Grieving Well for Father’s Day

Cooper Jasper

Cooper Jasper

After the sudden, accidental death of our five year old son, Cooper, it didn’t take us long to realize that holidays only seem to amplify the pain and anguish that you’re already experiencing. We were warned to brace ourselves for the first birthday, the first Christmas, etc… We quickly learned that all the “firsts” would be nearly unbearable even the common ordinary ones. We were ambushed by grief on our first trip to the store, the first church service, the first anything with the painfully obvious empty seat.

To the men who are facing your first Father’s Day after the death of your child let me say I am so very sorry for your loss. My guess is you are feeling helpless and hopeless as Father’s Day approaches. That’s certainly how we felt early on. I experienced the feeling like having a tight band around your chest. I know about the difficulty of eating, sleeping and sometimes even being able to breathe. It was all we could do in the raw early stages of our grief to just put one foot in front of the other. For many months we just stumbled forward in a haze of shock and denial. I made it through the first Father’s Day and by God’s grace you can, too. May I offer some suggestions to help?

Allow friends near:

When we are mourning, often we are tempted to isolate ourselves. But that will cut us off from the grace that God wants to impart through our loved ones.

The grieving process is intensely personal and often unique:

Please don’t do anything rash or dangerous in your effort to cope. My wife, Melanie, and I learned that everyone grieves differently and on his own timetable. Please take as long as you need and grieve in a way that is appropriate for you as long as you are not harming yourself or others.

Seek a qualified counselor:

A pastor or mature Christian friend is a good place to start, but grief this severe may require a licensed professional. They can help you navigate through Father’s Day and hopefully give you a road map to give assistance with other difficult days ahead.

Know that you will recover:

Be encouraged, there is hope. If your struggle is in the very raw stages you may not believe it or even want to hear it but help is on the way. The dark clouds will eventually part to let rays of sunshine peek through. As God allows time to pass the awful suffocating waves that crash over you will be more spaced out. Believe me you will even laugh again one day. Joy will overtake you and your good days will outnumber the bad ones.

Please trust me on this. I couldn’t imagine things ever getting better when I was given that same encouragement at our lowest point, but it’s true. God will make a way where there is no way. He was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. He was with Daniel in the lion’s den, He was with Joseph in the pit and He will be there for you. Against all hope, Abraham in hope, believed God. Even with all the circumstances against him, Abraham gave glory to God declaring that God was able to do what He had promised.

Some of the most honest advice we received came from the minister at the graveside of our little boy. He said, “In the next few weeks and months people will come up to you with good intentions and tell you that in time you’ll get over this. They mean well, but it’s simply not true. You’ll never get over this. This is not a wound that heals, it’s an amputation. Just like someone who’s lost an arm or leg or a hand, you have to find a new normal. You’re going to have to find a new way to do life without Cooper. You’ll never get over this…but you will get through it with God’s help.”

Lastly, with Father’s Day on the horizon let me encourage you to place your trust in the God of all comfort who can help you, sustain you, and give you strength to grieve well. We continue to ask “why” but I caution you to not allow questions, bitterness, or anger drive you away from the one who loves you most. There was no magic bullet or secret formula when Melanie and I were grieving. It was just going back to the basics, going to the root of what every believer knows will keep you on course or will help you keep your sanity. You get up, you read your Bible whether you feel like it or not, you pray even when you don’t want to, and you stay connected to a community of believers. Those were the lifelines for us.

Please don’t give up. Don’t stop. Don’t give in. Please don’t throw in the towel. Continue to breathe and just try to make every effort to put one foot in front of the other. Then get up tomorrow and do the same. With God’s help you can do this. Author and pastor Max Lucado puts it this way. “You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don’t be foolish or naive. But don’t despair either, with God’s help, you’ll get through this.”

 


Veteran morning on-air radio personality, best-selling author, comedian, inspirational speaker, dedicated Christian and family man. He is the author of Losing Cooper: Finding Hope to Grieve Well; Moses Was A Basketcase and a children’s book, When I Grow Up. JJ and his wife, Melanie, along with their four children live in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Personal Website: http://JJJasper.com
Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.

Christmas party game

Here is a fun game to play at Christmas parties. Have everyone stand. Read the questions and reward the last ones standing with door prizes! Some of these questions are original and some were borrowed. You may want to add some of your own.

  1. If  you have ever bought your wife an appliance for Christmas, please sit down.
  2. If  you have never watched  “It’s a wonderful Life”  please sit down.
  3. If  you have ever bought a gift at the very last minute on your way to a party, please sit down.
  4. If you put your Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving, please sit down.
  5. If you ever bought a dessert or dish at the store, put it in your pan and passed it off as homemade, please sit down.
  6. If you ever sneaked and unwrapped  your gift for a peak, then re-wrapped it and put it back under the tree, please sit down.
  7. If you ever received a Christmas card from someone you weren’t planning to send a card to but quickly stuck one in the mail for them, please sit down.
  8. If you have ever left any Christmas decorations up past January 31, please sit down.
  9. If you have ever opened a gift, acted excited but secretly you were thinking how awful the gift was, please sit down.
  10. If you have ever re-gifted someone, please sit down.

1 Corinthians 13 (A Christmas Version)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

~ Author Unknown

Bathtime with Kasie James

Never a dull moment in our house. When you put the oldest and the youngest together this is what you get… Pay close attention to Kasie James’ expressions.

Valentines Banquets are in the Air!

Here are some upcoming Valentines banquets that you are invited to!

Sat night Feb 9 Bethel Baptist, Dorsey,MS.
Sat night Feb 16 Gordo FBC, Gordo, AL
Sun night Feb 17 FBC Fannin, Brandon, MS.

These are ticketed events,so please contact the church for details.
Hope to see you at an event in your area!

Tragic Accident For Jasper Family

July 17, 2009 JJ and Melanie lost their 4 year old son (Cooper) in a tragic accident at their home. Please be in prayer for their entire family as they struggle through this difficult time.

Visitation is Sunday, July 19 from 2pm to 5pm and Monday, July 20 from 10am to 11am at Hope Church, Tupelo MS. Funeral services are Monday, July 20 at 11am in the sanctuary of Hope Church, Tupelo, MS. Hope Church is located at:

Hope Church
2094 Mccullough Blvd
Tupelo, MS 38801-7108
(662) 844-8522

JJ and Melanie have requested donations be made to AFR in lieu of flowers.

American Family Radio
107 Park Gate Dr
Tupelo, MS 38801-3010
(662) 844-8888

Another Great Weekend!

JJ just recently returned from a great weekend in Camden AR and Ruston, LA. Bethel Christan School had JJ serve up some comedy for their annual fundraiser. The results…”we raised more funds with this fundrasier than any in history of our school” (Donna Backus, Board of Directors).

Hannah Medical Center asked JJ to challenge the guest to support the Center and their efforts as a pregnacy center. Angie Wolfe, Executive Director said, “After counting and calculating, the total gifts and pledges increased this year even though we had less people attend! Overall, we were extremely blessed and grateful to have you in as our guest speaker. We had several people make comments to have you back! With that being said, we are currently getting ready for our next banquet in El Dorado and are interested in booking you for that banquet in September. Thanks again and we had a wonderful time at the banquet!”

There you have it! Why not call JJ if your organization needs a successful fundraiser ?

He’s Back

JJ has had an incredible recovery from a very serious accident.  God has provided wonderful healing and allowed JJ to return to AFR and now he’s ready to hit the road again.  We want to thank all of you for your prayers and kind words during the past several months.

JJ is anxious to get back on location again so he can spend quality time with you, his faithful fans that love to laugh.  His new presentations are sure to “split your side” with tales of a ranch hand being over powered by a angry wide and untamed horse.  You may even get the inside scoop on his recovery in the hospital and all the humorous events that took place.  One thing is sure, you will hear how God did an amazing work within JJ and others through this whole event.

Don’t wait to book your event!  Popular dates will fill fast.  Just send us an email and request your date today.

booking@jjjasper.com

The Rest of the Story

Hi family, friends and AFR “family.” Here’s an update on our situation, I’m at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s hard to believe that a spill from a horse could be such a life changing event resulting in so much injury. I guess if I had yelled, “whoaa,” louder or held on longer, I wouldn’t be here in the first place!

In case you haven’t heard what happened, on Labor Day afternoon I saddled up one of our horses to take a ride around our farm. Cheyenne, our mare, started to buck and go crazy. After the brief rodeo on one of the bucks the horn of the saddle drove my groin through my pelvis breaking it open. After several more bucks of blinding pain I dove off. When I hit the ground I broke five ribs, a shoulder blade, my tail bone and bruised a lung.

After surgery to repair the pelvis there was much concern about severe bladder damage, infection, swelling, etc. We were in the ICU for seven days but have stabilized. Through it all God has been faithful! We have seen his hand and felt his presence. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers,cards and e-mails. It has been humbling and amazing to experience so much love and to see the body of Christ in action. How do people go through set backs without family, friends or church family?

* Some immediate blessings we experienced:
Some precious friends provided temporary housing that is five minutes from the hospital and next door to our children’s school.

* Melanie’s mom, Kandi, moved in for two weeks to take care of our
four children and allow Mel to rarely leave my side.

* Bro. Don and and AFA/AFR staff have been here from the first critical hours of ICU and continue to rally around our family with incredible support.

* The care we are receiving from the NMMC doctors, nurses and medical staff has been second to none. Very professional and lots of TLC.

* Cards, e-mails, visits and expressions of love from around the country have offered much needed hope.

Doctors indicate approximately 30 more days of hospital stay, including intense rehab. My personal goal is to get out in time for sharathon. I feel like I’m letting the team down and would love to be there right now
everyday to be a cheerleader reminding folks of the importance of Christian radio. Please pray for our upcoming sharathon and please continue to pray for me and my family. We know that prayer is the difference maker. We love you and God bless you.

JJ Jasper

P. S. We have a Quarter horse for sale. 🙂