Tag Archive | Grief

Learning to Grow in Faith

My mom loved to plant things. She had the most amazing green thumb I’d ever seen. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised to notice that the flowers she planted more than 4 years ago still bloom every spring/summer. It’s been 2 years since she passed. 

This flower symbolizes to me that no matter what happens during our troubled season, there’s always a better season to come. We have to learn to be faithful through the process.

 Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

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2 Peter 3:18 ESV
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

 

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Always There

In preparing for a Kentucky Derby themed party I was faced with the question every woman asks “What do I wear?” I did what most women do, I went to the mall. Checked out a couple of my favorite stores and found the perfect dress in The Limited. The next question I was “Where am I going to find a hat?” Most people know that my mom was the queen of hats and accessories. I didn’t consider her things because they aren’t necessarily my style. After looking around and texting friends I came up empty and disappointed. Once I got home and settled (to my mom’s house) something told me to look in the closet. Low and behold Mom had a hat that matched perfectly with my dress. A hat still in the plastic wrapping with the paper stuffed inside. I pulled out the hat and tried it on and it wasn’t too much or too little. It was just right. As I looked in the mirror I felt my mother’s presence. It almost seemed as my reflection were hers looking back at me. I laughed and said “Thanks mom for always being there.”
I am reminded of the life of Jesus Christ. He lived, taught, prayed, suffered and died. He left part of Himself here in the form of the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. The Holy Spirit also comforts and reminds us of His love. Often times we don’t consider Him in the things we do but when we operate in the spirit, His presence is ALWAYS there and can ALWAYS be felt.
Thank you Mom for reminding me of how Christ operates in our lives when we are tuned into Him. Thank you for showing me what it means to have a close personal relationship with Christ. To ALWAYS know that He is ALWAYS there for us even when we aren’t there for ourselves.

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In Loving Memory of Patricia Thomas

Dear “Momma Pat”,

Thank you for your life, love and laughter. You were the ultimate role model for your daughter Chanta, anchor for your family, and the life of the party for your friends.

As I sat during your service and listened to the wonderful things people said about you, I began to understand more and more why it was so hard for Chanta to let you go. “Pat had a light and a smile about her that was known wherever she went.” You were an incredible woman. A woman after God’s own heart, just like my mother.

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Rev. Carl Hardy said something that really spoke to me, “Things happen in a person’s death for things to happen in another person’s life.” When someone close to us dies, we question and sometimes even deny it. As much as we try believe that it is all in God’s ultimate plan for that person to leave us, we have a hard time believing that there is an even better plan for us. The only thing we see is the cloud of grief and the pain of the loss. Until the clouds pass away and the pain hurts less, I will have to remind myself of the “Pat Lessons” that you lived by and left for others to follow.

1. Be true to your commitments. (Family, Friends)
2. Bounce back from setbacks. (Through it all enjoy life. Life must go on.)
3. Love on family and friends (A hug, kiss, phone call and visit go a long way.)
4. Keep God in the center. (All things happen in God’s time.)

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it. ~Mother Teresa~

I promise to look out for Chan for you. It’s unfortunate that our losses brought us closer together but it is a bond that can never be broken. “All things happen in God’s time.”

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Love,
Merical

Happiness

Always on my mind; forever in my heart.

April is approaching and it is the cruelest month ever. While others are basking in the introduction of spring and all things blossoming and beautiful. My family is dreading the anniversary of my moms passing.

Life is never the same after losing a parent even as an adult. For the first time, the person who knew us best, loved us unconditionally and who from the moment of our birth had always been an integral part of our life is no longer alive.

Gone are the expectations of my mother seeing my son grow up, sharing his achievements and his joys, and him sharing in her abundant love, kindness and wisdom. Everything just ceased to exist on the afternoon of Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Life will never be the same.

Eventually, I believe it’s possible to be happy again, or so I’ve been told. Im trying to find happiness through my relationship with God, my son, family and friends in my life. The love and kindness my mother so generously gave to me, is hard to share with others. It’s hard to give something that is so cherished to me that originated with her.

