Dear 2020,

Dear 2020,

Can we please get to the good part? We are tired. Once again you have forced the world to grieve and we are tired. Recession and racism are at an all-time high. We are tired. At the same time disease and natural disasters are taking over the world. We are tired. In less than 9 months our culture has lost Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, Andre Harrell, John Lewis, Little Richard, and now Chadwick Boseman. In all of this calamity, we looked to these people for a break of entertainment, great music, or leadership. Now they are gone as well. The sad part is I omitted several names on that list for the sake of brevity. We are tired. You didn’t care about race or political beliefs. 2020, you have been an equal opportunity supply of grief and pain to anyone breathing. I never thought I would have anything in common with the current President, but you made it happen. We both have buried siblings this year. You hit everyone!
2020 I don’t hate you, but you seem to hate us. You keep hurting us. Yet, I still have an ounce of hope left for you. You must have some purpose. I feel it’s appropriate to quote the late Chad Boseman.

“Sometimes you need to feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined inside of you.”

– Chadwick Boseman

2020, we have all felt the pain and defeat of this year so I am holding on to the hope that you are the year of activation!

Dear God,

The one who created and controls 2020… To the one that could stop all this pain the world is facing, I have some questions for you. 2020 couldn’t answer so I’m hoping you can. Why? What are you trying to get us to see or do? What lesson are we not learning? I guess I’m just trying to say what is happening? The world is hurt, angry, confused, divided, and in pain. This world is grieving…
I’m only going to ask of you one thing that to others may be too simple. Please have mercy on us because we are tired. In order to make it another day of 2020, we need your love, peace, grace, and most of all, your mercy! Our broken hearts are in your hands and we desperately need to heal without the worry of another blow.
You told us to be anxious for nothing, but in everything give thanks.
Despite the horror we’ve experienced in 2020 God I thank you that you have kept us this far. I know you will carry us through. I thank you that you are still God and still in control. We have no idea what you are doing in this season but we set our hope on you! We trust you!

This is the hope and the faith that I have in you. In Jesus name,
Amen

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Grace to Grieve

Today makes six months since my sister passed away. I’m going to try and be as transparent as possible today. This is the longest that I have ever been away from her and the forever part of grief is starting to kick in. Some days I have no idea how I have made it this far. Other days I know it was nothing, but the grace of God that gave me the strength to make it. And then there were dark days where I was mad at God for making seem so strong. The word strong has been like a curse word to me at times. It just does not seem like the appropriate word to use to describe me. I have a strong feeling that it’s because I am the exact opposite.
I am weak.
Those have been the most powerful words that I could utter within the last 6 months. About a month before Kayla died I decided that since God was going to break my heart and take my sister, everything that I felt was His problem. I was going to leave all of my feelings and emotions to Him because this was His doing. In order to do that I had to be vulnerable enough to say “I am weak.” I knew that was something only He could fix. I knew that His word said that in my weakness, His strength was made perfect. The word of God also teaches that God increases strength to those that have no might. In any other situation, I would not be ok with not being strong, but I knew that this journey had nothing to do with being strong. This journey does not require your strength, but it does require endurance.

Grief + Hope=Endurance

My family and I realized yesterday that we have made it through some really hard times in the past year. This conversation made me go back to my original question on why I should be grieving with hope. Maybe that’s what this is all about. This whole journey is about endurance, not strength. Let me just put this out there boldly- telling someone to be strong will not help them grieve. All that does is make them feel worse for feeling weak. Instead, try telling them that they can make it. Because they can. I hear you saying, “But don’t I need to be strong in order to endure?” No! Focus on being humble and submitted to God enough to say “I’m weak and need your strength.” The bible encourages us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. He comes with the strength so that you can endure.
Warning: I’m about to say something that will mess up someone’s favorite bible verse. Now there is a famous saying in the church that goes “The race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to those that endure until the end.” While that may be true, it’s not in the bible. The saying comes from two scripture put together. Here’s what the bible actually says about the race, or in our case the journey, and endurance.
11 I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all. 
-Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
-Matthew 24:13 NKJV
These two scriptures still bless me although they are not what I was taught for years.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 teaches me that:
  1. My race or journey of grief didn’t happen to me only. My family and I are not being punished by God through grief. It was just our time and chance to go through it.
  2. No amount of strength, wisdom, understanding, or skill can make this any less painful or help me avoid it.
Matthew 24:13 just encourages me to endure. In other words, just keep going.

