…all I can tell you is that
I hear that still small voice say
to write, and I start writing not
knowing where I’m going to end up.
I'm beginning a series of blogs that will dive into the topic of—
Wanting to Know vs. Being Content—From my experience of being
active in bereavement ministry and speaking to many people who have
lost a loved one, I have many thoughts to share on this topic, thus I feel
it best to to allow the mind to absorb the information that I’m being led to
share and challenge the reader with, in smaller portions rather than to
have one long lengthy piece that may be a blur. Losing a loved one is a blur
for many of us, at least for the first year or 3-5, to be exact.
When a very close loved one is taken we have a plethora of emotions that flood our mind. Leading the pack, quite often and and for many, is fear. There is fear of the unknown future. How will I go on?
There is an Emotional side of carrying on. Do I have the will to carry on without my beloved?
There is a Physical side to carrying on. Do I have the ability to carry on without my beloved?
There is a Financial side to carrying on. Can I afford the burial expenses and to live as I have been living before my beloved passed?
Add these up and we can have many fears of how and where to even begin to carry on.
We will struggle with an inner voice that will want immediate answers to questions when many of the questions that we have will take time to be answered. Bereavement is a life long journey. It truly is, and this is a time to slow down, be patient, rest, meditate on Scriptures, seek wise counsel, talk to people we trust and talk to people we trust. Oh, did I say I say that last one twice? I assure you that it was intentional, because so many people stay silent, rather than to talk to someone(s) they trust and it literally can be a deadly decision—we’ll discuss why I believe this a little further down the line.
Instead of wanting to know and figure everything out in just a few days, learn to be content with where you are, and try to grow closer to God during this very stormy time. He’s the one that will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6) though there may be people that we know and love that may do so, even though it’s unthinkable that they would do so. You see, the death of a loved one is a mysterious sort of curiosity that leads people to do the unthinkable and to even say the unbelievable, often in times when they aren’t even aware that they have done so. Unfortunately, there are cases when they are intentional with what they have done or said to cause hurt. I hear this story over and over again, from so many, quite sadly. Selfishness can really rise to the occasion when a loved one is no longer here.
The happy news is that God is always faithful to you and will always have your best interest in mind (II Timothy 2:13). I urge you to take time, right now, to go look up these Scriptures and see what God has to say to you through His Words. I made it easy for you. Just click on the verse and it will link you to a website to look at the verse in full. I’m one who strongly believes in—no excuses! Any words that I have highlighted in red, will also lead you to a page where the words I’ve quoted are found in the Scriptures. It’s easy, peasy to study some life changing verses right here, right now.
God’s got the hairs on your head numbered, in this moment, and He always does. That should give you chills if you really take time to think on it, so don’t get mad at God. If you are mad at Him and your fighting in this moment of time to go and read His Words, I urge you to rethink that decision. Something led you to to this blog, so consider this from a Mama Bear who lost a child and could have blamed her very own self (for the rest of her life, easily) as well as a carseat for the loss of her child—there’s so much else to get mad at when a loved one passes.
I plead with you, don’t get mad at the one who wants you to grieve well! He wants your emotional, your physical and your financial well being to be healthy and abundant after your loss, and He can do a lot to orchestrate details to help you through your unique bereavement journey. To be truthful, I don’t even know how I am writing what I’m writing, if it weren’t for the direction of the Holy Spirit, as that’s how my blogs come to be. All I can tell you, is that I hear that still small voice say to write, and I start writing not knowing where I’m going to end up. I continue to see God do great and mighty things when the Spirit is allowed to work through His children.
Now this, please don’t blame a person(s) for the death of your loved one, including yourself. I get that a person(s) can be responsible and even one self, as people can commit all sorts of ugly and evil crime. Accidents can happen and even grave mistakes can end up in the death of a loved one, but the ultimate force behind the criminal action, the accident or the mistake is sin and our sin cursed world— the one who wants destruction in any and all lives is—God’s enemy—Satan.
Knowing the ultimate enemy and the forces behind any and all circumstances to draw us away from God is so critical after the loss of a loved one. The enemy does not want you to pray, to call out to, to cry to, to ask for forgiveness from, to ask to be forgiven, to think on His Words, or to take any action that will help you to grow closer to God. He hates any and all of those actions! He wants death in this world and he wants us to be so overtaken with the death of a loved one that we will hate God and turn away from Him, or never turn to Him. It’s a battle that has been going on since the very first death in the garden, and it will go on until Jesus, our Lord and Savior, will come to put an end to death and destruction, once and for all.
