Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Grief

It's Wednesday.  I'm in a terrible mood.  Sad, frustrated and even a little angry.  My mama went home to be with Jesus 23 weeks ago today.  Or as my friend Barbara would phrase it, it's been 23 weeks since her "homegoing".  As much as my heart is still shattered, something about her phrasing it as her "homegoing" always makes me smile.

I miss her.  More today than yesterday.  I miss talking to her everyday.  I picked up the phone and dialed her number Monday afternoon.  I called to give her the details of my appointment with Dr. Gaw.  It didn't even hit me what I had done until the answering machine picked up.

My level of frustration is at an all time high.  If one more person tells me how I am supposed to be grieving I'm going to scream.  It makes me so angry that some people can't understand everyone grieves differently.  It's not the same for any two people.  There isn't a right or wrong way.  Sure there are unhealthy ways of grieving.  But I'm not trying to cover up my pain with drugs and alcohol.  I'm not self mutilating.  As much as I'd like to be some days, I'm not staying in bed crawled up into a ball.

Yes, I cry a lot; some days to the point of wailing.  Tears fall easily and without warning.  I talk about her a lot.  I talk about the day she died and the days that followed a lot.  I talk about how much my heart hurts.  I go to the cemetery 5-7 times a week.  Some days I don't know how I can possibly get through the next moment.

But by the grace of God, I'm functioning.  I'm breathing.  I'm getting through the next moment.  I'm being productive.  Some days are better than others, and although I sometimes doubt I can put one foot in front of the other, I know the Lord is going to give me the grace and the ability to do it.  He has so far, and He's not going to leave me now.

I spend a lot of time just sitting at the foot of the cross.  I don't even know how to pray at times.  I don't even know what I need most days.  Mostly I pray for grace and strength.

I've even prayed, "Lord, would You just send someone by to drop off a Sonic coke?"

I kid you not.  And you know what, He's done it.  More than once.

I just don't understand what's so wrong with how I'm grieving.  I don't understand the judgement.  My brother finds it hard to go to the cemetery, so he doesn't go very often.  And that's perfectly okay.  The only way I know how to explain my need to go so often is I just want to make sure things are okay.  I want to make sure the mowers haven't knock the flowers out of her vase, or someone hasn't done something horrible to her headstone.  I know she's not there.  I know that beneath the ground buried in the casket is only the shell of her earthly body.  So why is it so wrong for me to go so often?

Grief is a process.  A process that doesn't look the same for everyone.  Sometimes it's brief, sometimes it's last for years.  I don't know how long I will grieve my mama's death.  Maybe for the rest of my life.  If so, that's okay ... as long as I cling to Jesus as I go through the process.

The Lord sent this to my email this morning.

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional
August 29, 2012

Dear Robin,

He Carried Our Sorrows

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...

Isaiah 53:4

Nobody likes to be sad. No Christian welcomes grief. So aren't you glad that Jesus carried our sorrows when he went to the cross?! But sorrow did not cease with the death and resurrection of Christ. Think of the apostle Paul who confessed to "great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart" over the spiritual lostness of his race. He also described Christ's apostles as "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." Jesus' death did not hinder him from saying, "Blessed are you who weep now." It did not hinder James from advising us to "grieve, mourn and wail" when we sin. Sorrow and tears, disappointment and grief are written into God's plan for you and me. To be sure, he lightens and brightens our days with glimpses of Paradise; he ladles out foretastes of bliss through a thousand blessings large and small. But they are all just that - glimpses and foretastes. We are not in heaven yet. We are destined to experience earth's sorrow.

But when tears and sorrow come, we look to Jesus - He bore to the cross the very tears you cry. He blamed no one when He felt the weight of grief and disappointment. He did not shrink from sorrow, nor sink under the burden of sadness. The load was heavy and the way was long, but He persevered. And He gives you power to do the same.

When we grieve and feel deep sorrow, we must look to Jesus who endured a greater grief and sorrow. There's a reason Jesus says "Blessed are those who mourn" - sorrow forces you and I to identify more deeply with the Savior when He carried His cross. If you are experiencing sorrow, if your tears seem to flow endlessly over a deep disappointment, remember the Savior. He persevered. That means you can, too.

When I grieve, thank you, Lord God, for supporting me with your presence and consolation. My tears help me to know you better. They drive me into your comforting arms. Thank you for that.


Joni and Friends
Taken from Pearls of Great Price.)

My grief has caused me to cling to Jesus more than I ever have in my life.  How can my process of grieving that causes me to run to the Throne of Grace be wrong?

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