What will bring your heart comfort, warmth, and peace?

What can you do to custom create a day of relaxation and solitude – or what can you do to create a day filled with loved ones and fun?

Do you enjoy flowers, candy, and jewelry? If you have no one to buy these special gifts for you, consider buying these treats for others or yourself.

Are you concerned someone won’t celebrate and honor you? You have great value! Celebrate and honor your own heart…because you deserve it!

All of the usual things about Valentine’s Day…flowers, chocolates, jewelry, gifts, dinner, and gifts…although these things are amazing, they ultimately fail to include the very best thing about Valentine’s Day. They can’t even compete with the true meaning.

Valentine’s Day is about genuine love and the precious hearts of ALL the special people God has graciously given to us to love in our lives: God, our family members (spouse/significant other, kiddos/little people, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, etc), and also our own heart.

Creating a special day to celebrate love – and the gift of love – is what will make the day special. It doesn’t have to primarily be about romance.

In fact, I prefer it doesn’t so I’m not limited in my celebrations of the day. I will forever choose February 14 to be a day of gratitude and love.

It is also a great source of comfort to know and truly realize that the Ultimate Valentine (God) loves and adores you! So much!! If there is ever a day a person feels they do not have any options for a Happy Valentine’s Day, there will always be One who constantly remains…and He loves each and every heart, spirit, and soul more than any human ever can. God is MORE than happy to spend the entire day with anyone who feels lonely or disappointed by life and love!❤️ https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

You don’t even have to wait to enjoy God’s love…you can celebrate and soak up His incredible love each and every day of the year. https://griefbites.com/2016/12/30/making-2017-your-best-year-yet-43-ways-to-delight-in-god/

Valentine’s Day is a gift. How you choose to unwrap the gift of Valentine’s Day is truly and authentically yours. Do something extra special…or do nothing at all. That’s how to create an authentic and personalized Valentine’s Day. Make it what you need it to be.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! May you always realize your great value, and how special and loved by God you truly are.

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making 2016 Your Best Year Yet!

I love January! Okay…so I don’t necessarily love winter or cold weather, but I do love what a new year always has to offer!

January is a month of reflection, growth, goal setting, and just a fantastic month to regroup in every area of life.

With a fresh new year that has yet to be written on, I love how January offers fresh ink to create a life that is better…richer…more rewarding…and has more depth than the previous year.

While growing up, my mom would often tell me, “Kim, don’t forget AAA,” as she would lovingly remind me to make wise choices and make the most out of each year.

This has served me well throughout my adult life, so I’m going to share this life changing strategy with you!

My mom would tell me that with any situation in life—good or bad—it is wise to implement AAA:

  • Acknowledge
  • Accept
  • Act

Most people acknowledge the good or bad that happens in life. It’s pretty hard to ignore.

Many will even do the next step of accepting when something good or bad happens. Eventually you have to accept the good and bad so you don’t get stuck in life.

Not everybody will choose to act, though, or put the proper action in place to consciously grow through both the great times and tough times in life.

When you choose to implement AAA, life becomes much more purposeful. You keenly realize there is meaning behind every goal and choice. Everything has the potential to bring about incredible change, improvement and growth.

So why make resolutions or set goals? And where does AAA fit in?

To effectively make long-lasting goals, there is a strong need to get real with yourself…to acknowledge, accept, and act upon your goals. Without implementing AAA, goals can be like cotton candy: sweet and fluffy but when the first tough wave life throws at you comes, it can be watered out and quickly dissolve.

While thinking of AAA, also ask yourself, “why,” before making any resolution or goal. If you don’t understand why you’re genuinely doing something, it genuinely won’t get done.

We make January a priority for change because of many reasons, but I believe the biggest ones are:

  • It’s a brand new year filled with possibilities
  • We want change
  • We desire a better life
  • We weren’t designed by God to stay stagnant
  • We want the best life has to offer for not only ourselves but our loved ones
  • We love the challenge of bettering ourselves or our circumstances
  • We clearly see something in our lives that has either failed or something that isn’t working, so we want to choose better, overcome, and succeed 

This is why a fresh brand new year that is filled with AAA and goal setting becomes incredibly valuable! No matter what has happened in life, we are given the opportunity to choose what we want life to be. And what greater time to create a life we actually want than at the beginning of a fresh, brand new year?

Whether you are a New Year’s resolution type of person or not, think about how you’d like for 2016 to go. Write down your goals and the positive changes you’d like to make, and then choose each and every day in 2016 to make it happen. It is a daily choice! Sometimes, an hour by hour choice!

