In the trenches of grief

finding christ in grief Trudging through grief is like trudging through mud. Mud as waves: powerful and thick, vast and unknown, mysterious and dangerous, dominant.

[My eyes are red with weeping; darkness covers my eyes. -JOB 16:16]

[Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. -KING DAVID Psalm 30:5]

As the waves of sorrow billow onto the shore of where you once stood, you wonder when and how and why you are now in the middle of the gushing water that threatens to crush your fragile and frail body.

trudging through grief

[I too have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. When I go to bed, I think, 'When will it be morning?' But the night drags on and I toss til dawn. -JOB 7:3-4]

You catch glimpses of rocks, boulders, in the distance and wonder how they remain so faithfully strong up against the wall of the earth. They bolster the dirt that turns into mountains and you wonder how they do that? How do stones enlarge themselves to be strong and mighty, so much so that they hold up the earth as hills to hike and we walk above and below and beside them? How do those stones and those rocks abide on the shore and never leave land, continuing to exist safely ashore? Sure, high tide kicks in and the swelling waves sink their splashes onto the rock's surface; but never are the rocks, boulders, hurled into the depths of those surging masses of water in danger. The rocks do not toss around among the towering surges of ocean, they are not fickle and weak, bending beneath the strength of...water. They dwell in the sand upon the shore at the very base of the mountain. If only you could stand on that rock.

[The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. -KIND DAVID Psalm 18:2]

Grief is dreadful and distressing, often dislocating you into the dwelling of depression. Pressed deep within yourself, that is how depression feels. Pressed-deep within yourself. Trapped, entangled, imprisoned by self and sorrow and sadness and suffering.

[I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. I must complain in my bitterness. -JOB 7:11]

Some sit with you in silence, not forcing words or furthering hurt. Some hug you as you sob and pray with you when you have no words. And it is no wonder God gave us the church - to find a few close friends who offer grace instead of shame.

Some say [out of love] they understand but they don't. How could they? They are not you; they do not feel your feels or know your heart or know your time with Him. They may understand to an extent but this was not given to them to process, this was given to you and only He fully understands. They assume incorrectly and offer formulas that mean nothing but agony and guilt to you. Formulas that sound righteous and right, holy and honorable, devoted and devout. But formulas are just that: formulas. And He does not work with formulas. There is no formulating your way out of the trenches of grief and despair and into His place of peace and refuge. There is no one formula to march out from the waves with your very own strength to stand upon the Rock. I know this so well, because often I am placed in the category of "they," in my self-righteous state of thinking I know. And for that I am terribly and awfully sorry. Gravely, I apologize for thinking that I know where you are, because surely I do not. I am not Him. I am both culprit and critic. I am guilty as charged.

formula for grief

[People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling...Please be quiet! That is the smartest thing you could do. -JOB 12:5, 13:5]

I have something for you, dear Reader, who may reads these words and may [or may not] nod with each syllable. I have something for you that was given to me today, as I was stuck in the depths of despair, unsure that I could be pulled out. As I drove from point A to point B in my shiny vehicle-car, I sobbed into the wheel that steers and I had no will and no discipline to speak Truth to combat the dark cloud that looms all the days and all the nights, stringing together in darkness. But I have a friend that is dear, dear to me and dear to you, now, because I will share the Truth words she sent to me while I was out in the waves being tossed around much like a rag doll. Brace yourself now, for tears will ensue if you are needing a stony hard and angry heart to be broken and crumbled at the cross in humility. Ready? Commence reading and read aloud:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Your plans are to bring me good and not to harm me.

You will never leave or forsake me.

You have loved me with an everlasting love.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

I am made in your image.

In you, I am new.

You are faithful.

As I obey you, you will give me the desires of my heart.

Even the birds are beautifully clothed and fed, you care for me.

You clothe me in strength and dignity.

You uphold  the weak and comfort the broken hearted.

Sorrow is for a short while but your joy will come in the morning. Your joy is my strength.

combatting depression

My dear Readers, many whom I know and many I do not, I pray hopeful prayers that your eyes can be wide open for the healing balm of beauty of this earth, ears open to the morning sounds of bird's praises, and your senses open to the gifts of tastes and smells that delight you. It is in the small and minute that we can find grace to get through the long and low days. I am beginning to believe that it is in the trenches of grief that we can find Him more than we ever have, among the pain and the aches and the agony and they heart-breaks. In the trenches of grief, He is there, still and quiet, but there. May your heart be touched with the duplicity of love reaching out to you through your sorrow. I pray these things would be written on your heart as He relentlessly pursues you with His overwhelmingly beautiful love.