Tag Archive | traditions after loss

Entering The New Year Without A Treasured Loved One

Pre-grief, the New Year was previously a happy time of celebration…a Happy New Year filled with fresh possibilities…brand new opportunities…new memories to make with loved ones…

Post-grief – especially the very first New Year after the loss of a treasured loved one – the New Year can be incredibly heartbreaking and can even feel scary or daunting.

The thought of a new year without your loved one is painful. Making memories that no longer include your precious loved one — each step forward can seem like a heartbreaking step away from the one you miss so very much. It can all be excruciatingly painful.

So, how do you move forward into the New Year with as little pain as possible?
Incorporate your treasured loved one into the New Year.

There are a variety of meaningful ways to ensure your treasured loved one will always be remembered.

It’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.” A meaningful New Year – and a meaningful life – is possible, as you navigate your heartache and grief.

💗Consider doing these special activities in your loved one’s memory and honor:

• go on that trip or event your loved one always talked about.

• try out that new hobby they always wanted to start but never found the time to do.

• ask God to tell your loved one a message to share with them. I truly believe God is compassionate enough to tell our loved ones we love and miss them…or even ask them to forgive anything we didn’t quite get right while they were here on earth.

• go out to eat and celebrate on your loved one’s birthday…give the waitress a tip in the amount of what you would’ve spent on a gift.

• set a place setting for them at the holiday table with a candle or photo of them.

• plant a garden, buy a houseplant, or adopt a pet in your loved one’s honor to lovingly remember them. Having something to care for in a loved one’s memory can be very healing.

• volunteer at an organization that meant a lot to your loved one.

• If your loved one passed away due to cancer, another illness, or suicide – or any other way, consider getting involved in helping others to heal/fight the same circumstances or illness. Making a difference in your loved one’s honor can be very therapeutic and meaningful.

•Host an annual cookout, event, or party, or a weekend getaway, as a remembrance to your loved one.

• Pour your heart & entire self into God & your remaining loved ones. Death shows us that life is incredibly short – and extraordinarily meaningful. A lifetime is short; redeem it as wisely and as much as you can…whenever you can.

• Live life as big and as well as you can in your loved one’s honor. Make them proud. Show them with your life that their life was so treasured by you – that you will celebrate their life through you in the New Year.

Think about what was special to your loved one. There are so many ways we can include our loved one(s) in our New Year.

We’re not walking into a new year…or creating memories without our loved one(s); we are including them and holding them safely & preciously in our heart until we can see them again in heaven.

We will definitely have sad days…bad days…days where we won’t feel like doing much at all…grief is so incredibly heartbreaking and hard…
…But…
…Like I said, when a loved one dies, it’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.”

When we see our loved one(s) again, we’ll be able to share with them all we did in their honor, as they share with us all they’ve been doing in heaven. More importantly, as we grow closer to God and do His life purpose for us here on earth, just imagine all we will be able to talk about and share with God and our loved one(s) once we arrive.

Here’s to loving and honoring God, honoring and remembering our loved one(s), and living a wise, meaningful, and well-lived life in 2022.

Wishing all of the Grief Bites family a very blessed & meaningful New Year filled with healing, hope, & love!🎉❤️

~Kim

©2022 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

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

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

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

Deep Grief: To Celebrate Christmas or Not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay…so here comes the difficult part…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude & blessings,

~Kim

©2021 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: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 ~ Hope For The Holidays

Day 2

How do you find and experience hope when you feel completely void of all hope during the holidays?

After going through my sister’s death on Thanksgiving, experiencing a boyfriend’s death over Christmas break, losing my grandmother Valentine’s Day weekend, losing another grandmother two days before Christmas, and then years later, going through my other sister’s fiancé’s death on Easter, I didn’t feel very hope-filled. The holidays surrounding their deaths were very painful. I struggled to find any hope at all, due to intense heartache.

Whether you are feeling hopeless due to a loved one’s death, or you are going through a life challenging loss (such as a divorce, marriage/family conflict, illness, financial difficulties, job loss, or other heartbreaking event), please know that God truly does love you and deeply cares about you.

God genuinely understands what you are going through and wants to offer you His healing touch. He ultimately desires to shower you with His extravagant love and incredible HOPE!

But how do you find God’s hope and experience it fully?

Start by asking God to heal your heart…ask Him to infuse you with His hope and strength that only comes from Him…ask Him to drench you in His amazing love, compassion, and grace!

