Posted in Books, REVIEW

Book Review: Treasured: Knowing by the Things He Keeps (& relating to blog carnival on Grief)

Ihave two memory boxes . . . one in memory of our daughter that was born still, and another of treasures of my son, Matthew.  I don’t get the boxes out often.  I know will need at least one box of tissue.  The ache never really goes away.

Reading, Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps, was a unique look at how God is a collector too.  We can look through His word and find so many treasures tucked away, and the author, Leigh McLeroy done this through each chapter.  Here’s a glimpse of a few of the  chapter titles and how she ties it into our treasures with God:

  • A Fig Leaf – The God Who Covers Me
  • A Fresh Olive Sprig – The God of New Beginnings
  • A Bloodstained Piece of Wood – The God Who Defeats Death
  • A Head of Barley – The God Who Gleans Joy from Sorrow
  • One Smooth Stone – The God Who Writes on Hearts

From the chapter, A Head of Barley, the author writes:

God is unfazed.  If my life is a story He is writing (and I believe it is), conflict is sure to come.  It is the fuel of the plot – not an aberration.  In God’s authorial sovereignty, every trial and every struggle contribute in a unique way to the richness of the story and build to it’s climax and conclusion.

This month marks five years that our son, Matthew, has been in heaven.  Sometimes it still jolts me . . . the wound reopens. It stings. There are still tears.  There is no real measuring of grief or what to do or what not to do.   It’s still hard to say the order of my children with leaving him out (or pausing wondering if I should leave him out or not).  I have four children in college – should be five.  But then, I think, no, it should not be.  God knew all along the number of Matthew’s days.  But I want to remember him – I want others to remember him.  As I think of grief, and also participating in blog carnival which for this week is on “grief”, if I could share one thing with those who observe those who have said good-bye to someone special – say the deceased one’s name (often); remember special days – birthday, death date, mother’s day, father’s day, grandparent’s day, Christmas, with a card, phone call or hug saying their name.

The chapter in Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps called A Bloodstained Piece of Wood spoke of death.

That’s why death – any death . . . is always affront, always a shock no matter how prepared for it we believe ourselves to be.  Each of us has eternity infused into our souls beneath our bones and blood, and something in us knows it is for a fact.  We were made for never-ending, abundant life by a God who loves us and who went from heaven to earth and to hell and back to make sure we could have it.

I am thankful for the treasure of a bloodstained piece of wood.  Though there are still tears . . . there’s peace.  And for me, it’s such a hope . . . for my soul.  It indeed is etched into us.  Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps was just another affirmation of it along with many other treasures to be reminded of.

This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Press and this review expresses my honest opinion.

Posted in Books, Family, Religion

Book Review & Interview with Author: When God & Grief Meet (& one to give away)

“The reason you can’t ‘get over’ grief or even put it aside for awhile
is because that would require you to stop loving your loved one.
Grief is simply the high price we must pay for love.”

Lynn Eib, Author of
When God & Grief Meet:
True Stories of Comfort and Courage

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When God & Grief Meeteading Lynn Eib’s book,  When God & Grief Meet: True Stories of Comfort and Courage was like talking to a friend who really understood our ups and downs of grief.  Within a year after our son’s tragic death a  friend seeing me smile, said to me, “you look good. You must be ‘over it’.” I just nodded in agreement – but inside was screaming “over IT” ?  How do you EVER get over the loss of a child?  It’s confirmed on a weekly basis when I look through memorial obituaries and see families remembering a baby or child that died 20, 30, or 40 years ago.  I like the way Lynn stated it in her book:

“Even though you’ll never get over your grief,
you can get through it.”

When God & Grief Meet: True Stories of Comfort and Courage is filled with stories of those who have experienced their loss – and shares hope.  It’s sad, and it tore at my heart reading many of the stories.  This book is not written for any one particular bereaved person – the stories are of those who have temporarily said good-bye to  parents, spouses, children and special loved ones. I believe this summarizes why Lynn wrote the book:

“As I share with you God’s words to the broken hearted, I believe you will see that when God and grief meet, His power, peace and forgiveness are bigger and more real than our uncertainties, sorrow and loneliness.”

