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Grief is a longing for their return, a heartache, the absence of love. It’s despair. It’s something you never thought you’d experience. And now you are staggering through the day—tired and winded. You feel their absence everywhere. And the worst thing about grieving is knowing that tomorrow this feeling will continue to rob us of our courage, our hope, our faith.


Losing a loved one is something we can never prepare for fully. And when the reality of it hits, we’re afraid we won’t measure up to the challenge the future holds. But you will. You are strong, and this book will help you get stronger.


Survival Notes is a devotional book for survivors, for those who’ve lost loved ones. It’s an intimate devotional guide that will help you pass through the valley of the shadow of death. For God’s comfort and encouragement can be discovered here.


May God comfort you as you make the journey through grief?


Robbie Stofel

Vintage Faith Church Decatur, AL







Winter of Sorrow


Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer…

— Proverbs 30:25


The ant knows winter is coming. He hears it in the summer breeze. He sees it in every morsel we drop at picnics. The ant will carry off the food one grain at a time, if we let him. He knows how to haul more than he weighs. Who knows how? Maybe it is in their DNA.

The proverb teaches us about the instinct of the ant, not about its strength. We only carry into winter what we store from summer. And grieving is winter. We feel stripped of every summer breeze, as if we are feeling a cold wind no one else feels.

Sometimes we have to reach into yesterday to find God and harmony. Reach back to the summer of your life. You’ve stored good memories there. Bring them forward.

It will take a while, but gloomy days will be chased away by sunshine. Flowers will bloom. Doves will coo. Farmers will plant crops, and the ants will prepare their next raid. Winter will end and hope will spring eternal. 


Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man




Waves of Sorrow


He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

— Psalm 107:29


        Sorrow is darkness begging for light. It is the choice between God and nothing. It is rest and turmoil boiling in the cauldron of our souls. The sun rises but we don’t think it has risen for us. Then night falls from the sky and huddles in the corners of our bedroom, and we don’t think it will ever leave. Now the one person we adored is gone, and we feel like we didn’t spend enough time with them.  

Crying out is about all we can do in a time of sorrow, and sometimes it has to be enough. God stilled the storm to a whisper. He hushed the waves of the sea. He will do the same for you, so be still and know that he is God. Cry out with the psalmist. “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping” (Ps 39:12).


Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.

― Vicki Harrison





So Runs My Dreams


God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

— Revelation 7:17


      Please don’t let sorrow destroy the love you have in your heart for life.

      A passage in one of Tennyson’s poems says:


So runs my dreams; but what am I?

                 An infant crying in the night;

                 An infant crying for the light;

                 And with no language but a cry.


     Tennyson says, “. . . but what am I?” It will be during days of sorrow that you will ask yourself this question. Never doubt yourself on these days because sometimes sorrow brings the accusing spirit of self-doubt. Sorrow always clouds self-esteem. It tells us we are somehow responsible for all of the bad things that have happened. It tries to get us down.

Grief may never go away, so you will need laughter to balance out your life. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” So allow for laughter. It will be the medicine that helps you overcome self-doubt.



Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.

― Dylan Thomas

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