Recalibration (What Grief Teaches You)

They say the best way to inspire others is by being transparent and vulnerable. I tried that in Christian community and well…my perspective is as follows. When you are still healing, it may be best to share with a safe community of people. Once you are healed, the story can be shared with others. Why do I say this? Because humans do not always think about the impact of their words before they speak. Some can be in a place of desiring to be helpful and they are actually quite harmful.

I love safe people, don’t you?

I met with a dear friend yesterday for lunch, a mini trip to the spa, and took her on a local tour. One of the things I love about her is her ability to listen without trying to throw a scripture on everything.

She has suffered great loss; I have suffered great loss, and we both know the unintended un-helpfulness of sometimes well meaning people. They say, “You are so strong!” Or “You just need to trust God.” “You know God is working all things together for good.”

I sat across the table from a kindred spirit. Someone who understood grief deeply and did not see it as something to wish away, but something to walk through with God. Some days are incredible and there is great joy. Some days you do not desire to laugh, your heart is full of tears. Some days agony crashes upon you like a tidal wave and you pray earnest prayers for relief.

People around you wish for you to be better. Some will avoid you because they do not know what to say or they don’t want to be in the presence of a person overcoming grief or loss. It is rare to find the ones willing to simply sit on the boat with you, riding out the storm.

Why do we grieve?

We grieve because we have lost someone or something we loved. Love is the reason for the grief. Those who do not love deeply and do not attach, they do not understand grief. Those who have not lost someone they loved, are sometimes clueless how to respond to a hurting person.

God knows how to deal with grief. I also highly, highly recommend grief share and support groups for those hurting; groups where others have gone through loss or are going through loss. Having a community of people who get it is absolutely vital to not only surviving, thriving. I am so thankful for safe people.

Grief has taught me so many things and it has changed me profoundly. Have you gone through a painful experience that changed you?

I am not the same person I was a year ago. I stopped doing things that seemed like a waste of time. I am still refining my priorities.

I stopped caring what people on the internet were replying to my content. I started simply deleting negative and misguided comments instead of wasting time trying to explain myself.

I stopped trying to mentor people who were disengaged, not present, not putting forth effort, and not interested in pulling their weight. I have enough to carry. I do not need dead weight nor to exert so much effort into what is not valued or appreciated.

I stopped worrying about those “friends” who just disappeared. I moved on with my life.

I stopped trying to love people who kept rejecting or misunderstanding love or it was always one sided.

Grief taught me and is teaching me to stop wasting my life on things that don’t matter.

Grief taught me and is teaching me to take one day at a time and some days it is one moment at a time.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me to stop expecting people to get it and be compassionate. I must have compassion for myself. Self care is vital. Expecting people to see a need and respond is futile. I found safe people to ask for help.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me to rest more and stop pushing myself to be strong for others. I am human, not Jesus. I started cancelling volunteer events with no support. I stopped pushing myself to be the only person to show up.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me what matters and what does not matter. It has recalibrated my focus so things I used to do, I refuse to carry with me. I believe grief can be a powerful tool to shift our focus. What about you?

Grief has taught me and is teaching me who my real friends are. It has been eye opening the past 12 months. I am not angry nor offended by people, I simply have relationships that grew closer and some that disappeared.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me the importance of saying no. When people perceive you as strong, they forget you are a human with legitimate needs. So they come with their needs, their wants, their desires, and expect you to be strong for them and you. Well, no. I have said to a few people, “I would like for you to contact someone else.”

Grief has taught me and is teaching me an even greater importance of family. Friends can come and go, but family is so important.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me not to judge my life by the lives of others. “Oh they never have anything bad happen to them, what am I doing wrong?” I have learned grief touches everyone at some point in life. If it is not your neighbors turn now, it will be one day. None of us make it out of life alive or without any challenges.

I have learned I do not have to be strong, just because that is what others desire. I learned there are days I crumble into the arms of God exhausted from grief and I am the furthest thing from strong. I find comfort in being able to just be human. I look at this man named Jesus who was and is perfect in every way. He cried out to the Father in agony, “Why have you forsaken me?” Pain has a way of making the Father seem so far away.

