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To Those Grieving This Holiday

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This morning I woke at about  3:30 and just couldn’t go back to sleep. I didn’t wake thinking about food getting cooked, family gathering and laughing. I didn’t think about Black Friday shopping or the crazy chaos of the day.

I didn’t think about anything other than my mother.

My heart was so heavy I could hardly contain myself. I realized that I was starting to dread the start of the day. When Grief starts knocking, I find myself with one of two choices. Fling open the door and have some kind of party (which could be an ugly party, let me tell yah) or lean against that door with all my might, grunting and sweating, keeping my visitor out.

I have learned that Grief likes to especially whisper lies. Lies that I am learning come from the Father of Lies. He likes to whisper that you’re alone in what you’re feeling. He likes to make you think you’re the only who has felt this way. He tells you over and over that this holiday season without your mama will suck.

Honestly, I find myself believing these lies. I find myself wandering back to that empty grief where I push God out and fill up on nothing.

BUT today I just couldn’t. I couldn’t lay there in bed grieving over my family’s first round of holidays without our mom. My heart wasn’t just heavy for my loss.

My heart was heavy for the so many out there who have to go through this time of year without someone they love.

My heart IS heavy for all of us.

The biggest challenge I find for myself when I am wrestling with grief is the memories. Sometimes I want to walk through memory lane, stop and look at the intricacies of the whens and wheres I laughed with mom, cried with mom, and argued with mom. Sometimes I want to just stuff it all down and not deal with it on that particular day. It’s a constant pendulum that swings with my emotions and I just ride it whichever way it sways.

But through the swaying of emotions I have learned that I cannot allow myself to think God is void in these specific emotions.

And I cannot allow myself to think that I am alone in these emotions.

I just want to remind those of you today who have lost someone that you’re not alone today.

As your family gathers around their table and you get that pinch in your heart because there’s one less seat, know you are not alone.

As you load your children up in the car and think you should have one more car seat this year as the heart wrenching miscarriage you had a couple of years ago replays in your mind, know you are not alone.

If your heart is feeling heavy with grief, let me muster hope for you today. 

I don’t pretend to walk high on some mountain of faith. I’m not here to make you feel like your faith is slipped beyond reach.

I just want to come alongside you today and hold your hand with this gentle reminder:

God is with you in your grief. You are not alone today. You are not ever alone.

This morning at 3:30 when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I heard that Voice that rattles me awake. I heard the One who reminded we are not alone as we go through the times of such bittersweet emotions as we celebrate a joyous time of year with the holidays, yet feel the burden of our lost loved ones.

I kept hearing the word brokenhearted. I felt brokenhearted. I started mourning not just my mom, but the moms of many I know who are gone this year.

But then He came close and gently tugged on my heart reminding me that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He sang a love song to me of the healing He brings to the brokenhearted and the binding up of their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

He picked up my broken heart this morning and we wrestled with the pieces for a bit. I thrashed in my bed not ready to receive my broken pieces, but He is faithful. He stayed with me. He told me it was OK. I didn’t have to take them yet if I wasn’t ready.

And you know, that act alone of reminding me of the choice I have opened the flood gates. I ran to Him with the most open heart, nodding my head with tears streaming down my face, ready for the pieces to come back together.

I saw the pieces of my ratted heart, the pieces of tape and glue from the times I tried putting it back. I saw the pieces in his hands, fully mended, with no traces of my shoddy handiwork.

I saw a heart that was whole in His hands. I saw a broken heart that was healed.

Not only did I see my heart being healed, I saw many grief-stricken hearts that have been healed. I saw the promise of healing to come for many hearts. I saw hearts still not ready, but needing more time.

I saw the hope of healing.

And that my friends is what I want you to remember this holiday season.

The Hope that comes.

The real, in your gut, deep in our hearts Hope.

Peace to you,
Glo

Are you grieving this holiday? You are not alone. Read about my experience with grief and losing my mother and getting through the holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s Like to Grieve Without God

It took about fifteen minutes.

