Tag Archive | traditions after loss

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 10🎄

🎄❤️🎄Today, we’re on Day 10 of our Christmas Countdown. Hope you are having a great week!

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 10🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

I don’t know about you, but food is a fun part of my family’s Christmas traditions!

Christmas has always been a time to enjoy Jesus, family, friends, warm memories, fellowship and food as we celebrate Jesus and His wonderful birthday!

Throughout history, food has been a part of celebrations and meaningful events. It brings about instant fellowship. Food brings family and friends together.

As you share a meal with loved ones, you are in essence saying, “I enjoy you and your company. You’re important and special to me. I care about you and love you!”

Food isn’t just for family and friends. Christmas is a fantastic time to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or to buy items for a Christmas food basket, so you and your church (or a local charity) can deliver it to a family in need.
When you share Christmas treats or food with others, it’s also a way of saying, “God loves you! You are remembered. You are valued. You are not forgotten. Somebody loves you and cares.”

I love the creativity God has given us through food. He truly could have just made one food item that met all of our nutritional needs…yet He chose to give us a huge variety of foods for a variety of events, occasions, holidays and traditions.

Who can you bless this Christmas season with the gift of food? Whether it’s cookies, candy, a meal, or a fruit basket, it’s a form of loving Jesus as you love your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others God has placed on your heart and in your life.

Also, the Christmas season is never complete without remembering the most important dinner of all time: the Lord’s Supper.
Check local churches in your area who are planning a time of communion or the Lord’s Supper this Christmas season.

(Update: due to COVID-19, you can do a personal Lord’s Supper with grape juice and crackers at home. You can also do a Lord’s Supper or holiday “dine” with family and friends via video as well).

With so many opportunities to share Christ’s love through food and fellowship, let’s celebrate Christ through His wonderful gift of food!

🙏🏻Prayer: “Jesus, we thank You so much for this exciting season of Your birth! We also thank You for Your special gift of food. Please place upon our hearts the many ways we can bless others through this very special gift. I pray You would help us to see, and be aware of, those around us who are hurting, those in need, those who need encouragement, and those who need a reminder that someone cares. Please bless us as we are a blessing to others this Christmas season! Thank You for Your beautiful creativity, and giving us the great gift of fellowship with our loved ones. Thank You more importantly for our ability to have great fellowship with You! You are our highest Treasure! We love and absolutely adore you, Jesus! Help us to love others extravagantly this Christmas season! In Your precious name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity #1: have a cookie party for the little people in your life, or with family. If you prefer peaceful solitude, you can also bake treats with just Jesus as you talk to Him about your day! Be sure to pass treats out to whoever God places on your heart! (Update: if you’re concerned about the pandemic, have a cookie party with those who live in your home or with family or friends via video. You can also call loved ones ahead of time and schedule a time to drop treats off on porches).

⭐️Activity #2: consider the ways you can bless others with food throughout the season. Delivery works well too!

⭐️Activity #3: Partake in the Lord’s Supper this Christmas season. Truly delight in Jesus as you remember His incredible love and sacrifice!

❤️Read: Matthew 25:40, Matthew 7:12, Proverbs 11:25, Matthew 6:1-4, Proverbs 15:17, Matthew 26:26-29, Matthew 4:4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29,

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 9🎄

🎄❤️🎄Good afternoon!
Today, we’re on Day 9 of our Christmas Countdown. If you enjoy music, today is for you! Hope you and your loved ones are safe and well!

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 9🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

The gift of music, especially around the holidays, is unmistakable! How God created just a few scales and keys – and millions of songs have now come from such few notes – it is seriously amazing and mind blowing if you think about it.

When you also consider how we have the ability to sing with our voice these beautiful notes, it truly is remarkable and an exquisite gift as well.

Listening to Christmas greats such as the beautiful Handel’s Messiah, the mesmerizing O Holy Night, and the majesty of the Hallelujah Chorus – as well as all of the fun Christmas songs – it’s easy to see that God loves for us to enjoy singing and listening to music.

I grew up in a very musical family. My mom and all of my siblings can play the piano very well…two siblings (including my sister who passed away) are professional level, concert-quality pianists.

While growing up, there was always someone playing the piano in our home each day, mostly practicing for a competition, recital, or performance. They’d also play their favorite music or write songs just for fun, too.

My favorite was when my siblings would play the piano and sing carols and heartfelt praise songs during the Christmas season. The praise songs intertwined with beautiful Christmas music was so very beautiful and meaningful.

As the musical oddball in my family who couldn’t play the piano very well, I could at least join in and sing.

What’s your favorite Christmas song? Which Christmas carols hold great meaning to you or bring warm memories to your heart? What Christmas songs bring you closer to Christ‘s heart?

Whether you’re very musical like my family…or not-so-musical like me…God absolutely loves hearing musical talents and our singing.

Thank and praise God for the incredible gift of music today…and sing a song especially for Jesus! It doesn’t have to be perfect – just heartfelt and genuine.

As you listen to Christmas music this season, intently listen to – and truly ponder – the words and melody, being so very thankful for the exquisite gifts of Jesus and music.

🙏🏻Prayer: “Jesus, thank You so very much for the gift of music, the ability to sing and worship You, and also for the ability to make music in our hearts! Music is a true source of joy. May we hear You in every Christmas song this season and praise You each and every day! We love and adore You! In Your most highly treasured and valued Name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity #1: Enjoy listening to Christmas music with Jesus each day this Christmas season. If you are hearing impaired, praise and worship Jesus in a way that is meaningful to Him and you!

