And the winner is...Felicia! Thank you so much Felicia for entering your name in my drawing to win a copy of my new women's Bible study book Whispers of My Heart. Please send me your mailing address: KathyCollardMiller AT gmail DOT com. If you'd prefer a Kindle copy, send me your Amazon account email to me.
In a recent post I wrote about how I killed my heart with a 12 gauge shotgun when my 50-year-old father died suddenly of a heart attack. I was prompted to write about it because my brother had died just a week earlier.
Now it's been a month since my brother went to heaven and my grief experience has been profoundly different than when my father died over 40 years ago.
When I used the shotgun metaphor I didn't think through how the metaphor could work. A 12 gauge shotgun shoots pellets. And as I pondered grief and my journey, I see how a heart can be wounded by the lies about grief. Each lie is like one of those pellets which kill the heart. So here are some thoughts about the lies and the truth of grief.
Grieving doesn't mean our faith is weak. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. We don't know the reason considering He knew He would momentarily raise Lazarus back to life. But Jesus had faith! So grieving doesn't necessarily mean we don't have faith. By the way, I wonder if Jesus was weeping because He so felt the grief of His friends. He was empathizing with them.
Grieving doesn't mean we have to cry all the time. I've been surprised at how my grieving "looks." Sometimes I seem unaffected but then suddenly I'm sobbing. Sometimes I know the reason why and sometimes I don't. Something will remind me of my brother or I'll think, "I have to call Chuck and ask him about this." Or I'll notice the photos of him around the house and the loss seems profound. Other times I honestly feel numb...and that's the next point.
Grieving involves numbness and that's okay. Shock and numbness can be God's gift of going through the initial days when so much needs to be done. Of course, I don't have the responsibility my sister-in-law and her children do. But I think God used a certain level of numbness to empower me to share at his service about our childhood before over 500 people. I did sob later but God surprisingly gave me that gift.
Grieving can be sweet while being extremely sad. I've been surprised, even shocked, that as I grieve the loss of my brother and think of him, there's a sweetness of focusing on him. Thinking of him, I enjoy reflecting on who he was and what he meant to me and so many. I can appreciate the fact we had a close relationship--something I know not everyone has. I don't berate myself or tell myself I shouldn't experience that sweetness or that I should feel it every time. It's a gift from God that comes as He leads.
Which of those are surprising to you, if any? What have you experienced in the grieving you've experienced? I'd love to hear and so would my readers because it would be a blessing to them and me. And thank you for your caring prayers for our family as we continue our grief process of losing a fabulous brother, husband, father, friend, and Christian.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Monday, January 30, 2017
To put your name into the drawing, you only have to post a comment on my blog or email me: KathyCollardMiller AT gmail DOT com.
I will draw the winner on Monday night, Feb 6th, 2017, and announce the winner the next day.
Here's the link for ordering if you want it right away: http://amzn.to/2ksLALx
I'm including here the first lesson. If you don't want to go through the whole thing, flip to the end and you'll see the "Letter from God." At the end of every lesson, I include one that refers to what the study studied. I know this will bless you.
- How do you define “prayer”?
- Why do you think we should pray?
- What has confused you the most about what other people say prayer is?
- What do these verses say about the purpose of prayer?
- Acts 1:15-24:
- I Timothy 4:4-5:
- James 1:5:
- I Peter 4:7:
- Even if we didn’t have all those reasons, why should we still pray (Matthew 7:7-11)?
- According to I Timothy 2:1-3, Matthew 26:41, and II Thessalonians 3:1-3, what are other purposes of prayer?
- Eve’s “Daily Quiet Time” was different from ours. She physically walked with God while she talked with him. How did Eve fail to benefit from that privilege (Genesis 3:1-7)?
- How do you think prayer can prevent us from being deceived as Eve was (Genesis 3:13)?
- Eve experienced many unpleasant results when she hid from God (Genesis 3:8-16). What results have you seen in your life when you didn’t pray about something?
- When we pray, we are the beneficiaries. What are some of those benefits?
- Proverbs 28:13:
- Mark 11:24-26:
- Philippians 4:6-7:
- James 5:13-16:
- I John 1:9:
- Which of those benefits is most meaningful to you?
- What truth does God reveal about prayer in Proverbs 15:29?
- Read John 9:31. Why do you think God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers?
- How do your prayers make God feel (Proverbs 15:8)?
- Why do you think God values your prayers so much?
- What “sacrifices” might an unbeliever make to God today?
- Why do you think the Lord doesn’t value the wicked’s sacrifices?
- After the disciples and followers of Jesus had seen him ascend into heaven, what did they do (Acts 1:12-14)?
- When we don’t know what next step to take, how can their example help us know what to do?
- The writer summarized the desire of his heart in a prayer expressed in Proverbs 30:7-9. What were his two requests?
- If you had to summarize the desires of your heart in two requests, what would they be? Write them in the form of a prayer.
- Read Isaiah 26:3-4. How does prayer help us have a steadfast, trusting heart?
