This week took me by surprise. It was intense and emotional in so many ways. It took me by surprise because I could not pin point why it should be such a difficult week. It just was. It's 10 weeks down the road and while I know the amazing comfort of the Lord each day leading me through ... it is none the less a journey of negotiating grief. Today I want to share openly about some of the tough aspects that I am facing as a Christian dealing with grief.
Something that pops up often lately are conversations or statements that lead me to wonder if it is wrong that I am still hurting. Someone stopped me in the shopping mall and said "So are you ok now?" with the rest of the conversation implying if we have "moved on" as a family. This is a conversation that has taken place as soon as 2 weeks from Zac's 'graduation". People are so desperate for you to "be ok". It comes from a place of their love for you to be whole, but it is awkward none the less. I do not know how to respond to a conversation like that, because honestly, no. I'm still very much hurting that I only got to love on my son for 1 day. I'm still missing him so much and having to face the rest of our family memories without him being with us. It hurts and it's hard. The premature death of a child, no matter how long you carried or knew them for is not something that you face, deal with and then move on from. The memory of that precious life is part of your heart forever. I do not ever want to move on passed my love for Zac. Although it is a very painful journey that we have walked, there are still magnificent memories that bring us great joy. Feeling sad that he left us so soon does not take away from the revelation that I have that my precious little boy is well and whole and living in fullness in Heaven, which is a great joy and comfort to me. My hurt and pain does not take away the love and trust that I have in my faithful Saviour who walked us through every moment of this hardship. It does not diminish the faith that I have in a God who is always good even when I do not understand. It simply means that I am a mommy who misses one of her children deeply and that's ok.
Some days I feel sad, because I miss my boy. That does not mean that I am depressed. I am just sad. I am simply just missing my boy. Also taking some time to pull back from what I usually used to do is part of the healing for me. It does not mean that I am never going to be as involved in things that I used to be. It's just being real with my Lord and giving Him the opportunity to restore wholeness to me before I am ready to pour out into others again. For me, it takes courage not to wear a mask or to pretend that everything is ok when I am hurting. I want to be authentic and honest in my journey. I know that my Saviour finds this pleasing - me being vulnerable with Him and allowing Him sole reign to mend the broken places. In allowing Him to work in me, I know that it is just another avenue that He can use in my life to speak hope and life to others. I want every part of my life to be a testimony to His Presence. Even the pain and the mending. I want others to see and know how close Jesus stands to the broken hearted. That nothing that we experience is in vain.
I want to speak out about the harder aspects of grieving as a Christsian, because many have been hurt as they have grieved. I think that often times people don't know what to do with people who grieve. They don't know what to say or how to respond. This is understandable because death is so foreign to us. Many times people say hurtful things without meaning it, because they just want the grieving person to be "back to normal" because to see their pain hurts. There is also a very big fear in Christian circles that if someone experiences loss, they may loose their faith. Brett and I have found this a lot. People want to know where we stand theologically in the face of our loss. It is my experience that our journey has brought us even closer to the Lord even as we ask Him the tough questions. I experience His presence not only when in worship or reading the Word, but in this season of sitting and crying as I expose the depths of my heart to Him. He meets me here and is perfecting my faith (Hebrews 12:2)
We are encouraged with the precious words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that we do not grieve without hope, because there is a beautiful picture of Eternal life together in Christ. The passage ends off with the words ... "Therefore, comfort one another with these words". Our precious Jesus empathizes with all that we go through. Even though there is the beautiful bigger picture, He still understands that we hurt and long for those we have loved and had to let go of. That is why He sends to us the Comforter to comfort us and walk us through to a place of healing and peace. "However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you (into close fellowship with you); but if I go away, I will send Him to you (to be in close fellowship with you)". (John 16:7 in the Amplified Bible). That kind of healing takes time and a precious walk with the Comforter. He is quite ok with that. It does not have to be a whirlwind. With each of us He takes the time we need and the time we offer Him to use. In the passage from 1 Thessalonians notice that Paul never said "do not grieve". He said "Do not grieve as those who have no hope". It's when our lives are taken over with a grief that refuses to be consoled and we cease to live that we loose perspective and become consumed in sorrow. This is different from being sad and missing our loved ones.
Even though it has been a tough week, it has been made so much more bearable with the love of my Comforter bringing me perspective and love in the midst of the hurt. Feeling the love of so many people around us has also helped us through this journey and will continue to. There is beautiful hope in the journey, even though there is also sadness and pain. Acknowledging it is also acknowledging that Jesus walks us through the good and the hard times. This is what our beautiful Saviour has always promised, and He always keeps His promises.
If you are hurting today, please know that you can always write and that I would love to be praying for you too. I can testify to how prayer has carried us through each day.
Much love as always xxx