Loss and grief, whether it be death or another form of loss, changes people, how can it not?
We all have our own ways of processing pain, some of us withdraw, some cling, some get stuck for a while, not wanting to let go, or not wanting their loved one to be forgotten, some are angry or bewildered. Some feel guilt or shame …some want someone to blame. Some keep on going as if nothing happened. Some are anxious, Some are sad but at peace. Some even go through stages of all of these things and more.
Grief is an individual journey, that comes with all sorts of physical, emotional and relational complications, gains and losses. It’s a journey best not to be judged, but prayed and processed through.
So often we associate grief and loss with the death of a person, but the truth is that we can be thrown into a state of grief with any loss. Loss is the death or end of something of value. It might be grief over the loss of a loved one or a pet, relationship like a marriage or friendship, your health, a career, finances, in the case of abuse or trauma victims, it may be loss of innocence and safety, for someone who has done something wrong it may be a loss of freedom or integrity.
Regardless of the grief, we all do it differently, and it takes time. Grief is an individual process and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I know for me, I’ve had different grief reactions to different losses. The way I grieved the loss of my son Jackson was different to how I grieved the loss of my grandmother, and different again when I grieved the loss of my health at one point.
During my last grief experience, healing for me meant pulling back a lot from life, ministry engagements, and people I love, to do what I needed to with God on my own to survive and process with Him. To reflect on life and death, make positive changes, and let God alone fix stuff in my character and to show me lots of my weaknesses and mistakes; my hypocrisy in some areas and my need for an attitude change or two. The need for repentance, forgiveness and letting go of some toxic stuff.
I won’t lie. It was extremely hard. There were days that I thought the process would never end. It was not something I could explain or even make sense of at times. It was something that not everyone else understood either, and there were further losses because of that, but nevertheless it was absolutely necessary. Just like a caterpillar in a cocoon seems to be broken down to mush during metamorphosis, the process often results in something beautiful.
I am still learning, doing life is a sanctifying process, but I am thankful especially for the losses and trials, and learning to be patient in affliction.
During my metamorphosis He showed me the importance of healthy thinking, joy and gentleness. Which things weren’t mine to be concerned with, and which circuses and monkeys didn’t actually belong to me. It was then that I began to emerge…braver and stronger, only by the tender grace and compassion of God and others, was He able to show me the power of positive thought and prayer, fighting spiritually using the Word of God and the value of Patience.
But the biggest lesson I learned was relying on God’s love and being truly grateful for the experiences of grief and affliction.
The bible speaks of trials as a pathway of growth in strength and character, leading to our ultimate hope:
“1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:1-8
The buck stops with Jesus …He loved us at our darkest, at our weakest, in our disgraceful mess. Our true hope and strength is found in His love, grace and power, and He makes something beautiful out of all the broken pieces. Like a stunning mosaic artwork, each broken piece telling a small part of a much greater, beautiful and powerful story.
So yes, I am thankful for it all. Thankful for all the memories I will cherish of my Grandmother and her example as a moral woman, and what it means to serve family and take pride in what you do, and to turn up on time (I’m still working on this one) I am thankful for who she was in my life, and who she is in my heart.
For anxiety …it taught me to trust God and to feel the fear and to do it anyway. To discern what to work through and what to let go of. To enjoy the moments of life and not engage in the what if’s. To get enough sleep, to eat well, exercise and get enough sunshine. To live in the present and breathe it all in!
I am thankful for the burnout, which taught me to manage my time and relationships better. For understanding the importance of stopping to reflect and process. To pay attention to simple pleasures, nature, rest, artwork and quiet time …to be still and know God.
I am grateful for people who understood and were incredibly patient and did not judge, but showed grace and compassion. For those who gave me a safe place to fall, to hold me while I cried and most importantly listened and led me in prayer, when I was too weak to pray for myself.
I am thankful for all the lessons learned and changes made. For the testimonies and experiences gained that make me a more effective evangelist and tv host, as well as a compassionate person in doing life with others.
What about you? Are you willing to do what it takes to heal, and to choose life? What are the broken pieces of your heart?
Will you choose to give them to Jesus, and be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer? Can you reframe and be grateful?
Trust His love, He is creating something amazing in you!
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. – Romans 12:12
Article supplied with thanks to Brave Enough Media. Danni is a tv and radio presenter and the Founder and CEO of Brave Enough. It is her passion to encourage people to be brave enough to heal and find hope and freedom in the love of Jesus.