Lynn writes personally and simply.  It is not one of  “in-depth theological answers to the questions of suffering and dying“.   Instead, she wants to “ride with you in your grief-storm and read the compass“.   When God & Grief Meet: True Stories of Comfort and Courage is an easy read book of love and care.  She shares  “tender reminders” from Scripture, including verses of those who questioned God when they went through their valleys.

Thank you Lynn, for writing this book.  You did indeed know my “grief storm”. Your book is one I will pass on to several friends and recommend on Bereaved Moms Share.

And, I have one copy to give away to one of my readers.  Here’s how:

  1. Monday or Tuesday may ask a question or leave a comment specifically for the author OR if you wish, a comment in memory of someone dear to you.  Keep it short. 🙂
  2. Wednesday through Sunday (11:59 p.m. EST)  will be for comments only  in memory of someone  special.  Keep it short.  🙂
  3. For an ADDITIONAL entry, copy and paste this onto your blog and leave an additional comment with the link to your blog post:

When God & Grief Meet
Are you or someone you know going through a grief-storm“, missing someone dear?   Visit Writing Canvas to enter the drawing for this book, When God & Grief Meet: True Stories of Comfort and Courage along with an opportunity to ask the author a question or leave a comment in memory of someone.  Drawing ends February 8, 2009.

Comments left with this post only (above), will be counted towards the drawing which ends at 11:59 pm EST, Sunday, February 8, 2009.  The winner will be chosen by the  Truly Random Number Generator and announced on Monday, February 9, 2009.  This drawing is open to USA and Canadian residents only please.

Posted in Faith, Grief

Hope at the Grave

(This was e-mailed to me. I do not know the author or much about it, but it touched me greatly.)
BELOVED:–“Farewell” is a sad word. The young whisper it with tears, the aged speak it with a heavy heart; and yet while tears flow fastest and the heart is heaviest, hope whispers “you will meet again.” These are earthly partings. These are oft recurring worldly separations, a part of life’s checkered history of sunshine and of tears. We parted and we meet again, and so hope rises over all, and our trusting hearts say “the thing which has been, is the thing which shall be;” as ye parted, so will ye meet again.There is another “farewell” which spoils all earthly ties and snaps assunder every bond which affection weaves around the heart. The loved had been with us until they seemed a part of our very self. And while life was without a cloud, there came a messenger with no sound of footfall to call them away. . .There is no cloud which so shuts out the sunshine from an earthly scene as that cloud of the shadow of death.

We meet to-day around a new made grace. It is a Christian grace. It has no darkness or gloom for it is the place where JESUS laid. It is a grave; a grave which we shall water with our tears. In the quiet hour of evening you will go there to weep. It must needs be. The grave is the only path heavenward. The way JESUS trod is the only way that leads His ransomed children home. For a little while the body will sleep where “dust is changed to dust,” but JESUS made such graves the seed beds of immortal beauty. “It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” [I Corinthians 15:42-44] He is now with that vast company of sainted ones who have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Now he knows face to face those of whom he had heard by the hearing of the ear. Now he is of the cloud of witnesses who watch our warfare, and who wait for our coming that in the Resurrection morn, they, with us, may be made perfect. . . It ought to be joy to know that one we call our own has escaped out of the fowler’s snare to be with JESUS forevermore, and that “nothing shall be able to pluck them out of His hand.” [John 10:28-29] We weep for the dead; rather might we weep for the fainting, tempted weary pilgrim. Weep not for the one who has won the race and received the prize; weep not for the weary child who has entered the rest of the people of GOD. There shall be no more battling with temptation, no more bitterness of repentance, no more doubting faith. There shall be no more bleeding feet and weary heart. The world shall no more be a hard task master to make broad the furrows and bow the heart in weakness. All this is passed, the last battle is fought and the victory won; they have entered into rest. Rest with JESUS, where ” . . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain . . .” [Rev. 21:4] Blessed rest with JESUS, to be with the Shepherd and lack nothing. “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.” [Rev. 7:16, 17] Eternal rest with the people of GOD. “And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps” [Rev. 14:2]. Faith shall build upon it, hope shall cherish it. They are for you, for me, for all who have loved and lost. Call this sorrow? All is darkened but the cross, and this is a way of sunlight now, the light from heaven shines where JESUS trod to guide His children home. It is a Christian grave.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that JESUS died and rose again, even so GOD will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in JESUS. For this we say to you by the word of the LORD, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the LORD, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the LORD Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of GOD, and the dead in CHRIST will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air, and so we shall always be with the LORD. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” [I Thess. 4:13-18]