Ask God to specifically carry you through the holidays and to deeply minister to your heart!

Read God’s word daily and ask Him to powerfully speak to your heart as He gently comforts your hurting heart and spirit.

No matter what you are going through, God deeply cares about your heartache, so seek God this holiday season, and always, with all of your heart!

You WILL find God—and His fresh brand new HOPE—when you search for Him with all of your heart! He promises you will. God’s mercies are new every single morning so ask Him for them!

God is a true Friend. He is here for you and He will help you through the holidays! May His love comfort you and hug your heart on the days you need it most!

Prayer:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for hope! I ask specifically for you to give us the good gift of hope and allow us to find and experience your hope and peace to the fullest.

I ask You to bless our hearts with Your healing touch and shower us with Your love. Father, will You please heal our hurting hearts and carry us through this holiday season? I pray You will powerfully speak to each of our hearts and spirits as we seek Your heart (and guidance) and read Your precious Word. Please grant us Your new mercies every morning and please comfort our souls each and every day. Thank You for being our truest Friend! We treasure and adore You and are so very grateful for Your friendship! We love You, Lord! In Your precious Name we pray, amen.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

~Jeremiah 29:11-13

“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.”

~Lamentations 3:20-25

From the YouVersion reading plan, Grief Bites: Hope for the Holidays. This devotional ©2015 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. Used by permission. https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

©2021 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.

⭐️❤️Be sure to “follow” the Grief Bites page on Facebook so you won’t miss any holiday encouragement! We’ll be posting encouraging quotes, recipes, excerpts from holiday reading plans, special songs, ideas of how to lovingly remember & honor your treasured loved ones, and holiday tips and advice from those who have experienced grief during the holidays.

We look forward to encouraging you!❤️

Day 1 ~ Hope For The Holidays

🍂🎄❤️ Good morning, Grief Bites family! We are now officially into the holiday season. Thank you so much for allowing us the privilege of bringing hope to you throughout the holidays. Today’s encouragement comes from Day 1 of our YouVersion reading plan, Grief Bites: Hope for the Holidays. I hope this encourages your heart!

Day 1

Ahh, the holidays! A time where the colorful Fall leaves remind us that Thanksgiving is on it’s way and the anticipation of Christmas is right around the corner. A time when everyone is filled with thankfulness, love, family harmony, and joy, right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone— especially those who have lost a loved one, those who are going through the loss of a major relationship or experiencing family conflict, or those who are experiencing other great loss, life challenges, and heartaches.

Growing up, I always loved holidays and greatly looked forward to them.
When my 22 year-old sister died on Thanksgiving Day, instead of the holidays being “the most wonderful time  of the year,” the holidays became a dreaded and most challenging time of year.

How do you find hope during the holiday season?

How can you create special memories this holiday season with loved ones when you feel discouraged or your heart is breaking?

Is joy even possible during the holiday season…especially in the midst of intense grief?

How can you honor treasured loved ones who are now celebrating the holidays in Heaven with God?

How can you create meaningful holidays that are filled with peace, regardless of what’s happening in life?

Please join me the next few days as I answer these questions and more.

“Heavenly Father,
I pray for all who are hurting around the holidays — especially this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Please bring healing to each precious person and deeply comfort their hurting heart. Please shower them with Your grace and mercy each and every day. Hold them in Your loving arms and carry them through their grief experience…especially on their toughest days. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

“Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:2‬

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬

This devotional ©2015 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

I hope this encouraged your heart! Day 2 will be posted tomorrow. For more holiday encouragement, feel free to “follow” our page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

⭐️For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, I want to write about something incredibly important.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🎄❤️🎄 Today is Day 1!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, if you’re deep in grief…

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Kim

©2021 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 “following” the Grief Bites page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How am I ever going to get through this?”

As a grief and marriage coach, I am frequently asked by others, “How am I ever going to get through this?”

Grief and loss are so incredibly hard to experience…and so many are caught off guard and unprepared for how to get through the toughest days of their life.

There is no such thing as a cookie cutter answer to those who are seeking help and answers. There are commonalities among grievers but grief is so individual.

You take one minute at a time…until you take one hour at a time…then you take one day at a time…then one week at a time…then one month at a time.

Sometimes, all you’ll be able to initially do is make the decision to “exist.”
Then you’ll go through the motions.
Yet, during these times, it’s important to feel what you need to feel. Sometimes, this will feel like a much needed release, but other times, it’s far too painful…so you’ll choose to wait an hour or two – maybe even a day – when you feel you can better handle it.