⭐️Activity #2: Each year, buy a new Christmas CD and listen to it in your home or car. As the years go by, you’ll have built a great collection of Christmas music. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, begin to build them a CD collection of Christmas music, or pass yours on to them. (You can also make loved ones a digital playlist as well).

⭐️Activity #3: Create a new song for Jesus. It could be instrumental, with words, or a song sung straight from your heart!

⭐️Activity #4: if you have a piano, keyboard, or guitar, sing carols and praise songs with family this Christmas season. Singing acapella is also great! (Update: due to the pandemic, you can also do this with extended family, church family, and friends through FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype to spread holiday cheer as well)🎄❤️🎄

⭐️Bonus Activity: Every night, light the Christmas tree and listen to peaceful Christmas music to relax.

❤️Read: Ephesians 5:19-20, Psalms 71:23, Psalms 150:1-6, Colossians 3:16-17, Psalms 98:1, Psalms 98:4-8, 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalms 40:3, Isaiah 55:12

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 8🎄

🎄❤️🎄Good evening!
Today, we’re on Day 8 of our Christmas Countdown. Hope all of you are safe & well and are having a blessed week!

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 8🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

Have you ever celebrated Advent as a family, by yourself, with your church family, or with friends?

As a young parent, I always looked forward to this extra special time, as I looked for ways to bring Christmas to life!

My favorite advent book to follow has always been ‘Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration.’ It clearly explains Advent and it’s history. It has wonderful writings by Charles Swindoll, James Dobson, R.C. Sproul, and James Montgomery Boice, and has a great layout for building up to the joy of Christmas Day.

Advent is a time of great expectation, waiting, and preparation of the celebration of Christ’s birth and the nativity, and the second coming of Christ when He returns.

Participating in Advent truly prepares our heart to keep Jesus the main focus, the true Reason for the season. As we focus on Christ and celebrate Advent, we keep an Advent calendar, do a special daily devotional, pray, sing carols, read Scripture together, and build a Christmas wreath with special candles.

The anticipation of waiting for Christ’s birthday to arrive – so we can fully celebrate Him – is a very special time!

Consider celebrating Advent this Christmas season. It will surely bring you closer to God’s amazing heart!

🙏🏻Prayer: “Father God, thank You so much for Your perfect plan in bringing Jesus to earth. We love and adore Your precious Son and we are so grateful that through Him, we have the opportunity to have eternal life! What a most precious, extravagant, and treasured gift! Father, I pray we will clearly see Jesus throughout this entire Christmas season. May we continually ponder, treasure, be sincerely grateful for, and enjoy the true Reason for the season – oh, come let us adore Him! We love and absolutely adore You! In Jesus name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity: find a good Advent book, or look for free Advent resources through your church, and enjoy celebrating Jesus and Advent throughout the season! If you’re reading this after Advent has already started, no worries, you can always double or triple up the days.

❤️Read: Mark 1:1-3

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 7🎄

🎄❤️🎄Good morning!
Today, we’re on Day 7 of our Christmas Countdown. Each day in December, I’ll be posting from one of our YouVersion Christmas plans. Hope all of you have a blessed week!

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 7🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

Christmas is such a fun, amazing time! But due to grief, family/marital issues, financial pressures, or challenging life events, Christmas can be an extremely sad or stressful time, too.

I love Jesus for so many reasons, but one of my favorite attributes of His is that He is truly a Wonderful Counselor.

When I go through tough life events, conflict, heartache, stress, or grief, I know without a doubt He is there for me.

If you’re going through a tough situation or a heartbreaking event in life…or you have some past issues you’ve never fully resolved or dealt with…Jesus is here for you, too.

He sees what you are going through.

He deeply cares about your heart.

He truly understands.

When we struggle with life challenges, or even temptation or sin, God truly cares and empathizes with us. He holds the power to help us overcome anything we’re facing.

If you’re experiencing a hardened heart due to heartbreaking or challenging events, Jesus genuinely cares about you! He is willing to heal your heart: – the Bible says even to the point of taking away a heart of stone and replacing it with a new heart that is soft and moldable by Him.

We have a Wonderful Counselor who is caring, loving, kind, and on our side – and He is a genius at healing hearts and lives.

Place your heart and life (and your loved ones’ hearts and lives) in His more than capable hands. He can do more in a moment than we could ever hope to do in an entire lifetime.
He is truly the Wonderful Counselor who genuinely loves and cares about you and your loved ones — completely!

If you are going through a tough situation or a tough time in life, God genuinely cares. There is nobody on earth we can better seek for the love, encouragement, and help we need…God truly is there for us 24/7.

🙏🏻Pray: “Jesus, I thank You so much for caring not just about my spirit, but also about my heart, mind, will, emotions, and wellness. Please help me to be completely honest with You and myself, so I can be healed and have a vibrant and right relationship with You at all times. Reveal anything in my heart and life that is displeasing to You, and please reveal to me any area of my life that is holding me back from fully experiencing the best relationship I can have with You. I thank You for being my Wonderful Counselor, the absolute Lover of my soul! Your extravagant love and care is priceless! Please be here for me throughout this Christmas season…and for the rest of my life. I love you so much, Jesus! In Your great Name I pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity: Today, take some time to get totally real with Jesus. Don’t hold anything back! Fully pour your heart out to Jesus. He literally bends down from Heaven to hear your prayers – all of your joys, concerns, good happenings, life challenges, struggles, hopes, dreams, and heart’s cries. Jesus is more than willing to bless you with a brand new heart and a brand new spirit, too. All you have to do is ask. He deeply loves you and cares for you. Never forget that!

