Surviving Grief

New Insights on Surviving Grief

July 13, 2018

Grief can be crippling, but we all walk though it sooner or later. And we all need guidance on surviving-grief.  Here’s what I experienced:

My brother and I walked through the front door of the hospital as my cell phone started ringing. Alarm bells went off in my head because I couldn’t think of anyone that might call at that moment. I pulled out my phone and it was the hospital. I knew it must be bad news. I picked up and the nurse told me they needed me to come right away without saying Mamma had passed away.

We hurried to her room. My uncle and a friend stood by the bedside. I was so glad she wasn’t alone. They had been singing when she died. How sweet. My brother and I weren’t there. We had been at the funeral home planning.

An hour or so later, they came for the body and we stepped outside. What an empty feeling. A few minutes later, they wheeled her out. The man from the funeral home handed me a tiny butterfly to symbolize that she had flown away. That didn’t help the ache in my soul. I’d rather have my mother.

 Let’s get some insight on grief from the Word:

Psalm 88:3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.

  I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength,

Forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave,

Whom Thou dost remember no more,

And they are cut off from Thy hand.

Thou hast put me in the lowest pit,

In dark places, in the depths.”

This is the only psalm that doesn’t end on a happy note. The person is grieving. And that’s serious business that we should allow them to experience Americans do not grieve well. My guest is Yvonne Ortega and she has written  From Broken to Beautiful Through Grief. She will share her insights on grief and healing.

You can find her here.


Great News About Abuse Recovery: You Can Heal

July 6, 2018
Abuse Recovery

Abuse Recovery? Yes. It is possible. Let me explain:

I have always loved orchids. And I love the big floppy ones called Cattleyas  although I like the small moth orchid that are very popular today.

At one point when I was starting to homeschool, I decided to grow some low-light orchids. I killed a few, but over the years I have learned a lot. If a plant isn’t happy, I  change the place it’s growing or  try changing a few things.  The plant can recover.

People however, are not as resilient. As part of my nursing, I had to take child development and psychology, and I was horrified at the number of things parents did to their kids. Of course, now that I’ve had children, I can talk about things kids do to their parents, but we all know how the home shapes the child.

When we had children, we thought through the Bible teaching on parenting and developed a philosophy of child rearing. We told our oldest she was our guinea pig, because we tried out our ideas on her. Frankly we worried about making mistakes, and we did make them. (I remember praying for God to bless the blunders.)

I am so thankful God can heal and restore. I like what CS Lewis said. He called resurrection, death working backwards. Redemption means God makes things new.  Thankfully, I did not suffer abuse as a child, but I have been through some tough times. And I can say. God can bring us through them.

Joel 2:25 “I will restore the yeaers that the swarming locusts have eaten.”

I have Shannon Dietz with me and she is going to share a story about recovery from abuse.

Learn more here.


July, July… You Have Finally Arrived

July 2, 2018

The heat is on! Here at Heart of the Matter Ministries, we love summer, but it’s funny how far we park just to grab that little tree which provides a little shade. Even if it’s just a little shade, our cars are just a little cooler for the next ride.

Shade. It’s a good word. Hmm… What does that make you think of? What about offering your life as shade for others? In this month’s Cynthia Chats with Chispa Magazine, I speak of loving one another’s gifts versus squabbling with one another. Loving one another’s gifts, despite our differences, not only allows Christ’s Love to come through, it also provides shade. You see, there is peace in shade.

Seek Him and Choose to Be Shade.

The Art of Living is #OthersCentered Calendar-July 2018-Cynthia L. Simmons

Download the July “Others Centered” Calendar


Junk: How to Live an Uncluttered Life

June 29, 2018

Junk. Do you have any in your house? The past few years I have waged a war with junk. Several years back, I had to empty the house where my parents lived for over forty years. That was a huge task, but I brought home certain things to go through because I cared about family history. What a job. I find myself mesmerized by a picture I see or a fact I learn, and then I can’t throw anything away. 



Take keys for instance, I found piles and piles of keys. I could discard door keys because we had the house re keyed when we rented it. But I also found small keys, and I kept hoping I would find the lock they fit. Even a couple of years later, I still can’t discard them. A silly hope hovers at the back of my mind:would that key fit a jewelry box or that lock box I found?  My mother had a cedar chest, a really nice one, and I wonder what happened to that key. 



And then there’s school work. I have some of my father’s elementary school papers. Does one throw that away? That’s truly history because he was 86 when he died. His World War II tote bag had booklets the government gave out warning soldiers not to have sex before marriage. (Talk about history,that would not happen today.)



