Today’s Coffee of Choice: “Jamaican Me Crazy” freshly ground beans from Village Street Cafe
Today’s Scripture: It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. – Hebrews 11:27
Have you ever had to leave something or someone you loved behind? Whether it was for a brief time or an indefinite period, the process of leaving is not easy.
Recently, cancer once again forced me to experience separation from individuals I cared about. In the recent months, I’ve lost two more friends to the disease. The shock I faced in 2010, when cancer worked its way through my family while also facing the sudden deaths of several friends, was revisited. (Click here to read my thoughts surrounding funeral four of six during that time.) One of the recent individuals I lost served as a mentor to me as a young Christian and is still one of the main examples of faith that propels me forward in leadership roles I carry in my current season. In tandem with the loss of my friends was tragic news of the deaths of two young children of a dear couple in ministry in North Carolina. Learning of it made me hit my knees so hard on their behalf I think the carpet prints are still there. Then, there is the beautiful friend who succumbed to the choices she made while living ALL the aspects of a model’s lifestyle in Europe…. The devastation of it all can be so overwhelming sometimes.
Grief is tricky. Unless you have suffered a great loss, you cannot understand the mixed emotions or sudden tears that can often interrupt a day. Grief is also not limited to the loss of a loved one. It can happen with the loss of a pet, a marriage, or even a change in where you live. I can’t help but think that the Israelite nation faced grief as they stepped away from everything they had ever known, despite the pain they endured as slaves while living in Egypt, and pushed forward toward the land they were promised.
So, how do we deal with grief? I once had a conversation with the author of The Mended Heart, Suzie Eller. She shared her thoughts on the grief that often occurs within abuse survivors, and a cancer survivor who was seated at a table with us shared her perspective as well. Until that point, I had never considered grief as a response to abuse or living through a terminal disease, but it made sense to me as we all talked. The conversation was one of those I will never forget where time stopped and sisters in Christ were encouraged by each other in a way only God can make happen. One of the main conclusions we all came to is that you just have to let grief work its course in your life, not fight the emotions, and surround yourself with safe people while doing so. We decided that:
Another way I’ve discovered to help process grief is to cling to the wisdom found in Scripture. This helps negate the lies and negativity often found in the world around us. In Hebrews 11:27, we see five keys to follow when facing any major challenge… including the unpredictability of grief:
It was by faith (#1- HAVE FAITH!) that Moses left the land of Egypt (#2- Choose to leave the “Egypts” in your life behind you.), not fearing the king’s anger (#3- Don’t fear.). He kept right on going (#4- Don’t EVER give up.) because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible (#5- Keep your eyes fixed on Jehovah Jireh, your provider.).
May God bless you if you’re in the throes of grief during this season of your life. May you find His great peace in the midst. Please comment below if you would like me to be praying for you.