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How Can I Find Relief From Grief?

Inspirational podcasts, videos and stories to help you deal with life’s challenges and losses using biblical principles.

Introduction

Loss brings grief. For many of us, bereavement acts like a disease. Its symptoms can be deep and debilitating, and its cycle is repetitive and exhausting. Grief is tough and yet is an important and even healthy part of our coping with traumatic personal losses. So, how do we go about finding the healing part? How do we know what to hang on to, what to let go of and when any of this should happen?

What is Grief?

Grief is the natural response we have to loss. The more significant the loss, the more deeply we feel the pain and suffering of having the thing or person we loved taken away from us. The loss may be immensely significant, like the death of a child. Other losses can cause us to grieve as well: divorce, losing your job, death of a pet, miscarriage, retirement, losing a friend, or even moving to a new city. Whatever the loss you are experiencing, it is personal to you and your pain is nothing to be ashamed of.

What happens as we grieve? The experience of grief is unique for each individual and it isn’t always a linear process, but many people experience the “five stages of grief.”

Recognizing and acknowledging the stages of grief

1. Denial

This is a natural defense mechanism that helps us deal with trauma gradually. “I don’t believe it. This can’t be happening to me.” Denial helps us pace our feelings of grief.

2. Anger

We feel anger at the injustice of our pain and loss. “Who is to blame for this? Why is this happening?” We can use scriptural principles to combat anger and blaming.

3. Bargaining

We want to find a way take back control of the situation. “Promise this will never happen to me again, and I will do _________.” We must allow His spirit to manage our anger and do the bargaining for us.

4. Depression

Once we begin to feel depressed, we have to a degree already accepted much of our trauma and are now faced with carrying its weight. “I’m too sad to do anything.” Go to God in prayer and look for faith strengthening aspects of your life.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance provides all of the necessary strength to carry whatever we need to carry. “I am at peace with what happened.”

Using Faith to Find Your Way Through Grief

Our faith in Jesus can help us find healing as we experience the grieving process.

“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And he opened the book and found the place where it was written, The spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.”

Luke 4:17-21 (NASB) (Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth)

Set free is to release from bondage. Oppressed means to be crushed. When we think of grief, we think of the bondage of being crushed by a loss. Jesus is essentially saying, “I came for YOU and I understand what you are going through.”

While it is encouraging to know that Jesus did come to relieve our suffering, we also know that this relief will not come miraculously. Jesus helps us through it.

Two Stories of Faith and Grief

The stories of these two women are very different, but they have one thing in common: Faith in Jesus helped them through their loss, and continues to heal them through the daily process of grieving. Here are a few of the lessons they learned in Grief.

Listen to Becca’s story about losing her mother at a young age and how she is now grieving a very private, invisible loss as an adult.

oily water evoking grief

Ep.1011: How Do You Find Your Way Through Grief?

Accepting, managing and growing from grief and its sorrow

Lesson #1: Allow Yourself to Grieve

Cry and allow yourself to feel sadness, anger, confusion — whatever emotion you are feeling. Give voice to those feelings and share them with others. Carrying a “secret loss” is only as secret as you let it be, says Becca in her story about the experiences of infertility. Don’t worry about trying to “make everything okay” for yourselves or others during this time.

The first stages of grief are about denial, disbelief, betrayal, confusion and then more intense emotions of anger and sadness. Sometimes we are just not ready to see the reality and mercy of God’s long-term plans, but you can hold onto your hope in God.

Anger is an especially difficult stage to work through. Listen to “What Are We So Angry About?” to learn more.

“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And he opened the book and found the place where it was written, The spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD.”

Isaiah 26:3-4: (NASB)

Lesson #2: The Cycle of Emotions & Trust

Many people experience a cycle of emotions between anger, denial, regret, sadness. Sometimes you may go through that cycle multiple times a day. This is a moment to experience humility, let go, and trust that God will take care of you. It is difficult work to let go and trust in the midst of uncertainty.

Because God is MY God, He is everlastingly worthy of complete trust:

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

Luke 4:17-21 (NASB) (Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth)

Lesson #3: Focus on Your Blessings

Those who have experienced tremendous grief and loss will tell you that they felt like they had to make a choice and to believe that things would get better. The women in our stories above both shared about making deliberate choices to focus on their blessings and to believe that God has a plan for their lives. Chase’s mom shared this about her marriage: “I knew that this experience could either break us apart or make us stronger. We made a choice to have it make us stronger.” Becca shared how prayer, her mental attitude, resetting her expectations, and trusting in God has helped her to accept her losses.

Because God is MY God, I have good reason to choose to refocus my thoughts higher.

“Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

Romans 12:12-13: (NASB)

Lesson #4: Compassion and Support for Others

After experiencing a devastating hurt, you may become more aware of others’ suffering. Our grief can help us turn to others for support, and then become a support for others who are in a similar situation. Chase’s mom shared that “a silver lining in sorrow’s dark cloud is that God can use our experiences to reach out to others with compassion and comfort.” Becca told us that her experience with loss and healing “has changed my entire life and purpose. It has made my life full. If my experience could help someone else, that would be one of the greatest blessings of my life.”

Because God is MY God, I am privileged to see with HIS light through MY darkness:

“For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.”

Psalms 18:28-29: (NASB)

Because God is MY God, I know where I can look to find real, powerful and healing help:

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; he who keeps you will not slumber.”

Psalms 121:1-3: (NASB)

Additional Resources

Ep.924: How Do You Stand When Life Gets Too Heavy?

Developing perseverance for life’s toughest experiences

Conclusion

Because God is MY God, He is present in our troubles which makes them into providences:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.”

Psalms 46:1-2: (NASB)

You can find your way through grief. Have faith in God, work at it and find support and grow, and always have hope.

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