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DivorceWise Newsletter
Issue 14 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Topic: Catastrophic Loss


Welcome Survivor!

Catastrophic loss is the topic of this newsletter. Unspeakable loss for which we are not responsible and over which we have little control. Loss that can happen to any one of us at any time.

On September 11, 2001, as terrorists attacked New York City and Washington D.C., we stared into the face of such loss. We watched in staggering disbelief and horror as buildings full of people waiting for rescue collapsed. In bewilderment, we wondered: How do I carry on with business as usual when senseless barbaric acts happen that I am powerless to stop, fix, or change? How do I live in a world where not everyone keeps a promise? A world where loved ones get sick and die?

The randomness of loss affects us all. Without warning, we can lose a loved one, a marriage, a home, our health, or youth. Loss changes our life forever; it can undermine our hope and even our trust in God. Maybe you know someone who left for work that day at the World Trade Center or boarded one of the four ill-fated planes; and they never came home. Your world feels unsafe; the future unsure.

In the days ahead, as we bury the dead, grieve our losses, and face the future, let us remember we are never alone. Our footing is secure, but only in God alone.

You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.

I am not afraid of anyone. You protect me, and I have no fears.

Brutal people may attack and try to kill me, but they will stumble.

Fierce enemies may attack, but they will fall.

Armies may surround me, but I won't be afraid;

war may break out, but I will trust you.

Psalm 27:1-3 (Translation: The Message)



Amy in Singapore e-mailed this: "My prayers are with you and your countrymen at this very difficult moment. Last night my Bible study group prayed for America and for those who are hurt and suffering. Particularly for the young children whose lives are now shattered. Seeing the whole scene on the media makes me cry and at the same time I'm filled with anger. I am deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the tragic loss of lives by these heartless attacks. I can't imagine the WTC twin towers that I saw less than a month ago are now gone. It's unbelievable and somewhat strange. It seemed so strong and tall and now it is but a mass of dust and rubble. Life is so fragile.": "My prayers are with you and your countrymen at this very difficult moment. Last night my Bible study group prayed for America and for those who are hurt and suffering. Particularly for the young children whose lives are now shattered. Seeing the whole scene on the media makes me cry and at the same time I'm filled with anger. I am deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the tragic loss of lives by these heartless attacks. I can't imagine the WTC twin towers that I saw less than a month ago are now gone. It's unbelievable and somewhat strange. It seemed so strong and tall and now it is but a mass of dust and rubble. Life is so fragile."

While steelworkers and rescue workers sift through the rubble, our nation is piecing together the puzzle behind this horrific deed. Individually, we are lingering over the names of the victims and listening to survivor stories. And we are weeping. We weep not only for the loss of those whose lives were cut short but for our own losses that we have yet to mourn and the milestones we will never reach. Also, we are discovering that none of us is immune to longing for what could have been.

Sure, in time and with God's help, we will look back and recall the past that we each have left behind and find reasons to be thankful that it happened at all; and in so doing, we will revolutionize its meaning and celebrate the life that is left.

But we will never forget. Just as we recall where we were when President Kennedy was assassinated and the Space Shuttle blew up, we will remember always not only where we were on September 11, 2001 but also the day our marriage dissolved. Like it or not, loss has forever altered the way we look at life. Now we know that loss is a risk we take for living and loving. Loss hurts, whether we believe in God or not. But in our grief, while we are longing to see our life back in order, God is longing to show us Himself.

Wherever you are in your journey through divorce, take courage. As Amy says, life is fragile. But you can rest assured of this: Nothing will ever topple the stability of God's everlasting love for you.

Here's what's new

Kari's second book, Dare to Trust, Dare to Hope Again: Living With Losses of the Heart, just released. Weaving real-life illustrations with uplifting quotes, meaningfully worded prayers, and Scripture, its creatively designed format includes space to journal along with helpful Topical and Resource Indexes with contact information for many needs such as chronic illness, sudden death, suicide, divorce, grief support, and more.

Autographed copies may be ordered for $11 each postage paid through her web site (www.gardenglories.com) or by writing P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588. Make check payable to Garden Glories Publications. Books also available at your local bookstore or on www.amazon.com.

This 14th issue of the DivorceWise newsletter features contributions from several women just like you as we turn our hearts toward heaven and He who is our hope and refuge in times of loss. Let's start with Linda.

Personal Reflection ... by Linda in Illinois

Every Saturday morning, when I was a little girl, my daddy and I had a ritual. I would climb into the roomy back seat of our old station wagon, and Dad and I would run his errands. Singing our favorite songs together, we'd make the rounds of the bank, the cleaners, the post office, and the bakery for a jelly bismark, always ending up at our town's big old brick library.

Once there, we'd return our books from the previous week and search for a new literary treasure. I don't think a week went by that I didn't read a book. After all, we only had three television channels back then. I loved reading. Some stories were exciting; others dull. Some made me laugh, and there were those that I cried over. I learned something through all that reading: the story is never over until you get to the last page. If you put the book down half way through, you might miss something wonderful. It was a lesson I would apply to my life years later.