Life is a series of choices to powerfully better your life or consequence it. Each choice is either an incredible asset or a liability. So truly think through each choice life has to offer and then choose wisely.

I always think of key areas: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, health, marriage, parenting, family, work, home, hobbies, friendships, etc.

No matter if you make one, a few, or many changes or resolutions, or whether they are small or grand, be sure to make your goals your own. You have to believe in them! You can do a goal alongside others, but if you don’t personally love the goal, you’ll most likely fizzle out. You can’t set a goal just because someone else is doing it, it truly needs to originate from your own heart or be dear to your own heart.

For example, my husband absolutely hates working out. It just isn’t his thing. I have two gym memberships so I bought him a membership at one of the gyms. He didn’t use it all year long. He rocks at basketball, though, so if he made a goal of playing once or twice a week, he’d definitely stick with that. But working out at a gym was failed before it ever got started because it didn’t originate in his heart. 

If you enjoy resolutions, make them your own and consider:

  • areas of new potential
  • what clean fresh start is needed
  • renewing former goals you wish you would’ve previously seen through
  • creating and meeting new goals
  • the ability to make things right as far as you personally are able to in past events you wronged others
  • better ways to encourage, love, and invest in your loved ones lives
  • failures or shortcomings to change that you are no longer comfortable with
  • getting right with God, and your spouse, children, family, and loved ones—realizing this sometimes takes time
  • quitting bad habits 
  • taking on a personal challenge to prove to yourself your ability to achieve or overcome 
  • ways of growing through grief or a life challenge, learning all you can so you end up better and not bitter

Ultimately, with any resolution or goal, be reminded of God’s love and goodness, and look forward to how He will choose to work through you in 2016.

The new year holds so many awesome things: new memories, new potential, new adventures, new opportunities, new change and improvements, and new experiences.

Here’s to making 2016 the best year yet as we each seek to Acknowledge, Accept, and Act!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

If what you read was helpful, please feel free to share it❤️

For more encouragement:

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

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

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

❤️

3 Questions To Ask Yourself For The Best Relationships Possible

Life is a series of choices. One of the most important decisions we’ll ever make is the choice about the kind of person we want to be.

If we were to die today, how would we be remembered? Would we be remembered as:

  • a campfire who everybody gathered around for light, insight, & warmth?
  • a bright ray of sunshine who was fun & made everybody laugh?
  • a family member who didn’t value, love, or appreciate other family members?
  • a raging lunatic who everyone saw as a walking time bomb?
  • a person who was always there to offer encouragement?
  • someone who showed hospitality and made everyone feel welcomed, loved, and included?
  • a selfish person who made everybody feel stressed, unvalued, & miserable?
  • a mediocre or timid person too scared to take risks?
  • a source of comfort and strength for the broken?
  • an arrogant, exclusive, snobby person who made others feel unwanted or beneath them?
  • a source of loving encouragement who made others feel they could truly do something remarkable with their life?
  • a big ball of energy who loved life & everyone made great memories with?
  • a person who made promises but rarely kept their word?
  • a person who sucked the life out of others?
  • a person who was helpful and hardworking?
  • a person who was a negative influence, bad role model, or who encouraged or enabled sin, poor decisions, or addictions?
  • a materialistic person who put money & possessions before relationships?
  • a flaky person with no stability or follow through?
  • a person who caused drama or pitted family members against each other?
  • a person of great moral character who others could depend on and learn from?
  • a person who was too busy to genuinely care?
  • someone who took the time to love others back to life after hardships?
  • a person who made mistakes, but changed it all one day to become a person who greatly loved & honored others?

When I was a senior in highschool, I had the best family relations teacher. She didn’t just teach from the usual curriculum, she branched out and taught from resources she knew would be genuinely useful to us in life.

One of those resources happened to be a video series from Dr. Gary Smalley.

As I watched and intently listened to each fantastic video, one stood out. It was a teaching on showing great Honor to others.

Dr. Smalley basically said to treat each person as though they were the only person in the room…and to not just stop there but to treat your loved ones better than royalty—to be in absolute awe and wonder that you get the incredible, precious privilege of being a part of each of your loved ones lives.

He also shared that it starts with just one person choosing to show their loved ones honor. It wasn’t contingent on anyone or anything else.

I grew up in a home where we were very close and loved each other. Both of my parents were great role models to me on how to show others honor, and Dr. Smalley’s video made an incredible impact in my heart and life, too.

I began to realize how everything I did in life—and especially how I treated my loved ones—had the powerful ability to affect everyone I (and they) came into contact with.

