Discovering True Beauty

Soul Care: When You’re Grieving

Edie MelsonBy Edie Melson8 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Soul Care: When You’re Grieving by Edie Melson

Chapter One
Moving Past Denial

Denial is where most of us begin our journey through grief. Initially, we refuse to believe the worst has indeed happened. More than that, we struggle with constant reminders of the one we’ve lost who should be present with us.

Our daughter-in-law’s tragic accident and death rocked my world. She left my son with a three-month-old infant, and the unfairness of losing a young mother brought on questions and anger that were difficult beyond imagining.

When I lost my best friend suddenly, everywhere I looked I glimpsed her. From behind, so many strangers looked like Jennifer. Each time I chased down that hope, the person I saw was not my friend, and the grief was once again new, raw, and almost unbearable.

Losing my father to Alzheimer’s was different. Much of the grieving took place during his illness. Yet there were still times after his passing when a piece of music or an unexpected image would bring him to mind. During those instances, I argued with myself about the fact that he was gone.

I based this denial on my struggle to give myself permission to move forward without my dear one. There were so many reasons I didn’t want to move on. Most of all, moving forward felt like a betrayal—as if I was forgetting their importance in my life. By constantly denying the fact they were gone, I kept the memories alive—or so I told myself. All I was keeping alive was the pain of their passing.

That pain also blocked the joyful moments of their living. By focusing on the pain, I denied myself the beauty of remembering the good parts of life with them.

But losing a person isn’t the only reason we face seasons of grief. The year 2020 and its resulting pandemic pushed thousands into grief as they lost homes, jobs, loved ones, and a way of life that can never be recaptured. That grief can be just as traumatic. Sometimes grieving circumstances can be even more life altering. With a situational change, we don’t always feel we have permission to feel that intensity of pain and emotions. We have that permission. And it’s only when we acknowledge and process the emotions that we can move on in life.

Through the devotions, creative moments, and prayers, we’ll travel through this process of giving ourselves permission to move forward.

God’s Strength is Enough

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB)

The shock of that day is still with me. Even now, I’m still processing the unthinkable.

My son’s young wife—the mother of their baby boy was gone. She was taken in a freak farming accident. I could barely comprehend what was happening, yet I found myself called on for support. How could I be strong when I was so weak?

I was almost sixty-years-old and became the surrogate care-giver for a three-month-old baby. If anyone had suggested I was capable of the physical demands—much less the emotional ones—I was about to face, I would have laughed out loud. And yet, in a situation like that, God provides what we need when we need it. Not before, but there in the midst is where His strength is available.

Even as I tried to deny the reality of our situation, I knew where to turn. I ran to God. I burrowed into His word, starting my days early to read the Bible before the baby woke up. I used the sleepless parts of the nights to pray, and I journaled. I didn’t take neat—refer to them later—notes from the passages I read in scripture. Instead I chugged God’s word like a thirsty woman gulps water. My prayers weren’t orderly written in a prayer journal. These were honest times of searching and questioning—tear stained and ink-splotched. It was messy, but God used those hours to give me the strength to be what my family needed.

There’s no right or wrong way to experience grief. But any grief struggle is better when we turn to God—first and frequently. I rediscovered He can handle my anger, my frustration, and my questions. He can bring peace in the worst of times, if we let Him.

During that time, I forged a bond with my Heavenly Father. Even now, I automatically reach for God’s word before I get out of bed. It’s one joy that has come from that horrific time.

An Honest Prayer When the Impossible Happens

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

Dear Lord, I cannot bear this. The unthinkable has happened, and I don’t know how I can get through this. I need Your strength. And I need to understand.

How can You have allowed this? I prayed and begged You to take this from us and bring about a different ending. That didn’t happen. Now I must continue to trust You even though it feels like You’ve let us down.

I shudder as I admit my fear and disappointment and anger.

If I tell You how I feel, will it affect how You treat my prayers in the future? Will it make You love me less? Even as these words cross my mind, I see what a lie they are. You love us. I know You are trustworthy, and You work in ways we cannot understand or even imagine … and yet here I am. Help me understand.

Give me Your strength to get through this. Show me how to reconcile this tragedy with how much I know You love us. Renew my trembling faith. I feel weak and unequipped to cope. Even in my doubt, You are the only refuge I have. Amen.

Order your copy of Soul Care When You’re Weary by Edie Melson