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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I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.


Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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beauty over brokenness

a story told through the eyes of an Ethiopian

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This piece is told from the perspective of my dear friend from Ethiopia, Eyob. Though he witnesses a crumbling society, he amazes me because he also sees the beauty in the world. I am forever in awe at his unwavering faith and happiness despite his troubles and obstacles.

Eyob:

My life was and is difficult. I grew up as an orphan in Ethiopia. I've seen and experience many hardships most people have not. My faith with God waivered during these times. I often questioned God and asked him why he would take my parents from me.

As I grew older, I began to realize how blessed my life was. God gave me the people around me to support me morally, financially, and physically. These people direct me on the right path with Jesus by teaching me good life manners and advising me when I make mistakes.

I am often asked if I experience prejudice because I do not come from a wealthy family and do not have parents. In fact, many of my classmates do not know about my past. Even if they were to know, orphans and poverty among children and families is not unordinary. There is a boy at my college that I am close with. He is one of the few people to know about my parents and where I came from. He is known for being a rich student on campus. One day, he came to my dorm room and sobbed. He told me how empty and lost he felt, but he was confused why. He could have anything he wanted in just seconds, but he felt so alone. He asked me why I always seemed happy and fulfilled. I remember how nervous I was. I shook as I told him the reason for my happiness. It was simple. It was because of God. I did not push him to submit to a religion he was not accustomed to, but I told him of the peace I experienced because I gave my problems to God.

I have been through many hardships and I have witnessed many wrongs, but I have also experienced and seen the work of God. Without Him, I could not move forward. He makes me burn with passion and love for my beautifully broken country. I have many dreams that I plan to accomplish. And in achieving these dreams, I will continue to strengthen my relationship with Christ and show His light I everything I do.

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