Have You Given Yourself Permission to Grieve?

by Jan 16, 2019

The loss of a parent is the loss of the past.

The loss of a spouse is the lost of the present.

The loss of a child is the loss of the future.

In your loss, have you experienced this to be true?

As I got into the car the other day to go to the market, I heard the last 2 minutes of Tinyburg Tales where their story expressed the above thoughts on loss. That insight caused me to think differently about the losses I’ve experienced.

Past, Present, Future

I’ve never looked at death of a loved one in quite that way. When my grandparents died, our active connection with their past was lost. When Mom and Dad died, that part of my past also died.

If your grandparents or parents are dead, you too will have experienced this loss of the past. Sadly, there are no more opportunities to ask questions to learn what they had been thinking or feeling.

When my marriage died, there was the loss of all we had been building together. The loss of the family unit. The loss of two being one – which brings a loss of identity in its wake.

If you’ve lost a spouse, your life is shaken. You have lost your present.

When my brothers died, there was also the loss of the present – the things that are part of my today.

If you have lost a sibling, you understand family dynamics and gatherings are not the same. In the present moment, you can no longer pick up the phone and have a happy chat.

When my precious daughter, Charissa, died, all the dreams and hopes for her life died with her. The joys of the future – first steps, first words, the first time she kissed me or said “I love you”, going to first grade, her first dance, graduation, marriage, her first child. It all died with her.

If you have lost a child, you understand the deep grief and the huge loss of the future.

Why You Can’t Just Move On

I am sure you are with me on this. If we look at loss in this way, we cannot be glib about it or tell someone they “just need to move on”.

The loss of the beloved one is huge, cutting deep into our heart, our soul, our mind, and slashing across our life. It cannot be quickly gotten over, for their impact has changed who we are as a person.

I am richer because of each of the precious individuals who once were in my life. And I have had to give myself permission to grieve the loss of what can no longer be.

What is my point? It is okay to weep. Sometimes I still weep; that is healthy. When we block our tears, tell ourself to buck up, or walk through life with a stiff upper lip – we are so much poorer. Worse, anger lies hidden deep within the very cells of our body, waiting to erupt in a toxic way. The result is we become bitter and cold. 

Did you know the word for grief in Hebrew also can mean worship? Have you ever seen a room kept exactly the way it was before the loved one died? When grief is not properly expressed, it becomes worship of what limits and ties us to death.

The Worship of Sorrow

The wonderful thing is your grief is an opportunity to worship the Lord, who bears your sorrows. But that means becoming vulnerable and expressing your grief at the feet of our Lord. Like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, who grieved over his beloved people, we need to learn to weep.

Or like the woman who worshiped at the feet of Jesus as she anointed His feet with her tears. Did you know when you pour out your pain before the Lord, He receives it as a sweet smelling offering?

It is true! God cares about your tears.

He understands your grief for He watched His beloved Son die on Calvary so you and I might go free. His heart was broken as all the sins of the universe were placed upon Jesus. Today, the Lord grieves with you as you grieve.

There are many losses we grieve – for people, lost jobs or careers, lost reputation, loss of our home, loss of memories; we even grieve lost opportunities. That is as it should be. To deny our grief is to deny our personhood.

Grief is a cutting deep within. Think of a wood carver. He takes a piece of wood and begins to cut. Over time, with multiple cuts, a different shape begins to form. As he wrestles with the wood, turning it this way and that, he fashions it into an fresh object of beauty.

The wood has experienced grief. It can never be what it was. But the process has transformed it into something new that brings joy to the observers.

Feel Your Grief

Dear heart, I urge you to give yourself permission to grieve. Allow your grief to be expressed. At times anger will erupt. That is normal and healthy – especially when expressed within boundaries.

Other times there will be overwhelming pain. Don’t stuff it. Allow the Lord to use your pain to transform you and shape you into a person who is tender, compassionate, and kind.

Your tears are valuable. They are a sign of your love for the one who is missing. That person was of inestimable value. And so are you! You cannot heal or grow more beautiful unless you give yourself permission to grieve and allow the tears to flow.

The wonderful news is whether you are grieving the past, the present, or the future, Jesus is with you. He will walk with you through the past, the present, and into the future.

My dear friend, if Jesus is your Lord, you have a future hope. One day, He will gently wipe away all tears from your eyes.

For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Revelation 7:17 NLT

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