Backyard Fun

When it comes to having fun, we often forget what’s in our own backyard. I lived in Colorado Springs for 14 years and yet never visited Seven Falls, Cave of the Winds, the Cog Railway or the U.S. Olympic Training Center. To find fun activities in your area, simply do a search on your city or region and include the word “attractions.” Discover new places and new activities and have a great weekend of fun with your family.

Photograph by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010. Used with permission.

Value Goals

Before I get into today’s blog I want to address Troy’s comments from last Thursday’s post on priorities. I apologize that the list was hard to read. I set it up as a table, but Blogger coding argued with me and it won. More importantly, service to others is a high priority to Troy (me too!) and service wasn’t even on the list. The list wasn’t my creation; however, I do believe that service easily fits into the category of family or relationships. Helping others is all about people, and that’s what relationships are—people. So let’s put service under relationships. I hope this will help others who might be struggling with defining their priorities.

That said, let’s move on to ranking your priorities and then talk a bit about goals. Ranking these priorities helps you further determine what value is most important and may help to guide you in making a decision should you face a circumstance that puts your values in conflict. If you were facing a situation that required you to give up one of your values, what value would you give up first? Which value would you give up next? And so on down the line.

When I did this exercise some six years ago, I ranked values as “family, spiritual, relationships, freedom, wisdom.” At the time, discontent nagged me daily. Discovering these values helped me reevaluate my life and the things that demanded my time. If God and family and others really were most important, why was I allowing tasks to steal my time with God, family and others? The activity forced me to take a deep look at my life and how I was spending my time.

I’ve set many goals through the years and have failed miserably at most of them—mostly because I all I did was tell myself I’m going to do such and such. I didn’t write my goals down, and I didn’t create a map to achieve them. I often tried to reach for too much too quickly and like a forest in a whirlwind all my goals toppled over. Not only that, but because I had not defined the values in my life, I was unknowingly setting goals that were in direct conflict with my values.

As you set goals for your life make sure they support your values. Establish your goals according to S.M.A.R.T. guidelines (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based), review them regularly and adjust them when needed. For more information on S.M.A.R.T. visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/TristanLoo5.html.

Certainly doing these types of activities takes time. Isn’t living a life filled with purpose and meaning worth the time it takes to make it happen?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Feed Your Faith with Prayer


“But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer” (Psalm 66:19, NKJV).

Prayer is simply a conversation with God, and it is how God gets things done. He acts because someone somewhere has asked Him to do something. I heard Reinhardt Bonnke speak on prayer and he opened up the concept of prayer in a whole new way for me. In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) was hovering over the earth. We don’t know how long the Spirit hovered because it doesn’t say, but during that time nothing happened. “Then God said” and there was light. God spoke and the Holy Spirit acted. Thus what God said was accomplished.

The Holy Spirit is ready and waiting to work on your behalf; you only have to speak. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7, 8). Even Jesus didn’t go about randomly healing people. They asked Him first!

God provides a lesson on prayer in Matthew 6:5-13.
• Where and how (verses 5-8)
• Begin with praise (verse 9)
• Pray God’s will to be done in your life and other’s lives (verse 10)
• Speak out your specific needs (verse 11)
• Ask for forgiveness and forgive others (verse 12)
• Pray for guidance and protection (verse 13a)
• End with praise (verse 13b).

Mark 11:24 says, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Be careful not to fall into the consumer Christian mentality: “God, give me this, give me that” as though He was the local Wal-Mart.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6, my emphasis). Saying thank you is a principle to be applied to all relationships, including your relationship with God. Thanksgiving should accompany your prayers.

Answered prayer helps build faith. God does what he says he will do. Will you share a time when answered prayer help build your faith?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010  Photograph by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010. Used with permission.

Healthy Anger

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you” (Psalm 4:4).

Anger is a natural human response, and this verse assures us that it’s okay to be angry. It also tells us there are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle our anger (don’t sin). Lashing out verbally or physically, seeking revenge and holding a grudge all fall into the unhealthy category. Simply put, these methods of anger management are really attempts at manipulating the person with whom you are angry. The other half of Psalm 4:4 gives us an answer on how to handle our anger—“Think about it overnight and remain silent.”

No, this isn’t saying stew about what you’re anger over. Instead rationally think through the situation, discern why you got angry, and determine how you can resolve the situation assertively. This process also allows you to act calmly at a later time, rather than reacting emotionally at the moment of anger and possibly saying something you might regret. For more information, http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

The Good Shepherd


God has a tender heart toward us. He loves us with an unfailing love (Jeremiah 31:3). He cares about what happens to us and, in Bible times, communicated that in terms of the shepherd and the sheep. “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep. … I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak” (Ezekiel 34:11, 13b-16b). God is the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-14). He will take care of you.

Photograph by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010. Used with permission.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Laughter in Crisis

I envy people who can stare down a crisis and stab it in the heart with a one-liner. My oldest son is a person like that. Usually his one-liners are quotes from a movie given in the actor’s voice. He can do a fantastic Shaggy and Scooby routine. The most quoted line in our family is the Sean Connery’s “Some things in here don’t react well to bullets,” from Hunt for Red October. My daughter has an amazing sense of humor. I’ve often told her she should be a stand up comic.

Now me, I’m often accused of taking life too seriously. I agree. I’ve tried to change, but my sense of humor is so dry it rivals Death Valley. I actually like the smell of a skunk. What does that say about my personality?


I’d like to plant a right hook to the jaw of the person who coined the phrase “life isn’t all fun and games.” And a left hook to whoever said “Don’t be funny.” I heard them all too often as a child. They’ve been self-fulfilling prophecies. Besides, when you’re pulling a knife out of your back—hey there, nice Bowie knife—where’s the humor in that?

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones and increases the happy hormones. It also helps one gain a better perspective of a negative situation. A humor writer I’m not, but I look for something to laugh about during a crisis, because if I don’t, more than my sense of humor ends up in Death Valley.

There are two good things about things about the endless stream of forwarded emails I get: 1) It tells me people are thinking about me. That’s comforting. 2) They often provide a good belly laugh.

Are you getting enough laughter?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Know Your Life Priorities

To avoid hamster days, know your life priorities. That begs the question “Do you know what your life priorities are?” What is important to you? What do you value the most? Below is an activity taken from Discovering Your Purpose by Ivy Haley that helped me tremendously. Here’s what to do with the list: In your first read through all five lines, crossing out those values you can live without. Now burrow through it again and cross out several more. Continue eliminating values until you have 5 left.

Accomplishment Adventure Affection Approval Challenge

Competition Family Freedom Health Financial Security

Independence Integrity Loyalty Order Relationships

Recognition Prestige Power Security Self-Acceptance

Spiritual Wealth Wisdom Pleasure Self-Development

The five remaining are your highest values. Each impacts your decisions and conduct.

Now think about how you spend your time each day. Make a list if you need to do so. The way you spend your time should be supporting your five highest values. If not, make adjustments. A question I ask myself (though often don’t) before I make a decision or start a new project is “Does this decision/activity support my priorities?”

Take your time with this activity and give it serious thought. Write these priorities down and keep the list where you will see it on a regular basis. This will help you stay focused and on track, instead of running along side the hamsters. Next week will discuss making goals. Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

The Basics Pt. 3: The Power of Prayer

“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:25, 26 NLT). Acts 12:1-17 tells us how prayer freed Peter from prison. That’s the power of prayer.

Prayer is not complicated and can take place anywhere—in church, in the shower, in the car on the way to work. Prayer is conversation with God. In Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus teaches about prayer. Prayer asks God to take action on our behalf for the sake of Christ. “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father” (John 14:13, NLT). A prayer can be one sentence and last 5 seconds, or you can have a long conversation for more than an hour. God answers prayer because of what Christ has done, not what we’ve done.

Why pray?
• We grow in our relationship with God.
• Jesus instructed us to pray. (Matthew 26:41)
• Prayer allows God to get involved in our lives and the lives of others. (Genesis 20:7, Numbers 11:2, 12:13, 21:7; 1 Samuel 2:1 for a few examples.)

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6, NLT). Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Grieve Your Losses

Many people are dealing with grief in these days after the tremendous earthquake in Haiti. Untold numbers have died. But the death of loved ones is not the only loss these people are experiencing. They have also lost their homes and all that was in them, their businesses, and their city. Their country will never be the same.

We all experience loss at some point in our lives. Maybe a friend moved away or you got laid off or your son went off to college 3000 miles away. The point is something significantly important to you isn’t there anymore. The grief experienced with any loss follows the same cycle though the intensity of grief may be different.

