“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." (Revelation 21:4-5a)
"To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)
Beginning To Thaw
I don’t want to be here
It’s happened way too much
My losses have been stacking
Like a fortress made of cups
One on top of the other
No time to sort them out
Sometimes I want to cry aloud
Sometimes I want to shout
I’ve walled it out like a shield
I’ve walled it in like a tomb
All the pain, the grief, the unrest
The flowers of loss in full bloom
So today He came knocking
Today through the words in a book
He grabbed the branches of my loss
And with all His might He shook
The leaves of my soul began falling
The loss became increasingly raw
The cold, barren places within me
At last were beginning to thaw
"How could he have done that?
Why did she have to die?
Why wouldn’t she forgive me?
Why did he have to lie?
Why didn’t they love me?
What does all of this mean?
How could I be so foolish
as to let my heart be seen?"
Each loss has been diminishing
Part of my soul has been shut off
Each one a nick that’s still bleeding
Soul death the precipitous cost
I’ve been cowering alone here
Crushed under the intense weight
Tears like rivers they are falling
The refreshing streams of grace
“Come here, my daughter
Open your soul to me
Give me all your losses
And I will set you free
I’ve seen each tear you’ve cried
I’ve held you as you’ve bled
Those losses cannot stop my plan
I know how to raise the dead
Let me hold you, let me in
Let me wash each precious wound
You’re not meant to die here
Although your loss feels like a tomb
I’ve walked the path of loss
I know the ways of pain
Let my love for you caress you
Like a gentle summer rain
I will restore all things
Your loss is not the end
I give beauty for the ashes
my child, my daughter, my friend
This world bombards the soul
With loss, with ache, with death
But I have overcome the world
Let go, and I will give you breath…"
In just the past three and a half years, I have lost lost my dog, and six people to death: my dad, friends, and people who had the ability to make me feel like I'd known them forever in just an instant of time. I have lost two people to he whose sole (and soul) purpose is to "steal, kill, and destroy," and one person I lost to darkness so deep it outshined the light of truth. (John 10:10)
John Eldredge in his book, Get Your Life Back says this about stacked up grief/loss, "What's available in us is lessened through our losses." With each new loss, something is etched away of trust and hope, and the etching of fear replaces it. We become guarded, even with God.
So, as I picked up his book last week and began to read Chapter 10, God arrested my attention with the weight of all my stacked up grief. In H Is For Hawk, Helen Macdonald says this of grief after losing her father, "And for the first time I understood the shape of my grief. I could feel exactly how big it was. It was the strangest feeling, like holding something the size of a mountain in my arms."
Allow yourself to feel it.
Don’t lessen it, make light of it, deny it, or drown in it.
Don’t set deadlines for its departure.
Don’t get stuck in the stages.
Don’t reach for distraction.
Don’t stop forward progress.
Don’t allow life to run over your grief—take time to unpack and unload it.
Don’t feel guilty when it starts to not hurt as much as before.
Choose to live despite the loss.
Trust the Lord in the loss.
Ask Him to allow the loss to work through you to help others.
Walk through the valley of the shadow of death…if we stop, we stagnate. (Psalm 23)
Know that you are not alone in your loss.
Life is fast…grief is slow.
Allow your soul to remain in the land of the living, for the dead cannot live again, except in our memory, until we embrace them in the presence of God when we are all truly home, and all things are made new.
Let your grief flow from loss to love—where the ache shifts from missing them deeply to longing to love them and remember them with joy that you knew them and were known by them.
Be brave in your grief by allowing yourself to be weak in it.
Be courageous in the Lord and His ability to carry you through your loss.
Remember that He is still good, even when bad things happen.
There will never be a time when you will lose Him, nor will there ever be a time when He will lose you.
Our journey here is not easy—but anything worthwhile never is.
Don’t quit—Ever, for someday all of this pain will be turned into joy unspeakable and full of glory… (1 Peter 1:8)
Let Him in. Cling to Him. Don’t let go.
You are loved so much more than you know… “Father show them Your heart, here and now, in whatever loss they may find themselves in at this moment: the loss of a loved one; a parent, a spouse, a sister, a brother, a child, a friend. The loss of a dream, the loss of a job, the loss of their health, the loss of a partner, the loss of the path that they were so sure they knew…comfort them, God of all comfort. Caress the hurting places with Your love and care. Heal them. Mend. Restore. Carry. Breathe into them I pray, in the mighty wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen”
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
qUIET IN CHAOS
Quiet in Chaos is a blog about nothing, everything, and all things inbetween…it’s a space, an ellipsis, a deep pause. Life can be chaotic, and often needs more moments of quiet…So join me as I share and give through the written word, the place I find my Quiet in Chaos…