Tag Archive | YouVersion

Never.

Never give up your opinion just because someone steamrolls you with theirs.

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

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

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

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

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

Never allow anyone access to or into your life if they don’t truly care about who you are and have the very best intentions for you.

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

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

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

Never give up your dreams just so someone else can pursue theirs.

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

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

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

Never allow another person to interfere in your relationship with your spouse, child, parents, siblings, or other significant relationships.

Never refuse anyone kindness and basic respect.

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

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

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

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

Never feel bad about loving your kiddos and grandkiddos to the moon and back.

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

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

Never attempt to “repaint” a person after they’ve shown (or continue to prove) their true colors.

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

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

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

Never be ashamed of tears. Tears Cleanse your soul.

Never bless someone with the expensive gift of trust – or another “knife” – after they’ve already carelessly stabbed you in the back.

Never give up or jeopardize your belief in God…or your relationship with Him. He will always love you more – and better – than anyone else ever can.

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

Never allow anyone or anything to rob you of God’s Purpose for your life.

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Grief Bites

I previously posted this a few years ago, but thought it’d be a good repost since I am often asked how we came up with the name “Grief Bites” for our ministry. Hope this helps someone!

“Grief Bites.”

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

My sister called me one morning in 2010 to ask how I was doing.

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

Little did I realize how such a little sentence would transform my grief.

That one random phone call, one question, and those two little words – God would eventually develop it into 2 published grief books, a local grief organization, an international grief ministry that would encourage and give hope to people through multiple church campuses, a blog that serves grief communities in 143 countries, as well as five Bible Reading Plans on YouVersion that offer encouragement to millions of people.

The morning my sister called me in 2010, I was in the middle of experiencing a lot of grief. I was sick of grief – and to be honest, I was sick of life.

In the 3 years leading up to that phone call:

  • my son had been diagnosed with tumors and went through several consultations and surgeries in hospitals in two different states
  • 3 of my son’s friends died
  • my grandmother died in a freak accident a few days before Christmas
  • 2 family members died on the same day
  • my marriage crumbled almost to the point of divorce
  • I had a cancer scare that required 2 surgeries
  • my sister’s fiancé died suddenly (this was her 2nd fiancé to pass away..her 1st fiancé died a few weeks before our other sister’s death)
  • we lost our entire retirement savings due to a then trusted person’s foolish decisions
  • many key relationships I dearly loved deeply changed (grief can do that unfortunately)
  • my son’s father died
  • I was diagnosed with a lifelong serious autoimmune illness

I felt incredibly defeated and depressed.

To go through several deaths, my son’s illness, my illness, heartbreaking marriage issues, relationship losses and changes, among other losses within three short years was very challenging…but I knew I wanted good to come out of it. I wasn’t about to allow life or grief to defeat me, and I wasn’t going to sit down and remain a depressed mess. I had already done that when my sister died and that wasn’t going to be my reality again.

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

While growing up:

  • my dad was killed the night before my parents wedding anniversary
  • my favorite grandmother (who lived with us after my dad’s death) died a few years later while having a routine surgery
  • I lost my grandparents (and 2 uncles and an aunt) to cancer
  • a tragic event happened when I was 12 years old, and as a result, I was hospitalized in ICU where I almost died
  • my boyfriend died in a car accident when I was 15 years old
  • one of my best friends died…then a few weeks later…
  • I saw my 22 year old sister die after only being sick for 3 weeks

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

BUT 2010 was different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reason I share my grief is not to solicit sympathy or pity…absolutely not. It was through everything I went through in the past that made me who I am today. Grief has taught me incredibly powerful lessons that I never could have ever hoped to learn any other way. I’m a much better spouse, mom, family member, friend, and church member due to my grief. It is also through my grief experiences that I found my purpose in life: I get the privilege of helping so many people through their grief so they are able to live better lives.

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

So why blog about it? Why talk about grief? Because grief has a huge need to be more commonly talked about so people can find the hope, encouragement, and relief they so desperately need from grief. And so everyone can understand how to help and minister to those in grief, too. And because grief doesn’t end on the day of the funeral — in fact, grief never goes away. Unfortunately, grief velcroes itself to your heart. It’s. there. for. life. And the greater the love, the greater the grief. Grief typically doesn’t stay as strong as it is in the first few years…but it lingers and can come back full strength at the oddest times.

Some grief experiences are minor, while other grief experiences are majorly debilitating. There is hope for major grief, but it takes a lot of self work and grief recovery to get to that point.

