As I sit and write to you about grief, I am experiencing the emotions of grief alongside you, walking through this journey trying to find God in it. To only talk about the aftermath of grief would do a disservice to those mourning and belittle the pain that grief requires us to feel. Its complex and there is no one way to express or experience grief and pain. Throughout this blog I ask you to allow yourself to grief in the way you need and invite God into the pain.
Grief is defined as the deep sorrow that is caused by someone’s death. There are a multitude of emotions that are birthed out of hurt. Anguish, hopelessness, despair, and sadness are commonly felt during the grieving process. Below the surface of grief, we can feel overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, stressed, heartbroken, angry, and maybe even some guilt. In the therapy world, we categorize grief into stages to better understand it. Denial & isolation, anger, bargaining or pushing off reality, depression, and acceptance. The most recent stage added is the stage of meaning. These stages are non-linear, meaning that they are not necessarily experienced in order (Ross & Kessler, 2014). The question then becomes “how do you hurt well”? I believe the best way to properly grieve is to let yourself experience each stage as it comes. Be gentle towards yourself as you navigate these emotions. When we ignore and avoid the pain of grief, we take away the gift God wants to give us, Him.
There is something so beautiful about mourning in the presence of Jesus. In the midst of broken heartedness, if you are still you can feel the peace that surpasses all understanding. I’ve always clung to Philippians 4:6 during pain. It reminds me that regardless of the situation I’m in my soul longs to praise God in some capacity. When the ability to praise is overcome by pain, allow yourself to deeply feel the pain. Let me tell you friend, it is not a sin to feel emotions. If you don’t feel it, you can’t heal it.
As humans we want to avoid pain altogether, it feels uncomfortable to experience the realness of pain. We want to go from the gaping wound to the healed scar in a matter of seconds but its impossible. Maybe the Christian desire to do this is because it seems like a sin to feel emotions that are seen as bad. I want to remind you that Jesus experienced every emotion while on Earth. If the perfect man can experience every emotion that comes with a hurting soul, you can too. Grief disrupts the normalcy of life while the rest of the world keeps going. When it finally feels like you can breathe again you notice the whole world hasn’t stopped, just yours. Picking back the pieces of your crushed spirit to go on in life futile. Be patient with your grief and recognize that God the healer, the provider, and the giver of peace wants to meet you in your grief. When we ignore the feelings that arise in us, we take away the comfort God wants to give us in the midst of our suffering. Avoiding the pain in the suffering removes the ability to experience great joy on the other side of the pain. Romans 8:18
We falsely belief that God promises to take away the emotions of grief on this side of heaven, rather God promises to be close to us in our grief. We do have hope that when we are with Jesus, he will wipe away every tear and death shall be no more. There will be no mourning, nor crying, no pain.” Paraphrased Revelation 21:4. In the midst of your mourning draw closer to God; wrestle with him in your pain and do not let go. Like Jacob who wrestled with God and did not let him go until he was blessed, do not let go of God. But don’t let go of God after you wrestle with him, stay close to him. From experience I can say that there is no closeness to God like there is during a season of mourning. As you navigate this path remember that you are allowed to feel every emotion. Your anger, hurt and sadness are understood by Jesus he too felt those things. Give yourself permission to feel and let God in on the emotions to heal you. As a society we often say time heals all wounds, rather I believe that God alone can heal our wounds and uses time to do so.
Lord, I cover my friend in your peace, knowing that her pain is severe, and her hurt is deep. I know that you are creator of peace but that doesn’t mean that you will take away our pain but rather give us incomprehensible peace in the middle of mourning. Let the pain inside be an avenue to feel your love even more. You are able and willing to bring beauty from the ashes, you bring gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:3). Thank you that you want to give us joy and peace and that while we must experience pain you are with us in it. Thank you that you can relate to us in our pain and mourning, I pray that that pain forces her to come to you with her raw emotions. Thank you that you have defeated death and we have eternal life in you, thank you that our pain and suffering is not the end. You give life and will bring her back to joy in due season.
Ross, E.K & Kessler, D. (2014) On grief and grieving: finding meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. Simon & Schuster.
Freddie is a recent grad from Auburn University with her masters in clinical mental health counseling and is on staff with LO as a counselor. She loves long walks, spending time with friends and family, and helping people find their confidence in who God made them to be!@yourfriend_FreddieFollow Freddie on Instagram: