Like gentle rain, God’s grace heals a hurting heart. Maybe you’ve experienced a catastrophic loss--the loss of a loved one, a painful divorce, the loss of a job. You grieve. I want you to know that you will survive.
But grief can be mind-numbing. I’ve previously posted about the death of our infant daughter. I remember sitting on my hospital bed after Christy Marie’s birth, trying to draw strength from scripture, but the pages of my Bible turned to dry leaves. I thought of scripture such as the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead and wondered why I hadn’t thought to have my pastor pray over Christy’s body. What was wrong with my faith, anyway, that such a thing had happened?
The Sunday following her funeral, Bill took the boys to church while I recuperated at home. A radio chorus singing “As the Deer” drew me to Psalm 42 where the writer talks about thirsting for God as the deer pants for the water brooks. That was how I felt. I thirsted. I wanted to know God better, to better understand his ways. That became my quest over the weeks, months and years ahead. May these tips help you grow in faith and practice as you grieve a loss.
Tip #1 – Read and meditate on scripture such as Psalm 42.
As you take time to grieve (and it definitely takes time), let God’s Word transform your thinking. Scripture reminded me that yes, the psalmist was depressed, but he would remember the good times and hope in God. God’s Word reframes our thinking. We can pray along with the psalmists and rest in God’s promises. God walks with us. Let’s grasp His Hand.
Tip #2 – Recharge by doing something productive.
After a few years, I enrolled in seminary, and studies occupied my mind. I organized and taught released time and served at my church. At the time of Christy’s death, I was so devastated mentally, emotionally and physically that I thought I’d never be able to work again. But four years later I found myself back in the classroom. The loss of a loved one isn’t something you “get over.” You simply learn to move on.
Tip #3 – Remember and count your blessings.
Look around and be grateful for what you have. I had a husband and two boys and life was good. They grew up and married and blessed me with wonderful daughters-in law. Twenty years after Christy’s death, I found myself there for the birth of my first granddaughter, a privilege God gave that rained more of God’s gentle grace on my soul.
Tip #4 – Reach out and share your heartache.
I eventually began speaking at women’s events and sharing my life story. That too, helped me heal. Women cried with me, and I cried over their losses. Two women came to me after one event and prayed for me. Another healing experience. Don’t be surprised at how long it takes to “get over it.” If you want to have a good cry, cry. But talking about your experience, even through tears, offers gentle grace and healing.
We often quote “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). I would be hard pressed to say “good” comes from losing a child. But read on and you find “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). That I understand. As you cling to God, He changes you, makes you more like Christ. He softens your heart to others’ losses. You share His compassion for others who grieve.
So if you are experiencing heartache or loss, don’t give up or give in to depressing thoughts. When we are too weak to seek God, God seeks us. When we’re too weak to walk, He carries us. Christy’s brief life is woven into the tapestry of mine. I look forward to seeing her in heaven.
I leave in God’s hands the whys and wherefores of life on this earth. After all, God is God. As Job said, “Though He slay me; yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15 KJV). God shares your grief. After all, He too lost a Child, His only Son. May the gentle rain of God’s grace, heal your heart.