Friday, June 6, 2014

Mourning into Dancing

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness
 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent
Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."

It has been a while now, that I have been giving some thought to grief.  What it might mean, and the healthy way to grieve.  The first thing that came to mind is, I do not grieve and I need to learn how.  I think my first time at grieving happened recently over the loss of our first born child many years ago.

Grief is not a sin.  It is a healthy response to loss.  It is multifaceted like a diamond.  It affects our whole being.  We go through losses all the time: divorce, a miscarriage, a child leaving home, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or even a pet.  There are many losses we go through. Jesus compared LOSS to the labor of a mother who goes through pain, but in the end, births her child and forgets the pain.   Loss is in and out of our lives, but yet we continue with life and press on. You know you got to make hay while the sun shines!

We are supposed to be content in all circumstances.  How the devil can twist scripture.   Still we can find contentment in Christ.  Jesus was content in all circumstances, but yet He bore our grief.  He was complete, but yet He felt the pain of our losses.  His emotions did not direct the way He went.  His Father, our Father's will directed Him.  But the emotions followed.  Because of His character, He feels emotions.  He wept with those who weep.  He was with the Father.  He spent time with Him, depended on Him, talked to Him, waited on Him.

We are afraid we will get stuck in our grief.  We might get depressed and not be able to pull ourselves out of it.  So we go stoic and feel nothing at all.  We stuff it.   Sometimes we cannot feel God's presence and we enter into the Dark Night of the Soul.  We forget what we know to be true--that He will never leave us. Nothing can separate us from His love.  We concern ourselves that mourning will turn into sin, anger at God, for not getting what we wanted in life, or the life we wanted, although we might not admit it.  We might become bitter or angry at others instead of forgiving the way we are forgiven.  Grief is gonna come out some way ... we become angry toward others, for no reason it seems ... Or we turn inward with our anger and over time depression does come, at least for some.

Our grief can affect us physically, if not ALLOWED TO BE experienced.  Our physical bodies get worn down over time.  We can run to addictions of all kinds to deal with the pain we feel inside.  Maybe drugs, pornography, alcohol, or even good things like food, shopping, work, ministry.  We run and we hide from our pain.  We do anything to keep from feeling it and letting it drive us to Jesus.  We busy ourselves and our minds with television, computers, and texting friends.  Our minds are hardly ever quiet.  But God wants us to hear the whisper of His Word written on our hearts.

I would like to suggest, not to feel the grief you have all at one time, especially all of the past losses, where there are so many things to work through.  Have the help of a good friend, counselor, OR pastor. Feel the grief for a little while.  Then, put it on the shelf for a few days and just enjoy something.  Maybe creation with a walk, enjoying the sunrises and sunsets, the stars in the sky. Breathe deep, exhale. Feel the wind against your face. Eat something refreshing outside, maybe fruit, cheese or a frozen yogurt, listen to music in a cozy spot; light a candle.  Take a run, play tennis, basketball, enjoy your hobby--whatever your heart enjoys doing.  Go about daily living.  God loves you and He is with you.  Just learn to enjoy Him and be with Him.   

When we take our grief back down from the shelf, and we do feel the pain of it all, then allow yourself to embrace it.  Let your Father embrace you in that pain.  It is the eclipse of the heart.  As you press into God, know on the cross that one thing Jesus did was, He came to feel as you feel.  He incarnated with us. He became one of us.  To be able to say, "I know. I understand."  Jesus cares and grieves with you.  He bore our grief.  He wants to be your Comforter.  For you to share your inner most thoughts and experiences with Him.  To show you the way to grieve.  He weeps with those who weep.  Simply feel it, bit by bit and go to Him.  Tell Him the secrets of your pain.  Sharing brokenness with Him and with others who care, brings intimacy there.  It is a bond that cannot be broken.  God offers us sweet continual consolation.

In the past I have prayed, "Lord help me run to you and not away.  I believe, help my unbelief, that You are who You say You are.  I am the person You say that I am.  That you sent Jesus to give me hope.  I trust it to be true, that You are working all things into something good for me and Your great Name will shine through it all, because Your word tells me so.  There is no loss that can rob me from Your purposes in Christ.  I am Your treasure.  You are mine.  I am Your joy and delight.  Precious Lord, You are mine."

I think you will find in time that you are surprised by His grace once again.  A grateful, thankful beating heart erupts.  You worship the Lord with all that is in you.  It may not be sudden or all at once, but it comes in faith.  Trusting He will rescue you, comfort you, and be there for you. He will meet the deepest needs and longings of your heart.   It is a time to ask Him to show you how He has blessed you.  Maybe even through this loss, but if you can't see that yet,  then realize that His blessings still come to you in every day-to-day living.  Ask the Spirit to help you.  Think, If He never does another thing, but sent His Son for me, how amazing is that?  This may be all you can focus on now (and it is more than we will ever possibly need).  He lost it all to give you all: Himself.

You will be amazed by the joy that will soon come into your heart, mind and soul as He rescues you. He will do it over and over again.  It is a giving of your pain that you have held so tightly unto Him, and then receiving Him--His comfort, His delight, His ways ... then a delightful joy.   Your mighty Warrior has come to fight for you.  Go to Him.  He is waiting with arms wide open.  He will throw you a party beyond anything you can imagine.  Listen for the music of the gospel.  Your heart will sing a sweet, sweet chorus, and then you will both dance.

God truly does comfort us so we can give others the same comfort we have.

I wrote this a short while back.  I will be taking a little while off from posting.  I will continue to share others writings, articles, quotes, etc. so hope it serves you as well.  May your summer be off to a great start.  Blessings friends.