My heart is overwhelmed with sadness and grief My soul cannot bear it alone Life’s storms are too great for my steadfast feet My spirit is sinking, I’m almost gone But someone is reaching to take my burden away He has a spirit of kindness and love His touch has vanished the night into day Now I’m light and free as the dove He draws me nearer and nearer to his heavenly throne And lets me see visions of that city fair I fancy I see loved ones perfectly at home Basking in the sunshine of his presence – God’s son!
Letha Bernice Tackett, April 3, 1982
While searching for a document in my computer files I ran across this poem, pinned by my Mother in 1982. As I read it I could almost feel the words settling deep in my being as if they were just now being spoken from the depths of my soul. Words written forty years ago that God knew I would need tonight.
I have felt deeply sad and overwhelmed with life’s grief this week. Christmas season usually brings a gentle melancholoy with it, but this year has been moreso. The world is weary and banged up pretty bad. I’m feeling it to my bones. I’m weary from dealing with what we thought was the flu but turned out to be covid. I’m weary with words that were hurtful and misunderstood; weary with unanswered questions and where do we go from here. I’m weary of all the exhausting coversations in my head that I wish I could share with my Mom who always had a way with words.
But God. Isn’t it just like him to lead me to words from my mother, written long ago, that were born out of her faith in him. Words that gently remind me that I can’t bear the weariness alone. The storms are too big to carry on my shoulders and the resolutions are his to make.
The realization that he is my hope in all things, including the worlds bruises as well as my own, brings freedom. I can let go of the overwhelm. I can let him draw me ever closer to him and the hope of my heavenly home where I will stand in his presence with the world’s weariness far behind me. Where my mom and other loved ones are already basking in his light.
With loving kindness God has granted me peace in spite of lingering illness and questions without answers. He has reminded me that I don’t have to figure everything out. I can go quietly on and allow him to do his work in his time. Recognizing that truth brings freedom. With freedom in him I have everything.
In him and through faith in him we may approach god with freedom and confidence.
As we go into this last week of Advent my prayer is that you will find freedom in the anticipation of the coming King; the Child that Isreal waited for so long ago and the redeemer we now wait for with anticipation of his second coming. Allow your weary soul to quietly wait in peace.
I look across at your house and see shadows of the trees dancing in the sunlight and I’m reminded of our porch dances.
You’d sway to the rhythm of your own music and smile impishly. Even though I was across the yard looking through my window I knew there was a twinkle in your eye.
As you twirled under the porch light, I waved and danced along with you wishing we could stay like this forever; a happy moment suspended in time.
I loved when you danced because that meant you were happy. You were so full of life and even when the Alzheimer’s was robbing you of so much you still had a passion for living.
I’ll never forget the time you told me about your dancing skirt. It was denim with several gores; it came down almost to your ankles and it had a nice twirl. I came over one day and you had it on. You told me that when you put it on it made you dance. That skirt is long gone but I hope it is making someone else dance.
Today is a day to remember. You’ve been gone two years and I miss you so much, but when I think of you dancing in heaven it brings me peace because I know how happy you are in the arms of Jesus.
I hope there is a porch in heaven so that someday soon we can dance again.
Let them praise His name with dancing….Psalm 149:3
As Christmas draws near I am realizing just how much not having my Mom with me this year hurts. I know I am not alone in missing someone. Several of you who read have also lost loved ones and you know that tug and pull of celebrating while grieving.
We will make new memories this year but the air will be palpable with longing for those who are not present. One of the new memories for our family will be taking Roses to my mom’s grave in honor of what would have been her and Dad’s 59th wedding anniversary. He had been giving her roses for the past several years.
I think that is what hurts the most – knowing that my Dad has lost his bride. He married her on Christmas Day in 1959 and he loved her well through all the years they had. I remember the week she was in Hospice he held her hand and told her that he had loved her for 58 years and would never stop loving her. I know she heard him because she tried to tell him that she loved him. We heard the word love. It was one of the last moments that we knew she was still somewhat aware of us. A moment we will treasure.
