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. 


I, 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.


Send mail to joycekernek@windstream.net with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2004 - 2011 Joyce Loomis-Kernek
Last modified: January 05, 2014