Tag Archive | God

The Yo-Yo of Grief & Holidays

Most grievers go through…and understand…the yo-yo cycles of grief.

You dread the holidays…then you desperately want to have the ability to enjoy the holidays…then you agonize about the holidays…then you go through a period of time where you just wish holidays could be normal again…and then you may feel guilty when you do enjoy the holidays…then you feel weird…then come to peace about it…and the grief cycle can spin you again out of nowhere…and so on…and so on…and so on.

The thing about grief: nobody who is going through grief signed up for it.

The harsh emotional turmoil.

The guilt.

The regrets.

The crazy emotions.

Nobody in their right mind would even wish it on their most annoying enemy. I know I wouldn’t.

My holiday yo-yo began several years ago…and I sure have learned a lot about God, grief, life, family, friends, and overcoming grief ever since.

Several years ago, my 22 year old sister died on Thanksgiving Day.

It shouldn’t have happened…she had everything going for her: she was married and she was a mom to three beautiful children who she loved with all of her heart. She adored and enjoyed being a mom so much that she was trying to have another baby. An amazing pianist, she had taken piano lessons at a university since elementary school since no teachers in our area could keep up with her talent. An accomplished baker, she and I had been going to several baking and candy workshops since we were in the process of opening our very own bakery and chocolatier…that way we could always have a flexible schedule and have our kiddos with us. She had everything in the world going for her.

But then she got sick. Really, really sick. Really, really fast.

That Fall, we were all on vacation having the time of our lives…a month later, she began to have allergy-like symptoms, and then within a few weeks of feeling ill, she suddenly and unexpectedly died of Wegener’s Granulomatosis (GPA) – a very rare autoimmune disease that was only named in 1939.

Thanksgiving has never been the same since…and believe me, I have really tried.

I’ve tried vacationing during Thanksgiving to get my mind off of it – to no avail. Then I tried going on a Disney vacation…the happiest place on earth…and during that trip, I had to go to the Urgent Center since I was so sick. In fact, the first several years after my sister’s death, I’d wake up every year around 4am and become violently ill. There has never been a Thanksgiving since that I haven’t gotten sick or felt major anxiety.

The last Thanksgiving morning she was alive, she had her nurse call us around 4am and ask us to immediately come to the hospital to be with her. We threw our clothes on and got there…only to be blocked from seeing her by her medical team.

Then the Code Blue came…and they revived her. And then the final Code Blue came…and she was gone.

I guess my body remembers the 4am time – and that whole morning – because every year since, I have become extremely ill or anxious each Thanksgiving from 4am-10am.

Frustrated by Thanksgiving, I finally found a way to cope. For years, I have put all of my Christmas decorations up by November 1, so I could just go straight into the Christmas season.

I still celebrate Thanksgiving with my family…and I am extremely thankful for God, my family and friends, and all of life’s blessings…but this has helped me to not focus on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Although I am super thankful for life, loved ones, and every blessing God lovingly grants me – and although I put on a happy face for the sake of my remaining loved ones…mostly my sweet mom and the kiddos in my life – I just don’t like Thanksgiving.

In October, and up until this week, I was actually looking forward to Thanksgiving…it’s the very first year that I have actually looked forward to it.

I haven’t put up one Christmas tree, ornament, or decoration yet.

I was still feeling anxiety about Thanksgiving, but I was super grateful for the progress of my grief. And it felt good to not experience the yo-yo of grief the last six weeks – especially from all the years I tried so desperately to run away from the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

I’ve spent many years going back and forth trying to make my heart feel something it just didn’t feel.

I think most grievers understand what I’m talking about…especially if they’ve experienced a holiday death. But it’s not just the death of a loved one…it could also be loss of any kind.

But then this week, all of the feelings of dread are starting to creep back.

So the yo-yo is apparently still strong.

I always try to be very transparent in my grief so I can help and encourage others.

I hope this blog post doesn’t come across as whining. I truly hope it helps someone to know they’re not alone in their grief.

