Posted by: rhenderson8110 | October 13, 2013

Godly Grieving Continued: Chocolate Chip Dunkers, Heart-to-Hearts & Camo Gowns

Because I had such an overwhelming response to the last post I did on Godly Grieving, I thought I’d share some additional thoughts with you. So here are some extra tid-bits, perhaps on the more practical side of how to get through a devastating time in your life.

I know the Bible talks about trials producing things in us such as perseverance, character and hope (which I’m quite sure they do) but my loss brought out something else that surprised me- spontaneity. In general I’m a pretty by the book, follow the rules, routine worshiping type of person. And that has served me decently well most of my life. But there were times in the midst of all the tears and rushing and frenzied funeral arrangements that I just needed to do something *gasp* outside my routine. Something that did not make sense. That did not fit into my schedule. Something that did not demonstrate how ‘responsible’ I was. Like leave the couch at 11:30PM to go get a piping hot coffee with 1 cream from McDonald’s…not even so much for the coffee but for that feeling you get when you wrap your hands around it and feel the warmth course through your body. Or skip a class and drive to the pet store just to pet some puppies and be reminded that life is good and vibrant and just beginning somewhere. Or make an impromptu decision to highlight my hair. Because trust me on this one ladies, when you’re in a tough place in your life for any lengthened period of time, a new hair style helps- it just does. This is what I learned- I am physical. Therefore I can pray and fast and listen to sermons (and I should!) but sometimes you just need to go to Trader Joe’s and buy salt and vinegar chips and chocolate chip dunkers. And dunk, for a long time. And that is okay. I think I needed to learn to cut myself some slack; in fact, I think we could all learn to cut ourselves a little more slack than we do. In some phases of a trial it is just about getting through the day and sometimes small treats can help us do that. So take it from me, when you’re in the midst of heartache, allow yourself to indulge in a few good things.


Secondly, sing your way through it. Or pray. Or both. But for me it was all about the singing. Now, I’m not really into the contemporary, repeat Jesus a million times, sappy Christian music. But I am here to tell you there are plenty of other good options out there! I had a friend make me a mix of uplifting, meaningful christian songs and all I can say is I’m shocked the CD still plays. I had about an hour and a half drive from Hillsdale back home and in the semester my Dad passed I made that trip every other day… which amounted to about 10 hours of driving each week. That’s a lot of drive time. But oh I savored it- I could barely wait to get into my car and cease from ‘holding it together.’ I would put in that CD, sing, cry and pray the whole way there and then the whole way back. Sometimes I just talked- out loud- and explained why I was frustrated or sad or angry. Ironically, my dad’s favorite scripture was Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because at this point I’m fairly confident I wayyyyyy over-used that privilege! 🙂 But it was so wonderful to know no matter how hard of a day I was having, that I was going to have an hour and a half with my God. Just me and Him. Every other day. So, I sang- loudly and unabashedly. I sang until I was crying too much to do so. And it was awesome. Find some way to connect with God on an emotional level. We all need to feel ‘heard’- and especially by our Father in heaven. So, let Him hear you. The day I graduated Hillsdale was an emotional day for a variety of reasons… I could finally breathe because I didn’t have a heavy class load, I was leaving some ridiculously wonderful friends and my Dad was not there to see it. But you know what was the biggest loss that day? I knew that I wasn’t going to have my hour and a half heart-to-hearts in the car anymore. And even though all my family and Alex were there, I made sure I drove away from Hillsdale that last time, alone just so I could soak in one more heart-to-heart. So now I build those heart-to-hearts into my life on purpose. And I would urge you to do the same. When you need to feel understood, when you need to release pent up emotion and when you need to remember you are not alone- convene. And then sing and pray your little heart out.

The last thing I’ll share this time is this: sometimes you just gotta’ laugh. I mean, sometimes it is funny how many things can go badly all at once. Just how ridiculous life can be at times. Okay, so maybe you’re thinking that doesn’t sound funny. Let me put it to you this way- it’s either extremely devastating or funny. I choose funny. For example, I distinctly remember being at the hospital with Dad right after he was diagnosed. Hospitals are extremely uncomfortable for me- all that stainless steel and those off-white sheets with little flowers that had to have been used a zillion times. And we were all still digesting the diagnosis- so it was awkward. And I remember the nurse telling my Dad to get into his gown and lay on the bed to wait for the doctor. And you know the gowns- the ultra-masculine powder blue ones with the gaping hole in the back so you couldn’t escape with your dignity even if you begged and pleaded and stapled the back closed. And it was my dad… awkward. So he went into the bathroom and I sat outside dreading the impending weirdness. And he opened the bathroom door, took a step out, with his socks still on and with a completely serious face said something like, ‘Do you think if I asked they could get me a few more in camo to take home with me for later?’ And a smile swept across his face and he burst out laughing- and so did I. And we just laughed and laughed until we were looking for tissues and man was that better than the alternative. So sometimes, just laugh- it really is kind of funny… 🙂

Oh, and here is the most important link I will ever include… one to those TJs chocolate dunkers!:


  1. Love, love your writing. You have a gift here and I’m sure you know where it comes from. I look forward to reading more and more. Thanks, Sharon (friend of Liz Glasgow).

    • Thank you Sharon! I’m so glad you’re enjoying these. I will try to keep them coming 🙂

  2. Loved it!!!!!!!!! And love you 🙂

  3. Very cool! I guess I must way over-use the privilege too, because I talk to God that way ALL the time! 😉 Out loud, through tears and with much honesty.
    Obviously, I LOVE music–it speaks to the soul in a way nothing else can–but something else that helps me is to really CONTEMPLATE the lyrics to songs–to deeply consider all the implications of what I’m singing. I tend to be a real stickler for lyrics because of that (I will change them in my special music if I don’t like the way something is phrased), but because of that, I not only write down prayers in my prayer journal, I also write lyrics. Many times, song lyrics are based on scripture, and I will often PRAY the lyrics to a song that moves me, because it is so poignant and really gets at what I am feeling and struggling to say aloud.
    It is SO true that you must connect with God on an emotional level, otherwise you will have very little in the way of relationship with Him. (This is one of my soap-boxes!) God ABSOLUTELY wants you to know His truth and be able to defend it, but you can only get so far with “head knowledge.” At some point, that intellectual experience of understanding MUST translate into a real and personal relationship, otherwise it’s all for naught.
    Anyway, excellent job, as always. Loved this! 😉

    • So glad we can relate on this Nicole. 🙂 And I’m so glad you enjoyed this post too!

  4. Thanks for sharing these two really insightful posts. I learned things from it and some of it supported things I’ve thought about in relation to this subject, which is confirming for me. They were very worthwhile to read! Thanks for sharing yourself.

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