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

Who better to help someone through their grief than a person who has already walked the same thorny road?

This blog is for anyone who has been through grief or loss…anyone who has been through a heart-shattering sleepless night…anyone who has had a broken heart yet still wants to live the best life they possibly can live in spite of any circumstance they face.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It will NOT be easy.

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

Although grief nearly permanently paralyzed my heart, I eventually decided life is too short to not live to the fullest every single day. Life is too good to not find joy in it…especially the “little things” in life. I realized you only get one life…and you never get time back. Redeem the time and enjoy every moment life has to offer you as much as you can — in time…when you are able to.

I have a motto: Life is a canvas so throw all the paint on it you can so one day you will have the ability to look at the amazing picture you created in spite of heartache and grief. This is the very best way to get back at grief: getting your breath back after life and grief have knocked it out of you.

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

Grief bites. It certainly does…but we ALL have the power within us to bite back.

©2014 / 2018 by 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:

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

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

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

❤️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

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

Grief & Holidays ~ helpful tip #1

(This was originally published on this blog (Grief Bites) a few years ago. I’m just reposting it since it’s the holidays)

Throughout the Christmas season, I’ll be offering encouraging tips on how to get through the holidays during times of grief.

After going through multiple family deaths on or around holidays, the holidays became a very painful and challenging time. As I share what my family and I have learned through the process of creating special, enjoyable, and meaningful holidays again – in spite of grief – I hope all who read these helpful tips will be encouraged and comforted!

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

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

My first holiday tip is:

Grieve how you need to grieve and be kind to yourself. Do not put on yourself the extra pressure of having the “perfect” holidays.

Just like you are having to create a “new normal” in day-to-day life, you may need to create a “new holiday normal,” or the freedom to do holidays differently for a season as well. Creating new normals doesn’t make anything (or return anything back to) normal. I like to think of and compare “creating new normals” to an inflated inter tube…it doesn’t make anything immediately better, but it will keep a griever from completely drowning.

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

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

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

• Old familiar traditions can now bring intense pain…even anxiety or depressed feelings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communication is key! Talk about it with your loved ones, to avoid hurt feelings or conflict. Some compromise may also be needed when choosing what to do (and not do) during the holidays. Ideally, it is best to come to decisions where your grief is genuinely honored while also factoring in honoring your time with remaining loved ones. Just like there is no such thing as “cookie cutter” grief, not every griever or family will handle the holidays the exact same way either. Each must communicate and find what’s best for their own individual family. It may include fully celebrating holidays as usual…or changing things up just a little…or beginning some new traditions…or completely changing everything this year…or going out of town, on a vacation, or to visit family who live out of town for a change of scenery. There are many ways to create a special, meaningful holiday during times of grief.

If you have family and friends who love you, support you, and encourage you, what an amazing gift that truly is! Be sure to thank them for any way they bring encouragement, meaning, and love to your life!

I am praying for everyone who is going through a sad or tough time to have a meaningful holiday season – and I truly hope everyone is surrounded by understanding and caring family and friends who will encourage you this month.

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

The first few years are the absolute hardest, but through genuinely remembering and honoring your treasured deceased loved ones, honoring your grief situation, showing love to your remaining loved ones, and working through your grief, holidays can hold great joy again…in time!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

🎄❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others! 🎄For more encouragement: ❤️ Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net ❤️ Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): softcover and hardcopy – http://www.barnesandnoble.com or for $3.19 eBook – https://www.christianbook.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief
ible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

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

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

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

🎄❤️🎄

The Challenge of Unspoken or Hidden Grief

Some of the most difficult grief experiences to heal from are those that are unspoken.

The reason unspoken grief experiences are so difficult to heal from, is because of the nature of the grief – and the choice to isolate oneself.

As I was helping an anonymous young lady on an online grief forum last week, my heart sure did go out to her. She – unknown to her parents, family, church family, and friends – had gotten pregnant and miscarried her first child 8 weeks into the pregnancy. Fearing judgment, she didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone except for the father of her child. For three years, she’s walked the road of grief all on her own. 

Isolated. Heartbroken. Alone.

With unspoken grief, some grief events have happened recently, while some happened decades ago.

Some may have believed that time would heal their wounds, only to find that time hasn’t healed anything.