Here’s my advice for getting through the Yo-Yo of grief:

  1. Seek God’s heart. It is truly amazing the amount of comfort and love God will shower onto those who love Him! Making God my closest and most treasured Friend has made all the difference in the world! Even during times when I don’t think a grief situation is fair, He patiently and lovingly always directs me in the right way. I can’t stress this enough…when you feel like you don’t want to trust His plan, always trust His great heart! Fight for your relationship with God…never give up on the true Treasure of His Friendship!
  2. Be true to your grief. Don’t force yourself to feel anything that isn’t authentic. If you feel sad, honor that sadness. If you feel fine, don’t feel guilty for having a good holiday…it doesn’t mean you love someone less. Good days & good holidays are truly a gift…embrace them when they come!
  3. Share with your family and friends where you are at in your grief…and don’t be ashamed of your grief. Don’t assume they should know or that they should instantly understand…take the time to share your heart.
  4. Don’t make family or close friends be mind readers. Tell them what you need so you will have the ability and support you need to get through the day.
  5. Do only what you feel you can truly do. It’s totally okay to have a relaxed holiday. If you’ve lost someone very close to you, it can take awhile to find a “new normal” for life and holidays…and sometimes the “new normal” you found can suddenly change and need readjusting. It’s okay not to always be okay…and that is totally FINE!! Be gentle with your heart!
  6. Light a memory candle in honor of your loved one…or do something special to “include” their memory. I have found that lighting a memory candle is a very special way of including my loved ones – it’s a beautiful way of saying, “I love you…I miss you…I will never forget you…I sure wish you were here!”
  7. NEVER apologize for your grief. If other people are uncomfortable with you honoring your grief or loved one, well tough. Lovingly remind them that you didn’t sign up for your grief experience…you’re doing what you need to do to get through it. So they’re frustrated? Kindly remind them that you’re frustrated too. Losing a loved one is the highest price you pay for loving someone…just because a loved one dies, your love doesn’t die too. People sometimes forget that.❤️
  8. Be careful to not create future guilt or regrets. I love the quote, “Even though I am grieving, the clock is still ticking, and that’s why I keep living purposefully.” I take the time to truly honor my grief, but I also make a very purposeful choice to celebrate and extravagantly love my remaining loved ones. Just like my sister suddenly died, I realize that is a possibility for everyone else I know too…so I make sure not to isolate myself and I choose to make the most of Thanksgiving and other holidays. I’m very authentic about my grief, I honor my grief…but I also honor my loved ones who are here as well.

This Thanksgiving, I am praying for all of the Grief Bites Family! May you highly treasure God, enjoy your remaining loved ones, and honor & remember your treasured loved ones who are no longer on earth.

Wishing all of you a very peaceful, special, joy-filled, and loving Thanksgiving Day!!

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2017 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617

❤️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

❤️

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One Of The Best Decisions I’ve Ever Made

All throughout life, we each will make a series of choices.

Some choices will turn out to be very beneficial; others will prove to be liabilities. 

We can truly learn through all choices – the good and the bad. And when we learn or experience something in life – especially the great things, why not pass it on to help others?

My favorite choices in life, are the ones I can look back on and be exceptionally happy I made them count.

As I was talking to a dear friend this week, she asked me what three choices – other than becoming a Christian, wife, or mom – have made the greatest impact in my life.

I immediately thought of several, but one stood out the most…the decision to buy a notebook and use it to create, and continually update, a Bucket List.

A Bucket List has helped me to be much more intentional in living life…both short term and long term.

There are many places I’ve traveled that I most likely never would have traveled to, many goals I’ve reached that could’ve gotten lost in the shuffle of life, and many activities and traditions I’ve enjoyed with my husband, the kiddos, and my family and friends — all because I wrote these things down and purposely made them a reality — especially if I gave myself a deadline to complete them.

Do I meet every goal, destination, and activity’s deadline all of the time? Nah…and I don’t beat myself up when I don’t. But I do meet about 80-90% of them…which is much better than the 0-25% I’d meet if I weren’t intentional about it. And on some things, I’ll extend the deadline so I can accomplish them at a later date, so there’s never any stress with my Bucket List.

I love my Bucket List! It’s purpose-filled and fun! I enjoy dreaming, setting goals, planning fun activities, and looking forward to different travels. 

