The original title of this blog from the series, "HV for REAL" was "How This Child of Divorce is Thanking God for Every Healing Experience in Life Today." But by the end of this it's gonna change. So here goes...
Death. Grief. Loss. It's a process.
Mourning the loss of someone we love is an experience that every single one of us will encounter in life. It doesn't even have to be a someone. It can be an animal, a marriage, a relationship. It can be anything. It's all loss.
But, every single one of us will lose someone we love in our life. So I want you to know what I've learned so far through this process. Sometimes it's literally physical. I mean like, you can't move. Sometimes it's mental and emotional. We're sad and the sadness affects the way we think and feel about life without that person. That sadness can in-fact be downright crippling. Sometimes you just got to call it out for what it is and say, "Duh, it's grief!" cause it can feel like it's affecting everything in your life (which it does) and all you can do is go through whatever the grief brings, feel it, learn to accept that person is gone, and discover a new reality with that person not present physically.
But I'm here to tell you ONE HUGE THING. You can change the way you look at it. I'm not talking about a thinking shift. I'm talking about a heart shift. I'm talking about turning it over to God and asking him (even if it feels like he isn't there), "Hey God, what is it that you are teaching me with this? How is that YOU can use this tragic loss for good?" FYI - he won't give you a play by play right then and there. But he'll give you little revelations, if you just SEEK him in your grief.
I like to look to the light of heaven in my grief to remind me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a heaven. Tomorrow is a new day, and each day the light gets brighter for me.
I don't know if you've ever been through that kind of loss. But for me it was my Dad. Somehow in that moment of knowing he was gone I realized that we've only got one life and it's not up to us when we go. It was an immediate awareness of how it's time to make the most of this life.
Not only that, it was time to realize there is a God and if he's carrying me through this (even thought it sucks) then he's got my Dad, and He's got me. I just have to trust, and realize that this is an opportunity for me to see that God the Father has always been there. It's just that my Dad was the one who gave me a little inkling of how great His love really is for me.
FYI - that didn't mean, happy happy joy joy. That meant, I got nothing to be afraid of. All I have to do is trust God's plan and walk through this pain knowing he's got my back. Let me tell you, if I did not know that my God was a loving God, there is no way I would have gotten through it. I would have thought he was punishing me like I did when I was a kid. And if there is anything I wish for ANYONE who loses someone they love dearly, it's that they see the love of the father through the example of that person they loved on this earth. Because when we think of that person, God actually loves us a gazillion times more than even they did. We can't imagine it. We just have to believe it.
We have to LOOK for the signs that he wants the best for us. We have to look for the signs, if we believe in the soul and the spirit that that person we loved never left us. They just changed their form in relationship to us.
When Dad died, I think my biggest surprise was simply that I was more surrendered to God than EVER, because I knew i could NOT get through this alone. No way, NO how. And that was ONLY because I took him out of a text book before Dad died, and invited him into my heart through a slow process of surrender. That process prepared me for that call on that day and every day going forward without my Dad on this earth but in a deeper relationship with the Lord.
You feel like he's not there? Repeat this to yourself a few times and let it soak in:
Your heart is BROKEN. Your spirit is absolutely crushed. But he is close to YOU. Yes, you.
Let me explain it to you through the simple lyrics of a few song lyrics and video.
"WE CAN TRUST OUR GOD. HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING, THOUGH IT MIGHT HURT NOW, WE WON'T BE RUINED. HE IS WITH US." - "He Is With Us," Love and the outcome.
That means, he's not in a textbook or a fluffy cloud saying, "You'll be okay sweetie." No, he's right there with you. I mean, RIGHT THERE. He is showering you with love and hugging you so tight that you can't help but be overwhelmed with that love. If you loved that person you lost, imagine it's them hugging you or sitting with you when you are hurting the most. Then imagine that this love he feels for you is even greater than that. Hard to believe, huh? Well - it's true. If you believe it? It's true. Because I can tell you there is NO person on this earth, not even your spouse or a surviving parent that could EVER heal your hurt heart from this loss. That pain is reserved for HIM. When you are in your deepest pain, you go to Him and he will heal your heart. If you don't believe it, you've got to drop the old image of you have that he doesn't have time for you and realize He wants something more for you.
He wants you to know this: If you let Him into that pain, he will show you in this deepest, darkest moment that he wants a relationship with you. He wants you to know that you are HIS and HE is the one that can fill that deepest hole within you.