There are many grief experiences that are “unspoken” or “unknown”…experiences someone may not feel comfortable sharing with others:

  • Unplanned pregnancies that end in miscarriage, secret adoptions, or abortion
  • A sexual assault 
  • Medical diagnosis such as HIV
  • Mental health diagnosis 
  • Adultery
  • Family or marital issues
  • Abuse
  • Conflict with adult children or other family members
  • Addictions
  • Mistreatment of others or conflict that you never had the chance to make right
  • Church conflict/church abuse
  • Suicide issues that remaining loved ones have to go through
  • Suicide attempt survivors

There are many life challenges people go through. With unspoken grief, they’re just not at a place they feel comfortable sharing with others the tremendous heartache they’ve been through. 

Unspoken grief presents a big challenge for the person going through it: if they keep their grief concealed, they may never find the help or healing their heart needs.

So how do you heal from unspoken grief experiences?

Please realize God never intended for us to walk through grief alone. Community, as well as the many resources available, are very powerful gifts when going through heartache, challenges, and grief.

There are many confidential options for finding help and healing when going through an unspoken grief experience:

  • Seek out confidential help with a trusted pastor, grief counselor, or therapist
  • Find encouragement through a local grief group (GriefShare, The Compassionate Friends, local funeral homes who offer grief seminars, Grief Bites conferences, etc.). Many grievers do not realize their grief situations can remain completely anonymous at these meetings, conferences, and seminars. Outside of introducing yourself, you don’t even have to talk if you don’t wish.
  • Utilize online grief resources (blogs, YouVersion’s grief related reading plans, grief related Facebook pages, GriefShare daily emails, The Compassionate Friends private groups, Grief Bites blog, etc.)
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend…keyword: trusted. When choosing who to confide in, always realize that two listening ears are also attached to a talking mouth – meaning, they can share what you confide in them, so be very selective in who you choose to trust!
  • Go to your local bookstore or favorite online bookseller and purchase books on grief. 
  • The best place to go with your broken heart is to God. He is always there 24/7, He cares deeply for you, and He has the power to heal your heart and spirit.

If you are going through an unspoken grief experience, please know there is hope. You can find relief and healing. Seek out the help you need today so your heart has the opportunity to truly and fully heal.

May God bless and encourage your heart!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:⭐️

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

The Doors & Windows of Grief & Loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windows can be BLESSINGS in disguise. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: (Coming November 4, 2015)

If Life Was Like A Hollywood Movie

Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like a neat little Hollywood movie? 

A problem would present itself…there’d always be a short time for the problem to run its course…then there’d be a neat and tidy solution to the problem…everybody involved would learn a powerful life lesson…people would see the folly of their ways and instantly become a much better person…the situation would have a dazzling happy ending…and everyone would get along and live happily ever after. 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Just writing that makes me wish a few trials I’m presently going through would experience the cheesiness of a Hollywood movie ending! 

The thing is, that usually is not what happens in majority of people’s lives. 

• conflict happens within marriages and families 

• illness sometimes cannot be healed 

• a child rebels regardless of how much their parent loves and treasures them 

• a person gets laid off no matter how much good they’ve invested into their job 

• people are rejected and mistreated by family (and others) no matter how hard they try 

• people disappoint us and we disappoint other people 

• terrible tragedies happen everyday 

We live in a fallen world filled with fallible people…and we are fallible ourselves. 

Life can be frustrating.

So how do we change things to make life better? 

It’s not what you think… 

We think we must change other people or our circumstances to find our happy ending…but the truth is, we must change ourselves and our focus then needs to be: 

1. Delighting in God 

2. Doing our responsibilities 

3. Waiting on God to work in HIS time in HIS way 

Difficult to do…Especially when your world around you is falling apart. 

We desperately want our situation(s) to change. We want our loved ones to do the right thing. We want a great life. We greatly desire harmony in our marriages, families, and relationships. We want justice for the times we have been wronged. 

We want to meet our goals, be successful, and also be valued for our work by our employers and colleagues. We want a better financial situation. We want family and friends to love and value us. In short…we all want the silver lining in every area of our life! 

What if we never are given our silver lining? God has one question for us: “If our lives..or circumstances..never change, will we still love and honor Him and continue to be devoted and loyal to Him?” 

On the journey to God’s best for our lives, we must first seek God. As we learn to love, obey, treasure, and delight in Him..regardless of our circumstances, grief, or losses…we find He is the true treasure we’ve always needed. 

One of the best promises God gives to us is that He will be making up for all the heartache, pain, tears, frustrations, and failures we experience in life. 

God is all powerful. Sometimes, He will give us the desires of our hearts here on earth; other times, He has us wait—and waiting is HARD. It goes completely against our human nature and tendencies. 