❤️Read: Isaiah 9:6, Psalms 116:2, Ezekiel 36:26, Psalms 56:8, Hebrews 4:15

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 5🎄

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

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

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 5🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

Christmas is filled with wonderful traditions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 4🎄

🎄❤️🎄Today, we’re on Day 4 of our Christmas Countdown. Today’s Countdown talks about something everyone loves – gifts!

Hope it blesses & encourages your heart.❤️

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

🎄🦌🎄 Day 4🎄🦌🎄

As children, most get really excited about Christmas because that’s the time of year you receive gifts!
As you get older, you still enjoy receiving gifts…but you begin to see true joy comes from giving to others.

On Christmas morning, as a parent, I would always share how special it was that it was Jesus‘ birthday – and He loves us so much that He allows us to receive and open gifts on HIS birthday.
I also made it a point to focus on teaching giving gifts to others, such as Angel Tree or other ministries, was a true blessing…and also showing gratefulness and thoughtfulness towards family and friends by baking treats and passing out treat trays.

Gifts are definitely unanimous with the Christmas season, so the question is: how can we allow Jesus to be “a gift” to others through us? And how can we be an absolute gift to Jesus to show Him how extravagantly thankful we are for Him and the joy of His birthday?

Perhaps we can donate toys to Angel Tree, sponsor a family who is in need, donate Christmas dinner to someone we know has fallen on hard times, encourage those who are experiencing deep grief this Christmas season, do something special for our closest family and friends, bake treats for or send cards to our family, friends, and neighbors, host a holiday tea or Christmas party for those who need extra love and encouragement…
…and if finances are tight, there are many ways to be a blessing to others as well: daily praying for loved ones, speaking words of life, encouragement, and comfort to others, writing a heartfelt letter of gratefulness to loved ones, sharing the Reason for our hope, or calling – or better yet, video calling – with loved ones to stay in touch…there are so many ways and opportunities we can be “a sweet gift” to God and those around us this Christmas season!

Jesus was so amazing to give us Himself as the greatest gift we could ever imagine. Let us be so mindful of extending that precious gift to family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others God places on our hearts!

🙏🏻Prayer: “Dear Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You so much for giving us the Best Gift of all! I pray You would make each of us aware of how we can be an extravagant gift to You and others this holiday season. Give us fresh ideas of how to extravagantly love, celebrate, relax with, and enjoy You, our family and friends, and how to best encourage and serve those around us! Thank you for all of the good gifts we have and enjoy in our lives (especially all of the “little” things we may daily take for granted), and may we always realize just how many great gifts we have exclusively just in knowing You. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!”

💗Read: James 1:17, 1 Peter 4:10

⭐️Activity #1: Think of a special gift you can give to Jesus this Christmas. This is exclusively between you and Jesus, so ask Him to guide you on how to best express your love, creativity, and gift(s) to Him.

⭐️Activity #2: Consider how you can be a gift to your family/loved ones this Christmas season. Ask God which family & friends need love & encouragement from you.

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

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 3🎄

🎄❤️🎄Here’s Day 3 of our Christmas Countdown. Day 3’s Countdown shares how incredibly special and important you are! Never forget your value!❤️

(For those who didn’t see Day 1 & Day 2: each day, I’ll be posting from one of our YouVersion Christmas reading plans each day throughout December. I hope this helps each of you to feel less discouraged or alone…especially with the pandemic…and like you have a friend encouraging your heart during this very tough time of year.)

🎄🦌🎄 Day 3🎄🦌🎄

I love all of the symbols of Christmas – and one of my most favorites is a star.

When I was about five years-old, after my dad died, and we had moved into a new home, my mom took me out on a cold night during Christmastime, sat me on her knee, and showed me the constellations. She taught me the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and all of the other stars.

Coming from a large family, I felt so special! How my mom took just me outside to teach me about God and His great majesty was a very special treat!

As she taught me about all of the stars and creation, she shared with me how God‘s thoughts of me were more numerous than all of the sand on the beach and more numerous than all of the stars up in the sky.

I will never forget that special night so many years ago. It made a great impression on my heart and allowed me to see God’s majesty and who He truly is – especially later on in life.

Did you know you are so precious to God that His thoughts of you are more numerous than all of the sand and stars in the world? He is so invested in you that He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head.

God created you so intricately and exquisitely that He gave you great gifts such as your specific personality, as well as specialized goals and dreams, likes and dislikes, and a very specific life purpose.

As you spend time with Jesus today or tonight, ask Him to reveal your life purpose to you. No one on earth can do your purpose except for you…you are that amazingly important, precious, exquisitely created, and special!

Every time you see a star in the sky, or a star Christmas decoration, I pray you will remember how much Jesus loves you! Let each star you see be a reminder to seek Him with all of your heart!

❤️Prayer: “Jesus, I want to thank You so much for giving me a life purpose that You planned for me — before I even breathed one breath. Thank You for creating me so specially and so specifically so I can serve You with all of the gifts You have given me. I pray I would use my personality, gifts, talents, and skills for You, Your glory, and Your purpose for me. I adore You, Jesus, and love You so very much! Please be with me every moment of my life and this Christmas season. In Your name I pray, Amen!”

Read: Matthew 10:29-31, Matthew 2:10, Psalms 8:3-4, Psalms 139:17-18

⭐️Activity #1: bake star shaped Christmas cookies and ask Jesus who He’d like you to bless or encourage by giving the cookies to them. Be sure to share some cookies with your family and friends, and also share the Christmas story of the most important star – and how God‘s thoughts of them are more numerous than all of the sand on a beach and all of the the stars in the sky.

⭐️Activity #2: ask Jesus to reveal to you His life purpose for you. Some good books on this topic are, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren and ‘Chazown‘ by Craig Groeschel. Both are excellent for discovering your life purpose!

