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.
Growing up, I lived in a home split by divorce. It wasn’t always the most pleasant arrangement. However, living with my mother and brother, minus dad, was peaceful and without turmoil.
I still loved my father and wanted desperately for him to love me and show me his love. He tried, but it was painful since bitterness took control of his life. There were periods of time that he and I hardly spoke to each other.
Years passed and my dad began experiencing health problems. Did I care? I cared more than I realized. This is when Jesus began speaking to me and I knew that I must open communication with Dad again.
Within my heart I began to feel an urge to share Jesus with my father. I seized every opportunity to say something about the hope I have through God’s son. Dad had an extremely hardened heart toward God. Time passed and he didn’t change.
My father’s health problems continued. He battled cancer and suffered a massive stroke. Finally, he had to be placed in a special facility to receive the care needed.
One evening after visiting with Dad I asked him if he wanted to pray. I couldn’t leave him again without offering another chance to know Jesus. So I asked, “Dad, do you want to pray?” He retorted back harshly, “No, and don’t preach to me!” As we were leaving, my husband placed his hand on my father’s shoulder and said, “Dad, God loves you.”
Then my husband and I left and drove six hours back to our home in Dallas. It seemed that my father was lost forever.
The phone rang after being home a short time. My husband answered and said to me, “That was your dad. He wants you to know he prayed to Jesus and felt that a heavy load was lifted off of him.”
Amen! He finally accepted Jesus and made a verbal testimony about it too. Why did I doubt that Jesus would ever let my lifetime prayers go unanswered?
My mother shared a story with me about what Dad did after he prayed that evening. She told me he asked to see her. Dad and Mother had been divorced for forty years and were not on speaking terms.
Mother drove to visit Dad. When she arrived, she entered his room. My father took her hand. I don’t know all that was said between the two of them but I do know that they said to each other, “I love you.” This was a forgiving love that only comes from knowing Jesus and His love for us. Think about it. Mother and Dad had hardly spoken for forty years and neither had remarried. Only Jesus could bring about that kind of change in my dad’s heart and mind.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen,” - Ephesians 3:20-21
Janice Stroman, Ed.D., is the Founder and Director of Ladies In Touch which connects women with God and others through a monthly luncheon (see www.ladiesintouch.com). Jan is a blogger (Jan’s Jewels For Jesus), Bible study leader/teacher, and member of the Irving Salvation Army Advisory Council.
Published on Saturday, June 30, 2018 @ 6:03 PM CDT
E-List SignUp Form
How to Submit a Blog
- Our good God
- How God is at work in your life
- A witnessing experience
- Something Scripture has taught you
- Must be 500 words or less
- Contain at least one Scripture
- Include an interesting title
Along with your blog, submit an 80-word bio with your "headshot" photo to ministry@RoaringLambs.org
*Roaring Lambs has the right to edit any submission.