Have you ever watched a good gut-wrenching show on TV, or watched a sad movie in a theater and walk out with a massive headache from trying not to sob out-loud and feel like everyone is staring at you? The kind that pounds every time your heart beats. Well….I have had one of those headaches for two days now. Not from watching a show or movie, but from attending the seminary graduation on Saturday where my son’s Doctor of Ministry degree was given to his wife posthumously. It was a wonderful honor and many kind words were said of him. It was the standing ovation from faculty, students, and all attending that sent me over the edge and the hole his death has left seemed to grow exponentially.
Once again, grief felt like it was getting the best of me, even after 18 months post passing. The day before the ceremony I could not stop crying. It didn’t matter what I was doing or where I was, I would just start crying. I kept telling myself I should be doing better than this and find joy like scripture says. (In all things). While driving home from having lunch with a friend, I could hardly see where I was going so finally had to pull over to the side of the road. I began praying, talking to David at the top of my lungs (like I needed to be loud because he was in heaven ☹), and asking God AGAIN why! And why was I so upset now, after this length of time. My one-sided dialogue went on for probably ten minutes and then I started feeling my body relax, the volume of my voice dropping, and I was able to just be quiet and still. I could breathe again. It was during this quiet time I felt the Spirit remind me that David had already graduated with the highest degree and was experiencing everything he taught and believed. He was face-to-face with His Savior who has given him rest.
The reason for this blog this time is not just to talk about my headache or crying, but to remind all of you, that no matter what hardships may be going on or any losses you are feeling, it is okay to grieve! No matter how long it has been. I read an article this morning that said that Christians tend to have an unspoken feeling they should not lament or grieve because of their faith and should do better in handling life’s losses and trials. After all…we have Jesus. Burying our true feelings and needs, or living in denial like everything is fine, is not healthy and it is not what God expects of us. The article said this, “God does not see your emptiness as a problem. God sees your emptiness as an opportunity, an open place that can be filled with Himself.” I know in my own life that I see God do many things in my life when I am empty; when I am finally at the end of my rope. That is the time I can submit to His sovereignty and know He is the only one that can give me the filling of my soul I need. By not letting God fill us, we stuff ourselves with other things that we think will take the pain away. It can be eating, spending money, hoarding things, or anything we think will give us joy. They are all short lived and do not work. They become little g, gods.
Don’t be afraid to tell God out-loud how you feel. He already knows. He knows your pain and may be waiting for you to call on Him for help. One of the greatest securities we have is that God does not and will not change. His promises will come to pass.
2 Cor 1:3-4 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(from New International Version). We can be secure in this description of the attributes of God.
God brings good out of everything even if we don’t see it for a long time. Allowing ourselves to grieve will change the way we may interact or minister to others who are hurting or grieving because we have experienced the same path they are walking. There is joy in being there for another hurting person. Looking back, I know I have learned lessons from the loss of a child. I definitely have a softer and more empathetic heart for others. I understand the need for prayer from my friends and church family, and now offer my prayers for them more freely. I have felt the love and compassion from those who show me Jesus deeper than ever before, and I have a deep desire to give that same compassion to others. Most of all….I have known the mercy and grace of God every time I fall. He sends me friends, sermons, a song, or scripture at the exact right time and for the exact need I have. God’s compassion and comfort is perfect every time and continue to be forever. These are the experiences and opportunities I would not have known if I had been given a choice to keep David. There can be joy in our emptiness if we look for it and allow it.
One of my favorite worship songs is Wonderful, Merciful, Savior by Selah. The words describe the compassionate, comforting, and loving Savior and God we have. Give him your grief and cares, care for others in return, and keep your eyes lifted up waiting for the return of Our God and King.
Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb could
Rescue the souls of men,
Oh You rescue the souls of men.
Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace,
You offered hope when our hearts had
Hopelessly lost the way,
Oh we’d hopelessly lost the way.
Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own.
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne,
Oh we’re falling before Your Throne.
You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for,
Oh our hearts always hunger for.