Grief Plus Hope looks like Grace

In the month of July, I could not bring myself to make a post. I was worn out. The entire month of June I did my best to celebrate Kayla. Once I finished her celebration on her birthday, June 25th, I needed a break. And instead of doing things for other people, I took that break. During that time I gave myself the grace to cry more, to sleep more, to laugh more, and most importantly to love myself more. The first step was to release me from my own pressures to post every month. This started as a place for me to heal and if someone else was blessed, it was an extra special bonus. Somewhere in the process, it flipped and became all about blessing others only. I love that God is able to put purpose to my pain,  but I refuse to cause me unnecessary stress because I’m ignoring my mental and physical health.
Giving myself the grace to grieve required me to be humble enough to say that I am weak again. James 4:6 reads: But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Now if God who is all-powerful and all-knowing can give me grace why can’t I give myself grace? I decided while in the middle of my grace month that after July I would still apply grace daily. Grieve comes in waves and sometimes the waves hit differently. Our emotions, willingness to do things, temperance, and mental capacity may change for that wave. That does not mean I’ve messed my journey and I’m a failure. That’s the blessing about this journey- I can always get back on track with grace and hope.
I pray that something you read today helped you go a little further in your journey. If you do not know the God that I speak of and would like to invite Him your heart do not hesitate to reach out in the comment section or at griefplushope@gmail.com

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My Hope Is Essential

The word essential has been embedded in the world’s vocabulary over the past 2-3 months. It has been used mainly to describe which occupations are absolutely necessary during this time of a deadly pandemic. These jobs must be of vital importance to the wellbeing or upkeep of the most critical needs of society. Everything that was not deemed essential had to either shut down or run remotely from each employee’s home. As a teacher, I found myself in this category which gave me time to think about what else should be deemed as essential. Hope was the only answer for three major reasons: I had nothing left, I had to overcome, and I wanted to please God.

I had to nothing left…

After my sister died, many people surrounded me with love. All the sympathy and love in the world could not fix the void I felt. What I didn’t know was that I should’ve enjoyed it because the sympathy love wouldn’t last long. I was quickly met with two heartbreaks back to back.  The heartbreak came from people who knew how fragile my heart was and to me, it seemed like they enjoyed seeing me down. So now within a month, I had lost my sister and almost everyone that claimed they loved me. I felt like I literally had nothing and no one. The only choice in front of me was to have hope. Hope was of vital importance to my wellbeing. I would not have functioned without it. And I had to get back up and at least function.
As I began to function again, I could hear my sister’s voice saying, “Fight back!” My weapon of choice once again was hope. I had to have hope that God allowed all of that to happen for a reason. I had to have hope that I was strong enough to push past this pain. Shortly after the double heartbreaks, the quarantine began and I really found my hope. Without the quarantine, I would have been forced to be around those that tried to break me about twice a week. My hope is in the fact that God’s timing is perfect and this quarantine gave me time to recover. I will be honest and say that some days I wish those moments would not have happened, but I’m so grateful and thankful to God that He allowed it. I’m becoming stronger each day because of it. Without hope, I would not be able to say that.

