Recalibration (What Grief Teaches You)

They say the best way to inspire others is by being transparent and vulnerable. I tried that in Christian community and well…my perspective is as follows. When you are still healing, it may be best to share with a safe community of people. Once you are healed, the story can be shared with others. Why do I say this? Because humans do not always think about the impact of their words before they speak. Some can be in a place of desiring to be helpful and they are actually quite harmful.

I love safe people, don’t you?

I met with a dear friend yesterday for lunch, a mini trip to the spa, and took her on a local tour. One of the things I love about her is her ability to listen without trying to throw a scripture on everything.

She has suffered great loss; I have suffered great loss, and we both know the unintended un-helpfulness of sometimes well meaning people. They say, “You are so strong!” Or “You just need to trust God.” “You know God is working all things together for good.”

I sat across the table from a kindred spirit. Someone who understood grief deeply and did not see it as something to wish away, but something to walk through with God. Some days are incredible and there is great joy. Some days you do not desire to laugh, your heart is full of tears. Some days agony crashes upon you like a tidal wave and you pray earnest prayers for relief.

People around you wish for you to be better. Some will avoid you because they do not know what to say or they don’t want to be in the presence of a person overcoming grief or loss. It is rare to find the ones willing to simply sit on the boat with you, riding out the storm.

Why do we grieve?

We grieve because we have lost someone or something we loved. Love is the reason for the grief. Those who do not love deeply and do not attach, they do not understand grief. Those who have not lost someone they loved, are sometimes clueless how to respond to a hurting person.

God knows how to deal with grief. I also highly, highly recommend grief share and support groups for those hurting; groups where others have gone through loss or are going through loss. Having a community of people who get it is absolutely vital to not only surviving, thriving. I am so thankful for safe people.

Grief has taught me so many things and it has changed me profoundly. Have you gone through a painful experience that changed you?

I am not the same person I was a year ago. I stopped doing things that seemed like a waste of time. I am still refining my priorities.

I stopped caring what people on the internet were replying to my content. I started simply deleting negative and misguided comments instead of wasting time trying to explain myself.

I stopped trying to mentor people who were disengaged, not present, not putting forth effort, and not interested in pulling their weight. I have enough to carry. I do not need dead weight nor to exert so much effort into what is not valued or appreciated.

I stopped worrying about those “friends” who just disappeared. I moved on with my life.

I stopped trying to love people who kept rejecting or misunderstanding love or it was always one sided.

Grief taught me and is teaching me to stop wasting my life on things that don’t matter.

Grief taught me and is teaching me to take one day at a time and some days it is one moment at a time.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me to stop expecting people to get it and be compassionate. I must have compassion for myself. Self care is vital. Expecting people to see a need and respond is futile. I found safe people to ask for help.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me to rest more and stop pushing myself to be strong for others. I am human, not Jesus. I started cancelling volunteer events with no support. I stopped pushing myself to be the only person to show up.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me what matters and what does not matter. It has recalibrated my focus so things I used to do, I refuse to carry with me. I believe grief can be a powerful tool to shift our focus. What about you?

Grief has taught me and is teaching me who my real friends are. It has been eye opening the past 12 months. I am not angry nor offended by people, I simply have relationships that grew closer and some that disappeared.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me the importance of saying no. When people perceive you as strong, they forget you are a human with legitimate needs. So they come with their needs, their wants, their desires, and expect you to be strong for them and you. Well, no. I have said to a few people, “I would like for you to contact someone else.”

Grief has taught me and is teaching me an even greater importance of family. Friends can come and go, but family is so important.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me not to judge my life by the lives of others. “Oh they never have anything bad happen to them, what am I doing wrong?” I have learned grief touches everyone at some point in life. If it is not your neighbors turn now, it will be one day. None of us make it out of life alive or without any challenges.

I have learned I do not have to be strong, just because that is what others desire. I learned there are days I crumble into the arms of God exhausted from grief and I am the furthest thing from strong. I find comfort in being able to just be human. I look at this man named Jesus who was and is perfect in every way. He cried out to the Father in agony, “Why have you forsaken me?” Pain has a way of making the Father seem so far away.

I understand how Jesus felt. I understand how Mother Teresa felt when she wrote in her diary that she felt forsaken by God at moments in her life. It may seem blasphemous to some, yet I see no blasphemy in Jesus. He knew agony, grief, suffering, and His friends went to sleep. He knew betrayal by one of the ones He trained and loved. My encouragement is it’s okay to be human. We were not created to live in such hard place. We were created for paradise and sin brought and brings hell.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me the closeness of God even when He does not say a thing. He speaks in ways that sometimes are not heard, but they mark us. I laugh sometimes because as silly as it sounds, I think God is filling up my Pinterest feed. It’s one encouraging picture after another.

I want to encourage you, those who have suffered loss. I am sorry for the silly and lack of empathy/lack of compassion things people say. I am sorry if you feel you must always be the one towing the superhero line. God does not expect us to pretend loss does not hurt, nor to put on the fake Christian mask, “God is working all things for good! Rejoice in the Lord always.” Let’s be real. Let’s be honest. Some days there may be a song in your heart. Some days there may be tears streaming down your face. Be human. You have permission to be human and invite God into your humanity.

