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Can You Imagine? Something To Ponder This Christmas❤️

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

Truly ponder what an incredible night that was!

Father God knowing what was about to happen…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Every heartache

…Every sin ever committed

…Every disappointment

…Every grief event

…Everything.

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

Can you imagine?

And He promises:

…To heal every hurt

…To wipe away every tear

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

…To forgive every sin

…To give each of our lives true and abundant meaning

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

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

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

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

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

What an extravagant miracle and promise Christmas Eve holds!

Can you imagine His great love for you?

Truly – truly – ponder it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deep Grief: To Celebrate Christmas or Not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay…so here comes the difficult part…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

~Kim

©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s $3.19 book): https://www.christianbook.com/getting-knocks-transparent-journey-seeking-through/k-b-h-niles/

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, I want to write about something incredibly important.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄❤️🎄 Today is Day 1!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, if you’re deep in grief…

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Kim

©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “following” the Grief Bites page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

💗Truly Think About This💗

Think about your life for a moment.

🌼All of the relationships you have

🌺The memories you plan to make with loved ones.

💗The broken marriage, parent/child relationship, or family relationship that needs mending.

🌴The future vacations you want to enjoy.

💃🏻Those bucket list activities you hope to do “someday”.

🧑🏻‍🍳The career change you’ve always wanted, but haven’t dared to make.

🕺🏻Those hobbies/skills you have always wanted to learn or better develop.

What if you were told today that you’re dying?

What would you do…how would you love…how would you live…differently?

Well….I have some very important news:

You are dying.

Every. one. of. us. is.

From the moment we are born, we are literally one step closer to death with each and every day that passes by.

Not being negative…in fact, when truly pondered, life can hold brand new meaning if we truly think about this.

Each year we’re alive, we pass by our birthday…but there’s another equally important date we pass by every calendar year…the date of our future death.

We pass by this date each and every year, so we need to be just as mindful of this date as we are of our (and our loved ones) birthday.

Soooo…..

…truly get to living.

🤗Make the most of each & everyday

🙏🏻Love & treasure God with all your heart

🪴Choose to find & live out a purpose greater than yourself

🥰Love your loved ones extravagantly

🤩Give your kiddos, nieces, and nephews – all of your family – the gift of knowing they’re truly treasured, important, accepted, & loved

💋Go all out cherishing and showing love to your spouse

🌹Do what needs to be done so you can genuinely live a healed life – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically

😍Be extra kind to everyone

🙏🏻Trust God with the difficult situations in your life…know and trust that He can – and if you ask, He will – make Romans 8:28 come to life for you

💕Repair the relationships that need repaired

💐Be a source of encouragement and joy to others

🧁Enrich your (& your loved ones) life with great memories & cool experiences

⭐️Frequently visit those you love and spend time with them

👠 Buy that pair of shoes – or that one outfit – that makes you feel like a million bucks

🕺🏻Dance in your living room

🍎Take the time to improve your health – health (& being “here” for family) truly is wealth

🍃Do the tough work of grief work and self work so you have the ability to heal and create your best days yet

🎵🎶Enjoy good music everyday

📔Be well read – read the Bible for encouragement and wisdom…read good quality books for self improvement…and read books for fun. If you have kiddos, read to them every night to develop their love for books and need for creativity

✏️Journal…Create a bucket list…Write thank you notes…Send letters of encouragement and gratefulness to those God places on your heart

🎉Celebrate every holiday and special occasion BIG…celebrate life…celebrate loved ones

❤️Make a difference

😇Forgive others – be the grace today that you’d hope to receive tomorrow

🐶Love (or get) a pet

😂🥲Celebrate, enjoy, and rejoice with those who rejoice … and intentionally grieve and mourn with those who grieve and mourn. Be a source of love, encouragement, compassion and comfort.

🌷Intentionally develop and leave a great legacy worth remembering

Get to it because at the end of your life – or your loved ones’ lives – you’ll either say, “If only I would’ve” … or … “I’m so glad I did!”

We (our loved ones, us) are all on loan from God…and one of these days, He will call each of us back…so make the most of every relationship you have.

Today’s the first day of the rest of your life…

Each day is a gift…and we get to decide how to daily unwrap it…so don’t waste a single precious moment of it.

Redeem the days.

Choose today, going forward, to live a full life of no regrets.

Happy weekend, everyone!

You are treasured.
You are important.
You are loved.

Your life is so very valuable and worth living!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s 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. Sharing the link is fine.

⭐️⭐️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 Very Best Time You Can Spend Today – It Can TOTALLY Make A Difference!

🎄❤️🎄Good afternoon!
Today is a great topic (and so very needed in the world today)! Hope it encourages your heart and enriches lives!

As you read this, consider who you can do this for!💕

Have you ever received a note or word of kindness or thankfulness?

One time, I spoke at a school and shared my testimony. A few days later, I received dozens of homemade cards sharing many kind words to tell me, “thank you,” for speaking at their school. My heart was beautifully overwhelmed with gratitude!

Life-giving words of affirmation are so very important – spoken or written.
When people take the time to pour into the hearts of others, it makes the recipient’s heart happy – but more importantly, it blesses God’s heart, too!

When I was in college, God blessed me with the idea to write notes of gratitude to anyone who had invested in my heart or life.
As I sat down and made a list, I included Jesus, my parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members, good friends, all of my teachers and professors, my Sunday School teachers, pastors, youth group leaders, previous and current employers, the doctors who saved my life when I was 12 and 17…anyone who had benefited my life, invested in me, or poured their heart and prayers into my life.
I received several letters back and was very surprised when many shared I was the only one who ever wrote to thank them for their kindness or investment.

So many are truly thankful for how others have blessed their life or invested in them, yet we assume others understand how grateful we are without sharing our gratitude with them.

Who can you write a beautiful note of gratitude to today? Who can you call or visit to say, “thank you,” or share with them how much you love them and care about them?

Thankfulness, notes of gratitude, and words of affirmation and blessings are all beautiful, priceless gifts we can give to Jesus, our spouse, children, parents, family, friends, educators, doctors, those we know in the military, people who serve us in our communities — everyone.

Let’s take some time to truly thank Jesus for all of the great people, blessings, and things we have in our life!

Never miss an opportunity to pour the extra special blessing of thankfulness and words of affirmation into the lives of others!

🙏🏻Prayer: “Jesus, thank You so much for all of the love, words of affirmation and blessings You pour into our lives! We also thank You for the many times people have invested in us, raised us, prayed for us, poured into our hearts and lives, educated us, taught us how to love and serve You, sacrificed for us, helped us, and all of the other ways people have contributed to our lives! I pray a special blessing right now for those who have done this for us and our families. Jesus, please help us to live lives of love, thankfulness, and gratitude. Help us to truly see how much those around us pour into our lives, love us, and care enough to bless, help, and encourage us through life‘s events. May we never take anyone, anything, or any act of love, concern, care, kindness or investment for granted – and may we never fail to give proper thanks to You and others. Jesus, please place on our hearts the names of people You want us to write a letter of gratitude to, and please also place the names of people You would like for us to call to tell them a heartfelt “thanks.” Who needs to hear positivity, love, and encouragement from us today?Also – saying “sorry” to those we have wronged and asking for forgiveness is a powerful act of gratefulness, kindness, affirmation, and love — it shows someone we truly value their heart. Please show us who we need to apologize to today.
Help us to be people of extreme gratitude and extravagant love! We love You! In Your precious name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity #1: thank Jesus for all of the good He has blessed you with, and is currently blessing you with, in your life! Write a beautiful letter of gratitude to Him! Share with others how good Jesus is!

⭐️Activity #2: make a list of all of the people throughout your lifetime who have invested in your heart, spiritual walk, education, health, and life….anyone who has invested or sacrificed so you could have a better life…anyone who has encouraged you during a time of stress, heartache, and grief…anyone who has gone out of their way to make your life better. Write or call them today to say, “thank you!”

⭐️Activity #3: reach out to your loved ones who are going through grief. Ask God for ideas for loving and encouraging your loved ones today.

⭐️Activity #4: if you have children, nieces, nephews, or little people in your life (this is also great to do for the big kiddos in your life, too!), consider giving them the gift of a daily spoken blessing. I’ve continually spoken a specific verse vocally to my son…I’d rub my tummy and say this blessing to him while he was in my womb, and randomly say this scripture blessing out loud to him throughout his life (Numbers 6:24-26).
You can choose a specific Bible verse as a blessing or just use loving, positive words of encouragement. Loving words of blessing and encouragement are one of the most powerful gifts you can give to loved ones!💕
(If it feels weird to give loved ones spoken blessings, just tell them you’re starting a new tradition. They’ll love it!)

