“Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.”

“Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.”

It took me years to know how to handle the hardships of grief during the holidays. I was reminded recently of the verse from Psalms 147 that says that God mends the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. This resonated deep within me. Every holiday season, it almost seems like I have this wound that has started to heal but once I start going towards these seasons, the wound starts to re-open. When someone is in pain from a deep wound, it’s hard to get their mind off the pain. Your focus is only on that hurt. Your brain makes it a number one priority. And that is how it felt for me for so long.

I can really only say that once I started seeing Jesus in my healing instead of seeing only myself, was I really able to get through a holiday without that wound re-opening. He really started to bind up my wounds, therefore He was mending my broken heart. My blood started pumping towards His heart. His blood started circulating through my body, healing my wounds. I started to become one with Him.

I try to make it a priority to see my family as much as I can during the holiday seasons, even though we are placed throughout the world. That’s where I find my joy, in the love of Jesus and in the love of those who have loved me unconditionally. I’m not afraid to go toward these seasons anymore. I’m not afraid of the grief I still face. It’s so much better to go towards the grief than to run away from it. I ran away from the wounds for quite some time. Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.

However hard this upcoming holiday season may be for you, don’t run away from your hurt. Use your boxing gloves and fight. Fight for the joy that this holiday season can bring for you. But also fight for the grief you are in. It’s okay to be in it. It’s okay to have wounds. But don’t stop putting ointment on it. That ointment is Jesus. Memorize his Word in your heart so that His blood can also run through your veins. I promise it will heal you. Maybe not in your time or my time but it will happen.

As I was praying on how to end this, I was reminded of this verse. I really feel that God wants to speak Isaiah 61:3 as a promise over all of you who are reading this with a heart full of pain and hurt. Jesus cares so deeply for you that He spoke to me to give this to you. How caring is that? So please read it. Get by yourself, take all of your worries and busyness out of your mind from the day and soak it in.

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

About Audra: Hey y’all! My name is Audra Arnold. I’m a wife to my husband, a lover of all things birds and a nanny to three adorable boys (I love my job). Most of all, I’m a daughter of Jesus. If you would like to continue to follow my story or would like to get in contact with me, feel free to add any of my media links that are listed below. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Stay Connected with Her:
Instagram:  _audruh
E-mail:   audey4@gmail.com

Thankfulness for the Cross and the Man on it

image1-12 I am so thankful God didn’t send anyone but Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We would have a hard time being willing to die let alone die for an adulteress, a murderer, a bigot, a racist, a thief, a liar, a bad friend, someone who’s deeply offended us, a rapist, a harlot, the arrogant, the proud, the jealous, the lowly, the wealthy, the poor, the annoying, the selfie obsessed, the childless, the woman who aborted, the doctor who performed the abortion, the Hilary supporter, the Trump supporter, the “never Trump” supporter, the one who abandoned her kid, the one who sexually abused a child, the parent who bruises their child…

 

Dying for our sins is what saved us, dying for our sins (while still sinners) is the very thing that should humble us to our knees and force our face to be in His word with humility and thanks.

 

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”

Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

1 Timothy 1:13-15 ” Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“These last few days I’ve allowed myself to think about you a lot…about the life I once had that included you.”

“These last few days I’ve allowed myself to think about you a lot…about the life I once had that included you.”

momI lost my Mom to Heaven three and a half years ago.  She was a great mom, one that made lots of mistakes, but one that was humble and willing to ask for forgiveness.  She was a Jesus lover, follower, and worshiper.  God’s creation brought tears to her eyes.  She cried in awe of His goodness.  She spoke truth when it was hard to hear and she always, always loved unconditionally.  She taught me about God, though it wasn’t until my adult years that I could see how she modeled what it looked like to love Him.

The last six years of her life she became my best friend.  We worked together, laughed and cried together, and she mentored and counseled me as I learned how to be a wife and a mother.  I miss her.

Sometimes when I miss her I write to her.

Mom,  

A new wave of grief is washing over me this week.  Being in your presence, and talking with you is what I deeply desire.  These last few days I’ve allowed myself to think about you a lot.  I’ve been thinking about all of the things I miss about you, about the life I once had that included you.  I don’t often spend much time thinking on those things anymore, it seems better to focus on what is, and work on what’s coming.

My kids are getting older.  It‘s painful to think of all that they have become when I think about how short a time some of them had with you, some of them you never got to meet.

I have no doubt that you would find them all so very special.  I try not to let myself go down the road of thinking what you would say or think of each of them.  It’s too painful, and though I never contemplated raising my kids without your influence, I know now it was never in God’s plans for you, for them, for me.  I’m trying to learn to not grieve too long for what was never mine to begin with.