For seven years I tried to fool myself into believing I hadn’t lost anything but my marriage after our lives fell apart due to my husband’s crime of incest. Acknowledging the losses meant experiencing more pain. I had enough pain! But my subconscious mind was fully aware of the losses and wanted to grieve. While I refused, depression kept its grip on me. Then one day while reading a book on divorce recovery, I sat down and made a list of everything I lost in that situation. Like a splinter that festers until it’s removed, my pain had continued until I faced it and allowed myself to feel it. I grieved each item on the list no matter how trivial the loss may have seemed. This opened the door to further emotional healing.

Have you grieved the losses in your life? Don’t be afraid; grieving will allow you to heal.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Thank You!

Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote the hymn “Count Your Blessings” and had it published in 1897. That was long before scientists had studied the health benefits of giving thanks. Mr. Oatman didn’t need scientists to confirm what he learned through experience—saying thank you regularly improves your state of mind. Today’s scientists have also proven the activity has physical benefits as well. But you must say “thank you” more often than once a year to gain the benefits.

The Bible says, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NLT). That means even offer thanksgiving in the tough times. I know that’s hard; I’ve had to do it. I don’t necessarily thank God for sending tough times. I thank him for being in the midst of it all and giving me the strength to get through it.

How would you feel if no one ever said thank you to you for anything you had done or given to them? How often do you say thank you to family, friends or coworkers? How often do you say thank you to God? I have learned to regularly give thanks to God by spending prayer time doing only that—saying thank you for my health, my family, the weather, anything and everything. I’m going try to make it a daily prayer by saying “thank you” for at least one thing when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night. How about you?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010
Last Friday we learned the benefits of laughter. Do you laugh every day? The world would probably be a much better place if we all did. Did you know there is such a thing as laughter yoga? How about laughter therapy? Here are some ways to put laughter into your life:

• Read the funnies
• Watch some YouTube videos
• Watch a comedy movie
• Host a game night with friends
• Play with your pet
• Have fun with your kids
• Go to a comedy club
• Go to a laughter yoga class

What do you do for laughs? Please share so we can build a variety of laughter into our lives.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Hamster Day Meals

For the most part, gone are the days when mothers stayed home. Thankfully, I think that trend is beginning to reverse itself and more moms are choosing to stay home. However, while they are staying home, the need for a dual income still exists and many are working a home business. That means even though moms may be staying home, they are still just as busy as if they worked outside the home. It also means that saving money wherever possible is important.

A home cooked meal is one of the first places to save. A dollar at the grocery store buys much more than a dollar at a fast food restaurant. Yes, when tired and pressed for time, fast food is an easy answer, but with a bit of planning fast food can be avoided. A home-cooked meal doesn’t mean spending hours preparing it.

Meal ideas:
• Plan two weeks (or even a month) of supper at a time. Write it on the calendar and make your grocery list accordingly. Just having it written down will free up some brain cells and chase away the frustration of “What am I going to fix for dinner tonight?”. And you won’t be making last minute trips to the grocery because you decided at 4:30 to have reuben sandwiches for dinner, but didn’t have any Swiss cheese.
• Invest in a crock pot if you do not already own one. They save time, energy and added heat on those hot summer days. Toss your supper into the pot before the kids are up. Then it’s done and off your mind (that is until the delicious aromas entice you) and you won’t have hungry kids clamoring while you’re trying to cook.
• When preparing supper, make a double portion. Freeze half to pull out on a day that catches you by surprise.
• Spend a Saturday cooking some of your favorite meals and putting them directly into the freezer. Google search “once a month cooking” for sites that offer recipes and ideas.
• Utilize the many websites that offer free recipes. They add variety, ease and value to your meals.

While they may not seem so, these ideas can be and are effective in saving you time and money. The purpose is to make a busy day less harried. Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

The Basics Part 2--Read

I love to read. I realize there are many who don’t. However, to learn fully who God is, reading the Bible is essential. Many people say, “I’ve tried reading the Bible. I can’t understand it.” I used to be one of them, but I kept plugging away at it anyway. Nowadays there are so many versions to choose from that you are sure to find one that is more understandable than the King James Version I grew up on. Before you buy a Bible, visit Biblegateway and read the same few verses in the different versions offered until you find one that works for you.

Next, make a commitment to read regularly. If you are a new Christian, the Book of John is a good place to start. For Bible reading plans

Happy reading.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Deny or Accept

The day I drove to my husband’s arraignment for sexual abuse against my daughter (his step-daughter), my situation began to sink in. It was mortifying to see him in that felony orange jumpsuit. A waking nightmare had descended upon our lives.

