Tag Archives: Grief

Remembering Mom

My mother left this world to be with Jesus on March 18, 2013. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I find myself thinking of her and missing her more than I can express. So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m posting some excerpts from a piece I read at Mom’s memorial service in March. This post is much longer than most, please bear with me on that.

Grandma

It’s when I lie down at night that the memories come in like a flood. The earliest memories of Christmas mornings when Mom was more excited to watch us open our gifts than we were. “Don’t open your presents until you wake us up first!” she’d say. She didn’t want to miss the delight on our faces. There are memories of playing hooky from school with Mom’s full approval. We would “make a day of it,” shopping at Kresgees and afterwards eating lunch at the local burger joint. Or, letting us stay home some Tuesdays to spend time with our grandparents when they came to visit. She called it a bad case of Nana and Pampa-itis. Mom, always there, always loving, always sticking up for us, helping with school projects (more than likely last-minute and due the very next day), walking us to our girl scout meetings, wiping away our tears and making us laugh with her goofy sense of humor.

I think the most important thing mom taught me growing up was to be kind to others. She’d tell me, “Just think how you would feel if someone treated you that way.” She had a way of tenderizing our hearts and eliciting compassion for the plight of those less fortunate. Mom was our biggest fan and most loyal cheerleader. She encouraged us to do our best, to be thankful, to respect people and to love our family. I cannot think of one single moment in my life when I doubted Mom’s love for me. She loved me when I was most unlovable, and even at the height of my knuckleheadedness, Mom’s love was unconditional.

As an adult I continued to learn from Mom and came into a fuller realization of the sacrifices she made for her loved ones. She was an example in homemaking, in loving her husband and in putting others first. Mom somehow mastered the art of influencing us without being overbearing, the balance of sharing her life-experience without actually giving advice, and the feat of being involved in our lives without intruding. She welcomed our spouses into her heart fully and without wavering–no in-laws here! And, she was the quintessential grandma to her grandchildren. She told me once, “Terrie, you won’t believe it now, but you will love your grandchildren as much as you do your own kids.” (She was right, by the way.)

Graciously, God gave us many wonderful years with our Mother. Over the months before she died, Mom fought the fight of her life. She was so courageous, and true to who she was, I suspect that her bravado was more for her husband and family’s sake than for her own. But, I think it’s important to note that cancer had no victory over my mother. Her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. She is absent from her body, but present with her Lord. Although her battle with disease was more than formidable, I am certain she see’s it now as a momentary and light affliction, nothing in comparison to the eternal weight of glory she is experiencing in heaven.

You see, Mom was loved by her husband, her kids, her grandkids, her family and her friends. But most importantly, she was beloved of God for the sake of His Son. My siblings and I had the privilege and honor of escorting our Mother into the waiting arms of Jesus. She left this world knowing she was loved and passed from death into life eternal.

It comforts me to know this is true. She is done fighting, done worrying, finished with carrying the pain and struggle of sickness. But how can this be? My mom is in Heaven at this very moment, enjoying what will be the grandest adventure above and beyond anything she could ever ask or imagine, not because she earned it, but because she was a sinner who needed a Savior (just like we all do) and cried out to Jesus for forgiveness of her sins. God graciously answered her prayer because whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. For it is by grace through faith Mom was granted so great a salvation, this was not her own doing nor by her own merit, but a gift from God. What good news this is! So think right now of the brightest and best enjoyment or the purest and lightest joy you can experience here on earth. Now, multiply that by an infinity of numbers and enlarge it by untold universes and you may get an idea of what Mom is basking in at this very moment and for an eternity of moments!

It’s been said that the degree to which you love someone is proportionate to the depth of grief you will experience when they are gone. And so we grieve. But not as those who are without hope! Very often I find myself speaking of Mom in the present tense, as if she were still alive. But, I do not correct myself because Mom is presently living in the glorious truth of God’s promises–all yes and amen in Christ Jesus! And she is with us here in a million different memories and a host of lasting joys; these a balm for our grief and a good and perfect gift coming down from the Father of Lights. It’s just like Mom to pass on to Glory before me. It will make it easier when my time comes because I know she’ll be waiting on the other side.

