Why is Gosnell Trending?

I have not heard about this in the main stream media, so who is Kermit Gosnell?

Kermit Barron Gosnell, 72, is an American doctor in Philadelphia who ran two multi-million dollar abortion practices. After a controversy nearly a year earlier, Gosnell was arrested in January 2011, charged with eight counts of murder: one patient who died under his care after a botched abortion, and seven infants born alive whose spinal cords Gosnell allegedly severed with scissors. A grand jury recommended charges of murder against Gosnell and several of his employees. CNN stated in March 2011 that prosecutors were considering seeking the death penalty. The trial began on March 18, 2013.

Apparently, major media outlets are ignoring any mention of the trial, but none of it surprises me.

Here’s why. The reason why Gosnell is on trial is because…

  1. A woman at his clinic died during the procedure.
  2. He murdered seven babies who survived the abortion.

The stories of the killings are horrific, including stories of snipping the spines of babies who were still moving. How anyone (pro-life or pro-choice) could not be outraged by this is beyond me.

So why not report on this otherwise newsworthy crime story? To do so raises an uncomfortable question, “Why is it murder to kill the baby after a botched abortion and NOT murder to kill the baby during the abortion? The only reason I can think of is location. It’s the same baby. It’s horrific when the killing happens on the operating table but it’s just abortive tissue when it is removed from inside the womb. Simply changing the location of the baby changes the same act from a woman’s choice to murder.

So why does the media ignore the otherwise newsworthy trial, while Twitter is trending today (April 12, 2013)? The best way to get “we the people” from asking basic questions of human life and justice is to keep it OUT of the media.

See the movie, October Baby.

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Guidlines for Healthy Grieving

There are ways to grieve that are unhealthy, and there are health ways to move through your journey of grief. Here is some information adapted from June Hunt, founder of Hope for the Heart.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

The path for recovery requires ministering to body, soul, and spirit to diminish painful emotions and find your way out of the ditch of despondency. A new path can be charted on which renewed peace is possible and Christ-like maturity is manifested even in the most grievous circumstances.

Emotional Guidelines:

  1. Cultivate a strong, sensitive support system: Having people around who genuinely care about you is essential; people who accept you wherever you are in the grieving process and encourage you to share your feelings. (Proverbs 27:17)
  2. Cultivate the freedom to cry: Expressing emotions honestly, openly, and as frequently as needed is vital to walking through grief in a healthy, productive way. (Psalm 126:5)
  3. Cultivate a plan for socializing regularly: One way to feel good about life, even while mourning, is attending social activities and interacting with others on a regular basis. (Hebrews 10:25)
  4. Cultivate a trustworthy, honest confidante: Being able to be yourself with someone and share your struggles, troubled thoughts, and swinging emotions—and still be accepted and affirmed—is healing to the soul. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
  5. Cultivate the release of resentment: If you have unresolved issues, anger, or hostile feelings regarding your loss, take the time to list your resentments along with their causes. Journaling can bring buried emotions to the surface. Release into the hands of God each offender and the pain of each offense. Pray that the Lord will help you to release bitterness and resentment so you can make progress on your journey of healing. (Ephesians 4:32)

Physical Guidelines:

  1. Get a sufficient amount of rest: Grieving often disturbs regular sleep patterns and disrupts prolonged periods of sleeping, so getting sufficient rest during the grieving process is often a challenge—but doing so is critically important to the body. (Exodus 33:14)
  2. Get a generous intake of fluid and eat a balanced nutritional diet: Because the sense of thirst frequently goes unnoticed during the grieving process, drinking nonalcoholic and caffeine-free fluids is important. Eat daily portions of food from each of the basic food groups and avoid skipping meals. Don’t become dependent on eating junk foods, smoking, or drinking alcohol. (2 Kings 19:7-8)
  3. Get daily exercise: Regular exercise is a natural deterrent to feeling depressed and contributes to feeling a sense of well-being. Exercise carries oxygen to the blood and promotes overall good health. (1 Timothy 4:8)
  4. Get big doses of sunshine: Taking a walk in the sunlight is another natural way to fight depression. Light coming in through the eyes stimulates the brain to send a message to the body to release antidepressant endorphins. (Ecclesiastes 11:7)

Spiritual Guidelines:

  1. Develop a purposeful prayer life: The grieving process provides a strong impetus for “getting down to business” with God. Have candid conversations with Him about your thoughts and feelings. Listen to Him and lean on Him for comfort and reassurance. (Psalm 119:26).
  2. Develop a positive, practical perspective: Maintaining a positive mental attitude based on the practical application of spiritual truths during the grieving process carries you to victory even through the darkest valley and the deepest loss. (Philippians 4:8)
  3. Develop a sense of peace about the past: Resolve any unfinished business regarding the past by asking forgiveness of God for any failures on your part and by extending forgiveness for any failures on the part of others. Then let go of the past and embrace the present and the future God has planned for you. (1 John 1:9)
  4. Develop a Scripture-memorization method: God spoke the world into existence, and the Bible is powerful enough to create new life and to restore joy to your heart, peace to your mind, and hope for your future. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  5. Develop a yearning for eternity: One of the most helpful, hopeful, and healing truths is realizing that this present life is lived in a temporal body, and a permanent body is waiting for you. In that body you will live throughout all eternity. Grasp God’s promise of living eternally! (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

Stages of Acceptable Grief

When we think about the journey of grief, we have to think about what shapes that journey, because grief will be different for each person. No one can say, “I know exactly what you’re going through.” There are several factors at work.