There have been many times that my Bucket List has provided much joy, and it also has helped me stay focused through times of deep grief.

So how do you start a Bucket List?

  1. Buy a notebook or create a file on your computer/cell phone/iPad. There are also some Bucket List apps.
  2. Ask yourself what activities or traditions (old or new) you’d like to enjoy with family or friends 
  3. Think about what you intentionally want to do in life 
  4. Consider places you’d like to travel
  5. Ask God what spiritual goals He’d like for you to put on your Bucket List
  6. What educational or career goals would you like to pursue and accomplish 
  7. Are there areas of self-improvement you’d like to make
  8. What bad habits would you like to overcome
  9. What positive life goals or dreams would you like to fulfill
  10. What financial goals would you like to work on
  11. What relationships would you like to improve or honor/enjoy more
  12. What family and friends do you want to make sure feel extraordinarily loved, encouraged, and appreciated
  13. What ministry do you want to start or become involved in
  14. How can you make God and His love & kindness more known in the world
  15. What activities/hobbies are you passionate about…or what new activities/hobbies do you want to start, try, or perfect

These tips can help you start brainstorming your way to living your life to the fullest! 

Truly think about the kind of life you want. 

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about going on a Mediterranean cruise, or traveling to Hawaii or Disney World with family. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go skiing over Thanksgiving or to the beach at Christmastime. Or do a road trip in the Fall to see the gorgeous leaves in New England.

Maybe you’ve dreamed of going back to school to get a higher degree.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or cook…or do tae kwon do or adult league soccer. Maybe get into bodybuilding or running.

Maybe you want to be a better spouse…parent…sibling…family member…friend. 

Make your Bucket List your very own. Create individualized goals/plans and also include God and family in your plans. Have the best time creating a beautiful life – the kind of life you wake up in the morning and truly want. A life you are really excited to live each and every day! 

A Bucket List has helped me tremendously throughout my life. It truly is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made! 

It helps anyone who has a Bucket List to be very intentional. And it’s great to look back and see how much you were able to enjoy, plan, do, and accomplish – and especially help others, too!

What’s the first thing you’ll write in your Bucket List? Be sure to periodically highlight or put a check next to each item you’ve accomplished, enjoyed, or successfully completed.

At the end of your life, you’ll be extra thankful you took the time to create a Bucket List…and look back and see the wonderful, beautiful life you intentionally created for you and your loved ones!

Happy Bucket Listing!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2017 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

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

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

❤️Kim’s 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

Lessons From My Furry Lil Friends

It’s incredible what you can learn from pets.

I’ve learned many life lessons just from watching and interacting with our family’s dogs everyday.

Our family has two large dogs — one is sweet and loves everyone he’s ever met…the other one – eh, not so much. He actually hates everyone except for our family. He pouts when he has to be around others. Literally, he pouts for days!

Our family loves animals and pets! We absolutely adore our furry lil friends. 

Our current dogs are extra special to us because we got each of them during times of great grief. We got one of them several years ago when he was nine weeks old, and our other dog was a three week old rescue who we’ve had for almost two years.

Our first dog makes Marley (from the movie Marley & Me) look like an angel. This particular dog cost us over $10,000 the first three months we had him. He dug up our Sentricon system and cable lines, destroyed all of our windows, chewed the legs on the kitchen table, ate the cushions and armrests off of a sofa and then “marked” it, chewed the legs off of all the outside patio furniture, chewed up some carpet and a TV controller, among other things.

He’s very lucky he is so cute and we love him!

I credit God with using our second dog to “bring us back to life” after going through a major grief experience. Our son asked for a puppy for Christmas, and I thought it would be really great for him to have a companion so I said yes.

When we got him, he was supposed to have been a Great Dane but through DNA testing, we found he has absolutely no Great Dane in him at all. He was also very abused before we rescued him so we had surprises we weren’t prepared to handle…mainly, he isn’t a fan of people because he doesn’t trust anyone except for us…so he’s had to go to lots of dog training classes.

As we helped heal his wounds (physical and emotional), he has been the best dog we have ever owned. He’s also the biggest cuddler of any dog we’ve had. He thinks he’s a lap dog…and he weighs almost 100 lbs!

