The Faces of Grief

I remember like it was yesterday when I experienced my first sting from grief. My protector, provider, my daddy, and my first man I ever loved, left this earth without a sign that he was leaving. I was 10 and the youngest of 6 very much older siblings. It was as though they talked at me about what I would experience and how I may feel. I was never asked the question, “how are you doing.” That was 32 years ago and much hasn’t changed.

I have learned that grief isn’t just in death. Grief can be experienced through divorce, change in friendships, loss of job, life as you may of known it, or illnesses. I have experienced grief in many areas of my life through out my adult life. I have been forced to cope with each of them for the majority of them all. That’s the thing with being the invisible one or the strong one that everyone turns to for support. Grief hits us all differently and we all process it differently. I have found that in this season of my life God has forced me to sit down in the midst of all the changes that have brought on grief (none involved death) and process through the raw reality and the pain of it.

It’s funny because being a pastor, a trained counselor and chaplain I have sat with tons of people and I have provided tools, cultivated atmospheres of safety and healing, but yet I struggle to either find or open up to receive this for myself. I am not sure if its because of the amount of people who I have opened up to and listened but did not hear. Perhaps it is those who once were friends and are now in need of my counsel, the position I have stepped into as pastor, or the fear of judgment or stigma from those I call friends or co-laborers.

I sat here today and after another blow to my heart realized that life is harder lived when we look for others to provide what God is so eager to provide. I have a strong belief that God is relational and he created us for relationship. But, as I am in this season of life I am seeing more that there are seasons that relationships will look and function differently. God will shift those you rely on the most to distant acquaintances and bring those who serve as conduits to your push into the arms of a loving God. Moving from what was normal to a new normal for the one who has to be in control or who hates change can be tough. But releasing control and our sense of normal into the one who holds our very lives in his hands gives us the inner healing our souls need.

Grief is a part of life. What isn’t a part of life is grieving and denying it. No one has the right to tell you what you can and can not grieve. You have permission to grieve and to not feel bad about it. Yes, it may come and you are facing it alone. Alone without the touch of another. You must know it’s in those seasons God is holding his arms out to you. He is wanting to cradle you in his arms and pour out his healing love upon you. There in the safety of His arms you will find peace for your mind, rest for your soul, healing for your heart, and a space to release all of your cares.

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