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.
“Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? “
Hmmm.... Do I? Do you?
In a court of law, witnesses are required to give an oath swearing they will tell the whole truth. They provide a testimony of what they have seen and heard. Some witnesses may choose to take “the fifth” (stay silent) rather than give an account of what happened.
God calls us to testify what we have seen him do in our lives. Everyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus can share times where God has comforted, guided, or blessed them.
We Christians miss opportunities to testify. For example, while in the grocery store, I notice that one of the clerks has a pained expression on her face. I choose to take “the fifth” instead of engaging. I should ask how her day is going and if there is anything I can pray for her about. But I’ve got things to do and places to be. Besides, what if she gets upset and rejects me? So I move through the checkout line then head out the door to my car. I’ve remained silent instead of proclaiming the truth.
Later I think, Lord, no one’s future is guaranteed. What if that was the last opportunity she’d have to hear about you?
God will provide opportunities to testify. Recently I shared my testimony with a friend about a time in my life when I was angry with God. I went through a crisis of faith after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I gave up going to church, but one night my husband insisted that I attend with him. At the conclusion of the service, I went forward for prayer. God’s presence overwhelmed me and I was reminded of Jeremiah 31:3 where God says, “I love you with an everlasting love.”
That was a turning point in my life because I knew that whatever happened, God loved me and would be with me. As a result of the strength God provided, I was able to teach and research as a university professor for fifteen years after my diagnosis. He gave me the will and the ability to continue.
I told my friend, “God loves me and daily gives me strength, but God also loves you.”
That is my testimony of what I've seen God do in my life. I share my struggle, how I turned to God, and the results afterwards.
We need to be bold like the apostles Peter and John and take advantage of opportunities to share Jesus. Even when the apostles were threatened with jail they said:
“As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20 NIV)
God, help us to tell the whole truth and roar our faith instead of being silent witnesses.
BIO: Dr. Sherry Ryan is a blogger, writer and speaker. She retired in 2013 from the University of North Texas as an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Decision Sciences. Prior to earning her doctorate, she worked for IBM, teaching courses and speaking at national conferences.
Check out Sherry's blog SeatedExpectations.com It provides "Inspiration and Information for Overcoming Life's Challenges."
Published on Friday, June 28, 2019 @ 12:41 AM CDT
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