Saturday, August 2, 2014

Good Grief

Today I find myself in a very unusual and difficult place. I place I know rather well, unfortunately. A place many of you can relate to, a place of grief.

Grief comes to us in many ways, in many forms. I’d like to share my heart today about how grief has come to me, affected me and what I believe is the best way to deal with it. Now let me clarify. For those that are dealing with the loss of a family member, this probably will NOT apply to you. I do not want to trivialize your pain, because I have been there. This is about what let’s call, common grief. Again I don’t want to trivialize anyone’s hurt, because I KNOW it’s there and it’s REAL!!!

In my life this common grief has come in different forms:
* Death of a relative. You know the ones, aunts and uncles you love, but you’re not close to, maybe even grandparents you didn’t build a bond with. The relatives that don’t leave an ache in your heart but you still feel a loss at family gatherings.
* The separation or loss of a friendship. When you and a friend, for whatever reason end or put a pause on your friendship. This may be due to a long distance move, an argument, a change in job, or many other factors.
* Divorce, Separation or any break up of a couple. There is a certain amount of grief for the couple for the loss of what they had or what could have been. If there are children they will definitely feel grief over the break up.
* The loss of a family pet. Please don’t trivialize this for others if you are not a dog or cat person. We become very attached to our pets. They become a literal part of our family.
* The ending of any major relationship in your life. A mentor, teacher, hairstylist, doctor, therapist, church, Bible Study group, or any other group or one on one relationship you have had ongoing that ends.

I Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

In this verse God tell us we will go through trials. As you read this list, I imagine you have been through at least one of these in your lifetime. Maybe one of these within the past 5 years, for some it will be more recent than that.  It hurts doesn’t it? Well I can tell you in the past 5 years I’ve been through at least 2 of these if not more. Yes they hurt! Some more than others. I do want you to know there is Hope!

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Before we get there I want to share some of the ways I have grieved over these types of loss. As most of you probably know, there are stages of grief, so it is possible to feel any or all of those feelings after one of these losses. Believe me I know. I’ve probably gone through them all at one time or another. Let me just list some of them:

*       Denial-Refuse to believe it’s true
*       Anger-It can be anger at anyone
*       Bargaining-Trying to gain control by the “if only”, or asking God “ If you will… then I will…”
*       Depression-Feelings of regret, sadness, hopelessness, worry
*       Acceptance-Calm, Peace

We may not all go through the same emotions after a loss, and we certainly may not experience them in the same order or at the same time. But we are probably going to go through them. The important thing is that through God we can come to the place of acceptance.

Let me tell you my story. For the past several weeks I have known that a working relationship was coming to an end. This was a relationship that dealt with confidentiality, so outside of the office we would not be able to socialize. That made it very difficult to lose this relationship. When I learned of the end of this relationship, I was in total denial. So much so, I didn’t even know it until I look back now. I acted as though nothing had changed. I never went through anger or bargaining, because it’s really not that kind of loss. If I had had an argument and my friend was walking away, I’d probably get mad. This is not at all like that. This person is doing what is best for her and her family. I am 100% behind her. Well, yesterday I hit depression. The reality of things hit me and I fell apart. The interesting thing is I believe God is giving me acceptance at the same time. I may be sad at the loss of what I had, but I am at peace because God is having my friend do what she needs to be doing!

So I want to end with 2 things, 1. How do you get through loss and grief?
Only through God and the peace that He will give you!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid

2. I mentioned above 1Peter 1:6 where Peter tells us that we WILL go through trials. Here are verses 6 & 7 together.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Peter says that you are going through trials. Then he explains why, God is testing our faith to see if it is pure. If it is pure then our faith gives praise, glory and honor to Jesus. Don’t you want to be faithful to Jesus? I sure do! So as I grieve, I want to look at it differently. God is giving me the opportunity to lean totally and completely on Him so I can show the world that HE IS FAITHFUL!!! He will carry me through!!!

Living in Grace,