Sometimes I find it interesting just how God works. The things he does in my life to challenge me. To amuse me. To comfort me. And I never fail to be surprised by his timing.
As you may know, my dad passed away on March 4th. I shared some of my thoughts about that here and I have not written much in the past month or so. During March I have spent 16 nights away from home, traveled over 10,000 miles, been on 8 airplanes and spent more than 36 hours in a car. And I am tired.
But this morning, I am refreshed. Not because I got the greatest nights sleep on a fabulous mattress in a luxurious bedroom.
No, I am refreshed because I read this verse this morning…
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
And then I read this “The way up is down. Of all the virtues Christ commended in the Beatitudes, it is significant that the first is humility, being ‘poor in spirit,’ a quality that underlies all the others. You cannot mourn without appreciating how insufficient you are to handle life by your own strength.” (emphasis mine)
I read this in The Modern Life Study Bible God’s Word For Our World (page 1332). I am refreshed because I am insufficient to handle life by myself. Recognizing my insufficiency, allows me to rest in his sufficiency. Recognizing my less, allows me to rest in his more.
Recognizing that I can’t, but he CAN allows me to have peace.
And THAT, my friend, is why I am feeling refreshed this morning. I can’t. But HE can!
I received an e-mail sometime back from Thomas Nelson asking if I would be interested in receiving this Bible in exchange for a review. Since I was looking for a new study Bible, I jumped at the chance. I spent a few days checking out the Bible and noting the various features, then my dad, who had fallen last fall, got worse, had a stroke and eventually died. Spending much time with this Bible took a back seat to life. But this morning I began anew.
A do over so to speak…and He met me. Right where I am. Just like I needed him to.
There are a lot of things I like about this Bible. I love the Insight articles. They provide “information about the text and its cultural context.” While the Focus articles “present thoughtful explorations of scriptural passages, their significance and their relevance to modern life.” There are also maps that are helpful. The pages are colorful and the format engaging.
Each book is preceded by information about the author of the book (Jeremiah, Joel, Matthew, etc.) and includes notes about key events that occur in the book.
I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar. But I do want to learn more about the Bible and how to apply it to my life. I want a deeper understanding of the scripture and I am finding this Bible to do just that.
I am thankful to Thomas Nelson for this opportunity. Again, I received a copy of this in exchange for my review.
To my friends that have called, sent cards and text messages…thank you. I appreciate your prayers.
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She died 4 days after she was born. We buried her 4 days after she died.
That would be 31 years ago today.
Last year, on the 30th anniversary of her birth we re-buried her on the grounds of St. Emma Monastery Greensburg, PA where her paternal grandparents are buried.
This year, today has been harder than Friday, June 9 the day she was born. Or Monday, June 12 the day she died.
I`ve cried more today than either of the other days.
I took a walk.
Got a pedicure.
And chose a simple dinner of appetizers.
And I give myself permission to do nothing else.
I am thankful for the time we had her. For the experience and the things I learned about myself through the experience.
John and I are very conscious of what we say yes to and what we say no to. All because of Amy`s short life.
I`ve tried to use my experience to help others experiencing infant loss-or any loss. Some things are the same no matter the age of the deceased. Even if it is a loss thru miscarriage. I`ve experienced that too.
A loss is a loss.
Thank you to my sister and niece @sherrigd @tarahelise for letting us spend last weekend on your porch crying, laughing, and drinking wine and margaritas. I love you guys more than you know and I really needed that.
In what seems like the blink of an eye, it is 31 years later. Not a day goes by that I do not think of her.
My heart still hurts.
I cry at random times.
And I miss her. Still. 31 years later.
I grieve all the things that didn`t happen.
The life events.
Strangely though there are fewer tears today. Sometimes I think my tears are all gone. The well is dry.
Lack of tears does not mean lack of grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. So I accept my emotions today-whatever they may be.
If you know someone that has experienced a loss, don`t be afraid to tell them you remember. Let them know you care. Take a meal, send a text, write and snail mail a card. We want to know our loss is not forgotten.
