One Of The Most Important Gifts You Can Give To A Loved One During Grief

When you go through a major grief experience, it changes you to your very core.

And it takes time to sort your life out.

Anyone who has been through grief is reading this and wholeheartedly agreeing. They understand exactly what I mean when I say a person needs time to sort their life, emotions, and grief out.

Someone who has never experienced a heart wrenching loss just seems not to get it. They can feel sympathetic towards a loved one…but they don’t understand the major disruption grief can truly bring.

Every few weeks, a person who has a loved one who is experiencing deep grief will contact me and ask me to meet them for coffee.

When I first started receiving these requests, I assumed their grieving loved one knew I’d be showing up. Instead, I found that these “coffee meetings” were an intervention of sorts. They thought I’d talk to their grieving loved one, sort them out, share some sort of miraculous words that would instantly change their grief-stricken loved one…so everyone could return to their happy, normal, pre-grief lives.

If only it were that easy…sigh…and apparently they don’t know me very well.

Each person who attempts this, quickly finds out a few things about me:

  1. If someone didn’t know I was coming, I’d apologize and give the griever the option of talking with me or not. I don’t believe in forced interventions, controlling conversations, or tricking people – even if the original intention was good or thoughtful…which majority of the time it is. They truly want to help.
  1. They found out new ways of being there for their grieving loved one…and that their grieving loved one is just as frustrated as they are. Nobody likes going through grief and experiencing deep heartache and the sudden changes it brings. Absolutely nobody.
  1. They found out I’m a huge grief advocate…I don’t believe in telling anyone to “suck it up,” “get back to being your ‘old self,'” “get over it,” or “act normal.” The only exception is if a person has children still in the home, a person will have to balance out grief with providing a stable environment for their kiddos…but that never entails hiding emotions, being their old self, or being fake. It just means a person may need to gain more outside help from loved ones, gain wisdom and counsel of how best to navigate the new grief experience, so they don’t end up experiencing greater loss down the road. I always encourage grievers to balance their grief while cherishing their remaining loved ones, too. It prevents many potential relationship issues.

What do you do when family or friends don’t “get” or understand your grief? 

How do you handle family and friends who say unthoughtful things such as, “you need to get over it, “you need to move on,” or “I just want you to be your ‘old self'”?

When I went through my sister’s and other loved ones’ deaths, I majorly reacted in my heart to people who said comparable things to me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized when people say these things, it is really annoying, but they usually really do mean well. They’re frustrated with the situation, and hurting from the loss of their normal relationship they’ve previously enjoyed pre-grief.

Granted, there are some who are selfish and find the grief of a loved one intrusive, but most genuinely do care…some just haven’t learned how to help their grieving loved one or learned how to communicate what they’re feeling in a beneficial or non-insulting way.

I have found one of the greatest things needed during times of grief – for both the griever and the family and friends of the griever – is grace.

Grace is compassion on steroids.

Grace doesn’t take away the grief, but it sure does help tremendously when people offer each other this priceless, special gift. 

What about when a grief event totally changes a relationship? A grief event took place and your family and friends treat you differently than they did before?

I’ve had multiple grievers share with me that they’d had a best friend for decades…but then after a grief event, the friend was nowhere to be found. Couples who had hung out for years – even vacationed each year together – suddenly disappear without warning. Family relationships, who were previously very close, end up blowing up, disintegrating, or become almost irreparable.

Grace is so very important during times of grief!

When people are going through grief, they may say or do things that are very uncharacteristic of them. Sometimes people are in so much pain, they may say some really ugly things … things they truly don’t mean.

Again, grace is very much needed during times of grief.

Who can you offer grace to today? Do you know someone who you greatly hurt or offended during their time of grief who you need to apologize to? Is there someone who hurt or offended you that you need to call to work through an issue?

Grief changes everything. And it genuinely changes everyone who experiences it.

Be kind to the grievers you know. Seek to be the grace-filled rainbow through all of your loved ones’ storms in life. And give grace to those who may have offended you during your time of grief.

There will come a day when we all will need grace. Choose to be a grace-filled person starting today.

May each of you always give and find grace, compassion, encouragement, and love in your relationships with family and friends.❤️

Gratitude & blessings,


©2017 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:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

It’s always better to: Creating A Great Life

It’s always better to:

•be too emotional than inauthentic 

•be too deep than shallow

•be too forgiving than bitter

•be too loving than rejecting 

•be too compassionate than hard-hearted 

•be too giving than stingy

•be too mercy-filled than unfeeling

•be too kind than excluding

•be too grateful than unappreciative 

•be too responsible than negligent 

•be too concerned than aloof

•be too thoughtful than selfish

•be too humble than arrogant

•be too honest than deceitful 

•be too mindful than careless

•be too invested than regretful 

•be too dependable than flakey

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

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

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

…And character either makes or breaks a person. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships:

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed:

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas:

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

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus:

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

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


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

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

A challenge to find joy again.

