Recently I read a post by a Facebook friend whose mother had passed on. They wondered if they were betraying her memory by taking care of the loose ends, tending to the details, and packing up the things left behind. I almost responded, as is the norm in the world, that “it’s a process.”
That phrase just comes right out naturally when we seek to comfort another in our human limits to do so. Of course, taking care of the natural details is a necessary process (and certainly not betrayal of our loved ones). Re-entry into “normal” life or regular patterns, yes, that is a process.
But I’m calling our culture out on this topic of grief. More specifically, I’m calling you out, grief! You, grief, are NOT a process. Grief is a spirit, that comes not for anything else but to steal, kill, and destroy. If that offends you, please, wait, keep reading, I implore you. If you are hurting with grief, don’t shut this out. It might be a new concept, but there is no criticism nor condemnation in this article. And no telling you to just get over it.
I’ve been there and heard that, I promise! My heart is far too well acquainted with grief. I have had many goodbyes these past 7 years, several immediate family members, including our daughter. So I know well how to sense the presence of grief and what it can do to you. Even right now, I am walking through what is known as “the long goodbye” to care Champions who live the 36-hour day every day. It’s a phrase that aptly describes a unfathomable season in the walk of faith, yet here am I, navigating it, step by step. And, yes, daily grief presses hard to enter in.
So, please, make no mistake. I DO understand about grief.
BUT… it is written, He Himself bore my griefs and sorrows, and in His death, burial, and resurrection, He redeemed me from the entire curse of the law. So how do we reconcile this Word with our feelings when tempted to grieve?
We don’t. We don’t need to reconcile our grief. Our only need when grieving is to reconcile our heart to God! He is our safe refuge – our only safe refuge. Yield to that magnificent Comforter, don’t yield to grief.
Yes, there are still emotions, still a multitude of feelings! He or she is foolish who simply denies those feelings thinking somehow that is walking by faith – it is not! If that’s you, stop it. But take those feelings to God.
Learning to rightly, beneficially, process emotions and still walk in faith, that is a choice and process. Becoming willing to go on in faith with the call of God on and in your life, that is a choice and can be a process. Growing and maturing in our relationship with God in the face of unanswerable questions of life, love, and faith, that is also often a process.
I’ve been through and still am progressing through these daily choices and processes, Biblically and experientially. So, to be certain, there is no condemnation or judgement here. But there is a huge helping of revelation and hope if you ~ if we ~ want it.
For me the revelation is that, tempted daily by the nemesis of grief, temptation is not sin! As I yield myself instead to the healing power in Christ, I am only and ultimately held fast by the greater One within me, the Spirit of my miracle working God.
I have become convinced that our overcoming, the manifestation of our victory, begins with our choice to believe the truth: grief is not a process. Grief is part of the curse. And I have been redeemed.
As long as I believe it is a process I must walk through, then that is what I will do, continue to walk in grief, wrongly believing that one day I will eventually get all the way through it. Which every one of us know, never really happens, because the entire premise is deception. But when I choose to call it out, call it for what it is, a spirit that wants to incapacitate me, I can submit myself to God, resist the grief, and it must flee. I, instead, choose to open myself up (big step!) for the healing Christ provided in my redemption.
Say what is! Healing is part of that redemption. Healing is what we DO want to allow, and possession of our healing, Biblically, CAN be instant and/or can be a process, or as I prefer to say, a journey. . . because we can receive it as we go. So yes, by all means, be kind to your heart, allow time for yourself to HEAL. But let’s learn to CALL the process for what it is… healing. He carried our griefs and by His stripes, WE were HEALED.
Grief draws you down into despair, the depths of pain with no hope or help for the hurt and the emptiness. Grief destroys, depresses, denies hope or comfort. Grief renders one paralyzed to purpose and the plans of God.
Healing ministers to (does NOT deny) our hurting hearts with hope, with great grace to comfort, allows the freedom for the feelings of emptiness or anguish to surface and be soothed with the balm of His love. Healing might feel the same as grief for moment, but we must train ourselves to identify the difference. Healing’s hallmark is that He is holding us no matter how much we are hurting! The defining mark of healing is that we make forward progress, even if it is ever so slowly, toward Him, toward life, and the promises ahead.
When will there be comfort for the broken-hearted? When will the multitudes, or even us, be free from the grip of grief? How might it happen, this healing process?
It is when we take in and truly possess the revelation of being The Redeemed.
It is when hope means to us “confident expectation” rather than wishful thinking. Grief seeks to separate, isolate, and incapacitate. Healing is possessed in the ministry of reconciliation, the redemption of relationship with our God. WE must run to HIM with the confident expectation that (as my dear friend Debra reminded me recently) in Christ we never have to say “the end” for ours is an eternal story… our story is to be continued.
I can confidently tell you this:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (by choice) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. ” (found in Philippians 3)
As for me and my house, our journey is one of healing, our process one of promise. By His grace, I will lead those who follow in the power of that truth.
So, yes, in this unfathomable season I am walking through step by step, but those are steps from faith to faith, glory to glory. I WILL (selah) see you one the mountain tops, or from them if you choose.