❤️Read: Numbers 6:24-26, Colossians 3:16-17, Psalms 9:1, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalms 100:4, Psalms 103:1-5

(From the YouVersion reading plan Experiencing the Holidays with Jesus: Christmas. This devotional © 2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

🎄💕🎄

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always Be Kind…Here’s Why.

“Be kind.”

We’re always told to be kind. In fact, I imagine everyone was taught this as a child.

Yet many don’t take the time to truly contemplate the importance of kindness.

Just look at social media – it is overrun with unkindness.

Yet…

You never know what people are privately going through…you never know when it will be someone’s last breath.


You’re guaranteed this: one day, with each person you’re close to, it’ll be your last conversation with them…and you won’t even know it at the time.

So be the kindness, love, respect and compassion you want to receive.

Be mindful – so very mindful – of kindness…especially in your closest relationships.

…the people you love

…the people who love you

…especially the people who have proven beyond any shadow of doubt they love you.

The ones who have stood by you after everyone else walked away…

…the people who believed in you when no one else did

…the people who encouraged you when no one else would

…the people who deeply pray for you consistently

…because all of these people are exquisite gifts loaned to you by God.

Loaned. Meaning, you never know when God will need them back.

Treat your loved ones right.

Have conversations you won’t regret or be ashamed of at a later date.

Set aside time this holiday season to reach out to your loved ones and tell them…

…you love them.

…you care about them.

…how important they are to you.

…that you’re always there for them.

…and thank them for being there for you and loving you so well all the times they have.

And above all, always love your loved ones so very well and always be extra kind.

Because just like you have had hard times in life and you never shared it with your loved ones so they wouldn’t worry…

…the people you love most may be going through a hard time and you not even know it for the same reason.

So always, always, always be kind.

I’ve talked with many grievers who have such heartbreaking guilt and regrets after a loved one died…

…words left unsaid.

…words spoken that were unkind.

…last conversations that were less than ideal.

…texts/phone calls that were deliberately ignored.

…pride or embarrassment that kept families from truly working things out.

Nobody ever weighs the consequences of unkindness…until the time comes and you can’t undo it.

Also, children watch how parents behave and treat others. I’ve seen parents in deep grief after their children grew up and now treat the parents in similar ways they’ve seen them treat other family members and others. Character – whether good or bad – is more caught, than taught.

So starting today…

Forgive others…

Forgive yourself…

Be kind…

Love your family extraordinarily well…

Treasure those God has placed in your life…

…Choose to do better.

When their last breath or your last breath comes, you’ll know you intentionally treasured, loved, and treated each other with love, compassion, respect, and kindness…and gave the very best you absolutely could give.

Each day, your legacy of kindness is in the making. Make each day a great one worth remembering.

It could literally make all the difference in the world.💕

May all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving!🍂🧡🍂

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2020 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be At Peace — Why Your Life & Grief Have Exquisite Value Exactly Today

Where you are today.

Exactly where you are today.

You may be in the depths of despair.
You may be a quarter of the way through your grief journey.
Perhaps you’ve thoroughly been through several grief journeys, have found healing, and are currently loving/encouraging others through their pain.

No matter where you are, right now, today…
..you and your grief have great value.
Exactly where you are today.

There are multiple layers of grief – and multiple people who are grieving around you…you may not even realize who they are.
And somebody desperately needs your encouragement, your story, and your perspective.

Today…choose one day out of each week…to simply be at peace where you are in your grief, create peace in your life, and offer that same peace to others.

Instead of trying to figure out grief…let’s instead make peace with exactly where we are and just take the time to offer love, encouragement, and understanding to those around us and online.

The beautiful thing about life – and grief – is we don’t have to be fully healed or have fully arrived at healing to offer hope and empathy.

There are few things more important than love, empathy, encouragement and hope. Offering these rare, exquisite gifts can make all the difference in the world.

Who can you offer hope, love, empathy and encouragement this week?

How can you create more peace and loving acceptance for your own grief journey and heart today?

Ask God to pour His love, peace, encouragement and hope into you, and to make your heart sensitive to those around you who are hurting.
You never know how God can use you to help others who are drowning in their grief.

Your grief experience has far more value than you can possibly know…EVERY layer of it…

…you are going to be an absolute jewel to those who are hurting.

©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 $3.19 book): https://www.christianbook.com/getting-knocks-transparent-journey-seeking-through/k-b-h-niles/

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Important Question To Ask Yourself Every Single Night

There are so many things I absolutely love about life! Although I have been through a fair amount of grief, I made up my mind a few years ago that I would never waste one single day. Loving and thoroughly enjoying life is a byproduct of that important decision.

Each person on earth is guaranteed to go through two extremely important days: their birthday and their death day.

From the moment you are born, the clock of your life begins ticking. With every calendar year, you pass through your birthday, but there is a very specific date a person passes through each year as well…the anniversary of their future death date.

When I considered and pondered this fact, I also deeply considered and pondered all of the years, months, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds that are sandwiched in between these two very important calendar dates.

In my family, there have been many deaths. By the time I was 20, I had experienced the deaths of many loved ones, including my dad, sister, grandparents, uncle, best friend, and boyfriend. I had also been in ICU when I was 12 and almost died, and was in ICU again at the age of 17, so I further understood that life holds no guarantees.

After my 20’s, I experienced the illnesses and the deaths of over a dozen family members. I also experienced my son’s tumors and surgeries, as well as my own illness…and experienced three major grief experiences that were so excruciatingly painful that very few loved ones know about. Last year alone, six family members were battling cancer at the same time.

When you see and experience that much illness and death, you find a brand new, fierce determination to live life to the fullest – you truly realize what an exquisite gift life is – especially since you develop an exhaustive and profound understanding that life is short and nobody is promised tomorrow.

There is only so much grief and sadness you can experience before you choose to not only overcome your life circumstances…but you truly do everything in your power to embrace the trials – and view grief as a teacher and not an enemy – and seek opportunities to soar to a much higher level. You rise above your circumstances, trusting God with your purpose, and intentionally choose to better your life.

You determine that you will be a grief victor instead of grief’s victim. You turn your messy grief into a message so you can genuinely help and encourage others. You trade in your scars for stars. The only way I can describe it is, it’s like life is a balloon and you are no longer willing for it to continually deflate due to life’s circumstances. You instead want to fill it with as much air as possible every single day…so life, and your experiences in life, can rise to new heights.

You choose to do whatever it takes to get your breath back after life and grief knocks it out of you.

Life can certainly deflate you every single day…and sometimes, you genuinely cannot help or prevent it. But you can add quality air to your life’s balloon with one daily question.

This question is the one question – the only question – that will matter on our deathbed.

I’ll share this incredibly important question at the end of this post!

We won’t care about what we have in life: the home we live in, the car we drove, our belongings or clothing choices, our bank account, titles, popularity, accomplishments, awards, or anything else. These things are totally not wrong, and it definitely doesn’t mean someone is bad for enjoying them, but at the end of life, they just simply aren’t what’s most important.

We will only care about what we have and experienced in our relationships with God and our loved ones, and what we did with our life and love.

To live the best life possible, you need to be prepared for the many distractions, hangups, and hurts in life:

  • family issues
  • marriage issues
  • problems in relationships
  • grief experiences
  • financial difficulties
  • work challenges
  • illness/health issues
  • temptations or addictions
  • foolish decisions, guilts, & regrets
  • unwise romantic relationships and friendships
  • wrong attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs
  • unexpected life challenges
  • this list could go on and on

These distractions tempt to draw us away from focusing on what truly matters most.

We can’t control what happens in life, but we can totally control our response to life’s happenings and we can choose to take the necessary steps to intentionally prevent distractions and avoid consequences (as much as possible) by making wise and better decisions.

The most important choice is giving God, our loved ones, life, and our life purpose our personal best each and every day!

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

So each night, no matter the distractions you are going through, make the commitment to ask yourself a very important question:

Did I give God, “life,” my loved ones, my responsibilities, goals, and endeavors, and even myself, my absolute personal best today?”

Each day is an exquisite opportunity to highly value, love, learn from, and improve the most important relationships and things in life…and each night is a great opportunity to evaluate your life purpose and the legacy you are in the process of leaving.

You only get this one, precious, amazing gift called life. How will you intentionally choose to unwrap it…and give your absolute personal best…each and every day?

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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.

The Vital Superpower You Must Create Daily

Growing up, my siblings and I lived for Saturday mornings! Cartoons and bowls of cereal – or doughnuts if we were super lucky – were the highlight of our week!