I had to overcome…

While reading this some may wonder “Why did you decide to share this and why now? What do you get out of this? Are you trying to embarrass someone?”
The short answer to this is – It’s time to overcome! Please understand that I hate no one! In fact, I praise God for every single person that has been a factor to my heartbreak in 2020! They were an instrumental part of my growth and I thank them for it!
The more biblical answer is quite simple as well. The Bible tells us in Revelations 12:11 that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. This was my testimony of the most trying months of my life. I’ll admit that for weeks I felt like those that hurt me, along with the devil and depression, had power over me. I couldn’t defend myself properly in either of the heartbreaking situations and I felt defeated. I had to overcome the dark thoughts I was feeling! The only way I knew how was to add the hope that comes from my covenant with Jesus Christ (the lamb). Then once I had the strength to function again, I had to tell the testimony. My testimony is short and sweet- I made it out and I’m stronger because of it! This is not about anything other than defeating the devil and God getting to glory.

Lastly, I wanted to please God…

Pleasing God is the ultimate goal of life for a believer. It is what we aim to do at all times although we may fall short sometimes. Hebrews 11:6 says “And it is impossible to please God without faith…” Everyone in the Christian faith loves to talk about faith. And it’s all because we want to please God. But there’s one thing we are missing from the equation. Hope! You can’t have faith without hope. It’s essential! Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” So in order for me to please God, I must have faith. And faith is the confidence in what I hope for. I have to have hope!
Hope is essential in order to please God and overcome your situation. I pray that you find the strength to get your hope back. It is vital for you to live a healthy and prosperous life! The ‘My Hope is Essential’ phrase is more than something catchy for a t-shirt. It’s a lifestyle. With every breath I take, I have to add hope in order to not crumble.  I want to encourage those that are going through any type of heartbreak to find hope in something and then overcome! It may take a second to find the hope, but when you do, hold on to it and fight for your life back! Then tell someone else! Don’t be afraid or ashamed. Your story could be the thing that helps someone else overcome.
Today I overcome by the words of my testimony. Someone else may overcome by reading these words. I challenge you to overcome this week. Share your testimony of how you have #OvercomeWithHope. Feel free to do it in the comments or on your own social media! You never know who is waiting to hear your story so they can find hope. I would love to read your testimony so make sure you use the hashtag #OvercomeWithHope

God Bless you!

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Meet the Girl Behind the Message of Hope

This is my sister and angel, Kayla. She is the reason Grief + Hope exists. Since this is her birthday month, I wanted to share some facts about Kayla.
This is one of my family’s favorite pictures of Kayla because it embodies who she was to the fullest. As much as Kayla loved to look cute, she hated getting her hair combed! It was a fight between her and my mother pretty much every day. Most days they would both get frustrated and Kayla would end up saying, “Tie it up!” That meant, “Put my hair in a bun!” This day was no different even though we wanted her to look different for the family photos. Kayla was so proud of herself for winning this fight.
That’s another thing about Kayla- she loved to fight. Everyone knows Kayla for how loving she was, but I knew the fighter. Kayla’s favorite pastime was fighting me. It would start off as a fun fake fight where I would let her swing and I would fake like I was hitting back. The only problem was that Kayla was not faking and her punches were landing.  Kayla would “beat me up” every day, and would laugh until she couldn’t breathe anymore. When she would finally get her breath back she would say, “I won!” with the biggest smile on her face. That smile made me melt every single day.
Kayla came into this world fighting for her life and left this world telling me to fight! In my last conversation with her, she told me, “It’s ok to fight sometimes Yaya!” I laughed and cried because I realized she was passing her strength to me. She knew I would need it. I did not realize until we buried her that I would need those words so much.
After her burial, I was met with two battles to fight- grief and depression. In the fight, I quickly learned that in order to defeat depression my weapons would be praise, prayer, patience, and therapy. But grief was going nowhere! Grief was more than an emotion or spirit and it wasn’t something that needing fighting. Grief needed something added to it and that was hope. I battle the darkness of grief with hope every single day in order to stay in the right frame of mind.
I think people believe that because I speak publicly about having hope that I’m happy with what happened. No that was Kayla! Kayla was overjoyed to learn that she was leaving this earth. She was completely done with fighting her natural body to do what she wanted to do! She would tell me “Kayla is tired! I’m ready to go!” I had to be ok with that which took a lot out of me. But the fighter in her is now what gives me the courage and the hope to keep going. This Grief + Hope Journey is not easy at all, but without hope, it would be impossible.
I pray this post and entire journey inspires someone to keep fighting and add hope to whatever situation they are going through.