Allow trusted family & friends to hold you up until you’re able to process your grief.
Key word here is trusted. There’s a big difference between someone who genuinely cares and loves you…and someone who just wants “the scoop” and will use your most vulnerable emotions and details to share with the world.

You’ll initially feel frozen – like the whole world has stopped…then you’ll crawl…then walk…fall down…then get back up and learn how to jog…fall down again…then fully run with God’s grace and help. Then you find out what every griever eventually finds while running: one memory…one song on the radio…one random holiday can trip you out of nowhere…even years later…and the timeline is different for each griever. That’s why it is so vital to stay so close to God…He will lovingly pick you back up. Every. time.

Something that surprised me was random emotions during grief. Your emotions might surprise you too. You may feel irritated or angry out of nowhere. Angry at your loss. Angry at God. Angry at the illness that stole your loved one. Angry at the doctors. Angry at how unfair your situation is. Your anger isn’t just merely anger – it’s a very deep form of grief. It is so important to never allow this part of your grief to win. It will cost you far more than you’ll ever want to pay. Feel what you need to feel…absolutely…just please don’t permanently camp out there. Run to God full force…even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to.

Never give up hope! It won’t always feel or be as bad as the way it is today…but it takes time and grief work. You’ll get there.💗

Be kind to others and be kind to your own heart. You’re going through one of the toughest times of your life.
Give yourself (and others) compassion and grace.

One day, you’ll realize you smiled for the first time…and laughed…and you might even feel guilty…but choose to press forward. Your treasured loved one enjoyed seeing you happy while they were on earth…they want you to discover happiness and joy again. They want you to have a good life.
It’s tough at times though because each new memory is a new memory without them. It’s okay to feel that tremendous loss…choose to walk through that pain and then also choose to open yourself up to feel the happiness and joy your heart deserves. Fully enjoy the gift of life when you feel ready to do so.

Always remember and honor your treasured loved one…and don’t feel bad or apologize for it. You will never “get over” your loved one or your situation of grief, as some may pressure you to do.

Realize that grief isn’t something you get over, it’s something you eventually get through. The greater the love, the greater the grief. The goal isn’t to get over someone you love…the goal is to eventually warmly smile when you think of your loved one and live life to the fullest in their honor. Make them proud.💗

Look for ways to make a difference in your loved one’s honor…to celebrate their precious life. Do something special for someone in your loved one’s honor – perhaps a family member or friend – every birthday and anniversary…the days that hurt the worst. Maybe go out to eat on their birthday to their favorite restaurant- and then tip the waiter or waitress the amount you would’ve spent on your loved one for their birthday or your anniversary. Or pay for the car behind you in a drive thru. You’ll be surprised how healing this can be as you keep your loved one’s memory alive each year.

When going through grief…be patient with yourself (and your loved ones).
It’s literally as though you’ve been in an emotional “car crash”…it takes time to heal.
If you were in a car crash, you’d need triage help at first…maybe even multiple surgeries…then perhaps physical therapy and occupational therapy to help you learn how to live life again.

Grief is no different.

Take the time you need to learn how to live life again. God is with you every step of the way.

You are valuable. You are so very loved. I’m glad you’re here…and that you are continually choosing to remain here. Your life holds exceptional purpose and value.

Grief is a mixture of so many emotions. It’s one of the toughest events you’ll ever experience in life.

You’ll never be the same.

You’ll see every part of life so differently.

And you’ll grow.

You’re going to make it through this heartbreaking, gut wrenching, terrible time. With God’s help, love, mercy, grace, and encouragement, He’ll help you pick up every piece of your life that was shattered. Simply ask Him. He is there. He deeply cares. He loves you more than anybody ever has and ever will.

Never give up hope!💗

©2021 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️Some additional blog posts that may encourage your heart:

The Value of Anger in Grief: https://griefbites.com/2017/04/03/the-value-of-anger-in-grief/

What To Do When You Can’t Take Anymore: https://griefbites.com/2021/02/27/what-to-do-when-you-cant-take-anymore/

When God Doesn’t Give You Your Fairytale: https://griefbites.com/2018/03/21/when-god-doesnt-give-you-your-fairytale-2/

7 Things To Realize About Someone Going Through A Hard Time: https://griefbites.com/2016/02/20/7-things-to-realize-about-someone-going-through-a-hard-time/

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️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 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.