Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

When Darkness Gave Way to Light

posted by Linda Mintle

Christmas is not an easy time when a loved one is nearing death. I know this first hand, as I had to say goodbye to my mom two years ago. Mom knew the Lord and was not afraid to die. But is it never easy to say goodbye to a parent?

Even when you know death is not final, that your loved one will be reunited with family members who have gone before them, the reality of loss is still difficult to embrace.

I am grateful for the time we have had together, happy that we worked through our differences in years past. The last time I crawled in to her hospital bed and lay there quietly with my arm around her, we didn’t have to speak. It was a silent night; all was calm and all was at peace.

And I wondered… What did God feel the night He gave His Son to be born in a lowly manager, knowing 33 years later, his son would die? The tiny babe would grow in stature and be put to death for our sins. On this side of Heaven, the celebration of birth is always matched with the reality of death.

But the baby Jesus brought hope. The plan to save us was put into motion by the birth of the Christ child. The story of Christmas ends with the triumph of God. One day, there will be no more tears, no sorrows, and no disease.

Rejoice! Our Light has come!

So if you must prepare to say goodbye to someone you love, have hope. As the person passes from this life into the presence of God, you will see that person again worshipping around the throne of the babe who was the light of the world.

On a starry night long ago, darkness gave way to light.  And that light remains no matter how dark the night may be.

The New Normal? Children Born Outside of Marriage

posted by Linda Mintle

More children are now being born outside of marriage, according to a new study by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values. Click on the photo to watch this short interview to learn how this impacts children.

It’s All Relative: 10 Come Backs to Family Digs

posted by Linda Mintle

There is no place like home for the holidays unless it is filled with family members who seem to have nothing better to do then criticize or complain. So to maintain a little peace on earth, think about how you want to respond to the family digs. Here are a few examples:

1) Does Rachel ever sit still at the table? “I know, she is really excited this year. Normally, I would be on her but it is a holiday so I’m giving her a bit more leeway.”

2) Ricky is eating a bunch of cookies. Don’t you want to stop him? “Thanks for your concern but it’s only one day out of the year. It’s OK today.”

3) I noticed that your children didn’t say thank you when they opened their gifts. “But you did notice that I told them to say thank you. I think they were very excited and just needed a reminder today.”

4) Are you still single? “I am but the good news is that I am not going through a divorce or having marital problems!”

5) You know, our tax dollars are paying for your unemployment. “And I appreciate that. I am really trying to find a job and if you know of any leads, please let me know.”

6) Haven’t you been in school for a long time? “It seems like forever. But I am determined to get my degree. Keep me in your prayers!”

7) You might want to think twice about taking that second piece of pie. “I am. Being intentional  about what I eat is one of my goals. So if I eat this now, I will need to cut back later. What is your weight loss strategy?”

8) Are you and Jim having marital problems? “That’s really personal and I’d like to focus on the holiday. But thanks for your concern.”

9) I would never allow my dog to be on the furniture. “People have really different ideas when it comes to their pets. I’m glad you see that!”

10) Are you really going to use paper plates? “I am. I have dishes but I thought this would make clean up easier and give us more time together. Thanks for understanding.”

Physical and Emotional Reactions to Grief

posted by Linda Mintle

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been two years and I miss her! And today, families are burying their loved ones in Connecticut. Grief can overwhelm but we can get through it.

Grief is a normal reaction to loss and trauma. Check how you are doing.

Although we tend to believe grief passes through consecutive stages, it doesn’t. Grieving is a process in which a number of emotions and behaviors are revisited several times. There is no right order, and people tend to go back and forth with varying feelings. Grief is an automatic process in which a period of denial helps buy time to process the loss.

We respond with numbness, shock, denial, intense sorrow, pain, anger, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, isolation, physical symptoms, irritability, fantasy, restlessness, disorganization and hopelessness.

Grief is a time of stress that taxes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. During grief, try to eat nutritiously and get plenty of rest, even though you are not thinking about self-care and will have difficulty doing these two things. Physical symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, dizziness, heart palpitations, numbness, and insomnia. The overall feeling is one of body exhaustion caused by the intensity of emotions.

Grieving comes and goes in intensity. Some days you are doing well, and other days are just hard to get through. At times, you will be surprised at how the most insignificant thing can bring on an outpouring of grief. At other times you will be amazed at your strength. Through it all, you’ll discover that His grace is sufficient to meet all your needs. Hear Jesus say to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9, KJV). His strong arms surround you with comfort and love.

It’s important to watch for more severe signs of grief that may create deeper psychological problems, such as:

–Substance abuse

–Chronic psychosomatic complaints

–Excessive guilt

–Wanting to die and join the person who died.

–Morbid preoccupation with worthlessness

–Inability to get back into a routine after a significant period of time

–Overly intense reactions when the deceased is mentioned

–Isolation from normal relationships

–Feelings of intense hostility or irritability

If your physical symptoms, or any of the problems above, linger for more than two months and are interfering with your daily functioning, you may need to talk to a grief counselor. This time frame is only a reference. You will know if you are stuck in your grief. If so, help is available.

 

 

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