Loving Through Grief
LOVING THROUGH GRIEF
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“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (NASB)
I know. This scripture doesn’t seem to make a connection between grief and compassion, but stick with me and by the end it should make sense! From the beginning of time, Jesus wanted to relate to His children, so He came into this world through LIVE birth. Childbirth is a mess, a beautifully intense and painful mess. Life is like that too. Isn’t it? We go through intense seasons in life. Sometimes it is so painful that we feel as though we aren’t going to make it. But, if we will trust the Lord, He will bring good into our painful situations.
On August 7, 2016 my family and I were thrown into a journey no one should have to experience- the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. At 11:30 pm, the phone rang and I was greeted with words no one wants to hear: “There’s been an accident. Dad’s gone.” Turns out, my dad and mom had been involved in a horrible motorcycle accident, one that ended my father’s life and left my mother’s life hanging in the balance.
In the blink of an eye, my world was changed forever. Yes. Tragedy will cause all kinds of change you’d rather not have to endure. It is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t wait until it’s convenient for you. It doesn’t give you advanced warning. It doesn’t ask for permission to arrive. Instead, it causes grief to weave its ugly self into every moment thereafter- whether you want it to or not.
The next 24 hours seemed like YEARS. The process of packing, arranging care for our kids, and flying out of state to get to my mother was overwhelming. As soon as the plane landed, we rushed to the hospital. On arrival, the doctors and nurses told my family not to get our hopes up; my mother’s prognosis was poor. My sisters and I were told to prepare for the worst. The anguish of the situation was almost too much to bear.
However, in the moments following, something amazing happened. As my sisters and I clung to each other around our mom’s hospital bed, a bond was created. In fact, we felt closeness like none we had experienced prior to this tragedy. During the two weeks Mom was in a coma, we prayed, cried, and comforted one another. Then, our prayers were answered. My amazingly strong mother woke up and started the journey to regaining her strength. While we were elated, the sadness of my father’s tragic death lingered.
Sometimes when you are in the middle of a trying circumstance, you need to be reminded to take each moment one at a time.
God’s grace is sufficient. There were days I could not imagine moving on; even the thought of taking out the trash would annoy me. I often wondered how life could keep moving forward when my family was in so much pain! How could people go back to work when my father was no longer living?
Because grief is so intense and complex, it is paramount for those dealing with it to see Jesus in you! When others are hurting, you have the opportunity to BE love and compassion for them. YOU can help by being the hands and feet of Jesus- like so many people were for my family and me.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” By simply being with me and helping me with the mundane tasks of life, many people did just that. The morning we raced to the airport, someone dropped by and gave us cash for the trip. The next day, another person cleaned the dishes we left in the sink. The entire time my mom was in the ICU and at rehab, people watched my family’s children and brought us food. Once I was home, my neighbor would frequently take my son to her house so I could rest. Truthfully, I didn’t want to get out of bed in those early months after the accident. I was nauseous from being in my first trimester of pregnancy, and the pain of my father’s death was virtually intolerable. I was afraid to go anywhere with my friends. I did not want to drag everyone down. Yet, my friends insisted I come. Then, when I would begin weeping in the middle of our conversations, they would just hold me. These people were Jesus in the flesh to me, exactly when I needed Him (and them) the most.
Go the Extra Mile:
Jesus entered this world through a messy birth. Sometimes our lives get messy too. Let me assure you that Jesus wants to be there- IN the mess with you. Yes. Putting yourself in others’ lives can be uncomfortable, but Jesus wants to share His life-giving light through you. Will you be that vessel? Will you be the actual hands and feet of Christ to someone whose life has been turned upside down because of grief?
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