Grief is hard, it’s rude- and it hurts but I have learnt some lessons from my own different seasons of grief. I know, it’s a lot difficult to learn anything from grief. This is because it hits each one of us unexpectedly and can come from so many different directions. It is not something anyone wants to go through but then we all have to face it at one time or the other in our lives. But it’s possible.
Your grief may be from the death of a loved one. The loss of a cherished pet. A romantic relationship suddenly gone awry. Empty arms due to stillbirth, miscarriage, or infant death. Termination of a job appointment. The loss of a treasured friendship or precious possession…
Leaving you with your dreams and hopes suddenly dashed in an instant. I know, I have been there too.
All my dreams of lovingly nurturing and raising my precious daughter was suddenly crushed one Tuesday morning as the doctors told my husband and I.
“So sorry, She’s gone!”
“Gone? How could that be?” I thought.
We had just returned a few days before that from a 4-month time out during which she underwent corrective heart surgery. She was born with a heart defect and we had lived with it for about 12 months; going in and out of the hospital whenever she got an infection.
Then finally, through God’s providence, she got the defect corrected through surgery at one of the leading health facilities in the world.
She was recovering so well; we were already seeing signs of improvement in her growth. And I was eagerly looking forward to seeing her hit all her different growth milestones, teaching her to read, write, and so on.
Then this suddenly happens!
How rude, how painful of grief to have shattered my dreams unannounced!
Of course, I cried, no I wept. I asked questions many of which I still do not have answers to. Seeing other little girls of her age as they run around in their cute little dresses reminded me I would never see her in any and it hurt.
However, in the midst of all my pain, confusion, and heartache, I experienced God wrapping His hands of grace and love around me, like a warm blanket, as He has done during my previous grieving seasons. His word, His love shown through caring family and friends, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the restoration He brought to my husband and I have helped me move forward.
I still wonder about my little angel especially whenever I see her age mates but now I think of her with thoughts of gratitude; thanking God for the privilege to have had her.
You may just be where I was on that fateful Tuesday morning and even weeks after that when no answer to all my questions made any sense. Or when the “loving” comments of my friends instead of comforting me brought up the tears again. Maybe you’ve been struggling with your faith since your loss. Whatever your situation is, I hope these few lessons I learnt from different seasons of grief I have gone through would help you receive God’s loving embrace of grace and compassion:
1. It’s ok to ask why.
I asked questions…”Why did you let it happen, Lord? Why did you not give any hint that it was going to end this way?”
Isaiah 1:18a says ” Come now, let us reason together…”
Do you know God wants us to bring our questions to Him as a child would to a loving parent but not with a rebellious heart? Also, recall that Mary and Martha questioned Jesus after their brother, Lazarus died, yet Jesus did not get angry with them. That’s because He does not judge us when we ask rather He longs to help us through those difficult times.
The truth is I have not gotten all my questions answered but I realize that God does not condemn my questions; neither does He get mad at me. In fact, my discussions with Him actually brought me to a deeper relationship with Him.
2. It’s ok to cry or even weep.
Crying is one of the ways we let out the hurt we feel when we are grieving. According to Medical News Today, research shows that in addition to being self-soothing, crying actually releases chemicals in the body that ease both emotional and physical pain. As such, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.
The pain you feel when grieving will naturally well up the tears in your eyes; many times unexpectedly especially when you see something or someone that reminds you of your loved one.
It’s ok to let the tears roll. You’re not weak when you cry, you’re only expressing the pain you feel. Jesus also felt pain when He learned of the death of His dear friend Lazarus. When He was brought to the grave to see the body, He could not hold the tears back. (see John 11:35)
Only don’t let the tears make you slip into a pity party. If you do, you make yourself prone to depression, anxiety, and other post-traumatic stress disorders.
3. God is not unaware of this loss and pain
Do you remember the song “He’s got the whole world in His hands”? I sang it a lot while growing up. Then it seemed just like a song for kids, reminding them the God is in charge of this earth.
Well, I have come to realize through my seasons of grief that it is not just a song but really, God holds the world and all that is in it in His hands. He is very aware of all that happens in it.
He said not a strand of hair falls off your head without Him knowing about it. Think about it, depending on the colour of your hair, you have an average of between 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on your head, yet God knows when any strand drops because He numbers each one (see Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7). Do you think He does not know that your loved one just passed on?
God knows and if He allowed it you can trust Him with it.
4. God loves you and has the best in mind for you.
Yes, you can trust God with this painful, unexpected and confusing season of your life. I learnt this too from my seasons of grief.
He loves you more than you know or can ever imagine. When He allows any situation in your life, whether good or bad, He allows it for a purpose.
Romans 8:28 always reminds me of this- ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’
So you see, as long as you love Him and trust Him, you will begin to see the good He has stored up in that unpleasant situation.
I know it is difficult to see any good in your loss. It does not even make sense humanly speaking to think that there is any good in the loss of your child or your spouse or your job or anything else, but a good place is to see things through God’s eyes- from His point of you. You can start with the bible verses I shared here- 3 Bible verses to Help You Get Through Grief.
You can also grab some more of my top Bible verses for getting through grief in my new ebook- Choosing Joy Amid Grief: Daily Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy.
On a final note, in addition to the 4 lessons I have learnt from my seasons of grief, I will recommend these 3 things you can do to help you on your journey from mourning to joy:
- Acknowledge your feelings: Don’t deny your low feelings. When you’re sad acknowledge that you are and seek ways to regain your joy like reflecting on God’s promises to you. You will find some here. It does no good to you if you pretend about your feelings.
- Let others Help: The truth is grief is draining. It drains you emotionally as well as physically, that is part of the reason why you feel tired more often than before. So don’t try to do everything yourself. Let your family and friends help you where necessary so that you can conserve your energy for things no one else can help you with.
- Dare to Hope: From my different experiences with grieving I have come to realize that losing a loved one can oftentimes sow the seeds of fear and doubt in one’s heart. You could become afraid to love again (if you lost a spouse or a romantic relationship) or you could become afraid to try to get pregnant again (if you had a miscarriage, a stillbirth or infant death); whichever is the case you need to dare to hope for better days. Your life can be beautiful again not in spite of your loss but because of your loss.
Have you gone through any season of grief before? Did you learn any thing from it? Kindly share in the comments