It wasn’t long after losing my husband when I found myself in a phase of needing as much information as I could get about grieving. I was craving a road map, a neat instruction guide telling me what it was going to be like, how long it would last and that it was going to turn out okay. I didn’t find it.
What I found instead were books and websites that fell into these categories:
1. Clinical. These were grief books that were about the studies on grief, the psychological research and…YAWN… I’m sorry, I fell asleep there. This was not what I needed.
2. Flowery, spiritual, faith-based books. These were great, and certainly true, but although it was sort of comforting, it more often than not wasn’t. Then I just felt like I wasn’t a good enough Christian, and that my faith maybe wasn’t strong enough, etc. Nothing like adding spiritual guilt on top of grief. These books are great, but they often lacked acknowledgement of how bad it sucks!
3. Angry and depressing. There are plenty of grief blogs and books out there that are angry and depressing. I mean, sure – grief IS depressing, but this isn’t what I was looking for either.
I guess what I wanted to find was honesty. I wanted to hear that everything I was feeling and doing – even the awkward stuff – was normal? I wanted to find someone that was talking about real life grief. I needed transparency mixed with hopefulness, truth, encouragement, humor, frustration and more wrapped up in a God-centric way.
Eventually, I gave up my search and just decided I’d start sharing my heart in the ways I had been seeking from others. I hope it hasn’t been too much of this or too much of that for you. I hope you’ve found understanding, comfort, encouragement, distraction, friendship and support here in all the ways I had hoped to find for myself.
As far as the faith guilt? I realize now I can trust God and all His promises and also feel sad, scared, anxious, hurt, etc. He loves me and understands every one of my emotions. The truth is, my belief will never be ENOUGH, because I am not enough. I require His extra grace! And He gives it freely and repeatedly. He knows I’m not enough and He adores me anyway. It isn’t that I’ve given up trying to grow my faith, it’s that I’ve quit trying to be perfect. I’ve given up beating myself up for not being more than I am.
And you know what? God can work with that. He can use me right where I am. He can bless this hot mess.
I’m really hoping I have the opportunity to talk more about this on Jen Hatmaker’s #ForTheLovePodcast soon. She’s put out a request for her readers/listeners to tell her about someone who has had to start over – find a new beginning. If you’d like to hear me on her podcast, I invite you to nominate me. Just leave a comment on her Facebook post.
The link is HERE