From seeing the sun just barely above the horizon, to it dipping down below the fields, signaling dusk, we buried my mother in fifteen minutes on an unusually cool summer evening in Kansas.

No service. No big memorial. Just her children and some grandchildren in a place special to my mother. Just how she wanted it.

It took about fifteen minutes.

Mom had been on hospice for barely a week before she left this earth. The night of her death, I remember it was about fifteen minutes after the last of her six children said his goodbyes when she took her last breath.

It took about five days.

Mom passed on Sunday night and we had her apartment cleaned out by Friday. Grief hadn’t actually hit me yet. I was too busy still taking care of her even after she was gone. Years ago I moved us into that apartment and I was going to move her out. It took us five days to clear everything out, like she was never there.

It took about two weeks.

I had been busy getting all of mom’s accounts in line and organizing everything, that grieving for my mother had taken a back seat. I was avoiding my grief, keeping it at bay. Afraid of the torrential waves that might not stop. About fourteen days after my mother left this world, I realized for the first time that my world was a lot more empty without her. As I reached for my phone to call her during our morning ritual, the truth sank in. Truth that said I hadn’t fully grieved the loss of Mama.

I had had my moments of tears and bursts of anguish. I would see a picture of her and quickly lose my breath. As my son would toddle into the room, my heart would ache, wishing my mother was here to see him. Then it really hit me.

All this time I had been grieving, I had been telling myself it will get better. I reminded myself that God would give me peace and comfort. I remembered the kind words of others to help ease my pain. I worried about the rest of my family and their grieving process, praying for all of us nonstop. Yet. I realized my prayers were empty. My words were powerless. My belief was robotic and formulaic.

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything under the heavens. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance (NIV). And in the New Testament we are constantly reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, NIV). When I remembered these verses I saw my emptiness for what it really was.

was allowing myself to grieve without God.

I was expecting Him to fix me. I was waiting on Him to fix my heart. All the while I was blind to the truth that God was actually grieving with me. The Creator of the universe had a broken heart for the loss of my mom and He wanted to grieve with me.

While I truly believe my mother is in heaven, the hole that gets left behind when you lose someone seems unfillable. So wide does that hole seem that I pushed away the only One who could fill it. My Father of the fatherless who has always held me in his hand, even when I was blind to His grasp was pushed to the backseat as an afterthought.

I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love.

The moment I decided to actually feel His presence and to recognize His tears for my loss, that was the moment the Prince of peace filled my heart. I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love. The love that says I will never leave you nor forsake you. The love that is truly sad when we are sad.

A love that gets angry with us.

A  love that will stand up for truth with us.

A love that pierces through all the darkness that can so easily shroud around us during grief.

When you are grieving the loss of someone that you believe is in heaven, sometimes the saying “well, at least they’re in heaven” gets thrown around as a platitude because, as humans, we don’t always know how to respond to grief. Let me remind you of the great power and real peace that can come from the deep down gut belief that you’re loved one is in heaven. You’re loved one is with the Spirit who holds the world. She is with the One that was with Jesus on the cross when he came to save us just so she could one day join Him. She is dancing with the One who placed the stars in the sky and created a world so full of life and diversity that we may never know the full extent of it.

She’s free and whole for the first time.

It took me countless moments of unsatisfying tears to realize that grieving without God is an endless road, empty with no restoration in sight.

It took me losing my mother to understand what it really means to believe in heaven. And that is something I will never lose hold of again.

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

meandmama

Have you lost someone and felt overwhelmed in grief? Have you felt like God was missing in your grief? So have I.

Empty Grief

 

I forgot to call upon Your name.
I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
Blind. Numb. Empty.

I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Blind. Numb. Empty.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.

Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.
I isolated my grief.

Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
I isolated my grief.
I no longer wanted to hear their condolences.

I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
I forgot to call upon Your name.