Stirrings : Sunshine After A Flood

 In late July of 2010, I received a phone call that my dad had dropped off the radar while flying his single engine airplane in the North West Territories of Canada.  The amazing Canadian Search and Rescue team worked tirelessly for 5 of the longest days of my life.  Finally, after discovering his whereabouts they declared he had died on impact.  From that first phone call to now I can’t help but get a huge lump in my throat and fight back a stream of tears, a flood of emotion, because in the past 7 months I have been learning to grieve.  

I have had the privilege of watching my mom gracefully grieve the loss of her best friend and husband.  She fell in love with him at the sweet young age of 19 and they built 48 years of memories together.  She has been setting a beautiful example for me on grieving.  There are times when she is weepy and misses her life partner, but she always remembers the good.  She doesn’t wallow in her sadness but she rejoices in the love that they had.  She allows herself to grieve, but she has trained her heart and mind to be thankful and remember all the good times that we had with him.  She tells me that we can be thankful that he did not suffer.  She reflects on how he loved his life!  He was at good place with all of his relationships with his children.  We all knew he loved us and he knew we loved him.  He was healthy and he died doing what he loved.  She does not let me forget that he lived a long, full, and wonderful life and we have so much for which to be thankful.  She graciously grieves and gently leads me down the path of embracing our love for him, while holding on to the good.  There is no place for bitterness. No “why me”, no “it’s not fair”, no, “I can’t survive” or “I won’t make it.”  There is hope in the life we still have and there is thankfulness for his life.  She knows that he would want us to go on and enjoy LIVING our lives.   She gently tilts my head towards the sky in search of the sunshine in the midst of the rain.

I have learned to be thankful and remember the good in grief while still allowing myself to be real.  I have cried and leaned on the strength of family, friends, and mentors.  I have allowed myself the space I needed to grieve.  I also have taken my thoughts captive.  I think about where my mind rests and what I choose for my focus.  My mom has always taught me to see the good in life.  The older I am the more thankful I am for this valuable training on life perspective that she has given me.  I have always been a big fan of scripture memory.  For me it gives me strength and hope.  It helps me to redirect my thoughts with truth.  A bit of wisdom God offers us on the state of our hearts and minds, even when we are flooded with emotions, is in Philippians 4:8.  I have made you two scripture memory cards.  You can print them off.  I suggest you print them on card stock.  You can print one on each side and make a double-sided scripture card.  There is great truth and wisdom in this verse.  Let it soak in.  Write it down.  Meditate on it.    

We would love to hear from you!  I thought of a bunch of questions that I would love for you to answer in our comment section below this post.
Have you ever been in a flood of emotions? 
What has helped you cope? 
From Philippians 4:8 below:
Which of these bolded words stands out to you? Why?  
What do these words mean to you? 
Does the dictionary say anything about these words that strike a chord in you? 
What do you think is noble? 
What do you find compelling or gracious? 
When you think of lovely or excellent things what comes to mind?  

Please take time to practice thinking about the things in these verses.   Mom, thanks for training me to look for the sunshine in life! You have given me a wonderful gift, especially when it rains. I love you!
Happy Friday!  These cards are my gift to you today!

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  1. Edeltraud Johnson says:

    My love is my Family. Tears were running down my face reading you blog. Watching you grow in the Lord and sharing your believes and thoughts with others, I can only admire you, yes, and I am very proud of you.
    I get my strength form the Lord our Father in Heaven. It all started when I was a little girl in Germany full of hurts. I was 11 years old laying in bed, when I heard this godly sweet voice in the middle of the night. I could not sleep, was crying, confused about my future, did not know if I wanted to go on living . I felt lonely and unloved. Than all the sudden i was calm and peace came over me. I saw a flickering light in the corner of my room. Looked like and angle holding a burning candle. A gentle loving voice said: This burning candle is for you, keep it burning not just for to day, but for the rest of your life. Live an example, give Love, Joy and Happiness to others, and your heart will be filled with joy and Happiness, follow me I will show you the way. I praised the Lord and horned him. Closed my eyes, slept well the rest of the night, and I woke up renewed and could not wait to let that candlelight shine.

    That candle is burning today . God showed me as a little child, even if life is hard there is always a lesson to be learned and if we look for the good there will be JOY in our Heart.

    Yes, I love my husband, my best friend, I often get teary eyed with sadness and JOY. The beautiful memories, being surrounded by a loving family, caring friends, God walking in front of me, I am looking forward to many years of happiness my family and friends by my side. My husband’s Love and Spirit will be with me for ever. Therefor I am ready to walk forward, a different path but there will be Love, Joy and Happiness. God has given me the strength to walk the path HE has chosen for me.

    Thank you Jen, for being my beautiful daughter. I love you, Mom

  2. stacey mahaffie says:

    Your mom IS so amazing, and so are you! Happy Mothers Day to both of you =)

  3. Jen and Edeltraud (Edel),
    I feel I know you! I so love you both. Our Poppa G-d unites our hearts!
    I so enjoyed-was blessed- by this blog!
    I too had to learn to grieve with grace, when my Pops died suddenly. And my Mom taught all of us how to trust G-d’s goodness and grace in hard, scary times.
    Jesus and His perfect love are so real. His Word is life to us too. Living. And when we listen to Him, His Spirit, for understanding and value Him as the person He really, He comforts, heals, strenghens, carrys, guides, restores and redeems-I left stuff out too and still don’t know all He is and does-He has revealed Himself in my greatest joys and in the deepest darkest nightmare times too. He is the Beloved who is always There…
    I have so loved that verse from Phil too. I made cards while our sons were small and placed them around the house. That one was on the phone!
    Poppa has wallpapered my heart with it now<3. And it does help, in more ways I can say yet…He is still teaching me about grieving with grace. Not just when people die-when relationships die too. He's redeeming those losses and helping me mourn with grace and healing too. Floods can bring healing too. Like healing waters to a parched and scorched land. Or when the river periodically floods to enrich the land again.
    Another verse Poppa G-d taught me and I taught our sons is in Jeremiah and Romans 8:28 is similar to it. I know the plans I have for you… For a hope and a future…He even gave me one more with a picture to help me, His beloved understand that verse in Proverbs about leaning on Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6). The picture was hanging in a christian counselor's office with that verse so small I didn;t see it till I got up and walked across the room to get a better look. The picture is of a little girl on a string swing being held by a giant hand and in big letters He asks "Will you trust ME?" (Not a harsh or harressed 'Will you just trust me?') a gentle invite to trust the G-d of all there is to keep me in His grip-of grace.

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