“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die…. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.” ~ Ecclesiates 3:1-2a, 4
October is almost over. Fall weather is finally looking like it’s going to stick around and we can enjoy our season of boots, scarves, long sleeves, and peppermint mochas (or pumpkin spice, if that’s your cup of tea. Coffee. Whatever.) Some of the best holidays and holy days are fast approaching with all the joy and stress that they bring.
For some of us, October is a hard month. It was this month six years ago that I lost and buried my mother, events I am still trying to mourn. Rachel has bravely shared her struggles, and she’s not alone in her losses. Maybe October isn’t your favorite month for some other reason.
But there are reasons for these seasons. If we were always laughing we might lose the sparkle in our eyes because tears would never wash them. If it were always autumn we would miss the flowers and new life. If pumpkin spice or peppermint mochas were always around our excitement might fade to complacency.
God is good and knows our needs. He brings us through to lighter seasons and can bring our mourning into focus. The pain might never go away and we will randomly start to cry at the slightest thing that reminds us of our hurts, but there are so many other things moving forward to be excited about, to look forward to, and to grow from.
Let us pray together today for those in a season of weeping or mourning, that we might weep and mourn with them and gracefully transition in communion to a season of laughing and dancing and peppermint mochas.
Superman is a Baylor alum and it’s not too far, so we like to make day trips to Waco every once in awhile. This past Saturday we went tout hang out and found out it was actual their homecoming. Sic ’em! Instead of participating in the festivities (since we didn’t realize they would be going on), we explored the town.
We went to the super neat Dr. Pepper Museum (who knew that was a thing?!) where they expressly state that pictures cannot be used for anything other than personal use, so I don’t have any pictures to share from that experience. I do, however, have to tell you that it’s totally worth going. Little Miss got to participate in some experiments and became a “Soda Pop Scientist.” Lots of fun.
Texas is fortunate enough to have lots of Catholic bloggers, so I reached out to one of them who hails from Waco to see what she thought we shouldn’t miss on our trip. She recommended stopping by Saint Francis on the Brazos Catholic Church, and since I’m not one to pass up a visit to an older Catholic Church, we went.
The outside was absolutely beautiful and reminded my daughter of a Spanish mission…probably because that’s how it started, if I had to guess. We would have loved to have gone inside to see the church and its full beauty, but there was a quinceanera going on, so we’ll have to save that for our next trip.
Here are just a few photos from outside the church. Enjoy!
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” 1 Chronicles 16:11
When you know a family who has lost a child (or really anyone), it might be hard to comfort them. Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of some very uncomfortable-almost-awkward comforting. The best intentions may not be enough to get the job the done.
As someone who, sadly, knows, here are our top five things that we found the most helpful when we lost our children.
Pray for us and our family. Pray for God’s comfort and peace in the hearts of all involved. No one can be offended when offered prayers. It lets them know that you care when you take the time to offer up prayers for them. It’s the best compliment we know, and it’s one that The Scientist and I love to receive.
Our favorite dish someone brought over (besides wine—thanks Kristi!) was brownies. Sometimes a little chocolate and a glass of wine go a long way. Food seems to comfort almost everyone and a treat now and again from someone else will warn their hearts.
Please think about what you are going to say to a grieving family before you say it.
They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I know that I am guilty of this; my mouth is a person of its own. The rule of thumb here? If you don’t like to be asked certain things, don’t repeat those same questions to someone who is grieving.
Acts of service are wonderful and a true gift to a grieving family. I know I usually prefer to be asked if there is something someone can do for me instead of just doing any old thing. It will mean a lot to your friend or family member if you do something that they feel they need done.
Quality time is something I know that I love. When I can have some time with my friends or family, just doing simple things, it makes a difference. Examples are watching a movie, taking a walk, making cookies, scheduling “talk and wine” time, and/or silly karaoke. Anything that involves you and your hurting friend would be a wonderful gift to give.
