Today I am introducing a series on “handling” grief. Perhaps a better term would be experiencing grief. I’m not sure that I really handle grief as much as I try to prevent it from handling me.
One lesson we’ve learned from our experience over that last four months is that not everyone grieves in the same manner. Because of this lesson, I hope that I do not project my manner of grieving onto another person who is in a state of mourning. In other words, I hope that I don’t expect someone else to grieve in a certain manner, including the manner in which I grieve.
Ultimately, our relationship with God determines largely how we grieve. If we have God’s Word hidden in our hearts and at our fingertips, we can call upon His promises to withstand the overwhelming emotions and thoughts that flood into our hearts and minds during times of grief. However, even our enemy can twist God’s Word to suit his desire to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). At times, we have fallen into a deep pit and found it hard to climb out. It is only through clinging to the truth, crying out in prayer and leaning on the fellowship of brethren and family that we rise up again.
I believe that just because someone is a Christian does not mean he or she will not experience feelings of doubt, guilt, depression and even other “negative” emotions. When an immediate family member dies, it is a very stressful experience. I read somewhere (I apologize for not having the reference immediately available) that the death of a child produces more stress than a divorce. It is not natural, normal or expected for a child to die before his parents. When that child dies, a piece of your heart dies with him or her. We have experienced such a void in our hearts after the death of our son Isaac. He is an eternal soul produced by our coming together as husband and wife, thus he is a part of us. God’s ways are truly marvelous. I believe that this bond is also true with adopted children. I am an adopted child and experience this type of bond with my earthly father and mother.
I have thus far recognized four reasons why people grieve differently. A mourner’s relationship with God will permeate throughout these factors. These reasons are (in no particular order):
- One’s relationship to the person who died
- The manner in which the person died
- The personality of the mourner
- The life stage and experiences of the mourner
As I continue on this series, I may add to or modify these reasons as my understanding may change. I hope that this series is a blessing and helpful to everyone who reads.
I dedicate this series to my beloved son, Isaac Andrew. God has used and is using Isaac’s life and death to teach us significant eternal lessons, to His glory. Isaac – you are greatly missed here on earth but we rejoice that you are experiencing heavenly glories.
Wishing you blessings and the experience of eternal love, joy and peace,