MONDAY MUSINGS

Grieving Well

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My brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car accident two weeks ago. 

Scott was barely 49—my only sibling. 

I’m writing this while in the beginning stages of grief over the tragic loss of Scott and his wife Dawn. I’m still reliving the phone call from my dad telling me they were killed. I can hear Daddy sobbing and struggling to get the words out. I can see Scott and Dawn’s bruised and swollen faces. I hear the sound of the mortuary door thudding closed—the finality that I will not see them again this side of Heaven. 

There’s no way around it. Grief sucks. 

The truth is, I have become well acquainted with grief over the past several years. Perhaps you are, too, and that’s why you are reading this post. The trials have prepared me to grieve this devastating loss. 

I Desire to Grieve Well.

As much as I abhor this grieving process, I also realize I can either grow better or grow bitter. As a woman of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I choose to grow more like Him. That’s right, I get to choose.

I didn’t choose to go through this loss, but I can choose how I will respond to it.

There is no timeline for grief.

People are unique and so is grieving.  No two people share the exact same grieving process and loss.

Professionals say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While this may serve a guide of sorts, there is no universal roadmap. 

Accepting the Loss

Accepting the reality of the loss involves overcoming the natural denial response and realizing that the person is physically dead. It helped me to view my loved one’s bodies. It helps me to journal about it and share my thoughts here. In addition, talking about the circumstances surrounding the death has been very helpful.

Grieving is about loss, not just death.

As I said before, I have experienced a series of losses. Along with the deaths of several family members including my mother, there has been mental illness, divorces of those dear to me, job losses, and estrangement from close family members. 

And some losses were disguised. Things like a graduation, although joyous, can also carry a sense of loss when we realize that the season of childrearing is over.

I have a friend who is going through a divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage. My daughter made a strategic career move and left a job she loved. Another dear friend is moving. I have many friends in the “empty nest” stage. With all of these events, loss may be experienced.

Loss means change. Change can be difficult.

When we realize that things are shifting in our lives, we become angry and frustrated. We want to hold onto the way that things used to be rather than accepting that they are changing.

I’ve noticed that lately,  sadness and grief seems more pronounced with my brother’s death. My middle son and his wife moved out of state. My daughter graduated from college and moved out. My oldest son serves in the Air Force. He and his wife, and my first grandchild live seven hours away and could move even farther. Basically, things are changing.

There is no painkiller for every type of pain we face, such as grief.

Eugene Peterson, author of The Message wrote, “The main difference today is not how much people are hurting, but how much they expect to be relieved from their hurting.”

Our modern culture looks for immediate relief the first sign of any discomfort. 

When my son ran his first high fever, my initial response was to give him Tylenol to bring the fever down. I soon learned this is not always best.  Not all fevers need to be treated with medications. A fever is your body’s natural response to infection. Bacteria and viruses do not like heat. A healthy body will increase the temperature to try and kill off the infection. By decreasing the fever with medications, you can increase the time it takes for your body to fight off the infection.

This brings me to my next point.

Grief is part of life.

We will all experience degrees of loss/grief throughout life. Telling myself this simple fact has helped me process and progress. Like a fever, grief demands our attention with its searing pain. But the pain of loss is natural and many times must run its course.  This doesn’t mean we ignore the pain (fever) or downplay it.

We must give ourselves permission to grieve.

Whether it’s the loss of a beloved pet, a loved one, a job, a divorce, or something else—it’s okay to grieve.

It’s okay to cry. It’s okay not to cry.

It’s okay to ask for help.

Some fevers do not run their course and dissipate. This is our body signaling to us we need help. It might mean talking to a friend or to a professional.

No one understands grief like Jesus does.

Jesus understands the many shades of loss and grief.

“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.”

Isaiah 53:3

Not only does He understand, but Jesus walks within the loss and grief with us.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Our pain is temporary.

There are times in life when the loss and grief we experience is so intense, it may seem as though it will never end. The truth is, as long as we live on this planet, we will experience troubles, pain, loss, and grief. But our hope rests on this fact: this life is not all there is! 

Christ reminds us that in this life we will have many troubles. But He also tells us to “take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Before Jesus left the earth, He promised that He was going to go and prepare a place for His followers where there would be no more pain. 

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14: 1-4

 “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21: 3-4 

Our pain can be used to help others.

God never wastes a hurt. He will use what we go through to strengthen us and to help others if we will allow Him to.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.  Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” 1 Corinthians 1: 4-7 

So, as grief rose its evil head with the recent loss of Scott and Dawn, reminding me of the other losses I am currently experiencing—I have chosen to take comfort in the promises of God. I am not alone. God not only understands my pain but He is also with me in the pain. I am journaling, talking to Him and others about my grief. I will allow God to use my losses to comfort others. And I hold on to the hope that the troubles we face here on earth will come to an end when we see Jesus face-to-face.

