In the hours and days following the death of a loved one, you enter into what is called the “grieving process.”
The waves of sadness, moments utter heartache, the numbness, the denial, and anger.
You may find yourself ruminating over those final moments spent with your loved one and wonder if you said enough, did enough, prayed enough, or gave enough.
As Christians, however, we are blessed by God with 5 ways to work with, and through, our grief.
Grief can be a confusing process and it’s never easy.
You may begin to blame yourself for certain circumstances, even though they were beyond your control.
As you start to sink into the reality that a loved one is gone, adjusting to the future of a new “normal” brings a sense of hopelessness.
Daily routines, family gatherings, and the holidays often lose their appeal. They seem lonely and mundane, or feel like just another reminder that your loved one is gone and everything is so different. You ask yourself, “How will I get through this?”
Understanding the process of grief is important and beneficial for your overall health.
According to grief.com, there are five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
As a Christian, how do we navigate this process without giving advantage to the enemy?
Well, here are some ways you can tackle each emotion of the grieving process that won’t only glorify God and all He can do for us in our time of need, but also clarify our minds and souls.
After a loved one has passed away, many individuals struggle to fall asleep without sordid thoughts creeping into their minds.
Oftentimes, they fight with the fear of forgetting memories shared with their loved one.
But journaling your thoughts and special memories can ease your mind and preserve those cherished memories.
For a Christian, journaling provides a way to have a conversation with God. It can also help prepare an individual to talk about their loss with others when they’re ready.
Journaling enshrines those memories we don’t want to forget while encasing the ones we need to let go of. A journal will listen without judgment or opinion, and when dealing with feelings of regret, can be a great place to begin the process of letting go.
It goes without saying that the Bible has everything we need to sustain us!
When we are lost, there is scripture for that. When we need motivation, there’s scripture for that. When we are deep in our grief, there’s scripture for that as well.
God did not leave anything out when he fashioned His word.
During times of sorrow, there are so many scriptures for grieving individuals. And even the scriptures you’ve read many times may suddenly speak something new to your heart.
Finding comfort in the affirmations of scripture will not only give us peace during our trials, but remind us that God sees us, knows where we are, and promises to heal our hurting heart.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
3. Daily Bible Reading
If you find comfort and strength within certain scriptures, you will almost surely find comfort in the stories of those from the Bible who also endured some very trying times.
Job, Naomi, Hannah, and David all suffered loss and dealt with immense grief afterwards.
The scriptures tell us in John 11:35 and Mathew 23:37-39, that Jesus mourned after He went to the village of Bethany where Lazarus was buried.
Upon seeing Martha and the others weeping, Jesus himself wept.
Although Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the grave, He partook in their grief.
As Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
There are many times we feel foolish or ashamed simply because we are grieving.
However, if we really study both of these passages closely, Jesus shows us that grieving is a natural response to pain and loss, even though we know the promise of the resurrection!
Jesus understands and shares in our pain, hurt, and confusion after a time of loss.
The King James Version says that He is touched with our infirmities, He understands our weaknesses because He has been tempted in all ways.
It isn’t a sin to grieve or have questions. And pouring ourselves into His Word reminds us that, although we may suffer, He knows how we feel. We can trust that the Lord will give us His perfect peace during our loss.
Although prayer might be a given, it truly is an anchor for our souls and gives us a direct connection to the One who understands how we feel.
After a loss, many don’t want to share their feelings surrounding the death of a loved one.
However, during the stage of anger, your feelings may boil over with an intensity that seems overwhelming.
Prayer can be the outlet to release those inner feelings of anger, bitterness, and confusion through open communication with God. Have a prayer ready and know that everyone enters each phase of grief differently.
But even more important is remembering that each phase of grief is exactly that – a phase. It is not meant to be where you take up residence.
Often times it’s easy to become comfortable in one stage or another and assume it’s just your new “normal.”
But prayer will keep you moving forward. The Lord can weed out those roots of bitterness, hurt, and anguish that don’t allow you to honor your loved ones with joy.
Though we may not understand why God chooses to do things the way He does, we have His promise of a peace that surpasses all understanding.
His peace gives us the freedom to accept and trust that He knows best.
Let prayer be a comfort during your time of loss. Take your cares to Him because He truly cares for you!
5. Share Your Grief
Prayer is the starting point in sharing your feelings surrounding the loss you’ve faced.
However, when prayer doesn’t seem like enough, sharing your emotions within a body of believers such as a church group or even a pastor and his wife can help with the healing process.
The Bible tells us that fellow believers have the ability to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
Connect with other Christians who have experienced loss for valuable advice, encouragement, guidance, or just an empathetic ear.
Mourning can seem like a season of life that will never end. But remember that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Your dawn may not be tomorrow or even next week, but God will create a new season of life with laughter, joy, memories, and peace.
Healing from your grief doesn’t mean you’re forgetting your loved one. Rather, you are looking ahead to the moment our Lord has asked each of us to prepare for – the glorious promise of eternal life in Heaven!
For more information on how to work through grief, visit www.grief.com