We never missed watching the popular cartoon, Super Friends. We loved watching the plot unfold and never failed to be impressed by how their super powers saved the day.

My husband also enjoyed watching comic character based TV shows and movies during his childhood. Since the first year we met, my husband and I have always randomly connected our fists and said, “Wonder Twin powers activate”…and then we say two random objects to transform into (if we can’t think of anything original or funny, an eagle and a bucket of water is our favorite cliche go-to).

My adult son is a huge comic fan. ComicCon with my son is a fun tradition as well! And with my son, you only make the mistake once…just once, I tell you…with saying the characters are in the wrong universe. I’ve learned throughout the years that Batman is not in the Marvel group and the Hulk is not DC…I found this out when my son slowly shook his head one day and said, “How are you even my mother not knowing who belongs to which universe?”😂

I’m sure many of you loved cartoons while growing up and are comic fans, too!

So how about that ending of the latest Avengers movie…😡…we won’t even go there!

I think most kiddos, at one point or another during their childhood, have dreamed about having super powers – the ability to have supernatural strength or do something extraordinary and powerful!

What if I told you that you do have the ability to do something extraordinary and powerful…and gain insurmountable strength every single day.

I don’t know anyone who can lift an airplane with one hand…but I do know of some family members and friends who can lift the entire mood of a room.

I don’t know of anyone who can smash through brick walls…but I do know of some who can smash through some very concrete hard obstacles.

I don’t know of anyone who can transform like the Wonder Twins (well, other than my hubby and me🤗), but I do know of some family and friends who have powerfully transformed their lives – at a miraculous level, with God’s help – after they experienced debilitating grief or tough circumstances.

If I could pinpoint these amazing abilities down to one superpower, then that superpower would be the power of positivity.

In life, and also grief, you learn just how incredibly important positivity is.

We all develop one of two things intentionally or by default every single day: positivity or negativity.

I’m not talking about cheesy fake positivity as philosophical annoying babbles of positive cliches are spoken.

Cliches such as, “Fake it until you make it”…”They’re in a better place”…”Look at the bright side”…”Find the silver lining”…”There’s a light at the end of every dark tunnel”…

I think these are positive attempts at helping others (or even ourselves) feel better – and these statements may even be true – but I don’t consider these statements authentic positivity.

I think to gain genuine positivity, you sometimes will have to go through life challenges which will majorly cut the fluff. Positivity (along with other character attributes) are hard-earned treasures God grants those who go through extremely dark, deep waters.

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

When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.” ~Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭

Positivity isn’t just developed through trials or suffering though, positivity is also a choice.

It is sometimes extremely difficult to be positive during certain situations. Notice I didn’t say about situations…but during situations. There are some circumstances – such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or other tough loss – that there isn’t much positivity to be found.

Positivity is like a muscle…it initially can hurt as you develop it, it can wear you out, but with each decision to grow and expand positivity, you find new strength. After awhile, it becomes as second nature as breathing. Just as muscle is best developed through grit, positivity is highly developed through grief, trials, perseverance, and choice.

I firmly believe that positivity is a superpower. It literally can make or break a life. Positivity, or a lack of, can dramatically build or destroy a relationship, goal, dream, or endeavor…it can make the difference between business and career success or failure. Positivity can create harmony and calm in marriages and families. It literally affects every area of life.

Positivity isn’t tricking your mind into thinking everything is going to be okay…it’s training your mind to understand that you have a choice in the matter.

It’s not fluffily believing that your best days are ahead of you…it’s pre-determining that you will do whatever it takes to ensure they will be.

Positivity is not blindly pushing away or forgetting the past, past grief, or lost loved ones…it’s deciding you will learn valuable life lessons throughout these hard times and implement that hard earned wisdom in your future.

Positivity is individually developed and decided…and needs to be guarded in the heart of each person.

It gets you through the hard times.

Sustains you through stagnant times.

And continually builds an excitement for life and the days to come.

So how will you choose to create the superpower of positivity today?

Gratitude and blessings,

Kim

©2018 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

Grief Bites

I previously posted this a few years ago, but thought it’d be a good repost since I am often asked how we came up with the name “Grief Bites” for our ministry. Hope this brings hope and encouragement to all who read it!💗

“Grief Bites.”

Such a simple sentence…yet complex and filled with incredible pain.

My sister called me one morning while I was in deep grief to ask how I was doing.

“Grief Bites” is all I could mutter through my tears.

Little did I realize how a little two-word simple sentence would transform my grief…and be the start of a significant plan pre-orchestrated by God.

That one random phone call, that one question, and those two little words – God would eventually develop it into an initial ministry where we would host a grief support group at various restaurants…and then God would further develop it into 3 published books, a grief organization, a national grief ministry that would encourage and give hope to people through multiple church campuses, an international blog that serves over 750,000 grievers in grief communities in over 150 countries, as well as several Bible Reading Plans on YouVersion (the Bible app that offers hope and encouragement to over 500 million people).

The morning my sister called me, we both were in the middle of experiencing a lot of grief.

I was going through multiple grief experiences – and my sister had just experienced the death of her fiancé.

I was sick of grief – and to be honest, I was sick of life. I literally felt like I was “dead but couldn’t die”… as though all of my breath and “life” had been sucked out of my lungs and heart. Anyone who has experienced deep grief can completely understand the intense heartache I’m describing.

In the 3 years leading up to that phone call:

  • my son had several consultations and surgeries for tumors, throughout 10 months, in three different medical facilities in two different states
  • 3 of my son’s good friends died
  • my grandmother died
  • 2 family members died on the same day
  • my marriage crumbled to the point of divorce (God saved our marriage)
  • I had a cancer scare that required 2 surgeries
  • my sister’s 2nd fiancé died suddenly on Easter (her 1st fiancé died due to a car accident)
  • we lost our entire retirement and life savings
  • key relationships I dearly loved deeply changed
  • my son’s father died
  • I was diagnosed with a major illness
  • our family experienced deep wounding and excruciating hurt from our church … as a result, my son became an atheist
  • friends committed suicide

With everything happening so quickly together, I felt incredibly depressed, discouraged, and defeated.

To go through several deaths, my son’s illness, my illness, heartbreaking issues, relationship losses and changes, among other grief events…all within a short period of time…was very challenging…

…but I knew I wanted good to come out of it. I wasn’t about to allow life or grief to defeat me, and I wasn’t going to sit down, have a pity party, and become – or worse, remain – a depressed mess. I had already been tempted to do that when my sister died and that wasn’t going to be my reality again.

It was almost a “saving grace” that I had previously been through grief when I was younger. Grief had been second nature in my life since I was a child. In hindsight, I’m actually very grateful for the grief I went through while growing up, because I don’t think I could’ve made it through my adult grief experiences without knowing what to expect through previous massive heartache.

While growing up:

  • my dad was killed by a drunk driver
  • my grandmother (who lived with us after my dad’s death) died a few years later
  • our home completely flooded the week of Christmas and we lost everything. We lived in a motel for several months
  • I lost two grandparents, my step-grandmother, two uncles, two friends, and an aunt to cancer
  • A traumatic event happened when I was 12. I was admitted to ICU where I almost died (my sister saved my life)
  • my high school boyfriend died
  • I was in an abusive relationship in high school
  • two friends died from suicide
  • a friend was murdered
  • a friend from my bible study group died from suicide
  • my sister’s 1st fiancé died
  • and a few weeks later, my 22 year-old sister suddenly died on Thanksgiving

All of this before I was 20 years old…so I knew what grief could do. I understood the heartbreaking days and nights, as well as how difficult it could be to get through.

BUT this time was different.

I didn’t want to just try to “get over” my grief. This time, I was desperate to get through my grief…and truly understand.

As I already previously did (while growing up), I didn’t want to be forever mad at God and “life”… I actually needed to deeply and heart-wrenchingly take my tough questions to God so I could come to a place of genuine peace with Him.

I didn’t want to live in the shadow of grief the rest of my life. I wanted to find a new way of life – a new approach to grief – that made sense … a new way of life that held meaning and purpose.

Majority of the grief experiences we go through will never make sense, but I found that purpose and good can come out of any circumstance…if you allow life – and yes, even grief – to teach you lessons. They are not fun lessons, but they do hold tremendous value.

And eventually I learned, (ironically through my grief), that God IS good. So very, very good!

It didn’t magically happen overnight, but God did heal my heart from major grief and heartache.

God is a genius at healing a broken heart and repairing a crushed spirit. He can do way more than we can ask, think, or imagine…and He can do more healing in one moment than we could ever hope do in a lifetime.