Family. Friends. Co-workers. Church family. Neighbors. The employees at businesses and restaurants I frequented…Everyone.

With each interaction I had, I could leave people in much better condition if I treated them with great honor, or worse condition if I chose differently — all depending on my attitude and honor.

I began by purposely treating my family better. I’d stop by after school and buy my mom one of her favorite treats…a flavored bagel with honey & almond cream cheese, or I’d surprise her with flowers “just because.” I’d go out of my way to be kind to my siblings and make them homemade cards or bake them treats. I’d randomly treat my friends to ice cream, write them a note to encourage them, or pay for their lunch. If I ordered food from a fast food reastaurant, I’d go out of my way to be nice and ask the worker how their day was. I told all of my teachers, “Thank you,” for all they had taught (and were teaching) me and began to listen in class as a way of honoring their hard work and time they were investing in me. I’d surprise my dad by mowing the lawn, do my mom’s hair and makeup for her, or go grocery shopping to help out. With my mom’s encouragement and help, I’d also buy my teachers gifts around each holiday. I began to look forward to honoring others and doing special things for loved ones.

With every choice I made to honor others, the better I felt. Life became much more rewarding and I felt I was making a difference. It was an amazing feeling to know I could bring others happiness or brighten their day. Honoring others felt much better than being shallow or selfish.

After the video series, my teacher asked each of us, “How do you want to be remembered?” She explained she gave us some great information, but the info on the videos would only prove to be valuable if we chose to implement it. Ultimately, we needed to decide if we would choose to be an honorable person who chose to honor others as a lifestyle.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to Mrs. W. for pouring into me my junior and senior years of highschool. Her investment in my life caused me to value my parents, family, and friends so much more…and this also positively impacted (in the future) my parenting and marriage. To this day, I greatly treasure my loved ones!

I am thankful for the two questions I was asked many years ago that had such a fantastic, life-changing impact:

“How do you want to be remembered?”

“How can you show great honor & love to your loved ones each day?”

We ALL leave a legacy…whether we like it or not. Whether we’re intentional or not.

We ALL are known by our personalities, passions, and choices. We ALL leave our unique personal mark…our “brand”…on EVERYONE around us.

The cool thing is, it is never too late for each of us to leave a better legacy than the one we are currently living.

Through honor, we ALL have the powerful ability to choose what legacy we’ll be leaving.

Think of who you TRULY want to be and then take the necessary steps to make it happen.

What if you feel you’ve already monumentally messed up?

Put one hand on your heart and your other hand on your mouth. Do you feel your heartbeat and your breath? If you’re still alive (which I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this😊), you still have the power to turn things around.

You may have to apologize to loved ones, make amends, create much needed change, or set some things right, but today…this very minute…you have the ability to choose to become a person of great honor who others will warmly remember.

Challenge yourself every day to grow and become a better person than you were yesterday and today, love your loved ones extravagantly while you still have the chance, and leave a legacy of great honor that is worth remembering.

That’s something I’ll always challenge myself to do.

So, today (and every day) ask yourself 3 vital questions:

“How do I want to be remembered?”

“Who can I show honor to TODAY?”

“How can I love my family/loved ones to the very best of my ability?”

One day, you’ll be remembered by your loved ones…and everyone around you.

Make your memory a great one!

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2016 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. 🎄NEW!🎄Experiencing The Holidays With Jesus: Christmas~ http://bible.com/r/3V5

⭐️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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•Who can I help to be successful today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude and many blessings,
Kim

©2016 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.

⭐️❤️

Delighting in God Through Trials~Part 1

Psalm 37:4,Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Psalm 37:4. The Bible verse everyone wants to come true and loves to hear, yet few ever truly dive deep enough to receive the blessings and gifts promised from this special verse.

Sometimes, we lightheartedly want this verse to come true…we think of all of the wonderful things we would want if God would magically grant us the whimsical desires of our hearts. Other times, this verse becomes almost a “911” sort of verse…a verse we become intensely interested in while we are going through an emergency situation in life.

God truly cares about each and every situation we go through, and He truly cares about all of the desires of our hearts—the whimsical and fanciful, as well as the emergency and important desires we have. God greatly desires to fully bless His children, and He sincerely wants to lavish great gifts onto those who genuinely love Him and delight in Him. (Matthew 7:11, James 1:17)

This past year, I’ve been going through a very tough grief experience…the toughest one I’ve ever had to walk through. A grief experience so personal and heartbreaking, very few even know about it. I knew from the start of this particular journey that there wouldn’t be a “quick fix” available. Other than praying, I eventually found I wouldn’t have the ability to do anything about this specific grief experience at all. 