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Hope Looks Like a Celebration

Today makes 4 months of my grief journey with hope. This month is particularly special in the journey because June is Kayla’s birthday month. On June 25 she will have her first heavenly birthday and I am determined to not be miserable. When saying that my mind immediately goes back to a conversation I had with my mother hours before Kayla died. At this point, we knew she would pass within the next 12-24 hours. I said “I don’t know what’s next for us, but February and June will not be awful months for us the rest of our lives. I will not be miserable!” The opposite of misery is joy.

For June, Grief + Hope = Joy.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:3 NLT
While joy is a source that God provides, I have to choose to accept the provision. I choose to have joy this month. There are some things in our lives that we have no control over. But with grief, you have options. They are limited yet available. The options are misery or joy! What’s your pick?
I could feel sad that I’m usually planning Kayla’s party and arguing with her about her birthday outfit this time of year. Or I could allow my source of hope, God, fill me with joy knowing that Kayla is the happiest she could ever be in heaven. With that joy, I can find new ways to celebrate my sister. With that joy, I can be happy about Kayla’s first heavenly birthday in her new body! Many people warned me about the first days with grief, the first birthday or holiday without your loved one. I’ll be honest and say I was worried about emotions overtaking me and depression having its way again. But having hope literally shifts my perspective and pulls on my creativity. So when adding hope this month my mind went into overdrive! Who says I can’t still throw her a party?

Hope looks like a Celebration

My family and I have decided that each day from  June 5 until June 25 we are going to celebrate Kayla by doing something she loved or that reminds us of her.
We would like for you to join in on the fun the week leading up to Kayla’s Birthday! I am happy to declare the week of June 18- June 25 Kayla Week! It would mean the world to me to see those who support me on this journey and/or who loved my sister to celebrate with me!

Kayla Week goes as follows:

June 18: Selfie Day
Post a selfie that you had with Kayla or someone near and dear to your heart!
June 19: Treat Day
Kayla loved her snacks and sweet treats. Find something sweet to eat in her memory.
June 20: Shoe Day
If you knew Kayla, then you knew she was serious about her shoes specifically, Converse. Post a picture of you in your favorite pair of shoes.
June 21: Be Bright Day
Wear something yellow or extra bright!
 June 22: Dance Day
If music was playing, Kayla was dancing no matter what genre! Have a dance in Kayla’s honor.
June 23: Movie Day
Kayla loved to go to the movie theater. Watch your favorite movie!
June 24: Smile Day
Do something to make someone else smile!
And finally the big day – June 25th Celebration Day
Our family is celebrating at our neighborhood lake with a balloon release in honor of Kayla. Although we can’t invite everyone who loved Kayla. We ask that you release balloons or visit a river or lake that day. Kayla loved the water and her favorite thing to do on vacation was to sit on the dock and watch the ocean.
If you plan on participating any days of the Kayla Week please post your pictures and video to social media using the hashtags #KaylaWeek and #GriefPlusHope

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I Grieve with our Black Men with Hope

I grieve with and for our black men today…

I came from a black man and his heart is broken. George Floyd could’ve been my father, my brother, my boss, my pastor, any of my friends. And that breaks my heart. Yesterday my father left home to go to work and I wasn’t calm or at ease until he called and said he made it safely. The crazy thing about it was I wasn’t afraid of a car accident or a robbery. I was afraid of a traffic stop gone wrong. This week the world has watched the public murder of George Floyd by four policemen. Only one has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, the lightest charge given for taking someone’s life.