God can turn a test into a testimony…scars into stars…a mess into a message…a trial into a triumph…and can turn a victim into a victorious warrior…God is the key to getting through, and healing from, grief, loss, suffering, and trials.

The reason I share my grief is not to solicit sympathy or pity…absolutely not. I am 100% grateful for my grief.

I don’t count the grief events – or any of the heartache – as a good thing…goodness no...but how grief shaped my heart and life purpose holds tremendous value to me. It was through everything I went through in the past that made me who I am today.

I must say and admit: I initially turned against God due to all of the grief I endured while growing up. I went through major rebellion initially…but I eventually became a Christian and submitted my heart and life to God’s plan when I was 18 years-old.

A good friend, along with my family, had challenged me to rethink my grief…and all I thought about God. I was encouraged and challenged to read the entire Bible – and get to know God for myself.

I’ve never been the same since.

As I got to know God, He eventually revealed an important truth: with each grief experience He entrusted to me, God was widening my understanding, compassion, empathy, and ability to deeply understand grief – and this eventually helped me to help and encourage others.

After sharing with my sister those two life-changing words, “Grief Bites,” we began discussing how we could help encourage other grievers through the grief experiences we each had faced.

Right before this conversation, I had begun writing a book to help encourage my son, mom, sister, and other family members through their deep grief. I had years of journals I had written of all God had shown me through multiple grief journeys and I was doing an in-depth Bible study on grief, loss, trials, hardships, and life challenges.

While attending a family member’s out of town birthday party, I didn’t know many people there, so I took out my iPad and continued to write the grief book I was writing for my family.

My brother had a fellow pastor friend there. This friend approached me and asked what I was working on. After showing him the book I was working on, he encouraged me to submit my book into the Women of Faith Book Writing Contest.

I didn’t expect anything to happen or come of it…but then I received the news that my book was chosen as a Semi-finalist.

My book, Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You, was published and was given out at two Women of Faith conferences.

A few years later, I became a Partner and began writing for YouVersion, the Bible app.

With my book, ministry, blog, YouVersion plans, and anything else I do, I take absolutely no credit. It is all God. I give God all of the credit and glory. I’m just a good listener who writes all the Lord shows and tells me. And all of my book royalties are (and always have been) poured back into local grief communities and churches.

God (through grief) has taught me incredibly powerful lessons I never could have hoped to learn any other way. I’m a much better Christ-follower, spouse, mom, aunt, family member, friend, neighbor, grief coach, and church member due to my grief. My compassion, mercy, understanding, and ability to communicate with grievers was deeply developed through each grief experience I faced and – with the grace of God – overcame.

It is also through my grief experiences I found my purpose in life: I get the privilege of helping so many through their grief so they are able to live better lives.

Although extremely painful to go through, I finally (and through a lot of hard work) came to a place of peace with each grief experience.

So why blog, write, and speak about grief?

Because grief has a huge need to be more commonly talked about so people can find the hope, encouragement, and relief they so desperately need — And so everyone can understand how to help and minister to others in grief, too.

And because grief doesn’t end on the day of the funeral — in fact, grief never completely goes away…because love never dies, grief velcroes itself to your heart. And the greater the love, the greater the grief. Grievers need hope, and to know how to travel through the treacherous roads of grief to get to the other side.

Grief typically doesn’t stay as strong as it is in the first few months or years…but it lingers and can come back full strength at the oddest times. It doesn’t have to weigh your heart down for life though…it can become one of the greatest catalysts of growth you’ll ever experience.

Some grief experiences are minor, while other grief experiences are majorly debilitating. There is hope for major grief, and it takes grief recovery efforts to get to that point.

I count it a privilege to help and encourage hurting people through the overwhelmingly tough journey of grief.

I also talk about grief because there is a great need for grievers to share their experiences to help others who are going through grief. It is also helpful for grievers to help others who have never been through grief to better understand.

Like Pastor Rick Warren says: Who better to help someone through their grief than a person who has already walked the same thorny road?

This blog – as well as my book, YouVersion plans and other Grief Bites resources – is for anyone who has been through grief or loss…anyone who has been through a heart-shattering sleepless night…anyone who has had a broken heart…anyone who feels like their breath and life have been knocked out of them — yet they still want to live the best life they possibly can live in spite of any circumstance they face.

I hope something I write encourages someone. I hope it allows someone to obtain the hope they need to move on press forward in spite of the heartbreak they have experienced.

Notice I drew a line through “move on” because anyone who has been through deep grief knows how frustrating that phrase can be.

I say “press forward” because if you are going through intense grief, it has to be a personal choice to press forward with everything you’ve got. I am NOT suggesting forgetting about your treasured loved one(s). In fact, I am a HUGE advocate of honoring a loved one’s memory. I don’t believe in “Goodbye”; I believe in, “See you later!”…I’ll write more about this in the days to come.

By pressing forward after you have thoroughly grieved, you’ll prevent additional loss, guilt, and regrets from entering your life. If you stay still or stagnant in your grief, or ignore it, more loss develops…and then you will have so much more to deal with later on…and grief will have damaged your heart and life further than you wanted it to.

Don’t allow grief to choose for you how you are going to live the remainder of your life. Grief does not deserve to make that decision for you. The only thing you should allow grief to do is cleanse your heart and teach you lessons…and the lessons are certainly there.

Choose TODAY to embrace and thoroughly go through your grief so you are truly able to create the life you want to live in the years to come.

It will NOT be easy.

There is no such thing as “neatly” grieving or a one-size-fits-all-cookie-cutter-style of grieving…there are no rainbows, unicorns, or cotton candy in grief recovery. Nope, it is messy. It will most likely be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do…but one day you’ll look back and be so very grateful you worked through your grief and embraced it.

Although grief nearly permanently paralyzed my heart, I eventually decided life is too short to not live to the fullest every single day.

Life is too good to not find joy in it…especially the “little things” in life.

I realized you only get one life…and you never get time back. Redeem the time and enjoy every moment life has to offer you as much as you can…in time…when you are able to…because life (and enjoying loved ones) is the best adventure on earth. There is nothing like fully experiencing life. And there is no time to waste.

I have a motto: Life is a canvas so throw all the paint on it you can so one day you will have the ability to look at the amazing picture you created in spite of heartache and grief.

Yes, there will be dark colors on that canvas…but there can also be – with God’s grace and healing – vibrant colors of light…perfectly blended together in total depth and beauty.

The very best way to get back at grief: getting your breath back after life and grief knocks it out of you.

It will take time and you will know when your heart is ready. It is very helpful to join a grief group and talk to a trusted and respected pastor/counselor too.

Grief bites.

It certainly does…

…but with God, we ALL have the power within us to bite back.

©2014 / 2018 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

❤️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

💕Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book – all proceeds go back into helping the grief community): 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

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

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

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

Relief From Grief

Throughout my grief journeys, I’ve always purposely ensured I take the time to care for myself – spirit, mind, heart, body, and soul.

I also have trained myself to continue pursuing my hobbies and interests during these tough times (even if I don’t feel up to it) because they offer a way to blow off steam, relax, or create enjoyment … which is so very needed during times of grief.

I call these times, “My relief from grief.”

Some of my favorite things to do are: spend time with God, my loved ones, and our family’s dogs, take time for self improvement (read, reflect, plan / implement self-improvement, journal), watch a good movie, go get a great cup of coffee, sit by the fire and listen to some good acoustic music, go lift weights, do tae kwon do, go on a run, listen to my favorite music playlists, cook/bake, and go to the shooting range to shoot guns. All of these have the ability to improve my mood greatly!

During a few grief experiences, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Life and grief had knocked me down…and I initially just felt like tapping out and doing absolutely nothing.

After awhile though, I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted to live. I’ve always thought of life as the greatest gift and best adventure. I didn’t want to waste the precious gift of life, the time I could be spending with my remaining loved ones, or the time I have here on earth.

I knew I had to embrace my grief and find a new strength so I’d have the ability to grow through my heartache and eventually press forward.

It’s painful pressing forward and creating a new normal. As you do so, you realize you’re taking steps forward away from the previous pre-grief life you once knew and lived. With each new memory made, you know that your loved one wasn’t there to be a part of the memory. It feels wrong.

I didn’t like the feeling of embracing my grief and eventually pressing forward at all … but I also knew I was hideously miserable staying stagnant. I also knew my loved ones loved seeing my smile and joy while they were here on earth – just as much as I loved seeing their smiles and joy while they were here with me– and I know they’d never want me to stay continually or permanently depressed.

So I chose to get up.

