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.
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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.”

Cover Image Credit: google images

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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My Dad Is A Priest, But Surprise, I'm An Atheist

After 19 years of being raised as a believer, the only thing I am sure about is that there is no God at all.

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I feel like every high school has that guy who is always super active, always makes stupid jokes, and is always ready to party. My friend was like that. He was always down for any stupid or fun thing. And I remember one time hanging out we had a discussion about parents when suddenly he goes: "Oh, my dad is actually a priest."

What?

He told us that although he was raised in a religious family, he didn't believe in God at all. He said his parents have dedicated all their lives to the Orthodox Church, and tried to educate him the same way and make him a faithful believer. But after these 19 years, the only thing that he is sure about now is that there is no God.

"Every little thing that was happening in this world was a God's plan in my parents' eyes. Every day would start with a prayer where we thank God for life, food, and anything good that's going to happen to us. Growing up in the atmosphere of endless fasts, commandments, and attending church services, little me didn't have time even to doubt this kind of life's arrangements.

"I was always supervised by my parents at those times. My mom used to be a principal of a Sunday school, which I, of course, attended. The Sunday school's mission is to teach children how to be faithful. It works just like the normal schools do, but the subjects do vary. We were taught the Church Slavic language, the Laws of God, the Old and the New Testament, the orchestra. We even had a gospel class, where we were taught to sing in a choir at the church. Basically, we were taught everything that young churchmen need to know.

"I was playing with all the kids after and between classes like in normal schools, but most of the non-religious themes were prohibited. We all were scared that if we talk about something else we will be punished by the 'powers from the above'. I did really believe in that.

"Teachers were pretty good in persuading us that God is everywhere. The whole class would repeat in unison that God sees everything, knows everything – he is charitable and sinless.

"As a result, we were scared even to think about breaking any rules. We were obligated to pray before every meal, we couldn't miss any of the church services, couldn't condemn our parents or teachers, be aggressive any time, even to protect ourselves, because 'The Lord Jesus says if you're struck on your right cheek, you offer your left' (Holy Bible).

"It was perfect for handling kids. We were scared of punishment even when we knew no one could see us. We remembered – God knows everything.

"As time went by and we became the grown-ups, we started to notice our parents' or other adults' flaws. None of them were following all of the commandments as we did; they didn't have that fear of the 'Supreme.' Even my parents that were iconic to me allowed themselves to have their hands in their pockets while being at church or leave the services to talk on the phone. They could eat all they wanted, skip fasts, or even smoke. Watching them, I lost my aspiration in following all the rules perfectly. It seemed unfair that they could be freer but I couldn't. So I started giving myself indulgences…

"For example, one of the real orthodox believer's obligations was the oblation in front of Him every Sunday morning. Every single person had to come to the church early with an empty stomach and tell all of his/her sins in order to be forgiven. And it made me sick how many 'faithful' adults used it as the excuse for not following God's rules. Not to mention how many times the money donated to the church was stolen. They would sin and then just ask for forgiveness and become sinless again.

"When I started realizing all those things, my life started changing."

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