I lost my father at the tender age of 14, weeks before I started high school. I was daddy’s little girl and always wanted to be with him. My fondest memories of him are spending time at my grandparent’s home, his loving care of my sister and I, he always made a snack for us when we came home from school before he went to work the graveyard shift, my parents always doing things together, and always taking pride in caring for our home. I went throughout high school and college without truly coping with grief. I never took the time out to process my feelings I just kept moving along and staying busy. Don’t get me wrong, I went to counseling sessions after my father died, but I built up a wall that was hard to break down.
Losing my dad at such a young age impacted me significantly as an adult. It took leaving home after college, and moving away ~1500 miles by myself for me to face the reality that I would never see my father again. I was by myself so I had no choice, but to grieve and let those built-up feelings go. I started to read more about grief and how to process my feelings. I joined a Bible Study (shout out to Bible Study Fellowship) and was among other women believers who helped me see that God did not leave me. I saw a therapist/grief counselor to help me gain clarity and break down those walls that I continued to build. I had to learn how to praise God even though I would never understand why my father died.
I share this story to tell you grief is a process. It is a journey that you will never “get over.” Going from grief to grace is being able to bring your grief to God and trusting him to help you through it. God’s Grace is what is going to get you through this grief journey, you must trust him!
Here are three ways to move from Grief to Grace:
Grieve – Take the time to grieve. Do not hold back. Don’t wait almost 9 years after your love one passed like I did with my father to grieve. Let everything you are feeling out. Maybe you journal or blog? Maybe you express yourself through the arts? Maybe you are transparent on social media about the grief process and how you are doing on this journey? Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” There is a time for everything and just like Grief has 5 stages you maybe in your time of weeping and mourning. Baby, I am here to tell you that laughing and dancing will come. However, if you deny or repress your pain it can lead to further emotional problems. If you feel like you are stuck and need help expressing your feelings seek a therapist or grief coach to help guide you. Contact me for more information on counseling/coaching.
Believe – We may never understand why God called your loved one home, but we do understand his promise. He says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that, too.” Believe that God will be alongside of you to comfort you during these hard times. You never know how your journey and story can inspire and bless someone else along the way.
Receive – God desires to give us comfort, but we must reach out and accept it. We must pray and meditate on his word so we can find peace in his presence. In Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God wants to comfort you and put his arms around you to console you. You must be open to receive his love.
What has God told you on this grief journey? Have you lost your belief in Christ? Have you stopped going to church? Let’s discuss in the comments below.