A challenge not to cry every day.

A challenge to enjoy others.

A challenge to relax by doing your previous favorite activities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

❤️Gratitude & blessings,

The Dark Candle

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

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

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

Written by Strickland Gillian

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

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

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

Grief & Travel

Travel is easily one of my favorite topics. 

Growing up, my parents made travel and traveling experiences a priority for our family. We took many weekend trips and weeklong vacations to several destinations. My husband’s parents also did the same as he grew up.

My husband and I appreciated the travel opportunities and experiences our parents blessed us with, so we also have made travel a priority for our family.

Some of our favorite places to travel for the weekend or for a week long trip have been Disney World (Florida), Disneyland (California), Ireland, Tennessee (Smokey Mountains/Gatlinburg), Texas, Destin, New York City, Costa Rica, and other places.

Each place we have been holds many great memories, but Disney World has always held great value in our hearts since it is the last place we vacationed with my sister right before she died. Two months before my sister passed away, my parents, my sister and her family, my other sister, and my family and I all went to Disney World in Florida. 

After my sister’s death, we have taken my sister’s children to Disney World in honor and memory of their mother since she loved and adored Disney World and all things Disney.

I actually vacationed at Disney with my parents, sister, and my niece (my sister’s oldest daughter) and my niece’s sweet family just this year. My own family elected to stay home due to work and school commitments, but it was nice to have time with my niece and her family, and my parents and sister. 

I’m a big advocate of travel, whether it’s learning opportunities while traveling or relaxing or fun vacations. There’s just something special about getting away with loved ones as you leave the world and your cares behind while creating special life-long memories.

Vacations can be:

  • Weekend trips
  • Extended weekend trips
  • Road trips
  • Week long getaways 
  • Cruises 
  • Camping
  • Staycations at home
  • Any amount of time, at any destination 

The primary objective is to clear your schedule so you can focus on God, family, friends, relaxation, learning and fun!

I’m also a big advocate for taking vacations to honor and remember a lost loved one. We have had many special times and made great memories in doing so. 

One special lady in my grief group recently lost her much treasured adult child. She and her husband have decided to travel to places they know their child would have enjoyed traveling to in their child’s memory and honor. At each location, they are sprinkling some of their precious child’s ashes. How amazing and beautiful is that? 

What places do you enjoy traveling to? Which destinations have you always wanted to travel to? Do you have a Bucket List of places you’d like to travel? What cultures would you most like to experience?

If you would like to travel to places in memory or honor of a treasured loved one, what places were dear to your loved one’s heart? Where would they have most liked to traveled?

The first year after my sister’s death when we traveled back to Disney, it was emotionally tough. I’m really glad our family chose to continue to go to Disney World though. What started out as a vacation to remember and honor my sister, ended up transitioning into new experiences and great opportunities for our family to grow closer and create NEW memories.

Travel is amazing and something my family and I love to enjoy and do! 

I will be sharing about creating a travel budget in a new blog post soon. I’ve never paid full price for any vacation I have been on except for one. If you love travel, or are interested in travel, you’ll definitely want to check back soon!

Gratitude & many blessings,

❤️If you were encouraged by this post or found it helpful, please feel free to share it to encourage and help others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how do you overcome annual grief cycles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships:

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed:

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas:

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

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus:

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

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


What Do The Olympics And Grief Have In Common?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude and many blessings (and Happy Olympic watching),

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

❤️All of Kim’s blog posts:

The Thief & Grief of Cancer

Cancer…so many strong emotions can be felt when you hear this one little word.

Cancer is a complete thief that steals so much from those who taste the grief of it.

Before 2015, I had experienced several family members go through the agony of cancer — and majority eventually dying from it.

When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer…a myriad of thoughts and emotions flood and overwhelm you. It literally feels like someone sucks the living breath out of you.

In 2015, as I prepared to travel to Costa Rica, I went to my parents house to say goodbye before my flight was to leave. As I hugged my dad, I couldn’t wait to get in my car so I could privately cry. As I hugged him, it literally felt as though I was hugging a skeleton.

My dad had been severely ill for about 7 months and had lost almost 80 lbs. None of his doctors would take his symptoms seriously. As I left for my trip, I was genuinely concerned my dad would eventually starve to death since he couldn’t hold any food down at all. He now weighed less than he did in high school. I told him he needed to do whatever it took to get his doctors to listen…he needed to be pushy.

After I got settled in Costa Rica, I called to check in with my mom and asked how my dad was doing. His doctor finally agreed to put a body camera inside my dad that morning…by swallowing this special camera, he’d have hundreds of pictures taken from the inside…but the doctor assured my dad it would be extremely rare if he had cancer.