⭐️Activity #3: if you have little people in your life (children, nieces, nephews, grandkiddos), teach them how to recognize the Big Dipper and Little Dipper and share with them how much God loves them!

Check out Pastor Rick Warren: https://www.purposedriven.com and Life.Church Pastor Craig Groeschel: https://www.craiggroeschel.com/books/chazown for more details to help you find your life purpose.

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

Wishing everyone a very blessed and Merry Christmas season!

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

❤️

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 2 🎄

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

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

🎄🦌🎄 Day 2 🎄🦌🎄

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 1🎄

🎄❤️🎄Tonight starts our special Grief Bites Christmas countdown. Each day, I’ll be posting a devotional from our YouVersion Christmas reading plan, Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas ~ http://bible.com/r/3V5).

I hope this helps each of you to feel less alone…and like you have a friend encouraging your heart during this very tough time of year.
Hope all of you are safe and well!

🎄🦌🎄 Day 1 🎄🦌🎄

I absolutely LOVE Christmas … It’s my favorite time of the year!
And I love and adore Jesus … He is my absolute Best Friend.

It wasn’t always like this.

After experiencing my 22 year-old sister’s sudden death on Thanksgiving Day, my grandmother’s death a few days before Christmas, my boyfriend’s death over Christmas break, and multiple other grief experiences around the holidays, I wasn’t exactly the cheeriest elf on the block.

But then…

I found God in the midst of my great heartache and pain – and it made ALL the difference in how I viewed and experienced holidays.

I found true peace.

I found genuine joy.

I found the most extravagant Love.

I found true life!

And I’ve never been the same since.

Growing up, Christmas was an incredible time of year! My mom did (and still does) holidays better then anyone I know. She decorates, bakes, makes candy, plans fun activities, and has always made Christmas the most magical time of the year.
Most importantly, she always taught us the true Reason for the season…Jesus!

In addition to all of the fun festivities – when we look past the decorations, tinsel, carols, candy, and garland – we find the true treasure and miracle of Christmas. And the treasure and miracle can be found, no matter your circumstances.

Regardless of what you are currently going through, whether your life is joy-filled or not, are you ready to experience the most meaningful Christmas season with Jesus?

This reading plan will guide you each step of the way to fully experience the Best Friend, and most extravagant friendship, you’ll ever find.
Each day will help you experience the true joy of the season and will allow you to find the amazing heart and treasure of Jesus Christ.
Each day will also have a fun or meaningful activity you can do with Jesus, too.

Let’s prepare our hearts to experience Christmas like never before!

Prayer: “Dear Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You so much for giving us the greatest gift: Your beautiful Son! Father, we want to thank You for all of the good – and also the bad – that is currently in our lives. Right now, we choose to leave it all – the joys, heartaches, relationships, job and finances, our hopes, dreams, schedule, and this Christmas season…everything – in Your more than capable hands! Father, please prepare our hearts for this Christmas season with You. We truly want to find Your precious heart! There is no one else we’d rather spend the holidays with each and every day. We ask You to show us Your truths, Your extravagant love, Your loving kindness, and we ask You to richly bless our hearts as we walk together through this most special Christmas season. We love you, Lord, and ask all of this in Jesus’ precious name, Amen!”

⭐️Activity: decorate a Christmas tree. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, it just needs to be special for Jesus and you. Each night throughout this reading plan, light your Christmas tree, play some soft Christmas music or praise music, and snuggle up to Jesus. Share your heart with Him as you talk about your day and life. Ask Jesus to meet you by the tree each evening so you can daily unwrap the best gift of the season — the miracle of Christ, His love, and His beautiful heart!

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
‭‭~Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬

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

Wishing everyone a blessed, meaningful, and peaceful Christmas season!

~Kim

©2020 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relief From Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I chose to get up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a true suckfest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Grief & Holidays ~ helpful tip #1

Throughout the next few weeks, I will be offering holiday tips that I hope will be encouraging and helpful to your heart.

After going through multiple family deaths, the holidays became a very painful and challenging time for my family and me.

As I share (in these next holiday posts) what my family and I have learned through the process of creating special, meaningful, and eventually enjoyable holidays again – in spite of grief – I hope all who read these helpful tips will be encouraged and comforted!

Grief can definitely make the holidays excruciatingly painful to get through…but there truly is hope.

Having experienced the death of family members on major holidays (Thanksgiving and Easter) and the day after Valentine’s Day and day before Christmas, I truly understand how challenging holidays can be.

To be honest, I never thought our family would ever have the ability to enjoy these particular holidays again…ever…but we finally were able to after navigating through tremendous grief.

My first holiday tip is:

Grieve how you need to grieve and be kind to your heart.

Do not put on yourself the extra pressure of having the “perfect” holidays.

Just like you are having to create a “new normal” in day-to-day life, you may need to create a “new holiday season” – or the freedom to do holidays differently for a season, too.

Creating a “new normal” doesn’t make anything “normal“…oh, how I hate that word…yet I like to compare “creating new normals” to inflating a life raft: it doesn’t make anything immediately better, but it can prevent a griever from completely drowning.

When going through grief, holidays can lose their previous joy, sparkle and specialness.

•Holiday meals can be excruciating since a much-loved family member is no longer here to enjoy loved ones, the meal, or the holiday. Their presence is sorely missed!

• Suddenly, the tree that used to shine bright holding treasured ornaments and memories can now bring about intense sadness.

• Baking treats and making favorite dishes you used to bake or make for a loved one who is no longer here can now bring about incredible heartache.

