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How to Cope with Deep Grief

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  • Updated Feb 29, 2016

Just as there are different levels of waiting and different levels of suffering, there are different levels of grief. Lysa Terkeurst has written a blog piece for (in)courage titled Dealing with Deep Grief. She writes, “Losing someone you love can cut into your heart so viciously it forever redefines who you are and how you think. It’s what I call deep grief.”

If you have ever lost someone you love you can relate to Terkeurst’s words on loss:

It strains against everything you’ve ever believed. So much so, you wonder how the promises that seemed so real on those thin Bible pages yesterday could possibly stand up under the weight of this enormous sadness today.”

It is hard to think how anyone can be happy when we are going through times of grief, and pain does not often diminish quickly. Terkeurst explains,

This is the reality of deep grief. Even when you love God and believe in His promises. Even when you know without a doubt that someday you will see your loved one again. Even when you know hope is still there. Even when you know He is near. It takes time. …It takes prayer.”

God knows exactly how we are feeling when we are grieving, and He comforts us in unexpected ways: it could be finding something of your loved one’s that reminds you of them, finding yourself smiling on a good day and realizing it’s OK, hearing your loved one’s name and knowing that they are not and will not be forgotten — “It takes making the decision to stop asking for answers and start asking for perspective,” expresses Terkeurst. 

Terkeurst describes deep grief as a blanket that can one day be removed, folded, and tucked away. There is no need to hate or resist it anymore she says, “For underneath it, wondrous things have happened over time. Things that could only have come about when Divine Hope intersects with a broken world.”

You can read Terkeurst’s full blog post at (in)courage.

Crosswalk Contributor Debbie McDaniel has also written on The Reality of Grief; she reminds us that we are never alone:

Here's truth in it all. You're not alone. Ever. He whispers this to you today, as He holds your hand and dries your tears, never weary in sitting with you, close, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Exodus 33:14

However 'slow' it feels, we will go on, and He is with us. Giver of rest. Covering us with the peace of His presence.”

If you’re not the one who is hurting but a friend or family member is, here is how you can be a good friend during their time of grief. Crosswalk Contributor Emily Maust Wood has written 6 Ways to be a Good Friend in Times of Grief. Here are a few points summarized below:

1. Just listen –without judging and without giving advice. It’s OK not to give an answer…in fact it’s probably better if you don’t. There’s no answer you can give that will make them feel better at this time, and often times something we say with good intentions can cause unintentional harm or hurt. It’s best to wait until they ask you, and in the meantime show them that you are there to listen.

2. Validate their grief. Don’t simplify their pain acknowledge it. Right now loss and grief are affecting everything in this person’s life, and there is no timetable for their recovery. They want to know that even though you may not feel their pain or understand it, you see the reality of it in their life and you know it is real for them.

3. Be supportive. When someone comes to you in grief, make sure you’re offering them a safe place to express themselves. It’s natural to feel empathetic toward a friend who is hurting, but we should not interject our own theories on how they should heal unless they ask. We should respect their healing process and the time they need.

To read all 6 points please visit the article here.

Related article:
5 Reasons Grief Can Be a Gift

Related video:

When God Doesn't Fix Your Life: An Interview with Laura Story

Best-selling author, worship leader, Bible teacher, and GRAMMY award winner Laura Story Music shares with Crosswalk the difficult lessons she learned and is still learning when circumstances don't get better. Laura discusses God's great purpose in not fixing things, and the hard lessons we have to learn to understand God's extraordinary truth.

Publication date: February 29, 2016