The following morning, I received a phone call…a FaceTime call, actually…from my mom’s cell phone. I figured she FaceTimed me so she could see the jungle we were staying in since I had texted her about some howler monkeys and coati that were right outside our door.

When I answered the call, all I could see was my sister. Now my sister isn’t a crying type — — but there she was on FaceTime with puffy eyes, tears running down her face, barely able to speak. I could see and hear my mom beside her and she could barely talk, too. By the look on their faces, I thought someone had died.
Instead, my sister was about to tell me the reason for my dad being so sick.

Kim…dad has cancer…a very rare aggressive cancer…they’re doing emergency surgery on him in two days…”

My heart hit the floor. Fear engulfed me. I felt like I was going to throw up. Realizing how long he’d been sick without a diagnosis worried me immensely!

I had already lost my biological dad while I was growing up…I couldn’t imagine now losing my second dad. I especially couldn’t imagine watching my mom go through the intense heartache of losing another husband. She and my dad were best friends.

I immediately started the process of finding a flight home. I was on a plane by 4:00am to make it home for my dad’s surgery, and I was beyond grateful that a very special man in Costa Rica was so compassionate that he paid the $3700 airline fee to get my husband and me home in time. (My husband’s grandfather had died as well, so he was able to go to his Poppy’s funeral as I made my way to my dad’s surgery.)

Before I left to fly home, I FaceTimed my mom. She was crying and pacing back and forth so badly that all I could see was her ceiling. My heart hurt so bad that I couldn’t hug and hold her through the phone.

There are so many people who have gone through the same situation — the fear…the helpless feeling of not being able to help or do anything for a loved one…sitting at long chemo appointments watching a loved one go through every emotion known to mankind.

Not knowing if the previous holidays were the very “last” ones. Not knowing if you’ll ever get to go on a vacation with them or celebrate a birthday with them — theirs or yours — ever again. Having a sickening feeling of deep loss that doesn’t go away until you wait…and wait…and wait…for the next precious doctor visits or surgeries. Wondering if any of the chemo or surgeries would “take.”

To everyone who has experienced a loved one having cancer…or losing a most loved and treasured loved one to cancer…my heart hurts for you and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences. Both situations leave upmost scars on a heart.

I pray for everyone who has been catapulted into walking that terrible road…I also pray for intense healing for your hurting and broken heart.

I leave you with a beautiful quote I saw at one of my dad’s chemo sessions:

Cancer can take away a person’s physical abilities. It cannot touch their mind. It cannot touch their heart. And it cannot touch their soul.” ~Jim Valvano

As we encourage our loved ones who are fighting cancer, remember our loved ones who lost their battle with cancer, and honor our loved ones who are beating it, let’s never forget the very things that cancer can never touch: our incredible memories with our loved ones (our minds)…our special relationship with those we will always love and cherish (our hearts)…and all of the beautiful reminders, experiences, and things God and our loved ones want for us, wanted for us, and would want for us now and in the future (our souls).

May we live every day to the fullest in honor of those who have been affected by the thief of cancer…and may we commit to never allowing cancer to steal another memory, emotion, or moment of our lives.

Gratitude and blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships:

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed:

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then there was me.

No musical talent whatsoever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

Kim’s blog:


Bringing Your Hard Questions To God: An Extra Crispy Collision 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

A lot about: Life. Relationships. God. Church. Family. Grief. Helping others through grief. Illness. The FANTASTIC people you meet in life. The not-so-great people you’ve had the displeasure of knowing. Healing that has taken place. Raw wounds that scab over, yet somehow re-open. What a great gift life is — actually, what a treasure each and every day truly is.

Lots and lots of thoughts…both good and bad.

I’m a pretty deep person by nature. My husband jokingly says while some people tend to be kiddie pools or swimming pools, I’m lucky enough to be a large, deep ocean.

But those who are “oceans” know that it doesn’t always feel so lucky. 

When you have depth and many life experiences, you can see, discern, and perceive things around you..and that’s not always a fun thing. You can quickly “know” a person’s character and motives…sometimes without them saying a single word. You have an incredible God-blessed ability to help others — and feel an empathy that allows you to absorb others heartache so you can truly help them find healing and wholeness. 

And people who are oceans think a lot more than most realize. When you’re often around grief and heartache, helping the grief community day in and day out, you truly have times where you don’t just think about things…you carry a lot of your clients pain and questions, too.

Questions such as: why do children die?…why do people put their precious spouses through so much agonizing heartache due to adultery?…why do people have to get sick?…how do family and friends hurt, backstab, reject, abandon, or betray those closest to them—and sometimes not even care?…how do some pastors and church people cause intense pain then not even care about those they’ve hurt, ran off, rejected, or offended?…why is there so much pain, chaos, and heartache in the world?

Pretty much, you think about and question every scenario you see people you help go through.

