Glen Campbell and How to Cope with Complicated Grief

I just saw on Facebook that one of my favorite childhood singers passed away. Glen Campbell battled Alzheimers for years. It was hard watching him slip away slowly through media clips. I can only imagine how painful it was for his dear family.

I also saw that my friend Sharon’s mom ended her battle with the same disease. I met Sharon at a writers conference years ago, and her tender posts on FB about her visits with her mom at the nursing home always touched my daughter heart.

My sister and I watched our dad drift deeper and deeper into dementia’s abyss for years before he passed away with the last chords of Hank Williams’s “I’ll Fly Away” playing on my laptop.

Alzheimers and other types of dementia are cruel diseases that steal memories, relationships, and connection.

I think back on the loss of my dad and the myriad emotions I felt. The deep sadness. The anger over things that should have been handled differently. The empty, orphany sensation deep in my gut.

And the confusing relief.

I say the relief was confusing because it was riddled with guilt. How could I be relieved my daddy was dead? Yes, I was relieved he was no longer stuck in that prison body of his. Certainly no guilt in that. But I struggled with the relief I felt for myself. It was heartbreaking to go see him losing himself, bit-by-bit. It was devastating to look in his eyes and not see his tell-tale twinkle. It was frustrating to spend every school break flying in to see a man who wouldn’t even know my name. It hurt me to lose my dad before his heart ever stopped beating, and his passing brought a deep sense of relief that the enemy worked hard to convince me was evil, selfish, and wrong.

The enemy is a jerk liar who will use anything, anything, even sacred grief to destroy us.

Grief is messy, complicated, and unable to be placed on a timeline, deadline, or book outline.

Lengthy illnesses such as dementia are devastating for the whole family. The intense strain of caregiving has a way of draining the strength right out of you. Feeling a sense of relief when a long-ill loved one passes is not off-base. It’s a natural response to being set free from a heavy load. It just so happens that the heavy load was also a treasured relationship. That’s what makes it tricky for the heart. It feels something like a betrayal, but it’s not.

For those of you out there watching your loved ones suffer a prolonged illness, know God sees you. He grieves with you even before your loved one dies. His hands are on your sagging shoulders and spirit. His comfort sits in waiting for an aching heart like yours. Lean into Him. Let Him hold you and strengthen your frame. Oh, how He loves you!

Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that your secret prayers of, “Please, Lord, if You’re not going to heal him, please take him home,” are selfish or off-base. You can be honest with God. He craves that kind of transparency from us.

And for those of you who are suffering fresh losses, know God eases in extra close to the brokenhearted. He picks up the shards of Your broken heart and pieces them back together again more beautiful for the scars. Let Him hold you, parent you, be the lover of your soul as you sort through that complicated grief.

May I pray for you?

Lord, 

It hurts to lose the ones we love. Whether the death is sudden or expected, loss is a ripping away of the most tender places in our hearts. Thank you for being the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:1 NIV). Please pour compassion and comfort into the grieving ones right now. Glen Campbell’s family, friends and fans. My friend Sharon and all the others her dear mother touched. My friends Suzie and ADonna who lost parents this summer. My friend Leah who lost her husband suddenly and is now raising four young adopted children on her own. And so many others.

Please, Lord, help them sort through the wide array of emotions and process each one with Your truth light not the enemy’s dark lies.

Give them the grace they need to take their time and not feel like they need to fit into an outline some grief expert put together. You, Lord, are the One we must look to. You understand. As Father God, You suffered the loss of Your one and only son. As Savior God, you were “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NKJV). And as Spirit God, You intercede on our behalf when we just don’t know what to say (Romans 8:26).

Thank you, Lord, for being there for us for the long haul. You are “the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. [You] will not grow tired or weary, and [Your] understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28 NIV). You will be there even after everyone else grows impatient with our pain. 

Hold the grieving ones today, and help them through. In Jesus’s Name I pray, AMEN

Are you grieving a deep loss right now? Or do you have a loved one who is? Leave me a comment and let me know, so I can pray for you. 

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Let’s talk about cravings

Did you know there are Facebook support groups about pretty much anything? There’s the “Ingrown Toenail Society” with a whopping 10 members. How about the “Blue Tick Coonhounds and the People who Love Them” group with over 7000 members. Oh, and we mustn’t overlook the “I Hate My Job…Kinda” group with 304 (kinda) members.

When I decided to start eating the keto way, a few of my keto friends suggested I join some groups. Support groups are excellent sources of accountability and information. My favorite keto group is “Low Carb Journey (Cooking Keto with Kristie).” I don’t have to ask many questions because someone always seems to beat me to it. Anything I want to know, I can find it on this page…for free.

Most every day, someone posts a comment about cravings.

  • I’m dying for some fries! What can I have that will satisfy this craving?
  • If I don’t get a cinnamon roll, I just might die! Help!
  • How can I go to the movie without eating popcorn? The smell might just do me in!

Usually, someone pops on with some miraculous low carb hack for favorite comfort foods. Seems like pork rinds are almost always involved. I had no idea those gas station treasures are so versatile!

So far, I haven’t struggled with any major cravings. I sometimes see foods I used to eat and think, “Mmm, that looks yummy,” but that’s as far as it goes right now. This is coming from a girl who used to shovel chips and salsa in with both hands and who used to scarf down a half dozen hot Krispy Kremes in less than 10 minutes.

I just don’t want the stuff anymore. My taste buds are changing.

The keto groups have all kinds of recipes for keto-friendly “treats.” There’s nothing wrong with treats. I’m sure I’ll indulge in some eventually.

But here’s my take on unhealthy cravings.

If we want to take authority over our appetites, we have to become proficient in a power-packed, two-letter word: NO.

Just because I’m craving waffle fries doesn’t mean I have to run red lights to get to the friendly Chickfila drive-thru.

Just because those cinnamon rolls smell like heaven doesn’t mean I have to burn my fingers swiping at the renegade frosting in the pan.

Just because my movie date has the extra-large popcorn tub with butter doesn’t mean I have to cram my hand in the bucket.

My cravings are not the boss of me! I can say no.

This goes way beyond food.

Sometimes, we crave other things. We crave retail therapy and ripping people good with sarcasm. We crave steamy movie scenes and stalking our exes and enemies on Facebook. We crave compliments and comparisons.

I say it again. Our cravings are not the boss of us! We can say no!

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” (Romans 13:11-14 NLT).

We’ve wasted enough time demanding our own way. Eating whatever we want. Doing whatever we want. Saying whatever we want. Spending our money however we want.

 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

Every craving starts with a thought. What if we paused, testing those thoughts, and said, “Lord, what would You have me do?”

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6 NIV).

Let’s elect the Holy Spirit as the governor of our minds. He keeps His campaign promises!

Lord, 

Take Your place in the executive office of my mind. I want to spend less time satisfying my cravings and more time being satisfied in You. Examine my motives, Lord, and show me when indulging is ok and when it’s not. It’s all about the heart, Lord, I know. Make my heart like Yours.

In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN

Are your cravings controlling your life? Let’s fight them together in fervent prayer. The most we say NO, the easier it will become. #fitnessfriday

 

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