Have you ever felt like the journey of healing from losing someone dear to you was NOT what you hoped for?
Do you often find yourself feeling lost, alone, overwhelmed and unsure how to help yourself, much less someone else in your family?
Would you like to see that someone else has walked this path, so you can? Me too. There is HOPE…
My name is Susan Burfoot Mead and I’ve been blessed to be married to my soul mate, Holt Mead, since 1979. I think the first 30 years we spent working on learning what soul mates are…Or should I ask him if we are still working on that?
I’m the mother of two sons, Matthew, who lives in South Louisiana and Kyle, Forever 20 and in Heaven, where he is doing a Dance with Jesus. Kyle’s been there since March 29, 2008. March 20 is Matt’s birthday. I love you dearly, Matt. Always have. Always will.
Have you ever written an answer to a Bible Study question that took longer than the two lines provided? I did – and it became the book Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace. The question Henry Blackaby posed in Experiencing God was what does God want you to do, right now?
I heard deep in my spirit, “Sing My love song.” And laughed out loud at God.
Seriously God, You will have to send me a bucket, because You KNOW I can’t carry a tune. Then the next deep spiritual nudge was, “What’s in your hand? Use it.” I was writing in the workbook, so a pen was in my hand…
I swept away the workbook, got out a clean journal and out the story poured. At 5:30 am, I looked up as I wrote the last words. The very first email I read later that day was from Proverbs 31 Ministries about their upcoming SheSpeaks 2013, a speakers and WRITERS conference.
Seriously God? You WANT me to DO something with this? OK.
So the story begins…
Disclosure: Though much of what I talk about here is psychological and physiological in nature, I am not an expert or a professional in the field of counseling, even though I am a Chaplain. I have been trained to know how and when to refer folks to professional resources. With that said, I am a mom who has walked the path of grief that led to grace. I’m simply committed to sharing my story of healing and what I’ve learned along the way as God gently took my hand in His gracious hand and led me down the path to wholeness. So what’s my job description now? Helping others be transformed from grief to grace…
WHAT I WRITE ABOUT
Love. God’s love
Joy, incredible J O Y
Calm, finding calm in the chaos of life. (I spell calm J.E.S.U.S. You too?)
MY FAITH WALK
I grew up in a Christian home, where we went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night Choir practice, even though I can’t carry a tune at ALL, mom and dad still took me with them to choir practice. God bless all the dear folks who had to hear my croaking as a kid in the choir.
Mom taught me as a child that I am never alone, as Jesus is ever-present and will hold my hand, if I will hold His. I held His hand as a teenager, yep, even during those days that were rebellious rather than reverent. Thank God, He hung onto me, too! Psalm 91:11 is my favorite verse. For He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go. PRAISE GOD! The angels He assigned to me may have had a full time job for a while.
I wonder…do the angels STILL have to run so hard after me???
Marriage (to a Methodist preacher’s kid no less!) was followed by the births of two boys and multiple moves throughout the South, up to New Jersey and back to the Lone Star State, my home state. Native Texan. I love bluebonnets, the Lone Star flag, Six Flags over Texas, gardening, cooking, reading and SWIMMING in the summer. Now we are in my husband’s home state of Louisiana – in the middle of nowhere on a beautiful lake. What a gift we get with each sunrise and sunset.
Early one Tuesday morning, Mom called and asked if Holt had told me she had called the precious evening. No. No big deal, I thought, until Mom said Bette killed herself yesterday.
Oh, God. My precious sister, a brilliant PhD nurse, had bought a gun…and committed the unthinkable.
In that moment, I felt a physical caress across my broken heart and HEARD, OUT LOUD, “I’ve got her, she’s Mine,” followed by being encased, embraced, encircled (are there adequate earthly words to describe a heavenly experience?) by the “peace that surpasses understanding.”
Have I experienced anything like that beautiful holy moment.
My Heavenly Father stroked my broken heart
“He told me a TRUTH that no man can deny I heard out loud.”
He encircled me in His exquisite peace
My faith went from believing there is a God, to KNOWING God.
Up close, personal, immediately, my faith became unshakably strong. How He knew what I needed to hear continues to amaze me and the fact that He cared enough about ME to intercede in my life AT THAT MOMENT changed my walk with God. You see, He took my hand in His gracious hand and began the slow walk with me into a deeper reliance on Him. How beautiful is that?
About four and a half years later, Matt called on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. My world split open and I fell into a black abyss as Matt wailed, Kyle died last night. Oh. O H. OHHHHHHHH. NO!
You don’t even want to imagine how any parent feels upon hearing those words.
But God…gave me a gift – a beautiful gift.
The morning of Kyle’s service, I had a dream. Kyle was wearing blue jeans, his Scooby Doo t-shirt, a blazer and was dancing–getting way down low. Two hockey sticks were crossed behind him…and JESUS was way down low, dancing in a mirror image JUST LIKE Kyle was! Jesus turned with His arm outstretched, pointed to me and said, “This is to bring you joy. I taught him how. I taught him how to dance.”
So where was Kyle? Dancing with Jesus! Awesome, thank you, Father. What an exquisite gift from You.
A day or two later, we were in South Louisiana for a memorial service for Kyle for his college friends who were unable to join us for his funeral service. One of his friends had all the kids download their cell phones and cameras and had a banner made of the pictures to present to us.
Can you imaging my surprise…and delight…when just to the right of center I saw a photo…
There was Kyle in a picture wearing blue jeans, his Scooby Doo t-shirt, a blazer and was dancing–getting way down low. One hockey stick was behind him…No mirror image. Just him. Dressed just like the dream. A day or two LATER.
And the story continues as God reveals Himself over and over and over again. I remain in AWE of our great God!
On March 31, 2015, Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace released into the book stores and reached #1 Hot New Release on Amazon – that day!
In December, 2016, Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace received two – yes two! – Reader’s Choice Awards from the 2016 Christian Literary Awards.
Want to see the book trailer? Go to www.DanceWithJesus.com
Want to preview or get the book? Here’s a link – bit.ly/DanceWithJesus
MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Though I am a Medical Technologist with an MBA who spent over 22 years with Johnson & Johnson, I was able to retire at 55, a full 10 years early as a result of my husband’s AdvoCare business. He lost 123 pounds and gained lean muscle, I lost 5 sizes and we both gained the energy we had 15-20 years earlier. Other people wanted similar results, which allowed us to share products with them, earn income and pay off 6 digits of debt in 3 short years. If you would like to see his story, check out www.Fit4Champs.com. What else did we gain? FREEDOM!
Things get broken, discarded or replaced, yet PEOPLE MATTER.
I HAD to create time for the people who mattered MOST to me! I believe God gave me this gift of time to do what He wants me to do. Make His name known. Hold the hand of others as they walk a path of healing towards hope. Help others be transformed from grief to grace.
In 2014, I was ordained as a Sr. Chaplain with the International Fellowship of Chaplains, Inc. (IFOC) and certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Critical Incidence for Stress Management (CISM) in Individual Grief, Group Grief and Grief Following Trauma.
Armor. Feels like God wanted a heavy plate of armor wrapped around my heart as I begin walking with others through their grief to a place of grace to be healed, healthy, and filled with joy. The joy of the Lord!