And then you wrestle with God with questions you may have.

And there you go…you have an extra crispy collision.

For the record, I grew up in a conservative church. You weren’t really taught much about wrestling with God or asking tough questions because to question God was considered Extra Crispy. I think every Baptist has heard sermons on how Jacob wrestled with God, but I would have loved to have been taught how to bring my questions to God without feeling like an extra crispy heathen.

Definition of Extra Crispy: an undesirable activity, thought, feeling, or action that others believe can send you straight to hell to fry for life.

Growing up, extra crispy could have been my middle name. Ashamedly, I was my mother’s worst child. I questioned everything, and wanted to experience life so I’d know what I personally thought or believed. For myself. All by myself.

Regrettably, rebellious.

Yep…Extra Crispy.

Majority of it stemmed from a place of deep hurt…yet I’m extremely grateful for the harsh lessons I learned from my “extra crispy” days long ago. 

When God turned my life around, the same closed fist that shook at Him demanding answers…was turned into a soft open outstretched hand that desperately sought Him for life’s answers.
Similarly, I sharply questioned my parents while growing up. After I became a parent myself, I found great value in my parents and asking them for advice and guidance.

Both were similar experiences.

I didn’t fully respect or value my parents advice, opinions, or guidance until I understood their love for me. Likewise, I didn’t value God’s authority or answers until I understood His deep love and concern for me, as well.

When you understand just how HUGE God’s love (and heart) truly is, you understand that He will NEVER allow you to go through deep heartache without having a great purpose behind it. His heart is kind…good…merciful…compassionate.

I truly hate that I wasted so much time getting to that humble spot…with God and my parents. I also truly hate that people are taught that it is an extra crispy sin to question God during their greatest life struggles.

For the record: yes, God is God. He is holy, perfect, perfectly good and 100% right all of the time. Absolutely! He doesn’t owe any of us anything…and He most certainly doesn’t owe anybody answers. Ever.

But…as the Ultimate Parent, He loves each and everyone of us so much that He welcomes the dialogue.

It is always better to have a difficult or hard conversation with God where you share with Him your questions and everything you think and feel – in a respectful way – than to harden your heart and make poor choices that will eventually lead to a hard and difficult life.

We don’t ask questions to demand answers…we ask questions to seek to understand His magnificent heart and purpose. And there is ALWAYS purpose in pain.

God can handle the big questions. He can handle the dialogue we bring to Him from the overpowering grief, hardships, and heartaches we each go through. He welcomes our messes…and the imperfect questions we have…with arms wide open.

God wants you to ask Him why your spouse committed adultery, or broke your heart, or left…or why your precious baby or child died…or why your prodigal teenager or adult child is in deep rebellion…or why your family or friends mistreated you…or why you lost your job…or why you or a loved one is going through a major or terminal illness or disability…or any other life questions you may have. He wants you to ask because He genuinely listens and cares. 

When questions are asked, the One who holds the answers can work deep within our hearts and lives. 

Whatever you are going through, God wants you to have a full head-on collision with His great heart so He can help you through your most heart wrenching, honest, authentic, toughest mess of questions.

Because when you go to Him with your questions about life…He gives you an incredible gift — He then deeply ministers to your heart and brings you healing, guidance, purpose and peace.

So go to God and ask your toughest questions. It doesn’t mean that you lack faith…it means you want to finally cross the bridge of the Cross so you can powerfully reconnect with His amazing heart to build your faith back up!

Share with God your gut-wrenching feelings, fears, and concerns. Plead with Him to intervene and work in (and through) every situation in your life.

God doesn’t roll His eyes or resent our questions or pleadings. He’s slow to anger. He welcomes us, loves us, and stands ready to embrace us in His loving compassionate arms.

Whatever you are going through in life, He truly cares. And it isn’t a flippant or fickle type of a care. He’s all in.

When you understand just how all in He is, you begin to place your burdens at His feet…onto His back…into His capable hands…sealed into His loving heart.

So go to God today. Ask Him the questions you most long to. Ask Him to reveal His purpose for any heartache or disappointment you are going through. Ask Him to turn your hardships and grief into something of great value. Seek His heart, unconditionally give Him your circumstances, and ask Him to use you and your life experiences for His glory.

He’s waiting. He loves. He cares.

So after thanking Him for His great patience, compassion, genuine concern, and unfailing love, what will your first heartfelt conversation be?

He welcomes the dialogue. He always welcomes and loves YOU!❤️

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

Kim’s blog:

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

7 Truths You Learn Through Tragedy

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

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

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

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

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

7 Truths You Learn Through Tragedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

Kim’s blog:


The Worst Day of Your Life

Everybody will eventually have the “worst day of their life”…a day where they lost someone or something that meant the entire world to them.

