Wash Day Grief
Have you ever noticed the settings on your washing machine as they relate to grief? Consider these common washing machine settings:
NORMAL: Normal responses following a loss may include mood changes, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, feelings of anger, abandonment, despair, loss of concentration, loss of energy, and the loss of motivation. These responses can vary based upon previous loss experiences, our relationships, and even our personality.
SMALL LOAD: Each person’s grief is a major life event. However, there may be some days the grief pain is not as intense. These days offer the time to catch your breath. Regardless of the relationship…regardless of the circumstances surrounding the loss…it is a major loss.
LARGE LOAD: Grief can bring on very intense feelings. These feelings can be overwhelming, even to someone with a history of always being under control. We can be paralyzed emotionally because of the shock a loss brings.
SPIN CYCLE: Several events can throw a griever into a “spin cycle”. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, photos, music, food, and even fragrances can begin the “spin cycle” of emotions. These are normal twists and turns along the journey of grief.
RINSE CYCLE: The rinse cycle is a time of refreshing. Tears provide a natural rinsing, a cleansing of the soul. Grief encompasses all of the confusing and painful emotions felt after a loss. Mourning is the outward expression of these feelings...whether through tears, words, or actions.
COOL DOWN: No one can take grief away. Expressing grief to a safe person, or becoming part of a grief support group, can provide a “cool down” time. These steps can help soften the pain of grief, but the awareness of the loss will remain.
Give yourself permission to be a “NORMAL” griever. Some days will bring a “SMALL LOAD” of grief…other days will consist of a “LARGE LOAD”. The “SPIN CYCLE” may be intense at times…while the “RINSE CYCLE” of tears can cleanse the soul as we mourn the loss. Peace and acceptance can offer a “COOL DOWN” phase…a time of rest.
Jesus did NOT say “Blessed are those who GRIEVE”! But, He DID say “Blessed are those who MOURN, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4. Grief is the confusing tangle of emotions and feelings that are within following a loss. These may feel like loneliness, sadness, emptiness, anger, guilt and regrets. No one can see our grief, it is personal and private.
But, when we talk about these feelings the grief becomes mourning. A good definition of mourning is “grief gone public”. Mourning may be talking about the feelings, or even actions to honor the life of a loved one who died. Every one grieves, but not everyone mourns in a healthy manner.
Find a safe person who will let you talk about your feelings. As you talk about your grief you are mourning the loss…according to Jesus, that is when you find comfort.
Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted, He binds up their heart”.
Bob Willis has served as a Southern Baptist minister and hospice Bereavement Coordinator. He is a frequent speaker on grief, loss, and caregiver issues. His book “A Guide For Grievers” was released in June 2017, providing information on grief and supporting those who have experienced a loss. Bob has been a sculptor for over 25 years. In May of 2018, he became the Sculptor at The Great Passion Play, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Set your house in order because Christ could come today . . .
And some tasks may be unfinished if you are called away.
An angel may have told you at the early morning light . . .
“Your Lord will come this evening and you’ll be home with Him tonight.”
Our hearts may become clouded as we think of work undone . . .
Those seeds that weren’t scattered and the crowns that we might have won.
There were souls we meant to speak to and Bible verses we meant to share . . .
And there were a lot of wasted moments we could have spent in prayer.
Now there are a few short moments to set undone things right . . .
And feverishly we’d labor until we see the warning light.
We all have a slothful soul and a careless heart and some spiritual eyes that seem to have no sight . . .
We need to work, and not reap in vain regrets, because my Lord Jesus may come tonight.
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)
Tom Kesting was born and raised in Bluefield, West Virginia, and attended West Virginia University on a football scholarship. He worked in the marketplace doing sales and marketing for 30 years and worked at In Touch Ministries for 26 years. Tom became a Christian when he was 41 years old. Three days a week he broadcasts a 15-minute inspiration program on Facebook and sends out daily encouraging emails to friends and to those interested in positive encouragement and inspiration. Tom lives in Lilburn, Georgia, and has been married for 20 years.
God winks are little things that seem to happen randomly. However, some feel they are signals from God giving them direction or reassurance.
In a movie called Signs, two brothers tackle this subject. The older brother, Graham, a minister, has tragically lost his wife. He is struggling with anger and doubt. The younger brother, Merrill, asks Graham if he believes that God is looking out for them—because he is feeling afraid.
Graham responds, “People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck, just a happy turn of chance—Could be bad, could be good. Deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear but in group number one they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See, what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs and miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way, ‘Is it possible that there are no coincidences?’”? M. Night Shyamalan
That scene struck a nerve in me. As a believer, I know that God is looking out for me. But, at times I doubt.
Recently, I was reminded of God’s direction when I needed to find a home for my children and me. Newly divorced, we had been living with my parents. I looked at a lot of places but couldn’t find a good fit. I felt hopeless and discouraged. I remembered a house I had briefly seen. The realtor took us to see it. While we were looking at it, I prayed silently for clarity. It was in a sweet neighborhood, very family friendly and the kids liked it.
Our home we had to sell had cardinals that would wake me up every morning. Something about that popped in my mind as we were walking through the house. When we opened the front door of the rent home, there in the tree in the front yard, were at least fifteen cardinals!
My daughter exclaimed, “There are so many!” We all started laughing and knew this was our home.
Now you may be thinking: It was a coincidence. But for us, it was God saying, “This is your new home.” We lived in that home for three years and never saw another cardinal, until the day we moved out.
So I ask you, “What kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees miracles or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2 NIV)
BIO: Sherry Shepherd is an experienced, adaptable professional specialized in writing for faith-based organizations. She has worked as an editor and writer for newspaper, movie guides, publishing houses, and several non-profits. Her scope of work includes, corporate and fundraising materials, advertising, web, brochures, books, blogs and biblical materials. However, Sherry is drawn to creative writing, where she can inspire others. She is the mother of three grown children, who have been the source of some of her greatest joy, laughter and material!
Published on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 @ 8:16 PM CDT
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