I remember someone telling me, “Every day you wake up, immediately make your bed and go wash your kitchen sink.”

I thought this advice was odd, but I committed to doing those two things.

The first day I cleaned my sink, I could’ve probably cleaned the sink with just my tears. They were heavily dripping from my face.

Then as the days went by, I found myself crying less, and I felt much stronger. It’s ridiculous, but doing those two small things really made a big difference.

Seeing how much relief simply making a bed and cleaning a sink created, I decided to do more activities…even though my emotions weren’t into it.

When you go through a tough grief experience, it’s truly like you’ve been born into a new life…and you have to learn how to navigate everything around you all over again.

You navigate through the tough terrain of raw, unpredictable emotions…through the toughest days of your life…through the times you literally feel as though you can’t breathe…to learning how to live without the loved one(s) that you absolutely adored, loved, cherished, treasured, and enjoyed. You navigate through the sinking quicksand of all of the dreaded “firsts” too: the birthdays (theirs and yours), the holidays, special occasions, important events, anniversaries, vacations, and the incredibly dreaded anniversary of the death date.

It’s a true suckfest.

But then you start to realize that you don’t have to permanently say, “goodbye”…you have the choice to instead say, “I’ll see you later.”

You can find relief from your grief not just by merely investing in your own hobbies, but you can incorporate their favorite hobbies and enjoy doing some of their favorite activities in their memory and honor, too.

You also find that you don’t have to be sad when you talk about your loved one…you can fondly remember – and even smile, find joy, and laugh about– all of the fantastic, fun, and heartfelt memories you will forever hold in your heart!

Ultimately, I know my loved ones greatest wish for me (as well as their wish for all of their other loved ones) is the exact same thing I’d want for my loved ones when my time comes: they want for each of us to be happy, healthy, inspired, and whole.

And a part of feeling happy, healthy, inspired, and whole is finding activities that bring much needed relief from grief.

What activities and hobbies bring – or previously brought – your heart joy?

Which activities or hobbies of your treasured loved one would you enjoy doing in their honor and memory? What activity do you think they’d recommend you do?

What ways can you find relief from your grief this week?

Each week (or month), set aside four special appointments/times: one to do something special with just God…one for just you to do a hobby you love…one to do an activity in your loved one’s honor…and one to do something special with your remaining loved ones.

Obviously, grief will still be present as you do these activities, but as I started to do these activities, I imagined my grief was a ball. I’d set the “ball” down before I left to go invest in these four specific appointments, knowing I’d pick the ball back up once I returned.

Finding relief from your grief can truly be one of the very best gifts of strength you can give to yourself during tough times.

I know it’s been one of the best gifts I’ve given to myself during my times of grief!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2018 by 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

Never.

Never change who you are just so someone else can accept you or find you worthy enough to love.

Never mistreat anyone who has proven their love for you. Genuine love, loyalty and concern are very hard to find.

Never allow someone else’s behavior to dictate your own personal integrity.

Never allow anyone to dictate or belittle your grief. That’s an extremely personal journey that is only between God and yourself.

Never give up your God-given convictions or opinion just because someone steamrolls you with theirs.

Never allow another person to interfere in your relationship with your spouse, child, parents, siblings, or other significant relationships. If someone genuinely loves you, they’ll protect the most important parts of your life.

Never refuse anyone kindness and basic respect.

Never allow anyone or anything to rob you of your joy.

Never allow yourself to become negative, judgmental, two-faced, dysfunctional, or bitter.

Never give up an opportunity to travel when you can afford it. Travel is one of life’s best gifts.

Never enter – or lose yourself in – a relationship where the person refuses to care enough about themselves to do their own self work.

Never go through mistreatment or abuse just because someone else doesn’t care to have good standards for how they treat others.

Never give up your dreams just because someone else has made fun of or belittled yours.

Never take your health for granted. You never know what a treasure health truly is until it’s compromised or lost.

Never allow life’s hurts to make you toxic…don’t misplace your pain onto others.

Never give up your character or beliefs just because someone doesn’t want to raise their standards.

Never allow anyone who doesn’t love you to live “rent free” inside your mind.

Never judge a book by its cover. I’ve met a lot of incredible people with brilliant hearts and super cool ideas who were rough around the edges.

Never give up or compromise your character or uniqueness just so someone can find you more like-able or appealing.

Never allow someone to pull you down. Be around those who lift you up.

Never give up hope, faith, or God’s genuine love. These 3 things will always sustain you.

Never feel bad about loving your kiddos, family, spouse, and grandkiddos to the moon and back. The only people who will have a problem with it are those who are fighting an internal battle that has nothing to do with you anyway.

Never allow anyone to degrade you. Your value and your heart are your responsibility to protect.

Never allow anyone to intrude in your goals. Only God has that right.

Never attempt to “repaint” a person after they’ve shown (or continue to prove) their true colors. When the storms of life hit again, the rain will wash off all the paint.

Never blindly believe what you hear about others. So much of negative information is rooted in insecurity, bad intentions, jealousy, and someone trying to cover their own rear.

Never feel bad about loving your pets as though they were lil humans who happen to wear fur. God loves all His creation!

Never allow someone else to make you responsible for their happiness. Happiness and joy are each person’s own responsibility and self-work.

Never put the burden of making you happy onto another person. It’s too heavy of a burden to maintain.

Never be ashamed of tears. Tears cleanse your soul.

Trust, honesty, loyalty, kindness, and faithfulness are expensive gifts. Don’t expect these precious gifts from cheap people.

Never give up or jeopardize your belief in God…or your relationship with Him…especially if it’s due to how a “Christian” treated you. There’s a huge difference between a genuine Christian and a Church Attender or church staff. A Christian loves, honors, and obeys God and loves others…a Church Attender merely makes an appearance and warms a seat each week. God will always love you more – and better – than anyone else ever can…and He NEVER advocates anyone mistreating others.

Never waste life and never take life for granted. You’re never guaranteed tomorrow.

Never allow anyone or anything to rob you of God’s Purpose for your life. God’s perfect will for your life is the most precious gift and treasure you’ll ever have on earth!

Never waste one single second of – or give up on – this precious, beautiful, extravagant, incredible, miraculous gift of life you’ve been granted. What a gorgeous gift life truly is!

Never forget this amazing truth: your best days may have not even happened yet.

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2018 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.

🌷

An Important Question To Prevent Future Heartache & Pitfalls In Your Life

A few years ago, I went on vacation with some of my extended family and stayed at a hotel where the entire back portion is primarily glass windows and glass doors.

This wasn’t a foreseen problem…

…until I got distracted by a motorized luggage cart while walking along a path at the hotel.

As I tried to be polite to the driver of the cart by moving over, I tripped over the sidewalk…and then as I tried to correct my fall, I tripped over a huge rock and fell flat on my face.

Rock – 1

Kim – 0

The fact is, I simply didn’t see the tiny variation in the sidewalk…and apparently, I didn’t see the rock either.

My fall was not graceful or quick. I actually skidded a few feet after hitting the ground.

And the glass windows, doors, and veranda that weren’t previously a problem? Well, they became problematic because EVERYONE who was out on the ground level veranda, and everyone who had a view out of the windows, patios, and doors, got one heck of a show – a free comedy show, compliments of me!

I could hear a few people laughing.

Not that I blamed them because I’m sure it was quite the sight. Even though I was extremely embarrassed as I scrambled to get up, I even laughed at myself because the rock was huge. The variation in the sidewalk wasn’t near as noticeable, but the rock was unmistakable! Both were blind spots to me.

It’s the same with the “blind spots” and “pitfalls” we each have in our own individual lives…most everyone can see them – they’re truly very obvious, while we personally can only see a few.

Some are subtle (like the sidewalk); some are huge (like the rock)all can create a crazy amount of regrets, grief, heartache, destruction, unnecessary challenges, and hardships in life.

So what are blind spots and pitfalls?

Blind spots – an area where a person’s view is obstructed or in which a person lacks understanding or impartiality.

Pitfalls – a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty.

Everybody has blind spots and potential pitfalls. It’s so very important to ask people (the ones who you know care about you) what yours are. They can prevent an outrageous amount of grief and life challenges.

Each year, I choose a few trusted people to ask a very important question of:

Can you please share with me what you would consider my blind spots…the irritating habits, hang ups, insensitivities, and character flaws I may or may not be aware ofand do you see any potential pitfalls I could experience in the future that I can’t – or I’m not willing to – foresee?”

And I always tell them to be completely honest!

I haven’t always enjoyed the feedback, because it’s truly not fun hearing hard truths. But the truth greatly matters to me!

