You’d have to be living on another planet to state the claim that you haven’t been affected in this year. We all came into this year proclaiming ‘It’s the year of perfect vision’, not knowing that we would definitely see some things that we’ve never seen. Everything started well…. But before the first quarter was over… A sucker punch we weren’t expecting: Corona. It made its way into our lives and changed everything. It nearly shut down the economy; closed almost everything, hindered travel and changed the way we do life… I’m sure you don’t need the reminder.
On the eve of New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but reflect on all of the loss that permeated our lives this year. Relationships ended, I watched people in my circle suffer because of CoCoRona (I have to make light of it somehow), whether economic loss or loss of family or friends. Then my own world was completely shattered on July 11th, when my superhero, my prototype of the Proverbs 31 woman – My mom – passed away. I struggled looking back and saw moments that I regret not traveling (against public policies) to see her a few more times; taking for granted that she’d be around when the smoke cleared. It’s been so hard. I’m struggling right now as I type to share these thoughts with you.
I can’t begin to tell you how taken aback I was when my son Chris called me with the news. In that moment, I couldn’t think about anything else that had ever happened in my life. I could only think about the fact that the very first person who ever loved me was gone. And even though it was NOT Covid related, it was a shock nonetheless. If I’d never been sucker punched, (And I have, but that’s a blog for a different day), this punch nearly wiped me out. I was driving when the call came through and literally don’t even remember getting home, let alone having the strength to call my siblings and other family members. If I didn’t know about the grace of God, I definitely got a fully intimate reminder that day and weeks to come.
For whoever didn’t know, a sucker punch is a to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation. I was definitely provoked. I wasn’t mad at God. I was just overwhelmed. Death is a part of life, but I’m fairly certain that at some point in my life, I prayed that all of my family died together so none of us would feel the sting of grief. Unrealistic, I know. But have we really been taught how to deal with grief, regardless of where it stems from?
How exactly do you recover from blow after blow in a year like this? In my time of study, meditation and begging God to tell me why why why this year has been filled with so much anguish, I found some interesting information about dealing with grief. Grief is universal. There’s not one formula for how to deal with it. The stages of grief have been listed as Denial* Anger* Bargaining* Depression* and Acceptance. But real life doesn’t follow a certain timeline or order; it’s just not that neat. Even Jesus chose to grieve when he knew the final outcome of Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). These are just a few ways that could help with grief as we ‘forget those things which are behind and reach for the things that are ahead‘:
- Change your perspective about grief: It’s a natural response to pain and loss. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or how long YOUR grieving process should take. Just don’t get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of grief and depression. Seek help if you do. Counseling is NOT TABOO!
- Grief can serve as a purpose to refresh our outlook on life, to stop taking life and the people in it for granted. Ecclesiastes 7:2 implies this principle.
- The feelings of grief are temporary. It may seem that we hurt and long for what we lost forever, but the Word declares in Psalm 30:5 that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning’. As with anything that God allows, grief has a LIMIT.
- The greatest thing to remember that God never abandons us during grief. He always provides love, hope and GRACE. When my sis-in-love told me that God would give me a special grace to handle the events leading up to Mom’s funeral, I believed her, but didn’t know how it would play out. I thought I’d fall apart when initially viewing her at the funeral home, BUT GOD. I thought I wouldn’t make it through her funeral… But my shy self was able to address everyone… Only by the Grace of God.
My prayer for you (And me) is that we allow God to continue working in and THROUGH us. I pray that you give all of your sorrow to God. Let him manage all of your pain and everything that seems insurmountable. I’ve said it before and I’ll add more to it before I take it back: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE STRONG. That’s what God is for. It’s a real thing to cast your cares on Him. I didn’t think I’d survive the long week in Smithfield, NC. A lot of us didn’t know how we’d get through 2020. This has been a LONG year in terms of the drama and foolery of life during the pandemic. But if you’re reading this, guess what? WE’RE STILL HERE. If that’s not a reason to give God praise, I don’t know what is.
Go into 2021 knowing that God has gone before us, and He is able to keep us.
Happy New Year Fam!