Most of the time, they woke up to a day they thought would be normal or usual — and then all of a sudden, without warning, the world stopped moving & time froze as they then had to experience & process the most heartbreaking day of their life.

What do you do when these days happen, when deep trials come?

You can’t go backwards — and you can only stay stagnant for so many months or years before you become deeply depressed or despondent. 

You will never ever “get over it” & you will never forget, so how do you learn how to live & fully breathe in life once again?

  1. You take one baby step forward at a time, understanding you’ll fall—and that’s totally okay.
  2. You develop compassion & mercy for yourself, knowing pressing forward will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.
  3. You lean on God and keep your eyes on Him, allowing Him to minister deeply to your broken heart through your darkest days. You realize how much God truly loves you — He’s the only one who can truly be there 24/7 and the only one who has the power to love you completely back to life.
  4. You lean on your church family, closest family and friends, or whoever else you trust to be there for you. They’ll prove to be incredibly helpful in loving you back to life. 
  5. You look for any and every evidence of HOPE. Life may be incredibly tough, sad, and even terribly unfair at the moment…but today, please know there truly is hope. When you begin to look for hope, you will find it!

You’re going to make it through this terrible time. You may not think you are, but you will. God’s strength and light in you is stronger than the heartbreaking situation of darkness you are experiencing.

When you don’t know what else to do, take one step at a time towards your Heavenly Father. He loves you and He will always catch you! He will never leave you or forsake you!

He WILL help you through your grief experience when you ask and allow Him to.

Seek His heart and help today!

You’re going to make it,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:⭐️

Making peace with God:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

FREE Grief Bites YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

Kim’s blog:


Helping The Hurting To Stay In Church

An alarming trend I have seen — and have also heard about from several pastors — is the amount of hurting people who are leaving the church.
There are many reasons why this happens, but here are a few reasons I have seen firsthand:

  1. After a person goes through grief, their church family is usually excellent at being there for them the first few weeks, but when the grief intensifies several weeks or months after the funeral, it can feel as though they have been forgotten or abandoned.
  2. After going through a hurtful or tragic situation, many do not understand how to reach out or know what to say to the hurting person. The hurting person then feels avoided and assumes they’re not important or cared about, so they leave.
  3. A griever tires of being told unhelpful cliches (“At least they’re in a better place,” “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” etc) or they may be prematurely pressured to “get on” with life, without anyone truly taking the time to help them through their grief and pain.
  4. The hurting person’s church may not have a Care Pastor who they can talk to, or their church may not offer care ministries where they can find help and encouragement, so they look for a church that does offer these things.
  5. Church staff or church members deeply wound or mistreat others or “drop the ball” in a hurtful situation.
  6. After a big grief event or loss, they find it very challenging not to cry in church, especially during worship.
  7. After going through grief or loss, they feel such a strong void and intense pain that they do not wish to  be around others.
  8. They feel they are being judged by their situation, or they feel embarrassed or self conscious about their loss.

These are just a few of the common challenges I frequently hear about why those who are hurting leave the church.

So what is the solution? What are we missing?

I believe the more we build the heart and spirit of our churches, the better we will be able to meet the needs of every member — especially when they are grieving or hurting.

People commit (and stay committed) to churches where:

  • they trust and respect the church staff and leadership. The church ideally will also have a staff member or trained volunteers who are able to take on the role of being a Care Pastor to encourage and help those who are hurting.
  • they are taught God’s Word and have continual opportunities to learn and grow in their faith.
  • they are taught how to handle grief, conflict, disappointment, and spiritual warfare from a biblical perspective.
  • they are offered the ability to attend strong care ministries, so they can be helped and encouraged during their toughest times in life. It is very helpful for those who grieve to have a place where they can be with like-minded people who “get” what they are going through in life.
  • they are taught how to become a genuine community. They truly learn how to rejoice and mourn together.
  • they feel genuinely welcomed, accepted and truly cared about
  • they understand the value of being a part of a community and learn how to help each other and build one another up — genuinely encouraging and enjoying fellowship with each other.
  • they feel they can truly “come as they are,” but are encouraged to grow…and have ample opportunities to do so.
  • they experience depth.
  • they can see the church has an overall agreed upon vision—without depth, unity, or vision, the people will perish, spiritually die, or leave during hard times.
  • they have the availability to serve and help others and they understand the importance of their role in belonging and serving others.
  • each member shows – in action – the love, mercy, character, and kindness of Christ.
  • the church staff and members are real, genuine, and authentic.
  • everybody feels like they belong.