You may be asking (like I did when I first started doing this): who seriously wants to hear family members and close friends picking on you and telling you bad things about yourself?

The Bible reveals the answer: a wise person does. And couldn’t we all use more wisdom? I know I can!

PSALM‬ ‭141:5‬, Let the righteous thoughtfully strike (correct) me–it is a kindness done to encourage my spiritual maturity. It is the choicest anointing oil on the head; Let my head not refuse to accept and acknowledge and learn from it…”

PROVERBS 27:6, Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”

PROVERBS 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

PROVERBS 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

When I first began asking this annual question, I seriously got my fe-fe’s hurt…but then I began to see the exceptional value of asking this question…and I valued the answers even more!

The answers to this question always allow me to self-reflect and even allows me to avoid many possible bad outcomes down the road. (If you don’t know what to fix or prevent, how can you fix, prevent, or improve it?)

A few of the answers took me by surprise. Some even broke my heart.

With every honest answer received, it is imperative to find a way to change, improve, or create a way of doing things better.

Our blind spots may truly affect others…but they may not say anything.

I never would’ve had the ability to understand how my blind spots were affecting others, so I am beyond grateful I asked. Had I not asked, the results may not have shown up until irreversible damage had been done.

When people give you feedback, listen.

Truly listen.

Never resent anyone or their feedback. I genuinely appreciate them because they allow me to make both major and minor corrections so I can continually improve (and safeguard):

  • my relationship with God
  • my marriage and family
  • my character
  • my heart
  • my relationships with family & friends
  • my ministry
  • time
  • habits
  • goals
  • …pretty much every area of life!
  • Coming to terms with truthful realities vs limited perceptions is so important! It can be very difficult for people – myself included – to truly see and admit their flaws and blind spots…but who wouldn’t want to prevent pitfalls?

    I absolutely do not get mad if someone gives me feedback I don’t enjoy or like. I am the one who is asking for honest answers…so I understand what I signed up for: absolute truth.

    If you choose to do this incredibly revealing activity, don’t become upset or hold it against someone for sharing important truths with you. They truly are trying to help you be the best you can be!

    It is a gift!

    Kindly thank trusted family members, co-workers, fellow church members, and friends for their honest feedback, write down what they share with you, and then consider what they told you as if it were gold! It is gold!

    PROVERBS 20:15, There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

    The truths they share will allow you the treasure of making better life decisions.

    Better decisions = better life & relationships

    …And absolutely a better YOU!

  • I look forward to asking this annual question and look forward to hearing honest feedback from my family and friends later this month.
  • It is always a good thing to have truth … truths I may not yet see … be revealed to me so I can prevent pitfalls, and potential grief or destruction, in my life. I am so very grateful to have family and friends in my life who care enough about me to prevent my next fall!
  • And just as there were multiple glass windows and doors at that hotel, the people we love dearly in our life all have a front row view of our character and actions. What we do…our choices…how we respond to others…it all matters.
  • We’re all leaving a legacy, and asking for truth about blind spots ensures we have the opportunity to leave the best possible legacy we can!
  • What family members and friends do you trust enough to ask about your blind spots? The first time, you may ask them to go a little easy on you. The following year, ask for total honesty!
  • Gratitude & many blessings,
  • Kim
  • (Sorry for the misplaced random bullet points…Wordpress said this glitch should be resolved within the month!)
  • ©2018 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

    ⭐️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 help and encourage others by sharing our personal experiences we have gone through with our own personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or pastor for guidance and advice.

    Divorce Prevention: Questions To Ask Before Getting Married

    Marriage can be one of the most incredible experiences of your life…or it can truly drain and destroy your heart every. single. day.

    When starting my grief ministry, I was surprised by the amount of people who sought help for marriage, family, in-law, and dating relationship related grief issues. All of these types of relationships – especially in this day and age – can be stressful and cause an extreme amount of grief and conflict.

    Yet few consider the huge impact these relationships can have before taking the plunge.

    My adult son once told me a marriage joke: “There are three rings in marriage…the engagement ring…the wedding ring…then the suffering.”

    This was funny when I heard it..but it is an all-too-true reality for so many.

    My husband and I have been marriage coaches at our church the last several years. We also have many couples contact us now due to word-of-mouth and recommendations from couples who we have helped. With God’s grace, we have an over 90% success rate with helping couples to turn their relationship around, and it’s not because my husband and I have a perfect marriage. It’s because we experienced years of marital turmoil, and we also experienced many life, family, and grief experiences throughout our marriage – so we have gained priceless practical insight on how to help couples. We are also very real, authentic, honest, and transparent when we help others.

    When rebuilding our marriage, we found what worked…and what did not…and we are very open about what we learned.

    My husband and I have been together for almost three decades. During the first 14 years, our marriage was horrible…absolutely terrible. There were ten years we genuinely despised each other. We only stayed together because we didn’t want to ruin family members’ birthdays…or divorce around a holiday…or we had a vacation or special occasion coming up that we didn’t want to ruin for anyone. For me, it was also because I didn’t want all of our photo albums and home videos to turn from being a source of joyful memories for our family to being a visual source of pain – evidence of what “once was.”

    At our lowest point…I sought to improve myself and our marriage, as I deeply pondered how things got so bad.

    Nobody plans on things going bad, but it does happen…frequently. Too frequently. In fact, around 50% of marriages fail.

    Most people (my husband and myself included) get it backwards: we wear rose-colored glasses before we get married and then we wear magnifying glasses after saying, “I do.”

    It is much wiser to wear magnifying glasses while dating so you can truly make a solid decision about who you will be spending the rest of your life with…then wear rose-colored glasses after you get married.

    When someone gets married, it literally can affect everything in, and about, that person’s life…who they are, their joy, their relationship with God and others, their family, their health, their present or future children, finances, goals, dreams, job/education/career, beliefs, their self-esteem…everything. Since they are willingly placing their self…and their life…in a position of extreme vulnerability, it’s important to be very thorough in making sure they’re giving their heart and life to someone who truly deserves it.

    Nobody is perfect…that’s for sure. We all are a work in progress. We all have room for improvement. We all have a bad day here and there. Always. But there is a huge difference between being with a partner who is willing to work at figuring things out vs. a partner who will simply wear you out.

    Many people — like I stated earlier, one out of every two people — will either file for divorce or be served divorce papers…so it makes sense to ask a few very important questions before getting engaged or tying the knot.

    Consider these statistics:

    • The average marriage lasts 8.2 years
    • 45-50% of first marriages end in divorce
    • 67% of second marriages end in divorce
    • 74% of third marriages end in divorce
    • Nearly 60% of spouses admit to cheating…45% will go on to cheat again
    • The average divorce costs $15,000 to $30,000
  • BUT you can beat these odds with prayer, and a lil preparation and prevention.
  • A good marriage can be an incredible joy and blessing…but a bad marriage can negatively impact both spouses, their children, and both spouse’s families – and each person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health…sometimes for years!

    Contrary to popular belief, a gold band or diamond ring doesn’t have magical abilities. It doesn’t sprinkle pixie dust on the wearer’s finger and make them a magically better version of their self. Brides and grooms come “as is” – no warranty.

    Some go into marriage not only thinking they can change someone…they try to make the marriage or potential spouse “fit” their expectations.

    If a person has to force their foot into a glass slipper (marriage) to make it fit, they will, no doubt, have a very uncomfortable walk throughout their marriage…or worse, the glass slipper will eventually shatter and they’ll carry the scars for a very long time. And if someone is made to feel they never measure up, they, in turn, will resent their mate.

    So now that I’ve been a much needed Negative Nancy so far in this post, how about some positive statistics?😍

    • Married women are 30% more likely to rate their health as excellent or very good compared to single women
    • Married people report lower levels of depression and distress
    • Married people (over 50 years old) are more likely to maintain daily health routines like exercise, eating right, not smoking, and routinely receive annual health physicals
    • Married people are twice as likely to go to church as unmarried people
    • Marriage does more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex, or sometimes even children (source: Wake Forest University psychologists)

    Okay, so what if you’re already married and you believe you made a huge mistake or you think you married the “wrong” person? Please consider a few statistics:

    • 50% of those who divorce regret ending their marriage, and 80% of those who divorce during an affair regret the decision…so it is vital to talk to a trusted pastor or qualified marriage therapist before making the painful decision to separate or divorce
    • 86% of those who rated their marriage as “unhappy” reported having “improved” or even “great” marriages five years later after choosing to stay married
    • once you get married, your spouse becomes the “right” person. God has the incredible ability to heal your marriage

    At some point, I’ll write specifically about each of these questions, but for now, I’ll leave these questions without answers so each reader can come up with their own individual answers. As you read each question, be sure to also answer how your partner would answer or rate you if they were the one reading these questions.