God has repeatedly asked me to trust Him, to wait, build my faith, wait some more, build my faith even deeper, continue to trust Him more, and to lay this grief experience completely at His feet—simply being still as God works completely in His timing. Waiting and being still are extremely hard…I’m a much better “doer” than a “waiter,” yet God has supplied me with a greater hope, trust, and faith than I have ever known or experienced.

It was not easy at first. This grief event has tested my faith more than any other experience I’ve ever been through…but it’s refined my faith and proven it to be more genuine than ever before. 

This grief experience is what brought me to seek the meaning of Psalm 37:4. For me, it’s been an utter desperation of pleading with God to give me the deepest desire of my heart.

I’ve been blessed to learn many rich spiritual lessons throughout the past year, and I want to encourage anyone who is going through an extremely challenging time to not give up. God is listening to your heart’s cries…He truly does care…He has a plan to see you through the challenging event you are facing! He is not going to abandon you! He hears you and He sees your heartache and tears…they are not in vain.

What hard life event are you going through today? Are you, like me, seeking God with all your heart for answers? Are you desperate to have your deepest heart’s desires realized and brought to life? Are you wanting to seek and delight in God but you’re not quite sure where to begin?
I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned this past year. I truly hope it helps and encourages many today.

When looking at Psalm 37:4, I wanted instant results for the situation. God had other plans…and I’m grateful He did. Had He simply given me the desire of my heart instantly, I would not have grown as much as I have this year. I would’ve missed out on priceless, authentic lessons that have greatly changed me.

Just to be clear, I’m not over here skipping through fields of daisies and cheesily saying, “I’m so thankful for rich spiritual lessons, and you should be, too!”…No, not. at. all. The situation I’m praying for is literally a matter of life and death, and MANY tears have been poured through numerous prayers…so if God would’ve answered it immediately, I would definitely have taken it! However, I’m a firm believer in if God allows me to go through it, I’m going to grow through it.

But, sometimes, God asks us to wait. He requests that we be completely still and trust Him. And waiting, trusting, and being still is HARD! Especially when it appears that nothing is happening. It becomes even harder when things look like they’re getting worse. But…this is the exact place we’d truly want to be if we knew all of the facts from God’s perspective. 

Allowing God to train us to see life, and challenges in life, through His perspective—an eternal perspective—is what makes the difference between growing in faith…or growing in doubt and bitterness. It’s what makes the difference between pressing forward in hope and faith…or giving up. It’s what makes the difference between trusting Him and growing closer to His heart…or rejecting Him. It is imperative to have, and keep, an eternal perspective when going through grief, trials, and life challenges. If you don’t, you begin to spiritually die.

It’s not always easy, though.

One day, a few months ago, I became very frustrated about the situation I am facing. In my frustration, because no change had been seen in the situation for over a year…despite fasting and praying…I began to nurse a little hopelessness and bitterness. Heart and gut wrenching thoughts popped into my mind…”This situation is not fair…I genuinely did nothing to deserve thiswhy am I having to walk through this? God, why are you not helping me…why aren’t you helping me when You could instantly heal and fix this?”

I stayed upset for a few days…then realized how wickedly ungrateful I was being.

As I was focusing on what all I felt God was not giving me…I failed to see and truly appreciate all God had given and was currently giving to me. 

It needs to be said: having questions does not make a person ungrateful…and wading through the waters of frustration or disappointment doesn’t mean a person is wicked, lacks faith, or that they are wrong. I knew my own personal heart, though, and it verged on being ungrateful and bitter. 

Some very convicting thoughts came to mind…How many of my heart’s desires had God already given to me throughout my life…and how many of my heart’s desires has God currently been giving to me that I had not even asked Him or thanked Him for? 

I felt God asking me to make a list of all I was grateful for. As I made the list, I effortlessly wrote down 157 blessings and gifts from God I was incredibly grateful for…not too shabby for the God I was accusing of not giving me my heart’s desires just days before. And of those 157 things, other than #1 being God, #2 being family, #3 being friends/neighbors, and #4 being church family, the remaining 153 items didn’t include all of the people I’ve gotten the incredible joy of knowing and enjoying in my lifetime…or the wonderful memories I had the privilege of making with them. Many of my truest heart’s desires have graciously and extravagantly already been given to me by my Father God! My heart broke as I thought of how I was tempted to be so upset with God…thinking He owed me more…all because one very important heart’s desire wasn’t being answered the way I wanted it to be.

How many times do we focus on the one or two things God has not given us, or the one or two people or things God has allowed to be taken away from us, yet we fail to see all of the good God has freely given to us…much of which we don’t deserve, we did not earn, and we may not have even asked Him for? 

I needed to repent because I needed to want a dynamic relationship with God as much, if not more, as I wanted the dynamics of the situation to change. The situation is dire, and is still extremely important to me…extremely…just my relationship with God is more vital—and I trust Him!

Instead of saying, “This situation is not fair…I genuinely did nothing to deserve this…why am I having to walk through this? God, why are you not helping me?”….I instead choose to say, “God, the amount You have willingly and graciously chosen to put up with from me—all of my sins, ungratefulness, idolatries, attitudes, shortcomings, mistakes and failures—throughout my lifetime is not fair…The amount of kindness and goodness You have freely given to me and blessed me with is not fair or deserved…I genuinely did nothing to deserve all of Your love, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gifts, and favor…Thank You for all of the good in my life, God…I will trust You with the path You are allowing. Work it out in YOUR time, not mine…YOU are the truest treasure and YOU should be the deepest desire of my heart—over, above, and beyond my desire for You to intervene in the challenge I am facing…I will delight in You no matter what!”

That day changed everything. I began to focus more on desiring and delighting in God, instead of focusing on my situation.

It makes no humanly sense. Really, it doesn’t. But, through eyes of an eternal perspective, it makes perfect sense.

I realized through focusing on my life challenge, I had lost my primary focus on God. It made me think of Peter in the Bible (Matthew 14:22-36). Jesus had asked Peter to walk on the water to Him, through the treacherous waves, but Peter began to sink because he focused on the storm and took his focus off of the One who had control of the storm. Jesus could have easily just stopped the storm. No doubt about it. But, the focus was never to be about the storm; the focus was to trust Jesus, take His hand, and run into His arms, away from the storm.

Today, in your situation, are you focusing so much on the storm that you’re sinking? Have you lost your eternal perspective so that you are not able to see your Savior’s loving arms that are reached out to you?

It’s entirely way too easy to do. We’re all human, in need of God’s love, mercy, help and grace. I’m super grateful God keeps that in mind!

Maybe, as I did, you need to get alone with God and pour your heart out to Him. Cry your fiercest tears, share with Him all of the hurts, pain, fears, worries, needs, and concerns. Share with Him—right or wrong—all that you are feeling, so you can run through the storm you are facing into His arms.

He IS there in your storm, and He WILL catch you! He may ask you to walk to Him, then be still…trust Him…wait…and even wait some more…but He is not going to leave you. He is not going to fail you or fail your situation! When we genuinely trust Him and TRULY delight in Him, He begins to smooth away the rockiness of our waves.

But, first, we must learn to TRULY delight in God. 

Ask God to teach you to authentically delight in Him…asking Him to speak powerfully to your heart. If there’s sin in your life, ask Him for His grace to remove the sin and then, with His daily help, choose to sin no more and replace your sin with the fruits of His Spirit and His righteousness. If there’s extreme hurt and bitterness in your heart, ask Him for His grace to remove it…and ask Him to replace your hurts and bitterness with a softness of heart and genuine love. If there’s pride, or any other negative character quality or emotion, ask for forgiveness and give God full control of your life and situation. (Ezekiel 11:17-21)

Do whatever it takes, whatever is needed, so you truly are freed up spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically to delight in God and to love Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength!

When it all comes down to it, God—and our relationship with Him—is far more important than anything and anyone. He is totally worth pursuing with all of our heart! And He truly rewards those who seek Him when their motives are pure and right. (Jeremiah 29:13, Psalm 14:2, Acts 17:27-28, Hebews 11:6, Matthew 6:33-34, 2 Chronicles 30:18-20, Deuteronomy 4:15-40, Ezekiel 36)

What an amazing, rich, incredible gift we each are allowed and given every single day! A gift so miraculous…so incredibly special, prized, and powerful! God has blessed us with the ability to choose to unwrap this amazing gift every single day…the extraordinary gift of a deep friendship with Him and the ability to talk to Him anywhere, anytime!

We have the ability to talk with God of the universe…the very One who formed and created the entire world and the stars…the One who lovingly hand knitted and created us and the people we love and cherish the most…the One who, through Him, everything came to be! The Creator of everything! God, of Heaven and earth, who is preparing a place in Heaven for us!