I personally don’t have time for pretend. There are several things in my life/family that require a miracle. I am real, raw, and do not care how others feel about the process.

My encouragement…

God is with us on our best day.

God is with us on our worst day.

God with us is how we make it through the turbulent storms without drowning.

Let’s be real, honest, and inspire others to do so as well!

You are prayed for and so deeply loved!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

He comforts those who mourn and binds up the broken hearted.

Pain, the Teacher

Pain the Teacher (Simple Morning Reflection):

Pain can be an incredible teacher. It is in our human nature to avoid pain. Yet some great lessons can come out of pain. We can change; realize what matters most, and what doesn’t. Pain can shift focus from things that are not important to what is important.

You learn some relationships are dead weight anchors you are dragging along trying to keep alive. You pour in, trying to keep alive things the other person could care less about living or investing in to thrive. You learn to let go of things and people that are killing your soul.

You begin to analyze what is necessary and what is obligation or unecessary. You reevaluate your time or energy because it’s limited.

There is something about pain that teaches you to value the good moments even more, you savor them. You start avoiding the things that are like elephants sitting on your chest and run after the quiet moments with Jesus.

The things that used to bug you seem so small. The people you used to invest in and do all the work with zero mutuality, you simply stop doing it. You look for ways to make the most of each day.

This is what happens when I go through seasons of pain. Priorities shift. Agendas shift. Everything shifts.

There are great lessons that can be learned in seasons of pain. You find out who truly loves you and who is a person of opportunity. Some are present in their need, not present in yours.

You learn the safe places and genuine friends. You learn the comfort of God has no end. You learn, my goodness, you learn.

Earth’s focus becomes dimmer while eternity becomes brighter. You begin to see something greater woven through the tapestry of grief, of loss, of pain. Woven in this tapestry is the very face of Jesus-the one who knows the depths of human suffering.

Compassion grows leaps and bounds as you find yourself throwing out anchors of hope to others in the midst of your own storm. Pain can teach you so much about compassion because you simply do not wish for anyone to suffer alone. It moves you beyond praying to participating in the solution for someone else.

Pain can be an incredible teacher, revealing the deepest parts of the soul-what we believe and who we are is pressed to the surface. What we believe about God is placed on display. Trials reveal so much.

God brings in His love to reveal to us that He is present in every storm. No tear goes unnoticed. No cry goes unheard. No child goes unloved. And even if God seems silent and the pain is louder than His voice, He is still present and He is still love.

“God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

“The arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ears deaf to hear.”

Pain writes a new song in your heart, a song only God can hear. Friendship with God can deepen in seasons of loss, mourning, or pain. If we turn to God, instead of away from God, we can learn so many things. Gratitude can elevate. If we cannot give thanks for what we have, we can celebrate what we have been spared. We can share with others even in our lack, for there is always someone with less. There is always someone with more pain, more sorrow, more problems. We can be a blessing in our own storm.

Pain the teacher…you have taught me so much.

I bless you and pray your week overflows with the love, peace and joy of Jesus. He is pure joy. I know no greater love, no greater comfort.

Love,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-free.com

OperationGodisLove.org

Me and Abba (The Perfect Father)

It’s good to look back and reflect on what God has done. The next two posts will give you a glimpse on my walk with God (The Perfect Father). I hope it inspires you.

Scripture tells us to forget those things which are behind and to press towards what is ahead, Phil 3:13. It also tells us to remember all the good things God has done for us. Let us not forget the things He has seen us through. Here’s a simple recap for me of the last 10 years.

In the past 10 years I’ve lost a parent (my adopted mom), who was my best friend. She died the year I graduated college. Watching her die was the worst thing I have ever lived through. She was one of the best things that ever happened to my life, and I will miss her forever. I’ve seen both my parents battle cancer. I watched my biological mom lose her job, her car, her home, endure endless pain and suffering, and endure 7 major surgeries due to a hit and run accident that nearly destroyed her body. I’ve battled my own health issues, emotional issues, and baggage from years of bad things happening and traumas. I’ve had 3 lovely stalkers, ditched one extremely verbally abusive boyfriend, survived multiple near death experiences, and endured many a relational drama. Looking back I see a person held together by the hand of God.

There’s no way I could have survived everything that happened without Him. I only gave you a summary, there’s so much more He’s seen me through. He’s everything. And though there were days where I would wish for home, He never let me go. Suffering and I were bedfellows. But I tell you that no matter how bad it hurts today, God never fails. Gosh, I wish I could rid the world of pain and suffering, but it’s here until He returns. Our comfort rests in the truth that God steps into suffering; He heals, comforts, delivers, and restores.

There is one Man who will carry you when you cannot even lift your head. He is Jesus. I take no glory in my own strength because it fails. I do lean my head on the chest of the One who took nails for me. He did it for you too! So, my prayer today is that you find hope in Jesus. He will never leave or forsake you. I can’t promise much, but I can bet my life on that one thing….Why? Because I am still alive, healthy, and still standing!

Look back at the things God has seen you through…you will see that even when it hurt to breathe, He never let you go. He will never let you go. And the sweetest thing is that God not only saves, He heals, and He delivers. 

Have a very blessed week.

Love,

Erin

P.S You are deeply loved! Today and every day.