I understand how Jesus felt. I understand how Mother Teresa felt when she wrote in her diary that she felt forsaken by God at moments in her life. It may seem blasphemous to some, yet I see no blasphemy in Jesus. He knew agony, grief, suffering, and His friends went to sleep. He knew betrayal by one of the ones He trained and loved. My encouragement is it’s okay to be human. We were not created to live in such hard place. We were created for paradise and sin brought and brings hell.

Grief has taught me and is teaching me the closeness of God even when He does not say a thing. He speaks in ways that sometimes are not heard, but they mark us. I laugh sometimes because as silly as it sounds, I think God is filling up my Pinterest feed. It’s one encouraging picture after another.

I want to encourage you, those who have suffered loss. I am sorry for the silly and lack of empathy/lack of compassion things people say. I am sorry if you feel you must always be the one towing the superhero line. God does not expect us to pretend loss does not hurt, nor to put on the fake Christian mask, “God is working all things for good! Rejoice in the Lord always.” Let’s be real. Let’s be honest. Some days there may be a song in your heart. Some days there may be tears streaming down your face. Be human. You have permission to be human and invite God into your humanity.

I personally don’t have time for pretend. There are several things in my life/family that require a miracle. I am real, raw, and do not care how others feel about the process.

My encouragement…

God is with us on our best day.

God is with us on our worst day.

God with us is how we make it through the turbulent storms without drowning.

Let’s be real, honest, and inspire others to do so as well!

You are prayed for and so deeply loved!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

He comforts those who mourn and binds up the broken hearted.

Where’s God When Bad Things Happen? (Part I)

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For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens, Job 28:24.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything, 1 John 3:19-20.

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account, Hebrews 4:13.

Have you ever asked the question, “Where is God when bad things happen?” If you have ever suffered, watched someone you love suffer, or seen suffering on the news you probably have asked that question.

When bad things happen, God is there. God knows all. God is everywhere. It does not make sense to our minds, but God knows all, sees all, and can be with all. You may ask, “Why doesn’t God prevent all the bad things that happen, if He can foresee them?” I hope to offer some insight from my own walk with God. I hope this blesses you. I hope this post helps unravel some of the question.

Evil exits in the world because of sin. Humans can choose to sin. God gave Adam a command.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:15-17.

God gave Adam the ability to choose to disobey Him. Adam disobeyed the command. We can read about the impact of disobeying God in Genesis 3. Sin, evil, sickness, and death entered the world.

I’ve heard people state God is in control. It is true nothing happens outside His realm of knowledge, and He can do what He pleases. God, however, gave humans the ability to defy Him. We can sin. He does not force us to do life His way.

Since God won’t force us to do what’s right, and sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, we live with the consequences of living in a sinful world. People can choose to reject God, reject His will, perpetrate evil, and hurt themselves or others.The impact of living in a sinful world is sickness, death, suffering, evil, and a host of negative things.

Before you become depressed, let’s look some solutions.

Jesus:

The Father sent His Son to solve the problem of sin. Jesus paid the penalty for sin and gave us access to the Father. Any person who chooses to follow Christ has been given a new life, freedom from being enslaved to sin, and a promise of life with God after death. You can read more about what is given in a relationship with Jesus on my Bible study/devotional blog, http://morena242.wordpress.com. Not only does Jesus save us, the Holy Spirit comforts, heals, restores, and helps.

Prayer:

God responds to those who seek Him. Jesus tells us to pray and taught the disciples how to pray.

 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).

I believe there are many tragedies that are prevented because someone was praying or someone prayed. I believe we would see far more evil in the world if no one ever prayed (asked God for help).

What if you are following Jesus, praying, and bad things still seem to happen? Welcome to the world not yet perfected by God’s Kingdom. What is God doing when bad things happen? Here is my idea. I believe He’s shouting in the ear of the abuser or person inflicting pain, “Stop…you don’t have to do this.” That person may not listen, they may reject God’s voice, or have no desire for God. God does not delight in suffering, sin, or pain. We will talk more next post about how God turns bad things into blessings.

Father, I pray for every person who reads this post to have a deeper revelation of Your heart. May they know You do not delight in pain, suffering, or bad things happening to people. Heal, restore, and bring hope for restoration. May they feel You near today and every day. In Jesus name, Amen. Love, Erin.

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