• Old familiar traditions can now bring intense pain or anxiety.

• Certain Christmas songs can be tied to a special memory, remind you of a loved one, or can bring sudden tears out of nowhere.

• And seeing happy couples and cheerful families—on social media or in real life—can bring about feelings of depression, hopelessness, anger, or maybe even envy.

The holidays can be a huge reminder of the great treasure you lost.

It is very painful navigating through the holidays when going through the death of a loved one, adultery or divorce, miscarriage/infertility, financial or job loss, family/marital/stepfamily conflict, physical or mental illness of a loved one, addiction issues, family rebellion or estrangement, illness, or other painful losses.

…And it can be extra painful and burdensome when family and friends do not understand or don’t agree with how you are handling your grief.

Explain to family and friends how the holidays are going to be tough on you and lovingly ask for their help, support, love, understanding and compassion.

Some grievers may be able to do all of their usual holiday traditions, while others may not…BOTH are perfectly fine!

Pray about and consider what you need to do, or not do, this holiday season and come to a place of peace about it.

It doesn’t mean it will always be like this…(just because you choose something this year doesn’t mean it will be cemented forever)…it simply means you are doing what you need to do THIS holiday season to make it through the holidays.

Communication is key! Talk about your plans and how you are feeling with your loved ones, to avoid hurt feelings or conflict.

Compromise may be needed when choosing what to do (and not do) during the holidays…but it is important to grieve however you need to grieve.

Ideally, it is best to come to decisions where your grief is genuinely honored…while also factoring in honoring your time with remaining loved ones.

Just like there is no such thing as “cookie cutter” grief, not every griever or family will handle the holidays the exact same way either. Each must communicate and find what’s best for their own individual family. It may include fully celebrating holidays as usual…or changing things up a little…or beginning a few new traditions…or completely changing everything this year…or going out of town, on a vacation, or to visit family who live out of town for a change of scenery. There are many ways to create a peaceful, meaningful holiday during times of grief.

If you have family and friends who love you, support you, and encourage you, what an amazing, incredible gift that truly is! Be sure to thank them for all of the ways they bring encouragement, meaning, and love to your life.

Grief is so unique and personal – and affects so many facets of your life – it isn’t a cookie-cutter experience. It’s a journey that is between God and you – and, at times, those you live with.

Grief isn’t designed for everyone to have input or an opinion about it.

…You don’t “get over it”…

…You can’t go around it…

…You can’t fly above it…

…You have to go through it…

…And there isn’t an ending to grief while on earth because grief will resurface from time to time. As long as there is love, grief will lovingly linger…because love doesn’t die.

Yes, grieve however you need to grieve and be kind to your heart. As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others…and you’re not hurting the heart of God…your grief is totally appropriate.

I am praying everyone who is going through a sad or tough time will have a meaningful holiday season. And I truly hope everyone is surrounded by understanding and caring loved ones who will offer encouragement and kindness the next few weeks.

It can take time to find a new holiday normal, so please don’t be hard on yourself. It takes time, effort, and grace to work out a broken heart and to pick up the pieces of a shattered life.

Grief can be excruciatingly heartbreaking during the holidays, but through genuinely remembering and honoring your treasured deceased loved ones, honoring your grief, and showing love to your remaining loved ones – while working through your grief – holidays can hold great joy again…in time!

I wish each of you a peaceful Christmas season that is filled with comfort, encouragement, and hope.

With God’s help, the holidays can be meaningful again.

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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 – for years – was never the same…and believe me, I really tried…for over a decade.

During those tough years, I 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 had never been a Thanksgiving I hadn’t gotten sick or felt major anxiety for years…until God revealed to my heart a major breakthrough for my holiday grief.

As I pieced together the reasons for my anxiety each Thanksgiving (other than the obvious), I sought God in deep prayer. The last Thanksgiving morning my sister 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.

My body remembered the 4am time – and that whole morning – which created major anxiety every year…which created the perfect storm for becoming anxious and ill each Thanksgiving from 4am-10am — the time of being up at the hospital, the code blues, and her death.

After seeking God, He lovingly reminded me that I’m putting too much on myself…and to give all of my tough emotions and anxiety to Him.

I had no control over making it to the hospital on time.

I had no control over my sister’s death.

I couldn’t have saved her no matter how hard I tried.

Although she died young, it was simply God’s timing for her to go Home to Him.

My sister wouldn’t choose to come back to earth…she’s beyond blissful and happy – in absolute perfection, joy, and paradise – with her Savior.

As I shared my heart with God about how difficult Thanksgiving is…He gave me an idea: put all of my Christmas decorations up by November 1, so I can just go straight into the Christmas season.

It is also a great time with God, since I share the last moments of each day during November and December by the Christmas tree talking with Him about my day each evening.

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 solution 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 still don’t like Thanksgiving.

But I can choose to be grateful for it each year.

I no longer allow Thanksgiving to hurt my heart…I, instead, reflect on my sister’s life and I choose to be so very grateful for the time I was blessed to have her here on earth.

Through giving my heartache, grief, and pain to God, He has been so very faithful to heal my heart.

I will always love and miss my sister…she was so beautiful and amazing I will never forget her…but God has truly helped me through my hardest years.

And I look forward to remembering her each year in a beautiful way instead of a sad way.

I remember the very first year that I actually looked forward to Thanksgiving.

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 – especially from all the years I tried so desperately to run away from the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

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

I encourage grievers to feel what they need to feel. Take your heartache to God.

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.

Even after you heal, realize all of the feelings of grief can still hit.

The yo-yo of grief is no joke.

I truly hope this blog post helps someone to know they’re not alone in their grief…to be gentle with their heart…to know that grief won’t always be so horribly strong.

