Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Grief. We’ve all had to deal with it at one time or another in our lives. It’s always lurking just around the corner waiting to jump out and grab you when you least expect it; to pull you down into its depths. You work hard to climb out of those depths and then it finds another way to pop back into your life and steal the joy yet again. It’s always there. Waiting on an opportunity to strike.
I’ve had my fair share of grief and when it has laid claim on my life, I've done my best to escape its grip. To work through its confusing madness. It’s exhausting. It can be terrifying at times.
Grief comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just related to death. It can be caused by the loss of anything of meaning or value in life. Loss of a job, a pet, a relationship, loss of a home or marriage, loss of health, and loss of sense of purpose all open the door for grief to sneak in.
The greatest grief I have ever experienced resulted from the end of my marriage and the dissolution of my family. The first time he hit me as punishment for his own poor choices, I knew it was over. There was nothing more I could do to fix the broken man who so desired to destroy himself and anything in his way. Including me. The woman who gave herself to him fully. Heart, body and soul.
I held on for as long as I could, but the abuse became unbearable and I had no alternative but to file for divorce.
Grief took hold and consumed me. I didn’t know how to accept the end of the marriage or the incompetence of my love for my husband. I felt like a failure for not being able to fix him. For not being able to receive his love. For ending my marriage. I was devastated and completely destroyed. Grief prevented me from seeing any hope of escape from the misery, much less a future without it.
The intense sadness I felt was often too much to bear and for a very long time I wallowed in its murky depths, not knowing how to deal with it or how to escape it. I was just stuck there drowning, cold, alone, and broken. Barely able to get my head above water. I almost gave in. I almost lost all my hope and gave my own life over to that darkness because I saw no way out.
When I had no other option but to allow myself to go through all the stages of grief in their entirety, to finally hand my grief over to the Lord, my hope slowly started returning. I could see a future in the distance. A future without fear and feelings of unworthiness. A future where love and joy abounded. My yoke was becoming lighter and more manageable. The Lord was helping me through. My heart didn't hurt quite so much.
The Lord continues to help me make it through each day. He has strategically placed amazing people in my life who support me, love me, cheer for me and who comfort me when I need it most. His plan to mold me into someone who can carry out His will is becoming more apparent. I’m meant to pay it forward. I'm meant to help and to heal others.
Recently I’ve grieved the loss of a close family member and beloved pet. I’ve grieved for my children who have had to live through divorce and the chaos of custody agreements. I’ve grieved over my job taking away precious time from my children. I’ve grieved about the difficulty of being a single parent.
Instead of giving in to grief and staying in that dark place, I now give it to the Lord. I let myself feel and absorb what’s happening, then tell myself, “no, this is His battle, not mine.” I lay it at His feet and trust that He’s there to handle it.
The abusive marriage I survived was the most painful experience of my life, but that pain taught me a valuable lesson. Through my pain and suffering, I realized I have to let Him be in control. Grief, pain and suffering will not go away without the Lord’s help. It’s His yoke to carry, not mine.
He is there to carry us when we are too weak to go on. In Psalm 55:22, we are told to “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” I am living proof of the Lord’s provision. I am living proof that God does not want us to suffer and that He will give His strength to us when it is needed; when the load seems too much to bear. All you have to do is ask.
I am living proof that He is the end of all grief. All you have to do is lay it before Him.
I want others who may be experiencing grief to know that there is hope for an end to the pain. Hope for survival. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, we are told, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who will comfort us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I want to be able to comfort others who may be experiencing grief. I want to be a vessel of His tender mercies and to be a source of hope to others in dark times.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but I truly feel this is why I have been called to write and to put my experiences out there for others. So if you are dealing with grief and you feel that you are alone, please know you are not. I get it. I know how hard it is and how exhausted you feel. I am you.
Remember, this is not your battle. It’s His. You need to know “the pain you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming” (Romans 8:18). Believe that wholeheartedly. You are amazing and with Him by your side, you will be OK.
Grief is just a passage, not a permanent destination. It will pass. Will you be the same afterward? Probably not, but I do know that there is good to be found in everything. Even in grief.