The Journey through Grief
By Tiffany Thibault
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. - Psalm 34:18
Grief is nobody's friend, yet to each one of us, it will come knocking at our doors. We suddenly become acquainted with constant presence, until we can relearn to laugh again, until the pain becomes tolerable. This lesson of walking through grief cannot be taught, it has to be learned through experience.
When a loved one dies, their passing is most often cleanly tied up with a service and a burial. Grief though, is not clean and it is not pretty. Ever.
I have walked through the passage of grief over the past few years. I have come to the place of smiling again, of laughing, of dreaming. However, there are moments that still wash over me with a powerful wave of intense sorrow that randomly comes out of nowhere, when I least expect it, leaving me in the throes of fresh grief. Those moments usually come as a result of someone else's unintentional casual words that scrape the surface of my heart.
You see, I grieve for my lost child, for the loss of a lifetime of firsts, for the lifetime of dreams I wanted for that child. I never got to hold my son, who never opened his eyes, who never cried his first cry, and whose fingers and toes were still being formed. Just because he never fully grew does not mean that my grief was any less real or valid. Grief doesn’t pass out lesser sentences because someone wasn’t “as old” as someone else.
The casual comments from people about “well, it’s for the best”, and “it’s God’s will” never help one recover from grief any sooner. Another well-meaning comment of “you weren’t that far along” didn’t make the grief any less easier to carry. Even the words: “be glad you just have two kids” can slam me with the heartbroken reminder that my days will never be filled with the voice of the child I was never able to raise.
In those initial weeks of grief, when I felt like hiding away from the “well-meaning” comments of other Christians, I clung to this Bible verse, Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He sees our heart. He sees that it is broken. He also saw His child die. When Jesus walked on the earth, he wept for the death of his dear friend, whom he then raised back to life again. He had to grieve for him, before he could see new life.
As you walk through the things that break your heart, know that the Lord is near. He longs to be your comfort. It was during my dark days of grief that I found solace in reading the book of Psalms. These writers poured out all their emotions before the Lord.
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. As we are able to keep seeking the Lord, and keep pouring our hearts out to Him, He will rescue us someday. He will take those crushed spirits and He will restore and renew. It will be in His timing. It can’t be rushed, and it won’t always be in the way that we think we want.
If you know a parent who has lost their child before it was time to be born, love on them. Don’t offer those “well-meaning words” that don’t make any sense to the one who grieves. They are mourning. Allow them to grieve. Let them mourn for as long as they need to.
During my time of grief, there was a friend who let me cry and who truly understood, for she had walked the same path. Her gentleness was evident. It was healing. It was the life ring I needed to keep from drowning. You could also give the parent something tangible. My sister-in-law mailed me a cross ornament for my Christmas tree. Each year I shed a tear as I hang it with my other children’s ornaments. Her recognizing my son’s life, though it was indeed brief, was the most incredible healing part of my journey.
There will come a day when all who grieve will be able to laugh, to continue on their journey. Maybe the purpose in the pain is so that we can be the hands and feet of the Lord. Can you set aside your thoughts and opinions and just show love to the grieving? To point them to the Lord? A hug and a listening ear is more valuable than anything else. Let the Lord speak to their heart through your love.
Our loved ones will never completely leave us, but we will continue to find a way to put one step forward continuing on our journey. We cling to the Lord and to the promise of seeing our loved ones in Heaven. Our time on earth is indeed short, but we look forward to an eternity with them at our side as we worship our God together.
Tiffany Thibault enjoys living life with her husband, two daughters and one very large dog. She not only homeschools her girls, but she also loves to write about Jesus and speak about Him with other women. She loves long walks, coffee and anything chocolate.
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