When you lose someone you love and the grief first hits, the pain is so intense that you struggle to breathe. As time slowly moves on and life starts to get back to “normal”, the intense pain that accompanies grief remains, but slowly you begin to realize that grief is more than pain.
Every person struggles with grief in their own way. Some people experience more depression, while denial and mental struggles are more difficult for others. Each person’s journey through grief is their own. No one can completely understand what another person’s grief truly feels or looks like. They may understand the struggle of grief, but the exact feelings and cycles of grief that someone is experiencing is theirs alone.
How I’m Learning to Grieve with Hope This Week
Over the last week I’ve begun to liken grief to the iceberg that took down the Titanic. They only saw the tip of it above the water and thought they had missed it, while below the surface the iceberg was much larger than they could see. Grief is an iceberg in my life right now. Yet, at certain moments, many of which are unexpected, my family and I realize that it is much larger than what we can actually see.
I love deeply. I’ve known that for most of my life. Recognizing and accepting that how I love plays a huge part in how I grieve is important as I learn to grieve with hope. I need to know and understand why I struggle with losing loved ones so much and this was a big step on this journey for me.
Last week I took the first steps to getting back to a “normal” schedule, but I found it extremely difficult at times. In the past I was an OCD, over the top planner, but God took me on a journey to letting go of my daily to-do lists to learn how to live life outside of plans. Right now, I need plans. Each morning I have to make a list of what needs to be done that day because I lose focus continually throughout my day and I need a list to find the next thing to do.
I’ve always been an emotional person. I’ve spent most of my life burying my emotions and not dealing with them, they’re probably all piled up underneath a carpet somewhere. I will likely have to deal with that mess at some point in my life. Right now though, in the midst of my grief I am allowing myself the grace and opportunity to take my emotions as they come. When I wake up missing my friend, I turn on the You Tube playlist I created featuring songs that we both loved and songs that remind me that God is near to the broken hearted…songs that bring me strength, hope and remind me that she’s still with me.
God’s Word is what I need the most during this time. In the past, I have moved away from God during my grief and instead given into my emotions allowing the pain to overtake me and hold me back. By God’s persistence, He revealed to me that I didn’t process my grief properly. So, I began this journey and I’ve been striving to keep Him and His promises the center of my focus each day. I’ve found the most peace when I’ve been spending time with the Lord in His Word. While I may not understand the how and why right now, I know that He has a plan and purpose for this time of grief.
This time I’m not grieving alone. I am not the only person to have lost someone right now. So, while this journey is mine alone because I’m unique. I am not alone. We are all processing our grief differently, but we understand what we’ve lost and are committed to walking this journey together one day at a time. Some days are harder for one of us than the others, but we walk together. We pray for each other on our hard days. We tell each other what we’re struggling with specifically and we encourage each other as we strive to walk through and process each difficulty we face. I can’t imagine being on this journey through grief alone.
Many days I feel broken. I’m not sure how to pick up the pieces of my life and continue on. Somehow it doesn’t seem right that the world go on like it was before because it can’t for me. Life has changed for me. I can’t go back to the way things used to be. I have changed. I’ve learned that change isn’t always bad, but this time the change has been painful. However, when I feel broken I’m learning to look to Jesus and offer Him the pieces of my heart.
One thing that I know for sure from the choices of my life is….
Jesus can create beautiful ashes.
I’m waiting to watch Him do it again.
Elizabeth Elliot once mentioned a quote that a missionary woman said when she was attending Wheaten College. It has brought me comfort in the midst of my current sorrow…
If your life is broken when given to Jesus, it may be because the pieces will feed a multitude.
I’ve known for most of my life that I haven’t ever handled grief properly. That is why I began this journey towards learning to grieve with hope with my besties. We’re in the midst of our book study through Grieving with Hope, by Samuel J. Hodges.
Every week we’ll each be sharing our thoughts on the same chapter. It is our hope and prayer that as we learn to grieve holding tightly to the hope we have in Jesus Christ that others will be encouraged and strengthened that are on their own grief journey.
You can follow my journey towards grieving with hope here.