9 Ways You Can Help A Grieving Heart

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of
killings in our country and around the world.

Regardless of who you are or where you come from,
when someone you love dies,
it blows a hole in your heart,
and
changes your life forever.

My experience being widowed twice in four years
gives me the courage to say
you can make a difference in the process of grief.

 Here are 9 ways to help mitigate the agony when
tragedy strikes close to home.

 

1.
Look for the person who is grieving.

 

Smile at them.  
Talk with her or him.
Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say,
or you feel uneasy.
Push through the feeling of awkwardness,
they need you.

Here’s advice from the American Cancer Society about that.

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving.
Many people do not know what to say or do.
Here are suggestions to use as a guide.

Acknowledge the situation.
Example: “I heard that your_____ died.”
Use the word “died”.
That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.

Express your concern.
Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”

Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings.
Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.

Offer your support.
Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”

2.
Pray for them often and tell them that you are.

Ask them how they need God to show up in their life.
Do they need provision? 
How about wisdom for parenting? 
What about all the decisions they have to make?

I assure you they need prayer for the grace to deal with
people who will undoubtedly say inappropriate things!

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Moments, Miracles and Surprise Endings

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 Last week I was part of the Speak Up Conference
Mowhere hundreds of speakers and writers converged at the
Prince Center in Grand Rapids, MI to
learn, grow and network.

I was privileged to have the main stage one morning.
Here is the summary of the powerful message God gave me!

Do you ever have MOMENTS?

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents?
How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided?
Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair?
Imagine your reaction to discovering that your car has been towed!

Would you have a MOMENT?

I dare say,
Delays, Disappointments and Doubts
trigger many MOMENTS.

In John 11,
Mary and Martha are having a moment because their brother is deathly ill.
They send word to Jesus.

They don’t tell him what to do,
They tell him what’s going on – like you would in a prayer …

and then they wait 
for him to tell them what to do.

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Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners

It’s Independence Day weekend,
when we celebrate the freedom we enjoy every day.

Most of us will spend time with family or friends –
on the boat, on the deck, at the parade …
at least that’s my plan.

It’s the freedom I have that makes me want to
share a great book with you this week!

My friend, Carol Kent
has just released a new devotional for families of prisoners.

If you don’t know Carol’s story about her son Jason’s incarceration,
check it out here.

This collection of 90 devotionals is called
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners.

Each devotional starts with an inspirational quote you can hang onto,
followed by a personal story that addresses the
challenges families face when someone they love is incarcerated.
The devotionals conclude with words of wisdom and/or encouragement and
wrap everything up with a summary of selected scriptures that
anyone can understand.

The stories are heartfelt and heart-breaking.
I have to believe this book will be a comfort and encouragement
if you have a family member in prison.

Even though my story does not include a family member in prison,
I found
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
to be compassionate and honest.
There’s a part of me that is so thankful this isn’t my story, but
after reading
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners,
I’m better equipped to minister to and support these hurting families.

I admire Carol for her willingness to continue to carry on the conversation
about her family’s ongoing trial for the benefit of others with
fewer resources and little support.

Maybe you don’t have a family member in prison,
but maybe you know someone who does.

Share
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
with them.

Turning Tomorrow into Today

Tomorrow.
What a lovely word.
Full of promise and opportunity.

I live in an old farm house with closets the size of your refrigerator.
Consequently, I only have room for in-season clothes.
Off-season clothing hibernates in the basement. 
Last weekend, I switched out the winter layers for summer outfits. 

And I discovered a problem!

My capris and skirts and shorts were TIGHT!

The obvious solution is to shed a few pounds so that
my summer clothes will fit comfortably again.

How hard can it be? 

Then I remember we have company coming for dinner and
it would be rude to serve them rabbit food and no dessert.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The next day I remember I’m invited to an Open House
and there will all kinds of delicacies I’ll want to sample in large quantities.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The same thing happens with 
my book writing and 
my house cleaning and
my thank you notes and
my reading list and
my Bible study and 
my … 
Well, you get the idea.

Maybe you do the same thing.

Tomorrow …
I’ll start my diet.

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God’s Surprising Solutions to Prayer

From my home office, I could hear the racket.

Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical.
At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance
and trying to walk out of the basement again.
I quickly discovered the central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

Oh no!

It was 90 degrees outside and summer was just getting started.
I shut it off and called the repair man to look at it.
 

His assessment?

“Call a salesman. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 20 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, 
“I’d guess close to $3000.00.”

I nearly fainted and not from the heat!

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Small Beginnings Lead to Big Victories!

 

Yesterday, the bathrooms had to be scrubbed.
Tomorrow is laundry day so tomorrow night is dedicated to ironing.
Mr. 4-Ever wants to eat again today,
which means grocery shopping and more cooking.

Just to be clear,
this is not how I prefer to spend my days.

I want to pray, study, and worship God.
I want to teach Bible study to women who love and/or need Jesus.
I want to write great talks to deliver to women desperate for Good News.
I want to create captivating books for women to read
so they can be inspired and energized and reengage with God.

But here I am …
cooking, cleaning, and ironing.

Doing the ordinary stuff.
Doing the boring stuff.
Doing the familiar stuff.

There’s a little verse in Zechariah 4:10 that says,
“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,
to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

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When A Playboy Bunny Met God

My blog post this week is featured in Shattered Magazine.

 

Being a Playboy Bunny wasn’t something I aspired to. I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to be walking porn. It happened the way most sinful things happen. Gradually. Insidiously.

Don’t get me wrong; I chose it. I wasn’t destitute or forced into it. I had a great home life. Though not spiritual, my family was responsible and moral. I had the benefit of an excellent education. I was smart and pretty, but I chose to toss brains aside because beauty was easier.

The Perfect Job

I saw the ad for Playboy bunnies when I was looking for work after my first year of college:

“Great pay! No experience required. Apply in person.”

That certainly sounded more interesting than working a tedious clerical job or doing backbreaking factory work. My professional résumé may have been unimpressive, but since the Bunny job was based almost entirely on appearance, my face and figure were the only credentials I needed. I made the cut and started the job a week later.  

Read the rest of the article in 

Shattered Magazine

You Are What You Choose

I don’t know about you, but often,
when I return home from a
retreat, vacation or work related trip, 

my house looks as if the maid was on vacation –

because she was!  

Dishes in the sink, pizza boxes piled on the counter, 
trash overflowing, and stuff everywhere.
And the children?  
Don’t even ask!

Reentry can be tough.

When I go away for a time of refreshment specifically to hear from God, 
I am often convicted inspired to change everything that is wrong with me.

Do you do that?

I crazily believe it’s possible to have a daily hour-long quiet time
in my (as yet to be built) private prayer closet.

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My Hubby’s Response Stopped Me In My Tracks

 

As usual, I was in a rush. 

I seem to have 2 speeds: asleep and hurry.

I was late getting home, and
in my flurry to get into the house to start dinner,
I shoved open my car door with too much enthusiasm.
It clunked into the lawn mower handle.

Thud.

A long, angry, black mark scarred the car door.

CRUD!
How was I going to explain this to Mr. 4-Ever?  

I had already wrecked the car twice since we’d been married. 
Now every time I say, “Honey, I need to talk to you,”
he jokingly responds,
“Robyn, did you wreck the car again?”

 There was no getting around it,
I’d just have to fess up.
 

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What’s in your closet?

I spent a good chunk of yesterday cleaning out the
“toy closet.”

I haven’t had children at home for years.
Deep sigh …
followed by a leap for joy!
(Don’t judge, I am happy to have healthy, thriving, gainfully employed boys who’ve grown into men.)

I’m reclaiming all the real estate in my house previously dedicated to storing their paraphernalia.
I will no longer keep art projects from grade school,
football cleats from high school or dental models of lost retainers.

Yesterday, I cleared the last bastion of their territory … the toy closet.
Toys spanning the decades spilled out to be sorted and bagged up

in preparation of their move to someone else’s home.

Candyland, all the chess boards and the Monopoly game … out.
Beanie Babies, action figures and matchbox cars … out.
Glitter pens, coloring books and the potholder loom …  out.
Puzzles, sidewalk chalk and the abacus no one ever knew how to use … out!

Can I just tell you, it’s liberating.
I am giddy with glee!

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