Like any parent, God wants the best for us, but our finite minds struggle to understand how a crisis could possibly be good. Denial is refusal to acknowledge there is a battle raging, so consequently you also are not fighting the battle spiritually, mentally or emotionally. Acceptance of a situation isn’t giving up; it’s choosing to enter the ring and fight.

In acceptance, our first step is to trust God. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Next, tap into God’s grace. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT). Author and speaker Joyce Meyer explains grace this way: “Grace is the power of God available to meet our needs without any cost to us. It is received by believing, rather than through human effort” (from If Not for the Grace of God by Joyce Meyer). To receive God’s power, simply ask for him to provide it. “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father” (John 14:13, NLT).

As you accept your situation, here are some practical suggestions to help.
• Enlist prayer partners who will support you regularly in prayer.
• When you’re preparing dinner, fix double and freeze half. On those days when you don’t have the energy to cook, you’ll have meals in the freezer you can pull out and use.
• Laugh. There are physically healing benefits in laughter. (See the post dated 1/8.)
• Ask for help from your support network (family, friends who are willing to help)—babysitting, cleaning, laundry, cooking meals, whatever you need.
• Find a support group (online or otherwise) you can attend. Others have dealt with what you are dealing with right now and can help.
• Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Stress compromises your immune system making you more susceptible to illness.
• Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night; rest allows your body to reenergize.

Our God is an awesome God. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE for him to do. He will give you the strength and guidance you need.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

God Cares!

Last Monday I pointed out that God greatly desired to adopt us. Today I’d like to take that a step further. Just as it was God’s desire to adopt us, he also desires to care for us. How can I say that? The Bible tells me so in Isaiah 46:3-4. “Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel, I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”


Remember we are adopted into God’s family, Israel, so these verses apply to us. God is active in the lives of his creation, not detached and uncaring. These verses tell me he created me and will care for me throughout my lifetime. I revel in the verbs “carried” and “carry” used here. As a mother I can identify with this terminology. I carried each of my children for 9 months before I gave birth to them. I marvel that God carried me in some intimate fashion as well. As a parent, I continued to carry my child until he could walk. But God carries us our entire lifetime! He does this because he loves us—with a greater love than we can fathom.

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT).

Debra L. Butterfield ©2010

Old-Fashioned Fun

“A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Yes, laughter is medicine, and it doesn’t taste nasty going down either. Here are just a few of the benefits of laughter:
• Releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, into the body
• Relaxes the body
• Boosts the immune system
• Improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow.


Are you suffering with cabin fever? Snowstorms and arctic air present a wonderful opportunity for you and your family to spend time together having fun. Take a step back in time this weekend. Turn the cell phones off for a few hours, unplug the TV and game systems and enjoy some old-fashioned fun. Here are some suggestions.
• Play board games (My sons always beat me at Monopoly.)
• Learn a new card game like hearts, pinochle, spades, Liverpool rummy. Visit BicycleCards.com for ideas and rules.
• Put together a 500-1000 piece puzzle
• Play hide and seek (Hide and seek in the dark always appealed to my teenagers.)
• Read a book out loud
• Make and bake cookies together
• Make turtle pancakes for dinner instead of breakfast.

For those who want to brave the outdoors:
• Play Fox and Goose (a wintertime version of tag that is a family favorite). Feel free to vary the shape of your play area! We wound our paths all through the back and front yards.
• Go sledding
• Ice skate
• Have a snowball fight
• Build a snowman

Most of all, just have fun no matter what you do.
Photo used with permission VanHookFamily.com.     Debra L. Butterfield ©2010

Slow Parenting

Have you fallen victim to the tyranny of perfect? Perfect body, perfect home, perfect car, perfect clothes, perfect children? There is no doubt our society strives for perfect. But perfect is impossible. Besides, just who determines what perfect is?

This desire for perfection pressures parents and children. Both parents work; the children go to school; after school, weeknights and weekends the children are involved in extracurricular activities to the point they have no playtime and the family has no time to rest. In between it all, the kids still have to keep those grades up and be an academic success too. According to johntesh.com, in the last 30 years, homework has doubled, and playtime has dropped by 25%. But studies have shown that playtime builds leadership and social skills as well as reduces anxiety and depression in children. Playtime is important. Enter the slow-parenting movement.

Carl Honor√© did not coin the phrase “slow parenting” but his books are a driving force behind the movement. Honor√© is the author of The Power of Slow: Finding Balance and Fulfillment Beyond the Cult of Speed, and, more recently, Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting. He says, “Slow parents give their children plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms. They keep the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together.” Slow parenting isn’t about sitting around doing nothing; it’s about balance, quality versus quantity.

