Fighting Grief

So, I’ve been quiet on this forum for some time now. I’ve never addressed it here formally – and thank you to those who have continued to reach out in messages. I’m grateful that many of you continue to read old blogs and send messages of encouragement to keep writing.

For those in faraway places who don’t know … My husband’s daughter – my stepdaughter, and our son-in-law were killed in a tragic car wreck on January 30, 2017. Our three, precious grandchildren lost their whole world that night. And I want to be clear … any pain my husband and I have felt can’t compare to theirs.

In the days and months that’s followed, the enemy orchestrated chaos and our grief’s been complicated in ways that our family should have never experienced. A lot of loss has peppered our lives and it’s still hard to comprehend. So … I’ve been quiet – not because I didn’t have anything to say … but because I didn’t like how I sounded when sour words found their way onto pages and pages of countless journals.

A lot of tears … a lot of honest prayers … and a lot of sleepless nights have come and gone over the last 16 months.  We will never find a new normal because what our family experienced is flat out abnormal. It isn’t the natural order of living.

The losses and pain hurled my way over the years have left me at times asking if this life is worth living?

There have been moments that courage floundered and my faith shilly-shallied like a triple crown filly that’s thrown a shoe.

The last year’s events have brought the realization that there are defining moments in our faith that will make us ask hard questions.

Like when the unbearable happens and you almost feel like God let you down?

Is there a line that God can cross in your relationship?

Have you ever thought about that?

What it would take?

That’s rattled around hard in my brain … cause all I’ve ever known is trying to seek Him out in an imperfect life. I naively existed as though faithfulness will keep me safe from the reality of life and death trials.

I’ve wondered how in the world can the last year and a half of losses ever work for God’s glory like the verse in Romans 8:28 proclaims.

I’ll be honest … I’ve asked the Lord if all this pain is worth the glory because from where I’m sitting … I just can’t see what good can come from it.

And then after I repent of thinking thoughts that I recognize came from the enemy, I ask Him … am I living in a way that will make the loss worth God’s glory? I don’t want to mess that up.

So many questions and not enough answers for a hard thinking girl that probably thinks too much.

At the end of the day … the pain is only lessened by time, a lot of honest prayers and the word of God. That’s it. That’s all I got.

Grief is a place where you put up or shut up so to speak.

It’s where you find out if what you’ve practiced as a way of life is going to carry you through the darkness.

Grief wrestling sure ain’t for the weak -pardon my Tennessee twang.

In my grappling, I went back to the Ecclesiastes 3 scripture – you know the one about …  “to everything there is a season.”

As I studied word meanings and cultural explanations, verse 7 jumped out at me.

“A time to tear … and a time to sew.”

The bible is full of people who would rend (tear) their clothes when great grief, pain, regret or even sin were a factor. We see this term a lot with those who mourn death.

As I studied further … I learned that after a period of time, they sewed their robes back together. Not only did this signify that we are to move on from mourning in time … but it’s a beautiful picture of a tapestry of faithfulness … that God puts our hearts back together … just like the garment.

The stitched-up tear reminds us of the pain … but also of the faithfulness of a Holy God to bring healing and hope again. I’ve found this truth very comforting of late.

And if this scripture in Ecclesiastes signifies anything its that God made life to be a cycle of activities. Some of those activities are darn hard, while others are joyful.

We may think sometimes that what He allows will kill us.

But in each hard place that we experience … we find balance. God balances everything with time … joy … sadness … death and new life. He leaves nothing undone … ever.

Grief has the makings of a great come back and restoration if we are willing to let God do with time and purpose what He wants to do in our lives.

It’s a fierce buckling under a Holy God that allows the incredible pressure of heartache to melt and refine stubborn hearts.

It’s hard. Just darn hard to learn from grief … but God deems it necessary to make us more like Him.

That almost seems harsh … doesn’t it?

But in truth … He knows what will make us better … kinder … more loving … more patient … more forgiving … more generous … more faithful … just more like him – period.

God allows grief with a period of mourning to measure the good things in life and to learn from the bad. And we have to fight the enemy’s schemes for grief to take us to places that we can never recover from.

Some days it feels like this time of grief will never be over … and then out of nowhere a day of pure joy will surprise us.