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):Click here for book

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

❤️

7 TIPS FOR HELPING A GRIEVING LOVED ONE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Do you know someone who is hurting due to the death of a loved one, an illness, divorce, family conflict, or an unexpected life challenge or crisis?

The holidays are very hectic for most people, but they become extra challenging for those going through grief.

When family and friends offer kindness and encouragement, it can make all the difference in the world to those who are hurting.

Whether the person who is grieving is a family member, friend, fellow church member, coworker, acquaintance, or neighbor, you have the amazing opportunity to offer compassion, support, and HOPE this holiday season.

Choose to be a BLESSING!

Think about each of these tips, and while you’re reading them, think of who you can bless – starting this week!

Here are 7 practical tips for helping a grieving loved one during the holidays~

1. Offer encouragement to the person who is going through grief by sending them an I’m-thinking-of-you card or a phone call. Whether they lost a loved one a week ago, or many years ago, their loved one will always be loved, treasured, and missed. The holidays can be a painful reminder of the fact their loved one is no longer here. If possible, refrain from sending over-the-top cheerful holiday greetings and cards if their loss is recent. Instead, send a more peace-filled greeting card with a special heartfelt note.

2. Stay away from cliches such as, “They’re in a better place,” “God needed an angel,” or “God must have needed them more.” Although these statements are intended to make the grieving one feel better, it can often leave them hurting and frustrated. Try encouraging your loved one with loving words of remembrance such as, “I really miss _____, she/he was a such a wonderful person” or “I remember when we ________.” Reflection on the deceased loved one brings validation to family members left behind that their loved one was important, is missed, and they are still cared about. Most who have gone through grief still enjoy talking about their loved one. Bringing their loved one up is welcomed by most. You’re not going to hurt them by bringing up their loved one…their loved one is already on their heart. Also, at all costs, never say (or even hint or suggest) to someone who is going through grief to “get over it.” That’s worse than all cliches combined.

3. Take the bereaved person a Christmas wreath, cookies, or a Christmas flower arrangement. A small kindness and helpful gesture goes a very long way in encouraging someone who is going through grief.

4. Invite them to attend your Christmas church service, family holiday dinner, or join in your Christmas festivities. Peace, comfort, encouragement, and loving relationships are important to offer to the bereaved during the holidays. A griever may want to attend church, but may not have anyone to attend with. Sometimes, traditional family dinners can be challenging too. If you are a close enough family member or friend, they may welcome an opportunity for a new place and environment to go to for church, dinner, or holiday celebrations.

5. Invite your grieving loved one to a holiday movie, out for coffee, to a special Christmas church event, to see The Nutcracker, to dinner, or to go shopping with you. You can also invite them to an online Christmas Church service and watch it together. When someone is going through grief, they lose contact with the outside world as they are immersed in their pain. Many times, people do not know what to say to someone who is going through grief – so, unfortunately, they avoid seeing them altogether. Please let the grievers in your life know you care. An invitation can speak volumes of your love and concern for them.

6. Be patient with those in grief. Life as they once knew it has drastically changed. It takes time to find a new “normal” and to thoroughly understand the full impact their grief and loss will have. Allow them the time they individually need to grieve. Everybody grieves differently and that’s perfectly fine. Please do not become frustrated with someone who is in grief…trust me, they’re frustrated, too! Support, love, and encourage them.

7. Simply listen and be there. Sometimes, the best thing someone can do for a griever is to give them a hug with the gift of silence and a listening ear. Simply let them know someone truly cares. No words necessary…just be truly, genuinely caring and a good listener. And if they confide in you, please do not betray that precious trust. We all desperately want to say the magic words that will comfort loved ones in grief, but there simply are no words that can magically remove their heartache and pain. A trustworthy listening ear is more important than most realize.

Please consider whose life (and heart) you can make a difference in this week! Think of someone you know who is going through grief or a hard time and offer them hope and encouragement.

Have a very blessed and meaningful holiday season!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim 🎄❤️🎄

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄❤️🎄

When Mother’s Day Hurts…

Mother’s Day: a day filled with warm memories, joy, flowers, Hallmark cards, and celebrating moms everywhere, right?

Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone.

There are many who will enter Mother’s Day with a heavy heart of grief, confusion, lost hopes, disappointment, intense sadness, and regrets:

  • some have experienced the death of their beloved mother
  • some moms are desperately missing their much treasured child who died
  • some have experienced a miscarriage or stillborn birth
  • some have never had the ability to have children
  • some have regretted having an abortion
  • some have placed their child up for adoption
  • some have a very tumultuous relationship with their mom; some moms have a broken relationship with their child(ren)
  • some adult children allow their spouse to keep them away from their mom; some moms allow their spouse to interfere in their relationship with their children
  • some realize that this is the last Mother’s Day they’ll have with their mom or child due to age or illness
  • some mothers have written their child off; some children have written their mother out of their life
  • some moms will not get to spend time with their child(ren) due to custody issues
  • some moms will not see their child due to military duty, travel for work, or they don’t live close by; some children will be missing their moms due to deployment, work duties, or location
  • some were adopted or raised by an aunt, grandmother, family member, or friend and are missing their mother deeply due to death, circumstances, or location
  • some have mothers or children who are incarcerated
  • some have mothers who have alzheimer’s or dementia who do not remember their children
  • some are stepmoms with stepchildren who are less than kind and vice versa
  • some moms feel rejected, uncared about, or unloved…some won’t even be acknowledged or appreciated

There are many heartbreaking situations and reasons why this Mother’s Day will be less than ideal and very heartbreaking for so many people.

