Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday's Faith - How to Hold Faith Amidst Raw Grief

Friday's Faith

How to Hold Faith Amidst Raw Grief

~by Angie and Tommy Prince

A newly bereaved mother wrote to me by e-mail this week, having lost her beloved child less than one month ago. Her message was brief (I am amazed she was able to write at all, of course!), leaving her final request amidst her raw pain asking if I could write her back with anything I might have to say that would give her comfort.

What a sacred privilege. What a shudder-in-your-boots responsibility. To speak to the abject pain of one so steeped in shock one moment, raw paroxysms of grief the next, hoping that one word or sentiment shall be the right one to bring comfort to this dear soul trembling over her recent loss that has brought her to her knees. 

You and I know the inadequacies we feel to describe what we have been through, what we are still going through. 

We can't slickly reel out false promises of,
~Hang in there; it gets better and better!~  
because we know, we KNOW, many times it does not:

After the shock wears off in about a year, the reality begins setting in, and it seems at times our lives get disheveled beyond recognition. Post-traumatic stress often then sets in to where we not only have lost our child, we feel we are losing our minds too, our sanity hanging by a thread. Too often we are left questioning our own judgment for our bodies are screaming danger at every turn while our minds are asking,

~Is there really danger, or have the years of stress wreaked havoc with my heart, body, soul, and spirit to the degree that ALL has become a crisis to which I am too poorly equipped to adapt?~ 

Our relationships become stressed, whether with friend, family, children, and even spouse (which hits especially hard as our soul mate is often our strongest help-meet in a crisis, but as we are both in our own individual raw grief which shows itself in a myriad of different ways depending on the person, the odds are great that at times our styles will clash, and in our raw states, the sparks may fly, and added hurt is piled on our already-decimated hearts). 

Our belief systems have also been accosted, leaving us to question and rework every single belief and idea we had about God so that we can hold on to the Truth and discard forever the tinsel-town empty assurances we had dished out to ourselves, whether wittingly or unwittingly, over the years. We cannot afford to be fooled. Too much is riding on needing comfort, needing what is Real about God, needing His love, His tenderness, His stability, but not any false concepts we may have been holding onto that led us astray in regard to our understanding of Him and His heart. As the beloved grieving father / pastor (whose name I cannot now recall) proclaimed amidst his "Dark Night of the Soul" after his child's death, in essence,

"When we cannot understand God's actions . . .
May we trust His heart."

Grace is the courage to go on believing in the presence of suffering and death. This is real believing, not just the intellectual kind. "The thinking part is not all that hard. It is the feeling part that comes hard the part that lets you know in the deep places of your soul that it is all right even when your head tells you everything is ghastly."

~Lewis B. Smedes in his book, How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong?

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