We still have days of overwhelming sadness and it sure makes this old girl tired.

But the one thing I have come to believe with all my heart is … grief and all of its questions have to lead us to faith … because faith is where the hope is.

If there’s no faith … you got no hope to heal, restore, or find a purpose out of the pain.

So, I’m going to keep digging a hole in my bible …  and refuse feelings that want to bury me in acrimony.

I don’t want to be bitter at the losses or those who have inflicted our family with their bitterness.

I don’t want to let the losses and pain of life entomb me … because then I will be useless for the kingdom.

I’m not going to lie … it’s a daily struggle … but I know this … I have to press on in doing the right thing even if I don’t feel like it because God is in the process.

And as long as He’s here with me in this process and I’m honest with Him … the weeds of sorrow will eventually be pulled out and I’ll relish in the beauty of new growth.

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Lord, Help us run to you in our deepest griefs for a shelter of protection from the enemy’s attempts to break us. Help us believe you are in the process and in the mourning. Give us faith … give us hope … and help us endure until you turn our mourning into dancing. Amen.

Remember … broken hearts run to Jesus.

love mel

12 thoughts on “Fighting Grief

  1. I love you and I am thankful for you. U were the 1st person to reach out to me at FVBC. This piece hits my heart and home too …a season of pain and grief. God
    is still working on us Mel……I know it. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melanie, We will never fully understand the trials and storms of this life until we meet our Father face to face. I am so thankful the Lord has crossed our paths. Your words of honesty through your writings is such an encouragement to me. Love you, Colleen

    Like

  3. Good morning, I just came over after reading your devotional on P31. My son was killed on January 21, 2017. He was 18 and about to graduate from high school. I loved your words, both in the devotional and your blog. Death of a child is excruciating but God has been so good. Thank you so much for your sharing your thoughts. After my son’s death, I too have burned a hole in my bible to keep me remembering how much my God loves me. And even when I didn’t feel like it, I still read.

    “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call in him as long as I live. Psalm 116: 1-2

    “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you” Psalms 116: 7

    This chapter is so good and now my song to remember ❤️

    It is a hard journey but I am too afraid to go it alone, without God.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. The good and the hard.
    Brenda

    Like

    1. Dear Brenda,
      Thank you for reaching out to me. I am so sorry for your loss – my heart hurts for you – and I am greatly encouraged by your faith. The scriptures you quoted are some of my favorites. You are so right – grief is a hard journey – one that we won’t ever conquer – the Lord just helps us endure. I pray that you will continue to use your journey to encourage others – you are a comforter when you love on those who lose their loved ones like us. Your sweet and gentle spirit is obvious – God can and will use you mightily! I hope you and I will meet one day – I would love to sit and talk with you and reap from your wisdom and courage. Blessings to you, sweet friend. Melanie

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  4. My husband and I just moved to Tennessee from Pennsylvania. When I came across your devotional this AM Melanie in First 5 and saw that you live in Tennessee I was intrigued . One thing led to another and I came across your blog on grief.
    We just experienced the sudden death of our 33 year old son on June 27 2019 so my husband and I are still very much in the grieving process. Your blog and others comments are very helpful. There is no pain like this. I too have gone through the questioning, the emotional valleys, the sleepless nights, unbelief, guilt, etc. I know God did not bring about my sons death but like you said , my whole world has been shaken and turned upside down and inside out.
    I too have to find comfort in the word.
    Thank you and those who have shared from broken hearts their grief, sorrow, and pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Bernadette – my heart hurts for you. Thank you for sharing – I will be praying for you and your husband. To say it gets better is not really truthful – we will never get over it – we just learn to go on – in a way that never seems to suffice sometimes. But God is right there – He Longs to help us grieve in small and big ways. Take care of yourselves – that’s the most healing truth I can share – and that means – your mental health. Now is the time to indulge in the days where you want to run away. We found that short road trips were so healing for us – in a way that it just gave us comfort to have a different environment to focus on. Let God lead you to the activities that will bring you comfort in this season – and don’t feel guilty about it. Please stay in touch. What part of Tennessee are you in? Maybe one day we can have a cup of tea together face to face! I would love that! Prayers and Blessings to you Bernadette! 😘❤️

      Like

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