Life, and holidays, can be excruciatingly unfair and painful. It can be difficult to see others who still have their moms with them…those who have all their children…those who were blessed enough to become a mom…or to see happy families when you are in devastating heartache and pain.

⭐️(UPDATE: with COVID-19 currently affecting the world, some of the tips below will need to be modified to ensure proper health and practicing social distancing is a must.)

Here are some tips of how to show compassion to all who are discouraged, hurting, or dreading Mother’s Day:

  1. Show compassion and concern. Ask how they are doing, tell them you are thinking about them, and ask what you can do to make their day better.
  2. Realize how hard the day will be for them and go out of your way to make them feel special. Ask if they’d like to go out for brunch. Send or give them a card, buy them a special gift, ask to make them dinner or ask if they’d mind if you had dinner delivered to them, or buy them some beautiful flowers.
  3. Invite them to a movie, out to dinner, or out for coffee. Let them freely talk about whatever they’d like to talk about…without judgment and without unsolicited advice. Sometimes, it helps to have somebody genuinely care who will compassionately listen. Ask them to share something special about their mom or their child(ren).
  4. Acknowledge their loss and heartache. Mention their loved one by name and tell them what their loved one meant to you. You won’t be hurting them by bringing up their name…trust me, their loved one will be on their heart and mind all day.
  5. If you have a vacation home or extra timeshare points, offer to give them the gift of a weekend getaway.
  6. If you know of someone who is hurting, invite them to church and/or invite them to spend the day with you. Include them in all your plans for the day or a portion of the day.
  7. Think of a special way to remember your family members and friends’ moms, child(ren), or loved one. Light a candle in their mom or child’s honor, or help to decorate their loved one’s grave with flowers or items you know they would’ve liked. Do something you know they would’ve loved.
  8. Love them! They do not need a lecture on how they should feel or what they should do — and they definitely do not need to be told to “move on,” or “get over it.” They need people in their life who allow them the beautiful freedom to miss and deeply mourn the treasured person they are grieving, missing, and deeply love.
  9. If someone you know has a difficult relationship with their mom or child, reach out to them. Tell them you’re thinking about them by calling them, making them a gift basket, giving them a card, or by inviting them to do something that gets their mind off of their struggles.
  10. If you know of a military mom, send her a care basket. Be sure to send letters from her kiddos and photos, too. If able, set up a time to FaceTime or Skype as well. If there is a mom whose husband is deployed, consider doing something sweet for her too!

What if you are the one who is hurting? Here are some creative ideas of how to get through the day:

  1. Pamper yourself. Clear your schedule and remove any uncomfortable expectations others may place on you. Take a day off and do whatever makes you feel calm, relaxed, happy, or peaceful.
  2. Take some time to look at photos or home videos of your mom, child, or loved one. As you look at each one, remember the special bond and incredible memories you shared together.
  3. Take the day to journal or make a special scrapbook of your loved one and all the wonderful memories you shared together.
  4. Write a letter to your mom, child, or loved one and share what’s on your heart and mind.
  5. Spend the day doing what you normally would’ve done if your loved one was here…or go to a place that was special to the two of you. Know that your loved one loves you so very much, they want you to experience love, encouragement and comfort.
  6. Celebrate your loved one or honor your loved one’s memory by having a “garden day.” Plant a tree or some special flowers in their memory and create a beautiful space where you can go in days to come to celebrate or remember your loved one. You could also make a pathway out of memory stones or buy a special bench, hammock, or chair to enjoy in their memory.
  7. Have a relaxing movie day by either going to a movie or ordering take-out and renting movies that will make you feel closer to your loved one. Don’t forget yours & their favorite movie snacks and a comfy blanket.
  8. Invite others who are missing their mom or child to do something fun or meaningful. It truly helps to be around others who “get it.”
  9. Have a day of “writing & learning”: writing letters of gratitude to those who have had a positive impact on your life..it could be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, child, family member, pastor, schoolteacher, friend, etc. If you have children, or nieces and nephews, be sure to share the warm memories and stories with them and teach them what was taught to you.
  10. Consider spending the day doing a relaxing hobby and including others in your day. I had a teacher who took a special interest in me by teaching me how to make pies, and I also was taught to bake by my mom and sister. I really enjoyed investing in this hobby and teaching my younger family members how to bake, too.
  11. Watch a church service online and have a “God day” where you spend the entire day with just God and you. Go to a park and have a picnic lunch, lay in a hammock while listening to music, read your Bible and pray. Pray for everybody in your life. Share with God everything that is on your heart. “God days” are very refreshing and can set you up for a much better week!
  12. Last, but not least, make Mother’s Day whatever you would like for it to be. You may feel comfortable doing the usual familiar traditions that have been passed down to you…you may wish to spend and enjoy the day with your remaining loved ones…or you may want to create brand new memories, traditions, and experiences. Go out of town, take a day trip, and/or do something relaxing or special. Surround yourself with love. Pour into others. Encourage others who are hurting. There are many ways you can choose to celebrate or remember your treasured mother, precious child, or loved one, and many ways to remember or celebrate the day.

God loves you and cares about every intricate detail of your heart and life. He wants to help you pick up the pieces of your shattered life and help you to rebuild it. It may not be the exact life we signed up for or wanted, but God can help us realize that life is still an adventure worth highly valuing. Take the time you need to create a “new normal”…it takes time and it is totally okay to break down or be disappointed as you press forward. Learn new things each and every day. Learn from past mistakes and always look for better ways to live life. Look for and secure the support you need from family and friends…tell them what you need. Feel what you need to feel.

To experience the death of a mother or child is excruciating. Be kind to your heart and do whatever you have to do to get through the day. As long as you’re not disobeying God, or harming others or yourself, whatever you choose to do is appropriate. CB

To every mom, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, sister, niece, and woman in the world, I wish you a wonderfully beautiful, relaxing, and highly blessed Mother’s Day! Thank you for all of the ways you make (and have made) the world a wonderful and better place! You are so incredibly valuable, special, and unique and life wouldn’t be the same to your loved ones had they not had you in their lives! Pamper yourself this weekend—you deserve it!

Wishing everybody an incredibly peaceful, blessed, comfortable, and memorable Mother’s Day! Allow yourself the freedom to do whatever brings you comfort and makes your heart smile!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

🌼FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

💕

Honoring Loved Ones Through Traditions, Kindness, & Encouragement

“Grief starts to become indulgent, and it doesn’t serve anyone, and it’s painful. But if you transform it into remembrance, then you’re magnifying the person you lost and also giving something of that person to other people, so they can experience something of that person.” ~Patti Smith

 

I saw this great quote today and really loved it!

If anyone has read my book, Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You, then it is clearly known that I am a big advocate for remembering and honoring special loved ones who have passed away.

After my sister died from a short 3 week illness on Thanksgiving Day, I was absolutely despondent…it went beyond depression. We were best friends while growing up and did everything together. After she got married, I still talked to her on the phone every day and saw her several times a week. After she died, I felt her absence in an indescribably painful way.

The things we used to do together that we once greatly enjoyed, now brought intense heartache…and we did most everything together, so her death completely rocked my world.

One of the things we loved to do together was bake…we had always baked treats together since we were in elementary school. In fact, at the time of her death, we were planning on opening a home based bakery and candy making business.

The night before my sister died, I had two choices: go visit her in the hospital or go home to bake some of her favorite Thanksgiving treats to surprise her with at the hospital the next day.

I chose the latter…and regretted it for many years. I had no idea how sick she truly was and I truly despised myself for not choosing to go see her. The guilt and regret haunted me for years, so much that I specifically chose to not make the items I had baked for her ever again.

One day, years later, a thought came to mind…my sister would not want me to be overcome with guilt or regrets. She loved life and she would want me to do the same. She was in Heaven and was totally not upset at all. What once may have upset her on earth doesn’t upset her now in Heaven. She understood I was trying to do something nice for her…and she knew that if I was given all the facts, I would have instantly chosen to go see her and spend as much time with her as I could.

Grief truly teaches you powerful lessons. One of my greatest lessons was to put people first, above everything else.

After realizing that had I known better, I would have chosen better, I made the important decision to honor my sister’s life through doing things she enjoyed while on earth…and one of those things was to continue baking. I decided I was going to honor my sister’s memory by blessing other people with baked goods.

That very day, I made all four of the items I had made for my sister and brought them to a family dinner that my sister’s young daughters attended. The next day, I made the four items again and gave them to people who I knew were having a tough time in life. I found that I could honor my sister through encouraging others with the gift of baked goods.

I couldn’t believe how healing it was. It brought so much healing and freedom to my grief recovery that I wrote an entire chapter about it in my book and I frequently speak about this very topic at grief seminars.

Enjoying life through traditions and honoring loved ones was key to breaking through my greatest monumental grief plateaus.

 

Today, if you are greatly missing your loved one, consider doing an activity you once enjoyed together, a kind deed for someone, or offer encouragement in your loved one’s honor.

Choosing to bake treats for people who I sense are going through grief, especially around the holidays, is something I now enjoy doing.

Sometimes, I’ll anonymously pay for someone’s coffee behind me at Starbucks in my loved one’s honor.

I also go to a mexican restaurant every year on my sister’s birthday…and have a GREAT time in her honor.

Every Christmas, our family gets dressed up in pajamas and go look at Christmas lights together in honor of the tradition my dad started before he died.

 

I have my own post-grief  life filled with my own original activities and traditions, and I choose to not stay stagnant in the past, but I also enjoy incorporating old traditions and things I previously enjoyed doing with my loved ones too. It is a meaningful way to say, “You meant a lot to me. Thank you so much for all of our good memories together. I loved you then and I still love you now so I am going to honor and continue to remember you.”

Honor your loved one’s memory and continually recover from grief, but more importantly, recover your own life and your relationship with God so you can fulfill your life purpose and truly learn each and every day to live life to the fullest.

 

Sometimes, it can be difficult for grievers to honor their loved one(s) if there are guilt and regrets involved or if there were problems that were not worked out before a loved one’s death.

There have been times that I have had to forgive myself so I was able to press forward through my grief. Choosing to work out my guilt and regrets has truly been heart and life transforming.

We all make mistakes, and we all could forever dwell on the things we did wrong, but that ultimately accomplishes nothing. It just creates and brings about further loss and heartache.

Transforming our thoughts to think of all of the things we did right, how well we did love our loved ones, remembering all of the good times, and thinking of ways we can honor our loved one(s) is much more beneficial.

It is so important to remember that our loved ones do not harbor any negative feelings towards us. They completely forgive us.

We can stay stagnant in guilt and regrets or we can choose to bless another person, and our own hearts, by making a difference in the lives of others.

Through offering kindness and encouragement to others who are going through loss, you truly can make a difference.

I can’t think of a better way to truly honor my loved ones. I think they’d be very happy to know that I learned powerful life lessons through their deaths, that I still choose to enjoy the activities I once enjoyed with them…and I choose to thoroughly enjoy life itself…and that I choose to make the world a better place by encouraging others in their honor.

©2014 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

❤️Kim’s blog: www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

⭐️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.