  1. The kind of relationship with the departed loved one: Some people have a close and dependent relationship while another might be characterized as independent (and both people would be called a “spouse” who died).
  2. The amount of time spent grieving before the loved one passed on: if the death was sudden or a long process of terminal illness, these will shape how your journey progresses.
  3. Your efforts to heal: some people are ready to move on toward healing while others hold on and find it difficult to let go and make progress on their recovery journey.

You will have feels from time to time that grief in unending, but don’t sense the pressure to rush through it. Grieve at your own pace. It may be difficult, but don’t allow others to rush you either. When you think about it, you have lost more than just a loved one. Perhaps the person was your confidante, lover, source of laughter, cook, mechanic, gardener, walking partner. Now, you will discover loss in all of these areas, too. We might call these secondary losses.

Grief manifests itself in ways you might now expect, like feeling too tired for friends. H. Norman Wright calls well-meaning friends who want to care for you, “invaders.” They think they know what you need and invade your life in ways that will often not be helpful: food, companionship, cleaning up, sorting stuff, busyness.

As badly as we may feel, the journey of healing does not mean there will be no pain. Remembering the loved one can always bring back the pain, but eventually we are able to move from “emotional remembering” to “historical remembering.” People want to get back to normal, but realize this will not happen. What we can expect is to create a new normal.

What are the Stages of Acceptable Grief?

The work of accepting the reality of your unwanted loss may consume all your energy, but your efforts will succeed when you focus on being the person God wants you to be through your season of sorrow (see Colossians 3:23).

Accept the Past as Always Being in the Past:

  1. Pray for God’s help in embracing your grief (Psalm 34:17-18).
  2. Recall your losses, and then write about your losses (Psalm 51:6).
  3. Weep over your losses (Psalm 30:5).
  4. Complete each loss by writing the word past beside it and saying, “I will be content to leave this event in the past” (1 Timothy 6:6).
  5. Memorize Psalm 119:28, 50, 101, 156.
  6. Give thanks to God for all He has taught you and how He will use your past in the future (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Accept the Present as Offering Stability and Significance:

  1. Choose to live one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).
  2. Put the Lord at the center of your life (Matthew 16:24).
  3. Go to God with your specific questions; make a list (James 1:5).
  4. Thank God for providing everything you need for life (2 Peter 1:3).
  5. Praise God that though your situation has changed, He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
  6. Focus on the joy and satisfaction of helping others; make a list (Galatians 6:2).

Accept the Future as Providing New Opportunities:

  1. Hope in the plans that God has for your future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  2. Know that your sorrow and grief will not be wasted (Psalm 119:71).
  3. Put all your hope in God (Psalm 62:5).
  4. Have faith in God, whom you cannot see (2 Corinthians 4:18).
  5. Know that God will fill the void in your life (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

Unhealthy Types of Grief

Last time I wrote about the healthy stages of grief, today is the flip side, the unhealthy types of grief. If we remain in unhealthy grief, we will not be set free and continue on the journey from mourning to joy as God intends.

So, What are Unhealthy Types of Grief?

Chronic Grief: This is an unresolved, deep sorrow experienced over a long period of time due to not accepting or not experiencing closure over a significant loss. The personal pain is buried so deeply the ability to experience real grief and let go of the loss is blocked. Chronic grief can be resolved by facing the loss and grieving it.

Repressed Grief: This is an unidentified, unexpressed, unresolved grief exhibited in unexplainable negative lifestyle patterns. Repressed grief can be overcome by taking this following “Time Line Test” (from June Hunt):

  • Draw a line representing your life.
  • Divide the line into sections: childhood, adolescence, adulthood.
  • Denote on the page the major events of each time period.
  • Determine unresolved hurts and losses that occurred in those stages.
  • Define the painful events you need to grieve: “I felt abandoned when…”
  • Decide to genuinely grieve your losses.
  • Defuse the power of these losses by sharing them with others.
  • Deepen your dependence on the Lord to set you emotionally free.

“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.” (Psalm 118:5)

Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

Stages of Healthy Grieving

As the title suggests, there are stages of healthy grieving, and there are also unhealthy ways to grieve. These stages are from June Hunt.

What Are the Stages of Healthy Grieving?

“I need to get my act together. I’ve got to snap out of this.”

These thoughts reveal unrealistic expectations about grieving and a failure to understand the grief process and the slow journey of restoration. While stages of grief do exist, they may be experienced with varying degrees of intensity. Some stages may also be missed, and some stages may be repeated. Give yourself permission to unpredictably experience the stages of grieving as you trust God to bring new life again.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up” (Psalm 71:20)

Crisis Stage: This can last from two days to two weeks. In this stage of grief, you carry out your daily activities in a mechanical manner. Characteristics include:

  1. Anxiety/fear
  2. Denial
  3. Appetite/sleep loss
  4. Disturbing dreams
  5. Limited concentration
  6. Shock/numbness
  7. Confusion
  8. Uncontrollable crying

Crucible Stage: This can last up to a year or two or more, perhaps even until death if grief is not resolved. Characteristics include:

  1. Anger/resentment
  2. Loneliness/isolation
  3. Anguish
  4. Self-pity
  5. Bargaining with God
  6. Intense yearning
  7. Depression/sadness
  8. Guilt/false guilt

Contentment Stage: This stage accepts the loss, leaving it in the past. This stage not only accepts that the present offers stability, but also accepts that the future offers new and promising hope (Philippians 3:13; 4:11). Characteristics include:

  1. Greater compassion toward others
  2. Greater acceptance of others
  3. Greater humility before others
  4. Greater dependence on the Lord
  5. New ability to leave loss behind
  6. New patterns for living
  7. New hope for the future
  8. New contentment in all circumstances

Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Grief Recovery: Living at Peace with Loss. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.