The past seven months have been really difficult for me and my family. As most of you know, I lost my grandmother in October to cancer. Just earlier this week I lost another grandmother and my great grandma. While they all lived marvelous, God-filled lives, I can’t help but feel weary in their absence. I have come to hate cancer more than anything on this Earth, I have been upset with God, angry at myself, and just washed with sorrow. You never really think about a world without a grandma until you don’t have one. I say all of this to share: grief is okay. In fact, grief is Godly. So for those of us grieving, those of us who have grieved, and those of us fortunate to not know what grief feels like, let’s just talk it out.
The hardest part of losing someone is knowing you can’t have a conversation with them again. When my grandma died in October, I was heartbroken at the idea of never again being in her presence, hearing her laugh. But that’s when God broke through my sorrow to remind me how much more I actually get to be surrounded by those who are gone. All three of my grandmas that recently passed lived in three different states. One was close to home but the other two were far away. There have been so many nights where I have sat up in bed “talking” to them. I know (and hope) they are listening now in ways that they couldn’t before. Telling them about my day as I envision them sitting at the feet of Jesus has brought so much healing to this process. I know that God has brought me the idea of communication as a way of peacefully moving through this process. God will restore all that you have lost and walk you through your healing in a way you could never have predicted.
God refuses to leave our side in times of darkness. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” While we can rejoice knowing our loved ones will have eternity with God, it is almost impossible not to feel sorrow knowing that they are no longer here. God acknowledges that there is a time for mourning and a time for rejoicing and promises to be with us through every season. God will comfort us in our times of pain and deep sadness. He will not leave us nor forsake us.
Losing someone always sends fear through me. I can’t help but think that someone else I love is going to leave me any minute. I have dealt with the paralyzing fear of loss over and over again the past few months. There were many times I would get up in the middle of the night to make sure my family was still breathing. I have had to repeat Isaiah 41:10 over and over to myself. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” When those moments of fear and sadness cause you to curl up in your bed and cry for hours, God is with you. When you lock yourself in your room at the fear of feeling any more pain, God is with you. We do not need to worry about fixing ourselves or forcing strength out, God is doing that for us. Sit back and look to Him, He is the only thing that can walk you out of your grief.
1 Corinthians 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 receive from God.” If you are walking through grief right now, I’m sure your reaction to this verse might be: “So I’m just suffering to help someone else who is suffering a year or more from now?” No. God is taking the suffering and pain you feel and turning it into a miracle. Your hurt, your sorrow, becomes joy. God comforts you so that you may reach out and comfort others in the same way. Without the love and compassion we receive from God, we could never truly love others.
Grief is normal. You are allowed to be sad, hurt, broken. Just know that God will turn that around to joy, compassion, and healing. Mourning takes time, it is not a slow process. When you are sad, you are allowed to cry. When you are happy, you are allowed to laugh. Just know that when you reflect on the beautiful life of the one you lost, God has His hand on your shoulder providing more comfort than you know. So take a deep breath and let go. God’s got this under control.