So, dear friends, with faith and love we shall lay him in the grave to sleep till the world’s last Easter, when he will awake in the likeness of his risen LORD.Beloved, a few days more and there will be another grave. It is not every grave that is a homeward path to heaven. It is only theirs who reach it by the cross, for whom JESUS, their SAVIOUR, is their Judge. There will be a next summons and another grave. Are you ready? The road, be it longer or be it shorter, leads there. Will it be for you the Christian’s grave? Oh, how many warnings cluster around this one grave! Of our little company it makes a large vacant place when one is called. It ought to knit our hearts as one; it should deepen love and quicken faith; it should awaken zeal and earnest work. What lessons for you all, in these parted ties. Will you not write them on your hearts? Will you not gain closer fellowship with CHRIST? If you only live for Him, when He calls He will lead you home. Scholars, pupils, teachers, see in this coffin how soon our work is done. What a dark grave this would be without its hope! What sorrow in this grave if it had no shadow of the cross! Let us be wise to betake ourselves to JESUS; together there all we call our own, that so, though our home may be broken, we may know that they who sleep in JESUS shall be one in heaven.
Author unknown

Posted in Family, Grief, Matthew

16 Weeks – Baby forgot his name

Tonight the kids were showing Bethany (“baby”, 23 months) the individual pictures we have up of all the kids in our hallway. She could name them all – but Matthew. She just would be silent, and stare. Then the kids told her his name, and when she’d get to his picture again, she did say “Mash-u” in a whisper. The kids brought her to me, with one of Matthew’s pictures, to show me. I think it bothered them too. She looked at his picture, and then at me, like she had confussion about it. I said “Matthew – he went bye-bye”. She said “bye-bye” – and then said his name in a whisper. Kind of stabbed at the heart tonight. She won’t remember him herself – just through our memories and showing her pictures. He adored her. This is when the ache really comes back.
I “met” a new friend today, a woman that has been e-mailing me that lives in the area that heard about Matthew. When Matthew was working at the variety store, he waited on her several times, and then she heard about him, and we’ve “talked” through e-mails. She lost a daughter in a car accident several years ago. Today Norm & I were at GoodWill, and a lady came up to me and asked me my name. I told her and she said she thought so, and told me her name. We immediately gave each other a hug. We share some of different things we are going through. She was kind and asked each Norm & I how we are doing. She has an empty home, and I am sure her days have been very difficult in the quietness, and so have appreciated her encouraging e-mails. She said she reads this blog too – I am glad I finally got to meet you, Linda. {{{ hugs }}}
Stephen got the engine out of the “crashed” truck and was able to finally move the truck into the back area of our property so we don’t have the continual reminder of the accident, which seems to just associate with that 5 week period of time with Matthew’s death and the truck accident. He has next week off from his auto class, but after that he can take his “new truck” into class with the engine and work on it there with all the tools the class has. I am so thankful he is able to keep busy. He is going to be 18 on April 8th. Hard for me to believe!
We lose an hour of sleep tonight with Daylight Savings, so I really should end this now, before my ramblings continue on and on!