Two hearts entwined; inseparable LBT
Christmas is Love. The greatest love ever given to us was the birth of Jesus. It is because of his love that we are capable of loving. It is because of his love that my parents were able to celebrate so many years together and raise their children to know Jesus. I know my mom loved Jesus. She would tell me that she wanted to see Jesus. In the midst of the Alzheimer’s she still knew who Jesus was and she would talk about him.
This year she is celebrating Christmas with Jesus. She is having the ultimate Christmas and so even though I miss her terribly and know that Christmas will be bittersweet this year I am rejoicing with her that she is experiencing the greatest love of all this Christmas.
She has received the gift that was anticipated for so long. Her long-expected Saviour has arrived. As we are celebrating the Advent of Christmas, we too can wait expectantly for the Christ-child. We can open our hearts to receive him. He will be our comfort and help us navigate the missing, the longing, the memories and the hope of one day being reunited.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
I’ve been wearing my mom’s socks; it makes me feel close to her. It is one of the ways I am navigating through grief these days and finding moments of peace during the Advent Season.
I’ve also been seeing her in my dreams. she usually doesn’t say anything; she’s not even necessarily a main part of the dream and I don’t remember all the details. it’s like watching a movie and there are people walking down the street or in the background. you see them but they’re not part of the main movie.
When she does show up in my dreams she looks like she did in her fifties. She’s dressed stylishly with her hair pulled back and she’s walking with confidence and purpose. She looks happy and peaceful.It’s seeing her like she was before the Alzheimer’s. I think these are little gifts that God has been giving me to reassure me that all is well. To remind me that she is whole now and complete in him. I still miss her terribly but I wouldn’t bring her back even if I could. She’s dancing with Jesus and I would not take that away from her.
A few nights ago the funeral home that handled her arrangements hosted a memorial service for those who had lost loved ones this year. It was a sweet simple service that began with singing Joy to the world, followed by a message that allowed us to acknowledge our grief and accept it while encouraging us to find comfort and peace in laying our grief at the feet of Jesus.
The service ended with the song I can only imagine. When they sang the line about dancing or standing in awe I told my husband and father that I’m sure mom was dancing for Jesus. She was full of life and laughter and even in the most horrible ravages of Alzheimer’s that still Shone through.
Sitting in the sanctuary of the local Baptist Church hearing the scriptures read, listening to the words so aptly spoken, hearing the songs of worship, I began to notice that there was such a sweet spirit of peace wrapping around us. It was a peace brought on by the presence of the Lord among us but also a peace brought on by the collective grief of those present and the knowledge that we are all walking the same journey.
Even though our grief manifests itself in various ways it is still a common thread that binds us together. We know how the others feel and we know that God is our only peace.
I am thankful for that service and the reminder that it gives to me during this season of celebration.
A reminder that even in our grief we can still celebrate happy times, we can embrace our loved ones, live life fully and honor those we have lost by remembering them and making room for the grief. Joy and sorrow are not an either-or choice; they are allowed to reside together in our hearts and bring us peace and comfort.
whatever grief you are feeling during this season of Advent I pray you are leaving your heart open to be filled with God’s peace.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Life is hard. Many of us have been through some things in recent months. I have grieved the loss of my mother, a dear friend’s loss of her sister and another dear friend who just this week lost her mother. In addition to the loss of loved ones, there are other griefs we bear. Some we share and some we hold close in our heart hoping to shield them from prying eyes. In the midst of our hurt, we don’t’ always feel like giving thanks or celebrating.
At least lately that has been my story. But God is faithful and he is holy. He is worthy of our trust in any and all circumstances. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. He alone is worthy.
So, today, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the weeks of Christmas preparation that this season ushers in I felt the need to utter a petition on our behalf.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You, above all, are faithful and Holy.
Hold us close to your bosom and whisper your peace into our souls.
We are weary and battered from our travels; our steps falter under loads we were not meant to bear.
We lay our burdens at your feet asking humbly that you take the weight off our shoulders; steady us and walk alongside.
Shield us from the fiery darts flung carelessly our way; Intercept them and render them useless to be used for harm.
We seek your wisdom and guidance; Lead us ever gently along the path you have designed.
We stand before you with open arms ready to receive, with gratitude, all that you bestow.
Wrap us in your love and let it overflow so that we may gift it to others.
With thankful hearts in the name of Jesus, we entreat your mercies.