While, I graciously accept the gift of my mom’s life. I also accept that our greatest gifts are not ours to hold forever – but to appreciate and give back to God. But death leaves a heartache that’s often times unbearable therefore, how can happiness be apart of that equation? I try to think of ways to help others as a means to feel better to help my own healing process. Encouraging others, encourages me. When I give back, I’m honoring moms missionary legacy. When I find myself thinking of the time she is having in heaven, I smile and that gives me a small piece of happiness.

As the days go by and I allow God’s healing to take place, I pray daily that the emptiness and unhappiness I feel sometimes will be filled with the reminder of God’s promise to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6) and to be with me always (Matthew 28:20). Mom is not here anymore, but God is. He has and will always be there.

God called and Mom answered. Who am I to question or be angry at God? Who am I to want to deny mom a better life worth living?

Philippians 1:21-26 (NIV)
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

I should bask in the life she had and enjoyed here and how happy she is in heaven. My happiness should merely come from the fact that she is happy and sitting with God. She’s not suffering, she is having the time of her eternal life the way we remember her. Mom was taken well care of, loved and cherished when while she was here. She’s getting the royal treatment now! Its not fair to be selfish but I’m human and it DOES hurt to not have her here. The daily struggle is finding the balance, can I be happy in my life without my mom? Will what should be my happy moments be overshadowed by her absence?

Everyone’s journey to happiness isn’t the same. The distance between the depths of our sadness and road traveled in order to find happiness is different. The best way to honor her would be to not just find individual happiness but to make sure that the rest of the family is happy and cared for as well.

The reality is that being happy doesn’t mean that mom is loved less or forgotten. It just means that we stop allowing the grief to consume our lives. What will honor her memory is for us to live, love, laugh and enjoy the life she helped give us.

Special Delivery to My Loved Ones

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I’m Still Here

As I sit in heaven
And watch your everyday
I try to let you know with signs
I never went away
I hear you when you are laughing
And I watch you as you sleep
I even place my arms around you
To calm you as you weep
I see you wish the days away
Begging to have me home
So I try to send you signs
So, that you will know you are not alone
Don’t feel guilty that you have
Life that was denied me
Heaven is truly beautiful
Just you wait and see
So live your life, laugh again
Enjoy yourself, be free
Then I know with every breath you take
You’ll be taking one for me…

Love you all,
Mom

Release

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On Sunday, January 20, 2013 130pm at Kennedy Memorial Gardens. My siblings and I RELEASED 74 balloons in honor of moms upcoming birthday Thursday, January 24, 2013.

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As we try to put the pieces of our lives back together after our lost, it is always something. When there is disharmony, it makes the continued grieving and healing process even harder. It is my understanding that all of the things that has transpired since mom’s passing is “normal” or that “it happens in every family “. What disturbs my spirit the most is that, normal or not certain things simply should not be. Seeing a person with a sorrowful heart and allowing it to fester is worse than seeing a loved one’s body committed to the ground. They have no clue, knowledge or understanding that having a heart like that can break their spirit. I understand people grieve and deal with loss differently. I however pose the question

“Should someone else’s grieving process affect the healing process of another?”

Proverbs 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

If we have God’s understanding, we can ask Him for the knowledge to overcome every trial and situation. God is bigger than our grief, sorrow, pain and every problem that any of us face. We shouldn’t be like the fool who feeds on his folly. This is a person who is continually mouthing their troubles, blaming others including God. They blame Him (God) for their circumstances and even for taking their loved one away. They fed on self-pity and rehearse their problems to all who will listen. We must give our heartaches and troubles to God and keep a cheerful attitude no matter what is going on in our lives. We need to remember, “this too, shall pass” as God is eternal and has a good plan for our future.

We must find a way to give mom back to the Lord (She belonged to Him first, anyways.) and ask Him to remove the sorrow and grief from our hearts. We can keep the good memories, but we must not allow the enemy to torment us with the bad memories. God will replace the emptiness we feel, if we ask Him to. Jesus died on the cross, not only to give us eternal life, but He also died to take our grief and sorrows. Since He took them, we do not have to take these things into ourselves, but receive healing, and peace by faith. Faith that mom had and displayed everyday prior to her transition.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV) Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Tormenting grief is of the devil, that torment can make you want hold on to things that should not be held on to, like worldly possessions. That negative emotion can cause you to live in the past, ignore your present and void your future. The devil uses bad memories to keep you in bondage and make you hurt people around you. Unknowingly or even knowingly you are hurting family and friends who are trying to transition from grieving to healing. Not caring or being aware and conscious of the fact that they suffered the same loss as you.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 3:13-14 to forget those things behind us, and reach forth to the things in front of us in Christ Jesus. The devil uses grief as way to keep you from remembering God’s Word and promise to us.

