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.

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year
1. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
2. What’s one thing you could do this year to help you know God more?
3. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
4. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
5. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
6. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
7. What bad habit would you most like to see God break this year?
8. What good habit would you like to begin?
9. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
10. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

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

Reflections Of A Mother

I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things, but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot decide for you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but I cannot choose them for you.
I can tell you about the dangers of drugs, but can’t say no for you.
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can’t achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can’t force you to be gracious.
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Jesus your Lord.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.
I can love you with unconditional love all of my life… and I will.
Love always, Mom.

 

It’s a Mom Thing

Its-a-Mom-Thing

 

 

 

Tornado Relief Story

Here’s WTOK’s story of my storm relief show. Laughter really does “doeth good like a medicine.” Keep praying for those in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama hit hardest by those killer storms.

More Tupelo MS Tornado footage (Video)

This video is copyright 2014 JJ Jasper/Kendra White. Do not post without permission.

Tupelo, MS Tornado Damage

All photos Copyright 2014 JJ Jasper/Kendra White. Do not use without permission.

Future Worship Leader?

Kasie James with her own rendition of a classic. Can I get an AMEN?!

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