But I still have hope…

Sadly, that hope is extremely hard to hold onto right now. While the charge gives me hope, I need three more policemen to be charged immediately. My heart aches and my mind races as I try to come up with something inspirational. Nothing seems to help; I don’t have the answers on this one. We’ve have seen this happen time and time again and we are frustrated with the lack of justice our system seems to provide us with. The people we are supposed to look to and call on when we are in danger are the ones putting us in danger. So again I don’t have the answers, but I still have hope.
I have hope that my heavenly Father hears and still answers prayers. I have hope that one day we will have justice. I’m hopeful because this doesn’t catch God by surprise. We as a people have had alarming stages of injustice before and God carried us through it…
He was with us during slavery. He was with us during Jim Crow. He walked beside us through the Civil Rights Movement as we sang “We shall overcome someday!” I have no doubt He will be with us now as we once again scream for our lives saying “BLACK LIVES MATTER!”
I hear you saying “Well if He was there then why are we going through this?” I wish I had that answer for you, but I’m glad He was there. My hope is in the fact that He won’t leave us. Joshua 1:5 says, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Today my hope is in the fact that we are not where we used to be. Yes, it is awful, but some progress has been made.
Now I call on women of faith to cover and love on our men this week. If you know a man of color I ask that you talk with them and hear their hearts. Let them cry out and then cover them with prayer. They need our support; they need the freedom to grieve George Floyd without fear of judgment. I don’t have many prolific words today, but I know it’s time to pray. 
Please whatever you do- don’t lose your hope!

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It Was All Part of the Plan

Many people have deemed me a strong person since my sister passed away 3 months ago. I’m eternally grateful that God is preserving me and presenting me with His strength to gracefully grieve.
I have to be brutally honest and say there are some days I thank God for that strength and other times I wish people understood it.
I thank God because I know the strength comes from Him. On the other hand, I feel like people assume I’m always ok. Two wise people taught me that it’s ok not to be ok!
Just because I’m hopeful it doesn’t mean I’m ok, it just means that I know I will be one day!

My hope is attached to the fact that I was built for this! It was all part of the plan!

If you asked me 3 years ago what I would be doing in life now, I would have said I’d be a writer and doing some type of ministry. However, I would’ve never guessed my ministry would be about grief. At the time I was in my senior year of undergrad for a journalism degree and working heavily with teenagers in ministry.
Fast forward to 2019 I would not be surprised at all if you told me I would have The Grief Plus Hope Journey now. I wouldn’t be surprised because it was part of the plan. By 2019 I was knee-deep in the process of accepting that my sister would eventually pass away. One night, approximately a year before she died, I was at a church group meeting and the activity was to create a vision board. This vision board was a little different because we were instructed to write or draw what we could see happening within the next year and then what would happen within the next five years.
On the top of my list for the next year was grief ministry. There was no other explanation I put beside it and it was the first time I told people the plan. It was actually the first time I acknowledged the plan. I remember the room becoming awkwardly silent when I presented it and I couldn’t blame them. Without a tear in sight, I told a room full of people with confidence that I knew my only sister would die and a ministry would come from it within a year. It has been 3 months since Kayla left this earth and at least once a week I ask myself and God how was I able to say that so easily and where did that come from.
A few days ago randomly, I realized it was a part of the plan all along and I was built for this. Whatever pain God is allowing in your life, please hold onto the hope that you were built for this. Since God allowed it to happen to you, I’m a firm believer that you are already made with enough strength inside of you to make it. When He created you, He had a plan for you and He knew what life would bring. I just believe that the all-knowing God I serve equips us for what He will allow in our lives. The bible says that greater is in you than what is in the world!
I have used Jeremiah 29:11 in a previous post but it continues to bless me in different ways.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬
So when people deem you as strong or automatically think you are ok without asking, remind yourself: I was built for this. Even in the days when I don’t feel strong and I can feel my heart breaking all over again I quickly remind myself: I was built for this!
You can handle whatever situation comes your way because:
1. God knows the plan He has for you!
2. The plans are good and will not be a disaster!
3. He is listening when you pray and can be found when you seek Him

Today, Grief+Hope=Victory

Now how did I get that answer?
Take a deep breath because this will require a perspective shift!
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Then verse 57-58 says, “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

