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.
Grief became personal when I lost my loved one two years ago.
As a professional counselor, I've served others for many years by leading grief support groups. I consider it a privilege to walk with others during their time of loss.
Now, however, after my own loss, I have a new image of grief. It's a trap door that opens underneath you. You feel like you are falling and falling and cannot stop. You cannot catch your breath. It seems to never end....
That is grief.
But, as Corrie Ten Boom states in her book, The Hiding Place, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” In my professional grief counseling groups, I always share Psalm 139 where God tells us that He knows the number of our days before one is ever lived. This passage has brought me great comfort during my own time of grief to know that God is never shocked or derailed by grief.
The recovery is slippery, and can be overwhelming. However, God will be present with you in every breath you take.
Although it been incredibly hard, I am learning how to grieve the loss of my loved one while still living my life. I don't know how to do this yet with confidence. Some days it seems like I'm just muddling through.... But I know God loves me and I can trust Him.
My advice to everyone is: MAKE MEMORIES!!!!!
It's the wonderful memories of the love you shared that will brighten the dark journey that grief brings.
This week I challenge you to choose a time to talk with your family/friends about making memories. Plan a picnic/play day with your family; or go ice skating; or pick a place you have never visited before and plan a visit; or just try a new restaurant. The possibilities are limitless. Whatever you choose, take along the camera, and make sure that you are included in at least some of the pictures.
He will swallow up death forever: The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. — Isaiah 25:8
BIO: Janie Stubblefield is a Licensed Professional Counselor - Supervisor in Texas, a Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor, a Nationally Certified Counselor, and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). As a native to Dallas, TX, she has professionally served individuals, families, youth, and children for almost two decades through her private practice and local community service programs. Janie presently serves on the Board of Professional Counselors for the State of Texas, the Presidents Assembly Steering Committee for the National Association for Women Business Owners, and as the Chairperson for the Adolescent Symposium of Texas. Janie founded Mobile Counseling, PLLC in 2011 as an avenue to serve clients where they are most comfortable - in our office, at their home, or online. She is an alumni of UT-Dallas and Dallas Theological Seminary with degrees in Counseling and Biblical Studies. Janie’s Vision is "to work with individuals and their families to foster and improve relationships, and to positively impact their life."
Published on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 @ 12:00 PM CDT
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