What I’ve Learned Since Grief

What I’ve Learned Since Grief

But there’s good news! Christ will make you new! But first, you must grieve.

What I know about pain, is its demand to be felt, however I never knew the same of grief until realizing it is pain—a lot of pain, all bottled up. Grief is all the pain we haven’t felt, chasing after us, until it eventually takes you down. I know what you’re thinking, “maybe for the weak, but I’m stronger than that.” And as glad as I am to know you have that confidence in yourself, you’re wrong. Grief has no conqueror but Christ, and until we let grief in, and give it up to Christ, it will keep on demanding to be felt in its most aggressive ways.

You see, because God-our-savior, planned grief this way. In knowing each of us would encounter grief in our own way, He speaks to us through the gospel specifically about grief and how to overcome it. Now I’m sure you’re saying, “show me, I don’t believe you.” That’s okay, I didn’t either when pastor Kevin came to speak to our group of 200+ college students, but now I couldn’t be more sure. Although grief isn’t preached about as often as it should be, God does in fact speak of grief in many instances of the Bible. In fact, God explicitly states our need to cry out to Him in our times of grief. (Psalm 62:8) “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; for God is a refuge for us!” But He doesn’t stop there, God goes even further as to give us examples of our call to him through over fifty psalms of lament in scripture. Yes, over fifty men/woman crying out to Christ for safety and reassurance in their time of grief. How beautiful is that?! Even Jesus gives examples of cries out to his father in time of great distress. Once, at Mount of Olives saying, “Father” “if you are willing take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” As mind boggling as Christ calling out for safety is, next an angel appears to Him from heaven to give Him strength to take on His plan of crucifixion. (Luke 22: 42-44) Yet again the son cries out on the cross saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46). What more of an epiphany concerning grief could we want than that?! To see Christ himself crying out in times of great pain; He desires the same of us.

And finally you’re thinking “Why haven’t I heard this message before, it’s so important!” Unfortunately, it’s due to our fallen world, and crippled generation. Utterly afraid to feel anything more than fake ecstasy, that we shun all other raw emotions like pain, loss, heartbreak, and grief from our system. It’s no wonder we’re so broken. We push away, and push away, and push away, until we’re so distant from ourselves that we no longer know who we are, what we like, or what we want in our futures. Best said by pastor Kevin in Choose + Choose Again, “I told them I thought most men were stuck living as ‘emotionally immature little boys in grown men’s bodies’ and that our infantile attitudes, behavior patterns, and baggage were hurting and sometimes destroying those closest to us and keeping us from partnering with Jesus Christ to bring healing to others.” (p. 96)

But He doesn’t want this for us. Instead He anxiously awaits our coming home to Him. The thing we must realize, and the thing that I personally have come to realize on my grieving journey with Christ, is that we have no power now over our past obstacles, but what we do have power over is our healing destiny. Each of us can choose a healing destiny with Him. No matter how bruised, scared, or battered we view ourselves to be, there is NOTHING God can’t overcome if only we take the first step of crying out to Him. For He already knows all that we’re attempting to hide from ourselves, and Him, but it’s up to us to offer those things up. When I heard this message, and came to experience it’s truth first-hand, I knew it had to be shared further. It is up to us to choose to recover and to move these mountains we were assigned so that we may one day be free of our masks. Of the fake faces we put on each day portraying to others what we want them to see, while on the inside we are crumbling. But there’s good news! Christ will make you new! But first, you must grieve. (Psalm 30: 5) “… weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

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Self-Recognition or God's Recognition?

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Throughout my life, I have struggled with what makes me special, what makes me feel validated, and most all what I could do to be important. I wanted this sense of self-validity in my academics, extracurriculars, and anything that I could be "better" in. But no matter what, I felt like I failed like myself and the people surrounding me. Being successful= my self worth and ultimately constantly worried about whether I could achieve this equal sign or be lesser than my soul craved for. I craved the recognition that I was good enough. I would seek this out by dieting, pulling all night study sessions, and doing/ say saying things to please the people I was seeking approval from. This did not satisfy my satiated need for a love beyond all this. Until I heard a small voice that began to grow bigger and bigger inside of of my life.

In the middle of a particular long workout at the gym, I heard a voice say "Amanda is this all you want? Do you want recognition from me or from them?". See, the recognition I had been seeking was not in HIM , it stemmed from the longing to feel perfect and pleasing to others eyes. These past few months and weeks I have seen such a change in the way I wake up in the morning. I wake up with these clear intentions of what difference could I make in another's life and what could I do to spread this love and joy that I feel within myself. This difference is amazing and I could choose nothing better than recognition from God instead of my personal view of recognition.

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