I can guarantee you this: One day, all of God’s children WILL experience the happy ending they crave. God has a purpose and plan through EVERY situation. 

It’s our job to love God and be loyal to Him, continue to do our God-given responsibilities, and to wait on Him to work out every intricate detail of our lives. 

Lookup: Joel 2:23-27, Matthew 6:33, Psalms 37:4, Deuteronomy 8:2

(From the free YouVersion Bible reading plan, Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships)

©2014 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

For more encouragement~

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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

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

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

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

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

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

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

8 Things I Wish People Understood About Suicide

When a family member or close friend attempts or succeeds at suicide, the remaining and affected loved ones are left with the broken fragments of their loved one’s fragile, hurting life. They’re also left with heartache, confusion, grief, guilt, regrets, depression, sometimes anger, and many other emotions and questions.

Suicide is an issue that is very close to my heart. I’ve lost several loved ones to suicide and have had people close to me attempt and (very thankfully) not succeed.

Suicide is one of those taboo, uncomfortable topics that most do not want to talk about…but did you know that everybody at some point in their lives will be affected by it?

Here’s some startling, heart wrenching statistics:

  • 80% will contemplate suicide at some point during their lifetime
  • 50% of all students have thought about suicide 
  • 15-18% have seriously contemplated suicide with an actual plan to do so
  • 8% will actually go through with it

With statistics like these, it becomes imperative to talk about…so why are people so hesitant to do so? 

I think suicide is an extremely uncomfortable topic because everybody wants to fancifully believe they and their loved ones are exempt.

Suicide isn’t a respecter of anybody though. It tempts the rich and the poor…the young and the old…the successful and the less ambitious…the beautiful and the more ordinary…the super spiritual and those with absolutely no faith affiliation…male and female…and all races. It doesn’t differentiate…all are affected.

It can affect anybody and everybody.

Many people don’t want to talk about it to someone who unsuccessfully attempted suicide, because most feel if they bring the topic up, the person may attempt suicide again. Also, if someone lost a loved one to suicide, there are no words to bring comfort—and that truly scares people so they do the worst thing possible…they ignore the person impacted by the suicide. 

Yet, there are so many individuals and families who are wearing the emotional scars that suicide have inflicted on them and they are hurting very, very badly!

I think knowledge is key. The more people know better, they’ll do better. The more they understand what to do and say, the more they’ll better understand how to comfort others, too!

With that said, here’s what I wish people understood about suicide:

1. Suicide is not primarily meant to be a selfish act-

When a hurting person attempts suicide, they truly are not trying to be selfish. They’re not considering who their actions are about to hurt or devastate…they may even falsely believe they’re making life better for those left behind. They could have ALL the love in the world for their loved ones (and from their loved ones) they are about to leave behind…but their pain just happens to win out. Life has finally become too much for them to cope with and they just want to escape their incredible pain or the painful consequences (of their own self or brought on by others) of whatever they are experiencing or dealing with in life. 

They aren’t in their right mind and they aren’t thinking about all of the new crop of problems they’ll be leaving for their family and friends to deal with…so they choose a permanent solution without fully realizing there may be solutions they have not yet thought of…but they genuinely are not trying to do a selfish last act. It can completely seem as though suicide is a most selfish act, but for majority who consider it, they’re not thinking about anything or anyone (including their own self), their focus is just on their own pain.

Think of it this way: if you were thrown out to sea, you would most likely tread water. Even if the waves got choppy, it’d become more challenging but you’d still continue to tread water. Eventually, you’d become weary and feel beat down…but you’d still keep treading water. But, what if it suddenly began to horrifically storm and the waves were engulfing you, forcing you down into the depths of the raging sea…and you kept trying to tread water, but no matter what you tried, nothing seemed to help. Maybe you’d even try to float on your back for awhile but the waves keep pounding you down with no relief? You’re left broken down with no feeling of hope. That’s how life is every single day for someone who is hurting…they just can’t seem to ever catch their breath…so in an incredibly weak moment, they randomly decide to quit on life.

I don’t believe they intentionally mean to quit on their loved ones…they instead feel they are simply quitting on their painful existence that they call life.

Truly, they are NOT trying to hurt anyone and they genuinely are not trying to be selfish…their focus is completely condensed into focusing only on their personal drowning pain.

It just became too much.