I see you there, muffling your crying, alone with the door closed. Do not fear; the Lord is with you and so am I. I have been where you are right now behind that closed door.
Once upon a time I was sitting there wondering how I was ever going to find joy after losing my little one. One thing I can definitely tell you, joy is not a thing you can seek. Joy itself will seek you when the time is right.
There will never be a time where your heart won’t ache for your baby. You will have moments of intense rage and sadness that overcome you from time to time.
There will be a time when the sun shines through a window, your beloved puppy looks at you with unconditional love, a warm embrace from your husband, a funny joke your daddy said, and then you will feel a spark a joy.
Those moments that find you when you are at the bottom. Joyful moments should never be hidden, or ashamed of, because God gave you joy to help remind you of the good in the world. Smile, laugh, give hugs, dance around, sing that song, and treat your self because you deserve all good things momma.
You love all of your children and work hard each day to give them more than what you had. You work to give them a chance out in this world to do well. Be proud of your accomplishments; don’t let anyone ever try to take your joy away.
Take the joy you have and spread all around; it will teach your children that going through storm is serious work but there is always time to be joyful. Your children will know that God created a season for everything. Your living example on how you deal with the loss will resonate with one heart or more.
Keep doing what you are doing momma; you are living life well and doing an amazing job.
Keep your chin up and eyes focused on God and his will. Work your vocation and remember there is a joy in suffering and God’s unconditional love in your heart.
I will be praying for you and I will be holding your hand in your season of sorrow.
This chapter in the bible has helped me through most of my storms.
“There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building; A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing; A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing; A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for discarding; A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking; A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace. What do people gain from the efforts they make? I contemplate the task that God gives humanity to labor at. All that he does is apt for its time; but although he has given us an awareness of the passage of time, we can grasp neither the beginning nor the end of what God does. I know there is no happiness for a human being except in pleasure and enjoyment through life. And when we eat and drink and find happiness in all our achievements, this is a gift from God. I know that whatever God does will be for ever. To this there is nothing to add, from this there is nothing to subtract, and the way God acts inspires dread. What is, has been already, what will be, is already; God seeks out anyone who is persecuted. Again I observe under the sun: crime is where justice should be, the criminal is where the upright should be. And I think to myself: the upright and the criminal will both be judged by God, since there is a time for every thing and every action here. I think to myself: where human beings are concerned, this is so that God can test them and show them that they are animals. For the fate of human and the fate of animal is the same: as the one dies, so the other dies; both have the selfsame breath. Human is in no way better off than animal — since all is futile. Everything goes to the same place, everything comes from the dust, everything returns to the dust. Who knows if the human spirit mounts upward or if the animal spirit goes downward to the earth? I see there is no contentment for a human being except happiness in achievement; such is the lot of a human beings. No one can tell us what will happen after we are gone.” ~Ecclesiastes 3
I am a godmother to two boys, a girl, and a sweet baby who passed too soon to know. Three of those four children belong to the same couple. None of those three are with us today. One of my godsons was stillborn. My goddaughter was only alive for a short time, and I never got to meet her.
In moments where the elderly pass, you can at least cling to the memories you have. That isn’t so with infant children and miscarriages. What can you say that won’t fall flat? That won’t sound like you ripped it out if a Hallmark card?
Nothing. Honestly, there’s nothing you can say. So how do you support your friend or loved one in that instance?
My mom loves to quote, “Actions speak louder than words.” She especially said this when I was a moody teenager, but it’s good to remember.
You show up (with permission, and never unannounced) and clean the house. Do the dishes. Walk the dog.
You go grocery shopping or order takeout for them.
You let them know you’re there if you need them and then do nothing else. They’ll come to you in their own time, when they are ready.
Reach out to them with texts, cards, emails, calls, letters–whatever it takes.
Pray for them.
Allow them to cry and fall apart. Be the person who lets them give voice to their emotions. Remember that you can’t be put back together if you don’t fall apart.
What do you do when you don’t know what to say? Love them.