I cried in church. Not because I was thinking about the events leading up to the crucifixion but because there was a little girl of about 5 or so sitting in front of me. She had the most gorgeous dark hair. With streaks of gold running through it. Natural streaks. Not the artificial colored streaks I pay more than I`m willing to share to get every few months.
As I observed her I thought about my own daughter. The one that died at 4 days old.
I thought of how she might be standing next to me this morning or next Sunday on Easter. Maybe she would have travelled to Charlotte to spend some time with her dad and me.
Grief is something that robs us of so much. It robs me of not just my daughter but it robs me of being the mom of a daughter.
I look at some of my closest friends, all mothers of daughters and I envy, yes ENVY!, the relationships they all have with their daughters. They may not agree with them on all things or see eye-to-eye with them but the daughters lead the charge to throw surprise 60th birthday parties for their parents or make sure that mom gets a Mother`s Day card, a birthday card, etc.
I think daughters are different than sons. Daughters are more sensitive than sons based on my observations as an outsider. I do not experience that sensitivity. And I grieve the fact that I am not the mother of a daughter.
The version of me before Amy`s death is totally different than the me that is here now.
If you want to read more about about my daughter, Amy, you can go to https://marybonner.net/?s=Amy and read more about my journey through infant loss and moving forward.
Adam McHugh`s book Blood From a Stone is a beautiful piece of writing about returning from the dead. I encourage you to check it out. You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold. Find and follow him @adammchughwine You won`t be sorry.
"Grief is so agonizing not only because you have lost something, but you have lost someone, and that someone is the version of you that was alive before your loss." Blood From a Stone Adam McHugh Page 102
Every June I think I`m going to handle this better. Whatever better looks like - I don`t know. 30 years and I still cry at random times. And every June I fall apart.
She would have been 30 next week. Instead of whisking her off for a 30th birthday trip to Key West like we did for her brother @coach_andy_bonner or Niagara Falls like we did for his wife we will make another kind of trip.
There will be a mass next Saturday and we will stand at a grave site as we move her body from the small town where she was buried to a final resting place by her paternal grandparents on the beautiful grounds of St Emma Monastery in Greensburg, PA.
I look forward to the weekend and I dread it all at the same time.
Today I broke down and sobbed. Just like yesterday. And probably will tomorrow. But I remember that He catches my tears in a bottle Psalm 56:8
If I learned anything from this life experience, it is this: I can do hard things. But not of my own strength. Philippians 4:13
When I tell people that I am a VA (Virtual Assistant) often they want to know what I DO. And I tell them that I mostly deal with details. Managing the things (details) that creative people do not see themselves as “good at.” Budgets, remembering dates, creating schedules and timelines, gathering data and information, making sure they get paid, etc. A few years ago, I took on my first social media influencer client. And after working for 5 years with only faith-based clients, social media was a different world! I learned how to navigate that world and now my social media clients are among my favorites. In fact, I let go of most of my other clients to allow more time to work with the influencers. One of the faith-based clients I kept is @kriscamealy of @refineretreat
I have known Kris for 10 years and worked with her on Refine for, I don’t know…maybe 6. Kris recognizes the importance of rest and soul-care that enables us to create better and more meaningful content. Allows us to be more present for our families, clients, and our businesses.
Whether we are writing in our journal, painting on a canvas, creating paid content for a social media outlet, sitting at a pottery wheel, whatever the creative outlet we must tend to our souls. We must rest. We must learn to pause.
#Soulcare is not optional in this world in which we live. We must learn to stop so that we are able to go. We can run at a break-neck, full-tilt speed for a while but at some point, we will crash.
If you are looking for a way to slow down and take a weekend to care for yourself and your soul, check out @refineretreat. Maybe Refine isn’t for you. That is ok. But if you think this only applies to faith-based work, check out @lindsaynead ‘s post from April 19. Lindsay is an amazing businesswoman and she recognizes the power of slowing down. Of stopping. Of resting. She took a break and found herself better for it.