A Life of Love and Grief: How Salvation Brings Hope and Faith
Grief: The Unwelcomed Visitor!
Grief is not foreign to me. It has visited my home too many times. It has been an unwelcomed visitor much too often in the past 25 years. In wave after unrelenting wave, it knocked on my door. Being the caregiver of my family for all those years has taken its toll. From caring for my father, aunt, mother, and enduring many other family members who have passed on. Leaving grief in its wake has left its mark.
Grief Has Many Faces
Today and for the past 5 years fighting to find the strength to care for my sweet husband, who is nearing the end of his long battle with cancer. It has been a long road to travel, with many ups and downs. Some of it has been good times, and much of it has been unspeakable. Drenched with pain and tears, stress and lack of sleep. Grief is never easy, and it does not only come after a death.
Grief Comes as Loss of Control
Sorrow and grief shows its ugly face way before death comes. It shows up in the loss of control over the given situation. The loss of normalcy throughout the battle called cancer. It shows up in the many “what if’s” and “why’s”. The loss of quality time and making of new memories in the days, weeks and months that we know will never be. Grief comes in all the overwhelming doctor appointments, treatments, and hospital stays that have become routine in our life. The new way of life, that means living each day as if there will be no tomorrow. In the never knowing when the next emergency room visit will be. In the never ending expectation of a soon coming goodbye. And the hope that there will be time to even say it, in that dreadful moment.
Grief Can Come as Loss
Grief comes in the thought that he will never get to see our beloved grandbabies grow up. He will never see who God chooses for them to marry. Nor the beautiful blessing of their children to bounce on his knee. Never will they experience the love of “poppy’s” arms while he cooks them his famous “negg” (egg) for breakfast that has become his tradition.
They won’t get to say “fwip it poppy” as he turns the egg in the pan. This has been his special breakfast tradition with our grandbabies for 9 years now. While most of them are too big for him to hold in his arms while he cooks, they still want Poppy to cook their eggs. I am grateful they will have those memories for the rest of their life. Some of them are old enough now to never forget the many things they love about the man they call poppy.
Grief May Come, But it Cannot steal Our Faith & Hope
Grief is a heavy weight to carry, and always seems to be relentless, and often comes in waves. But the one thing grief will never take from me is my faith and hope. Faith that God will use every ounce of grief I have endured and still have to face. To help someone else endure the same with strength and hope. Hope to know that tomorrow will come. And it will be exactly what God has designated it to be.
Faith that I have done everything in my power to be the best caretaker, wife, soul mate and friend to my husband that ever could be. No one else was given this assignment, and no one else is qualified to complete it. Just me, him and Jesus! And complete it, we will. Although God never said it would be easy. I have faith in knowing God will give us the strength to carry on and finish this journey, just as He planned us to do.
Staying Positive and Hopeful When Grief Comes
Next week, we face many new decisions regarding his care and new developments in the worsening of his condition. Decisions we hoped would be many more years away, but have found our home unexpectedly today. We knew this day would come. In all that we have faced in the past 5 years, we still lived in faith that we would have more time. We have stayed positive and hopeful, we never speak negative or of doom and gloom over the prognosis. Living with the perspective that it could always be worse, and God is still good! He has given us so many blessings and so much more than we ever deserved. Time, oh my goodness, He has surely given us time. In 2017, the doctors said less than 6 months. We said, “nope, God is not done with him yet” and God gave us 5 years.
Memories Will be Ours Forever Despite Grief
5 YEARS: five years to make wonderful memories with our children and grandchildren. Five years of trips to our favorite cabin over looking the river while the babies run and play in the yard. Memories we will never forget. Time may be slipping away now, and another 5 years of memories will likely not come. Time! Oh, the time is never enough! Despite the blessing of the 5 years God has given us, no amount of time is ever enough, is it? There will be no day we are ever ready or even prepared to say our goodbyes. Yes, we are grateful we have had 5 years of warning. 5 years to prepare, to make memories and plan those final things. So many never get those 5 years or even 5 final minutes. Grief can never take that away from us!
Biblical Example of Oneness in Marriage is Difficult to Achieve
I often think about how in the Bible it speaks of becoming one with our spouse. How it speaks of leaving our parents to “cleave” unto one another, husband and wife. From “Forerunner Commentary” on BibleTools.org I found this:
In the New King James Version, Genesis 2:24 reads that the man and woman are to “be joined to” each other, while the King James Version uses the more traditional term, “cleave to.” These phrases are important, because in them God is signaling to those studying into His purpose for marriage that achieving the oneness He desires in marriage is difficult. If the couple is not truly cleaving to one another, the marriage will not produce good fruit, and the two may slip apart from each other rather than grow ever closer.Forerunner Commentary on Bibletools.org
The Hebrew term underlying “join” or “cleave,” dâbaq, is a strong word that has the literal sense of two being held together by force, as when one person captures another. It has a figurative sense of being “glued to” through positive family care. In a marriage-and-family situation, it portrays a bond of consistent, sacrificial loyalty and devotion.