Losing a beloved is a blur, for most of us, at least for the first year or 3-5, so baby steps is a great philosophy to embrace. Make no major decisions in the first year, by the way. Uggh! That can be a misfortune that so many dive into. Please, just grieve for awhile and do the hard work of it. Yes, if you’ve read anything from me, you know what I’ll say next; Bereavement is the hardest work we have to do on planet earth. I sound like a broken record, but it’s the plain truth. I’ll keep saying it until I hear people say it themselves and back to me as then I’ll know the message is getting through and people are learning to grieve well. So let’s now begin with…
Emotional Well Being After the Loss of a Loved One
The emotional aspects of carrying on are wide and diverse. They are unique for every individual. The harsh reality of an absence in our day to day routine will hit hard on day 1, after the loss, and many will find themselves in a state of shock. We just need to make it through that first week. It’s our first and simple goal. We are usually barraged with family and friends extending their condolences, sending cards and kind gifts, and our minds can become confused with all that has been done or said and simply burnt out from conversation and activity. We are ever so grateful for the support and remembrances, but all of what we are going through is so out of the norm. That first week is really a blur for most of us.
Take some time outs!!!
Go to a quiet place (preferably one where you can lie down) even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Resting the mind is crucial after the loss of a loved one. It would be wise to make this a practice during your first few months to a year after the loss of a beloved. Having a few of your favorite Scriptures to bring you peace and reassurance are wonderful to meditate on when you are making it a practice to give your mind a time out from any of your anxious thoughts.
Say it over and over again. Say it, pray it and believe it.
Next, learning to turn off anxious thoughts is another key to grieving well. Learning to train your mind on what to think on rather than what not to think on is an even greater task. If you haven’t made this a practice, now is the time.
Philippians 4:8,9 gives clear and precise instruction of what we should think on. My advice has been, if a particular thought is not on this list, than tell it it leave or to talk to the hand, if you will. Don’t let your mind go there. Live in the present and do not fear the future!
Do you know how many panic attacks could be avoided and, perhaps, suicides as well, if we learn to do this and teach others to do it as well? We are instructed to be anxious for nothing. That word nothing when broken down means:
If you are feeling anxious or—afraid of the unknown, STOP. Tell the anxious thoughts to go away and go back to Philippians 4:8,9 and replace it with any and all thoughts that fit into the list.
Let me be a bit more helpful here because I so greatly desire that you will be free from unhealthy emotions and you will grieve well with the ability to experience Joy through the Mourning. Here is the list of what thoughts you are to think on…
Think on these things:
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence,
if anything worthy of praise,
And what is the promise given when we do think on these things?
Repeat that, please—the God of Peace will be with you!
It’s a fireworks moment, here, with a loud BOOM at the end. (Click on fireworks to see some from our back yard, hee, hee.)
Want peace?Think on these things.
Don’t want fear? Think on these things.
Have a fearful thought? Tell it to go away!
Memorize the list. Stay with the list. Write out the list and keep it with you. It takes persistence and training your mind, but when you take the time out to do it, you will have perfect peace.
That leads to the verse that rescued me from insanity to sanity after I had my accident which took our son, Ben, home to Heaven; (Philippians 4:7).
Allow me to put this one right in front of you.
Do you want your mind guarded from fear and anxiety? Stay with the list. Dwell on the list. Live in this list! Hopefully, I’ve made my point here.
Now it’s your turn to train you mind. Right now, in this moment, name 5 things that are within the list given to you in the Scriptures and in this blog. That’s your homework for today.
For me on this day, my 5 are the following:
My family, my home, my friends, I can walk, talk, see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Oops, that’s more than 5, but if you end up with more than 5 things, even better.
Tomorrow, come back and name 5 more things from the list. Keep going until you have a list of 50 or more thoughts that you can dwell on that fit in the list. When you counted 50 things to dwell on, let me know if you are lacking that perfect peace that can guard your mind from unknown fear. I’ll be here to listen, but I don’t suspect I’ll hear back from anyone lacking peace who has learned to truly dwell on and live within the 7 topics from this list.
I truly hope this helps. If you would care to leave a comment or share your story, please do so.
I’ll be back soon with a continuation of this blog series, The Physical Side to Carrying On.
Mmmmm, hmmmm; that will packed with a punch, no doubt.
Check back soon.