Quite a few years ago, I learned the difference between being sad when someone dies and the gut-wrenching, heart-hurting, curl up in a ball unable to move kind of grief.
When my best friend died, I’d never experienced such extreme despair. For a time, I wasn’t positive I could get back up again.
Then, I began moving my physical body, but on the inside, I felt dead as well. Nothing made sense to me. No purpose seemed to matter.
I’d never heard anyone talk about that kind of grief, the kind that keeps you from living with any kind of joy, peace, or purpose.
My experience with tough times consisted of being sad and then moving on, forgetting (or at least putting in the back of my mind) what had upset me.
In grief, we can’t always forget, and so we learn to move forward and find joy and live productively again.
Until I recognized God’s glorious grace in my life while grieving, I wasn’t sure I could make it. But He did extend His grace to me. For that, I am forever grateful.
Finding purpose, knowing joy again in the midst of our grief, comes when we willingly allow Christ to fill us. It can certainly take time to arrive at that point.
For a while, I closed myself off to it; I was just too angry, sad, and exhausted from worry and fear. To know God’s grace, we have to be open to His work in our lives even in our darkest times.
These are a few examples of God’s grace in my life:
1. Filling me with an incredible peace – this didn’t come easily. No, it’s not because Christ wasn’t there trying to get my attention so I could be filled with Divine love. Instead, my grief consumed me so much I wasn’t aware of it yet.
2. Providing proof of God’s existence in direct answers to my pleas.
3. Sending family and friends who provided love and support.
4. Giving me His Word to guide me and show me the way to true life.
5. Showing me where others need help so I can know perspective and purpose.
6. Driving me forward with hope. Hope, the most important of all in finding my way through grief – hope that God is real, that God’s promises are real, that life is not in vain, that there’s a reason, a purpose, and that my loved one is okay. Hope that I’ll be okay. Hope.
I wake up each morning thankful for God’s grace and for the ability to recognize and accept it. It took me a long time.
If you find yourself struggling, reach out – to God, to family, to friends, to strangers (email me if you don’t have anyone else to talk to! I’m not a therapist, but I’m a friend and can listen).
Despite what you may be feeling, never forget God will never ever leave you.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.