My hope is in the fact that my battle through grief is a fixed fight! I don’t have to worry about whether or not I will have a happy life after this devastating situation because God has already fought the battle for me! Through Jesus Christ I am victorious!
With this, I encourage anyone dealing with grief to not focus on the death! Death is swallowed up in victory! Don’t waste your energy battling something that is already defeated!
In other words, I am not grieving the death of my sister; she has the victory in Heaven. I didn’t lose her; I know exactly where she is!
So what am I grieving if it’s not death?
I’m grieving the life I had while she was here with me. My sister and I were 3 1/2 years apart. I do not remember what life was like before her. In fact, my first memories in life were naming and meeting her. Although I was the oldest, Kayla was the more outspoken one, and even the more memorable or popular one (the introvert in me was perfectly fine with that). I’ve always happily taken on the role of Kayla’s sister.  I was her Elsa and she was my Ana. While I will forever be her sister, I had to grieve the old me!
I’m no longer the bigger sister that I was before February 5, 2020. From that day on I had to grieve who I was and discover who I will become without her. Surprisingly that mentality gives me hope! Grieving and focusing on her death will solve nothing and keep me in depression because it is a constant reminder of something that ended. Focusing on the journey of discovering a new life brings hope to an awful situation. I get to focus on my future which means there is more to come! That gives me hope! Remember the plan from God is for a hope and a future!
That’s what my hope and strength are rooted in today.
I pray that anyone dealing with grief can find the same hope and strength through Our Savior.
If you don’t know the Savior I speak of I would like to learn more about Him and accept Him into your heart, please leave a comment below or reach out privately at griefplushope@gmail.com
God Bless

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Staying Sane in the Situation

Life always throws us different problems or situations that can cause us to lose hope or even our sanity. Your situation may not be grief! The world is dealing with the situation of COVID-19, and if that wasn’t enough you could still have a different situation! Now I’m no expert on sanity but when my sanity was under attack, 5 things were essential to me. Some are spiritual and others are just practical! Either way, I pray they bless you.

Here are my 5 Ways to Stay Sane in the Situation:

1. Pray- God wants to talk to you!

In my walk with Christ I had to learn that every situation I am going through, God allowed it and controls it. Therefore, I want to talk to the one in charge of my situation. If I’m at a restaurant and something is wrong with my food, I don’t want to talk to the hostess or even the waiter who brought it to me! I want the manager who is in charge of the establishment. It’s the same with God- no one can help you more than Him. Let him talk you through your situation! Remember, He is the owner so He knows how to fix it.

2. Rest

This one practical and spiritual! Rest is so important to the physical body! Practically, you can’t function at full strength without rest. Scientifically, rest literally heals your heart and blood vessels. Spiritually, God wants to give you rest. Matthew 11:28 says “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Use this time of quarantine to get caught up on your rest! You can not remain sane without rest!

3. Give yourself room to grow

This is a two-fold statement. First, examine the areas of your life that before this worldwide situation (COVID-19) you were ignoring. Then attempt to grow in that area. And Start slow. For example, if you drank at least one soda every day last week, try to go 2 days without one this week! That’s growth.  The second part of this is just as important- give yourself room. I strongly encourage you to grow in this season, but for sanity purposes, this is not a competition to see who was more productive! Give yourself the grace and room to grow at your pace.

4. Remove dead space

A major part of growing a garden is pruning. That is when you remove the unnecessary and potentially dangerous parts of the garden. To maintain sanity you must remove the unnecessary dead space. The dead space could be a person, a habit, a television show, or even a social media site. I hear you saying, “But what if it’s not hurting me? It’s just not helping me.” Then what is its purpose? When your sanity is on the line, you can not afford anything that is not productive to your mental and physical health.

5. Allow God to fill that space

Lastly, any space that is now free needs to be replaced and I recommend Jesus. He is the perfect answer and He is willing and able! He wants a relationship with you, but you have to let him in. Here’s how I know:
Revelation 3:20 says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Leviticus 26:11-12 says, “I will live among you, and I will not despise you. I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
God wants to be your friend. With this friend you will be able to stay sane in the situation.
If you don’t know this friend I write about and would like to know more about him, feel free to leave a comment or email me at griefplushope@gmail.com
Be blessed!

