This is my comfort in my affliction,
that Your promise gives me life.
There have been times in my grief where I just needed to do something.
Partly as a distraction of keeping myself busy,
partly as a motherly act of doing something in honor of a child I could not rock or nurse or read to,
partly as a balm for a bleeding & broken part of me that needed tending.
I have read. and returning to these books, or even just seeing them on my shelf, continues the comfort they have offered…
I have written. blogs, forum posts, guest posts for various websites, devotional entries, private journals, countless letters to other grieving women – most of whom I have never met…
I have scrapbooked. when my first baby died, I made a scrapbook in her memory from pregnancy and the miscarriage, including pictures of the flowers we received, email quotes, the cards, etc. and someday yet to come I plan to make a “siblings” scrapbook including all thirteen of my children…
I have sewn. for every child I have carried in my womb, we have bought an arrow to put in a leather quiver in my husband’s study – and I sew a personalized name tag for each arrow with the baby’s name and a Scripture for that child…
I have painted. for instance, this painting which represents our four children here and the nine who have flown to the gates of glory…
I have metal stamped. for instance, jewelry (for me as their mommy, and also for their two grandmothers) and tears bottles…
I have gardened. there is something healing about whacking the ground with a hoe when your eyes burn with tears and your body throbs with a combination of physical & emotional & spiritual pain – I had a big vegetable garden at our old home, and while I have not yet had that at our new home, I have a little flower garden (which happens to be excessively overgrown and untidy at the moment) which has roses and a peony in honor of specific babies, as well as a bell and a birdbath in honor of others…
I have decorated. these children gone too soon still beautify our home and life – when I see Victory’s chimes, Hosanna’s light, Mercy’s rose, Heritage’s flowers, Fidelis’s bell, and my babies’ names in various artwork around my home, I remember that they are still part of our family, still part of our covenant line, still part of God’s good work in our home & life & family & ministry, still honored here and loved tremendously…
I have kept my babies close. until their decaying bodies are put with my own in the ground once our souls are reunited in the presence of Christ at His wedding feast, they stay close to me, in the sacred space of my own bedroom…
Putting my hands to physical toil and involving my brain in mental energies outside of crying or talking through my feelings, struggles, emotions, dreams (whether broken or yet whole)… that has been a way of seeking comfort myself when needing comfort in my grief.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
Other people of course do not always fill all the gaps I feel.
I can not always just sit on a street corner with a sign that says, “in grief ~ anything helps” and wait for someone else to fill my hands.
My hands are open to receiving comfort from others.
My hands are folded, my heart bowed low, my conversations continual with my heavenly Father to receive His comfort.
But my hands also often are busied in various ways to comfort myself with tangible things.
Comfort comes in many ways, many forms, many facets. Sharing ideas on what is comforting is just one of those blessed facets.
One of the beautiful things about living in Christ myself and living in a community of His people (both in real life and online) is that these varied aspects of comfort work together in harmony to produce something that can be most balming, most healing, most reaching.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
So when you are in grief, use your hands.
Fold your hands and lift up the emptiness of your hands ~ in prayer to the Father of all comfort.
Open your hands and be ready to receive ~ open to the comforts that others around you want & try to bestow.
Busy your hands ~ fill those palms and fingers with tangible projects and good things that bless your own broken soul.
Let Your steadfast love comfort me
according to Your promise to Your servant.