Being Thankful in Grief by Sara Nelson

Being Thankful in Grief

My daughter and I were the best of friends. People who didn’t know us often thought we were sisters, because of our cheerful camaraderie. She was an only child, and perhaps, growing up as an army family with my husband often away for extended periods, our bond as a mother and daughter grew uncommonly close. All the more reason why her passing cut so incredibly deep.

2013 was a rough year. Health problems emerged for which we never did find the cause, but she began having seizures. There were financial hardships. Then, she and her husband separated. As 2014 began, we looked forward to a more hope-filled and brighter year. We had just celebrated her 36th birthday. And then, suddenly, she was gone.

When tragedies happen, everyone wants to know why. Why did this happen? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Life is not always sunny and happy and wonderful. Sometimes, there’s pain. Jesus said himself troubles would come, BUT not to despair. He overcame, so we could be overcomers.

That’s the kind of promise I cling to in my heartbreak. I am thankful for the overcoming grace of God which sustains us, even in this. I am thankful for God’s loving arms which I cling to in my tears. I’m thankful for my relationship with God, and for knowing, before this ever happened, that God is good and kind and loving. He cares, and He carries our grief.

I am thankful for many things. I’m thankful she doesn’t have seizures anymore, and she is completely whole and well. I’m thankful that the cares and heartaches of this world which were such a burden in the last year of her life, no longer plague her. I know she is joyful in the presence of God.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful years of her life we had together. Such good memories to cherish! I might have been childless, otherwise. She was our miracle. I’m thankful for God blessing us with her and for every year of her life.

I’m thankful for what a blessing she was to others. She was a gifted teacher and touched more lives than she even knew. People still come up to us and share anecdotes of ways she ministered to them or their child. I am thankful for her gifts and talents and the precious legacy she left to us.

I had sometimes thought about my daughter’s eventual grief when she would face losing her father and me. I would rather bear this grief for her than that she should have to bear it for us. I’m thankful she won’t have to grieve for us someday.

I’m thankful for this taste of grief, bitter as it is, because I’ve grown so much in ways I might not have otherwise. I never realized how many people are walking through a grief journey of their own. Before, I might have felt compassion, but now, I know what it’s like. It’s true that we are able to comfort others because of the comfort we have received. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I’m thankful for the promise of heaven for those who trust and believe in Jesus. The movie, Heaven is For Real, came out a short time after her passing, and it blessed us so much. Other books and testimonies have also helped strengthen our vision and understanding of what heaven is like. These things have greatly encouraged and comforted us.

God does not keep every bad thing from happening, but He is very much with us in our sorrow. He comforts, and strengthens, and helps us go on, even when—especially when—we think we cannot. And, that is worthy of thanksgiving.

1378554_10202365435760096_915185415_n_edited Sara Faith Nelson is a retired teacher and aspiring writer. She writes devotions and blogs about her grief journey on her website, Sunshine for the Journey. Many have said they’ve been comforted and encouraged by her sharing. On her Facebook page, she enjoys passing on positive and hope-filled messages. She and her husband live in Arizona. Sara enjoys bird-watching, rock collecting, and adding to her collection of coffee mugs and tea cups.


Thankful: The Basics

I’m a thinker. I can’t say all my thoughts are profound, but I’m constantly thinking.

And I’m very mindful of what God has given us.Thankful_edited

Every night at prayer time I make sure we thank Him for a roof over our head. I understand that at any moment we could lose that because of weather, job change, or something else. I haven’t forgotten taking a bus trip through Mexico and seeing huts. Having the local tour guide tell me I was rich because I lived in America. And the reality hitting me that I was an American girl taking a cruise, on a guided bus tour for entertainment, arguing with a local that I was not wealthy.

I thank Him for food. I’ve ministered in services when kids were acting out and I was told it was in part due to child hunger. This wasn’t in another country. It was in my county. When I run the water longer than I should, I turn it off thinking about places that don’t have wells.

I’ve watched kids talk about how their peers make fun of them because their clothes are hand me downs or don’t fit. Honestly almost every piece of clothing we have comes from 50% off day at the Salvation Army. But at the end of the day, I still have clothes. My family is ready for winter because we have coats, boots, mittens and hats. So many don’t.

We try to make a difference through giving to families, charity, and organizations. We try to have as many kids as we can come through with overnights and meals.

We want to be part of a solution and not blindly take in the things we have.

We are thankful for everything, including the basics most forget they have.

Thankful: My Quiet Family

As I mentioned on November 2nd, I didn’t receive a lot of submissions this year on why people are thankful. I decided perhaps that meant it was time for me to share.

I’m thankful for my quiet family.


Call us nerds, geeks, freaks. When you come to our house, the circus is the last thing you’ll find. We’re probably working on laptops or reading. Watching sports. We love to talk but we aren’t overly chatty.

And our volume is almost always on low.

The hard part is when we visit “normal” homes. We’re completely overwhelmed by the yelling that is actually talking. The side conversations and interruptions. It’s all normal, we’re the weird ones.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I like having a sanctuary for my husband to come home to. He’s tired and enjoys relaxing. He’s not entering a perfect place by any means, but more times than not, he’s sitting down to a tranquil setting.

The same for the kids. The oldest is feeling the pressure of senior year. He’s an honor student who works hard. He’s spent when he gets home and school is not always a calm place. Home is safe for him.

The youngest is the loudest of us all and the most extroverted, but she too gets overwhelmed. She can get headaches a lot when there’s too much chaos.

As for me, people ask how I do so much in a small span of time. Although I don’t sleep a lot, I think having a quiet home helps a lot. I can focus and multi task, and I believe the atmosphere is a big part of it.

It’s not for everyone, so don’t think I’m knocking you if you love noise at your home.

I’m just thankful for our quiet, little family.

What are you thankful for?


Book Review: Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson

Book Description:

How can she choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath?

Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. Katie’s almost-fiancé Casey is back in Fairfield, ready to rekindle their relationship. And there’s nothing Katie’s parents want more than for their small-town girl to leave Dallas and come home for good.

But can she really leave Brady behind? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?


Every Girl Gets Confused

I was thrilled to return to Texas and see how Katie, Brady, Queenie, Dewey and the gang were doing. Every Girl Gets Confused picks up after Every Bride Needs a Groom. Katie’s settling in with her new job and new boyfriend, injured NBA player Brady James.

Her grandmother Queenie is marrying a pastor and the whole town of Fairfield is getting ready. That would include Katie’s ex, Casey.

I loved everything about Queenie’s wedding, including the racy lingerie shower for a senior citizen with a titanium hip. It’s so fun to read about senior citizens having fun, and these folks do. I equally loved reading about life at the bridal shop, especially between Eduardo and the bride who had her family and her fiancé’s attend every aspect of the dress.

I wish there had been more romance and conflict between Katie, Brady and Casey. There was a great thread with Brady’s injury and how the theme of season kept popping up.

All in all, this is another delightful read from Janice Thompson full of smiles and tender moments. You will enjoy Every Bride Gets Confused.

To purchase Every Bride Gets Confused, click here.

I received Every Bride Gets Confused from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thankful: Birdseed

As you know, each November I use the theme of thankfulness here. Usually guest posters take over, but people just didn’t submit this year. So, here I am.

I’m trying to think of out-of-the-box things I’m thankful for.




February2015birdfeederWe have a couple feeders in our backyard and one is right outside our kitchen window. I use black oil sunflower seed for that one and the birds just flock there. There’s just something about them visiting that brings me peace.

Cardinals, chickadees, orioles, finches, they all come by. They sing, chirp, hang out in nearby trees, take a bath in the birdbath.

I never would have thought I would have found enjoyment in such a basic thing.

But I do.


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