#1. The Word
I didn't grow up in the Bible except to listen to it on Sundays at church in sermons and I can't tell you how powerful it has become in my life. It is THE source of strength for me in trouble and I learn something from it every single day. Pick it up without judgement of what you might think it says, and think about what HE might be saying TO you through the Word for your journey of grief. If you have to, download the Bible app and just type in their search bar, "Grief." Read the passages. Not only that, read the chapters around the passages. It's amazing what you can learn from the Word.
#2. Listen to the Sound
He will use music to minister to you in your pain. Yes, more music. If you choose to open your heart, you will hear lyrics that speak right to you and the pain in the very place and moment you need it. Music is a gift for us to express our feelings and hear the voice of God. Take advantage of it.
Listen to the Sound isn't just the title for this section but it's the name of a band I was blessed to see live this weekend at World Pulse Festival in South Bend, IN. It is the song that came right to my mind and the lyrics are appropriate with each one of these songs I've chosen to share with you. They are close to my heart and my own grief journey, even though they don't know it!!! I'm going to share a few songs with you from them that I hope one or ALL of them will speak to you like the speak to me....
That sound? Is him...
This last song of theirs is actually at the end of my book, when I talk about losing Dad and feeling connected to heaven when I hear this song. You might wonder why...if you are a believer, you probably don't. But if you aren't quite there, let it soak in a few times. Get to know the lyrics. Let it remind you that this pain we feel, this loss is a temporary thing. Let it give you an idea of what heaven might just be like for those we've lost and how we will get to be there someday. It will help you I hope, like it helped me realize, this pain I feel is temporary and I will get to see my Dad again someday.
#3. Look Around You
When my Dad died, I literally felt like life was in slow motion. I noticed everything about everything. That 'noticing' is something I took as an opportunity - not to focus on what I was lacking without him to call, but how lucky I was to be able to feel connected to him spiritually by noticing that God was literally all around me. Every bird. Every sunset. Every sunrise. Every intimate conversation with someone who'd also been through what I'd gone through were all little winks and moments from God showing me not only that he's RIGHT there if I just look for him. But also, that if I look for him, Dad's always right here in my heart. And that's why I feel closest to my Dad in nature, because I know God is there. Don't hesitate to take in all those little signs because that's God taking care of you through the pain and giving you a little window into heaven.
#4. Look Within You
I know, it's hell what you are going through, whatever your loss may be, death or not. Process the feelings in any way you can. Best way for me was to write them out. So do what you can and need to do to process the pain so it doesn't get stuck in your heart. It's going to feel physically exhausting, mentally and emotionally tough. Let yourself experience this pain so that you can allow it to bring you more present to this life. It's okay, God's got you. All you've got to do is show up. Talk to him, pray, listen to him - he's within you, and certainly not in a drug or temporary fix for your feelings. Move THROUGH the pain, not against it.
#5. Look Beside You
He didn't put you here to walk alone. He put people beside you who are going through it too. When those people show up, be open to it. Get some coffee, share your walk. You will be amazed at what God does with people who are just walking with us.
#6. Look Ahead of You
He will put people in your life who've been there, done that which is half the time - all we need. The people who got me through this were not the ones who were "supposed" to be there, but the ones who'd been there. Each person I'd known who'd been there was at the top of my call list in the early days of grief, because they were the ones who could be with me in my pain because they'd felt it themselves. They were the ones who could help me realize when I felt a little crazy that thing we often say, "Oh, Duh. It's grief."
#7. Look Outside of You
Once you go through this, there will be people who need to hear YOUR story of how you got through it. These are the opportunities in life God gives us to get outside of ourselves. By sharing our story, we give someone else some hope. No need to force it, you'll know it when he brings these people into your life. But take each opportunity as a chance to share your story because there is nothing better in grief then knowing you aren't alone. Don't keep it inside you. Get outside of you.
#8. Look Beneath You
Right now you are standing on this earth. You are breathing in the air. You are living your life. You are running to your next meeting or picking up your kid at camp. You are living. Take THIS opportunity as a chance to REALLY live your life. I mean, REALLY live it. Let their passing teach you all the reasons you've got a lot of life left in you - simply because you are still here
And these, my Healthy Voice partners on the journey are just a few things that can help you get through ANY process of grief. We all go through it. Sometimes we just need a reminder or a good kick to realize it's not about us and not something we can control.
So - mourn the ones you love and ENJOY the life you've got.
Mere, Your Healthy Voice Guide
Here's the Playlist on You Tube. I'll add more as they come to me....https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdkvYuvuMabb-IuwlgH2dy3TUk9qpVKDP. The One on Spotify is called, "When Grieving," but I'm a computer gimp sometimes and can't get it on this post! So, go check it out! It's got a couple different songs on it.