2. The loved ones left behind (from either an attempt or a succeeded suicide) are hurting incredibly but are often ignored, displaced, neglected or left to themselves

Most people, after attempting suicide, are completely ignored. Family and friends have mixed emotions: some do not know what to say…some are angry the person didn’t reach out to them…some falsely believe the person was selfish or just “trying to get attention”…some are fearful they’ll eventually lose the person to another attempt so they retreat…some are laden with guilt and don’t understand how to apologize or how to make things right or better…so they choose not to talk to the person who attempted or to the family of the one who succeeded.

It is VITAL for people to reach out to those who have attempted suicide, and if the person succeeded, to reach out to the deceased person’s remaining family! 

If a person failed at the attempt, not only are they left with the original hurt that drove them to their attempt, they now have to deal with the fact that everybody knows about their attempt. They now may feel foolish, embarrassed, and/or regretful.

If the person was successful, their family and closest friends are writhing in pain and regrets.

Please do not ignore those impacted by suicide. They need your love and encouragement more than ever! If you’re not sure what to say or do, take a step back and think if it were you or your family member in the same situation…how would you hope others would treat you? What would you want for others to say or do? Empathy goes a long way when dealing with others who are hurting.

Majority of the time, those affected by suicide…or any type of grief for that matter…really just need for people to show up and just be there. No words required or needed.

3. After a loved one unsuccessfully attempts suicide, their family & closest friends will go through extreme heartache, worry, and fear for months…maybe even years…to come

When a family member or close friend attempts suicide, they unknowingly—and unmeaningly—unleash a multitude of fear and hard emotions onto those closest to them.

They now know what it feels like to almost lose their treasured loved one, so for many months, they will worry and may be fearful that their loved one may attempt suicide again. Each morning, they awake with the all too real understanding that they may get a phone call to say their loved one did something foolish throughout the night. They feel as though they need to be on guard 24/7…and they also probably feel totally helpless.

If they are the ones who found their loved one, the image can haunt their mind daily. They may even experience PTSD from the incident, depending on how bad the scene was.

Also, their loved one who attempted suicide may not be open to talking about what happened and may not be open to receiving help…which can further amplify their bad feelings and experience.

If you know someone who is going through any of this, please contact them. Let them know you’re here for them to talk to. Be a trustworthy friend to them…do NOT betray their trust. They’re already going through so much that they do not need to deal with further gossip or harm. Allow them to feel what they need to feel, free from judgment. They are beyond over-the-moon thankful their loved one is still here, but they will have some emotions (sadness, gratefulness, fear, worry, numbness, etc) they’ll need to talk about and work out. They may even need to speak to a trusted pastor or therapist who can help them through this tough time.

4. Suicide prevention needs to start in homes, churches, and schools…in that order…and suicide awareness needs to begin early 

A person will learn how to be kind and compassionate from three primary places: home, church, and school settings.

Suicide prevention truly originates, begins, and continues at each of these places so we must get better at teaching children—at age appropriate levels—the value of their own life as well as the value of others lives. We have got to start with the purest prevention which is to teach others how to treat one another and also how to get through trials in life.

So many times, we start to educate people on suicide too late when they’re in high school school. I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to start educating on character qualities and coping skills at the youngest age possible, growing their character education and coping skills each year after that, and then teach suicide prevention (again, at age appropriate levels with age appropriate information) in addition to the character qualities and coping skills starting in middle school.

Something has to change because the current strategies are not completely effective. There are strides though, and I believe people truly want to do better. People genuinely do care! They may just not know how to best go about suicide awareness or prevention within their community or with their loved ones.

I’m so grateful for organizations such as To Write Love On Her Arms and Celebrate Recovery (and other organizations I’ve listed at the end of this post) for doing so much more than the status quo. I’m thoroughly impressed how they are creating dialogue and sparking communication about self-harm, grief, depression, and suicide awareness so people will better understand. Again, when people know better, they can begin to do better.

People, whether in home settings, churches, or schools, need to teach children to understand that their words and actions truly affect others…for the good and also for the bad. We have got to teach children while they are young the character qualities of mercy, kindness, compassion, and consideration…and give them plenty of opportunities to practice these qualities. We also need to teach them solid coping skills so they can understand how to truly navigate through life no matter what happens to them through an unexpected grief experience.

It all begins in our homes, churches, and schools—and must continue and be built on each and every year.

5. Suicide isn’t always a mental illness issue

Sometimes, suicide is very much a mental health issue and at times, it is an isolated moment. Other times, it is an extended grief issue. When people understand which type of issue suicide stems from, they’re much better able to serve and help the person who is hurting.

I think some who are hurting do not reach out for help because they don’t want others to perceive them as mentally ill or “crazy.”

