Grief and Loss

The Hard

heart-rock

Grief brings hard. Impossible hard.

Hard moments.Hard choices. Hard emotions. Hard Days. And Hardly any relief for long bouts of time. You become this ‘person’ who roars her terrible roar, and gnashes her terrible teeth’* and you don’t know where she came from or when she will leave.

Sleep leaves, runs away perhaps, and emotions run high. Inevitably troubles come in other areas of your life- finances, marriage, family, another loss, friendships, health issues. Sometimes one, and sometimes many… and there you are, struggling to breathe through your current “hard”, and then you have to deal with ‘this too’.

You feel like you’re drowning…and then ‘this’ comes and its like an anchor dragging you downward.

The Hard gets Harder. Impossible gets more Impossible. The concept of failing becomes more and more certain.

In grief, amidst the pain and tragedy…amidst the loneliness and heartache…amidst the guilt and lost innocence…amidst anything we could call under a general label of ‘impossibly hard’….

God moves.

He refuses to let us fail.

  • Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

He leads.

  • Psalm 61:2  When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

He gives us strength when we are out.

  • Isaiah 40:29 God gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.

He gives us a buoy to hang on to so we can float a moment to rest & recharge.

  • Hebrews 4:9 There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God. 

He unties the anchor from us.

  • Matthew 11:28-29 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

He teaches us about having His grace and love for others who have the best intentions, despite their hurtful ‘words of advice’.  When we feel so many “non Christian” emotions,He encourages us to throw those hot coals of anger, and jealousy, and bitterness at Him. Because only He can cool those hot stones and turn anger to joy & calm, jealousy to confidence &  satisfaction, and bitterness into contentment and kindness. It doesn’t happen quickly. It rarely happens on my timetable, but over time, with His still, soft voice,  I believe that God can bring those attributes into us instead of the ones  we feel now. Am I there yet? No. But my faith gives me the assurance that I will be, one day. I see little “glimmers of hope”, as I have termed them, every once in a while…reassurance that His plan is still in motion.

  • Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

I think most would agree that whatever tragedy causes our grief, breaks us… sometimes it ‘chips’ us…sometimes it breaks us in half,  and sometimes we are shattered into a million pieces.  No matter the amount of “breakage”…and despite the best kind of glue…scars will always be there. Tiny crack lines indicating that we were once broken, and have been put back together. Scars. Scars often make people feel “unbeautiful”…and yet, it is because of our scars that He teaches us about how suffering can make us beautiful. Beautiful to Him. Beautiful to others. It is in our brokenness that we can let His light shine through our cracks. It is in our scars from being broken that we might give hope to another mama or daddy or sister or brother or grandparent… that survival is possible. Our brokenness proves that one day, their shattered pieces will be glued into place and they will bear their beautiful scars to help others, just like them right now, find hope in brokenness. They will learn, as we have, that there is beauty in the broken.

  • Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

He teaches us that failure in our eyes, is rarely failure in His eyes. Our culture is very ‘success-driven’. He reminds us that it is our effort, and not always results, that determine success.

  • Psalm 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

He teaches us about enjoying the itsy bitsy things amongst the ‘hard’, and trying to smile at the things He puts in our path. A butterfly, an “easy” day, a cup of our favorite coffee, a moment of quiet, a nice, long hug, a phone call at just the right time, a rainbow. For me, oftentimes, its seeing my kids play at the cemetery. Seeing them play chase and run around in “Philip’s park” as they call it. Watching them throw fall leaves into the wind gusts, so that their brothers can ‘see them’ up in heaven.  My youngest daughter sitting at his cemetery plot and showing her brothers the “most beautifulest leaves I could find”…and then leaving them there for her brothers to enjoy. God reminds us that it is in the hard, that He can refine us to make us His and wholly His.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7b The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

He reminds us that surviving the Hard is possible…

  •  Matthew 19:26b With God, all things are possible.

Yes, even those ‘Impossibly hard’ days too. Keep going mama.

  • Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

(*referenced from “Where the Wild Things Are”…a favorite in our house.)

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