This time of year reminds us that grief does not take a vacation. The heaviness associated with loss seems to permeate every special occasion, especially major holidays.
How do we reconcile our faith, our hope, our emotional healing in the space of deepest despair?
How do we celebrate when our hearts are broken and overcome with loss?
Grief slows us down. Loss can stop us in our tracks. Significant loss has a way of recalibrating our lives. Luckily, God is The Father of recalibration. Even in seasons of despair, He seeks to comfort and provide for us.
God is constantly proving His faithfulness to us, grief is no exception. If you are in a season of loss, please open your bruised heart to the one who created it. The maker of our hearts can gently place us on a journey to healing. Our job is to simply allow Him.
During a season of deep grief, I developed an acronym to easily focus my heart and soul. This tool adheres to what experts say, with a spiritual focus: R.E.S.T. which stands for (R)ely on God, (E)xalt His Name, (S)elf Care, and (T)alk about it.
Rest allows God to enter your space of brokenness. His presence has the biggest impact when He enters into space that is quiet and unencumbered with activity. Wholeness develops when we align our hearts with God. I, like you, have experienced significant loss. Loss has different impacts, depending on the season you are in. In all seasons, I have found it comforting to seek and find tools that lead me to the gift of God’s presence.
If you find yourself feeling gloomy this holiday season, don’t be defeated. You can get through this.
Here are 4 Things you will need to do to Survive Grief and Loss During the Holidays
Rely on God- The definition of rely is: depend on with full confidence. Rely on God’s gentleness. Rely on His strength. Rely on His faithfulness.
Proverbs 18:10 The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
When you are fearful, sad, angry, remember that God is your protector. He understands loss. He grieved His only Son. God gifts us His understanding.
Exalt His Name- Praise allows a heart to be set free from captivity. God promises comfort, even in the midst of suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope, O God, for you is firm. Because we know that just as your share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Praising God, in spite of circumstance, is the highest form of worship. Praise can be in private prayer, between sweet friends, or in a Sunday morning worship service. Exalt Him. Remind yourself of His attributes. God’s characteristics are unique gifts to each of us. Seek Him.
Self Care- Loss can deplete us. Our spiritual health can be directly affected by our physical health.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Eat healthy. Sleep. See your physician for regular checkups. Repeat. God has gifted His spirit to our earthly bodies. Self-care is important.
Talk about it- Talk to your closest friends, family, or grief therapist. Talk about your grief. Please know it is normal to cry. A powerful scripture is tucked away in the book of John. The most powerful man that every walked our earth demonstrated healthy grief at the loss of a loved one.
Jesus wept. Weeping empties our soul of pain. Scripture speaks of how crying gives way to joy.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
God promises the gift of joy, even after loss.
Scripture teaches that God never intended us to be eternal creatures in this broken world. Loss can take on a different meaning when we view it from God’s perspective. His plans for us are greater. On this side of eternity, we all will experience loss. Living through loss creates sensitivity to all suffering. Loss develops our compassion for others experiencing pain. God continually provides His presence for us in our times of need. He uses His people to walk out His presence. God continually reminds us that we are not alone in times of pain. He restores our souls. After all is said and done, God remains.