Good Grief by Joyce Kernek
Training a horse is a process. It is a process in
which steps are taken in order. If any of the steps are skipped or
misunderstood, it can result in the horse getting stuck at a place in his
training. If he remain stuck, he will never reach the point of potentially
becoming a winner.
Christians are on a road in training. The Bible
tells us in Romans 12 1-2 to be transformed. Transformation is a process, not
a one-step occurrence. Transformation is a series of learning, applying and
growing. Each thing that we experience is another opportunity to grow. We
never stop growing until we leave this earth. If we do, the point of
potentially becoming all that God planned for us to become is stopped,
retarded or stymied.
This devotion is about something that can stop our
growth unless it is understood. The subject is grief. There is so much grief
in the world. Just lately, I have spoken with people who have lost loved
ones. I have several friends who have lost their barrel horses this summer
due to colic. I have another friend who lost one of her favorite dogs. I
have friends who have lost money in the stock market. I have friends who are
stuck in the grief of a divorce - a dream that turned into a nightmare. I
have friends who have lost their health.
myself, have known first hand the grief of suicide in my family and
the grief of the two separate car accidents that resulted in the deaths of
my mother and my brother. I have experienced the death of a 23 year
old marriage. I have lost great horses and some not so great.
I've lost friends due to misunderstandings and went through the loss of use
of my arms and went through the process to restore them one at a time.
I know a little about what I am writing about. I can encourage you
that if you do not get stuck in the grieving process, there is great joy on
the coming out side.
People who study the mind tell us that the process
has to be completed for us to grow from grief. The Bible tells us that there
are two kinds of sorrows. One causes us to grow - the other causes us to
die. One causes our roots to go deeper and our character to be developed -
the other causes us to become bitter and shrivels our soul. The difference in
growth or shrinking is a decision to take steps forward. It is a decision to
put the past behind and walk free toward the future. 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells
us that God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin
and seek eternal life. (living Bible) Ecclesiastes 7:3 tells us that sorrow
is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. When we
understand the process, sorrow has a positive influence in our lives.
I got so bogged down with grief at one point in my
life that I felt like I was wallowing in boggy mire and couldn't get my feet
free. God brought a woman to speak at our church who showed me the way out.
(God always sends the answer if we ask.) She spoke about losing her child and
becoming depressed for years and then finding her way out. Later, I attended
a Biblical seminar on grief. The faith to step out of my grief came from
gaining knowledge. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and
hearing by the word of God. I pray that this will touch someone to take a
step out of grief.
The steps that I have discovered may not be the
exact same steps that you need to take. Here they are:
1. It hurts. Jesus Christ was a man acquainted
with griefs and sorrows. He bore those for me. (Isaiah 53:4) I learned to
stand up and breathe deeply and visualize the cross and feel the hurt. If you
stand and hurt and think of that hurt going into the body of Christ on the
cross, the pain will go in time. Don't try to push the hurt down. Don't try to
work harder, lay in bed, take drugs, drink alcohol, shop, etc. None of those
responses will take away the hurt. They will create more grief. God can heal
what you are feeling.
2. I was angry. Realize that anger is a one
step in the process to heal. The Bible tells us to be angry and sin not. In
other words, anger is O.K. It is what we do with that anger that can become
sin. Eph. 4:26 Feel the anger. Anger turned inward becomes depression.
(That is where the word depression comes from....pushing down.)
3. I wanted to be bitter. Why is this happening
to me? This is the place where many become stuck. Bitterness can take root
in your life. You must kick it out. The warning is in Hebrews 12:15 "Look
after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God's best
blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it
springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives". I
learned to give myself a time limit. If someone or something hurts me, I want
it out of my conscious mind and inner being by the end of one week. I make
the decision to NOT let any bitterness take root. Pray and fast or do
whatever it takes to rid yourself of bitterness. It is easier when it first
comes in than it is after you have entertained it for a time. KICK IT OUT!
It will cause you both mental agony and health problems. It will clog up your
very soul and render you useless.
4. I gained new information. If you are stuck,
get information and move on. I worked through several divorce manuals
before getting free of the pain of divorce.
5. Do the thing that you fear. When I lost my
little Yorkie dog companion, I got a new one. The new one (Joy Blessing) has
been with me now for over 13 years. She has brought a lot of joy into my life
that I would have missed if I would have never risked loving another dog.
When I lost horses, I got another one, even when I lost 3 in one year. Now I
have a pasture full of wonderful and talented ones. At one time, I swore that
I would never date again. After 5 years, I began praying that if God had
someone who loved Him and would love me, that I would be open to risk
again. I have been married to George now for 3 years - 3 happy years that I
would have never experienced if I had lived behind the wall of fear of
the negative emotions of divorce.
6. Exercise and eat nutritional foods. When you
are tempted to stay in bed and wallow in grief, do not let yourself. Get out
into the air and move the blood around in your body. Get oxygen to your cells
and melatonin to your brain through the sunshine. Do not give in to
the temptations to cave in. Foods that you eat greatly influence your brain's
behavior. Most people can handle every day stresses, but when the grief is
too great for a person, and his adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, it
requires special attention to foods and exercise and sometimes even vitamins
or help from a Dr. Do not hesitate to ask your Dr. if you cannot come out of
grief alone. If you have had several overwhelming stresses in a row like I
did, you may need something to replenish the depleted chemicals in your body.
7. Keep a journal. Write down scriptures that
are meaningful to your process and your progress. Keep putting one foot in
front of the other. One day you will look back and be amazed at how fast the
days turned into years.
8. Trust Christ and read His word. Jesus Christ
came to heal the broken hearted. (Luke 4:18) Grief can literally break your
heart - but Jesus can put it back together again. I can testify that when He
puts it back together, it is much stronger than it was. Each repair that He
makes causes you to grow and become stronger.
9. Acceptance. This step is the step you take to
freedom. There are some things that will never be the same for me. Thank
God! They can be better. God can and will give us something to take the
place of what we lost. True acceptance brings peace and freedom.
10. Take inventory often to see if you are
progressing, stopping or moving forward.
The enemy of our soul would love for us to bog down and become useless.
Don't let that happen. You are a child of the KING and He has left
instruction for you to press on and in the process, you will be called on to
help and encourage others.