I am in no way shape or form an expert and I don’t have all the answers. This journey without mom is new for me and I am learning this process as I go along. I can’t quote hundreds of scriptures. I still have to go to the table of contents to find certain books of the Bible. Im not trying to be preachy or holier than thou, just stating how I feel and know for myself. I know is what I was taught and instilled in me.

I remember how hard it was for my mother to eulogize her own mother years prior to her own passing. Mom did not allow the grief of loosing her own mother to consume her. She didn’t harbor my grandmother’s possessions. She knew the true value of her mother and it wasn’t defined by material things. She continued to live even through her moments of sadness because she was human. She didn’t stop taking care of herself, working, going to church, ministering, and teaching. I know the kind of woman my mother was and not because she was “mom” but because she was a living testimony, inspiration and example.

The best way to honor mom’s life and legacy is to not allow the devil to bind us in so much grief and darkness that we can’t see the light. Mom would want us to be free and release but remember her. Jesus died so that we may live so that we can be blessed and a blessing to others. If we submit to God and resist the devil, then the tormenting grief and pain caused by the devil, will have to flee. (James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)

With mom’s birthday, the first anniversary of her death and Mother’s Day approaching we have to remember it was God’s voice we heard through her. It was God’s light that we saw in her and it was God’s light that she went into when she passed. We wanted the best for her and she is receiving the best right now, in heaven. How could we not be joyous in that? There is nothing on this side of the world to hold on to but memories of and being there for mom when she needed us the most. My vow is to RELEASE tormented grieving and allow God to heal my heart and fill the void. I want to live the life that God has for me with a “cheerful attitude” and make my mother proud.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

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Be Who You Are

When becoming a mother for the first time, you have 1001 questions. You read books, you talk with other mothers, and rely on what your own Mother taught you. After all you want to be the BEST Mother you can be. Eventually after trail and error you learn what works for you. You also learn that the learning never ceases. Children are taught right from wrong and the difference between good and bad. Those things are apart of the foundation and core values set by your parents and loved ones. We are also taught to be the best “YOU” you can be. Embrace “YOUR” beauty and do the best “YOU” can. School teaches reading, writing, math, etc. Then there’s life, Mom always said “Life will teach you things you will never learn in the classroom.”

I was born a daughter, sister, aunt, niece and cousin. I didn’t know what those titles meant. I had responsibilities of being a daughter to my Mother but what about to the other members of my family? What exactly does a sister do? How am I supposed to be an “aunt” when I have two nephews older than me? (One of them had the nerve to make me a “great aunt”.) For the longest time, I didn’t feel like I connected with my siblings. I connected with my niece who was more like my little sister. It wasn’t until I reach adulthood that I was able to have a typical relationship with my siblings. We talk, laugh, joke, and fellowship with one another.

I can only be ME, I can’t be someone else. I am my Mother’s baby girl, a Mother to my son Adreyn, Sister to my siblings, Aunt to my nieces and nephews and more. I can’t be anything more or less than what God wants me to be.That’s why it’s important to be steadfast and confident in “Who You Are” and strive to be the BEST you for you. Mom was a walking example of that. There will never be another Rev. Martha V. Alexander, but her presence can always be felt. She knew who she was and remained true to herself and faithful to God.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”)

As I continue to learn and know myself I know I am greatness in the making because I am allowing God to do all the work. I strive to be a constant reflection of His grace and mercy while inspiring others as He inspires and humbles me. I am eternally grateful for the strength He provides me and the lessons my Mother taught me to be the BEST Merical Joy I can be. I may not be as “churchy” as some or go as often as others, one thing is true God knows my heart.

Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised…