Read JOHN 11
God has placed this blog on my heart. During this time, it is hard to even think about it, but I thought it was a good time to write about finding strength after loss. After loosing a series of people who I have grown up with, it has been hard to stay committed to having a positive and happy outlook on life. However, through my faith I have realized how normal it is to go through a series of emotions while we are grieving.
Even though this can be unhealthy, I have definitely looked at movies and films to associate with regarding my health and how I deal with grief (especially since there are many films where grief and loss is a common theme). In some films, take the Avengers as an example, there are small scenes where the characters feel deeply moved and saddened by the loss of their comrades, and yet in the next scene you see their determination to fight on and defeat the enemy.
I have always admired that.
But I also have realized that not everyone deals with grief in the same way.
With this knowledge, I wanted to highlight the different stages of grief, and how to move past these stages in order to live a life where you can fully put your trust in the Lord.
The first stage of grief is DENIAL This is the stage where life and death just does not make sense. We use this stage as a way to disassociate ourselves from the situation and from our hurt. Our minds and our hearts don't feel, or even don't want to feel the full effects of loosing someone we truly care about. However, this first stage, can also be a good way for us to slow down and process what is truly happening and why.
You keep track of all my sorrows.[a]
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Society tells us that if we cry or show any form of sorrow, then we are weak. However, I serve a God who was not afraid to cry and not afraid to be HUMAN.
One of the most important verses of the bible that shows the authenticity of Jesus while He was on this earth is John 11:35.
The King of all Kings, the Lord of Lords found a way to show his true self after the death of his dearest cousin Lazarus. Now is the opportunity to give your tears to Him. He not only knows of your pain, but is ready to take it all at full force.
Even though this may be you at this very moment. I want you to know that it is okay to feel. God has created us to be able to express our emotions, even when it doesn't make sense to.
Right now you could be asking, "Where is God in this?" or "Why does this have to happen to me?"
You're angry at the God who took your loved one away from you. You're angry that this person who will no longer be there to celebrate with you, love on you, or be in your presence. You could even be angry that you didn't get a chance to say how you really feel, or hear the words you wanted to hear before they passed.
Whatever the reason, you are angry.
This stage of grief is a stage that masks your denial and your isolation. It allows for you to place your hurt at another person, object, or situation. Even if they have nothing to do with it.
"Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss."
This temporary feeling can only be resolved through prayer and acknowledgement of the truth. Why did this happen? Why are you angry? What can God do that can change your hurt and anger into acceptance?
Ephesians 4:26 tells us that anger can lead us to sin.
You have every right to feel the emotions you feel. You are allowed to be angry. But the Bible tells us that our anger can lead us to sin (Ephesians 4:26). During this stage I want to encourage you to give God your wrath and let Him fight for you. Do not be so consumed with this emotion that you let yourself give in.
EXODUS 14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
With this stage, I think of Job who lost everything he held dear to Him and even still He trusted that God would provide and that there was a reason and plan for his suffering.
In Job 3: 11 He finally cried out to God and was genuinely angry. So angry that it says he cursed the day he was born. He was so hurt about all he had lost. But God was not angry at him for these emotions, but because he questioned God and justified himself in the process.
This shows that we are allowed to have raw human emotions, you are allowed to have raw hurt and anger, but don't let your hurt fester into an abyss that can in turn separate you further from God. He loves you so much that He wants you to place your burden on Him and once again, let Him fight for YOu.
There are many times where I say to God "If you do this God, then I will do this God" and it sounds so logical in my head.
Through grief it is so easy to be so consumed that we want to ask God for ANYTHING in return. Only feeling empty and confused in the process. This stage of Bargaining can lead to self blame. We can overthink and start to find fault within ourselves. "If I did this sooner than maybe they would still be here"...
Not only is this statement false, but it doesn't give you the full access to your grief.
God allowed for your loved one to leave this Earth because their purpose here was fulfilled. But even though our life here is temporary, heaven is eternal.
Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
While you are still hurting and grieving, know that it is not your fault. Think on the memories, the joy and even the dreams you wished were fulfilled, and create a new space in your heart to bring someone else closer to you.
Give yourself the ability to heal and know that God has a plan for every one of us. We may never know what it is, or how long it will take, but we know that while we are here we can love and live to the fullest.
This stage I know all too well. I wrote another blog about how I have overcome depression, so click here if you want to read more about that. This stage is what brings us to the present, and it often feels like a cloud has consumed our every thoughts.This stage not only brings those feelings of melancholy, but can bring anxiety, stress, and worry as well.
It is hard, I know and when this loss finally settles into your soul it is easy to let it fester and overtake your mind and heart.
One of my favorite people in the Bible who show what it feels like to have depression that overtakes you is David. His poems and songs in the book of Psalms is a constant reminder that it is okay to not be okay.
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:6-9
Even when you feel like you have no more strength left, God is there to take the hurt and the pain. He wants you to give it all to Him. You are precious to Him and He known your every thought and worry. It is hard in this stage, and you may feel like you want to give up, but hang on and know that this is the perfect chance for you to see what God can do in your heart. This is the chance to feel relief for you to live for the world, the people who have the same story as you, the people who look up to you, and most importantly, for yourself.
You Are Loved by God
This stage is one of the most controversial stages. The belief that once you acknowledge your grief, it means that you are okay. or that you're over your grief. When that is not the case. Once you acknowledge your grief you can finally learn how to cope and live with it. Every day the twinge of hurt becomes less and less, and you can remember your loved one with a little less sadness in your heart.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
I know it is easier to stay in the last four stages of grief, but once you arrive to this phase, your personal healing can take place.
Healing that will be able to uplift another person, and guide them in their walk with Christ.
If you're thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support click here for resources and a hotline list to get you the help you need. You are never alone
Stay Blessed, Be Blessed