Why wouldn’t we want to talk to God and delight in Him most? Over and above all the people we know and love? Over and above our interests and the activities and hobbies we enjoy everyday? And…yes, even over, above, and beyond the situations that break our hearts and attempt to steal our joy and our focus on the One we should desire and love the most?

I’ve found, this past year, that the problem wasn’t God not answering my prayers or not giving me the desires of my heart…the problem is I failed to genuinely honor, love, and truly obey Him, and authentically delight in Him.

If you had asked me if I did these things before, I would’ve absolutely replied, “yes,”…yet, God has shown me “blind spots” in my life that I didn’t realize were there that have needed correcting. And, these blind spots kept me from fully delighting in God.

Today, what blind spots are keeping you from fully delighting in God? Are you willing to humble and get real with yourself and allow God to remove them?

As I was talking to God about everything, as well as my blind spots, I realized how much change was needed in my heart. I even went the extra step of asking those closest to me to share the blind spots they personally saw. I was serious about delighting in God and removing anything that prevented me from doing so. Warning: don’t ask those closest to you about your blind spots unless you truly want to hear uncomfortable truths. Your feelings will probably get hurt, too. Be prepared to take an open minded, honest look at your life with an expectation to humbly handle it in love and with a goal of truly wanting to change. 

As you seek to delight in God, be prepared for Him to weed out the garden of your heart. He wants your whole heart, and He genuinely cares what condition your heart is in. God will reveal all that is keeping you from truly delighting in Him…your idols: all of the people, things, possessions, activities, sins, hobbies, attitudes, thoughts, blind spots—everything. He desires your whole heart and He wants your heart to beat with health and life!

I think as we go to God and learn how to deeply and authentically delight in Him, we begin to care more about the desires of God’s heart…and we begin to ask Him, “What delights You? What are the greatest desires of Your heart?”

When we get to that point, and it truly is genuine, I believe God begins to work in miraculous ways…ways we’ve never seen or experienced ever before.

God brought me to this excellent passage of scripture. As you read this, please allow God to speak deeply into your heart.

Hebrews 12: 1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! 4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,

    but don’t be crushed by it either.

It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;

    the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in (or experiencing) isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God12-13 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! 14-17 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. 18-21 Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified. 22-24 No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. 25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. 28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!”

Through reading Hebrews 12, I realized it was a missing piece of the puzzle for how to truly begin to delight in God. I clearly was able to see how important it was to strip away anything that was keeping me from fully loving God…how important it is to allow Him to garden my heart…to burn away anything that is keeping me from running a clean and effective race for Him.

You may be thinking, “You have no idea what I’m going through…or the pain I’m drowning in…I’m at my wits’ end!”…

If you are drowning in the middle of the ocean and in the eye of the storm of a massive heartache or problem, please understand that usually is where God reveals the most treasure…and the very place where the strongest testimonies are in the making! Consider the following two passages of scripture:

Psalm‬ ‭107:23-32‬, “Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:2,When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

I hope all of the Bible verses and my transparency today was helpful and I hope your heart has been encouraged.

So very sorry for the longer than normal blog post; I was going to break it up into a 3-day series, but I wanted to help those who are desperate for help now.

Ask God, right now, to help you in whatever grief journey or life challenge you are facing. Ask Him for His grace to fall more deeply in love with Him, to see your situation from His perspective, and for good gifts of His choosing. He never fails His children and He can make great good come from any situation. It may not look anything like what we had originally wanted or desired in our own hearts, but with God’s power, it could be more than we could ever ask, think or imagine!

May God ABUNDANTLY bless you as you seek His heart and learn how to delight extravagantly in Him!

Always remember: Psalm‬ ‭34:18-19‬,The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”

A few more scriptures to encourage you. Long, but well worth the read, as it ties everything together:

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Philippians‬ ‭3:8-14,Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Friends, press on toward the goal and prize Christ has for you. Seek Him with all of your heart. If you feel you are drowning in your situation, remember that God has not brought you there to drown you…He has allowed you to be placed there to teach you treasures in the deep and to cleanse and renew your heart! Learn to fully delight yourself in God and His amazing, beautiful heart!

Isaiah 45:3, “And I will give you treasures of darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

I plan to blog about some special ways God has taught me to delight in Him. I hope this future post will be helpful and encouraging as well!

Gratitude & many blessings,

❤️Kim

©2015 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

If what you read was helpful, please feel free to share it❤️

For more encouragement:

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grief & (Post) Holidays—15 helpful tips to encourage your heart❤️

Christmas has now come and gone.

Those who are deeply grieving thought they could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief…yet some woke up the day after Christmas and didn’t feel the relief they thought they would feel.