I also think that some who are hurting have been through an isolated incident (such as abuse, rape, or something similar) and they don’t reach out for help because they don’t want to reveal what has happened in their life.

Other times, I think some who are hurting have not effectively received help for a past or recent grief issue, so their sadness and grief extends itself, overwhelming them.

Wherever their depression or thoughts of suicide originated from, in a weakened emotional moment, they choose to end everything.

It is so important to know where loved ones are at emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and grief-wise so we can know how to most effectively help them.

6. Sometimes, even the best efforts possible can’t prevent a suicide attempt

Even with the best plan…the best suicide prevention implemented…the best family and friends…the best strategy to prevent suicide…sometimes, nothing works.

I’ve met people who have attempted suicide who seemed to “have it all”—an enormous amount of money, family and friends who deeply love them, a great career, great looks/body, great car/home, etc. Yet, their pain catapulted them into thoughts of suicide.

I’ve met families who did everything in their power to help their loved one, got them the best spiritual, psychiatric, and therapeutic help possible, brought incredible love and encouragement into the life of their loved one… yet they could not stop their loved one from committing suicide.

I wish every family member who is kicking and hating themselves could find the peace, comfort, love and grace for their hurting heart and tortured soul they so desperately need. Sometimes, the best efforts in helping simply couldn’t connect to the one who chose to commit suicide.

7. It is incredibly rude, arrogant, and mean spirited to tell a person their loved one is now in hell due to committing suicide, or to talk about how selfish their loved one was for committing suicide

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had a griever share how someone came up to them and informed them that God sent their loved one to hell for committing suicide or how someone made cutting remarks about how selfish their loved one was. I also can’t tell you how much I find this to be rude, hateful, and inappropriate. 

God is never fond of anyone cutting their life or life purpose short…not at all…but God is also a God of great compassion, love, redemption, mercy, and incredible empathy.

God collects every tear each person cries…records every heartache each person ever goes through…carries each person’s grief experiences in His very own heart…and cares so much about each person that His thoughts of them outnumber the grains of sand on the earth! God is not a God of hatefulness…His love always covers over a multitude of sins. This goes for the ones who chose to end their life, the ones who failed at their attempt, as well as the remaining loved ones who are now battling deep grief.

Please consider how you would feel if you were already going through a horrendous grief experience such as suicide…what would you want someone to say to you? 

Love others how you would want to be loved in a similar situation. Be the mercy and compassion today that you would hope to receive tomorrow.

8. There is HEALING and there is HOPE!

Whether you are someone who failed an attempt at suicide or you are the remaining family and close friends of someone who attempted or succeeded at suicide, I truly hope this blog post has helped you. I also hope you will share it with your family and friends to help them better understand your heartache, anguish, and pain.

When people haven’t personally experienced a devastating grief experience such as suicide, there is so much they simply just don’t understand. They most likely do care, very much so, they just don’t have the knowledge of what to say or do.

There is healing in God’s love, healing within grief communities and grief organizations, healing within the love and safety of family, churches, and close friends… and there is HOPE!

If you are someone who has attempted suicide, or you feel hopeless and are considering an attempt, I wholeheartedly ask you to get the help and encouragement you need. If you had a broken leg or severe allergies, you’d get medical treatment to become happy, healthy, and whole again…how much more precious is your heart, spirit, mind, and soul? There are so many loving people who care about you and are willing to help bring you back to life. Please contact a trusted pastor, therapist, family member, or friend, or the National Suicide Hotline or Focus on the Family. ALL are committed to helping you through this tough time in your life. You have a life purpose that only YOU can do. Without you here, it cannot be accomplished. Your loved ones would be left devastated with an ache in their heart that will never fully heal. Ask them for their help and allow them to fully help, love, and encourage you!

If you are a family member or friend who has lost a loved one to suicide, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and your devastating heartache, and your ongoing grief and pain. I wholeheartedly encourage you to reach out to a local church, grief organization, or grief support group, as well as trusted family members and friends, so you can begin to heal. 

I am including a resource list at the end of this post with helpful encouraging resources to help anyone who is going through a suicide issue or a grief experience.
Thank you for reading this blog post! I hope it truly encourages and motivates all who are hurting, and hope it serves as a bridge to help connect all who read it to important resources, and truly hope it encourages each to make a difference in their hurting family members and friends lives!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. 

If what you read was helpful, please feel free to share it❤️

RESOURCES:

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

For more encouragement:

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

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

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

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

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays