Grief. The thing about grief is that it can hit your life at any time. And no matter how prepared you try to be, nothing can prepare you for the feelings and emotions, the total roller coaster ride, that grief takes us on. You can’t look into the future to see when grief is coming, and you never truly know what you’ll experience or how you’ll react. Saying and doing are two different things.
If you’ve read my “Don’t Fight Alone” blog article, you know Grief has landed on mine and my husband’s doorstep in a big way. And it hasn’t come knocking on our door just once, but twice. October 24 marks 15 years since Alex and I got the news that one of our twin girls didn’t have a heartbeat. June 11 marked ten years since my dad was unexpectedly taken home. Despite the fact that Alex and I were warned about the risks of the pregnancy, and despite the fact that my dad was very sick, we weren’t ready for the devastating blows. Even now, I still find myself experiencing waves of grief from both losses.
Grief most commonly comes in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is no order that the stages come in; remember, grief hits everyone differently. What I have felt is not the same things my mom felt, or the same things my husband felt. Also, each stage can hit multiple times. Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t honestly know if I have experienced the bargaining or the acceptance for either loss; I don’t remember being angry at anyone other than myself, asking over and over what could I have done differently, or “Why didn’t I do this?”, or “Why did I do that?” I battle depression on a regular basis. But it’s ok. Why? Because God.
God knew all these things would happen. God knew we would lose one of our kids, followed by my dad four years later. Even though I wasn’t prepared, God left some things in His Word for me to handle grief. My favorite verse I repeated over and over after each loss was Philippians 4:13. It has become such a favorite that my mother-in-law gifted me a decorated plaque with the verse on it, I have a shirt with the verse on it, and several other accessories and décor items.
But the Bible has more than just “I can do all things through Christ’s strength.” Your Bible may be different as far as what verses are listed in the index for Grief, but my Bible listed four verses under the Grief topic: Psalm 147:3, Matthew 5:4, John 16:33, and Revelation 21:4.
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.”
I know that God will heal my broken heart. I know that I will receive comfort from Him. I know that I can ask for and receive peace. And I know that when I finally meet Him, I won’t be grieving anymore. Have you ever thought about how grief entered into the world because Adam and Eve sinned? When we go home to spend eternity with Christ in Heaven, we won’t have to worry about grief, because it won’t exist anymore!
Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 that all things work out for God’s glory. So, I keep telling myself that everything I’m going through, and everything you’re going through, is to bring glory to God. Even though I’m experiencing grief because of sin, I know that God is turning it around for good. I can use my experiences to bring others to Christ. All the messy, broken, depression, grief-stricken road I’m traveling. It’s not what God wanted for me, it’s not what He wanted for you. But He’s using it. If I can bring anyone hope from my experiences, then I’m ok with what I’m experiencing.
Traveling through grief, you have to put one foot in front of the other, and it’s a moment by moment journey. One last thing: even though my grief and your grief are totally different, I hope that you’ll allow me to travel beside you. Maybe we can help each other out.