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.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4 English Standard Version)
Trials aren’t considered joyful occasions by many people. Instead they are times of high stress. Even though trials happen, we must remember that they aren’t accidents or mistakes. Trials are also under the control of God.
Does that mean that God is evil since He allows these things to happen? Of course not! Nothing that the Lord does is for evil. There’s a good reason for hardships to come our way.
One of those reasons is that God wants us to rely on Him for strength in such ordeals. When we strive to overcome the hardships ourselves, we drain ourselves spiritually and become burned out. However, if we turn to God, He’ll give us what we need to overcome, according to His will.
Furthermore, God knows what’s best for us. Whether we like it or not, trials are necessary for us to grow into to the people that we are called to be. Trials are an exercise of the soul.
Why should we depend on God when trials come? We trust in the Lord because He sees the big picture. The whole world is like a giant tapestry filled with all manner of color and themes. Each of us has a specific role in this masterpiece and everything that happens to us, both good and bad, forms us into a paint stroke, which makes the artwork more beautiful. Therefore, knowing that God sees the big picture, we can endure the trials of life like an athlete who endures hardship in training. He does so because he knows that it will produce great results in the end.
The trials that we have talked about so far are what happen when we faithfully serve the Lord. The other trials that we face happen either because of outside sources that are beyond our control or by consequences from poor choices. I am not suggesting that God does not have a say in such trials; far from it. As a matter of fact, He usually uses such situations to open our hearts and eyes, and make us see how much we need Him.
With all this in mind, let us not run away from the difficulties when they come our way. Instead, let’s strive to find joy when we face these trials. Not because these difficulties are pleasant, but because we understand that they will help us to be strong in our faith.
A wise man once said that it isn’t about how hard you are hit in life, it is about how hard you get hit and not go down. Let us not let hardships cause us to despair, but let us turn to the Lord in prayer. When we do, we find the strength to push on.
BIO: Bruce Sims was born in Southern California, but the place where he was spiritually born in Christ was in North Texas. He received his Master’s in Education at Dallas Theological Seminary and teaches ESL at an Elementary School. He enjoys spending his spare time having many adventures with his wife Aimee.
His favorite Bible verse is Romans 12:1, which calls us to live life sacrificially for God. He has written several poetry and Bible devotionals, which can be found on Amazon.
Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 7:14 PM CDT
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