Steps to Slow Down
• Examine your family’s schedule as it now exists. How many extracurricular activities are each of your children involved in? As a single parent, I made the decision that one extracurricular activity per child (I have 3) was plenty and still allowed both me and them to have down time between work and school. Cut back if needed, and allow the kids to help in the decision process.
• Examine your expectations for your child. Are they realistic? Are you constantly pushing them academically, socially and athletically? Remember, balance is the goal.
• Re-examine your life priorities. Does your daily schedule promote them? One of my priorities is growing in my relationship with God. Yet, there was a time when my day was so filled with activity I didn’t have time to pray or read the Bible.
• How often do your children complain about going to those extracurricular activities? This may be a sign they are doing too much.

Cutting back activities may be difficult at first, but the added time for family togetherness and rest will soon bring relief. Setting aside the tyranny of perfect will take a real weight off your shoulders.

For more information on slow-parenting, start here: "What Is Slow Parenting?"

Debra L. Butterfield ©2010

The Basics Part 1--Beleive

Wednesday is “Feed Your Faith, Starve Your Fears” day. I think the best place to start is with the basics.

I believe God intended for faith to be simple. If getting saved was complicated God would be running the risk that many would be lost because they couldn’t find the way. He desires that all his creation be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).So he’s straightforward in what he says, and he gives us signposts. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT). “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NLT).

Belief comes first. Like many things in life, belief in the God of the Bible is a choice. I can’t remember a time when I did not believe in God. For others, belief is more difficult. One can study the religious texts of the world and sit at the feet of religious scholars and be taught, but one’s belief still comes down to choice. God helps us every way he can. He gave us the Bible to help us come to know and believe in him. If someone asked me why I believe in God, I would answer, “Because he has proven himself to me through my life experiences. He does what the Bible says he’ll do.”

I’m no theologian, but I am happy to answer any questions you may have. If I don’t know, I’ll do my best to find someone who does. Debra L. Butterfield ©2010

Denial

Webster’s unabridged dictionary defines denial as “an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc. is false.” At minddisorders.com denial is defined as “the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities or internal thoughts and feelings.” For example: An alcoholic can deny she has a drinking problem when in reality her drinking has impacted both her marriage and work in negative ways.

When traumatic events occur in our lives, denial may initially take place. This initial denial helps protect us from the emotional shock of the event. But it is essential for one’s mental, physical and emotional well-being to move past denial and on to acceptance.

Physical or sexual abuse, addictions, death, natural disasters, chronic illness, adultery, pornography—denial in any of these areas will cripple you.

Make an honest examination of your life.
Seek the truth.
Get professional help if needed.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, your Word says “there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light” (Mark 4:22). Reveal the truth to me and give me the strength to accept it. “Oh, send out your light and your truth! Let them lead me” (Psalm 43:3).

For further reading on how to help those who are addicted read “Understanding Addiction and How We Can Help” (http://debralbutterfield.com/ezine/archive/Nov-Dec09/index_files/UnderstandingAddiction.htm) Debra L. Butterfield ©2010

Skinned Knees

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:18, NLT).

When your child falls and skins a knee, she runs to you and says, “Mommie, make it better.” Our parents are a part of our support network all our lives. A support network is simply people who provide emotional and practical help in difficult circumstances.

I love the story of Moses and the battle with Amalek in Exodus 17:9-13. As long as Moses held his hands up to God, Joshua was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired and he dropped them, and Joshua began to lose. So Aaron and Hur got a rock for Moses to sit on, and each stood on either side and held Moses’ arms up for him. And at the end of the day Joshua had won the battle. This is a wonderful illustration of supporting family and friends through the heavy burdens of life.

Let me put it in more relatable terms. Six pallbearers carry a casket from the hearse to the grave because it is a physical burden too large for one man. The weight of grief one experiences when a loved one dies is an emotional burden too heavy to bear alone. Having loved ones or a loss support group to share the burden of our grief will help us bear the loss.

The most important, though often overlooked, member of our support group is God. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5, NLT). Wow, it gave him great pleasure to adopt me (and you)! Meditate on that fact and let it encourage you. God is my heavenly father and when I skin my knees I can run to him for help. You can too.

To get a better picture of how God supports us read "Footprints in the Sand."
Debra L. Butterfield ©2010