Some even woke up feeling worse.

Something I wish someone would’ve told me, in my initial grief, about the days following a holiday is: some tough emotions can follow holidays and special occasions.

It’s important to be prepared for possible depression, anxiety, and other surprising emotions that can follow Christmas, holidays, anniversaries, and other big life events. When you prepare or anticipate these potential emotions, you can then come up with a plan for relaxation and how to best get through these tough emotional times.

Many grievers will feel relieved – a complete sigh of relief – that Christmas is now behind them, while others are confused why they now suddenly feel worse.

Emotions are so heightened before holidays, big days, or special occasions —in day-to-day life as well as grief—so after the holiday, event, or big day happens, those heightened feelings can suddenly crash down…leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, a “void,” disappointed, irritable, or defeated more than usual.

Depending on how big the aftermath was, the feelings that accompany big events can take you by surprise and throw you for a loop.

Always be kind to your heart, as well as compassionate and patient with yourself.

Realize you’re not alone and what you’re feeling is normal.

It truly takes time to rebuild a broken heart and shattered life.

Be prepared for crashes, as well as any random feelings, and practice seeking God, peace, and times of relaxation when the feelings come – or become overwhelming.

There are many thoughtful ways to get through the tough emotions of grief, as well as many ways to relax.

Try one of these 15 ideas – or creatively come up with your own:

  1. Pray—talk to God and share with Him all of your thoughts, feelings, fears, disappointments, worries, anger, disappointments, anxieties, heartaches, etc
  2. Allow music to comfort your soul—listen to meaningful praise or soft classical music and soothing sounds, or anything that relaxes you. Consider playing (or learning how to play) the piano, guitar, or other musical instrument.
  3. Breathe deep and relax—sit quietly, take a hot bath, take a nap, or do something to relax your mind. Breathing slow deep breaths in and out can also relax you while lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
  4. This one is very important: remind yourself, “it isn’t always going to be or continually feel like this”—these feelings will not always be as strong or intense. It is very important to remember life can and does get better. It will be different than what it once was…but with God, spiritual and emotional encouragement, grief work, and self care, it can get better.
  5. Call a trustworthy loved one—family, grief support groups, and good friends are so valuable when going through grief. It’s also so very beneficial to talk to someone who has been through similar grief because they can share wisdom and insight of how they got through their worst days to find better days.
  6. Do an activity that brings joy to your heart—take time to truly enjoy doing a hobby or activity you currently or previously loved to do. You can also learn new hobbies or activities to do. Sometimes, it’s good to press forward to do these things. You may not feel up to it, but after awhile, I have found great benefit and solace doing activities I enjoy.
  7. Cooking and baking can be therapeutic—Invite some loved ones over and cook a delicious relaxing dinner together or bake together, or go out to eat and relax with loved ones as you have a night out. You can also have a quiet afternoon of baking by yourself and then enjoy the treats you baked and pass them out to loved ones later.
  8. Sit in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and drink some hot tea, coffee, or hot cocoa—Read the Bible or a good book…something that is encouraging and uplifting. As you drink your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, savor this time of relaxation.
  9. Have a mini spa day at home or go out for one—stay home and do a homemade facial, manicure, and pedicure. Or go get a massage, fresh haircut, or a manicure or pedicure at a spa. You could also bring a family member or friend along and go to lunch afterwards.
  10. If the weather is nice, sit on a porch, go on a nature walk, or patio dine, if not, look out the window and enjoy the view—being outdoors or looking outside to relax and reflect on all the ways God has provided for you and carried you, considering the family and friends who have cared about you, and also reflecting on every good thing in your life that has the potential to still bring your heart peace and joy…it all has a way of bringing peace to your soul. Sometimes a different outlook becomes a much-welcomed, unexpected encouragement to your heart.
  11. Journal—write down your thoughts, goals, feelings, and life events. Journaling is so very therapeutic. It’s also beneficial to look back one day, read journals you’ve written, and see how you’ve grown – how much you’ve overcome – and how far you’ve made it. Also – be sure to write down every memory you have of your loved one. As time goes by, memories can fade. Even though it is initially painful, you’ll most likely be grateful you wrote all of the memories down. I talk to so many grievers who regret not journaling their memories.
  12. Exercise or stretch—exercise has been proven to alleviate stress and help depression and anxiety. It also can be very relaxing. It takes your mind off of things for awhile, too….a scheduled time each day to experience relief from your grief.
  13. Organize your home and life—clutter can add to the chaos of grief, so dedicating even 15–30 minutes a day to decluttering your home and life is well worth the effort.
  14. Enjoy your pet or consider getting a pet—I believe pets are amazing little “heart healers” sent by God. Our family went through a tough grief experience and within a few months, we got a puppy from a home rescue. I always looked at our rescue dog and thought, “who rescued who.” God used this sweet puppy to comfort our family more than we could’ve ever imagined. An important note: deep consideration should be used when getting a new pet. They’re a 7 to 15+ year commitment depending on breed, and a financial responsibility, so make sure you can handle the time commitment and responsibility of a furry lil friend. Study up on breeds of dogs. To me, they’re totally worth it! If you want the companionship of a pet, but not the full commitment, there may be opportunities in your area to volunteer at a pet shelter or to foster pets if you’d like the therapeutic benefits of a pet, but can’t fully commit to a lifelong pet. Our family loves our dogs – they definitely make life sweeter.
  15. Create a Bucket List—I’m a big believer in creating, keeping, and maintaining a bucket list. It helps to focus on the greater picture, as you write down everything you still want to do and achieve, so you purposely don’t waste life. There are many things I was able to do – that I otherwise wouldn’t have done – during times of grief because of ideas or goals I wrote in my Bucket List notebook.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you and I hope all of you had a special, meaningful, and blessed Christmas!