Both of our lil lovebugs are currently training with a military/police dog trainer. As I was watching the training taking place, it reminded me so much about grief and how to process grief.

It’s crazy how much dog training is similar to how God molds and trains us.

The first time our dogs went, they were unsure about everything. They were extremely cautious and weren’t too thrilled about being outside in the heat. The trainer said I was our dogs greatest problem since I baby our dogs so much — he said he was going to have to re-train me first so he could effectively train our dogs. I had to learn how to undo so many of my bad habits and learn new strategies, habits, and lessons so our dogs would understand the pack order in our home.

The dogs were not very impressed at first…especially our pouty dog…but then the strangest thing happened: both dogs began to be so much better behaved and much happier. Some of the issues we previously had began to melt away.

Our second dog who doesn’t like anyone was introduced to five German Shepherds and a Doberman, as well as their owners…and our dog actually socialized with them. No growling. No pouting. He just blended in. One of the owners commented on how it looked like our dog was smiling.

I think it’s a lot like God. He knows what’s best for us but so many times, we try to do our own thing…and even continue to do things the wrong way even though it’s not best. Then God allows a season of pruning or hardship, and we begin to be uncomfortable in the heat and not very thrilled about our circumstances. If we are wise, we finally realize that God is wanting us to learn new lessons by training us so we can learn how to live life in a brand new way…a better and more productive way. A much happier way. Ultimately, both dogs had to swallow their pride and willfulness and go through great discomfort so they could learn to hear my voice. They learned to fully trust and obey me. They know I have their best interests at heart.

The best thing about God is He transforms us into new creations. And just like they were wrong about our second dog’s DNA, and lied to us, realize you may have been told wrong info about yourself, too.

You may have been told your whole life that you won’t amount to anything…that you’re not important or special…you may have been abused or labeled in some way. But then God rescues you, gives you brand new spiritual DNA info and you find that what you were previously told is not the truth. God adopts you, makes you His very own and loves you back to life! He allows you to go through specialized training so you can have more joy…more hope…more stability. Through His love and concern for you, He brings you back to life by healing you spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

It may feel as though life is shaken up at the present moment, but as you depend on God and trust Him fully, He trains your heart to truly feel loved, secure, and at peace.

Today, realize how much God loves you! He’s committed to helping you find your life purpose — and it’s a fantastic one!

Matthew 11:29-30,Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Make the commitment to learn from God and allow Him to rescue you. Allow Him to train and teach you new things.

Being rescued by Him and then being trained in life-giving righteousness is the BEST! That’s when true life genuinely begins! 

Learn to trust and obey Him. Train yourself to hear and listen to His voice by reading His Word in the Bible. Realize He truly has your best interests at heart!

Snuggle up to God today…He’s faithful to help you create a brand new life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17,All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

1 Timothy 4:7-8, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Hebrews 5:11-14, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles of Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then there was me.

No musical talent whatsoever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️

Delighting in God Through Trials~Part 2

Everybody will go through trials during their lifetime. Some will go through one or two, while others will go through multiple trials and hardships. 

Nobody enjoys going through trials. They’re uncomfortable, heart wrenching, and they’re even confusing, frustrating, and depressing at times.

Like a roller coaster you can’t choose to get off of, there’s intense ups, downs, twists, and turns throughout a trial or grief experience…and just when you think you’re about to go on a smoother track, life can suddenly send you going upside down or spiraling downward without any warning. 

When you become weary of the trial or grief experience you are facing, you can become depressed, anxious, discouraged, and feel isolated. When you really get tired of the trial or grief experience, you can begin to resent God or become upset with Him for not rescuing you from your trial quick enough.

Something I have found in the past — and I continue to learn — is God has a very unique timetable for each trial we go through in life. You can’t go over it, around it, under it, or above it…you can only go through it. 

So what do you do when you’re hurting and terribly disappointed by life? 

Some prematurely quit, sit down in the middle of their grief and unknowingly create a lifetime of continual hardships. Stuck. Stagnant. Very little hope.

