Monday, November 11, 2013

Coping with Grief: A Christian Perspective

I don't claim to be an expert and I'm not telling you how to feel or when to feel it. I'm just a mom who is going through this journey of learning to live this life on earth without my son. Over the past year I've learned a few things that have helped me along the way.

Life is never the same, but you have to learn to cope, or adapt. It is a very long process. Everyone grieves differently. Anger, shock, sadness, denial, depression, and even physical pain are all feelings associated with grief that everyone will likely feel. Pain of grief is unique. There are no magic words to take away this pain, but in this pain you will learn to live by faith. Living by faith allows you to learn to cope with the despair that you're feeling. Grieving is a natural response and is necessary to heal.


Music can be very powerful therapy. Just hearing the words that you feel from someone else is comforting. The most helpful song for me is Mercy Me's "The Hurt and the Healer."

Some other songs that are awesome are:
"Keep Singing"-Mercy Me
"With Hope"-Steven Curtis Chapman
"There Will be a Day"-Jeremy Camp
"Already There"-Casting Crowns


My pastor, who's daughter passed away as a young adult, preached on worship this last Sunday. He said that worshipping when your heart is broken is pure worship. That kind of worship is about God's character and not the things he gives you. It will restore you, help you regain your perspective, and help you focus on the eternity. It was hard for me sometimes to worship, to be honest. The words just didn't seem authentic to me because I allowed bitterness in my heart. There were also sometimes when I just didn't want to be happy, but I sang the words anyway. I definitely felt that way at Noah's life celebration service. I used all of the courage and energy I had to sing those words. God gave me a great gift when he gave me Noah. I am not about to let Satan take my thankfulness away.


In order to control the bitterness, I think it's important to read scripture often when you're grieving. I remember asking my friends for their favorite scripture. Here are a few verses to meditate on:

  • "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
  • "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
  • "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength." Isaiah 40:31
  • "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
I think it's important to remember verse 13. When you're in the pit of despair and you don't know how you're going to make it through, God will meet you there, you just have to ask.


Noah passed away in Oklahoma. A week later we had to fly back home to Oregon, without him. That was the most difficult trip I've ever made. I went to Oklahoma with a son in each hand and left with the 11x16 picture that was on display at his funeral and his little brother instead. On the airplane I read the entire book, Heaven is for Real. It's about a young boy who almost died from appendicitis. While he was in surgery he actually went to Heaven and then came back. The book paints a beautiful picture of Heaven and is very believable. It's also easy to read. Another good book to read is Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie. Her daughter and son passed away from Zellweger Syndrome. Also an easy read and Biblically based.


We attended a class called Grief Share. It's a nationwide program that is Christian based. It's for anyone who is going through the grieving process. They meet once a week. I highly recommend at least trying it out. Another thing that is helpful is to have a friend who will listen to you talk through your emotions at any time. I am blessed with a lot of family and friends who have been there to listen, encourage, or just sit with me. You can also seek counsel with a pastor or a therapist. Do what's best for you.


Imagine if we lived in a world full of disappointments, pain, war, shootings, death, etc. Oh wait, we do. I'm not saying that there is nothing good in this world. God is good and his creations are good. If you think this life is void of pain, then you're in a bubble. Sorry to tell you that. Even if you haven't experienced some kind of heartache, this world is still not perfect. However, there is a place that is. A place where there are no more tears, no more suffering. Our home is there. (Philippians 3:20).

Just remember, our lives change whether we want them to or not, but God does not change. His dwelling place is Heaven, where Noah is. He's safe and sound from this world and that is where I will spend eternity. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16