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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

Foolishness, Wisdom, Guilt, & Regrets

You can live life like there’s no tomorrow, but tomorrow is still there when you wake up, full of consequences.” – Lecrae 

Many have lived irresponsibly, foolishly, recklessly, or unthinkingly…only to realize they have brought a lot of loss into their own life, or worse, the lives of their loved ones. 

Every choice we make will bring either a blessing…or a consequence. Our choices become our greatest assets…or our greatest liabilities. 

Some choices bring about loss for a season, while other choices bring loss that will last a lifetime. 

This is why wisdom is so very important. God says He will give wisdom to all who ask Him for it. There is an entire book in the Bible that is filled with teachings on wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and understanding. The book of Proverbs teaches us how to live a good life—a solid life that is built on wisdom. 

You may not be able to go back in time to save yourself or others from a foolish decision you made in the past, but you do have the opportunity – starting today – to begin learning how to live a wise life. 

Start to consider the choices you make…from this day forward…and make the commitment to strive to make wise choices. 

When guilt or regrets come to mind? Use it as a signal to ask God to forgive you, make amends, and ultimately to choose and do better. Most of the poor decisions we make are made out of foolishness or a lack of understanding. If we KNEW better, we would have CHOSEN better. Give yourself some slack and some much needed grace…and then purposely become an intentional lifelong learner so you can then be freed up to make better choices.

Ask God for wisdom, understanding, and discernment to make good solid wise choices too…because good decisions are also a gift from Him. Also ask him for His grace and peace! 

Consider reading the entire book of Proverbs. It is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to know how to live a wise and great life, as well as a life that pleases God which releases His favor and blessings.

If you read one chapter of Proverbs each day, you’ll read through the whole book of Proverbs (all 31 chapters) each and every month. 

You’ll be so glad you did!

©2015 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites

(from the FREE 60-Day YouVersion Bible reading plan, Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief)

For more encouragement, please feel free to check out all of the free Grief Bites devotionals on the YouVersion/Bible App.

http://www.griefbites.com

http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

Doubt~The Unpopular Word In Christianity 

Doubt is a very unpopular word in Christian circles. Most Christians would be afraid to admit any form of doubt they might have—due to feeling guilty for having thoughts of doubt or due to the judgment of others. 

When doubt surfaces, some consider it a lack of faith or a lack of believing God and His Word…so as a result, many suffer and struggle silently. Through their silent struggle, they can become stagnant in their walk with God. 
Some can even leave the church altogether.

I’ve seen it time and time again…someone will go through grief, or an extreme life challenge, and it throws them into unknown territory. 

Their Christian friends don’t know what to do with them…their fellow church members aren’t sure how to best help them (in fact, they’re not incredibly sure what to do other than say the customary, yet well-intentioned, “I’m praying for you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do”…after quoting Romans 8:28 for good measure). 

At that point, the hurting person becomes discouraged since no real help or genuine solution was offered. And the hurting person is in so much pain they now simply choose to withdraw.
Then the hard questions and doubt start pouring in.

Is God real? Where do I fit in? Does God care? Do others care? Why am I having to go through what I’m going through? Why did God allow______?

You may know someone this has happened to…or you might be the one who is battling doubt and unending questions today.

It is imperative to know how to handle our doubt(s) so we can prevent bitterness or discouragement, and overcome any and every obstacle that is keeping us from experiencing the rich relationship with God we are fully capable of having. 

Truly think about the doubts you have today. 
Be completely honest.
Do you feel like God didn’t protect you from a situation? Are you discouraged by how other people or Christians have treated you? Did someone deeply wound your heart and fail to make it right?
Are you doubting that God can heal your broken heart…save your marriage…help you financially…forgive you…fully accept you…heal your broken soul…work in the life of a rebellious spouse or child? Are you doubting that He can provide…or that He can work in any other situation that is tearing you apart inside or making you worry? 

I have intensely worried and doubted God in some situations…and, sometimes, not even have known or realized it at the time. 

There are many reasons we doubt. 

Many doubt God cares. But did you know that God actually bends down from Heaven to hear our prayers, heartaches, concerns, and even our questions? 

He’s so good! He doesn’t have to bend down to hear us, but out of His great love, He willingly chooses to. 

Did you know that God has collected every tear you’ve ever cried and written every heartache you’ve ever experienced in a ledger? 

God truly cares about each and every heartache and heartfelt question or request we have. He cares about each of us and every situation we face—past, present, and future. 
He even knows how He plans to cause good to come out of the tough situations we face after we trust Him and lay our situation(s) at His feet. The good comes after we trust God and fully allow Him to work in us and through our doubts.

You may be thinking, “Fine, but I feel disconnected. I really don’t even feel like praying.”
If you feel stale in your relationship with God, doubt is most likely the culprit. 

Do you wonder how God handles doubters? In scripture, God shows a loving example of mercy and compassion to the most famous doubter, Thomas. 

Jesus didn’t judge Thomas, and He wasn’t harsh with him. In fact, the exact opposite happened. Jesus showed sheer love and understanding to Thomas.

Today, truly think about and label your doubt. Ask God to reveal any doubt(s) you hold in your heart. Be completely honest and transparent. The answer(s) revealed just might surprise you. 

Choose today, like Thomas, to take your doubts to God…have the courage to have a bold, beautiful, breaking conversation with Him…and place your doubts in His hands. He already knows what is in your heart so be honest and transparent. Invite God to work in your heart and through your life challenges—pursue Him and His amazing heart with everything you have and don’t quit! The reward truly is a closer and much richer relationship with Him!

©2014 Kim Niles/Grief Bites

Lookup: 
Psalms 116:1-2
Psalms 56:8
Psalms 17:6
Matthew 7:7-8
John 20:24-29 

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

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

Living in the Moment

In life, we usually are either running TOWARDS our future or FROM our pasts…rarely are we truly living in the MOMENT, simply allowing God to mend and mold our hearts. 

And it’s easy to want to run away from grief, problems, issues, or circumstances. 

No matter what happens in life: illness or great health, betrayal or commitments, grief or favor, good times or bad times, success or failure, family/marital harmony or family/marital conflict, etc…ALL situations in life reveal so much about ourselves. 

Every situation reveals our level of commitment, love, and loyalty to God, our love, loyalty, and service to others, and ALL reveal our true character. 

EVERYTHING in life has the power to refine us, strengthen us, or weaken us—each shows us a true glimpse of our heart. 

It’s up to us to continually allow our hearts to be molded by God and allow Him to polish us up to shine for Him…in good times and bad. 

Sometimes being present in the moment is very difficult to do, but these moments can oftentimes be the times we look back on and realize that God accomplished the most in and through us. 

As we seek God’s heart and call on Him, we realize He has a great plan for our lives. He truly is worth seeking with our whole heart! 

What are you running from or towards today? Truly focus on simply being in the moment.

Run to God’s heart today, then rest in Him. He holds our past, present, and future in His hands so we truly can trust Him with the details of every moment…past, present, and future. 

Once we trust Him (and this can be difficult to do in the midst of loss), living in the moment becomes a true joy. 

Ask God to help you to live in the moment each and every day.

Lookup: Matthew 6:31-34

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

(from the free YouVersion Bible reading plan, Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships by Kim Niles)
❤️
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)