Never give up HOPE! Even if things aren’t ideal or good right now, better days are ahead of you. Some of your very best days may not have even happened yet. Hang in there!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2015 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

©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://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.

⭐️❤️⭐️

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #9

Situations of grief can bring you to – and leave you in – a bad place mentally, spiritually, and emotionally if you don’t carefully guard your heart. And the holidays can bring major temptations when going through grief or loss.

Life and grief can both be seriously unfair…and both can throw you for a loop.

Since life doesn’t offer an instruction book on grief, many are ill equipped to know what to do with their tough emotions and can then be vulnerable to making poor decisions.

Grief is highly emotional…and illogical. When going through grief or life challenges, you can become desperate to feel better. So, choices made while going through grief can be illogical, too.

Today’s holiday tip: Guard your spirit, heart, thoughts and emotions, and be very careful not to succumb to addictions or to self-medicating your pain.

Addictions come in many forms. The most common addictions are alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, staying constantly busy so as to not think about your grief as much, accruing massive debt due to over shopping or gambling, extreme dieting or fitness, adultery/sexual addictions, or overeating. There are many other addictions, but these are probably the most common.

Addictions have a way of making you feel temporarily better, yet they always make you pay a much higher price than you’d ever want to pay. It’s like borrowing $5 but then having to pay back $50,000. And you’re not guaranteed the consequences will be easy or immediate…sometimes they’ll show up years later – even affecting future generations.

Addictions and self-medicating will leave you with guilt, regrets, additional brokenness, and compounded grief. They will also prove to be extremely costly and damaging to your family, relationships, and finances.

So how can you feel better?

It’s not easy, but it is absolute truth: embrace your grief, learn every life lesson you can from it, and grow through it.

There just are no good detours to getting through grief. You can’t go around it, over it, under it, or fast forward through it…you have to go through it in God’s timing.

When my son was little, one of his favorite games was Candy Land. He always hated landing on the spot that had the ladder that slid him right back to the very beginning of the game. That’s exactly what addictions will do…slide you right back down a ladder that makes you start all over again in your grief. It’s far better to go through your grief and avoid/prevent any further loss.

Wherever you are at this holiday season, be sure to never foolishly put yourself in a bad situation or an unwise place where it will end up starting, tempting, or feeding an addiction. Surround yourself with good people and only go to wise places where you know you can truly guard your heart and life.

If you’ve already given in to addictions, consider getting help so you can overcome them. Many people in my grief group who have struggled with addictions have attended Celebrate Recovery and have reported wonderful and amazing things. Feel free to check Celebrate Recovery here: http://www.celebraterecovery.com
You can also hear a helpful message about CR from Rick Warren here: https://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/message-from-rick-warren

Going through hurts and needing help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, getting the encouragement and help you need takes a lot of courage.

I also believe it can be very effective to value the amazing creation God made you to be. I’m a big advocate of pursuing spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Scheduling daily time with God and loved ones, scheduling daily time to exercise, relax, self reflect, and making time for personal enrichment are all very important.

Your life is important and so very precious! Seek to make every single day of your life count and always seek ways to better yourself, grow through your grief and struggles, so you are freed up to live a good life.

May everybody enjoy a peaceful Christmas filled with love, wisdom, health, and encouragement!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2015 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.

🎄❤️🎄