Or Handling Grief – The Second Year, Thus Far
It has been a while since I’ve written in-depth about our grief journey. I’ve mentally dictated several posts, but have been apathetic about writing out my thoughts. It seems that I lack the vigor for numerous things these days. The fire the used to me in my belly has burned down to seemingly a flickering flame. I know that the Spirit is still there, but the passion for many things in life has been squashed.
The journey this second year after Isaac’s passing has been difficult and different from the first year. Adrenaline carried us through much of the first year. Anticipation built as new milestones and first anniversaries passed. Now, this second year is characterized largely by just “normal” living. Not that anything is really as it used to be. That dull ache still exists deep down inside. However, life has continued and for the most part our familiar routines and patterns have returned. I feel a sense of frustration sometimes, as if my desire to use this tragedy for something big for God’s glory has not materialized. Yet, was that desire really meant for God’s glory or mine? Rather, can God be glorified as we live out each day without falling apart, humbly relying on His strength to make it through whatever lot He has allowed?
We continue to make new connections within our local community. We have found it very helpful to extend ourselves, even somewhat beyond our comfort zones. Besides our immediate church family, we’ve connected with people in several local churches. I’ve been participating in a vibrant men’s group that meets biweekly here in our local community. The encouragement that we’ve received through these relationships has helped us tremendously. Also, relationships with certain family members and friends continue to grow deeper through this journey and have been sources of strength for us. Finally, we’ve experienced joy through serving our community and reaching out and hopefully encouraging others with the same encouragement that we’ve received. Within the last month, our family helped with a local food drive and I lent a small part towards the clean-up of a local house that was severely damaged by a fire. It is truly a blessing to give, not only financially but perhaps even more of ourselves.
I am beginning to earnestly pray. My personal prayer life was haphazard before Isaac died. I would often lack focus in my quiet times of prayer, allowing my mind to wonder aimlessly. After Isaac died, I found it difficult to pray quietly. I would throw up hurried prayers here and there (which can be fine when needed). I could pray out-loud with my family or in small groups, but when it came to time alone with just God, I found it difficult to go there. Now, I’ve been challenged and inspired to spend earnest time each morning in quiet prayer with God. I’ve been reminded that I am in a spiritual battle, and I must suit up in my spiritual armor each day if I am to stand. My family needs me to cover them in prayer. I must cleanse myself each day and remind myself of whom I am in Christ Jesus. I have actually made a topical list to keep me focused when I pray and to also allow the Holy Spirit to guide me specifically within each topic. I find this very helpful to keep my mind from wondering. *
In a nutshell, really all I have right now is enough strength to love my family, fulfill my job responsibilities and connect with our community, family, friends and other siblings in Christ. I have no grander plan right now and I think that is OK. As long as I draw closer God and serve Him faithfully right where He has me, I trust Him to continue to heal me and fan that flame deep down inside to renew that passion again.
* The idea to create the topical prayer list was inspired from reading a book titled “Lord, Teach Us to Pray” by Tom Harmon (thanks Brother Terry!).