A Triple-Braided Cord
“Held together by force”, being “glued to.” In my life, losing a parent has been the hardest experiences of grief I have ever endured. But this, my friends, the thought of losing my husband, my best friend, my soul mate. The one I am “glued to” is something I never could have imagined! When two things are glued together or held together by force, it takes extreme strength to pull them apart. The oneness of a husband and wife rooted in the love of Christ is the strongest force on earth. It is not easily separated, as stated in Ecclesiastes.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
The Cord Integrity Changed Forever
Our marriage was built on that foundation. The foundation of Christ woven in the bonds of our vows as a cord of three strands braided together.
When we married, we actually braided a three strand cord together during our vows. We glued the strands together for longevity of what it represented. The cord still hangs by the threshold of our home as a daily reminder when we enter or leave. God is braided together with us in the vows we both took. Little did I know that day when we braided that cord, just how much meaning it would have today. As we are nearing the end of our journey together on this earth. To rip that braided cord apart would destroy the very fibers of each individual strand. Forever changing its shape, form and character! The outlook of losing a spouse is much the same, it will forever change us!
Grief Changes Us Deeply
Yes, I will have the memories, and his love will never leave me, nor my love for him. But the deep scars grief and death will leave behind will forever change me on the deepest level. I am so thankful we braided that cord on our wedding day. A symbol that established our desire to include Christ in every part of our union. But today it stands also as a symbol of the strong force that holds us together through this battle, and the unrelenting affects grief and death have on our lives.
Grief Cannot Take God’s Goodness Towards Us
Oh my friend, must we never forget that despite all that grief lays at our door, God’s mercies are new every morning. His love never ends, and He is more faithful than a friend in our times of need. He is right here with us, He will carry us through. He is light and love, He is hope and joy. The expectation of hope that we hold on to. That one day we will see all those who are in Christ again some day in Heaven.
Love Well & Cherish the Moments We are Given
Heaven in the Kingdom of God is the only forever we have! The most important thing we can do in this life is not only to love well and cherish every moment we are given with those we love, but also to ensure that those we love also know and love Jesus and have given their life to Him. So they too can have eternal life, and we will see them again on the streets of gold.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”Hebrews 11:1 AMPC
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:4 NKJV
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”John 3:16 MEV
Prayer to Make God Your Lord and Savior
If you don’t know the Lord, I want to invite you to ask Him to be your personal Lord and Savior today. It’s not hard, and there is no magic formula. Simply pray this prayer:
Father God, I believe you sent your only begotten Son to die on the cross for my sins, and that whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. Father, please forgive me of my sins, come into my life and save my soul, so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with you. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray. Amen!
Friend, if you prayed that prayer, leave a comment and let me know, so I can continue to pray for you. Find a local church to connect with, and Christian friends that can help you start your new life in Christ. I pray this raw part of my life I currently endure has been a blessing to you and may help you with your own journey of grief. May the God of love and peace wrap you in His arms and carry you through as He has me.
Stages of Grief: No Two People Deal with it the Same Way
I just want to add… If you are dealing with grief, please realize the old model that says there are 5 stages of grief is flawed. It is not liner. No two people deal with grief in the same way or the same cycles. Grief looks different for everyone, and no psychological made up model can depict what grief will look like for you.
So if you are looking to the 5 stages of grief and expecting yours to look like that, please stop and let yourself heal and deal with grief in whatever way it comes for you. Don’t hold yourself to a model you will never be able to align with. God made each of us unique, He sees your heart, and only God can help you through the grief you are dealing with.
The Secret Place of Devotion with God Brings Peace During Grief
Get into the secret place of intimacy with the Father, lean on and trust in Him. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and give you the peace you need during your time of grief. Grief begins way before death comes. Fill yourself with the comfort of God’s Word to refresh your spirit. Try journaling with Jesus to unload your heart to the Lord, it has been so helpful to me. Check out our series on Secret Place journaling to learn more.
Further Helps & Support
For those interested in a good Bible-based support group, I invite you on this journey of healing to connect with a group at Grief Share – Grief Recovery Support. They have many in-person support groups across the country, as well as online groups you can join. Joining a Grief Share group is generally free, with the exception of the workbook. Some charge a small fee for the workbook. While others provide it for free or provide scholarships for those in need. Their website has so many helpful articles and information you may want to bookmark for future use. Maybe you are not dealing with grief right now; but we all endure grief at some point. Grief Share is a valuable tool to have saved for later.