Add to that my own junk. I write myself notes, and then lose them. So in any given room, you may find a purple note pad stuck beside the furniture or under something with lots of writing. I needed that at one point, but I probably don’t now.  The same is true with clothes. I have never worn it, and I may never, but I can’t seem to let go. 



I tell my self to keep my eyes on eternity and remember I don’t need it.

2 Corinthians 4:18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 (2 Cor. 4:18 NAS)


Today I have Monica Schmelter who co-authored with Kaley and Rhonda Rhea. The book is called Messy to Meaningful. Learn more about them here.


How to Handle Sibling-Rivalry with Grace

June 23, 2018

Sibling-rivalry can disrupt the peace in your home and set your teeth on edge. There were times I would hear my kids argue or scream and I would roll my eyes. Truly, I wanted to hide because it’s so hard to know the real culprit. Besides most of their squabbles had not basis. One child would not want his sibling to look out his window. What a crime! Of course, I knew I had to enforce property rights. That’s in scripture. Someone can’t steal what you own and if they borrow, they need to ask first. And I also spoke up when I felt one child attacked another’s dignity. That’s never good. However, it was easy for me to get tired, to wish I could keep reading my book, or stay on the couch rather than engage.

And truly many of those childhood disagreements fade over time, especially if you teach Scripture. I love that verse in Psalm 31 that says “the teaching of kindness is on her [mom’s] lips.” Children don’t start off with manners and respect. We must teach that.

However, I knew one family that had a child struggling with a disability. Several of the other kids ridiculed and treated him badly. The family claimed to be Christian, but somehow that didn’t change the torment, and I believe it should have. Pray that sibling-rivalry stays in childhood. In this case, that did not happen, and the siblings carried the hatred into adulthood. That separated the family, and they remained that way.

As we raise our kids we are trying to teach them godly living. It’s so important. Teach them to love each other and to forgive.

Our families are so important to us, yet things happen that we cannot change. It breaks our hearts, but it happens.

My guest today is Julie Cantrell. She has written Perennials, a story about a family with that same brokenness.

Learn more about Julie here.


Twelve Ways to Experience More With Your Husband

June 15, 2018

Do you ever wish your husband adored you like he used to?

I recall being a newly wed, and I felt special. I wanted to spend every moment with my husband, and I have to admit I was jealous when he did anything that didn’t include me.

Once we had children things changed, and I got busier. That new baby pushes everything out of the way, including older children. However, I put a lot of effort into staying in touch because God intended marriage to last a lifetime.  So many things stand in the way of that, but all of us long for that loving relationship.

My parents were married for almost fifty-six years when my mother passed away. The doctor, and the nursing staff who cared for Mama enjoyed watching their romance even during her last illness.

With my nursing background, I love to watch a program on Netflix called Forensics. I have to admit, I’m very surprised every time someone dies in unusual circumstances, the police suspect the spouse, even when they claim to be close. Police typically ask people outside the family how the couple got along rather than just asking the remaining spouse. According to the stories they tell, the husband or wife often choose murder.

That makes me sad. The fact that people don’t stay married hurts everyone. Divorce rips husband and wife apart, but the kids suffer for so many reasons too.  I would love to see that change. I would like to see more marriages like my parents.

Cindi McMenamin is my guest. After much research, she wrote Twelve Ways to Have More with Your Husband. Men think so differently, and you’ll find her tips useful. You may find her online here.


Vital Lessons From Our Trip to Israel

June 8, 2018
Jesus was a Jew from Israel.
This June, I am asking you to go on a journey with me as I share about my trip to Israel. Let me read you a verse that came to life there.
I have recently returned from Israel, and I want to share what I learned while I was there. Under normal circumstances, I would have read that verse and focused on the death of Josiah. However, during my trip there, our guide took us to Megiddo, which sits as a very important pass in Mt Carmel. Archaeologist document twenty-six different civilization have had fortresses there. So it’s a very important spot.
However, when I stood at Megiddo and looked around, I saw rock, old castles, and I wasn’t impressed. I had to go back to the Bible and research to discover the incredible importance of this city I had never heard of.
In fact in this passage, the Assyrian king had just died. in his absence his ally, Egypt and Pharaoh Neco was gaining dominance. Megiddo, that crazy name I don’t recall ever reading, sat in a very important place on the way to Damascus. Gaining Megiddo would give him access from Egypt to Damascus. Josiah hoped to prevent that but he died in battle.
 Kings 23:29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him, and Pharaoh Neco killed him at Megiddo, as soon as he saw him.
This taught me a very important lesson, one that you will learn when you visit there. Every city, every valley the Bible names is actually there. Skeptics will often claim they found no evidence of this city or that Biblical story, but someone digs and finds it.
I loved the town of Magdala, which was the home of Mary Magdalene. I don’t recall ever seeing that name either, but archeologists unearthed a first century synagogue there. We know Jesus preached there. How exciting to see the very stones he walked on.
I learned first hand what I already believed. The Bible is history, and the places real. We can trust the word of God because pleaces we overlook as we read the Bible. They are actdually there.
My husband joins me today to share some of his impressions. Welcome Ray.
Learn more about Israel here.

How to Have a Sustaining Prayer Life

June 1, 2018

Prayer: when you think back to the Garden of Eden, you remember Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. God made us to spend time with him, to enjoy him. Interacting with him sustains us. Sin broke that fellowship. When we don’t have friendship with God, we find our lives empty of meaning. However, Christ came to restore what our sinfulness ruined. When he died on the cross for our sins, God ripped the veil in the temple that separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies. That event signified we have access to God now.  And Scripture commands us to pray.

I find prayer a privilege and a chore. Over the years, I have had days I could pray and pray and I felt God was leaning forward on his throne, listening. Those moments I treasure. However, at other times, I would pray and sense a brick wall or I feel like I am reading off my grocery list. I hate that.  All this is reading my feelings into prayer, but I know God has responded. I have a sense of touching my creator’s heart.

I’ve never liked making phone calls, but the moment I decide to pray, I have sudden urges to make phone calls or do a long list of chores. Now. I find it especially hard to pray when I am asking for something good, something commendable, and I cannot see God moving.

I Thessalonians 5:17 says Pray without ceasing. God wants us to pray regularly and all the time. Jesus prayed for hours while he was on earth, and he even fasted and prayed before he started his earthly ministry. He wanted to commune with the father, and I want that too.

Today I have Bob Hostetler to share with us about prayer. He has written about it and can offer guidance from his experiences and study. Learn more about Bob here.


If You Don’t Grieve your Loved One Now, You Will Hate Yourself Later

May 25, 2018

No one likes to grieve, but it’s important.

I will never forget that dreadful phone call. Daddy had been sick, but he had improved. The nursing staff moved him to a nursing home for recovery. I knew his health was fragile, but I assumed I had more time.

The nurse on the phone said, “Your father is worse. Do you want to see him?”

“Yes.” Of course. What else could I say?

I assumed I might not see him again, and so my husband drove as fast as he could, but traffic was heavy that Sunday night.  When I reached his floor, I saw his room mate at the front desk, and that alarmed  Nurses don’t move people there for no reason. I rushed to Dad’s room and pulled aside the curtain around his bed. When I looked into his face, his blue eyes stared at nothing. He was dead.

I felt a huge empty spot in my soul. This was my last parent. It was as if I lost Mom all over again because they were both gone now.  I was an orphan. Furthermore, I had lost a lot over the past four years. It wasn’t long before I descended into depression as a grieved the many things I lost.

I knew he was with the Lord, that was not the problem. I had so many things to greive, and grieving takes time.

I’ll never forget that year at Christmas. Some lady told me I would be okay once all my children arrived from school. Somehow that wasn’t much comfort.


Americans do not grieve well.

The Bible says “for us not to grieve like the others around us that have no hope.”  It doesn’t mean we won’t grieve.


My guest is Gail Porter who is going to share some thoughts about grieving.

Find Gail here.


Warning: Satan Wants to Devour You

May 18, 2018

We must watch out for our mortal enemy. He is named Satan. Here are some tips on differentiating between what God does and what Satan does:

Two forces wield power in the universe: God made the world and everything in it. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, and he stands against God and his people. He uses his powers for evil.

God offers reconciliation through Christ, and He wants to connect you with people. Those who come to Jesus have a longing for those people they isolated because of their sin. On the other hand, Satan wants to separate people and inspire hate.

The presence of God overwhelms us with love and warmth, but the devil fills us with fear and self-doubt.

God leads us beside still waters and restores our soul. The evil one seeks to burn us out and destroy our peace of mind. He delights in disorder and worry.

I Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, Satan, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

We don’t want to give Satan an opportunity by holding onto anger and bitterness.

If we are doing anything for God or if we choose to become serious Christians, he opposes everything we do. He loves threatening death and encouraging suicide. He delights in telling us we are worthless and nothing we do matters.

Today Amarilys Rassler is my guest. She shares her grandparents involvement in the occult, and her choice to get involved too. You Amarilys find online here.

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