- How do the following spiritual principles connect with prayer and what results from each?
- What principles of prayer do you see in:
- Nehemiah 8:2-6:
- I Kings 8:38-40:
- Psalm 77:1-3:
- Psalm 95:6:
- The simplest things we do can indicate our attitude toward God. What principle of prayer does Jesus teach in Matthew 14:19, 26:26?
- What can these different kinds of prayer indicate about our attitude toward God?
- grace for food:
- plea for help:
- How does prayer help to make adjustments in your attitude toward God, toward others, and life’s circumstances?
- Can you give a specific example?
- Why do you think Jesus didn’t want to drink the cup of judgment for sin?
- Regardless of what Jesus wanted, what was his attitude (vs. 39b)?
- What insight does Hebrews 5:7-9 give about the purpose of God’s answer of “no” to his Son?
- What should we learn from God’s “no” answers to our requests?
- God said “no” to his Son and made our salvation possible. What can we be assured whether God answers us “yes,” “no,” or “wait”?
- Jeremiah 29:11-13:
- Romans 8:35-39:
- Philippians 4:19:
- James 1:17:
- Which of those verses is most meaningful to you?
- How do they encourage you to trust God more?
Friday, January 20, 2017
|The Young 3 Collard Kids|
|The 3 Collard Kids|
|Chuck and Karen|
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Have you ever killed your heart? (Tweet that!) I did, forty-one years ago, as if I'd shot it with a 12-gauge shotgun.
In the middle of the night of January 15, 1976, I was sleeping soundly when the phone rang. I answered and my sister, Karen, whispered with a teary voice, "Daddy just died." I tried to understand what was going on in my muddled mind. She explained she was with mom at the hospital and my fifty-year-old father had been pronounced dead of a heart attack.
The shock was profound. I knew he wasn't in perfect health but to die? Only later did we find out he had gone to bed early after writing my mother (who was out at a meeting), a note saying, "I don't feel well. I'm going to go see the doctor tomorrow." Tomorrow never came for him.
But tomorrow came for us. The next morning, my husband Larry, our fifteen-month-old baby, and I traveled to my mom's where I gathered with my younger sister and brother. I don't remember at what point I decided, but I reasoned this in my 26-year-old immature brain. "I'm the only Christian in the family. If I grieve, it'll seem like I'm not strong in the Lord and I don't trust God. That won't represent the Lord well. I mustn't cry." I had only known the Lord for nine years and my belief system was muddled by wrong beliefs about emotions. I killed my heart with a loaded shotgun full of lies, vowing never to cry.
And cry I didn't. I stuffed the grief inside my heart, killing the feelings, and hardening my heart. Oh, certainly, some tears spilled out regardless but I refused to be "out of control." I wiped tears away quickly if they dribbled down my cheeks. And I forced myself to smile regardless to tamper down the feelings.
My sister and I remember that we three kids sat on the front row during the funeral giggling at one point. We all were unable to handle the emotions and instead we chose laughter as a means to cope.
For ten years I never allowed myself to fully feel the grief of losing my father. Instead, I poured myself into helping my widowed mother. I doubt we talked about my father much. It was too painful and definitely not the way to submerge feelings.
For ten years, I kept shooting my heart with that shotgun labeled "Don't feel. It's too painful and overwhelming."
Yes, for ten years!
Then God intervened. At a conference, I heard the speaker talk about the dangers of killing your heart. I knew I had been doing that. I found the little chapel at the conference center and for the first time I let myself grieve. I wrote a letter to my father and cried for thirty minutes. Deep sobs. Cleansing sobs. Cries of anguish in losing the most significant male person in my life. I gave myself full permission to feel and even explore what was happening. I knew my heart was being made alive again. And I also recognized the lie that a weeping and grieving Christian is a weak Christian who isn't trusting God.
What relief. Comfort. Freedom. Healing. I left that chapel without any make up on and eyes puffy almost unable to see. But I left knowing I needn't be ashamed of my emotions.
Since that significant experience of freedom in grieving, I've been learning, lo, these many years to grieve healthfully. (Tweet that!) And as my brother neared his death and as he left this earth and entered heaven a week ago, I've experienced God's power to grieve as one who has hope.
In my next post, I'll write more about that.
Grieve well, my sisters and brothers. It is possible. Don't kill your heart with a 12-gauge shotgun of lies.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
- What will they think of me if I’m not the Super Woman who can say “yes” to everything?
- If I don’t say “yes,” then I’ll miss out on the fun!
- If I don’t say “yes,” the opportunity won’t get done to my standards!
- If I don’t say “yes,” they might not ask me the next time.
By the way, if you'd like to explore these kinds of ideas further, the book Larry and I have written will help you. It's called Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today. We offer the tools for identifying “why I do what I do.” And then having a heart change so that you can trust God more. We’ve seen these tools strengthen us for increased obedience and joy. We hope you’ll join us in the quest for seeking God’s approval as our “audience of one.”