Some more tangible ways of helping the grief community in your church are:

  1. Provide grief classes and care ministries to the bereaved
  2. Provide grief education at least biannually to every staff member so they understand how to better serve and minister to those who are hurting
  3. Partner with a trusted and respected Christian counseling center so you have a place to refer those who need extra encouragement and help. The counseling center can also refer their clients to your church’s care ministries
  4. Create a Care Card Ministry where volunteers make and send cards to those who have lost loved ones. Send those who are hurting a card once a month during the first year of their loss
  5. Create a Hospitality Ministry Team that can set up dinners for those who have lost loved ones. Ideally, this team can have volunteers “on call” who can make and deliver dinner each night (or at least every other night) for two weeks after a church member has lost a loved one. This team can also coordinate providing a lunch or dinner to the hurting family on the day of the funeral at the church or funeral home
  6. Host an annual grief conference at your church and extend an invitation to your entire city to attend. At the conference, have a table set up with information about your various care ministries. Also have flyers available that share details about your care ministries and the days and times they meet
  7. Be sure to share with your congregation info about the care ministries you choose to offer. Also, there are many free Bible Reading Plans on grief, trials, and hardships on the YouVersion Bible App. Find quality resources and encourage your members to get involved
  8. Take the time to truly care. Invite someone who is hurting out for coffee or ice cream. Listen to them and be there for them in their time of need. Be a good friend to them. When helping someone who is hurting, ask yourself, “if I (or a family member) was in their position, how would I want for someone to reach out to or be there for us?”
  9. If you know you have personally hurt, offended, mistreated, or wounded someone…or improperly handled a situation (past or present), have the integrity to reach out to that person and apologize
  10. If you notice someone who has been active in your church no longer attends, contact them to see how they’re doing and tell them they’re missed

I hope you found this article helpful. I pray that each of your churches are blessed beyond measure as you minister to and help the hurting! All you do for the grief community matters and is so appreciated so thank you for all you do!

Gratitude and many blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays

5. Singing Through The Storm:

Kim’s blog:


10 Daily Truths

We each have an incredible ability to overcome obstacles in life. Overcoming relationship obstacles and life difficulties is a privilege…but to do so, we each have to face, understand, and own 10 daily truths:

1. Nobody has life figured out- Life is a work in progress. Every day is a unique opportunity to learn and improve.

2. Everybody makes mistakes- Everybody does something at some point that they wish they hadn’t done. Be the mercy today to others that you will want to receive tomorrow.

3. Everyone has been deeply hurt or betrayed…and everyone has deeply hurt or betrayed another person- Two of the most powerful words you can say is, “I’m sorry.” What would the world look like today if everybody took responsibility for the hurts they personally caused? Who do you need to apologize to today? 

4. Nobody is perfect…There’s no such thing as the perfect person, marriage, child, friend, or family- Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time. Everybody is equal. The people who appear to have it “all together” go through hardships, conflicts, triumphs, failures, etc. Some may have worked very hard to get to where they are at in life…and the same opportunities are available to everyone. Life is never perfect all the time…but it can be made better at all times. Life — up to this point — has been written in permanent ink, but God so mercifully offers each of us a fresh clean slate every single day to write on. You may have experienced the worst chapter of your life, but God truly can help you to write and create the best life possible when you ask Him to write the rest of your life story.

5. Everybody has had negative thoughts or talked bad about another family member, friend, fellow church member, neighbor, or co-worker at some point in their life…everybody- There’s always one person who thinks this isn’t true about them. All anyone has to think of is a typical holiday or a conflict they experienced. We are all fallible.

But…Anyone can make the choice today to:

6. Become the best possible person they are capable of- Today is the first day of the rest of your life! You have the amazing opportunity to choose each and every day what kind of person you’re going to be. You have the ability to choose to pursue a great life and success. You get the privilege of creating your best life every single waking moment. There’s only two relationships you are guaranteed to have…God and yourself. Spend time each day cultivating & improving both!

7. Learn new ways of navigating through relationships, grief, & life and to be thoughtful & PROACTIVE in preventing hurts & mistakes- We are so incredibly blessed to have so much information right at our fingertips! At any moment, we have the incredible opportunity to open a Bible (especially Proverbs) and read loving advice from our Heavenly Father. What a gift! The Internet also provides a full Bible you can read, and also contains many Christian websites that have a wealth of information and sermons for improving every facet of life. Utilize both! My favorites for sermons are and — there are so many others though. Many local churches offer online sermons so check your church to see if they have any available. 

8. Choose to be a loyal, kind, thoughtful, productive, successful & compassionate person- Living a life where you improve your character and heart is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. It literally will improve every area of your life.

9. Choose to be the best parent, spouse, family member, & friend you personally can be…and seek out the right counsel/info/tools to ensure success- Again, what a treasure trove we have available to help us improve every relationship we have! We have trusted pastors we can talk to, family members and friends we can bounce ideas off of, counselors, books, etc. The internet also has so many fantastic articles and ideas for creating great relationships — and also has apps (like YouVersion) that have devotionals that are specifically for strengthening the relationships God is so good to bless us with. Life can really be painful. Loss and deep grief happen but God truly can use people and resources to help you get your breath back that life has knocked out of you. I do my best daily to live life to the fullest in honor of my loved ones who are still remaining & also in memory of my loved ones who no longer can.

