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.
The noise from the television woke me. I had fallen asleep on the couch again. Stretching, I moaned. Every part of my body ached. A half-eaten sandwich and chips fell from my chest. I shook my head in disgust, cupped my hands to my face, and cried until I was gasping for breath.
“Father! Help Me!”
I had buried my Dad, my Aunt, and Connie, a life-long friend who I had hoped, would be my husband. I could barely muster the energy to dress and go to work. I routinely ate myself into oblivion only to wake more distraught than before.
“Dance,” I heard someone say.
It startled me, and though I was alone, I replied, “What?”
“Go, Dance!” This time it was a strong and clear directive.
A warm sensation penetrated my body. I leaped from the couch, hurried to the bathroom, and drew a hot bath. After a long soak, I felt renewed. It was 3:00 am. I was wide awake. With music blasting, I praised my way through washing dishes, mopping floors, and polishing furniture. I had not cleaned since daddy’s funeral. Exhausted, I laid down to rest. Oooh, I am going dancing tonight, thank you, Father! I fell asleep feeling as lighthearted as a teenager. God had delivered me from a deep state of depression with a simple directive to dance. Before my loved ones transitioned, I danced two or three times a week and sometimes more. I was losing weight and feeling great. After Connie’s passing, I could do nothing but merely exist.
God cares about every little thing that concerns us. With a simple cry to the Father, He spoke three words that changed my life: dance-go-dance. As I praised and thanked God, my energy returned, and my perspective changed. I wonder how things would have been different if I were praising and thanking Him before the depression set in? Grant it; life happens without warning some-no-most times. Therefore, we should live a life of praise & thanksgiving. It is the antidote to many of the woes and ill-happenings in our lives. Thanksgiving puts us in a space that allows us to hear and receive from God. It protects us against depression, addiction, and rejection. It can guard against loneliness, fear, and anxiety. It is your safe house when the storms of life begin to rage.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good: his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth to all generations. Ps. 100:4-5 (KJV)
My friend has a thanksgiving reminder set on her phone. Every hour, chimes ring, and a quote pops up (i.e., 5:00 PM is always peaceful, full of joy, and she has no unmet needs.) Establish an attitude of gratitude. Watch God perfect all that concerns you.
BIO: Joy A. Lewis, a native of southern Louisiana, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dillard University in New Orleans. Joy’s passion is for the written word. She is the Founder & Executive Director of The Christian Literary Awards, host of The Review with Joy & Company Radio Show, and Lead-Writer for SURA (Savvy Uniquely Relevant Authors) Literary Life Magazine. In addition, Joy is a professional speaker, a leader at Turning the World Upside-Down Ministries in New Orleans, and a member of the Potter’s House Church in Dallas, Texas. Joy currently resides in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Published on Friday, October 30, 2020 @ 3:00 PM CDT
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