Where, oh death is your victory, and where, oh death is your sting?

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Grieving With Those Who Grieve

SERMON NOTES – PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
November 25, 2012 – Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve with those who grieve. Romans 12:15

This verse is a description of how to love one another. Love expresses itself by rejoicing with those who rejoice and grieving with those who grieve. This is a call to relationship with one another. In this way, we render ourselves vulnerable to the joys and griefs of others.

FIVE THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE:

1. Appreciate the fact that the capacity to grieve with those who grieve is a precious gift.
A. An inability to grieve with those who grieve is one key characteristic of a psychopath.
-Even the unsaved have the capacity through God’s common Grace to grieve with those who grieve.
B. The capacity to grieve with those who grieve protects us from many evils.
-The ability to empathize with others and thought of the grief we would bring loved ones if we were to sin against them can keep us from sin.
-Grieving with those who grieve is a key to relationship, friendship, ministry, counseling, and the overall health of the church.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

2. Realize all that you are being called to inside of this instruction to grieve with those who grieve.

Includes:
A. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that God has allowed in both of your lives. Grieving together.
B. Grieving with a person who is grieving where God has allowed  a sorrow into their life and not yours.
-Paul calls us here to step outside of ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to the grief of others.
C. Grieving with a person who is grieving during a season in which you find yourself rejoicing (or grieving).
-Setting aside your own grief (or joy) to grieve (or rejoice) with others.
D. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow not as great as the sorrow that you yourself are grieving over.
-Humbling yourself to enter into the lesser grief of others.
E. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow they have brought on themselves.
-Luke 15:20 (story of prodigal son).
-Not rejoicing over “what they had coming to them”.
-We can look at them and their sin and say, “That’s me and Jesus came to me!”
-No “I told you so” attitude.
F. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that you know will be short-lived.
-John 11:33-35 (the resurrection of Lazarus).
-Jesus was moved with compassion and wept with them even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
G. Grieving with a person who is grieving over hurts that you have caused.
-When you sin against someone, make a true apology which includes grieving with the person you have hurt and sinned against.
-Owning and entering into the hurt you have caused.

Apologies are moral events that have real power to heal. -Susannah Meadows

H. Grieving with a person who is grieving before you impart wisdom to them.
-Paul does not say preach or lecture with those who are grieving.
-You may really have wise words for the person who is grieving but if you skip grieving with them your wise words will only be an irritant.
-Don’t stay safely outside the other’s circle of grief and try to lob truths into it. Enter into their pain first.
-Words of wisdom are more effective when we first enter into the other person’s circle of pain.
I. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way you think is inappropriate.
-i.e. longer, more intensely, hurtfully than you deem appropriate.
-Especially when it is grief over a hurt you have caused.
-Sometimes people may even grieve in ways that hurt you–i.e. acting out, etc.
J. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way that is different than how you express your grief.
-People are different and grieve in different ways.

3. Let the compassion of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 12:1; “by the mercies of God”.
-God has great compassion for us.
-God sent Jesus to save us because He was moved to do so.
-Rather than moving away from us, God moves toward us in the Gospel.
-The Gospel radically changes us into compassionate people.
-Isaiah 53:3; Jesus despised, a man of sorrows…
-Emmanuel = God with us. Jesus entered into our griefs and sorrows.
-In the Gospel we have the ultimate empathetic friend.

4. Let the ongoing sympathy of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:22-23
-The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
-God groans with us in our brokenness.
-We always have the Spirit to express our griefs and groaning to God when we don’t know how.
-Hebrews 4:15; …we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…
-Grieving with those who grieve reveals the heart of God to others.

5. Let the hope of the Gospel shape and free you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:28; Knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good.
-When we grieve with others, we guarantee that joy, when it does come, will be our joy too.
-When we go through our own grief, God is deepening our ability and capacity to grieve with others.

Paul calls us here into something rich and deep–the essence of our community with one another. In this we display the heart of God to others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.


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