Today I want to focus on what Grief + Hope does not equal.

Grief + Hope does not equal sadness

This week I missed my sister like crazy! I grieved but I was never sad! At first, I found this strange but then I had to ask myself why does my grieving have to equate to sadness or tears especially if I’m adding hope.

I feel someone asking, “ What if all I have is grief? I can’t find hope today!”

Well, let’s just look at the word grief. When researching things I don’t understand I will always search two places: the Bible and the dictionary.

According to the dictionary grief is:

1a: deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement
          his grief over his son’s death
b: a cause of such suffering
        life’s joys and griefs

 

I hear you as you are reading saying “Wait! Suffering  does sound like sadness.”

Now let’s look at the Bible for suffering:

“In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬
3 things are promised to you through 1 Peter 5:10
  1. Your suffering will be removed  “So after you have suffered a little while…”
  2. Your spirit will be restored “He will restore, support, and strengthen you…”
  3. Your structure will be rebuilt “And He will place you on a firm foundation.”

 

My hope is attached to the fact that I won’t be disappointed.

I had a moment this week in prayer where I asked God, “Am I living in this bubble of hope that one day is going to pop? Will my hope let me fall?” That same day I was in an amazing virtual bible study of the book of Romans and this scripture came up.

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
Because of God’s love, your hope will not disappoint you! If you are trying to add hope to your grief I encourage you to accept God’s love for you! He loves us so much that He gave us the Holy Spirit as a comforter. He is ready to lavish and pour His love on us! It’s just up to us to receive it and rest in His comfort.

Accepting His Love

If you don’t know this love of God that I write about and would like to ask Jesus to come into your heart, please don’t hesitate to email me at griefplushope@gmail.com.  I would be honored to introduce you to my Savior and the keeper of my soul!
God Bless you!
Remember to grieve with hope.

Happy Easter

I’ve got good news: God knows this pain you feel!
It’s my first Easter without seeing my best friend in her yellow dress for Easter or taking our annual Easter pictures.
 
In spite of sadness, my hope is in the fact that God knows this pain I feel.  I’ve only experienced a tenth of what He went through.
Let me explain. Millions around the world are celebrating Easter today. It’s one of the favorite holidays for most Christians. It’s a special time when believers celebrate our Savior defeating sin and death for our salvation.
 I can only imagine how God and Mary felt on what we call Good Friday. A conversation with my mother sparked this thought and my mind began to paint a picture.
 
For 3 years my mother watched my sister slowly die of a painful condition. She knew a time would come when her natural body could take no more and God would call Kayla to be with Him. I could tell those 3 years had left a significant damper on not only my mother’s life but her spirit. I didn’t see her spirit lifted more until she was reminded that God knew her pain.
 
It was an amazing woman by the name of Elder Debbie Hayslett that reminded her that God had to watch His son, Jesus, live in a messed up world for 33 years. That messed up world would be the cause of His percussion. God knew that His son’s life would be taken in the most embarrassing gruesome way possible. He and Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to bear the painful sight of their beautiful and innocent son’s death. God is no stranger to the pain you are going through.
 
My mother reminded that we only felt a tenth of what God endured. 3 years compared to 33 sounds like a walk in the park.
 
My Hope is attached to the fact that God is near and He knows!
That might not help you, but it definitely comforted me! The blessing to me is that He understands the pain my family is going through.  He gets it! And He sticks close to me. Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
I serve a God that sees my pain, understands it, and can rescue me from my crushed spirit.
That’s such good news to me! In my prayer time, before my sister passed, God would consistently remind me that though this would break my heart he would mend it again.
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Easter to me now has a new perspective. It gives me hope that I’m not the only one that has ever felt the pain I do. And more importantly, the place I get my strength has endured this before. You and I are made from God and in His image. The same power that raised Jesus is the same exact power that lives in you and me! I pray that this will encourage you that God feels your pain and there is nothing you can not get through with His power!
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