Some grow greatly bitter and turn their backs on God or other key relationships. They turn their backs on the only One who has the power to get them through (and out of) their storms, and who has the power to use their life message to help others later on.

I think a lot of times, the trials we go through in life are thrown at us by the enemy because he knows we will become distracted by them. When we’re terribly distracted, it cuts off a significant amount of the communication and deep friendship we should be enjoying with God and other loved ones. This can also tempt us to think, behave, and believe differently than we normally would. 

There’s a better way.

When we make the decision to love God no matter what, and truly love and delight in Him through the trials we face, that’s where breakthroughs happen…even miracles.

It’s too easy to become resentful, discouraged, or bitter. Lots of people simply give up…and the enemy counts on that happening! 

You may not have the power to change the past or your present situation…but you do have the power to cooperate with God so He can bring good out of your trials or grief experience.

If you feel tempted to give up today, don’t. Like I said, there’s a better way. Today, I challenge everyone to stop primarily focusing on the trials and ongoing hardships they are going through (as much as possible)…and instead, use that time to turn your focus onto delighting in God and loving Him.

Your unfaithful mate or unkind family member? God’s capable of changing their heart. Ezekiel 36:26, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

Your rebellious or prodigal child or family member? God has the power to change the course of their life and direct their very steps…Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬, “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.”

Your illness? God has the power to heal you. He can cause great good to come from it…John 11:4, “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Your heartbreaking losses in life? God can restore your heart and bring intense healing! He can give you a double blessing! Job‬ ‭42:10, 12‬, “Then, after Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had had before…The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first…”

EVERY problem or heartache we face, God has the incredible, miraculous, and powerful ability to intervene and create a strong message out of our hardships…even if our trials aren’t worked out the way we wanted them to be.

Got a mess? God can turn it into a message. Got a test? He can turn it into a dynamic testimony. Got scars? He can turn them into bright stars so others can find their way to Him through you. God can turn victims into victors…He can turn your trials into triumphs…and He can turn your pain into a pulpit that reaches many! Never doubt the incredible power and purposes of God!

So instead of becoming upset with God, sitting down or stopping halfway through the trial, or becoming angry or bitter…get angry at the one who truly caused your pain…the enemy. 

It’s interesting how we are tempted to succumb to the enemy’s prompting to be upset with God. The enemy knows if we become upset with God or become bitter, we will cut off our communication with God, harm our relationships with others, and possibly not fulfill our life purpose. We’ll also fail to learn the rich lessons we can learn through trials...and miss the treasure God has for us after we come out of the trial. 

Consider this: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family (of believers all over the world) is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-11‬)

No matter what’s happened…no matter how terribly you’ve responded to your trials…God is waiting with open arms right now to love you extravagantly, heal your heart, and help you through your heartache. God isn’t being mean, picking on you, or playing games with you; He loves you and already knows exactly how He is going to bring you through your trial and even use your trial to help others!

Instead of turning from God or being upset with Him, choose — from this day forward — to go out of your way to delight in Him. There truly is great treasure when you choose to love, serve, and delight in God through life’s trials and storms. 

Are you needing an example of how to accomplish this? If you’re in the middle of a trial, I encourage you to take the time to read Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. David, Solomon, and Job are all excellent to learn from on how to love, delight in, and serve God through life and also through terrible hardships.

Always realize this: God will never leave you or fail you through a storm. Trust Him with all your heart, extravagantly love Him, delight in Him, and know that He truly is on your side! He will guide and direct you to better paths!

How can you delight in God starting this week? Talk to God and seek to find in the Bible all the ways He likes to be delighted in. My next blog post will be my favorite ways to delight in Him!

Never forget how much God loves you and how greatly He treasures you!

One last thing I’d like to share…an incredible quote from Joni Eareckson-Tada who became paralyzed from a diving accident many years ago and recently went through stage 3 breast cancer: When people see us smile, in the midst of chronic pain, cancer, quadriplegia, whatever, they will look at us and think: ‘Her God must be pretty great to inspire that kind of loyalty. I think that’s amazing that she can smile in the midst of her affliction. I want what she has. I need her joy.’ Oh, what a rich testimony that is!” 

Amen! The only way any trial, loss, frustration, illness, trauma, grief, or heartache can win in our lives is if we fail to cherish and delight in God through it. Our victory is in and through Him! God is the way to get through our toughest trials. Delighting in Him is an honor!

Psalms‬ ‭37:3-6‬, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.”

Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 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

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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

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

❤️

‭‭

Mourning Those Who Are Still Alive: 10 Ways To Weather The Storm

Most grief recovery efforts naturally include helping grievers to mourn loved ones who have died…but what if the person you are mourning is still alive?

To have once enjoyed a good, solid, rich relationship with a loved one—and then no longer have a good relationship (or to then have a drastically changed relationship)—this terribly and horribly breaks a heart in a very unique, painful way. 

When drastic change occurs, or a difficult situation or relationship develops, it can cause excruciating heartache, loss, and sadness. It truly can feel as though someone you deeply love has died, and you are forced to go through a silent funeral inside of your heart every single day. 

There are many reasons why this can happen:

  • Spouses commit adultery or files for divorce or a significant other leaves or betrays you
  • Children react to parents due to divorce or co-parenting challenges…sometimes parents react back
  • Children react to an adulterous affair a parent has had or children react to how the affair victim/parent handled an affair
  • A loved one battles debilitating mental illness or a loved one goes through the longterm effects of a brain injury and these circumstances completely change the dynamics of the relationship
  • Parents react to children and children react to parents on “life” issues or spiritual issues
  • A parent, step parent, or other family member pits a child, parent, step parent or other family member against each other
  • Custody or visitation issues, foster care issues, or family conflicts cause deep heartache or even estrangement
  • Spouses return home deeply wounded emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally from serving in the military…or spouses betray the spouse who is away serving
  • A spouse, child, or family member goes through a medical challenge, or deep grief, or another terrible life event or life challenge and they drastically change or become a completely different person
  • Parents abandon their children, and children rebel against or abandon their parents
  • Siblings, or other family members, change and are no longer close
  • A sibling, parent, child or other family member marries someone who isn’t respectful of sibling/parent/child/family relationships…so to avoid arguing with their romantic partner, they choose to “keep the peace,” and choose their significant other over longterm relationships 
  • A family member battles addiction—or another stronghold or wrong thinking—and you can’t get through to them
  • Relationship issues majorly change a relationship due to mistreating or reacting to one another
  • An adult child can enter into a romantic relationship (or marriage) where their significant other turns them against their parents or family
  • Friendships heartbreakingly dissolve
  • Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse issues create hardships and heartache
  • A family relationship, friendship, or church relationship dissolves due to a betrayal, a lack of understanding, conflict, or deep hurts
  • Bitterness and an unwillingness to forgive or work on the relationship takes root
  • Some sever ties to “make a point” or to intentionally inflict heartache in reaction to their own pride or pain
  • Ultimately, a lack of respect, lack of genuine love, and a lack of honor wrecks relationships 
  • Lots and lots of other reasons

Anytime a relationship changes for the worse, abruptly changes, or becomes fractured or shattered, it is very, very painful. And many times, the result is to feel helpless, as though you have runout of options.

When this happens, what can you do?

