2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
I created an intentional fortress of solitude in my bedroom closet. It was tucked back into the deepest corner, underneath our wrap around stairs. It was meant to be where I connected wholesomely with the Lord away from the distractions of life. The place I go to both praise and box things out with God. It’s where I could safely be as vulnerable as I need to be. It was here, with tears streaming down my face in complete brokenness and despair, crying out to my Father, I asked him to take it all from me. I had never felt pain like this before and it was overwhelming; I was beginning to sink. Losing my sister, the youngest in our family, to cancer was just too much to bear alone. My expectation was not met with God’s will and I was struggling with accepting this. I felt perhaps my faith was stunted. Why was I stuck here? Who was I to question how he chose to heal my sister?
“How long will I feel this pain Lord, how long? Get me to the other side of this, PLEASE.”
As I finished my plea, He immediately and faithfully reminded me that I was no Superman (or Superwoman in my case) and His grace is and always will be sufficient for me. I must surrender it all to Him daily; the good, the bad, the ugly…all of it. It’s okay to acknowledge the pain and to feel sad. He gave us the capacity to feel all these feelings, but I must not lose hope. I must walk through the messiness of the middle, to get to the other side of it. A couple days later a friend gave me the contact information for a Christian therapist.
Yes, it is hard work. Yes, it is uncomfortable work. Yes, it will feel relentless at times.
It was clear my healing journey required me to expose what I was trying to bury in the darkness, lay it at His feet and let His light shine through. What did I actually believe? I was being shaken up like a snow globe with all my emotions swirling around me. None of them were settling and I couldn’t see too far down the road.
- The pain. I remember thinking, “Lord, I know You work all things for good, but none of this feels good.”
- The heartbreak. I remember saying, “Lord, I don’t ever think I can get to ‘it is well with my soul’.
- The fatigue. How could I be all that I needed to be to everyone around me, most importantly my children, when I feel like I am completely depleted? I gave myself permission to say NO. No to the birthday invites, a season of sports and school commitments.
Next up, it was time to do the work of healing, and finding trust. I remember praying this lyric from Lauren Daigle’s song Hold On To Me,
“Hold on to me when it’s too dark to see You. When I am sure I have reached the end. Hold on to me when I forget I need You. When I let go, hold me again.”
And He did. He is good. He is faithful.
It was in the midst of going deep with the Lord through writing exercise suggestions from my therapist, as well as reading of the book of Job in my Bible reading plan, that I had my breakthrough. These two things simultaneously helped me see that there’s so much more in this world outside of me and my circumstances. Yes, it’s hard to transition from “why me Lord” and accept the “why not me” posture. But in complete brokenness and openness, I arrived at my answer, at the root of all things I NEED God WITH me. We don’t know what the future holds for us, what we may walk through, and what we may face. But for me, at the end of the day, it was far scarier to be making my way through my life without Him. It was in this realization that my HOPE in Him, His promises, and His security burst through with an overwhelming amount confidence and strength. My footing once unstable was now firm.
I’m learning to embrace the emotions that come with the grief of losing my sister. To acknowledge it and not ignore it, but also the importance to not camp out there. Loss makes way for sobering clarity. Your life is rearranged back to appreciating what matters most. Things that once held weight fall away, and you begin to see more clearly. It has also been a gift to learn how to sit with others in and amongst their grief, and just be there for them. I see now that I don’t have to be the solution, but simply an ear to listen.
If you’re treading the waters of grief, it’s essential to prioritize time with Him so you can face the middle, take the lies of the enemy captive and continue to move forward.
- We must turn to our Father and trust in His promises to us.
- We must be reminded that His grace is sufficient for us.
- In our weakness His strength will shine through. He promises to sustain us.
As we learn to relinquish all things to Christ, we will learn the magnitude of complete and utter dependence on Him. His voice and guidance will grow louder and louder directing our paths as we learn how to tune in to Him. This Christmas season I’ve been stripped bare from all the distractions of what the world is telling me the season is about, and instead I see that my joy, hope, peace and love are centered solely on Christ. I don’t know what you’re grieving: loss of a loved one, extreme financial struggles, divorce, anxiety, temptations, loneliness, or rebellious children. Whatever your Goliath is, I hope the following acts as the stone in your spiritual sling shot.
*Learn His Voice
~Get in a rhythm of reading your bible daily.
~The Bible is timeless and relevant to all things we will face.
*Lean on His promises and truths
~Memorize/recite/add your name in scripture and pray it back to Him.
*Let go of self-reliance, the dead weight of doubt, anxiety, and worries.
~Satan wants you isolated and camped out in fear.
~Seek counseling rooted in faith to help expose Satan’s lies.
*Look back at His faithfulness
~Not as a longing for yesterday, but as a reminder of all that He has gotten you through.
*Live in community
~It takes a village. Talk openly about where you’re at in your journey with those in your closest circle of trust.
~Lend a hand to a fellow friend when you see her drowning; you never know the impact that will have on her.