A Time to Mourn | March 28th, 2016
Have you ever lost someone whom you dearly loved? If so, you know exactly what grief is all about. And if you haven’t, that day will most likely come at some point in your life.
After losing my precious mother to breast cancer four years ago, I can tell you that there is no way to fully prepare for a loss so devastating like that. But what I can tell you is to be prepared for a multitude of emotions to sweep over you which can feel completely overwhelming at times.
Sadness, despair, anger, fear, worry, a sense of unfairness, resentment, utter exhaustion, relief, and even joy when sharing memories about your loved one can all be a part of this unpredictable emotional roller coaster. It is important to allow yourself to feel each of these emotions as they come. Healing from your grief takes time.
The grieving process is different for everyone. From the amount of time it takes to work through it to the heaviness of the grief, the way one grieves, and how it affects the heart, mind, and spirit is a different journey for each person.
There is a time to mourn, but becoming “stuck” in your grief over time can affect you in many negative ways. Your mental, emotional, spiritual, and even your physical health can be affected.
Mentally, you may feel that you cannot think clearly anymore. Emotionally, you can become numb, not even knowing how to feel. Spiritually, you may experience a sense of darkness over you as your light is no longer shining brightly for Christ and the sparkle is completely gone. Physically, the grief can bring on sickness as you stop eating healthy, quit exercising, and discontinue taking proper care of yourself.
Seriously Stuck in Grief
In 1861, Queen Victoria, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, tragically lost her husband, Prince Albert, to typhoid fever when he was only 42 years old.
They had been married for 21 years and had nine children together. He was everything to her. To lose him, as she stated, was “like tearing the flesh from my bones.” She felt her happy life ended the day Albert died. His death sent her into a very deep depression which resulted in her seclusion for many years, rarely appearing in public. She mourned him by wearing only the color black for the rest of her life.
During the Grand Period of the Victorian era, when a widow was in deep mourning which lasted one full year, she was expected to wear clothing made entirely of black crepe, a dull fabric that had no sheen so as not to reflect any light. And jewelry was not usually worn at all that first year, either. After that, black jewelry could be worn during the next full year of mourning. It is known as “mourning jewelry.”
Here is a black glass pin from this period. Note that it is very subdued with no sparkle whatsoever:
Queen Victoria’s mourning became the main focus of her existence. She kept Prince Albert’s rooms exactly as he had them when he was living and her servants were instructed to bring hot water into his dressing room every day as they had formerly done for his morning shave. She was seriously stuck in her grief.
Being Repurposed Through Your Grief
If you are reading this blog right now, you are still here on this earth. And why is that? Because God’s purpose for your life has not been completed. Although it is healthy to grieve as it’s a natural response to pain and loss and can also refresh your perspective on life, God never intends for anyone to stay stuck in their grief.
“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
God can actually use your experience of losing a loved one to repurpose you. For me, I was repurposed to be a comfort for others who had also lost a loved one. If I had stayed stuck in my grief and never left the house to share in the lives of others, I would not have been able to be used by God in this new way of comforting those who have gone through a similar experience.
Through this, I have been able to share the Good News that Christ conquered death on the cross and was resurrected on the third day, giving us all the opportunity to have eternal life if we simply accept Him as our Savior. Death is not the end. There is an amazing life after death – a life where we will never have to say goodbye to our loved ones ever again!
The Apostle John writes in Revelation 21:1-4:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Share Your Grief with Others
If you are struggling with overcoming your grief, express it to God who truly cares for you and loves you, understands your grief, and is there to comfort and walk with you through the darkest times of your life…
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
It is also vital to share your grief with others such as a counselor, trusted friend, or a grief share group who is understanding of your loss and will listen to you and give you helpful encouragement and guidance in working through your grief. When you share it with others, the burden of grief is significantly lessened.
As one who enjoys repurposing vintage costume jewelry, I took that old Victorian mourning pin and gave it a new purpose as a beautiful ring:
Never forget you are still here on earth for an incredible purpose that God planned for you even before you took your first breath which includes the many ways He wants to repurpose you through your experiences such as the loss of a loved one.
If you are stuck in the deep pit of grief, reach up, grasp His strong hand, and allow Him to help pull you out so you can live the rest of your life to the fullest to bring Him glory with His light shining brightly through you.
God is powerful enough to make a new and glorious morning out of your very darkest mourning.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you are struggling with your grief, ask God to help you overcome it by experiencing His love and comfort so you can be lifted out of your darkness of despair to be able to shine brightly and glorify Him with your life.
Sparkler #2: Action
Meet with a counselor or join a grief share group to help relieve the heavy burden of your grief by being able to talk with others about it.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Write down the ways that your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health could improve. Then make specific goals for yourself by writing down the steps you need to take for improvement in each area. If you cannot do this on your own, be sure to seek help where needed.
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