Grief is a hard work. When we suffer a deep loss we must do the work to go through our grief. I read a definition of grief that really hit home with me after the loss of our son Johnny. “Grief is the process of dealing with the death of a dream.” So by that definition, we will go through the process of grief over different losses and to different degrees. We can grieve over: the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a relationship that has crumbled… Many situations arise in our lifetime that will cause us to experience grief.
I have three suggestions that will help as you deal with the process of grief.
- Lean into your grief – This was some of the best advice that I received as I was dealing with my own grief, after the death of our son. The work involved in grieving can be exhausting but is necessary to go through if you want to heal in the process. It cannot be avoided, it must be experienced. In other words, don’t avoid it, but embrace it.
- Realize that grief comes in its own time – Our grief over the loss of a loved one never completely goes away. Many times it hits you when you least would expect it. Your day can be going along fine and, you hear a song, or you see something that reminds you of your loved one and suddenly you are overwhelmed with sadness. Other times you know it is coming, holidays, birthdays, special events. We need to be willing to let the tears flow and fully experience it. We won’t be stuck there forever, we eventually will go forward, but we are changed for the rest of our lives.
- Know that you don’t need to grieve alone – The Lord has given us the promise of His eternal presence in our lives. People will allow you to grieve for just so long and then think it is time for you to “get over it.” Very few will allow you opportunities to talk about your loss more than once. The Lord, however, is much more patient with us and knows what we are going through. The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus experienced the same pains that we feel in our grief, that’s what makes Him a compassionate Savior. He also came to bring healing to the brokenhearted.
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (KJV)
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (KJV)
The Lord will help you as you grieve, it is part of His ministry. Don’t avoid your grief, let the Lord trade your, ashes for beauty, your mourning for the oil of joy, your heaviness for garments of praise. It will take time and a lot of work, yet you will see it was worth the effort.