    With any and every relationship, you must keep perspective and look at all viewpoints and sides!😊 It is an absolute must for both people to reflect on not just their partner, or their own individual wants and desires, but it is also important to reflect – and be real about – what both people are personally bringing to the relationship. It most likely will be a mixture of good strengths along with some flaws.

    Each person needs to do their own self-work to ensure they are continually becoming a skilled “master” of their relationship, instead of being the “disaster” of the relationship.

    We’re truly either an asset or a liability to our partner’s heart and wellbeing.

    There are also a few issues many do not consider before marriage that my husband and I frequently hear while coaching:

    • a spouse influences their partner to “write off” or limit their spouse’s time with their spouse’s parents, siblings, or family…then a family member dies…then the spouse who was influenced becomes extremely bitter towards their spouse.
    • a spouse makes more money than one spouse and holds it over the lesser paid spouse’s head.
    • when children are born, a spouse compares their spouse to their own parents.
    • a spouse changes direction in their life without considering how it will affect their spouse (moving, going into missions, etc.)

    There are many reasons – too many reasons to count – why a marriage can fail. These questions are designed to eliminate possibilities for divorce.

    While reading this list, you may be tempted to point fingers, argue with your partner, or dish out blame. That is not the goal of this blog post. The questions are a great opportunity to reflect on what self-work needs to be done by each individual, and it may reveal deficits so you can make an overall decision to either work toward a happier, healthier, and much more fulfilling relationship – or discover that you (or they) may need to upgrade your/their value…or if you choose to stay together, upgrade the value of your relationship together.

    In any bad or challenged relationship, it is rare if it is just one partner’s fault. Both people need to take responsibility for their part and work toward creating a “team” mentality together. When my husband and I were repairing our marriage, I shared with him, “Well, we’ve already found out what doesn’t work for our marriage…let’s now focus on finding out what will work.”

    The truth is: marriage – just like all relationships – are work…sprinkled with love, times of joy, memories and purpose.

    If you’re experiencing a bad time in your relationship or marriage, or you’re in need of good, solid, unbiased advice, there’s no shame in seeking out a qualified and trusted pastor or marriage therapist. My husband and I went to several before we found one who we both liked who could genuinely help us. To this day, we still go to this therapist when we run into issues we can’t easily resolve. The best advice he’s given is, “Treat one another how you would want to be treated and seek to improve yourself!”

    When tempted to think that it’s all one partner’s fault, it’s best to consider the impact – both the good and the bad – both are contributing. As my husband’s and my marriage therapist always says, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

    When my husband and I coach couples, usually one partner will initially drag their feet and truly dread it…until they realize they can custom create a marriage where they and their spouse both feel treasured and fulfilled.

    Your relationship and marriage is yours. You do not have to have a perfect marriage to be happy. You don’t even have to resolve every problem to get along and feel fulfilled. You are not required to pattern your marriage after anyone else’s marriage. You get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make your marriage exactly what you both want it to be!

    Before reading this list, take a few minutes to pray. Ask God to speak to your heart and to guide and direct your life and relationship.

    Realize there are probably some of these that your partner and you are not favorably doing, and one or both of you may not be up to par. This list simply reveals what needs to be worked on.

    Some of these may be high priorities for you both as a couple…some may not be. Each relationship – especially a marriage – needs to be custom created by the couple. Parents, siblings, friends, etc. certainly care…and a couple should prayerfully consider and contemplate the advice and wise counsel of anyone who cares about them…but at the end of the day, both people need to take ownership of their relationship and do what works for them.

    My husband and I wouldn’t have suffered as much turmoil in our marriage had we discussed a list of questions like this before we got married. We pray this list truly helps others to avoid the heartache and grief we experienced for so long.

    Marriage is definitely a huge decision and commitment. And lifetime love, joy, purpose, and commitment are the goals — for both you and your partner!

    Things To Ask Yourself Before Taking Your Relationship To The Next Level:

    1. Is your partner into you…really into you? (Are you truly into them?)

    2. Do you both love, honor, & fear God? Is your relationship with God the top priority…individually and as a couple? Are you comfortable praying together and encouraging each other spiritually?

    3. How do you both treat your own family? How do you treat each other’s family? How does their family treat you…how does your family treat them? Do you both respect and love your families? Are you both under authority…or are you rebellious? Are you both capable of leaving and cleaving (even though you will still love and respect your parents and families)? Will you (and your partner) be able to set solid boundaries after the wedding so your spouse and marriage truly come first?

    4. Are they mature, responsible, compassionate, caring, and kind? Are they bent towards mercy in how they deal with others? (Are you?)

    5. Do they – and will they – handle hardship, grief, and stress well? (How do you think you handle these things?) If either of you were to prematurely die, can you trust and depend on them to be compassionate to your family and treat them well (and if there are children, will they be fair to your parents/family)…or would there be conflict? 80% of couples will divorce after the death of a child. How people handle grief and tough situations is more important than most realize.

    6. Do they protect, respect, and honor you? (Do you seek to protect, respect, and honor your partner?)

    7. Are they loyal, faithful, and will they truly put you first? (Are you truly wiling to do and be these, too?) Are they prone to cheating? Has a parent cheated? If a parent has cheated, there is a greater likelihood a child will cheat if they’ve failed to forgive their parent.

    8. Do they have a solid ability to communicate, process, and work out problems/issues and restore harmony in the relationship? Are they good at taking the initiative to work problems out? Will you truly have a partner who invests in the relationship to prevent issues? (Do you communicate and work problems out well? Do you invest in the relationship and do your part to prevent issues?) Are you both willing to learn new communication and relationship skills?

    9. How do they consistently treat their parents/family, waiters/waitresses, store clerks, pets, children, and others? (How do you treat others?) How a person treats their parents/family/others is a solid indicator of how they’ll eventually treat you.

    10. Will they be a good parent…and will you want your kiddos to be just like them once they’re grown? (Will you…and would you…want your future children to emulate your life/actions/habits?)

    11. Are they forgiving or do they hold grudges? Are they a peacemaker? Are they vindictive? Are they mature and work issues out…or do they resort to immature tactics such as throwing fits, cussing, sweeping issues under the rug, ignoring problems, or doing the silent treatment? (How do you handle forgiveness issues?)

    12. Do they have their finances in order and have a stable job/work history – do they quit easy? (How about you?)

    13. Are you (or they) controlled by any addiction or toxic behaviors? Will either of you have a hard life due to these issues?

    14. Do they have anger, bitterness, or attitude issues? Do they “make people pay”? (Do you?) Are they humble or prideful?

    15. Have they unpacked their “baggage” in life – the unprocessed baggage their parents (knowingly or unknowingly) passed down to them, as well as their own – and do they continually seek ways to grow and improve their self? (Have you taken – and do you continually take – the steps to do this?)

    16. Have you or they ever cheated in a relationship…and if either has a history of infidelity, did you/they learn from it? If someone has cheated and failed to self-reflect to figure out why, they have an overwhelming chance of cheating again.

    17. Do they respect sex and are they respectful towards you in this area? Do they respect boundaries on social media? Do they make inappropriate comments about the opposite sex? Do they use premarital sex to entice you so you overlook issues or fail to see their personal flaws? (Are you respectful in these areas? Do you do these things?)

    18. If you were ever disabled or diagnosed with a serious illness, how would they accept and handle that? (If your spouse became disabled or seriously ill, would you leave…or love them enough to stay?)

    19. Are they continually self-centered? (Are you?) Do they frequently talk about what they can get from you and others…or do they seek to give to others?

    20. How does your partner make you feel…and if nothing ever changes or improves, can you genuinely live with how things currently are? (How do you make your partner feel…and are you willing to do whatever is necessary to improve your relationship?)

    21. Do you have a good education, a trade, or skill set to provide for yourself – and any children – if the marriage ends or your spouse dies? (Are you committed to ensuring both you and your partner have this important ability?)

    22. Are you/they in love or in need? Getting married for financial purposes will bring problems and deep heartache – for both people.

    23. How do your parents/family feel about your partner? (How do your partner’s parents/family feel about you?) Are any of their concerns justified? Will your parents welcome your spouse after the wedding…will your spouse treat your parents/family fairly? Will you ensure that your parents/family loves and respects your spouse…and will you ensure that your spouse loves and respects your parents/family? You’d be surprised how many marriages end due to not ensuring basic love and respect by all parties.