I miss you being so excited with me about my kids.  I miss the comfort, consistency, and ease of our relationship.  I miss your wisdom.  I miss your words.  I miss your voice, your laugh, your friendship, and your unconditional love.  

As I grow closer to the Lord, I spend more time picturing your life in Heaven.  I like to imagine hearing the things you would say about Heaven and Jesus.  I picture your excitement as you meet and talk with so many others that you never met on earth but were inspired by.  I want to hear the details of your time there.

That’s one of the things I miss most about you Mom, your attention to detail, your desire for detail.  This is particularly one of the biggest losses for me in losing you.  We shared details…..  There are few people in my life now that are interested in the details.  I’m pretty sure it is by God’s design.  Though it causes me pain and tempts me down the road to lonely, it also drives me to Him as there is no one that knows and appreciates details like He does.

I get up really early in the morning now to spend time with the Lord. Sometimes it’s chilly in my house, so I put on my big fluffy robe that you bought for me, and I drink tea or coffee out of one of your mugs.  It reminds me of when I was a kid, when I woke I would find you in your own fluffy robe sitting on the couch praying and reading your Bible, sometimes crying like I do now too.  It makes me smile to think that my kids will have the same memories of me when they grow up.  I feel grown up, and like I understand you better now.  It also makes me laugh when I think about the fact that you would have water in your mug because you liked drinking from a mug but you didn’t really care for coffee or tea.  You were special, unlike any other in both deep ways, and silly ways too.

I’m still learning how to live without you.  I wonder will it always feel that way?  You never walked through losing someone you were close to like I was close to you.  I’m so happy for you to have not experienced that one hardship in this life, but it also feels strange for me to be walking through something so hard not having had your walk to model after.  

One late night, after we knew you had stage four cancer, I let myself imagine a little how different life would be without you if you didn’t make it.  It was terrifying and the worst thing I could imagine.  While I felt so twisted up with grief, worry, and disbelief, I heard God whisper to me, “I’ll make it beautiful.”  I believed Him but I wasn’t ready to surrender to the idea.  I still find myself learning how to surrender to the idea, but He was and is faithful.  He’s making it beautiful.

You always appreciated His beauty, and now I appreciate it too.  You’re life mattered.  He still uses your example to grow me every day. Thank you for being faithful to Him.  I love you Mom, forever.

Laura

 

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About Laura: I’m a daughter of the One True King. I’m a warrior in training for His Kingdom. I’m a sinner redeemed by Jesus. The only good you will find in me comes from Him, Jesus in me. Without Him, I’m just a mess… I’m also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.  My passion is to inspire women to desire change, to go, do, and be, the beautiful and powerful warrior daughters God created them to be.

 

My Unspoken Grief (of Dad)

My Unspoken Grief (of Dad)

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August 20, 2005

Dear Maria, 

It is with great hope and sincere joy that I write to you this evening. Your emotion speaks to new challenges, changes, longing for family, friends, and a new environment. A big lot to carry – but then God says “have no fear, for I am with you.” Maria, my daughter, I love you. You can do this. As the work of change proceeds, God will open up a deeper, more passionate, more consuming way for your life. Sweetie, God has made you for special things – teaching? motherhood? only God knows for sure. Colossians says “prepare for action” – Maria this is your time to prepare! I’ll be watching and caring for you with great attention these next few years. With so much going for you, with Mom, I’ll assist in any way I can. This is a wonderful place. You are very special to many – and me too! After such a great loss to have you in my life is a great gift! I wish you grace and strength to meet all that is before you.” 

I love you, 

Dad 

 

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Six years after this letter was written Mom and Dad died in a plane crash. I sit here, typing out Dad’s words to me, thinking how timely they are for right now. I miss him. I don’t expose my grief over my dad very often. Mom was my biological Mom. Although I was not Dad’s biological daughter, he asked to adopt me and so he did. Once the adoption was finalized, he told me he believes God changed my DNA to match his. Dad really believed I was his and I started to believe it too, but this is hard for others to understand. Because of that, sharing my grief over my dad is a different experience for me then when I share about my mom.

When I share the pain of missing my mom, it’s easily understood and received with sympathy offered back. When I share the pain of losing my dad, I find myself having to explain our relationship and how I hurt over his loss just as deep as my mom’s. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “oh he wasn’t your real dad, right?” or “ok, so you are the step-daughter. I was thinking you were his real one?”, or when I talk about my pain from losing both parents, I’ve heard “your mom was so wonderful. I’m sorry that you lost her.” Uh, hello?! I lost both of my parents, I was talking about both of my parents!”, I want to yell as to remind them I hurt just as bad over Dad’s death as I do Mom’s. I lost two parents that day. It’s not always but it is often that I walk away from a conversation about their death thinking, “they must not understand Dad’s death is just as painful as mom’s. They must not understand the depth of love we had for each other and the great impact of his loss.” and it’s painful and makes it hard to want to share about the grief over him. It feels like something only a few understood. Because of this, I often quiet my pain over losing Dad…but not tonight. Tonight I speak my grief, my pain, my ache for my dad. Eleven years later, here is my response to you, Dad:

 

 

Dear Dad, 

It is with great hope (that I will see you again in heaven) and sincere joy (knowing you get to see Jesus’ face) that I write to you this evening. Tonight my emotion speaks to new challenges, changes, longing for family (you and mom and Jesus), friends, and a new environment (heaven). You are right, it is a big lot to carry – but then God says “have no fear, for I am with you.”  and, as my dad, you taught me how to walk out faith in the midst of fear. Dad, my father, I love you. I know you knew I could do this, and I will. I will keep walking in faith. Dad, you were right, God did open up a deeper, more passionate, more consuming way for my life. God has made me for special things – to train up three little disciples, your grandkids. Colossians says “prepare for action” – Dad, I’m preparing and will continue! Thank you for watching and caring for me with great attention over the years of life with you. You did so much more then assist mom, you were the man in my life. It’s with tears I say, I love you and treasured my time as your daughter! After such a great loss, you are still one of my greatest gifts. The memories with you are far better then the ones without you. I really hope Jesus lets me run into your arms when I get to Heaven. 

I love you, 

Maria

 

Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“For five years my life looked like so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in.”

“For five years my life looked like so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in.”

My name is Audra and this is my story of grief. 

229074_1037722581284_4019_n Dad.  He was my best friend.  He had such a natural way about him that made his presence comfortable, easy, and loving. My relationship with him was one of laughter, song, life, faith-building and nourishment.  He was the best person I knew.  He was my person.

 When I lost him, it was like I went into a thick, dark, unknown woods to look for him and became lost myself.  I would try to go down one trail and it would lead me to thorns. I’d go down another and it would lead to thistles. Then I’d try to go down another trail and it would lead me to fruit, water, and light. There’d be a Man (Jesus) there with a smile of love and acceptance. It would become a place I’d never want to leave. But, alas, I’d wander into the darkness of the woods and begin searching again. 

 For five years my life looked like that analogy- so much darkness with bursts of light mixed in. I got into the rhythm of finding anything that would help me feel anything but my true pain, all of which would fall short.   I’d then run back to faith, to my Jesus.  I would then push him away and go back into my unhealthy grief. 

 Somewhere within that fifth year of grief, God started to prod me to see a counselor. My pain had become overpowering. The first two months were extremely hard. My river of tears had been frozen for years. As I faced the pain and began to look it in the face, that river started to thaw. I began to feel again. I began to cry. I began my healthy journey of grief. 

 It’s been seven years since my dad died. His death has become a part of me. This grief will always be woven within me. I’ve just recently been able to think back on the life I had before the storm with joy instead of pain. This is not done, though. But it’s so much more bearable. 

 My friends, Jesus has brought me out of darkness and into His light. He was always waiting in that forest for me.  He was always ready for me to eat from His fruit, drink from His water, envelope me in His light. I still struggle, but I struggle with Jesus. I still fall to my knees in grief at the thought of not experiencing my dad’s delight in his grandchildren or that he will never meet my husband, John. I can’t bear the thought of wishing him back in this broken world, so instead I’ll look forward to my future and cling to the hope of seeing him again. Because that hope is enough. 

 I used to blame God for what happened to my dad but as the years have gone by, I have realized that He would never wish this pain upon anyone. It’s the result of the sin in this world that my dad passed away. God is using the ashes of dad’s death to form something beautiful.  If you have experienced loss and you’re in the depth of your grief, please know that the unconditional love and peace of God is healing and freeing.

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14611095_10210484697411678_1207847882707491071_n A little about Audra~Hey y’all! My name is Audra Arnold. I’m a wife to my husband, a lover of all things birds and a nanny to three adorable boys (I love my job). Most of all, I’m a daughter of Jesus. If you would like to continue to follow my story or would like to get in contact with me, feel free to add any of my media links that are listed below. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Connect with me over at:
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/audrageiser
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ _audruh
E-mail:   audey4@gmail.com