10. Develop loyalty, empathy, communication, respect, honor, & genuine love for everyone God has placed in your life- Once people know better, they then have the ability to do better. Without developing good character, though, changes can be difficult to maintain. Character is like a muscle— you must use it everyday to keep up its strength. So choose each day — with God’s help — to develop the character, heart, relationships, and life you want. With God, all things are possible and all things are made beautiful!

Nobody is perfect so everybody deserves kindness & basic respect. There’s so much more to each of us than meets the eye.

Everybody is truly capable of GREAT things!

Be the best YOU that you can be and choose to treat others how you wish to be treated…it’ll most likely bring out the best in everyone around you!

Here’s to living the best life possible,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Kim’s blog:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

Comparing Life, Grief, & Loss

When my sister and I founded Grief Bites, and started our grief group, classes, and seminars, I don’t think either of us could have possibly been prepared for all we would see and hear.

With grief, people are at their rawest and most vulnerable. Tensions and emotions run very high and sometimes that has led to some colorful dialogue — especially in the setting of a grief group.

Anyone who has been going through grief for awhile knows and deeply understands that each grief experience is unique to the one who is going through it…you just can’t compare grief experiences…and grief is just plain messy.

Anyone who has attended an authentic grief group has definitely seen and heard it all. 

Grief group participants will see people deeply heartbroken over a loved one’s death, as well as family members who celebrate the death of a loved one…especially if their loved one was suffering.

Some people deeply mourn the fact they had chosen to get married, and then there are singles who greatly wish to be married.

One couple, who seemed as though they had it all together and were deeply in love shared that they had grown in their love only after adultery had nearly destroyed their marriage…the marriage they were now enjoying was the result of many, many tears and a lot of hard work.

Looks can be deceiving when we make blind assumptions. And it can be easy to compare life and grief experiences. If we knew the facts about each other’s lives, we’d be more grateful we are living the one we are living.

I’ve listened to parents who were deeply hurting due to being severely mistreated by multiple children….as well as parents who were devastated they could only have one child…and others who would absolutely trade everything they own to have the ability to have a baby.

One time, I had two separate families tell me they were jealous of each other during grief group: one person (who had five children) was jealous that the other family frequently went on vacations since they are childless…and then the other family (who could go on multiple vacations) revealed that they travel to escape the pain of not having the big family they had always dreamed of. Each family had heartaches and each received a different blessing from God: one received children and the other, money.

The fact is, everybody is either:

  • coming out of a grief experience 
  • in the middle of grief experience
  • about to enter into a grief experience

We all have:

  • shining moments in life
  • fantastic memories
  • “behind the scenes” heartaches
  • major failures 
  • great accomplishments
  • grief experiences nobody knows about
  • blessings others may not have

It doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves to others, or compare our grief experiences or heartaches.

We are all different and our grief experiences — and blessings — are unique to each of us…even if we all go through similar ups and downs in life.

Each and every person who is going through a grief experience could present their case as to why their grief is greater, but wouldn’t it make more sense if we all simply chose to encourage and be there for one another? The greater the love, the greater the grief, and the more people encourage and empathize with one another, the more people have the ability to heal.

In His amazingly great wisdom, God said it best when He summed it all up:

Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”

Once we understand that everybody is going through an uphill battle — or will be going through an uphill battle, it becomes so much easier to be a vessel of encouragement, love, and hope to everybody around us.

Nobody has a perfect life…and nobody has it “all together” or has everything figured out.

We’re all just kind of winging it and doing the very best we each can. Amen?

Continually learn as much as you can through each grief experience, gain wisdom and perspective with each teardrop, and never fall into comparing yourself with others and never compare your grief experiences or life.

We are all human and we each will process life, love, blessings, and grief differently. And that is totally okay! 

Don’t judge others in life or grief…and do not fall into allowing others to judge your life or your grief.

It’s what we each choose to do with all of our blessings, our life and grief experiences that truly matters. Never waste any of these precious life experiences and learning experiences.

All have a deep purpose!

Gratitude, blessings, & healing,

©2016 by Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️Making peace with God:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:

“You’re SO bitter!” ~what to say & NOT say to someone going through a tough time

I frequently have people share with me, “I’m going through a tough situation and I’m not bitter…I’m just very hurt.

If you’ve ever gone through a tough situation, then you “get it” and know exactly what I’m talking about. You understand the difference between being deeply wounded vs. being bitter.

Everybody at some point will go through an extremely trying event in life that will threaten to leave them very bitter.

I’ve been through times like this and they are not fun…not at all. These times can be extremely tough to get through. The last one I went through took me quite awhile to process and thoroughly forgive.

I don’t understand why, but times like this usually bring people to the surface who compound your grief.

Usually, someone will callously say to a wounded person, “You sure are bitter“…or they will piously say “Have you considered your need to forgive?”…or some other hurtful cliché that seems oh-so-right to the one making the comment, but causes much deeper pain to the person who is already going through – and trying to process – forgiveness and grief.

When you (or a loved one) goes through a really bad situation, it can leave you:

deeply hurt or offended

•frustrated or devastated by people in the situation

•angry at any injustice that took place

•truly disappointed in many people’s actions or reactions – and if we’re being real here, it can leave you disgusted by people’s lack of action and compassion

When I’ve been through times like this, I was able to initially forgive as an act of my will out of obedience…but my heart, well, that was another matter. That can truly take self-work depending on how bad the situation is.

There are also many variables. Variables such as:

what other people are involved?

•are they willing to do the “right thing”?

•is everybody involved willing to work out the situation in an honorable way?

•can there be closure…or will the situation have no resolution?

•if major loss occurred, are people willing to make restitution or set things right?

There are so many variables that will ultimately be a guide for a timeline of healing to take place.

Being bitter and being wounded are not the same thing…and sometimes, people need time to process tough situations, come to terms with how they (or a loved one) were wronged or treated, and then they will need the opportunity — and time — to grow through the situation, and process their loss, so they are able to genuinely forgive the people involved who were hurtful or offensive.

They may even go through a time of questioning God or His goodness depending on how devastating or impactful the grief experience has been on them.

Respect their grief and love them.

They need time to come to a place of true forgiveness and peace.

Consider this: if a house burns down, you don’t instantly get a new house the very next day or week. You more than likely will only be able to thoroughly rebuild a house within 6-12 months time. You then will begin the process of refurnishing the new home.

Even if you were given a brand new house, you still will go through a period of time where you will mourn the loss of the original house…and will even have periodic reminders of all that was lost.

When you go through great loss…whether it’s the loss of a person, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a romantic relationship or friendship, the loss of your health or a job, a wounding situation, a situation of adultery or betrayal, or any other situation of significant loss…it takes time to get through it. It takes time to rid yourself of negative thoughts and emotions and refurnish your spirit, heart and mind with forgiveness, positivity, and peace.

That’s not being bitter – that’s processing heartache or deep disappointment and being NORMAL.

Grief is not a cookie cutter, clean-cut event with crisp, clear lines. Each person will respond differently and each will process the grief event very differently…even if it is the exact same grief event.

The greater the love, the greater the grief…and the greater the love, sacrifice, or investment, the longer it will take to process grief.

If you permanently sit down, quit, and allow the situation to thoroughly destroy you, then, yes, bitterness can overtake your heart. Most people do go through a period of time where they initially feel deeply hurt or defeated…absolutely…but they will eventually start to work through and process the pain from the situation and experience genuine growth.

It takes time.

So before harshly judging someone who has been through (or is going through) a life-altering event or super tough time, please consider the effect that words, thoughts, and actions can have towards the one who is in deep pain.

So what can you say or do?

Don’t say:

you are so bitter

•you need to immediately forgive

•aren’t you over it yet??

•why do you keep talking about it?

Do say:

how can I help?

•I am here for you

•I’m sorry you are hurting so badly

•I imagine you are very hurt


ignore, avoid, or abandon the person 

•become irritated

•stop being there for them

•act rude or ugly towards them

•pass judgement on them

•be holier-than-thou 

piously or unthinkingly force scripture onto them…use extreme wisdom and make sure it truly reflects God’s love for them


•genuinely and frequently pray for them

•encourage them to work through the situation with God (only say this if you are invested in them and you are close to them)

•be there for them

•allow them to vent

•”put” yourself in their situation and develop true empathy for them — consider how you would feel if you were going through what they’re painfullygoing through

I hope these tips help and encourage everybody to truly be there for their family and friends who are processing deep hurt or grief.

Remember: a person going through a major grief event is truly not trying to be difficult, sulky, or a pain, they’ve had their entire world ripped apart and are desperately trying to process their pain so they can begin to rebuild their life. Grant them the compassion, unconditional love, mercy, and freedom they need so they can genuinely do so — free from judgment, guilt, and further complications or hardship.

When you truly invest in, encourage, and unconditionally love others, you are most like Christ than any other time.

When in doubt, always ask yourself, “how would God want me to love, minister to, and treat them?”

As you help others, be the love and compassion today that you would want to receive in the future when you go through a super tough time.

Ultimately, if you are the one who is hurting today, go to God and seek His help. He knows every detail of what you are going through…and He holds the exact encouragement, help, and solutions you need to successfully make it through to a place of peace.

Gratitude & many blessings,

©2016 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page to receive daily encouragement:

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships:

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed:

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: