My Journey With Raina – Moving Through Loss To Hope

Stephen and I

Stephen and  I

Within a year, I grieved several losses including my beloved brother whom I adored.  Alongside the sadness came increased care giving responsibilities, leaving my heart heavy and my energy depleted.  Raina in particular felt the shift.  Because of her sensitive nature, she needs me to be peaceful and undistracted when I enter into her world. 

As a person of Christian faith, heaven is a reality to me, but the fact remained they were no longer here and their losses cut deep.  Having long served in ministry, I am often called to comfort those who are grieving.  For my healing however, I relied entirely on the prayers of others.  One evening I felt led to read the story of Lazarus detailed in John 11: 32-42.   What particularly struck me was how Jesus, fully knowing He would be raise Lazarus, was completely overcome by  Mary and her fellow Jews grief, who themselves believed in heaven but did not know a miracle was coming.  From Jesus’s perspective, He knew His assignment and yet was filled with compassion for Mary’s bereaved state.  I meditated on this for several days and recognized that Jesus truly understood the depth of my sadness and desired to carry it with me.  The weight began to lift and rays of light began to enter my soul.  In a loving way, my mentors in the faith, reminded me that it was time to turn my heart back to the horses.  With the Lord’s grace, I did just that.  Join me for the last chapter to learn how I restored my relationship with Raina.

One activity that was very healing was creating a family photo book.  I took several months to collect photos, many of which needed restoration.  Both sides of my family immigrated to the United States prior to WWII and had passed before I was born.  Since I had so few living relatives, retrieving family history was difficult.  But through the photos, interviewing my parents and doing online research, I was able to learn more about my family and stitch together our story.  The project took eight months to complete and truly was a blessing beyond measure.  If you are interested in creating a photo book, you may find the web site, Photo Book Girl, helpful.  The author details every vendor, reviews their software and posts their coupons or specials.

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