Just over a year ago, my husband decided to leave me after twenty-five years of marriage. We never talked about it; he just wrote a note and was gone. When I found that note, my world ended. I remember telling myself to "breathe in and out," as I was reduced to the most basic of human functions. I was totally devastated. It was the lowest point of my life. In the previous eighteen months, I had lost both my parents and my beloved mother-in-law to serious illnesses. Now this. I wanted to slam shut the book of my life, toss it on the floor, and kick it under the bed! Instead, through the help

of some wonderful, caring friends and a faithful loving God, I picked up the volume of my days. And slowly I opened it up again. As I began to turn the pages, one by one, things started to happen. I began to heal. Daily, God taught me and made me stronger, binding up my deepest wounds and pointing me toward the future He had planned.

I have not finished the book yet. In fact, God is still writing the pages that I have left to read. Throughout this dark year in my life, God has not left one single page without His handwriting on it. He has written every word for me. I know He has a plan and that He knows the end of the story. I also know that if I close the book now, I might miss the best part. I don't know what God has planned, but I do know that His Book tells me that those plans include "a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

God has written your book, too. Don't be tempted to slam it shut or toss it away. Pick it up. Dust it off and open the cover. Read the first page, then the next, and the next. All you have to do is keep turning the pages. One by one. Moment by moment. Day by day.

Poetic Reflection ... by Elaine and Marie who both live in Georgia

To the One Who Tore My Heart

The hour is late ... Tears fall and I wonder,

You promised years ago that you would love me,

until death do us part.

What made you change your mind?

What is so big, so wrong,

that it enabled you to walk away from a promise?

My heart is broken. It is jagged. Hurt is my daily bread.

I crave answers to my loneliness,

yet you look at her with longing in your eyes ...

it is me you promised always to love,

yet here I am, alone.

As the days go by, I realize with great understanding

that we are still one.

Yet the bond that was formed through the years

through the good and bad,

is being ripped very slowly into pieces.

My spirit aches and groans so deeply.

I try to look ahead, to move on,

to think of brighter days ... maybe another love

Yet in my heart I know that I pledged to always love you.

So my heart is torn

and it weeps for vows that have been broken.

The cold realization of our broken love

and broken marriage

is shattering my soul.

One day I hope you will fully know and understand

the depth of what you are doing.

I pray you will find your head on the floor

in utter helplessness in prayer.

Then, you will truly know

how deep the hurt and rejection can run.

It runs as deep as the deepest canyon.

2001 by Marie in Georgia

The Shepherd

I am the Shepherd, child;

Come close to me and pray.

I want to hold you closely

So you cannot stray.

I feel your sorrow and your pain,

Life may never be the same.

Let me love you, hold your trembling hand,

I will walk beside you, and help you understand.

The Father in Heaven loves you,

And wants to touch your face,

Look up, dear child with open eyes,

You will feel his grace.

I am the Shepherd, child,

Looking for the lost,

Pure love to me, sweet one,

Was hanging on the cross.

Come close to me,

I'll hold your breaking heart,

I am here within you, child

Never to depart.

2001 by Elaine from Georgia

A promise you can trust

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

--Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Help for today ... by Kari

Never forget that God is present in the ruin and rubble of New York and Washington D.C. and in the ash and debris of that lost love that you are personally sifting through, even when you can't see Him and don't know what He's up to. Only in heaven will the puzzle pieces of our lives come together and we'll understand what now is mystery.

Desiree in Oregon e-mailed the following that was read at a special prayer service the evening of September 11:


A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

God of compassion, you watch our ways,

and weave out of terrible happenings wonders of goodness and grace.

Surround those who have been shaken by this tragedy

with a sense of your present love, and hold them in faith.

Though they are lost in grief, may they find you and be comforted.

Protect and strengthen the emergency workers who risk their lives to help those in trouble:

firefighters, police, medics, medical personnel, Red Cross, and all others in the helping professions.

Give divine wisdom to the world's leaders, especially President Bush and his advisors,

to respond in righteousness, to follow your will and your way alone through this terrible crises.

May those responsible for these atrocities be brought to justice

and made to account for their actions before the righteous and almighty God.

Let all people around the world be protected from additional attacks and let the world cry out its objection.

Turn the hearts of those who, unbelievably, are celebrating America's tragedy today.

Teach us all to work out our differences and affirm our common bonds of humanity.

Hear the prayers of my own heart, Lord, as I tell you my concerns and fears ...

Amid the chaos and sadness of the next few weeks,

let your Holy Spirit guide and comfort us.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,

trusting in the love of God

and in the nearness of the Holy Spirit.

Amen


In the meantime
Please let me hear from you. I answer ever letter and e-mail. Be encouraged to share what helped you through your divorce so others know they are not alone and that they too can and will survive. E-mail by Clicking Here or write Kari West, Garden Glories Publications, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588

Remember: YOU are worth the struggle!

 
Copyright 1998 - 2002 by Kari West