Grief is a funny thing. I’ve been told that everyone grieves differently. Before this year the only thing I had grieved that I had to say a complete goodbye to has been pets. I remember my dog Levi dying 5 years ago and I was completely depressed. Most of my friends didn’t understand why I was so upset but I had said goodbye to something that held thousands of memories. I shared secrets with my dog. He was one that grew up with me. Knowing the way I handled the grief of my dog I knew that whenever I lost a person by death I would be shattered.
On Monday my dad died.
When I first found out about my dad I was sitting on the couch in my grandparents house eyes closed as tight as possible with tears streaming down and thinking “I just can’t open my eyes. I can’t.”
” He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4
My dad battled an ugly war of cancer for a year. Surgeries and the pain were unbearable. But at the same time in the last year he learned how to live fully. Before he died he accepted Jesus into his heart which was a prayer answered. There was great sorrow that filled my heart but at the same time there was unending joy knowing that while I was weeping my dad was rejoicing in the full glory of God. In a lot of ways I had a peace that surpassed all understanding. There’s was no fear, no regrets of I wish I forgave, no anger towards God for taking him home. There was peace. Peace, joy, and sorrow.
I went to bible study the next day and people were asking how I was. The whole time I was thinking that people probably thought I was bottling things in because I wasn’t sad I was excited. But this brought a ton of shame in that moment. I started fearing that I wasn’t dealing with my dad’s death and that weeks from now I would snap. The fear of being a bad person came back to try and take me captive to its long list of lies. As I analyzed on how bad I was doing at grieving God gently reminded me that there is no bad grieving.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:4-7 ESV
Though my dad left this earth and I’ll never hear his voice or be able to visit him, I am rejoicing that he was lost on this Earth but before his breaths ran out he confessed Jesus as His Lord and Savior and he isn’t burning in hell! He’s in the full presence of our Daddy! That makes me rejoice.
But what happens when death is persistent? What happens when it feels like you’re losing more?
Two days after my dad went to Heaven my Grandpa who’s been there for me, lives next door, and has seen me become who I am today also died.
No one could’ve ever told me that I would lose two family members on different sides of the States to cancer the same week.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:2 ESV
My hearts been heavy. But God’s grace has been so strong.
This past week has been hard to say the least but you know what’s cool? God takes the darkest things like death to create hope, goodness, peace, and even joy! Don’t believe me? Here’s one more story from this week.
Before my grandpa died he was in a care home recovering from a fall and from cancer. He was diagnosed in July and was released from this earth 4 months later. During the past 4 months I’ve had several opp of unities to pray with him. He’s been walking with Christ for decades so it was always accepted. I prayed bold prayers. Prayers of healing that he would have decades added to his life, that he would be better than before. And I believed them all. As the months went on my grandpa started calling me his prayer warrior. In my flesh this scared me because what if he didn’t get healed, but God kept prompting me to pray and my grandpa never let me leave without praying first. After he passed my mom who is a teacher, needed to get some plans together for the next week when her substitute came in. Her sub was a young Hispanic girl named Lorena. We got into a conversation with her about how my mom and I lost my dad and grandpa to cancer and she’d be out the next week. Lorena eventually asked how we dealt with different things because her 20 year old cousin was just diagnosed. As she spoke hopelessness was all over her face. The Holy Spirit prompted my heart to pray with her. So I told her well we will be praying for you. Not what God said. So He prompted me again. Inside I was not ok because I didn’t know what she believed, I didn’t know what to say, my prayers for my grandpa didn’t get answered the way most people would’ve been ok with. But He reminded me, “You’re my prayer warrior.” So I asked, “can we pray for you now?”
I don’t know what circumstances you’re facing as you read this blog. You’re faith could be so thin and your fears could be overwhelming but know that God is with you and He’s FOR you. There’s no good grief of bad grief. There grief and it hits you in the most inconvenient places, and tells you it will never leave. It makes you lose words and tell you that you’ll turn into the ugliest version of yourself. That’s not true. Truth is grief is a feeling not a future.
I pray as your life goes through the valleys and mountains:
“I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
Isaiah 51:12-16 ESV