    24. Is your partner genuinely good to you and are you genuinely good to them…and are you genuinely good for each other?

    25. Do you genuinely like them as a person? (Do they genuinely like you?)

    26. Do you have similar values, life goals, and beliefs? Are there any deal breakers?

    27. Do you have compatible ideas on the hot topics of marriage: religion, money, parenting, family, sex, chores/jobs/responsibilities?

    28. Do you have fun together, have a strong friendship, and genuinely enjoy each other? Do you value and celebrate each other on important “couple” holidays (anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc)?

    29. Are you attracted to your partner – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc.? (Is your partner attracted to you in these areas?)

    30. Do you and your partner make gratefulness and valuing each other a priority? Are you (they) more grateful or ungrateful? More valuing or demeaning?

    Hope these questions are helpful! Keep in mind these questions are not the gospel…they’re simply a tool for self-reflection and self-improvement.

    Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither are relationships. Marriages take a lifetime to grow and perfect!

    So, what if you read this list and are now discouraged?

    Here are a few resources I have personally found to be very helpful. Some are websites and some are videos. All are helpful for building relationships and self-improvement:

    http://www.familylife.com/weekend-to-remember

    https://saddleback.com/watch/how-to-build-a-love-that-lasts-a-lifetime/growing-a-love-that-lasts

    http://www.focusonthefamily.com

    http://www.life.church/media/from-this-day-forward/

    https://saddleback.com/watch/the-purpose-driven-family

    https://www.drphil.com/advice_categories/relationships-sex/

    https://www.celebraterecovery.com

    http://www.life.church/media/the-vow/

    http://www.purposedriven.com

    http://www.life.church/media/samson/

    http://www.chazown.com

    http://www.rickwarren.org/devotional

    http://www.rejoicemarriageministries.com

    http://www.familylife.com

    https://www.gottman.com

    Marriage can truly last a lifetime and be one of the best experiences of your life!

    Your heart is one of the highest, most prized treasures you can give to someone. Give it to someone who will take good care of it!❤️

    Gratitude & blessings,

    Kim

    ©2018 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

    ⭐️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 help and encourage others by sharing our personal experiences we have gone through with our own personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or pastor for guidance andadvice.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️Websites are not necessarily an endorsement. They are included for encouragement and informational purposes only.

    The Uniqueness of You & Your Goals 

    Everybody has had at least one goal.

    It may have been big or small…you may have created your goal when you were younger or older.

    The best thing about goals is how each goal is unique — and how each goal was created through unique circumstances. Even if two people have a similar dream, both goals are unique and will be accomplished differently. Each individual crafted their dreams and goals – and each goal or dream will contribute and positively effect each person’s family, friends, and sphere of influence.

    Since goals and dreams originate from each person’s individual life purpose, life experiences, influence, and perspective, it truly is uniquely wonderful and sweet when a person finally reaches their goal. It can greatly inspire everyone around them.

    I know of someone who was disappointed in life, so they made a goal to lose 100 lbs and to further their education. By the end of this year, they’ll have met their entire goal after years of hard work.

    Another person I know had a goal in their 20’s of owning a dance studio. Marriage and parenting took over – and even though they sure have enjoyed the last 20 years – they are now finally pursuing their forgotten dream.

    While growing up, I had some very strong goals and dreams. I had long forgotten about them…until I had a major health crisis last year.

    Some of the goals, I am incredibly happy I chose not to pursue them. They wouldn’t have been a good fit now. Other goals, I figured out that it’s not too late to accomplish them.

    Whether you’re a teenager, young adult, middle-aged, or elderly, we all have had dreams and goals. Some have met their dreams and goals head-on…others have neatly tucked them away in a closet of their heart.

    But did you know it’s never too late to pursue your goals and dreams? No matter what age you are, your goals and dreams – from the past or present – can be crafted, created, drafted, pursued, adjusted, improved, or completely changed so you can accomplish them…even if you already failed while trying to accomplish them.

    One of my friends had a dream and goal of getting married and having a large family. Growing up in a very small, and very chaotic dysfunctional family, she would dream of how awesome it would be to have a warm, happy home and family filled with love. Looking forward to the big holidays she would eventually have and enjoy…especially the whole family celebrating together…brought a smile to her heart. It was all she ever wanted.

    She eventually got married, and two months after the wedding, she had to have an emergency hysterectomy. With her hopes and dreams of a large family destroyed, her husband left her. Her dreams seemed to be forever crushed.

    She could have chosen to be deeply bitter…instead she chose to reconstruct her dream and is now helping children just like her. She is now a foster parent and has hosted dozens of children, who – like her – have lived in chaotic dysfunctional homes. She said she loves holidays and celebrations because she knows she is making a greater impact and difference.

    When we refuse to allow life to get the best of us during trials and challenges, new goals and dreams can be created and accomplished — some goals and dreams…when placed in God’s hands…will actually serve a bigger purpose, too.

    Earlier last year, I went through a major health scare. The radiologist suspected I had a very rare cancer…a cancer that only 5-15% survive. The odds didn’t look favorable.

    After thoroughly reading my medical reports, my very first thoughts were of how an illness would affect my family and my grief ministry. My next thoughts were about everything I wanted to experience and do in life…especially in my marriage, parenting, and family goals, spiritual/ministry goals, life-purpose goals, writing goals, health goals, travel opportunities, etc.

    After thinking about everything for a long while, I asked myself what lifelong goals I held in my heart that I never accomplished.

    When I thought about my loved ones, my life, and my goals…both childhood and current…life was greatly clarified for me. Crazy how when you’re faced with a major obstacle, loss, or illness, that’s when life, relationships, and choices become black and white…crystal clear.

    I also could clearly see how short life truly is…and how much of life is wasted.

    I couldn’t clearly tell what all was a waste or a foolish misuse of time…until I thought my time was about to run out.

    For me, God, family, friends, and my grief ministry was all that mattered ultimately. I also thought about future memories I might not get to be a part of and all of the experiences on earth I’d miss.

    Seriously think about the following and ask yourself which of these need pruning, improved, or prioritized in your life:

    • time
    • activities
    • relationships
    • money
    • opportunities
    • social media
    • computer/phone time

    I thought I was living a good, productive life, but when I was faced with potentially having 18 months to five years left on earth, it fiercely sifted my entire life — and everything in it. Being faced with a major illness showed me extreme truths about my life.

    I’m thankful the radiologist was wrong, but I will forever be grateful for the wake up call I was provided. While going through infusions, I used the time to truly think about life, as well as my relationships, goals, dreams, purpose, everything. It was an extremely eye opening, clarifying, and sometimes tough experience.

    Are you satisfied with life? Are there goals or dreams you regret not fulfilling? Are you wanting to make the world a better place for your loved ones and future generations?

    Think about your life.

    Think about your relationships.

    Think about your life purpose.

    Think about your goals.

    Think about your time.

    Think about your dreams.

    Deeply consider your legacy.

    At the end of your life, what will you want to look back on — and know you gave it your all? What is most important to you? Who is most important to you? What memories do you want your loved ones to have? How can you bless or inspire others?

    You have to ask these questions so you’ll better know how to live your life so you won’t waste it.

    For me, the answers were easy.

    When you’re faced with health issues or the end of your life, most will not care about how much money they have (or don’t have) in the bank, what kind of house they lived in or what kind of car they drove. You don’t care about past hurts. You don’t care about bills…schedules…calendars…or anything mundane or replaceable.

    You care about meeting God with a clear conscience, and you care about your loved ones, your legacy, and the difference you made. You care about the goals and dreams you accomplished that inspired others.

    Whether you are 13, 23, 33, 43, 53, 63, 73, 83, or 93, please consider all of your goals…your spiritual goals, your serious goals, your goals of helping others or making a difference, your relationship goals, and even your fun goals.

    You were created by God to fulfill a very specific purpose. Your influence, and all you bring to the table, is not replaceable. Whether you are healthy or sick, young or old, no matter the circumstances, if you have a heartbeat, then you have the powerful ability to create, pursue, reconstruct, or fulfill your goals and dreams.

    Your goals and dreams may be scary big or seemingly small…all can make a huge impact and difference. Especially to your loved ones.

    It’s never too late.

    Whatever goals or dreams you have, you truly can accomplish them with God’s help. I hope you choose to make a difference in others lives through your goals and dreams…and when you meet your goals, I hope you will celebrate with your loved ones.

    Here’s to the uniqueness of YOU & your individual goals and dreams. May God richly bless you and your goals!

    Gratitude & many blessings,
    Kim

    ©2017 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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    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

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    ❤️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

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