Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Season To Love


As the holidays are now officially in gear, I have something that is on my heart and I'd like to share with you.

On Saturday November 29th Tammy over at My Heart...His Word's 13 year old son went to be with Jesus. This precious child had been battling brain cancer since 2002. It had been a long journey with many surgeries, chemo and radiation. Although I never met him personally, I felt like I knew Nick from just from reading Tammy's writings. If you have not visited her blog, you really need to. Each time I would go over to visit and check up on Nick, my plan was to leave a message to encourage Tammy, but it never failed, I was the one who came away encouraged by her steadfast faith and great love for Jesus. Oh how our prayers and thoughts go out to this wonderful family at this time.

Since my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor over 5 years ago our world has also been radically changed. While we are so grateful that Jordan is now in remission, we are still closely connected to many families who have either lost a child to some form of childhood cancer or continue to face the battle for a cure. As hard as this is sometimes, we count it a privilege to be able to witness first hand the Lord's amazing grace at work in the lives of these children and families.

The reason I'm writing about this today is because although Christmas is one of the most joyous seasons of the year, it can also be one of the most difficult for families like Tammy's and others that have experienced such great loss. It seems that during the holidays, fond memories and family traditions only tend to emphasize grief.

In the book of Galatians 6:2 Paul instructs us to,
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

I know for many of you it can be difficult to talk to people who may be going through times like this. You may feel like you just don't know what to say. I've been there myself many times and I've even avoided people because I felt at a loss to know how to encourage them. However, I have learned some things along the way, and I'd like to encourage you who may face a situation like this with a few things that might help you to minister and console.

First of all don't be afraid to acknowledge their loss and talk about their loved one by name. Although it may cause some tears, there is really no greater joy then knowing that your loved one is remembered. Talk about personal experiences you may have had with that person, or stories about their lives that you know. Remember, that person really is living on in heaven. They may be gone from our presence, but they are still very much alive and well.

Another way to bless a family who has experienced a loss is to give a gift in honor of their loved one. Find out what cause or organization they are their family may be involved with and give something in their name. This really makes the family feel like their passing was not in vain, and their lives are still having an impact by helping others.

Finally, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He is the One who will lead you, guide you, and give you the the words to speak. Remember, we are the Body of Christ. We are the hands of Christ reaching out to help lift up this hurting world.

...The Spirit the Lord is upon us to bind up the broken hearted. (Isa. 61)

May your Christmas season be a blessed one...full of the Love, Joy and Peace that comes from knowing Christ the Savior.
Thanks for taking time to stop by today.

14 comments:

LAURIE said...

What a wonderful reminder to all of us to reach out to those hurting. This has also been on my heart as in our church family we have had several families lose loved ones recently and my heart aches for them as they try to find joy and peace in their first Christmas without their loved one. Let's remember those that are hurting.-Blessings, Laurie

luvmy4sons said...

Beautiful thoughts. Such wise advice..from one who understands...thank you.

Faith said...

This touched me. Although I have not experienced the loss of a child, I do know some families who have. Thank you for this gentle reminder of how to bless them, encourage them and be there for them.
God bless you.....

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh how very tough. I will visit her blog and pray for her. This is a great, sweet & thoughtful post Susan. PTL Jordan is doing well.
Love you,
Lelia

Keli said...

Thank you so much for this reminder. I too have friend with cancer and at times I am at a loss for words. xo Keli

Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing with us about Tammy, and also for those helpful words of advice and encouragement. I can't imagine how hard it must be for those who've lost loved ones during the Christmas season. Thank you for this poignant reminder.

Blessings,
Tracy

P.S. Your new look is beautiful. Those pictures are so precious.

blackberrycottage said...

Wow, what a reminder to me that there are always others who are going through so much. I was blessed reading your post. I am so sorry for Tammy losing her son so young here at this time, but what a joy to know he is with the Lord too.
I am thankful to the Lord your son is in remission, and may he remain so.
Your blog is so pretty Susan!
hugs Sandra nz

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Thanks so much sweet Sue for the gentle reminder!!!

My heart is broken for what this family (and many others just like theirs) will be experiencing this Christmas Season!!

I'm on my knees....

Laurie Ann said...

What a sweet sweet reminder on how to handle these difficult issues, Susan. I was so saddened to hear of Nick's passing, but knowing his faith, I am rejoicing at the same time that he is no longer suffering but safe and healthy at Home in Heaven. I'll pop over and leave a note. Thanks for letting me know. *Hugs*

Tiffany Stuart said...

This post touched my heart. I know you know suffering firsthand and I know that you encourage everyone you meet. I'm beyond thankful for the lifegiving words you give to the world. You are a light shining in my life. Thank you for being Susan. One God so loves...

Jennifer said...

Susan,

What sweet and caring thoughts you have..thank you for sharing your heart with me today.

lori said...

Girlfriend...What an amazing faith and testimony she shares even in grief...wow...I'm humbled...you know I'm seeing this first hand this season with my friend Connie...She is facing the first Christmas without Tyler and I know it's just hard when you miss them so much...prayers for peace and the reminders to reach out were so timely for me...you have no idea what your words meant here....

AND the new header is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE...you are TOO young looking to have those grandbabies....;)
love you!

Denise said...

Thank you for the honesty and beauty in your post. Christmas is so much more than a tree and gifts and our losses are felt much deeper in these moments. This year my family will be experience "a first" Christmas without a patriarch. An emptiness will be echoing but the measure of grace we will experience through love and memories is abundant. Blessings to you! Denise

Willow said...

Thank you, Susan, for such a beautiful reminder. Last Christmas was my first without my mom and it was very hurtful that nobody even mentioned her. I understand that they were trying to be considerate of my feelings but I appreciate the reminder from you to reach out this year to others who might be hurting.