  1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God and ask for Him to intervene in the relationship and situation.
  2. Possibly prepare for God to ask you to make a change or to do something uncomfortable.
  3. As much as depends on you, apologize and ask for forgiveness for your part…knowing that the other person may never humble their self by apologizing back to you.
  4. Place your loved one and the entire situation in God’s Hands….and take your hands off (and out of) the situation. Realize God can do more in one SECOND than you could ever hope to do in an entire LIFETIME.
  5. KEEP YOUR NOSE CLEAN…meaning, do the right thing and choose to show genuine love no matter what. Take the higher ground. Be completely loving, Christ-like, and kind. Close your mouth (this can be very hard to do!) and do your God-given responsibilities. This will be extremely hard, but remember that God’s got this! He needs for you to reflect His character, love, and glory. It will be very helpful to memorize and recite these scriptures when you’re tempted to put your hands back in the situation or times you’re tempted to not keep your nose clean: Exodus 14:14, Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Samuel 17:47, Psalm 34:18. This does NOT mean be a doormat, but for God to accomplish His greatest work, it’s very important to get out of God’s way and to obey God.
  6. Have faith and fully expect God to work in the situation. It may or may not be how you had in mind, but God will definitely be working in the situation (and working out the best outcome) as you genuinely trust in Him to do so.
  7. Ask God to provide you with a strong, loving support system: trusted family, trusted friends, trusted pastors/counselors, trusted support groups/biblical community…keyword here is TRUSTED. To get through the toughest times in life, a strong support system is vital. Accountability partners are also very important.
  8. Work on yourself and do your own self-work with the Lord’s help. Consider your individual relationship with the Lord, your joy and life purpose apart from the situation, consider your part in the situation, look soberly at your own faults and possible blind spots both in and out of the situation, and seek to improve yourself as you love and serve God to the fullest as you wait on Him. (Psalm 46:10, Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 6:33-34, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  9. Delight in God (Psalm 37:4). When we go through hardships, it becomes easy to become impatient, worry, or even become fearful or bitter. God has a better way! Delight yourself in God, learn to trust and lean on Him, and extravagantly love Him as He carries you through your grief and the storm you are in the middle of. He knows your heart, loves your heart (and knows and loves your loved one’s heart!), and no matter what happens in your situation, He will carry you, heal your broken heart, and love you back to life…no matter what! He will NEVER leave you!! In fact, other than our relationship with our own self, God is the ONLY relationship we are guaranteed to continually have here on earth. We can NEVER lose His love!
  10. Allow God to positively change your heart through the process…and whether your situation or relationship changes for the better or not…eventually use your situation to wisely help and encourage others. You are going to be an absolute TREASURE to someone else who will be walking through a similar tough relationship situation. Learn as much as you can through your situation TODAY so you can encourage and help others in the present or FUTURE. God never wastes grief. There is always good that can grow out of it. 

Whatever situation or relationship you are grieving or experiencing deep heartache in, please realize there is hope! I agree with you in prayer for God to heal, encourage, and help you and your loved one(s) through whatever you are going through. I pray God works mightily in each relationship, heart, mind, and situation! If a positive outcome is not possible due to a permanent situation, I pray God gives you the gift of a peace that passes understanding and the ability to truly press forward and heal. God DOES love you, He greatly values you, and He already knows how He plans to help you and every situation of grief you are facing or will face!

Even if a relationship never finds peace or reconciliation again, realize it does NOT diminish your value. Before you were ever a family member, spouse, child, parent, or a friend, you were God’s. He will always unconditionally love you, because you are totally valuable and “enough” to Him. Yes, you will go through incredible heartache if reconciliation does not take place, but God will be there for you every single day—especially your toughest days!

There is always hope and your life is precious! Please never forget that!❤️

Gratitude, healing, love, & many blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged or helped by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage & help 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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

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
❤️

The Doors & Windows of Grief & Loss

Sometimes, grief comes in the form of losing a prized goal, dream, or a treasured relationship. 

A door will close and will cause deep feelings of loss. You may even feel as though you have lost your way. 

When God closes a door, don’t try to “pick the lock.” 

Attempting to force a closed door open delays where God desires to guide and direct you. 

Sometimes God closes a door so He can open an unexpected window. 

He often will give the view of a window because it offers a different view (as well as an alternative perspective) that you might have missed seeing at ground level. 

Windows can be BLESSINGS in disguise. 

When we seek God first and foremost, and keep Him first place in our lives and obey Him, we are guaranteed to be in His perfect will. 

Trust God to fulfill your life purpose and to open the doors He has predetermined to open for you. 

It’s not always easy to accept a door that has closed, but trusting God to open another door or window that He sees as best will offer a view…and future…you presently cannot comprehend. 

Today, ask God to guide and direct your paths and to only open doors that will truly bless your life. Ask for the grace and wisdom to know which doors to keep closed. 

(Lookup Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:33)

©2014 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. (from the YouVersion Bible reading plan, Grief Bites:Finding Treasure In Hardships)

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
❤️
Resources~

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: 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: (Coming November 4, 2015)