My friend, if you are currently experiencing a season of grief and loss, I pray you will run to the true source of peace, comfort, hope, and love found in our Lord Jesus. Only through Him can we grieve well. 

 I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

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36 thoughts on “Grieving Well”

  1. First, know you and your family are in our prayers. Second, you are certainly not alone in this journey; as your post clearly demonstrates. Last, grieving takes what it takes sweet friend. The ups, the downs, and the complete reversals in the process from one day to the next. We can’t understand why God chooses to take one and spare another, but we can rely on Him to be our great comfort and to grieve with us in the season. God’s blessings little Miss. -J.D. & Diane

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  2. Beckie, I am so sorry for your loss. I too, have experienced several losses. I love what you wrote about grief. I agree whole heartedly. I recently wrote a memoir about loss called, Always There. I’ll be praying for you as you continue to lean into God with this loss.

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  3. much love and comfort standing in Abba’s continuing love. we all needed to hear this, and in your pain and grief, you have blessed us. thank you for sharing Beckie. i too know the loss of children through death as well as estrangement, the loss of marriages, family, and much admired friends. what came out of it all, is knowing my Father doesn’t ever leave, or forget our ardent prayer. his blessings emerge after the storm. be blessed my friend. and feel His loving care upon you.

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  4. I am so, so sorry for your recent loss, Beckie – simply heartbreaking! In your words here, dear friend, I take much comfort as I, too, am grieving a loss. Yes, we must lean upon the Father and the promises of Jesus as we go through this painful process. Know that you and yours will be in my prayers.
    May God continue to heal your heart and mind.

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  5. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your perspective on grief and your empathetic words. You are so spot on how grief comes in many forms and we all need to allow ourselves time to go through the grieving process. I am still struggling through that process and perhaps a part of me always will. This is a great reminder to put in God’s hands what is beyond our understanding. Love, hugs, and prayers to you all…

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  6. Beckie, I continue to think about and pray for you and your family. So sorry for your great loss. I appreciate this entire and vulnerable article. But 2 things stood out to me in the middle of the darkest valley and grief I’ve ever been in. 1. We must give ourselves permission to grieve. And 2. It’s okay to ask for help. Right now I feel as though I’m crawling at the valley’s entrance., but one day I trust I’ll be dancing out the valley’s exit. God doesn’t waste our suffering one tiny bit. Love and hugs!

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  7. Beckie, with all you have experienced you embody a prime example of a woman of God that has dug her roots into God and His Word. Mature faith that refuses to shake a fist at God. The comforting tips you give in this post comes from a heart that desires for others to find strength in the journey. A change- agent will you continue to become because you live for Him and He in turn has given you His heart. Oh Beckie, never doubt the heart of compassion the Lord has wrapped around your pain while He exhorts you to press on as a warrior in Christ. The pain and loss I too have had could have destroyed me had I not learned of God’s sustaining power. The verse “my grace is sufficient” I know has taken on revelatory meaning for indeed His power is made perfect in our weakness(2 Cor. 12:9). There will be plenty of days when you will face lonely melancholy times. Through this I pray that God will steer you in productive avenues where your gift of lifting one another up through word or ✍️ writing will have an anointed punch to it that sets the captives free. Life is hard…and the apostle of Old can attest to that. I really feel however that you will run your race hard and well and that when you cross the finish line on the other side of eternity that a huge “well done” will await you while you lay your soul winning, persevering crowns at His feet. Know well that your brother and sister in law are now among the saints of old cheering you on. I will be praying for you and the family…for a long time. May you feel His comforting arms surrounding you and peace that surpasses understanding😘😘❤️🙏🙏🙏

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  8. Valerie, your poignant words are a soothing balm for my broken heart. What a comforter you are! Thank you for taking the time to share. I am feeling the prayers, dear sister-in-Christ. I pray the Lord blesses your kindness “pressed down, shaken, and overflowing.”

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  9. So very sorry for losing family in such a tragic way. I lost my youngest brother a year ago this month. He received the book I wrote a day before he died and probably never got a chance to read the saving message inside. Therein lies the biggest tragedy, not knowing if he knew Christ. Thankfully you have that assurance with your brother. May the God of all comfort be with you and you with Him!

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  10. I am so very sorry for this tragic loss, Beckie. I will pray for your family during this very difficult journey. Thank you for the sharing from your heart!

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  11. I’m late seeing this, Beckie–so awash in preparation for moving to TN. I did hear about your traumatic loss, but didn’t get to read your excellent piece until now. As usual for you, you made the Lord’s grace and His personal attention to our losses the center point and highlight–no wallowing in self pity and complaining about how unfair such a thing seems to be. Those of us who loved you already can feel the struggle in your words, but also the victory that rises up to ultimately consume the pain. Thank you, my treasured friend, for offering so much help to so many who are feeling the weight of losses they didn’t expect.

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